A/N: Hey everyone! It's been a long while since I've been posting on this site, and there are two reasons for that. Summer was very busy during the last half of it, so I had little time to sit and write. Also, had I had the time, I would have been under the attack of a huge writer's block which just recently got lifted. So here is my newest story! I hope that it was worth the wait, for those of you who've been waiting for a new one from me. Just some logistics, it takes place in season Hate, before Kelso left for Chicago. Got it? Good! On we go!
Disclaimer: I don't own THAT 70S SHOW nor FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS.
Fear and Loathing in Wisconsin
Jackie was sitting in the basement, enjoying the quiet solitude that had greeted her when she arrived there that morning. After all, everything had been so horrible in the past couple of weeks that she needed the time alone. No one knew it, but to her the world was falling. It was crashing down all around her, and all she could do was pretend that it didn't affect her. But the truth was that it did. In fact, while she maintained the exterior of cool and calm, the insides were screaming bloody murder. It was getting hard to ignore the screams in her head, and a couple of times she had come really close to letting them out. But then she just swallowed it all back down.
It may have been true that sometimes you just had to accept things as they came. Jackie should have been given an award for doing that. Because not many people would sit idly by as everyone around them slowly turned on them. At least, that was how it felt. Sure, life isn't that black and white, and it was preposterous to believe that they had been consciously conspiring to make her feel so horrible. But maybe that wouldn't have hurt as much. It was the fact that no one could understand how much they had been hurting her, the girl who had been in the basement with her 'friends' since she was fifteen, that made her cry herself to sleep.
Everyone has an American Dream. Jackie's was to get married to the man she loved more than herself. And that dream was stolen by a bottle blonde in a dirty tube top.
As she turned the pages of the darkest book she could find (she'd asked the person at the bookstore 'What would a person who was really man at the world read to pass the time and make her forget?'. He'd recommended 'Hells Angels'), she immersed herself in the other world where things were worse than here. Too bad it wasn't alleviating the pain, it just made her cry more.
Donna walked into the basement, putting her purse on the chair.
"Hey," Donna said. Jackie looked up, and set her book down.
"Hey," Jackie said, sulkier than she'd meant but unable to pretend anymore. After all, she'd had to pretend the whole night before at that HORRIBLE slumber party that Donna threw. The one where SAM showed up. The one where SAM said hateful things to Jackie, and Donna just let it happen. In fact, she'd said some pretty mean things too.
"How are you?" Donna asked, though it was obvious she was irritated with Jackie's behavior, which she found histrionic and childish.
"Fine," Jackie said, hugging herself.
"Just 'fine'?" Donna asked. Jackie pursed her lip, and shrugged.
"You're right, Donna. I'm BETTER than fine! I'm so GREAT right now I could just EXPLODE with puppies and kittens and rainbows!" Jackie said, fake smile and happy eyes, getting irritated as well. How could Donna be so blind? How could she act like Jackie was in the wrong? Why hadn't she sat her down and asked what was wrong? They were best friends!
"What is your problem?" Donna demanded. "You've been so bitchy lately! Last night you sulked throughout the entire slumber party!!" Jackie looked up at Donna, the hurt overtaking her.
"Are you serious?" Jackie asked, softly.
"Am I serious about what?" Donna threw back. Jackie put her book in her purse, and had finally had enough.
"Let me get this straight," Jackie said. "You and me, we're friends. We've been through SO MUCH together. And now, when I am obviously in the most pain I have ever been in, the most in my entire LIFE, you pretty much tell me to 'suck it up' and 'get over it'. What the hell kind of person does that to a friend?"
"Jackie, if you are in pain you sure have a funny way of showing it," Donna snapped. "You've just been whining and sulking and glaring and being downright unbearable. It's not much different than normal, actually."
"Oh, that's REAL nice, Donna," Jackie spat
"Look, I'm sorry if the slumber party was difficult for you, but Sam is in our lives now, and you two need to get along." Jackie scoffed, and began to laugh a little maniacally.
"I don't need to do anything for her," Jackie said. "And the fact that you are asking, no, pretty much DEMANDING that I do, shows just how CLUELESS you are! But then, you HAVE been peroxiding you hair all the time, so I'll just blame it on the chemicals that have more than likely seeped into your brain!" With that, Jackie grabbed her purse, threw it over her shoulder, and stormed out of the basement. She slammed the door as hard as she could behind her, and then burst into quiet sobs as she walked to her car.
And of course at that moment, Hyde and Sam pulled up in the El Camino. Jackie fumbled with the keys, in a sheer panic that they would see her crying. And of course, they did.
"Jackie! Good slumber party last night!" Sam called, somewhat cruelly, while Hyde was silent. Jackie ignored her, and yanked on her sticking car door.
"Jackie," Hyde said, not to be cruel, but there was no other way for Jackie to take it at this point, "you have to unlock the door before you open it."
"I know!" she snapped, finally getting it unlocked. She got in her car, and revved the engine angrily. She watched Sam smirk, shoot a glance her way, and grab Hyde on the ass. Jackie hated the thought of Sam putting her hands on him, and him putting her hands on her, so she sped off towards her house before she had to see him reciprocate.
"She's such a head case," Sam said.
"…. I guess," Hyde said.
She cried as she drove, and wiped her eyes as best she could. She turned on the radio, trying to find something cheerful.
"Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire," Elvis sang, and she cried harder. "Got a whole lot of money that's ready to burn, so get those stakes up higher. There's a thousand pretty women waitin' out there, and they're all livin' devil may care and I'm just the devil with love to spare! Viva Las Vegas, viva Las Vegas!"
Jackie wiped her eyes at a stop light, and sighed.
"Shut UP Elvis!" she sniffed, and turned the station.
"For a limited time only, we're selling vacation packages to Las Vegas, Nevada!" the cheesy and grating voice announced, and she growled, about to turn the station again. "Cheap flights for two to the City of Sin, home of glitz, luck, and opportunity! What are YOU waiting for?" She then began thinking. Vegas WAS the place people went when they had a rough time. And it couldn't be coincidence that this city was stalking her over the airwaves of her 1976 Camaro. It was fate, and Jackie Burkhart believed that fate was now about to start dealing her a good hand, no puns intended what with the context. Besides, a trip for two for a good price was something she almost couldn't pass up. She bit her fingernail in thought, and hiccupped a little bit. When the light turned green, and sped towards her house faster than normal. She parked her car in the driveway, and ran into the house for the telephone. She opened the purse, pulled out her address book, and looked up an old acquaintance. She dialed the number, and wrapped her fingers in the cord nervously.
"Jackie? Is that you?"
"Yeah, it's me. What are you doing this weekend?"
"Ummm…. I guess I'm just gonna be home with Betsy. Why?"
"Wanna go to Vegas?"
"…. I'm sorry, did you just ask me to go to Vegas?"
"…. Jackie, what's going on?"
"I just want to go to Vegas, Brooke, and I don't want to go alone," she said, getting emotional again.
"…. Jackie, I heard about what happened between you and Steven, but I don't think that going to Vegas is a good idea."
"Look, I'm going to Vegas regardless, and even if I don't want to go alone, I WILL because I'm about to lose it here! I have NO friends and NO future!"
"Calm down, Jackie," Brooke said, soothingly. "What about Donna?"
"Donna is SAM'S friend now."
"I doubt that it's that cut and dry."
"Well she is friends with her and sticks up for her over me," Jackie moaned. "And Steven, well…. You know how that is. I just had a big blow up with Donna and Sam mocked me and I WANT TO GO TO VEGAS!"
"…. Let me call my Mom and see if she will take Betsy," Brooke said. "If she will, I'll go to Vegas with you."
"Thank you, Brooke!"
"Yeah yeah yeah, I'm a pushover, I know. How are we going to do this?" Brooke queried. "I mean… I'm in Chicago and you're in Point Place."
"You leave as soon as possible and then we hop on a plane from Milwaukee," Jackie stated.
"You've really planned this, haven't you?"
"Actually it's really spur of the moment."
"Okay. I'll call my Mom, then work, then I'll hit the road. I'll be in Milwaukee in about two hours."
"Great! We'll meet at the sky cap area at the main terminal. Thank you, Brooke!"
"Yeah yeah yeah." They hung up, and Jackie ran upstairs to her room to pack.
Brooke and Jackie got off the plane in Los Angeles and looked around the airport. The 'wonderful' travel package neglected to mention the layover in Chicago (which would have been completely redundant for Brooke), and Phoenix, but they got an even better deal on an LA travel package and decided to drive from there. They just had to now rent a car and drive through the desert to the City of Sin.
"God. How did I let you talk me into this?" Brooke asked.
"Here's something ELSE I'm going to talk you into," Jackie said, putting her sunglasses on her head. "Let's go rent a convertible!!"
"Jackie, we can't afford a convertible!" Brooke exclaimed. "I mean, come on!"
"Sure we can!" Jackie said. "We saved that much more money by coming here first! And I may have been fired from my job in Chicago, but I DID cash my advancement check!"
"How much were they going to pay you?" Brooke asked, as they walked arm in arm through the airport.
"Probably too much, but the advancement was ridiculous," Jackie stated. "Ooh! The sign says that way to the baggage claim!"
"Okay, we can get a convertible, but it has to be the cheapest one they have that isn't falling apart. No, I take that back. If it's falling apart I don't care, so long as it's safeish."
They got their bags, and got their car, and were now on the road to Las Vegas, Nevada. They had the top down, and were blasting Dusty Springfield's 'Windmills of Your Mind' from it, as much as one could 'blast' Dusty Springfield.
"Okay, so I've decided that this was a good idea," Brooke said, leaning back in the sun. "I feel the tension in my body just falling away as we get further and further into the desert."
"We should get to Vegas by evening, and then we can hit the casinos and night spots and shows all night long," Jackie listed. "Tomorrow we can sleep and sit by the hotel pool, followed by more partying, and then we go home on Sunday."
"I like this plan," Brooke said. "Does anyone back home know where you went?"
"Nope!" Jackie said, smiling widely. "You?"
"Well, I told my Mom that I was going on a spa getaway because of the stresses of single motherhood," Brooke stated. "I hated lying to her but if I'd told her where I was actually going she wouldn't have taken Betsy."
"How is Betsy?"
"Wonderful! But I need a BREAK!" Brooke moaned, and stretched. "Motherhood is something that I wouldn't trade for the world, but I never dreamed that I'd be one at the age of 23."
"Do you believe in the American Dream?" Jackie asked, pensively.
"I don't know anymore," Brooke said. "My dream was to go to grad school in library sciences-."
"There's such a thing?"
"Yeah, actually. But now I can't really do that because of Betsy, and while Betsy is better than any stinky old library job, I don't know what my dream is now. Probably just to raise Betsy well, as it's all for her, you know?"
"Is the American Dream changeable?" Jackie asked. "Because my dream, well... It's gone." Brooke sighed, and shrugged.
"You know, speaking of the American Dream, Hunter S Thompson said that this desert has bats and manta rays in it," Brooke said in an attempt to change the subject, and giggled at her literary joke. "I don't expect you to get that, but-."
" 'Our trip was a grass physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country, but only for those with true grit. And we were chock full of that'," Jackie quoted.
"Wow," Brooke said. "I stand corrected."
"I read 'Fear and Loathing' in an effort to show Steven I was hip," Jackie stated. "And I think that this trip should live by that line, you know? Even if Hunter didn't find his dream, maybe we could redo ours. Even if it's just for one weekend."
"You surprise me," Brooke said, smiling a little bit. "But I agree. And way to be well read!"
"Why thank you, Madame Librarian!" Jackie laughed. "Brooke, we are going to have a HOT weekend!"
"Yes we are!" Brooke agreed. "Look look look! Only forty more miles!"
"EEEE!" they both exclaimed as the car flew down the highway towards a future that they didn't have to worry about. No children to fret over, no strippers to die over, just two tentative friends and a city that glimmered as an oasis in an otherwise inhospitable wasteland. Jackie and Brooke were pursuing some twisted form of their lost dreams, if only for a couple days. Even if they had to return to the real world when the clock of actuality struck midnight, and their cherry red car turned back into a pumpkin, for one fleeting moment in comparison to all other moments Jackie and Brooke could say that they went out and they lived. Hunter S. Thompson would have been proud.
A/N 2: Lots of set up, I guess. Just as a note, the chapter titles are phrases derived from the wonderful book FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS by Hunter S, Thompson (rest in peace, sir).