Hey guys! I'm so sorry that I haven't been updating sooner! But its been a crazy couple of months. I graduated High School yesterday so there was so much going on! It was such a great day and when i woke up this morning I had the motivation to write! I hope you like this chapter!
Three weeks later, Jackie and Hyde had not seen each other since their time at the apartment. Hyde was living at the Foreman's again and he tried to stay as positive as he could but it was quite difficult. Each night Kitty would inform him of how Jackie was doing because none of his friends would, according to Jackie's instructions. One day Hyde was at the Record Store when Kitty walked in.
He looked up and saw her and gave her a smile. "Hi Mrs. Foreman. What brings you down to the store?"
"Well I was over at the art studio. Jackie's back at work." She said.
Hyde's heart sped up but he smiled. "Good. I'm glad she went back, she really liked that job."
She nodded. "She looks great. She's all dressed up and back to her normal Jackie self."
"Bitchy and loud?" Hyde asked teasing.
Kitty laughed. "Steven…"
He chuckled. "I'm kidding." He paused. "Has she asked about me?"
Kitty sighed. "She doesn't really like to talk about you. She gets emotional when she does."
He nodded. "Oh."
"Sweetie everything is going to be ok. I promise…Jackie loves you. She just needs some time to be by herself." She said.
Hyde nodded. "I know. But I'm worried about her Mrs. Foreman."
"Jackie is a strong girl Steven. She's been through so much. She'll be alright." She said.
"But I've been there for her for most of the bad things…I don't want her to be alone right now." He said.
"She's not. Donna and Bob go over every day to check on her and Fez and Kelso take her to her Doctor appointments. I see her at the Doctor's and Red takes her out for lunch sometimes." She said.
"Great. Everyone but me gets to be around her." Red said.
"Steven…you really need to relax. It's going to be alright." She assured him again.
Hyde sighed and rubbed his eyes. "I just want to see her for myself."
"Steven…" She said. "You know you can't do that."
He nodded. "I know." He sighed. "Look I gotta get some fresh air. I'm gonna leave the store in Randy's hands. I'll see you later Mrs. Foreman." He said grabbing his keys and taking off.
Meanwhile at the Art studio, Jackie was standing by the front desk watching everyone admire the new art work. She was tapping her foot nervously because it felt weird to be back at work.
"Jackie sweet heart if you aren't ready to be back…its ok." Mr. Peterson said.
Jackie. "Oh I'm sorry Mr. Peterson. I guess it's just been so long…"
He nodded. "You know what you need?"
She stared at him. "What?"
"You need to go out back and paint. That should calm you down." He said patting her shoulder.
She smiled. "But I'm supposed to be working."
"You would be working. You would be making a new piece for our studio." He said looking around.
She bit her lip and shrugged. "Well painting is a stress reliever."
He nodded. "That it is. Go on Jackie…everything is out back. Feel free to turn on some music."
She smiled. "Thank you."
He winked at her and watched her walk away. Jackie made her way to the back room and took a look around. There were half finished paintings everywhere and paint splatters all over the walls and floor. She could smell the paint and she closed her eyes breathing it all in. She walked over to the radio and flipped it on.
"Good Afternoon everyone. You're listening to Hot Donna and here is another stream of classic rock hits. This next song goes out to one of my best friends Jackie Burkhart. I hope you're listening to this Jackie. Listen to these lyrics and I hope you'll find some peace." Donna said over the radio air waves as Billy Joel's "Vienna" came through the speakers.
Slow down, you crazy child
you're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart, tell me
Why are you still so afraid?
Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
You'd better cool it off before you burn it out
You've got so much to do and
Only so many hours in a day
Jackie smiled. "Thank You Donna."
Jackie took a deep breath and looked around and saw the view from the big open windows. She could see the park from afar and on the right side, she saw Groove's and her heart skipped a beat. She walked over to the closet and grabbed a smock to throw over her new outfit. She picked up a paint brush and sat down at the stool near the open canvas. She closed her eyes and let her emotions flood over her, trying to think of something to say. She lifted her hand towards the canvas and opened her eyes as she made the first stroke.
Outside…Hyde was walking out to his car. He looked up and saw Jackie sitting in the window painting on her open canvas. His breath got caught in his throat as he saw her for the first time in three weeks. He watched her as she carefully moved her brush over the canvas. He memorized the way her head tilted and her tongue swiped across her lips showing her concentration. He wanted to go over and talk to her but he knew he couldn't. He shook his head and walked back into Groove's trying to get that beautiful brunette out of his head.
Back at the art studio, Jackie pulled back and looked at the canvas to see what she had drawn. She sighed when she realized she had drawn a man and a woman embracing and when she looked closer, she saw they looked just like her and Hyde. She sighed and stood up.
"God what am I doing?" She asked herself.
"That is beautiful." Mr. Peterson said.
Jackie turned to him. "That's your opinion…"
He stared at her. "I know that you broke up with your boyfriend."
Jackie bit her lip. "I did…"
"Why?" He asked leaning up against the wall.
"It's complicated." She whispered.
"Nothing is complicated…its just life." He said shrugging.
Jackie laughed. "You're a wise guy aren't you?"
He smirked. "I prefer to say I'm just wise."
Jackie sighed. "Whatever."
"Does it have something to do with the accident?" He asked.
Jackie looked up at him. "Yes."
"Jackie I spent my whole life loving a woman who was married to another man. I was lonely…but I loved her. I can tell that Steven loves you." He said.
Jackie nodded. "I know he loves you."
"Then what is the problem?" He asked.
"Steven is an alcoholic." She said with tears in her eyes.
"He has a problem. He needs someone supporting him." He said.
She put a hand to her mouth. "You're making me feel horrible."
"You're not horrible Jackie. I know you are scared but if you love him then you need to be with him." He said.
"Steven could have stopped drinking before. Way before the accident I told him he had a problem and he made broken promises saying that it would stop but he didn't. And yes I know that I was the one driving the car but I wouldn't have left if Steven hadn't been so mean to me." She yelled.
"Jackie do you think that you can live without him?" He asked. "Do you think that you could fall in love with another man and be with him?"
Jackie shook her head. "No."
"Then why aren't you with him?" He asked.
"Because…" She looked up at him. "I'm terrified."
"Of what?" He asked.
"I lost my memory! What if I had died?" She asked.
"Are you afraid that Steven would hurt you?" He asked.
Jackie shrugged. "What if he doesn't get the help he needs? Or what if he does and then relapses? What if Steven and I get married and then he relapses and abuses me? Or my children? What then?" She asked. "I can't live like that. I watched my parents go through that. I don't want a broken marriage…I want to be happy but with Steven's instability I can't have that." She said.
"Love isn't perfect." He said.
"I know that." She said walking towards him. "But there is a difference between perfect and alcoholism."
"Have you told Steven all of this?" Leo asked her.
"No. I don't know how to say that to him. It will crush him and then he might relapse again." She said.
"But if you keep this all from him it's only going to make matters worse. Jackie without communication you'll have nothing." He said.
Jackie laughed bitterly. "Trust me…that's the story of Steven's and my relationship."
"It doesn't have to be." He said.
"Look Mr. Peterson…Steven and I never seem to be able to get it right. And honestly…I'm so tired I don't know if I can deal with it anymore. I appreciate that you are trying to help me but I honestly don't know if our relationship is going to survive this time." She said walking past him.
"Jackie…" He said as she walked towards the door.
Jackie sighed and turned back to him. "Yes?"
"Don't be afraid of love." He whispered.
Jackie smiled weakly. "I need to get back to work."
That night, Hyde got in his car and made his way to his AA meeting. It was his night to talk and he was pretty nervous about it. He got out of the car and walked in slowly looking around at the familiar faces he saw each week. Someone walked up behind him and tapped his shoulder.
Hyde turned around and saw his sponsor Emily Daniels. "Oh hey Em."
She smiled. "How are you doing sweetheart?"
Hyde shrugged. I'm a little nervous."
She smiled. "It's going to be ok. Just go up there and say whatever you want to say. There is no judgment here."
He nodded. "I know."
"Have you seen Jackie?" She asked.
Hyde sighed. "I saw her. She didn't see me."
"Are you ok?" She asked.
"I thought about drinking…but I went to see Kelso instead." He said.
She smiled. "That's good Hyde. Really good."
He nodded. "I'm trying."
"Well why don't you go grab something to eat before you go up there?" She asked. "I'll be in the audience."
Hyde nodded. "Ok. Thanks."
Hyde looked around the room and watched as different people spoke to one another. He knew that no one would judge him because they were all in his shoes as well. They all had different stories but they all had the common goal of sobering up and fixing what they had screwed up. Hyde sighed and closed his eyes and just tried to relax.
Meanwhile, Jackie had been driving around for the past few hours. She had gone by the Foreman's house about five times already but she didn't have the courage to go over to see Hyde. Finally, she noticed Red standing outside of the house watching her drive by. He waved her over and her face grew red in embarrassment. She pulled over and put down her window as Red leaned down to speak to her.
"What the hell are you doing?" He asked.
Jackie smirked. "Driving."
"If I hadn't recognized your car I would have called the cops and told them we had a stalker in the neighborhood." He said.
Jackie laughed. "Sorry."
"You know you don't have to be afraid to come into our house." He said honestly.
Jackie sighed. "I'm not afraid to come into the house. I'm just afraid…of…of…"
"Seeing Steven?" He asked.
She looked down. "Yes."
"Well he's not here." Red said standing up.
Jackie looked up at him quickly and got out of the car. "Where is he? Oh no…did I scare him off? Did he leave town? Oh God what did I do?"
"Calm down Jackie." Red said putting a hand on her shoulder. "He didn't leave town."
She sighed in relief. "Oh thank God."
"He's at his AA meeting." Red said putting his hands in his pockets.
Jackie smiled slightly. "Oh right. His AA meetings. That's…that's good."
Red nodded. "It is. He is taking this very seriously."
Jackie brushed a strand of hair out of her face. "So I hear."
"He misses you." Red said. "He misses you very much…"
Jackie bit his lip. "I miss him too…but I think that it's best for us to take some time apart right now."
Red nodded. "That's understandable. I just want you to know that Steven loves you; he wants to be with you. Every day he goes to work…comes home and asks Kitty and I a million questions about you. He's willing to give you your space but you can't push him away completely Jackie."
She nodded. "I'm trying not too."
He nodded. "Well if you want to go to one of his meetings, they are on Birch Street at the Pecan Hall."
Jackie nodded. "Thanks Red."
He winked. "See you around kiddo."
She smiled. "Bye."
Jackie hopped back in her car and waved to Red as he walked back towards their house. Jackie drove off with only one destination in mind.
At the meeting, Hyde was sitting in his chair waiting for the tenant to call his name. He was tapping his foot nervously because he still didn't have a complete plan of what to say. He was so nervous he didn't even see the side door open and Jackie walk in. She peeked into the room and looked around for Hyde's face, her eyes scanned a few times until she saw him sitting in the front row. Her heart skipped a beat and she sat down in the back so he wouldn't see her.
"It gives me great pleasure to introduce one of our newcomers to speak tonight, Mr. Steven Hyde." The tenant said as everyone clapped.
Jackie watched as Hyde stood up slowly and made his way to the stage as everyone cheered him on. She saw him nervously play with his hands before deciding to take off his sunglasses. The crowd quieted down and Hyde cleared his throat and looked out at them all.
"Uh hi…I'm Steven Hyde." He paused. "And I'm an alcoholic."
"Hello Steven." They all replied.
He smirked. "Um…I guess I've had a drinking problem for awhile now. I didn't really realize it though. See my parents weren't exactly saints…and they had drinking problems themselves. I grew up in a less than normal household. My Dad left when I was nine and then my Mom bounced from guy to guy who she would refer to as my Uncles. As I grew up, I became more and more angry because I got the short end of the stick. Most of my friends had two parents who cared enough to give them dinner each night and to buy them new cloths. I was lucky if my Mom paid the electric bill so we wouldn't freeze." He paused. "One day I came home and my Mom had taken off…I lived on my own for a few weeks. But then I ran out of food…I couldn't pay rent and I knew my mom wasn't coming back. My best friend Eric's parents took me in and I lived with them for a few years. And then I met her…" He smiled. "Jackie Burkhart."
In her seat, Jackie's eyes were stinging with tears hearing Steven speak. And she knew that it was only going to get harder when he started to speak about her. She wrapped her arms around herself and waited for him to continue.
"When I first met her she was a spoiled little rich girl." He chuckled. "She would yell and boss everyone around…and yet something about her intrigued me completely. Her eyes made me melt…one blue one green. Her hair was so soft and always perfectly styled…long and raven colored. And that smile…" He smiled. "God that smile got me every time...I couldn't say no to her. She was dating my best friend and yet I would have jumped in front of a moving vehicle if it meant she could live. And finally…she came to me. We dated on and off for a few years before we finally decided to move in together and the beginning of the summer. God I was so happy. Being able to wake up to her every morning was all I ever needed or wanted. Btu I had to go and screw it up like I always did…"
The tears were falling freely now and Jackie tried to not making a sobbing noise as she listened to him talk. Just seeing him after so long was enough to make her fall apart but hearing his words was tearing her up.
"We got into some pretty bad fights for a couple of weeks because of my drinking. I said things that I never should have said and I hurt her feelings pretty badly. I didn't want to hurt her…I would never hurt her on purpose but I was drunk." He sighed. "A lot. I made a million promises that I would get better and I would change. But of course I never did. And then the fight of all fights came…I was practically groping another girl while we were throwing a party at my Biological father's house. She got upset…she had had a few drinks and then she stormed out because I told her to leave if she had a problem with me flirting with other girls. The next thing I knew…I had passed out and I was being woken up by my friend Donna who told me that Jackie had gotten into a car accident." He looked down and opened his mouth a few times trying to think of what to say. "When I got to the hospital and saw her lying there…I wanted to kill myself. I wanted to turn back time and take her in my arms and tell her how much I loved her. But then…she opened her eyes…but she had no idea who I was. She had lost her memory."
There was a gasp from the audience at his words and Hyde couldn't seem to look at them. Jackie was in the back still and she was looking down because she couldn't look at him.
"She didn't know my name. She didn't even know her own name. It was my fault…all of it was my fault. For weeks I taught her things about her life…about who she was…who I was…who we were together. It was nice having her there…but I still wondered what would happen when she got her memory back. And when she did…she wanted nothing to do with him. I haven't seen her in three weeks. Well I've seen her…but she hasn't seen me." He said softly.
Jackie lifted her head wondering when he had been around and she didn't notice. Was he following her around? Was he miserable without her? She closed her eyes tightly trying to hold the tears in.
"Now I feel lost. I've been sober since the accident but when I saw her today I just wanted to get a drink so bad. I wanted to forget her. I wanted to forget what I did to her…to us. But I can't drink anymore. I can't be that guy because that is what got me into this situation on the first place. I wish I could see her…to make her understand that I've changed but I know that it's not that simple. I'm going to be fighting this for the rest of my life and I don't want to drag Jackie down with me. She has so much to offer this world and if she comes back to me I worry that I'll ruin it all for her." He sighed. "But I can't live without her. I guess that's my problem. Without her…I'm nothing."
Jackie looked up and saw him smile sadly as he finished talking. The group got up and clapped for him as he walked off the stage. She watched as people came up to him and hugged him, shook his hand and thanked him for his honesty. She stood up slowly and left the hall to stand by her car. She waited outside for the meeting to be over, finally she saw Hyde walking out of the hall. Time seemed to stop for both of them as their eyes locked for the first time in three weeks. Jackie quickly looked down at her feet because she was nervous. Hyde walked over to her slowly and stared at her for a moment as he thought of what to say.
"Jackie?" He asked softly.
Jackie looked up at him quickly. "Uh hi…"
He put his hands in his pockets. "What are you doing here?"
Jackie put her hair behind her ears. "I um…I went for a drive and I ran into Red." She paused. "Well no…that came out wrong. I didn't run into him! I saw him…and we-"
"Jackie I knew what you meant." He said laughing.
She smirked. "Right. Well anyway…I talked to Red and he told me you were here. He thought it would be a good idea if I stopped by just to see how you were doing."
Hyde stared at her for a moment and then took his sunglasses off. "Were you inside?"
She bit her lip and nodded slowly. "Just while you were talking. Then I left."
Hyde took a deep breath. "You heard everything I said?"
She squeezed her firsts slowly. "Yes. I heard everything."
He cocked his head to the side trying to gauge her expression. "Jackie I don't know what to say…"
She shook her head. "You don't have to say anything."
"Are you mad at me?" He asked.
She reached out to him and touched his arm. "No! Not at all…"
Hyde looked down at her hand on his arm and she quickly pulled her arm back much to his disapproval. "It was my night…"
She nodded. "I figured."
"Everything kind of just spilled out." He said closing his eyes.
She nodded. "I understand Steven. You are trying to recover…its part of the process. And you never talked like that while we were together. It was nice to hear how you feel."
Hyde walked closer to her. "Jackie if you had let me…I would have told you all of this when we were alone."
"Steven it's just so complicated. I got scared and I needed space." She said looking down.
"I love you. I need you. I know what I did was horrible and if I could take it back I would. Jackie please…" He whispered.
"Steven I came here because I wanted to see you…I wanted to hear what you had to say but this doesn't mean we are back together." She said.
Hyde shook his head and walked closer to her. "Why don't you believe me?"
"Steven I do believe that you are sorry and I do believe that you are getting help. I can see that. But so much has happened…we can't just get back together and pretend that everything is ok." She said.
"Why not?" He asked. "Why can't you just let me love you?"
"Maybe this was a bad idea. I should have left before you even saw me." She said turning around.
"No. Don't walk away." He said in a sharp angry voice.
It made Jackie jump and stop walking. "Steven…don't talk to me like that.
He sighed and ran around in front of her. "I'm sorry. I'm just so stressed…I'm losing it here…just please don't walk away." He whispered. "Please."
She nodded slowly. "Just…don't talk to me like that again ok?"
He nodded. "I won't. I'm sorry."
She stared at him for a moment. "Ok."
He smiled. "Ok."
They stood there staring at each other unsure of what to say. There was to much dirty air between them and there was no easy way to start this conversation.
"So…how are you feeling?" He asked.
She shrugged. "I have headaches…but they're getting better."
He nodded. "That's good."
"In your speech…you said that you've seen me but I haven't seen you." She paused. "Steven…are you following me?"
He shook his head. "No. I saw you today in the studio. I was going for a drive and when I went to the car I saw you painting. You looked so peaceful…so calm."
"Mr. Peterson is trying to get me back to paining again…to help with the pain." She explained.
He nodded. "That's good Jackie. Really good."
"I have to work in the morning. And it's been a long day. I think that I should go…" She said. "I'm tired."
Hyde reached out for her hand. "Don't leave me."
She smiled sadly feeling the tears prickle her eyes. "Steven…I'll see you soon."
He shook his head. "No you won't. You don't want me anymore…"
She sighed. "Steven I told you I just need some space."
He nodded. "I understand that…but I still can't come to see you."
"How about…you call me if you need me." She said. "If you need to talk to me…you can call me, ok?"
He stared at her for a moment. "Do you mean that?"
She nodded. "Yes." She stood on her toes and rubbed his cheek. "Steven just because I can't be with you right now…it doesn't mean I don't love you. I will always be here with you if you need me…always."
He smiled at her. "I missed your touch."
She leaned forward and hugged him tightly. "Steven it's going to be ok."
He held her back. "I really hope so…"
She kissed his neck gently. "I love you Steven." She pulled back and smiled at him. "I'll see you soon…I promise."
Hyde nodded. "I believe you."
She smiled. "Good."
"Bye Jacks. I love you." He said confidently.
She smiled. "I know." She took a deep breath and then started to walk away again to her car.
Hyde stood there and watched as she drove away. As much as it hurt to watch her leave…he knew that she meant it when she said she would always be there for him no matter what. He knew that she loved him and he was confident that someday Jackie would be his again. He was confident that their love was strong enough to conquer all.
So what did you think? Let me know! REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW! I promise I'll try to update stories quicker now that my graduation is out of the way. :) Hope to get a review soon! :)