Chapter 28

Eric left the apartment and walked home before his parents woke. The rain had held off, and he was thankful since his coat was still damp and his jeans a little soggy. He had slipped in around six, then showered, changed and made himself breakfast. Neither his mother nor father had been surprised to see him up so early, so he had simply said little and went about as if nothing had happened the night before.

He had moved into the living room and was currently watching T.V, as he and his mother were the only ones in the house as his father had already gone off to work. Realizing he had forgotten to tape off Jackie's bedroom, he sighed heavily and put his feet up on the coffee table. Wiggling his toes through his socks, he leaned his arms back and over the couch. It was a comfortable position for the moment.

Kitty came down the stairs with her purse. "I'm going to get groceries, and head to the bank. Do you need anything in particular?"

He leaned his head back as his mother walked by the couch and to the kitchen door. "No, I'm good."

"Okay, sweetie, I'll see you after lunch."

"Alright," he replied as his mother disappeared through the door. Focusing his attention back onto the television, he heard a few snorts and a cough.

"Anyone here?" Hyde asked lazily as he looked into the living room. Spotting Eric, he said, "Oh, just you here Forman?"

"Yep, and oh, my dad took your vehicle to work."

"Red took my El Comino?"

"My mom went out for a groceries a few minutes ago and he needed a vehicle."

Hyde grumbled and said, "He could have taken the Cruiser."

"That's my car," Eric replied.

"But you're his son."

"And that makes a lick of difference to him?"

Laughing suddenly, Hyde said, "I guess not."

"Well, he told me to give you a ride into work."

"And the fact that he remembered to tell you is supposed to relieve my worry?"

Eric got up off the couch. "I don't pretend to know how he works; he just does things and doesn't apologize for them."

Turning around and heading back into the kitchen, Hyde heard his friend following behind and said, "I don't need a reminder, but it would nice if he asked first."

"Maybe you should keep your keys in your room then," Eric replied as leaned against the counter as Hyde removed the orange juice from the fridge.

"To quote your father, 'watch that smart mouth.'"

"Make me," Eric dared, but his friend seemed too preoccupied with removing the remaining sleep from his eyes to care. "What time do you need to open up the store?"

"Eleven," Hyde replied as he slipped two slices of bread into the toaster and found the peanut butter in the cupboard.

Eric looked to the clock above the phone and nodded. "It's almost half past ten."

"More than enough time, Forman," Hyde said as he waited patiently by the counter for his toast to pop. "Why didn't you just drop your father off at work?"

"Don't ask me that question, ask him."

"Maybe later, right now I'm hungry."

Chuckling at how his best friend let the whole matter slide, Eric crossed his arms as the toast popped. Hyde quickly lathered both pieces with peanut butter and found a seat at the table.

"What are you up to for the summer?" Hyde asked as he took a bite of his toast.

"I'm not rightly sure. I have almost three full months off and nothing to do."

"You could hang out at my store all summer and get toasted."

"Oh, so that's where you keep your stash." Eric chuckled.

Hyde grinned and said, "I keep a fair bit in there if I'm feeling the need. Plus, Leo is around all the time and he enjoys having some at the ready."

Still grinning, Eric continued to lean on the counter with his arms crossed. "Does Leo actually work for you?"

"Not really, but he's cool to have around when there aren't any customers."

"How is the record business doing? Making your dad happy?"

Finishing his first piece of toast, Hyde said, "We make a profit, so he doesn't really bother me too much."

"How much of a profit?" Eric asked with a sly grin.

"Not much, but you know me. I'm lazy, and I can just skirt by with an extra employee around. By the way, I've been meaning to ask you something."

"What?" Eric asked calmly as his friend took a drink and set his glass down.

"What is it like seeing Donna with someone else?"

"What's it supposed to be like?" he replied without wavering.

Hyde scrutinized Eric for a second and said, "I'm not sure."

"Then we're both not sure."

"I'll find a way to burn you on it, don't doubt that."

Eric laughed sharply and said, "I don't think you'll find it very easy."

"Oh, you'll be surprised what I can come up with when I'm sitting around at the store doing absolutely nothing."

"Then when I pick you up later I'll expect a barrage of epic proportions."

"I wouldn't say epic, but I'll have a few zingers for you."

With another chuckle, Eric said, "If you can make me mad, I'll let you enter the Vista Cruiser in the next demolition derby at the fair just outside of town."

"Deal!" Hyde replied loudly, Eric again laughing. "I expect you to honor that deal in, oh," he looked at his watch, "seven hours."

"Sure, sure, but it's going to be less than that if you're late opening the store."

Hyde nodded and stood up. He removed his coat from the hanger by the sliding door and went outside.

Eric shook his head and followed, still chuckling lightly to himself.

Jackie waved and smiled to a production assistant as she walked towards her small dressing room situated at the far end of the hall. The lights were low, signaling that the studio was being used. The news was over, but the station was taping specialty segments for the evening news. Continuing down the small hall and close to the rear exit, she removed her heavy beige coat that had provided unneeded heat, especially with the lights above her. Draping it over her arm and reaching the back of the dark hallway, she pushed her door open. She stopped in mid stride and smiled as Eric sat on her chair in front of the mirror with his feet propped up on the makeup counter. His legs were crossed, completely extended while he had the ridge of his right index finger on his lips. His attention was fixed to the small television in the corner of the room.

"You were good," he said without looking at her.

"Thanks, I always try my best."

"You're a natural." Eric removed his feet from the desk and got up out of the chair in one fluid motion. He turned off the television and allowed Jackie to sit on her chair in front of the mirror.

"How did you get in here?" Jackie asked.

Eric watched as she tossed her coat onto the small loveseat by the right wall. "I just walked in."

"Did you come in through the rear exit?" She removed a few pins from her hair and her locks billowed from the side of her head and draped over her ears.

"It was dark and no one saw me," Eric replied as he sat on the small sofa and watched her smooth her hair out in the mirror. "The security around here is pretty lax."

"It's only a local new station."

"Yeah, but who knows how many creepy people have an unhealthy obsession with you. Never hurts to be careful."

Jackie swiveled her chair around with the help of her hand on the makeup counter. He was grinning slyly and she rolled her eyes and turned back to the mirror. "I'd take obsessions as flattery," she replied casually as she unbuttoned the vest she had on.

"Of course, that's until the stalking starts."

"Of course," she said with a smile. Kicking her heeled shoes off, she rubbed her feet and sighed.

"Need help?" he asked, pushing over to the right end of the couch so he was only a foot away from her.

"Help with what?"

"You're feet."

"Oh," she said abruptly and looked down at her feet. "I just got out of heels that were really uncomfortable; I could use a foot massage if you don't mind."

"I don't mind at all." He scooted to edge of the couch and slapped the top of his thighs.

Jackie picked up on his order and she gently put her feet on the top of his thighs. Her legs were extended, her knees showing out from under the long skirt she wore. The pantyhose were almost invisible against the smooth skin of her legs. She frowned when Eric lifted both her feet in the air. The chair she was on was quite a bit higher than the couch and her feet were still below her and didn't cause her to go off balance. "What are you doing?" she asked.

Eric inspected the feet and said, "Just checking for bunions or warts."

"I don't have bunions!"

"I know," he replied, looking back up to her with an evil grin. She was about to say something else, but he shut her up as he dug his thumbs into the bottom of her right foot and applied light pressure.

She let out a satisfied moan as he began to move his thumbs around the bottom of her feet. With the pantyhose between his fingers and the bottom of her feet, the ticklish feeling that normally accompanied with others touching her feet was absent. Again she let out a sigh of bliss and said, "Have you done this before?"

"Nope," he replied simply as he looked up from her feet. She was sunk in her chair, her back arched and her head thrown back with her eyes closed.

"Well, it certainly feels like you've done this before." Jackie moaned some more as his hand cupped her foot and he massaged it with his palm.

"I'm a quick study, or learner for that matter."

Jackie simply nodded through her wonderful delirium, the hands on her feet causing a significant amount of pleasure to vibrate through her body. "I didn't see you in the studio earlier."

Eric nodded and began working on her other foot. "I had to drop Hyde off at work."

"Why?"

"Red took his car to work this morning." Jackie didn't seem very intrigued as she simply moaned again. Her eyes were still closed as he looked up at her again, and he smiled. "Feeling better?" he asked self indulgently.

"God yes," she said through another moan, still too immersed in her bliss to open her eyes.

His grin widened as he went about her left heel, massaging it gently with the palm of his hand while rubbing the top of her foot with his other. Her continual moaning started to get to him and he slowly rubbed his hands above her ankle and onto her calf. She didn't seem to notice, so he continued rubbing it gently while she sank deeper into her chair.

She hadn't felt like this in a long time, and the fact that it was Eric doing it to her made it erotic. As his fingers slid up to her calf, she gasped slightly, but relaxed her back and allowed his hands to sooth her mind and set her heart afire. A sudden knock on the door brought her out of her ecstasy and she snapped to attention. "Yes?" she asked calmly, as if nothing had happened.

"Jackie, can I come in?" Donna asked from the other side of the door.

Eric looked at Jackie with wide eyes, but quickly pushed himself to the other end of the couch and picked up an errant magazine that was on the floor so that he would look preoccupied when Donna came in.

Jackie felt like strangling her best friend for interrupting her pleasure, but she turned to the mirror and busied herself with her hair and said, "Come in."

Donna entered and said, "Jackie I-." She stopped suddenly when she saw Eric sitting in the small sofa with an ankle draped over one knee. "Eric!"

"Yeah?" he asked casually, lifting his gaze from the magazine in his lap.

"What are you doing here?" Donna asked, definitely showing her surprise at seeing him.

He looked back to the magazine in his lap and said, "I told Jackie I would pick her up and take her to the store so she could pick out a color for her room." He turned a page stoically and continued to read as if nothing was amiss.

"You actually mean to paint her bedroom?"

Looking up at Donna, he said, "Yeah, why?"

"I didn't know if you were serious or not."

"You thought I was serious, didn't you?" Eric asked Jackie as she had spun her chair around to face them.

Jackie said, "Of course."

Donna looked between Eric and Jackie multiple times, thinking as if something might be amiss, but she dropped it and said, "I just wanted to tell you that you did a great job out there. You nailed both the morning and noon weather reports."

"Thanks."

Taking one last look at Eric, his attention back to the magazine in his lap, she said to Jackie, "I guess you don't need a ride home then?"

Eric said, "No, I'll just drop her off at home when we're done."

"Okay," Donna replied slowly as she looked back to Jackie, who was smiling for some reason. "Well, I better get going and see if Randy is ready. Hyde wanted him in a little early this afternoon."

Jackie nodded and said, "Bye."

"Bye," Donna echoed slowly, closing the door behind her as she left the small dressing room.

Eric stood up and locked the door from the inside.

"What are you doing?" Jackie asked as she crossed her legs neatly.

"Making sure someone doesn't barge in should we be doing something inappropriate."

"Why Eric, are you suggesting we do something inappropriate?" she asked with a teasing voice, leaning her elbows on the arm rests of the chair and staring up at him with a sultry smile.

"Maybe," he replied, leaning down and placing his hands on the arms of the turning chair. She swiveled back and forth for a second as he looked right at her. "Would you stop me if I tried?"

Jackie giggled lightly as his eyes didn't blink. "No."

He nodded and gently bent down further and placed his lips gently on hers. She responded instantly by pushing up from the chair a little so that there was less strain on his back.

"You know," Jackie said between kisses, "This really is the only place where we can be alone."

"I know," he replied, taking her hands and gently pulling her from the chair as he stood straight. He pulled her some more, until he hit the couch and fell into it heavily, inadvertently hauling her down on top of him.

Jackie laughed again as she fell into his lap. Repositioning herself so that she sat on his thighs with her knees on the couch, she pushed his shoulders back into the depth of the couch and kissed him again.

Eric opened his eyes as her lips left his. Jackie sat on his lap, her legs straddling him on either side while her knee length skirt was hiked up high enough he could see her underwear through the pantyhose. "Do you always have wear a dress shirt?" he asked, looking to her chest.

"Usually," she replied with a grin, slowly undoing the topmost bottom and working her way down. "The news director thinks it's best if we look distinguished and professional."

"I bet you sweat like crazy under those lights though." When she nodded, he said, "Then let your skin breath."

She shivered and closed her eyes as his bare hands slid under her shirt and to her shoulders. The light blue shirt fell from her shoulders as his hands traveled down both her arms, goosebumps instantly rising. Opening her eyes, she leaned in and kissed him as he finally pulled the sleeves past her wrist and the shirt fell to the floor.

With unwavering confidence, Eric kissed her back with just as much energy as she had been putting into it. He placed a hand on the small of her back as her hair fell forward and slapped against his cheeks. His hand still in place, he gently guided her sideways and went to lay her down on the small sofa, but stopped suddenly when there was another knock on the door.

Jackie almost cursed aloud as the knock cut short their kiss and the tingling feeling crawling up her spine. "What?" she asked hoarsely, leaning her forehead against his and closing her eyes.

"It's me again," Donna said from the other side of the door.

Eric sighed heavily and fell back into the couch. Jackie slunk her shoulders in anger and said, "What do you want?"

"I need to speak to Eric for a minute."

Still sitting on Eric's thighs, she sighed again and said to him softly, "You go out and talk to her, I'll change."

He nodded and leaned forward, kissing her suddenly. When she smiled and lifted herself off him, he stood up and exited the room once she was behind the door. "Yeah?" he asked Donna as he closed the door behind him.

"Oh, um, I was wondering if you wanted me to ask our old counselor if there were and teaching jobs available for the fall."

"I can take care of that myself," Eric said flatly.

"I thought so, but I just thought I would ask." Donna turned away and went to the exit. She opened the door with her backside and said, "Bye."

Eric lifted a hand goodbye and watched as she left the studio, the door slamming closed loudly. He stood there staring at the door for a few moments before Jackie came out of her dressing room, once again dressed in her blue coat and jeans from earlier in the morning.

"What did she want?" Jackie asked, closing the door and locking it with a key.

"She wanted to know if I wanted her to ask our old counselor if there was a job opening at the school for the fall."

"What did you say?"

"I told her I could take care of it myself."

Jackie looked up at him and frowned. There was a weird look on his face. "What's the matter?"

"She's getting suspicious."

"Really?"

He nodded and said, "She knew I would find a job by myself, but I think she might have caught wind that something wasn't quite right when she left."

"I doubt she expects anything," Jackie said, tying up the small leather belt on her coat.

"Who knows, she could have been listening to us just outside the door after I locked it."

"No, she would have said something if she had. We didn't keep our voices very low and what we said was pretty damning. There wouldn't be any denying if she overheard us."

Eric shrugged and walked with her towards the exit. "Either way, we're going to have to tread even lighter now. She smells something fishy and she's close to baiting her hook."

"That's a really bad analogy," Jackie said.

"Well, let's just hope she doesn't get suspicious enough to talk to my mom."

Jackie's eyes went wide and she tensed. "That would certainly let the cat out of the bag."

"And we'd be liable to receive more than a few scratches," Eric replied.