The next afternoon, after having spent the day with Donna and avoiding the Foremans' house Jackie finally walked down the outside stairs to the basement and wasn't surprised to find Hyde sitting on the couch, boots propped on the table, watching TV. Pursing her lips Jackie shut the door and casually wandered over to sit beside him. When he made no move to greet her - no kiss of any kind, not even a cursory nod or eyebrow flick from behind his sunglasses - Jackie felt the sinking in her stomach grow.

She'd been dreading this all day, the cold frozen treatment she knew would happen as her worst fear was realized. He'd figured it out she wasn't good at sex and now wanted nothing to do with her. She'd known that was why Kelso had gone slutting around behind her back like the whore he was, but the first dozen or so times she'd made out with Steven had maybe changed her mind. Maybe she wasn't so terrible in the sack, but now, Jackie knew better. Steven, for all his obvious flaws, was no whore like Michael, and knowing he'd never hurt her purposely, would end it rather than skank around on her.

Cautiously, Jackie laid a not-quite-steady hand on his knee and instantly felt him tense. "Hi."

"Hi."

"How are you?"

Hyde's response was as non-committal as his shrug. "Can't complain. You?"

"Fine," Jackie said in a kneejerk response. She twisted her fingers in her hands a little before relenting. "Actually I'm not fine. There's something I wanted to ask you."

"Look if it's about that stupid Days of Heaven movie, forget it, I'm not going to see it. Take Donna or Kitty or even Forman, but I ain't going."

"No, I mean...about the night we spent together last night."

Hyde shifted uncomfortably. He should have known this conversation was coming, even before they actually did the deed. Women like Jackie always came action-packed with conversations like that. "We had sex. We're both young adults and neither of us first-timers so what's the biggie?"

"I know I wasn't very good," Jackie said in a small voice; since her eyes were focused on her lap, she missed Hyde's head whipping over in shock to look at her, "so I'll understand if you want to shake me loose."

"Hold on. What do you mean not very good?"

"You know, just not good. I didn't really know what to do to...make you enjoy it."

Hyde wasn't about to tell her that the simple smell of her perfume was enough to make him enjoy it, nevermind seeing her doe-eyed and buck naked on his bed, waiting for him to...stop thinking like that so he didn't get a rather large distraction of his own while trying to understand his girlfriend's fear. "What would make you think I didn't enjoy it?"

Jackie could only shrug at this; she'd had no idea what to expect from him but certainly not this dragging out the process of a break-up. "Look, the point is Steven, I just want you to be honest with me. I wasn't very good at it last night, and that's why we only did it twice last night, and you didn't want to touch me again this morning, and why you didn't kiss me when I walked in here."

"OKay, that's it." Hyde stormed off the couch to switch off the TV, stood with his back to Jackie for a few moments so he could gather his thoughts. This was not the day-after Jackie he'd expected to deal with. The Jackie he knew was a woman who once she'd set her mind, would sooner die rather than fail in her task. But that woman was nowhere to be seen here. God help him, she looked soft and fragile. Where was his bitch on wheels? Where was the Jackie demanding that he take her to bed and rock her body like an earthquake? "Let me get this straight. We had sex twice last night that you think sucked and now you think I want to shake you loose?"

"Pretty much, yeah."

"I have no intention of shaking you loose, Jackie, none at all. But dammit you're pissing me off. by insulting yourself and last night like this." Hyde caught himself before he could let something slip he'd regret and sat down beside Jackie again. "You want the truth? No, you're not the most skilled I've had, and given that you're only other real boyfriend's been Kelso, that's not too hard to understand. But you're the one who's mattered the most. You get me?"

Jackie nodded, surprised to find herself fighting back tears. It wasn't her fault, she realized that she was the way she was in bed. "You're the one who's mattered most to me, too."

Hyde kissed her then, surprised to find the pressure in his own chest dissipating from one kind of tension, only to be replaced by another. "You think I don't want you?"

"You didn't kiss me when I walked in."

"Because if I did, we'd end up waxing Mrs. Forman's floor in a way I don't think she'd have appreciated," he said, making her giggle as he kissed her again. "Jeez, just smelling you makes everything go tingly."

"Really?"

"Hell yeah, and besides," he added, pulling her to her feet, walking her back towards his room, "you know how you get better at it?"

"How?"

"Practice," he murmured, shutting the door behind them and locking it. "Lots and lots of practice."


Later, sated and satisfied, Hyde sat on the milk crate of records in the corner opposite his bed. Jackie was napping in his Led Zeppelin t-shirt while he had a joint from his stash and thought about the conversation they'd had before the afternoon delight they'd shared.

How could she have possibly thought so low of him, of their night together. Hyde had been completely honest with her about it; she wasn't the most skilled but damn, didn't she realize that vulnerability was so damn sexy? That not knowing the answer to every friggin' thing was a turn-on too? The hesitant, unsure touch of her hands, her fingertips, had been torture of the sweetest kind, one Hyde though he didn't need...or want for that matter. But he did. Not with anyone, though, just with her. And in his mind that further proved what an idiot Kelso really was. How his best buddy had managed to bag women at all remained a complete mystery.

There was something else there too. Something Hyde would have kept hidden on pain of torture and death. He'd never be able to admit it, even out loud to himself, but the night before, when he'd first slid into Jackie, the soft sweet look on her face of absolute and pure pleasure had him realizing why she mattered the most of any woman he'd been with since his first time in ninth grade.

When he looked over, saw her stirring and those dual coloured eyes eased open, focusing on him, Hyde felt his gut do a quick double bounce.

"Hey."

"Hey."

"Can I have some?" she asked sleepily, referring to his joint.

"No. Can I have some?" he repeated her question, sliding a hand under the shirt to find nothing but soft skin.

"All you like, Steven."

As he rolled on top of her, Hyde could hear his own voice in his mind, completing his thought of why she mattered the most to him of anyone he'd ever met.

But you're the one who mattered most because I'm falling in love with you.

FIN.