A/N: So this is the last chapter everyone! Thanks to all who read and reviewed! Hopefully I'll be able to continue this story line in the future but right now, real life is taking over haha...so for one last time, enjoy!
A week later, while having Saturday morning brunch with the Foremans, Hyde was still sullen and sulking. Kitty had made nervous noises around him as she heaped home-fries and bacon onto his plate and Red simply glared at her to keep her mouth shut. Finally, unable to take it, Kitty sat down beside Hyde and tried to laugh off the tension.
"Well, this is nice, Steven, to have you back at the house for breakfast. Have you heard from Jackie at all?"
"No," was the single monotone reply.
"Well, I'm sure she's just been busy. It was a very hard week last week for everyone." Kitty could tell that one of her little chicks had come back to the nest for some comforting and she wasn't about to let him leave without flapping her mother hen's wings. "Did anything happen between you two while she was in town?"
"No," Hyde repeated then silently added, but it's the fact that nothing did that has me super pissed.
"Kitty, clearly the boy is still having issues. The best thing for him is just to leave them in his head."
"Red, really, he just lost one of his best friends and the love of his life just blew into town and back out again-"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, you mean Jackie?" Hyde got up from the table to pour himself some coffee and secretly wished he had some bourbon to spike it with. "Jackie was not the love of my life."
"Oh Steven, you said the same thing on Veterans Day when you were seventeen and then you ended up taking her for a nice date up to Mount Hump."
Hyde flared his nostrils. Why did women always remember every little damn thing? Kitty still couldn't tell the difference between Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor, yet she remembered him punching out some dumb-ass named Chip because he called Jackie a bitch back in nineteen seventy-seven. Choosing his words carefully, he leaned against the counter.
"Missus Foreman, I know you always had hopes for me, but let's face it. Some things are ingrained into a person's biological make-up, such as Red's desire to put his foot up people's asses. Apparently mine and Jackie's are to drop huge emotional bombs on each others' heads only to leave the state." Suddenly, very angry, Hyde grabbed his keys off the counter and headed for the door. "I need to go for a drive."
He cruised around town for at least an hour, drove past the water tower a few times to see if it would draw any inspiration. He knew Kelso's spirit was chilling there, and waved a little at the gigantic green leaf that was still there after all this time. How they'd gotten permission to bury him in that little patch of trees near the foot of the water tower, Hyde never knew; he had a sneaking suspicion that Jackie had gotten her father to pull some strings with the town council. But either way it didn't matter, since he was up there at his favourite hangout spot.
As he drove back into town, past his second building on Sixth and Franklin, and hammered on the breaks as he saw two men in splattered jumpsuits painting over the old wooden 'Venus Boutique' sign. Hyde immediately pulled over to the side of the road and turned of the engine.
"Hey!" he barked, getting out of the El Camino. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
The nearer of the two men looked up at him. He had a round face and a gruff demeanour. "Painting the over the sign for the new occupant of this building."
"Excuse me, but I own this building."
"No, no, it was some bossy chick," the other painter said, looking a little frightened as he did.
Hyde's heart did a hiccup in his chest. "Bossy chick?"
"Yeah, she's about five-three, hundred pounds dark hair-"
"-And a voice that only dogs and birds can hear," the first one added on. "Man I pity the poor bastard who she's engaged too."
Before either of the men could respond, Hyde heard the voice he never thought he'd hear again; for the first time in fourteen years, he felt his face split into a grin as he heard the shrill impatient tone.
"Boys, don't forget that in 'California Kisses', it's California with a C and Kisses with a K, not the other way around."
When he turned around, Hyde was amazed his heart didn't leap out of his mouth and land at her feet. Instead he choked out, "Jackie?"
Jackie's smiled widened, her mismatched eyes twinkling. "Hey Puddin' Pop! So what do you think? I figured I should get started right away, so I made some calls and got these guys to come in on a Saturday."
"What are you doing here?"
"Didn't you get my note? I said I had to go back to California to take care of some things, because I was coming back here so I needed to go home first, to you know let my roommates know I was leaving, cancel my phone line, give my notice to the spa things like that."
Hyde crossed his arms. "And I was supposed to guess all of this from 'I have to go back to California earlier than I thought?' Never mind," he said cutting her off before she could respond. "What's this about you and I being engaged?"
"Oh, yeah that's the other thing. I'm keeping the ring, Steven. I took out a loan yesterday at the bank and once I get the salon up and running. I have some savings to use for living, like food and stuff. I figure I can do just what you do, you know, live above my shop."
When Hyde simple stared at her, Jackie gulped deeply. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you in the note Steven, but I thought it'd be nicer to surprise you."
"So let me get this straight. You come back into town; we have sex two nights in a row; then you leave town and say goodbye in a note only to come back and tell me your taking over the building I bought for you and we're staying engaged?"
"Yeah I am."
Hyde shrugged, then burst out laughing as he wrapped his arms around Jackie and swung her around. "Jesus Christ, woman, you will make one hell of a wife."
"A wife? A wife?" Jackie shrieked excitedly. "Oh, Steven! Are you serious?"
"Yeah I am. On one condition. No unicorns."
"Oh, please that was so nineteen seventy-eight. It's all about dolphins in the nineties. Now the salon. I want a California motif, lots of pastel pinks and purples and peaches, oh and seashells everywhere. Do you think it'd be too much if we had ocean noises playing all the time?"
Kelso, you bastard, if this is your sick way of burning me after you're gone…nicely done, my friend, Hyde thought as Jackie began to jabber in earnest about the interior decoration of the salon. He cut her off with a quick kiss and a devilish grin.
"What's say you and I head home and …practice for the honeymoon?"
Jackie's smile was soft and genuine. "Steven Hyde, I thought you'd never ask."