Disclaimer: I don't own That 70's Show, and if I did it would have ended way differently. What on earth were those writers and producers thinking, huh?
Author's note: This will be a J/H. It is pre- Series Finale, post- Sam Leaving. (Effin, Sam. WHAT were they thinking?) ANYWAY. There will be Angst in this chapter and probably most of the next chapter. I'm thinking there will only be about 4 or 5 chapters. Seeing as how I want each chapter to represent it's own month and I want the story to end on New Year's Eve 1980. Eric may or may not come back early. Haven't decided. There will be cursing and maybe some sexually charged scenes, haven't decided yet, again. This chapter is only cursing. There is going to be E/D; J/H; K/B; and possibly F/OC. There will be no J/F because, well, I don't think so. I love the roomate/best friend dynamic of the two, but that's as far as I go. Donna and Jackie are best friends and in this chapter and the beginnign of next chapter they'll be on the rocks. And I stretched some truths, such as Randy and Sam. I also have the story taking place in Spetmeber, I don't know when Sam left and I don't care. I took my creative license and I ran with it. The D/R might have a touch here and there but I'm not sure. Lol, I'm not sure alot. Excuse the grammar, spelling, sentence structure, I do not have a beta, I'm sorry. Please Review, I'm looking forward to advice, suggestions, constructive critisms and everything else. If you don't like the couple, don't read!! Enjoy and Happy Readings!! R&R
"Steven, how can you say that? Ok, fine, maybe I do have feelings for Michael. But what am I suppose to do? He was my first boyfriend. And you know what, you're going to have to learn to deal with that, and if you can't, and you're going to have to break up with me because of that, I can't stop you. But I think it's a real waste because I love you."
-Jackie, Babe I'm gonna leave you, Season 5, Episode 14.
Tuesday, September 18th, 1979
"She's really gone?" Hyde nodded his head, his sunglasses covering whatever emotion, if there was any emotion, in his eyes. Donna moved her head from one side to the other and gently shoved the popsicle in her mouth. Silence filled the room for close to five minutes. "Well, that's good."
"Yep." Donna narrowed her eyes at Hyde and then focused on the television, which was turned off.
"Does Jackie know?"
"Nope." She slowly moved her head so that her glare was once again unleashed upon him.
The past six months had been, to say the least, interesting. Eric leaving, Hyde and Jackie drama, the Hyde marriage to a stripper production, Kelso moving to Chicago, Randy joining the group, it was all mind blowing. And most of the time, no one wanted to deal with any of it. Especially the people who were most involved.
"Are you going to tell her?" Hyde leaned back in his chair, his arms moving so he could lean against his palms. He shrugged and looked towards the ceiling. "Hyde."
He shrugged again and with a growl Donna let it drop. It was enough that between Hyde, Jackie, Fez, and herself, some of the magic was gone. They weren't so much as the gang from high school who did weird and crazy stuff in Forman's basement. Now, they were the social misfits and the example of 'what not to do' among many of the younger high school kids.
She shoved the popsicle in her mouth. She knew with Eric gone it would be weird being in the Forman house. But Hyde was still living there. They had Hyde as the physical link. Lately, though, it wasn't the same. It was the first time, since she was seven, that Donna was slightly uncomfortable in the cozy Forman abode.
Footsteps on the stairs echoed over the silent basement, making both sets of eyes moved toward the sound.
"Why is there always one of you kids down here?" Red rolled his eyes and glared at the two.
Hyde didn't say anything, but simply moved his head back towards the direction of the ceiling. Donna, however, allowed her stare to follow Red as he walked over to the washing machine.
"Why are you doing laundry Mr. Forman?" Red turned and looked at her before turning back to the machine.
"Mrs. Forman is having a bad day. I'm helping." Donna nodded her head and turned so that she was facing the T.V. once again. "You know, Steven, she's really concerned about, your, um," Donna and Hyde both looked at Red. He was concentrating hard on the machine, his hand steady as he poured the powder in it. He cleared his throat. "Your situation."
"There is no situation Red. I was never married and she's gone. Good riddance." Green eyes focused over her long time best friend.
"You don't feel anything?" It wasn't the fact that she had become best friends with Sam or that she even necessarily like the girl. It was the fact that Hyde had thrown away everything to be with her. Surely, he would feel something. Even if it was simply the fact of feeling like a dick.
"Nope, nothing." Hyde shrugged, ignoring the third and possibly scariest glare Donna held over him.
Red cleared his throat and stuck his hands in his pockets. "Well, good chat then." He turned and walked up the stairs.
"I'm impressed he's not screaming his head off." Donna mumbled. She noticed the juice from the ice pop dripping onto her hand. She scoffed and placed the ice pop into the piece of paper she had unwrapped it from, and began wiping her hand on her jeans.
"He already gave me the irresponsible speech." Hyde stated. "How I should have checked the paperwork first. And how I shouldn't have been such a dumb-ass. And how I was ruining my life and Sam's life. And how I just wasted time I'll never get back."
Donna stared at him, her hand frozen over her jeans where she had been wiping off the orange flavor.
"Red said all that?" Donna looked, if anything, impressed. "Did he mention Jackie?"
It took a sharp eye, but Hyde visibly tensed. The blonde haired girl smirked to herself, storing this tiny detail in her brain. She watched as his breath became slightly uneven and his chest rose slower then it fell. He shook his head while shrugging.
"Why would he mention her?"
"Um, because you were ruining her life just as much, if not more, then you were ruining yours or Sam's."
"I thought you weren't taking sides."
"I changed my mind." Donna shrugged and leaned into the couch. "I don't know. How does it feel, knowing you wasted six months of your life with a woman you didn't love? That you weren't even married too? Can't feel that high and mighty."
Hyde looked over at her and she felt a sense of triumph.
"Hello." The basement door swung open. Fez walked in, closed the door, and then swiveled to face the two. He stood with his feet planted firmly on the cement, and his arms crossed. "Whores."
Donna squinted her eyes and put her hands up in a confused gesture. Hyde lowered his arms and sat forward, his sun glasses reflecting the peeved foreigner.
"Um, excuse me?" Fez looked at the giantess and then at the scruffy stoner. He was not amused.
"You two, should be ashamed." Hyde looked over to Donna who was even more confused.
"Why should we be ashamed Fez?" Suddenly, almost as if it had appeared out of thin air, Fez held up a small black bag. "What the hell is that?"
"This, my dear friend, would be Chester. He is the keeper of all my very expensive candy." Donna lowered her hands, and allowed her head to drop so she was staring at her lap. Hyde had done a three-sixty and went from looking slightly interested and aloof to completely confused and slightly perturbed. "Which one of you violated Chester? Who took my candy?"
"This is a joke, right?" Hyde was looking in between the bag and Fez. "This has to be a joke."
"Do I look like I am joking?" Fez's foot began to tap, he placed a hand on his hip as the other hand held out the bag. "I demand my candy back you whores."
"Fez, what the hell?" Donna was shaking her head, her hand now covering the majority of her face. Hyde was still confused.
The basement door opened once again and Jackie stood behind Fez, an eyebrow cocked, as she closed the door.
"Um, what's going on?"
"One of these whores stole candy from Chester." Fez was still tapping his foot, his face in a deep scowl.
"Fez, this is not Chester." Jackie took the bag from him. "I moved Chester into the refrigerator, in the vegetable drawer, because the chocolate was melting." Fez stared at Jackie and then at the other two occupants in the room. He made a face and pointed at them, while running past Jackie and out the basement door.
"Chester?" Hyde and Donna were staring at Jackie who rolled her eyes and sat in the lawn chair.
"He spent almost an hour explaining the importance of his candy bag, who was named Chester because one Christmas he was given these chocolate covered chestnuts as a stocking stuffer." She shook her head as she crossed her legs. "That boy is so weird about his candy, it's mind-blowing." Her mismatched eyes looked at Hyde and then at Donna. "Where's you're stripper-wife? She whoring around town trying to earn some money for you two?"
"Oh, wait till you hear this, Sam--"
"Went to New York for a few days." Donna's head swung around to stare at Hyde. He cleared his throat and nodded his head. " She got some job offer or something." He seemed to wave it off. "New York, now there's a place you can really make a name for yourself."
It happened rather quickly. Jackie's mouth opened and her heart started beating too fast for her chest. Her eyes moved from him to Donna and back to him.
"You're going to move to New York?" Donna let out a small moan as her neck cracked from the sudden swivel. She ignored the pain and stared at the tiny girl sitting diagonal from her.
"He is not--"
"You never know, depending on the job opportunity. Perks of being a stripper." She felt as if she was watching a tennis match, her neck could possibly snap from the abuse of turning it. This simple fact, however, did not stop the need to glare at him until he'd burst into flames. Donna's face smoothed as she stared at his face. The smirk, she was expecting to see, was not there. Quite the contrary. His face was sober, his lips in a perfect line. There were no signs of amusement or stress, he was being calm, but by no means aloof. What game was he playing at?
"Well," Jackie shrugged, her arms crossing over her chest. "Good. New York would be a perfectly sensible place for you and your stripper wife. Plenty of corners for her to work off of."
'BURN!' Could be heard in each of their heads. Donna allowed her hand to cover her face once again.
Oh, yes, it had been a very interesting six months.
Saturday, September 22nd, 1979 Jackie and Fez's Apartment
Saturday, September 22nd, 1979
Jackie and Fez's Apartment
Fez stared at Donna who was staring at the half drunk soda bottle in her hand. The foreign man looked at the ceiling, made a noise, looked at the wall opposite of him, opened his mouth and closed it, and then looked back at Donna who was still staring at her nursed soda.
"So, he and Samantha were never actually married, and she left with her actual husband, but Hyde has still not told Jackie?" Donna, eyes on the bottle, nodded her head. "But somehow this all seems logical in his large but empty brain?"
"I don't know Fez. Other then the Formans and me, Hyde hasn't told anyone. I think he told WB, actually. But he didn't tell Kelso or you. I don't know."
Fez shook his head. "He didn't tell Kelso or me because he knew we would tell Jackie. Or, well, Kelso would definitely tell Jackie, come on now. Oh, let us be honest, I would have told Jackie too." Fez hung his head in shame.
"He needs to tell Jackie. I'll tell Jackie, I'll tell Jackie right now." Donna stood up, her soda still in her hand. She let out a deep sigh and flopped down onto the couch. "I can't tell Jackie, she'd kill me for knowing."
"Oh, Donna, she's going to kill all of us." Fez patted her arm. "Why did he tell her he was moving to New York?"
Donna made an exasperated noise. "That's another thing that I don't get. He's being a real dill hole. He practically throws away his future with Jackie or any respectable girl for that matter, and continues dating, that, that whore."
"I thought you and Sam were friends?" Donna looked at Fez and then down at her bottle.
She had started talking to Sam one morning, listening to this life as a Las Vegas stripper, how Sam could do, think, and be whoever and whatever she wanted to be. She listened to stories about junkies, roadies, and bands. She giggled over shared music tastes and similar opinions about random subjects, mainly cars. She enjoyed the dynamic that Sam presented her. Where as, with Jackie, Jackie always came on-top, the best, perfection. With Sam, well, Donna was on-top; she may not have been better then Sam, but she came from a better way, a different class. And even though Donna thoroughly did not believe in class making a person, she did believe in a semi-equal friendship.
She also believed that it was not Sam's doing that Hyde was ruining his life and Sam's life. Somehow, Sam had been painted as the victim. She needed someone there for her, and Donna was willing to lend a helping hand.
She had no idea that it was Jackie who was the one who really needed someone. Who really needed that friend, that confident, that person on her side. Jackie had been as much as a victim as Sam, as Hyde, only, in proper perspective, Jackie was truly the one who had gotten hurt.
"I was friends with her." Donna said with little conviction to the contrary.
"Only now, I guess, you came to your senses." She looked at him and nodded her head. She looked back at the soda and chugged it. Placing the empty bottle on the table she leaned against the soft cushions.
"You thought she was hot."
"Yes, well, I think Jackie is hotter. I still come out being the better friend." Fez gave her a large smile which did nothing to make her feel better.
Jackie stepped into the basement. It was completely empty. She allowed her head to roll back, before placing her hand on the door knob.
Footsteps from the backroom sounded in her ear. She looked over to see Hyde walk into the room, his sunglasses missing and a record in his hand.
He looked up and froze as their eyes crashed together.
"Oh, um, hey." His voice was riveting across her brain. She had memorized his voice long ago, but it had been a long time since she had heard it with the same sweet tone from her memory.
"Hey." Her hand stayed on the door, waiting for his snide remark or well planned burn.
"I didn't know you were coming by." She gave him a look that clearly stated that was a ridiculous notion. Every single one of them visited the basement at least once a day. Inside she felt a tingle. A tingle she hadn't felt in a long time. He was being uncharacteristically sweet to her. There was no malice in his tone and no jerk in his movements.
He nodded his head as he continued to walk to his chair.
"Well, yes, I knew you would eventually be here, but I assumed it would be with Donna or Fez." Fez, now there was something she hadn't expected. He had become a true fried over the past year or so. He had pulled her together during the commitment wars between her and Steven, and he had given her a shoulder to cry on when she felt the world could do her no justice.
"Fez had to work and Donna, actually," She looked up in thought. "I haven't talked to her since Thursday night. That's so weird."
Hyde shrugged and placed the record on to the table in the middle of everything. "If it makes you feel better I haven't talked to her since Thursday afternoon."
She couldn't help the smile that formed across her lips. "I guess it helps. When does Sam get back?"
He looked at her, slightly shocked that she had said his ex-non-wife's name. She never said Sam's name. It was stripper-whore or stripper-wife or on the good days simply bitch.
Hyde shrugged his shoulders and began looking at his hands. Jackie stared at him, her eyes unblinking.
"Are you really moving to New York?" There were only a handful of times that they had talked to each other like civilized people over the past few months. Soft tones and endearing words were reserved for friends and loved ones. And whether they loved each other or not, Hyde and Jackie had proceeded to act as if they were enemies. Or even worse, strangers.
Hyde looked up at her, and for the first time, in a long time, he felt numb. Her eyes were big and round, and there were the early signs of tears. Her voice was full of sadness.
"I don't know Jackie."
"Ok, well, I know this doesn't mean anything, but, if you do move, I'd really miss you." He watched as she began to chew on her lower lip, her hands rubbing in and out of their folded position. It was the first truth that had been admitted between them. An urge to walk over to her, hold her, comfort her, something, took over his body. But he remained frozen in his chair.
"Why would that mean nothing?" He studied her face, watching every twitch that happened. She opened her mouth and he could almost see the air being inhaled.
The basement door swung open and then shut with a loud bang. Startled, Hyde jumped back against his chair and looked to see Randy, clearly perplexed about walking into the room with only Jackie and Hyde.
"Hey guys." He made eye contact with Hyde who simply shrugged.
Hyde really had nothing against Randy. Sure, the guy thought he was really funny, even though he clearly wasn't the next Johnny Carson. And, yeah he was a bit full of himself, especially when he started talking about his hair. Hyde could easily get past all of this. He could get past all of this because Randy had become someone for Hyde to vent too. He was like Switzerland. Hyde could talk about Jackie or Sam and not get burned, not get judged, and most certainly not get advice. He could yell, rant, talk, or take out his frustrations to Randy and get a simple nod of the head or an understanding sentence. Randy didn't force him to think, he allowed him to think. And that was something Hyde had to be grateful for.
"Hey Randy" Hyde stated, gesturing for the tall boy to join them. They held a look and after a beat, Randy sat down on the couch.
"Is Donna around?" Randy began taking off his light jacket, looking towards the stairs to the kitchen.
"We haven't talked to her." Jackie cleared her throat, she ran her hand from the bottom of her chin, down the front of her neck. Hyde couldn't keep his eyes off of the movement.
"Yeah, I haven't talked to her since, like, Thursday. Is she ok?" He looked from Jackie and Hyde, only to receive a shrug from both of them. "You guys aren't worried?"
"Randy, we don't start worrying until it's been about a week." Hyde stated, smirking.
"Or, until we hear about some grand gesture of commitment." Jackie held a finger up to grab Randy's full attention. "You see, Randy, in our group, commitment is not something that seems to settle among us very well."
"Ah, yes. The promise ring." Hyde nodded his head, he knew her comment was a blanket statement. Commitment, whenever it fell among their group, only came with one solution, and that was to run. Running seemed like a really, really good option.
"The wedding." Jackie laid her hand out flat.
"Kelso and your wedding fiasco."
"More like massacre. You and me." Hyde nodded.
"You know, Fez is the only one of us who got married."
"That's so sad." Jackie made a face. Randy shifted uncomfortable in his seat.
"Wow. You guys don't handle commitment at all." Hyde and Jackie's eyes locked, and a sudden wheel shifted.
"You're married Hyde." He flinched. He couldn't stand his surname dropping from her lips. "I guess you and Fez are the only two, out of the six of us who could get married."
Soft tones and sweet words were lost as the realization of what he had taken from her fell over her. She could forget it so easily. At least until something reminded her. At least until her heart caught up with her brain and reminded her of the broken pieces that still laid on the floor.
"I have to go." Jackie stood up and dusted herself off. Hyde watched her every movement, as he had done minutes before. As he had done for the past two years. "Bye Randy. Hyde."
The basement door shut and Hyde turned to Randy who put his hands up in a defensive position.
"I'm sorry man. I got worried about Donna and I went to her house and she wasn't there."
"Nah, don't worry about." Hyde shrugged. "It was nothing. I mean, whatever."
"Why didn't you tell her that the marriage was a sham?" Randy was looking at Hyde with confusion, there was no hint of judgment, no hint of doubtfulness, just genuine confusion.
"I didn't tell her because it doesn't matter. I broke it. There's no buying it back now."
Sunday, September 23rd, 1979
Sunday, September 23rd, 1979
Jackie walked down the hall of her apartment complex. She stared at her pristine pink nails, trying to stifle the happy sigh in her throat. She had spent the morning shopping with Mrs. Forman and getting a manicure from Tula, her prized nail technician. It was already after one, but the day was looking bright and cheerful.
"Hey Jackie." She froze in the doorway, staring at the blonde woman sitting on her couch.
"Donna?" The girl smiled brightly and looked around the apartment.
"I came over earlier, Fez didn't know where you were and offered me the apartment to wait. He had to go to work." She nodded her head, her eyes missing Jackie's.
"Fez was suppose to leave for work at eleven." Jackie looked at her watch. "How long have you been here?"
"Two, two and a half hours." Donna shrugged. "I watched TV and stuff. I didn't touch anything." Jackie made a face.
"On what strung out planet are you on that you would think I would be worried about you taking anything?" Donna's face filled with regret at her earlier statement.
"I'm sorry, I just, it was joke." It clearly wasn't a joke but Jackie let it lie. There was no reason to be making mountains out of ant hills. "Have you talked to Hyde?"
The brunette looked at her blonde friend and shrugged her shoulders. She made her way to the couch and sat down. There was a frosty unopened bottle of soda on the table that she gently lifted.
"We talked, it was so weird. Because, it started off like really weird." Jackie just shook her head, lifting the rim to he lips and letting the carbonated liquid pop and tingle down her throat.
"Weird how?" Donna leaned back into the couch, her eyes never leaving her friend. She was surprised that Jackie was not trying to hold information. That the small woman was still comfortable talking to the blonde. It made Donna feel that much more guilty.
"He, he was nice to me." Donna had learned to take whatever tone Jackie used when she spoke and to completely ignore it. She had learned to listen only to Jackie's words and her actions as she said the words. Much like Hyde's 'Zen' crap, Jackie had a tendency to use drama.
It was funny. One said too little and the other said too much.
"He said my name, he used his sweet voice, it was like, it was like old times." The soda continued to fizzle down her throat, coating the immense pain that had welled in her chest.
"Did he tell you about Sam?" Jackie cocked her head to the side, she had been looking out into space as she talked. There was no reason to make eye contact when she talked about Steven.
"He said he didn't know when she was coming back from New York. I know he says he wants to move there, but he really doesn't want too, I know he doesn't want too."
Donna rolled her eyes. Damn Hyde, damn Hyde to the farthest, hottest hell there is.
"Jackie, Hyde is not, I repeat, not moving to New York. I disallow it." Green eyes crashed with mismatched eyes and the tiny brunette became quite uncomfortable.
"Donna, why are you here?" The blonde froze, her mouth opening wide.
"I, I wanted to see you and talk to you."
"Why? I haven't heard from you in two days. And, to top it off, you haven't even been around that much for me anyway. You became friends with her." Maybe it was a slow weekend for Jackie. Maybe she had been in such high spirit's the past few days that the actions of her ex-boyfriend and her best friend, over the last six months, had been temporarily forgotten. And all these actions were always brought back to the simple truth of the stripper-whore. Steven's wife.
"I know, Jackie, I know!" Donna stood up, towering over the couch and Jackie. "I'm sorry, ok! I, I was so lost and confused and hurt, that I just, I didn't have time to deal with anything else. And Sam, you know, it was a friendship based off of cars and my pity that she had been wrapped up in Hyde's bullshit. I didn't think--"
"You really didn't think, Donna." Jackie continued to sit, her eyes in a perfect glare. A glare that Donna was slightly reproachful about. She knew that glare was only reserved for those who truly betrayed Jackie. And it made her feel the hurt for causing her friend such pain. "He abandoned me. He left after saying he couldn't marry me, that he wouldn't marry me. And he went and married some whore in Las Vegas. Someone who he had just met. What about me? I know when it's his birthday. I know where he likes to hide his stash. I know is favorite song and his favorite color. I know the anniversary of when his mom left and the story of the day before his dad left the first time.
"I know how long it takes him to make up his mind about going out or staying in. I know his favorite brand of sunglasses and the store he likes to go to, to buy new boots. I know he hates the ocean because of the movie Jaws. How he hates his beer to be warmer then room temperature. That he's allergic to poison ivy. I know Steven. I knew Steven. What credentials does she have?" Tears were pouring down Jackie's face. Make-up was smudged, and her perfect tan complexion was ruined by the red of her skin. She tried to wipe away the tears, but they wouldn't stop flowing down her cheeks. "He's suppose to be in love with me. He's suppose to be missing me, and wanting me, and loving me. And all he is, is being with her."
Donna grabbed Jackie and held her tightly as she cried. As buckets of salty tears rolled onto Donna's shoulder. As make-up stained her green shirt with no remorse. As Jackie allowed the past six months to leave her bruised body.
"Jackie, sh, it's ok. You're ok." Donna rubbed her back, she knew that when she had calmed Jackie down she would have to kill Hyde. She would have to take his life into her hands. Maybe if she found a big enough, and a heavy enough pole, she could whack some common sense into him.
It took all of fifteen minutes for the tears to subside. Jackie didn't say anything else, she placed an appreciative hand on Donna's shoulder and walked into the bathroom.
Donna sighed and stood up. She would make some tea and see how Jackie wanted to handle her breakdown. Donna had a feeling there would be a small smile and they would have to ignore the situation.
And that was fine. But god save Steven Hyde, because she'd pretend it was all ok with Jackie. But Hyde, he was going down.
Wednesday, September 26th, 1979
Wednesday, September 26th, 1979
Fez walked into the basement tired and hungry. It had been a long, long day at work and he was partially tired of women. They complained much too much.
"Where the hell is Hyde?" He took a step back as the blonde temptress came from Hyde's room. Fez placed a hand over his chest.
"My god! What on earth is wrong with you?!" He tried to calm his over-reacting heart.
"Hyde has become very masterful in his whole sliding past me routine. But I will get him and I will hurt him!" Donna's temper did not suit her blonde hair was basically the only thing circulating around Fez's head. "Do you know how destroyed Jackie is?"
"Oh, so you finally noticed." Fez did not back down from the look on Donna's face. He sighed and shook his head, maneuvering his way around her. "You know, sometimes I really think everyone just has their heads up their own butts. Jackie is a pill to swallow, because I have been swallowing her tears, sleepless nights, and long letters of regrets for quite a while my friend. And the girl deserves a medal for coming down here to face Hyde, who is a moron and you, who is being selfish."
"I'm on Jackie's side Fez." Donna narrowed her eyes further. "But, in my own defensive, I was kind of on my own downward spiral."
Fez nodded and walked over to the fridge, grabbing a popsicle and walking towards the fridge.
"Donna, I'm not saying that what you did was the mark of an in-human person. Eric left, and I'm not going to lie, the man leaving was a horrible thing in all our lives. I know you're hurt. But, you had Randy, you fell back on him really well, even though it is a rebound relationship. And then you had Sam, whom I'm sure you talked about Eric with. Not to mention Hyde, Kelso, and me. Yes, you're on your own little stairway to hell. And it sucks. But Jackie, Donna, she had no one." Fez stared at Donna, trying to emphasize a point that she had already come too. "When Hyde came home, and Sam followed behind him, Eric had already left. You were a complete invalid. Hyde was useless. And Kelso and me were completely mesmerized with the fact a stripper was living in the Forman house. Who did Jackie have?"
Donna looked at Fez, and could feel tears forming in pools in her eyes. "Fez, I--"
He shrugged and stuck the popsicle in his mouth with a smile. "You are a good friend Donna. Shit happens. You have to take care of your own before you can take care of someone else's."
She wiped the tears from her face. "Jesus Fez, when the hell did you become so insightful."
"I'm not going to lie." Fez popped the popsicle into his mouth, popped it back out and smacked his lips together. "Those old ladies, at the salon, are really forth coming with some really good advice."
Hyde sat at the record store, drumming his fingers over the counter. It was well past closing. He knew why he hadn't gone home yet. And that reason was tall and blonde. He wouldn't admit it to anyone, of course, but that blonde, geek-lovin' lady was downright scary.
He switched his chin from his left hand to his right and he looked into the vast space of the store. The record he had placed in the player had ended too long ago to remember. He reasoned with himself that he could put on the radio, to help drown at the quiet, but somehow the quiet was too intoxicating.
There was once a time that he would have thought that the whole Sam production was as good as it got. Married to a stripper gave a man some intense privileges. But that once upon a time was way too long ago.
His hand ran down his face. He had gotten rid of his mustache the day before. Mrs. Forman had revealed that she didn't like it over breakfast. In the back of his mind, he knew of another woman who had not appreciated the appearance of the mustache.
Jackie. The name rolled across his tongue and stayed in his brain for days on end. She was a perpetual thought. He'd think about her all day and then had his dreams haunted by her face. There was no escaping her voice, her eyes, her body. God he missed her body.
Little known fact, he missed her like crazy. It was easy pretending that she didn't mean anything while Sam was around. Sam didn't make the pain go away or the feelings he felt for Jackie, but she kept the thoughts away. She kept his demons satisfied as she climbed over him night after night, and gave him anything he wanted. She'd let him dominate her, take out his hurt, his frustrations, anything thing, the rougher the better was her motto. And even though he didn't think she knew she was not the one who plagued his minds as he kissed her, he had a feeling she wouldn't have cared.
Sam was good to fuck. But that was basically it. Sure, she kept the loneliness away. She kept the hate he felt for himself at arms length. She made him think he was not the biggest scumbag on the planet.
All of it was there, of course. But Sam kept it far enough where he could fuck her. He could kiss her and pretend he wasn't thinking of Jackie. He could feel her body and pretend it wasn't too different from Jackie's. He could pretend that everything was cool.
"You know, Hyde, I was thinking," Shielded blue eyes looked over to Randy who had walked out from the office. "This whole inventory list, is completely scattered. I think I'm going to take it home and spend a day or two re-vamping it. That way we could spend less time when we have to do inventory."
Hyde nodded his head, not sure if he could keep his voice leveled. Randy nodded back and then crossed his arms.
"It's not my place to say this," Hyde had an internal flinch, but kept his external coolness. Here came the judgment, the pity, the reprimanding Hyde had been waiting for. The reprimanding he suddenly realized he wanted. "You look like shit, man. I don't know how this whole Jackie, Sam thing works. But it is definitely not working well, at all. With Sam gone you're going to have to come up with some better excuses not to deal with the Jackie thing."
"That's it?" Hyde asked with anger in his voice. "Aren't you going to tell me that I'm a dumb-ass? That I ruined the most amazing thing in my life? That I let the only girl I have ever love just walk away from me? I had a fight or flight situation and I fled. I fled like a bird going South for winter."
Randy stared at his boss with a bit of apprehension. "Dude, all of this," Randy drew a large circle with his hands. "Is your cross to bear. I can neither applaud you or punish you. You want someone to yell at you? Go face Donna." And with a smirk and a salute, Randy walked out of the store, inventory sheet in hand.
Hyde watched as he left and gave a heavy sigh. He thought about facing Donna. Just locking up and walking over to the Pinciotti household. But something kept him in his chair. Something kept his feet firmly on the cemented ground.
A hissing noise escaped his lips and he hit the counter with everything he had.
For the first time, in six months, he couldn't pretend.
Thursday, September 27th, 1979
Thursday, September 27th, 1979
"So, she's like gone? Like, really gone?" Fez looked over to Kelso who was pouting.
"Yes, Kelso, she's gone." Hyde shook his head and tried to concentrate on the marathon of Charlie's Angels. Fez mimicked Hyde's head movement.
"Brook is thinking of moving back to Point Place." Kelso settled into the couch and began bobbing his head with the angels running. "I think it would be totally awesome, you know. We're both from here and stuff, and with," He stood up and punched his fist into the air. "I love Jaclyn Smith."
Fez looked at Kelso and made a low noise. "You just can't stay on track, can you?"
"Not my way." Kelso sat back down and patted his stomach. "What was I talking about?"
Neither boy had time to answer him, charging down the stairs, not stopping until she was directly in front of Hyde's chair, her finger pointed in his face, was Donna. Hyde made no movement, his eyes linked with hers.
"How COULD you?!" He had gotten a lecture from Red. He had to face Mrs. Forman's looks. He had to watch Jackie day after day, her heart breaking every time. And he had to live with his decision for the rest of his days. He had reasoned this morning, as he walked out of the store after sleeping there all night, that Donna would not be the worst of his penance. "HOW could you?!"
He broke the eye contact and leaned back into his chair, shrugging and smirking. The best tactic was to get her even more fiery then she had been in the beginning, that way by the end she would be completely spent.
"You completely abandoned her! She has been crying every night for six months. Six months Hyde! You married someone who didn't even know you were allergic to poison ivy! What the hell is wrong with you?" Fez and Kelso stared at Donna and then turned to Hyde who remained calm. "You threw away a life with a girl who was completely over the edge for you. You disregarded someone you loved. Do you even care? Did you ever love her? Was she just a perfect convenience so you didn't have to look for some slut-bag to fuck? Oh, Jackie's here, I'll use and abuse her. Sam was a real convenience I bet. OH and talk about tricking the Formans, you were married to Sam so she had to stay here. Real special."
Hyde jumped up, making Donna take a step back to give him room, but not making her back down. She could wipe the curb with Hyde's face, there was no issue there.
"I did not do one god-damn thing to trick the Formans. I had no idea it was a fake marriage license." His arms were folded and he was trying to remain calm. "And what is all of this 'go Jackie, go' nonsense, huh? If I remember correctly, while Jackie was sitting in the basement, trying hard not to scream or yell or cry or whatever the hell she does. You were next door having lunch with Sam. Going shopping with Sam. Talking about how sad you were Eric left and how sad Sam was to have to leave Vegas. Where were you Donna? I'm just some guy she tossed away. You're her best friend."
"Tossed away? Hyde, are you joking?! She came back, for you. She did everything, for you. And I AM her best friend! I was going through my own shit. Everyone needs someone to vent too!"
"So you choose my wife!"
"I chose a girl who I thought had gotten mixed up in your twisted webs!"
"I'm just ruining everyone's life, right Donna? First Jackie and then Sam? What if I was the victim in the whole Sam fiasco? She could have tricked me into marrying her?"
"You deserved it!" Donna pointed her finger at him and then behind her towards the basement door. "After all the insecurity bullshit you pulled and all the commitment crap you said, you deserved some form of train to hell. And how was it Hyde? How was it being next to a girl who could have cared less?"
"Sam cared about me!"
"Yeah, right!" Donna scoffed. "All you were to her was a meal ticket. To Jackie, to Jackie you were a man. I'm paying my dues for my stupidity, what about you?"
Fez and Kelso had leaned back into the couch as far as they could. Facing a really mad Donna or a really mad Hyde was one thing. Being in the same room with both was down right scary.
"Paying your dues? That's rich Donna, really, really rich!" As Donna was about to open her mouth the basement door opened and shut and there, standing at the landing, was Jackie.
"Hey guys, what's up?" She gave the room her perfect smile, her hands shoved into her pockets. "Were you guys screaming? I could hear screaming as I got to the stairs."
"We were rehearsing a play." Hyde stated, his stance becoming more rigid. "It's called, 'Why are you in the Basement?'"
Jackie looked at him and then at Donna. "Who? Me or Donna?"
"Both of you, like, jesus, don't you two have somewhere else to be?" He slumped down into his chair. His chest rising and falling at an accelerated speed.
"And miss your adorable company." Jackie allowed the sarcasm to drip from her voice. She took her usual seat near the door and looked over at the two on the couch. "Michael! I didn't know you were coming to Point Place!"
Kelso smiled brightly and nodded his head. "Well, neither was I till I got a phone call from my dear friend Fez here. He wanted me to spend the weekend while you know, the Sam thing went on. Bloodshed and all."
Fez, Donna, and Hyde stared at Kelso with an incredulous look.
"Kelso, shut up." Hyde stated, mentally sending daggers to his friend.
"What? What I say?"
"What's the big deal with, her, she's in New York." Jackie shrugged but she was looking at Kelso with a level of intensity.
"New York?" Dude," Kelso turned to Hyde and Donna who were sitting in the chair and leaning up against the freezer. "I thought she went back to Cincinnati with her husband?"
Hyde let his head drop, awaiting the screaming and the yelling. Fez stared at Kelso with his mouth open and eyes bugged. Donna put her hands over the sides of her face preparing her own sensitive ears for the verbal assault. And Jackie, well with Jackie, it was just freaky.
The small brunette looked at Kelso who was staring at his other three friends. Her mouth was pressed together, while she breathed steadily through her nose. Her arms, which had crossed at some point, lowered so they laid across her lap helplessly. She closed her eyes, took a breath, and then opened them to stare at the group in the basement. A basement she knew would be the end of her.
She let out a very sarcastic, very short laugh. "Very funny Michael." She shook her head and stood up, dusting her jeans off. "Cincinnati? There is hardly any whore qualities there, the stripper would be at a cross-road. Anyway, that's really mean, trying to confuse me about everything." She made a face and then looked over at Hyde who was staring at her with surprise etched across his face. She shook her head again and walked across the basement to the stairs, where she quickly shuffled up them.
There was a collective breath and four pairs of eyes looked towards the kitchen entrance.
"Well, that, that was freaky." Fez stated, first to recover from the shock of quietness.
"Dude, wait, Jackie doesn't know?" Hyde stared at his tall friend. "OW! Hyde!"
"Of course Jackie doesn't know!" The more he said it, thought it, and used it as a logical interval, Hyde was becoming as confused as everyone else as to why Jackie didn't know. As to why he hadn't told her. "You know what, I need, I need something."
Taking the baggie from his pocket he looked around the group. All of them decided that something wouldn't be so bad right about now.
"She's a long and strange trip." Hyde smiled as he said the words.
"DUDE! Brooke could be moving here! Like right now! Like I should be helping her pack!" Kelso took a hand full of pretzels and stuffed them into his mouth.
"You, you are a scumbag!" Donna pointed at Hyde and then looked at her finger. "Oh my god! It's like a gun!" She moved her thumb and started pointing around the circle as if shooting the three boys.
"Hyde, you should really buy some more candy." Fez pouted and turned the tootsie roll bag upside down. "If you buy candy sexy girls will come."
"She didn't even yell. That is what Jackie does. Yell!"
"Jackie likes to yell. I mean, she yelled at me ALL the time. Brooke yells a lot too. Brooke and Jackie should become friends!"
"Bang! I shot the sheriff, but I didn't shoot no deputy, oh no! oh!"
"You know, candy would make Jackie love you again. Oh, no it won't. I'll love you though."
"I'm better off without her you know." Hyde smirked and grabbed the bag of pretzels from Kelso.
"I could create a rocket ship with a box! I'll build a rocket ship with one of the boxes that we're suppose to move with. Brooke and me could ride in the rocket ship!"
"Hyde, seriously." Donna was back to pointing with her finger. She was trying to keep her face from morphing back into a smile. "You are a jackass. And you are NOT better off without Jackie. And you will--" A smile broke over the blonde's face, smiled by a string of laughter. Her hand transformed back into her makeshift gun. "BANG! BANG!"
"Oh, a rocket ship! I want to ride in a rocket ship, I'll be the first foreign astronaut."
"You know who had the right idea. Eric. He planned it nice. I'm going to have to go to Africa." Hyde lifted the pretzel bag to his lips.
"Africa is cool and all, but they do NOT have the ability to build rocket ships. Wait, do they? I can build a rocket ship and go to Africa, I can be like their beautiful god."
Donna pointed her finger gun at Kelso, one eye was shot as she tired to aim. "Kelso, if you went to Africa they would probably try to burn you, or put a bone through your nose, or something. BANG!"
"If you to Africa, who will I have to meet chicks with and buy candy!" Fez scowled.
"They would probably try and kill you, after you brunt down their village or glued some sacred entity to a tree, or something." Hyde smiled brightly. "You should totally go man."
"I'd totally burn the village down. I mean, that's why I'm banned from Kenosha's Santa's Workshop, man those elves really know how to run."
"Hyde, you can't go to Africa, only those with pure souls can go to Africa, like Eric. Eric has a pure soul, he would have never married a stripper!"
"Kelso, you should get Jackie to help you accessorize for your trip. Because she'll get some great outfits for the rocket ride and then some really nice outfits for Africa. And they can't kill you. They don't kill pretty people."
"Donna," Hyde's smirk was as wide as his face. "For all you know Eric is getting down and dirty with some of those African goddesses. You and Jackie can cry together."
No one was able to predict the blonde flinging across the small table and tackling Hyde to the ground.
"Woo! Go Donna!" Fez stated. Kelso fell to the ground laughing. "Uh! HYDE! That was my tootsie roll! Bite him Donna!"
Hyde heard the basement door open and close. He had been lying on his cot for the majority of the afternoon. He looked at his watch and noted the late hour. Which one of his moronic friends was bothering him?
He stood up and looked at the small mirror that hung against the wall. He growled slightly as his hand gently touched the sensitive spot under his eye. Donna really knew how to throw a punch.
With a shake of his head he headed outside and came face to face with the last person he expected to see.
"Jackie?" As he said her name she took a step back. Her face was red and puffy, tears still staining her cheeks. "Jacks?"
A sob escaped her lips. How dare he call her that. How dare he even think it was still his to call her.
"Donna told me. Donna told me everything." Her voice was full of emotion. It was almost hard to understand her. "She's gone? She's gone and you didn't tell me?"
Guilt fell over his entire body. He suddenly felt too heavy to stand. But that didn't affect his stance, his arms crossing, his eyes narrowing, and his mouth pulling into a line.
"She left last week. What would you have cared Jackie? It had nothing to do with you."
She sputtered. "Nothing to do with me? Nothing to do with me? Steven! It had everything to with me!" Tears began rolling down her scowling face. She wasn't backing away. She wasn't going to run. Running was always the easiest option. But this wasn't easy. Liking him, loving him, it had never been easy. It was the hardest thing in her life. Why should this be easy? "You ran away. You supposedly married some stripper, a whore. You left me."
"So? You left me first Jackie! You ran off to Chicago! You ran right to Kelso, like you always do!"
"Nothing happened! I didn't do anything with Michael. Not that it would matter, because you had decided that you didn't want a future with me."
"Jackie, you didn't even give me a chance!"
"You were off drinking in a warehouse. You were off drinking the situation away! Did you think I wouldn't find out? Did you think you could drink me away and pretend, the next morning, I would be there?"
"I didn't know what to think!" Hyde took a step towards her, throwing his arms in the air. "I told you I was happy with how things were going!"
"And all I wanted was to know that you could see me in your future, and you couldn't give me that! You couldn't give me anything!"
"I was going to ask you to marry me!"
"But you didn't. You got drunk. And then you ran, you came looking for me just so you could run away. For what Steven? To marry some slut in Vegas?" She took a step so that their faces were mere inches apart. Her own arms were on either side, her hands in tight fists. "Did you even care? Was I that worthless that you allowed yourself to be taken by meaningless sex? Or was I the meaningless sex?"
"You told me to stay with her! You told me not to do you any favors!"
"You didn't even want to fight for me! What was the point? Fuck Steven! She left. She left. And you still remained out of the rink. She left and you didn't come to me. Fuck, you didn't even tell me."
It was the first time he had ever heard her say 'fuck'. Her curses were pg-13 at best. Her face was twisted with tears and an angry scowl. She looked like hell.
Blue eyes flickered over her mismatched eyes, over her red, button nose, and stared at her plump and quivering lips. He hated watching her cry. He had hidden his remorse, his sadness every time she stepped into the basement.
"I wanted you." His voice was even and he watched her lips. "I just, it was too hard."
"Yes, Steven, it was always too hard. Loving me, being with me, caring about me. Of course it was hard you jackass. That's what love is. That is what life is." She was standing directly against him, her angry eyes blazing with a fire. He was looking down, searching her face for something. He wasn't sure what it was, but he knew if he saw it, he'd be ok. He knew it would all be ok. "Does it even hurt? Can you even feel it in that heartless chest of yours?" She placed her hand against his chest. He knew she had to be able to feel his heart beating. The pounding that was threatening to rip his skin. "Why the fuck didn't you love me, the way I loved you?"
There was so much anger in her quiet words that he could feel it. He could feel the pain and suffering he had caused her. Her touch was sending tingles up and down his body.
And it was much, too much, to handle.
He grabbed her arms and held her as he dipped his head down. Tears streaked across her face and the salty liquid could be tasted as he kissed her. He tickled her lips with his tongue until he could gain entrance into her mouth. And, fuck, did she taste sweet.
His hands left her arms and wrapped around her waist. He moaned as her fingers tangled in his hair, pushing his face even further into hers. She sucked on his tongue and tasted his mouth. They were exploring land that had once been all too familiar to them. They were learning all the curves, all the muscles, everything, all over again.
His hand slipped under her shirt. Silky skin was his reward. The way her back dip perfectly into her hip hugging jeans, the way her bra felt against her chest. It was like coming home.
"Steven?" His lips had long left hers and he was currently kissing across her neck. "Steven, no, no."
He instantly stopped. Blue eyes crashed with mismatched eyes. He saw the betrayal, the hurt, and the distrust, and he felt like scum. He felt like the world was ending. His girl had no trust for him. His girl was no longer his.
"I," He could tell she was holding back a sob. She was trying to stop the tears, to wriggle out of his hold.
"Jackie, I'm so--" She began shaking her head as the sob escaped her lips. He watched as she tried to control the breakdown, as if she had any control over something so powerful. And he knew that whatever heart he had left, was gone. As he watch her try to stand on her own two feet, away from him, he knew that his heart was dead.
Her eyes caught his, one last time, and without one word, she was gone.
Hyde watched the door for what seemed like an eternity. She would come back. She always came back.
He felt a tear run the course of his face.
She had to come back.