NOVEMBER RAIN

Chapter 1: David Bowie and Three Double Shots of Tequila

A/N: This story covers the entire month of November 1984, beginning with one scandalous Halloween night. Oh, and I wholeheartedly recommend going to Youtube and listening to the music I have included. It plays a huge part.

Warning: Some chapters contain smut.

Enjoy...


When I look into your eyes
I can see a love restrained
But darlin' when I hold you
Don't you know I feel the same

- Guns 'n Roses


October 31, 1984

It was one of those nights, one of those 'giddy with anticipation', 'even the air smells different', cold Fall nights, and inside the Forman/Pinciotti apartment, Donna and Jackie were already bickering and mercilessly body checking each other in a fight over mirror space. Not surprisingly, the two old friends managed to turn their minor tussle into a battle of schoolyard proportions.

"Bitch!"

"Well, move your skinny ass out of my way then," Donna yelled, returning Jackie's pathetic nudge with a destabilizing shove.

"Hey! Fine," Jackie conceded as she steadied herself, not wanting to jinx the night before it even started. "We'll compromise. Now... How do I look?" She stood before the mirror with her hands on her hips in dramatic pose.

"The same. Why aren't you in your costume, yet?" Donna asked as she leaned forward to adjust her breasts, making them peek seductively above the apex of her silver sequence dress. "What did you finally decide on anyway?"

Gasping, Jackie clapped and bounced like a schoolgirl, excited to have someone finally ask about what, she was sure, would be the best couples costume at the whole party.

"Colin has it! He finally found the perfect 'Rhett and Scarlett' costumes while he was in Green Bay! He's gonna meet me in the basement with them. So I'm just gonna have to change there, in Hyde's old room or something."

Her hair already curled to perfection, make-up expertly applied, perfume strategically sprayed, Jackie had nothing left to do but sit back and watch her redheaded friend finish prepping for the Queen Ann Haunted Ship Costume Party. None of the gang had ever been, probably because the tickets cost thirty-five dollars each and no one could afford to spend the money. But thankfully, for everyone, Jackie's boyfriend, Colin, could. He had surprised them all, purchasing ten tickets for Halloween night. There were five sets of tickets, one for each couple, since it was, most certainly, a 'couples only' party.

Attending was herself with Colin, Donna with Eric, Kelso with Brooke, Hyde with his girlfriend, Jessica, and then Fez with his new girlfriend, Amy. A costume was required to enter, prompting Hyde at one at one point to swear that he wasn't going, but his girlfriend had insisted and so, of course, he caved.

Jackie had smiled at the exchange, she liked to think that it was her who had made him a better man for this girl who obviously loved him to death. Maybe, Jackie thought to herself, it was her own relationship with him, along with time, that taught him how to correctly treat the object of his desire and maybe she taught him that cheating and fucking around with strippers wasn't the most effective way to sort though his feelings for someone.

Hopefully.

Jackie giggled as she watched Donna prop up her breasts for the second time and strangely thought of Sam of all people. But, she wasn't bitter, angry or heartbroken, not anymore. Jackie was positive that she had long since found her peace with the situation. Just as everyone had predicted, including Hyde, time had worked its magic and her love for him had eventually subsided, settling quietly into memory.

And having met Colin, who loved her like crazy, hadn't hurt either.

Smiling, Jackie poked her oldest friend in the back. "Come on, Donna. Stop playing with your boobs! We've gotta go!"


Thirty minutes later. 6:22 p.m.

Walking up the driveway to the Forman house with Gilligan and Ginger (Otherwise known as Eric and Donna), Jackie was reminded that it was Fall, her favorite season. The air felt crisp as it entered her lungs, the wind smelled like turning leaves and chimney smoke, and her brown boots and cream cardigan sweater matched perfectly with the colors that painted the dark landscape around her. After all, she was a "Fall" according to last month's Cosmo—the bible—and her brunette locks and warm skin tone always complimented the season's colors perfectly. So, it was only natural that this would be her time of year.

Jackie smiled at the thought. My time.

With an extra bounce in her step, Jackie entered the Forman kitchen, already laced with everything having to do with Autumn - baked goods, Halloween decorations and warm smiles—well one warm smile anyway.

"Hi, Mrs. Forman," Jackie called out in her usual perky tone, offering the older woman a hug.

"Well, hello Jackie! I haven't seen you since ...gosh, since Eric's birthday party. That was two months ago."

"I know, I'm sorry. Things have been so busy at the station." Jackie turned to the other, slightly less enthusiastic, occupant of the room and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Hi, Mr. Forman."

"Darn, I knew it was getting too quiet around here," he said with a scowl that quickly turned into a smile. He couldn't help it; she had always been one of his favorites. Although, it wasn't like she had much competition. Next to the moron pretty boy, the creepy foreign kid, and Eric, Jackie was a breath of fresh, strawberry scented air. Plus, the girl could find a carburetor better than his own mechanic and that made her practically family.

Quickly stealing a pumpkin shaped cookie from the tray next to the stove, Jackie joined Eric and Donna down the steps into the basement. As they descended the staircase, the only two occupants of the room came into view, locked in a deep kiss against the back door. All three raised their eyebrows at the sight of Hyde's girlfriend pinned helplessly between him and the door... not that the girl was complaining.

"Get a room," Eric chided, taking a seat on the couch.

Hyde broke first from the kiss, allowing the strawberry blond to finally gather enough air to speak. "I really gotta go, baby," she said, out of breath and eagerly accepting another lingering kiss from Hyde.

He pulled away again and grinned.

"Yeah, okay. Call me later," he said, against her full lips. "I'll probably be at my place by then."

"Okay." One more peck and she was out the door. "Bye you guys! Have fun!"

Eric held his arms out in confusion. "Hey, where the hell's she going? We've gotta leave in like fifteen minutes."

"She can't freakin' go," Hyde complained gruffly, stepping away from the door. "She has to work. So I guess that means I can't go either." When he noticed Jackie, he walked toward her briskly and with a purpose. "Hey, does it have to be couples? I mean, I can still get in by myself right?" It took her a moment to respond. They rarely spoke, so when they did, it always took her a second to adjust. It was as if a monkey had approached her at the zoo and asked for the time—it was just a little fucking weird. Still.

"Oh, um. I don't know, lemme check," Jackie replied, searching through her purse.

While he waited for an answer from Jackie, Hyde watched Donna walk by and let his eyes follow her shapely curves as they moved beneath the glittered material of her dress. "Nice dress," he grinned.

"Thank you. Now takes your eyes off my ass before I poke them out with this heel," she quipped, flipping her foot back into the air to show him her intended weapon of choice.

Hyde quickly—and wisely—shifted his focus back over to Jackie as she pulled the tickets out of her purse, studying them. "Couples only," she read. "Must arrive in matching costumes."

Hyde scoffed his displeasure and sat down in his chair, folding his arms. "Whatever. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard... I didn't want to go anyway."

Jackie put the tickets back in her purse and took a seat on the lawn chair across from him. "Sorry, Hyde. I think it's because of the costume contest."

Hyde. That word, coming from her lips, still made Hyde a little uneasy. She had been calling him that for over three years now and he still hadn't gotten used it. It didn't flow naturally out of her mouth. It just seemed too... forced. But he knew it had helped her get over him, so he dealt with it and let her be.

Suddenly, a loud voice boomed through the room, startling everyone and breaking Hyde's concentration.

"Oh yeah! That's right! Everyone bow before the president and the first lady," Kelso shouted, bursting through the basement door with Brooke in tow. Everyone simply stared at him. "Don't you guys get it? I'm Ronald Reagan, and she's, she's," he took a thoughtful pause, a very long, thoughtful pause, "Mrs. Reagan."

Hyde rolled his eyes. "Nancy! For the hundredth time."

Kelso's eyes widened in anger. "You said you were gonna stop calling me that!" he screeched before plopping himself down on the couch between Eric and Donna and folding his arms.

"No, you moron! That's her name: Nancy Reagan!"

"Oh," Kelso said, smiling sheepishly, before allowing his eyes to drift over toward Donna's cleavage. "Nice dress. Them jugs sure are a-poppin' tonight, jugs-a-poppin'!"

Hyde chuckled and nodded in agreement. "Literally."

Pinching Kelso's nipple between her fingers, Donna twisted mercilessly. "What a coincidence, so are yours, Mr. President," she said, using her best Marilyn Monroe impression.

Kelso yelped. "Ah! Ok! Ok!"

Donna stopped. But only a few minutes later, Kelso just couldn't help himself. "Could you do that again, that was really hot."

"No!" She smacked his head, tipping his Ronald Reagan mask terribly askew. "Pig!"

"God, Donna!"

Everyone laughed as the phone rang, prompting Hyde to pick it up and chuckle out a happy "Hello?"

Jackie watched his eyes move toward the floor and then to her.

"It's your boyfriend," he simply said, holding out the phone.

Jackie quickly grabbed it from him. "Hey, baby, where are you?" The whole group watched her face fall while her small shoulders drooped in disappointment. "But.. Why can't he just... I know, but... What about all that money that you spent?... Mm-hm... But, baby, I was all excited... I can't... I don't have a costume and it's couples only." Jackie sighed. "Fine... When are you coming back?... Okay... I know... I love you, too... Yeah... Bye."

"Well, this is just great!" Jackie threw her complaint out there for someone to catch, Donna or Brooke most likely, but it was Hyde who took the bait.

"Lemme guess, Prince Charming's not coming," he said in his usual mocking tone, making Jackie wonder why he got such a kick out of making Colin look bad. Colin had been nothing but nice to her ex-boyfriend, but Hyde disliked him anyway, refusing to accept an outsider, or maybe it was just that particular outsider who bothered him.

"NO," Jackie said, biting back, defending her man. "He has to work. He has a very important job."

"Yeah, and he's gotta keep you in those expensive shoes, too, right?"

Jackie held his gaze, refusing to bite back anymore. Her eyes never left his as she reached into her purse and pulled out all ten tickets. Hyde finally looked away. "Here, Donna, you guys have fun. Okay?"

Brooke frowned. "Jackie, we're not going without you."

The room went silent for a moment, making Fez's entrance that much louder. He stopped cold, instinctively aware that something was wrong. "What is going on? Did your mom run out of candy?" he accused, staring scornfully at Eric.

"No, man. It's all upstairs."

Fez exhaled and stepped all the way inside. "Okay, then."

Eric made a face. "Hey. Where's Amy? And where's your costume, man?"

"Oh, that is why I am here. I cannot go. Amy's sick."

Donna threw her hands up. "Well, this sucks! No one is going, I'm dressed like a marooned Hollywood tramp and now Halloween is ruined."

Fez looked confused. "Who else isn't going?"

"Jackie, Colin, Hyde, Jessica, and now you and Amy. That just leaves us and Kelso and Brooke."

Fez, still looking rather confused, turned his attention to Hyde. "Why aren't you going?"

"Jessica has to work, and it's freakin' couples only."

Fez then turned to Jackie. "And you?"

"Cause Colin has to work and it's couples only. So if he doesn't go, I can't go, unless... you wanna be my date?" Jackie asked with a small encouraging smile.

"I can't," he said matter-of-factly, criss-crossing his arms, pointing between her and her ex. "Why don't you and Hyde just go together?"

Everyone looked from person to person until finally Jackie and Hyde made eye contact and shrugged in unison, as if on cue. "Huh." Hyde spoke first. "Well, I don't see why not. I mean, it's just to get inside, right? Jess won't care about that... I don't think."

Jackie stuck out her bottom lip, intrigued. "Yeah." Then a thought occurred to her. "Wait, but we don't have costumes."

"Well, what were you and Colin gonna be?" Hyde asked her.

"It doesn't even matter; he has the costumes." A moment later Jackie asked the next logical question. "What were you and Jessica gonna be?"

"It doesn't matter; she has our costumes, and anyway, you wouldn't fit in hers. You're too short." Jackie sneered at him and he instantly responded. "What? You're like two inches shorter than she is. Plus, she's be pissed anyway if she knew you wore her costume."

"I didn't want to wear her skanky costume anyway!" Jackie snapped.

Donna jumped in, scolding Jackie. "Jackie. Be nice."

"Fine! It doesn't matter anyway. We can't go," Jackie grumbled, pouting and folding her arms across her chest. "This totally sucks."

Hyde rolled his eyes. One thing he never missed about her: the spoiled princess act. Didn't miss it for one second.

Honestly concerned with the happiness of his friends, Fez made another suggestion. "Okay. How about you both wear mine and Amy's costumes then?"

Hyde finally peeled his eyes and his scowl from Jackie's spoiled brat routine to look at Fez. "What were you gonna be?"

"Duh. Candy," Fez answered, rolling his eyes, as if the answer to Hyde's question should have been obvious.

Hyde and Jackie shared a curious smile. "Candy?"

The foreigner nodded. "Of course... Okay, I will be right back. They're in my car," he said, excited as took off up the basement steps to get what Jackie and Hyde had already inwardly concluded that they would not be wearing.

A few minutes later, Fez returned with the "costumes."

Hyde looked confused, a feeling shared by the rest of the group. "They're just t-shirts, man."

Tossing the blue t-shirt to Hyde and the red one to Jackie, Fez nodded and confirmed that yes, they were indeed just t-shirts, which Hyde decided he could totally deal with. Jackie, on the other hand, was skeptical. She unfolded hers to have a read but Hyde beat her to the punch.

"Almond Joy," he read aloud off the front of his t-shirt before giving Jackie a curious look, prompting her to read hers.

"Mounds," she read with a frown. "I don't get it."

Fez smiled. "Turn 'em over."

They did, and Hyde read the back of his. "I've got nuts."

Jackie rolled her eyes. "I don't," she read, presenting the back of the t-shirt for Hyde to see. The room burst out into laughter, minus Jackie, who simply plopped her butt back onto the lawn chair. "I am not wearing this."

Hyde snickered. "Aw, come on, Jackie. Who cares. So you won't win the contest. At least we'll get to go, man."

"I was supposed to be Scarlett freakin' O'hara! Damn it! Beautiful and freakin' classy, not... nutless!"

"Ohh, I'm sorry. Did you want my nuts?" Hyde asked, almost sincerely, as he offered her the blue t-shirt with a wicked smirk.

Disgusted by his lack of concern for her ruined evening, Jackie threw him her dirtiest look. And Hyde might have cared if she didn't look so hot when she was pissed. So, instead, he simply gave her a stern scowl in return and resorted to a tactic that had worked on her years before.

His voice was calm as he stood up. "Look, Jackie. I'm not gonna miss this party just because you're too uptight to have a sense of humor about the situation," he said, shifting his weight for dramatic affect, "So you're gonna go in my old room. You're gonna take that sweater off and you're gonna put on that t-shirt," Jackie started to speak but Hyde raised his voice in anticipation. "And you're NOT gonna say another word about it."

Jackie stood up. "You cannot tell me what to do, Steven Hyde! I may have liked it when we were dating, but we are NOT dating anymore!"

The other four occupants of the room snickered as Hyde stepped closer to his ex-girlfriend. "Well, tonight, we are! So get your spoiled ass in that room and change so we can get the hell outta here!"

The heads of Eric, Donna, Kelso, Fez and Brooke shifted back to Jackie and they all waited with wide, nervous eyes. Except, Jackie seemed to have nothing to say as she stood fuming before Hyde, who only stared back at her, cool as a cucumber.

"Fine," she muttered coolly, "but I'm gonna be cold so what should I wear for bottoms?"

Everyone released the breaths they had been holding, and shifted their attention to Hyde, who was grinning smugly.

"Just keep that skirt on," he answered, as he quickly glanced at the short jean skirt she wore, right before his eyes betrayed him and drifted down to the firm, bare thighs that disappeared underneath it. "It's... really great. And those boots," he said, swallowing hard as he observed the way the tops of her calves were cuffed off by the sexiest pair of high-heeled boots he had ever seen on a chick, "they're great, too."

Jackie smirked as Hyde briefly ogled her legs. Yeah, she still had it.

After sharing a strange look, Donna and Eric both wondered how these two managed to still get underneath each other's skin more than five years after their demise. They rarely saw each other, maybe once every two months or so, and every meeting, while usually brief, always resulted in some sort of confrontation. Luckily enough for everyone, though, they were both long over each other and very, very taken, so their tiffs never lasted long—minutes, if not seconds.

"I'll just throw on my wrap sweater with it then," Jackie said quietly as she flipped her hair over her shoulder and turned on her heel, strutting toward the small back bedroom to change into her Mounds "costume." Hyde watched her leave and grinned at the rest of the group.

"Yeah, I still got it."

Lost in his own world, and sporting a gaping smile, Kelso muttered to Eric, "Mounds. That means boobs."


One hour later...

20 miles north of the Montrose Harbor Marina

For most of the drive to Chicago, Hyde and Jackie sat quietly next to each other in the far back seat of Kelso's van. There didn't seem to be much to say, not anymore, not these days anyway. There was a time when there had been a million things to tell each other. Hyde would never admit it to anyone, but back when they had begun dating, back when they were merely kids, he told her everything. Everything. But that was a million years ago. They barely knew anything about each other now, minus the useless facts brought up in idle chit chat by the rest of the gang. The two of them were practically strangers, forever burdened by the memory of their happy youth—shared together—that went up in flames.

Hyde risked glance after glance in Jackie's direction, keeping his head forward and hurting his eyes in the process. He may have been taken, may have been over her, but he wasn't fucking blind. The fact that she only seemed to get more beautiful as she grew older hadn't gone unnoticed by him, or by any other testosterone driven member of the old gang. She was a woman now, and one by one, starting with him, they had ALL noticed.

Like a moth to the flame, his wandering eyes kept finding her legs. That short skirt had moved even further up and her legs were crossed away from him, leaving him with a perfect view of her still sun kissed upper thigh. Allowing himself to become lost in fantasy, Hyde imagined what it might feel like to slide his hand up that thigh and underneath that skirt. But then the brunette moved, un-crossing her legs and snapping him out of his lustful daydream.

Hyde quickly looked away. Damn it. If he didn't stop, he was going to get caught, and that meant death by mockery. She had caught him checking her out about a year before and teased him for a god damned month about it.

Jackie leaned forward in her seat. "Hey, Brooke. Stop here, I like this song."

"Oh me, too," Brooke concurred. "I just love her!"

Hyde grimaced at Jackie. "Who the hell's this?"

All through the night
I'll be awake and I'll be with you..

"Cyndi Lauper. Yeah, she has orange hair. She's bitchen," Jackie told him with a cheerful smile.

"Bitchen?" Hyde smiled at her, almost adoringly, to Jackie's surprise. "So no more disco for you then?"

"Nope. I'm a hip chick, Hyde. I move with the times."

"You mean you're a trendy little follower," he said cruelly, without thinking, making her smile disappear.

All through the night
This precious time, when time is new...

"No. I just like the song. Am I allowed to do that?" In her eyes shone that familiar disgust sprinkled with hurt that Hyde had elicited in her so many times before. And completely exhausted of all desire to fight with her, he chose to reel in the usual attitude he put forward when it came to her.

This was supposed to be a fun night, he thought to himself.

"Look, Jackie. I didn't mean it like that, okay? I'm… I'm sorry. Can we just... can we get along tonight? Please, for once."

"I don't know, Hyde. Can we?"

"Yes," he replied, offering her a white flag waving smile, "we can. I'll be nice, I swear." He put up his right hand, "Burnout's honor," and then offered it to her in peace. Wary at first, Jackie took Hyde's hand and gave it a hefty shake, marking their first physical contact in over two years.

Oh, all through the night, today
Knowing that we feel the same without saying...

Not that either one was counting.

Jackie raised one wary eyebrow as they shook. "I'm gonna hold you to that." Hyde grinned.

"Ok."

It was no fairytale moment. There was no spark, no fireworks metaphorically exploding in mid-air, no lingering tingle—just a simple, friendly handshake.

But it was the birth of something more.

..We have no past, we won't reach back
Keep with me forward all through the night
And once we start, the meter clicks
And it goes running all through the night

Hyde grinned wickedly while scooting in closer to Jackie. "Hey," he whispered to her, "you wanna know what Kelso's wearing underneath that suit?"

Jackie smiled and nodded as Hyde leaned in and began to tell her the truth behind Kelso's dirty little secret.

Until it ends, there is no end...


Montrose Harbor Marina, Chicago

Kelso parked the van a few blocks away from the large ship and as they all made their way toward the party inside, Donna took notice of the cozy chatter coming from the trailing couple.

"Come on you guys," Donna insisted, waving them up, but instead Jackie and Hyde only talked quieter and walked a little slower and closer together. She nudged Eric. "What the hell is going on with them? They've been whispering and giggling at each other for the last thirty minutes."

"Who cares. Be happy they're not fighting," Eric pointed out, placing an arm over her shoulder, "because I SO do not feel like dealing with that tonight. Things I do feel like dealing with, you ask? Huh, well.. your boobies in that dress, that slit in your dress, that slit between your boobies in that dress..."

"Eric, you're such a perv," she teased, giving him a light slap that only seemed to encourage him further as he pulled her closer. "They were just getting a little too chummy in the back seat together and I don't think Jessica OR Colin would be too thrilled about it."

Eric shook his head. "You're cute when you're being nosy... Ginger," he said with a waggle of his brows, causing her to laugh out loud and forget all about the trouble brewing right behind her.

"You're right. I'm being nosy. I'm sure it's fine," Donna affirmed in time with a glance toward the night sky. "Huh... Looks like it's gonna rain."


The RMS Queen Ann - Twenty-five minutes later

Atrium Level Bar - A.K.A. "The Haunted Waiting Room"

The impressive bar is the last stop before entering the main event; it is dark and decorated like a crypt, except for the flashing disco ball and orange lights. The sounds of David Bowie's "Let's Dance" fills the large room while the group from Point Place, along with fifty other anxious party-goers, wait.

At the bar, Kelso and Brooke shared another mind numbing shot of Jose Cuervo with Jackie and Hyde. "Don't be a puss, Hyde!"

Let's dance
Put on your red shoes and dance the blues
Let's dance
To the song they're playin' on the radio

The two boys stood together and slammed their shots down on the bar before watching the two girls nervously nurse their tall shots. "Slam it, Jackie," Hyde shouted over the music, encouraging her while he spun her barstool toward him. "I know you know how to open up your throat," he whispered in her ear, with a wicked smirk to match as he stood straight up to look at her. "Just toss it back quick. It won't hurt so much."

She peeked up at him through her lashes and took a deep breath, opening her throat and quickly tossing her head back.

At that very same moment, "Mom and Dad" walked up behind the foursome.

"Good girl," Hyde muttered as he stared down at Jackie's now wet mouth. "You want another one?"

Let's sway
While color lights up your face
Let's sway
Sway through the crowd to an empty space

The burning liquid was giving Jackie the chills as it went down and as they uncomfortably coursed through her body, she hugged onto Hyde's waist for warmth, prompting him to grab a hold of her hips and whisper something in her ear while moving his body deeper between her thighs. Donna frowned at what she was seeing and practically yelled in Jackie's other ear.

"We need to talk. Now!" Slightly distracted by his rather dirty comment, Jackie smirked at Hyde, already buzzing like a shit-faced bumble bee, when Donna yanked on her arm. "Now, Jackie!"

"Ok!" she cried out, "I'm coming! God!" Gently pushing Hyde back from between her legs and spinning herself around on the bar stool, Jackie hopped down. "Oh, wait," she exclaimed, before quickly turning back toward her ex. With her lips only an angel's breath away from his ear, she whispered, "I'll be right back," causing his eyes to fall shut at the feeling of her mouth so close to his skin.

"Ok," he said softly as he consciously watched her move away from him.

If you say run, I'll run with you
If you say hide, we'll hide

Donna dragged the brunette away from the bar and toward the main staircase, stopping her abruptly at the bottom step. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" The raised pitch of the redhead's voice caused Jackie's buzz to dim slightly.

"What?"

"You know what! You're flirting with him!"

"No, I'm not!"

"YES you are, Jackie! Hello! You have a boyfriend! Remember? Colin! And Hyde has a girlfriend! Her name is Jessica! Or did you forget?"

"NO, I didn't forget, Donna! And I am NOT flirting! We're just getting along for once! That's all!"

Because my love for you
Would break my heart in two
If you should fall into my arms
And tremble like a flo-wer!

Donna pointed in Hyde's direction. "THAT was a lot more than getting along, Jackie," she yelled, trying to raise her voice over the blaring music, "You two are getting all drunk and grabby at the bar, feeling each other up like two horny sixteen year olds at a drive-in!"

"No, we are not!" Jackie shouted indignantly, putting her hands on her hips as a show of defiance before pointing in Donna's face. "First of all, I am NOT drunk! I only had three shots of tequila and a..."

"Three DOUBLE shots of tequila, Jackie! That's SIX shots! And Hyde had twice that many in a matter of minutes! You're drunk sweetheart and I'm just trying to make you aware that you're getting WAY too cozy with someone ELSE'S man, okay?"

"Fine," Jackie growled, still not getting what the big deal was, but wanting Donna to just shut the hell up and stop being such a nag.

Meanwhile...

Let's dance
For fear your grace should fall
Let's dance
For fear tonight is all

Eric sat at the bar and studied Hyde as he nursed his beer, quickly determining that he was, in fact, loaded. "Man, what are you doin'?"

Hyde smiled. "Trying to count my teeth. I swear I'm up to like a hundred."

Rolling his eyes briefly, Eric corrected his clueless, drunk friend. "No, man. I mean... with Jackie. What are you doing?"

"Just hangin' out. Why?"

"You are aware that she has a boyfriend, right? You know, Colin, the guy that bought the ticket for you to be here."

Let's sway
You could look into my eyes
Let's sway
Under the moonlight, this serious moonlight

"I know," Hyde said dismissively before finally turning sincerely to his friend. "Look. I'm not doing anything with her, okay. I wouldn't do that to Jess."

"Fine," Eric murmured, quickly dropping the subject the moment he noticed Jackie return to the bar and take a place on the other side of Kelso and Brooke.

And if you say run, I'll run with you
And if you say hide, we'll hide…

Without warning, the music was shut off, leaving only the loud grumble of a crowd of fifty in mid-chatter.

"OKAY FOLKS," a lanky man dressed like Herman Munster yelled as he took center stage directly in front of two sets of double doors. He waved the crowd forward. "CAN EVERYONE PLEASE STEP FORWARD. CLOSER PLEASE, SO I DON'T HAVE TO YELL... Thank you." The group of six from Point Place listened intently as the tall, green man explained the situation. "Welcome to the Queen Ann Annual Terror Fest! My name is Herman..."

"HELLO HERMAN," the crowd hummed all together.

"Yeah, hey. First of all, I'd like to apologize for the wait. Our last group took longer than expected but please don't worry, you won't miss too much of the party. Behind me are two double doors," he droned, motioning to the doors with the classic double finger sweep of an airline safety procedure. "Behind these doors is a seven maze system through the most haunted ship in the world. Thirteen ghosts haunt this ship, and although I do not have time to go into the history of each ghost, I will give you the background of a couple of the more frequently seen ones. Deep inside the hull of the ship, in the hallways of the third class cabins roams the tormented spirit of a young woman who was abducted by two men just before the boat docked in New York Harbor in 1938. She was held against her will in one of the third class cabins for approximately three days while maintenance was being performed in the ship's engine room. Over the course of those three days, she was beaten, raped and stabbed nearly to death before eventually being found dead in the hallway, where she had died during an apparent attempt to crawl for help. Her spirit roams the halls to this day where she terrorizes any male who dare enter the narrow corridor." Herman took in a deep breath and continued, "Another frequently spotted ghost is..."

Hyde looked over and snickered to himself as he took note of the terrified faces of his friends, best of all, Kelso, who clung on to his fiance like a scared kitten.

"... so don't get too close to the pool, unless you want to be dragged in. Alright folks, from this point on, you are on your own. You will be relying solely on the buddy system, so please find your partners. The bracelets you were both given at the entrance are a matching set and, as you can already see, glow in the dark. You and your partner have either yellow, green, purple, blue or red so make sure they match. It will make it slightly easier to find them in the event that you become separated. It is EXTREMELY dark in there and it is not difficult to get lost. So, if you do find yourselves lost in one of the mazes, please locate one of the..."

"Excuse me," Jackie said softly, as she cut through the crowd to find her buddy: Hyde. Making eye contact with him, she smiled as he stretched his arm through the crowd to grab and reel her in. And as she let him pull her through, Jackie noticed the bright neon blue bracelet that clung to his wrist. It matched hers and she furrowed her brow at the realization, finding it strange that she hadn't noticed before.

Hooking his arm around her waist, Hyde pulled her in next to him, officially claiming her as his "buddy." A quick glance from him and a "Hey" solidified the union.

"Hey," she said back, her voice small. "Don't leave me, okay."

"I won't."

They both managed to catch the end of Herman's speech. "...that is definitely the most important thing to remember. Now, the goal of this little adventure is to, of course, find the party!"

The entire crowd broke out into cheers.

"You'll know that you have survived the haunted mazes the moment you find the Grand Ballroom on mid-level B. THAT, my friends, is where you'll find the hottest club in Chicago and the main bar..."

Everyone cheered again and Herman smiled knowingly, continuing with, "so try not to attract any of our ghosts and be sure to have a good time." Herman then opened the double doors, letting in the first of the crowd.

Donna, always the mother, rallied the group for one final pow-wow. "Alright, we all need to stick together, KELSO!"

"What?" he replied, confused.

"No wandering off!"

"I've got him," Brooke said lovingly, smiling up at him and quickly getting ambushed with an eskimo kiss.

"Aw, you love me," he cooed, eliciting a whispered response from her, deep in his ear. She was obviously telling him something he wanted to hear because his smile was intoxicating, even from a few feet away. Jackie watched the entire exchange and suddenly missed Colin and for a reason that baffled even her, the feeling made her clasp tightly onto Hyde's arm as they slowly followed the crowd through the double doors and into the dark.

"Steven?" Shocked and slightly amused by her use of his first name, Hyde hesitated before responding. "Hyde, answer me."

"What?"

"Stay close."

"Jackie, relax. I'm not gonna ditch you."

Gripping onto the palm of his right hand, her cheek pressed against his upper arm, Jackie couldn't help but catch the faint smell of him. It was the same scent from years before. Was it him or his detergent maybe? She wasn't sure. But, whatever it was, it was familiar, yet distant, rushing up fast from some where far deep in her memory, a place that had been nearly forgotten. But now it was back and he was there, smelling and feeling as he had so many years before. Except on this night, five years later, his arms were a little stronger, his body a little thicker, and his manner, thankfully, a little more pleasant.

Hanging on to this now grown man, she felt safe, warm and unbelievably drunk, dangerous territory for her, she knew. But her only saving grace was that with every new step forward, every twist of the muscles in his arm, every pass of his thumb over her skin, Donna's voice rang through her head like a nagging bell.

You have a boyfriend.

Colin.

He has a girlfriend.

Jessica.

You're getting way too cozy with someone else's man.

Jackie knew the giant redhead was right. But just as guilt took over and began to assist her hand in a quick retreat, she felt Hyde's fingers interlace with hers. A nervous glance in his direction revealed the lazy gaze he held on her and Jackie watched him smile at her confusion with soft eyes, putting her at ease as the darkness enveloped them both. "Don't be scared," he soothed softly in her ear, "there's no ghosts. It's all a load of crap."

Then Hyde squeezed her hand, and touched by her ex-boyfriend's rare thoughtfulness, Jackie absentmindedly kissed his upper arm mere seconds before being violently yanked away from him.

To Be Continued.


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