"Jackie, I have a problem."
Ugh, Fez and all his issues. He was always acting so needy. There was always a problem with him. I couldn't help but act irritated with him. Maybe he was my boyfriend, but that didn't mean that he never pissed me off. In fact, he pissed me off every second I was with him. We'd only been together for a few months and I was already sick of him. I really hated men. "Fez, what do you want?"
"You are not my Jackie. The Jackie I love is bossy and bitchy. You are nothing. You sit around all day and barely even talk. You are just depressed." he said in that annoying accent of his.
Of course I was angry. My whole world was falling apart. My dad was still in jail, my mom was off partying in god knows where, I was stuck in a loveless relationship, and of course there was him. Maybe I had deluded myself into thinking I could be with Fez for a little while, but I knew who my heart still belonged to.
"Well Fez, maybe you just don't know me as well as you thought you did. Maybe this is me. I guess you just didn't know what you were getting yourself into with this relationship."
"See, that's the problem! The only time you ever really talk with me, you are all angry and you act like you don't want to be there. Well, this is the last time I get myself worked up over you. Jackie, we are through!"
"Whatever." Saying that brought tears to my eyes, but he had already stormed out of our apartment and didn't see. It wasn't Fez breaking up with me that had started the tears. It was the word. Whatever. He was the one who taught my act so blasé, so Zen, as he called it.
I was the tiniest bit upset. I didn't love Fez and I didn't want to be with him, but he was just another person who didn't want to be with mean. I mean, I'm Jackie Burkhart. Boys used to punch each other out because they all wanted to be with me. I had sunk so low that even FEZ didn't want me. No one wanted me anymore.
We were all hanging in the basement together. Well, not all of us. Eric had left yesterday to go back to Africa, but we still hung out in his basement. It was Donna, Fez, Steven, Michael, and me. It was pretty much the last place I wanted to be, no one wanted me there. My presence even irritated Michael and Donna. I was only there because I really wanted to talk to Donna. She, however, was busy with the guys. Fez had told them of our breakup and they seemed rather jolly about it. They just loved seeing their friends get hurt.
"Donna, can we pleaseeee go back to your house? I want to talk to you," I begged.
"Yeah, yeah, just wait another couple minutes. I want to see the end of the show." They were watching some stupid game show.
"Well, Jackie, can't you just go back to Donna's house by yourself? No one needs you here," Fez said nastily. I gave him a dirty look.
Michael walked over to where I sat on the washing machine. "You know, Jackie, as the man who used to pleasure you endlessly, I would say that you are depressed. You're just not how you used to be. And you know what you need to fix that? Some good old alone time with me. Topless." All Michael thought about was sex.
Steven had stopped making fun of me constantly and now resorted to acting like I wasn't there. That's why I was surprised when he punched Michael hard in the arm. Maybe it was a sign.
"What was that for, Hyde?"
"Just shut up Kelso. I'm trying to watch."
Not a sign. He just wanted him to shut up. Oh, how I missed the days when he would get jealous when Michael made some sexual comment about me and would punch him. But those days were over. I sighed.
Mrs. Forman ran down the stairs. She looked absolutely horrified. "Jackie, we need you upstairs, NOW."
I stood up wordlessly and walked up the stairs. I could feel their eyes burning a hole in my back. "What on earth has gotten into her?" Donna whispered. She thought I couldn't hear. I continued on; I didn't want to hear any more.
I walked into the Forman kitchen, where Mr. and Mrs. Forman and two policemen stood talking. They looked they looked shocked and sad.
"What's going on?" I asked emotionlessly. I didn't really care what had happened.
"Jacqueline Burkhart?" one of them asked.
"There's been an accident. With your mother." Now I was concerned. I was never close with my mother, but I did want to know if something had happened to her.
"She's dead. Heroin overdose. I'm so sorry." My mouth dropped open. What the fuck? My mother was dead? A heroin overdose? My mother drank a lot, but she never did drugs. I stood there wordlessly.
"I'm going to need you to come with me. We need to…make arrangements."
"Let me just get my purse." That was when the waterworks began. I ran down the basement, tears running down my face.
When they all saw me Donna stood up. "Jackie, what the hell is going on?" I looked at her for a moment and crumpled into a heap on the ground. It was too much for me to deal with. As if my life wasn't screwed up enough already.
I could see them looking at me. Not looking, staring. Especially Steven. He didn't take his eyes off me for a second. I wondered why.
Mrs. Forman ran down the stairs again. "Jackie, I told them you would go with them tomorrow. You can stay here if you want." I nodded at her but stayed on the floor.
Fez, Michael, and Donna were looking at Mrs. Forman questioningly. "Mrs. Forman, what is going on?" Donna asked anxiously. Steven kept looking at me. It was uncharacteristic of him to do something like that. Maybe he enjoyed watching me suffer.
"You know what, you'll hear everything later. I think it would be best if you all went home now."
"Um, we could go back to my house if you want," Donna said tentatively. Fez and Michael nodded.
"I'll just stay here," Steven said.
"No Steven, you should go," said Mrs. Forman.
"I live here!"
"Oh fine. Just go to your room. They need me upstairs." She ran upstairs as Donna, Fez, and Michael left, not looking back.
Steven stood up and started walking towards his room, but looked back at me, sitting alone and crying on the floor. He came back and sat down next to me.
"What's going on Jackie?"
"Why do you even care?"
"I don't." That one hurt. But he still sat there next to me.
"You're just as uncaring and awful as you always were." He didn't reply to that. "My mom is dead." His eyes bugged out.
"Heroin overdose." I couldn't believe I was able to talk about it when I'd only heard the news a few minutes ago, but there was always something about Steven. He made me feel calmer. When he wasn't being a pig, anyway.
We sat in the silence for a while. He finally broke the silence. "Everything's going to be okay." He rubbed his hand up and down my arm a little. It was comforting, but there still a lot of tension. We'd never talked with each other rationally since the big fall out. For a while we would insult each other. Then the depression began and I stopped talking to him entirely. I leaned my head on his shoulder and we sat there like that until I fell asleep. When I woke up, I was in his bed. He wasn't there. He had left me again.
I really hated funerals. I hated the grieving, the mourning. But I hated this funeral more than the few others I had been to. And the reason was that I had to watch Jackie just fall apart in front of everyone.
I hadn't talked to her in days, since she had the first found out. When I was trying to comfort her and letting her lean on me, all these old feelings for her had come rushing back up. I mean, they already were coming back up little by little, but this was like an explosion. I didn't want to feel that way again. So I carried her off to my room and set her down on my bed. I watched her for a few minutes; I had always loved watching her sleep. Then I ran away like a coward.
For the last couple days I had been hanging out with Kelso, Donna, Fez, and even Forman, who had flown in from Africa the day before. His excuse was that he needed to come to Pam's funeral, but he really just needed a break from teaching in Africa. I was anxious about the funeral, but I didn't let them know. I hadn't told them about what happened with Jackie and me. They couldn't know.
After the service we were all sitting around and talking. Eric had his arm around Donna. It was making me sick. I missed having someone to do that to.
"Gosh, I'm really worried about Jackie. She's such a mess. I mean, before she was too, but this is just awful. I've never seen her like this," Donna said.
"Wait, what do you mean 'before she was too'? She was fine at New Years," asked Eric.
"Yeah, well afterwards, she got all mopey and sad and stopped hanging out with us so much. I think it had something to do with her lack of Kelso time. And the fact that she was sleeping with FEZ!" Kelso giggled.
My hand crushed the wine glass it was holding and it shattered into a thousand pieces. Even if they had broken up, they thought of her sleeping with Fez made me downright sick. Everyone stood up.
"You okay there, Hyde?" Eric asked. He and Donna were looking at me concernedly. Oh, they knew. The two of them knew me inside and out and they knew why I crushed that glass. They knew I was still head over heels in love with Jackie Burkhart.
"It was an accident," I mumbled incoherently.
"I'll go get a broom and sweep that up. You guys go away," Donna offered.
We started to walk away. I noticed how Eric made a point of standing between me and Fez. He knew that it was taking every single ounce of strength I had not to pound him on the spot.
"Kelso, I do not know what you are talking about. Jackie and I were not "sleeping together". We did it like, twice, and it was awful both times. She was miserable and she was not even that good at it. Besides, she is such a tramp. She's been passed around the town almost as many times as Eric's skank of a sister," Fez stated.
That was it. I looked him in the eye before I punched him in the face and knocked him to the ground. Eric grabbed me and held me back. I was surprised he was even able to do that. Maybe he'd gotten tougher out in Africa. "Woah, Hyde. Why don't you go find…someone to talk to. Or go find some food or something."
"What the hell, Hyde?" Fez hollered. I glanced at him and walked away. People were staring at me funny. Among them was Jackie, who turned and went into the bathroom, tears running down her face. Those had nothing to do with me, though. They were for her dead mother. I remembered when we all had crushes on Pam. Of course we did, she was almost as beautiful as her daughter. But no one could be that striking. Jackie looked like a goddess compared to all the other girls I knew.
I managed to keep myself occupied for a little while with food and talking to Mr. and Mrs. Forman, who had seen the Fez incident and wanted to know what was going on. They were furious but I didn't care. Little twerp was asking for it.
It had been about half an hour. Jackie still wasn't out of the bathroom and I was worried. Was she so depressed about her mother that she was hiding away?
Eric, Fez, and the rest of them had left the room. No one else was paying attention so I opened the door and went into the girls' bathroom.
I was shocked when I saw what was in there.
Jackie was sitting under the sink surrounded by empty bottles of liquor. She looked drunk out of her mind.
"Jackie?" I asked carefully. She didn't even turn her head to look at me.
"What do you want, Steven?" I didn't answer; I didn't
even know what I wanted.
It hurt to see her in this state; so sad and vulnerable. "Look, Jackie. Why are you even doing this? It never seemed like you and your mother had the closest relationship." As soon as it came out, I realized how stupid a question it was. She was already locked into a depression before her mom died.
"This isn't just about my mother. She's just another part of my life that's completely fucked up." I didn't really understand that. Her life wasn't really that screwy. Aside from her mom, nothing was really wrong. It couldn't have been Fez dumping her, she was acting like that months before that had happened. A little part of me wished that it was about me and that she missed me, but I knew that wasn't the case. I took her hand and held it there for a while. That was the most I could do. I really wanted to kiss her, but I couldn't for three reasons. One, I didn't want to do that to her when she was drunk. Two, she would probably push me away; she didn't love me anymore. Three, even if she didn't push me away, I knew that I was never good enough for her. I didn't deserve her.
She stood up suddenly and ran towards the toilet. She started vomiting violently into it. I stood up beside her and held her hair back. She didn't like it when her hair got messed up.
I'd wanted to comfort her all throughout her depression, but I was scared. I didn't want anyone to know how I felt. But I couldn't stop myself if her mom was dead.
When she'd finished, I said "Jackie, let's get you home."
I helped her walk to my car, strapped her in, and started driving towards the apartment she shared with Fez and Kelso, who was temporarily staying there.
"No, I don't want to go there," she told me before she fell asleep. I had no choice but to take her back to the Formans'.
I carried her to my bed, like I had when she first heard the news. She woke up for a moment and looked at me with confusion. "What's going on?" she asked drowsily.
"No, you need to sleep too. It's late. I'll go sleep on the couch."
I rolled my eyes. "It's fine. Stay there."
"You can sleep here too. Like we used to."
Fine by me. Besides, she wouldn't remember anything in the morning. I could leave before she woke up. I laid down beside her and put my arms around her as she drifted back into sleep. Just like we used to do when she stayed here with me right after her dad was arrested. I missed those days so much. Everything was so easy back then.
I couldn't sleep, with her sleeping in my arms. I felt the electricity between us.
Some time in the night, Eric and Donna snuck into my room to see what I was doing. I didn't want to talk to them, so I pretended to be asleep.
"Aw, look at Jackie and her little Puddin' Pop," Eric said quietly. I really missed hearing her call me that. It was a really lame name, but it was cute coming from her.
"Do you think they're back together?" Donna asked.
"Looks like it." I wish.
"I hope so. They were really good for each other, after getting over the initial shock of the two of them together. And after they broke up, they were just different."
"Yeah. You know, Hyde always acted like a tough guy, but I've always known he was really a softie. I mean, look at him." Donna giggled.
"Well, we should leave before they wake up and Hyde beats us up. Like Fez." Eric suggested. After they left, I really did fall asleep. Something about her made me calm.
When I woke up she was gone. Shit. There was a note pinned to my pillow.
I'm sorry to just leave you with a note. I just really didn't want to have to talk to anyone. Look, I'm going to New York. I arranged it a couple of days ago and I never told you. There's nothing here for me in Point Place anymore. I would have stayed if things were different between us, Steven, but they're not. I know you don't feel the way you used to about me, and it's alright. But thank you for helping me through this. You were really great last night, and the other day. I wouldn't have believed it, since we haven't exactly been on the best terms with each other since…well you know. Say goodbye to everyone for me: Michael, Fez, Eric and especially Mr. Forman, Mrs. Forman, and Donna, who have been wonderful. Thank you for everything. For helping me out and for all the time I spent with you. It was really special.
I sighed. She'd left me again with just a note. I couldn't lose her again, she was my life. And I hadn't told her how I felt! Sure, I probably wasn't going to anyway, but now that she was gone I would never be able to. And she had said that she still loved me. If she'd known how I felt, we could have gotten back together, like I had been dreaming of doing since I'd left her for the stripper. I couldn't even remember her name; that was how unimportant she was to me. That was the biggest mistake I had ever made.
I picked up my radio and threw it across the room. It fell to the floor and fell apart. It felt good to release my anger onto something; even if it was my radio.
I took the note she gave me and tucked it in the drawer where I kept my shirts. It was right next to other note she'd given me. The note that said had taken the job in Chicago and was moving there. I had kept it for all that time.
I sat down on the bed and put my face in my hands. Now what?