Author Note: Sorry about the chapter 20 mix up – hope I didn't confuse anyone!
Chapter 23 – Life Changes
Kitty woke up early the next morning and padded over to the window. It had lightly snowed the night before and she could barely contain her glee. Why wasn't she freezing? Ahh, she heard the central heat click on. My clever son…. She threw a robe around herself and went into the hallway with the intent on making coffee only to find Eric and Jackie already up and making breakfast.
"Wow, I missed a lot or the two of you have really grown up! Hahahaha." Kitty wasn't used to Eric being so self sufficient. "Did I oversleep?"
Jackie turned around. "Coffee Mrs. Forman?"
"Oh god yes sweetie. It's snowing out there!"
Eric grinned, "I know, I salted the walkway to the garage for Dad. He wanted to check it out later."
"Mrs. Forman, I'm going grocery shopping this morning, do you want to come with me? I don't know what you guys like to eat."
Kitty kissed Eric on the head. "You are such a good boy. Oh Jackie, can you take me to the mall? Red and I need some warmer clothes. I didn't pack any."
"I would love to take you shopping!" Jackie squealed. "Eric is not a good clothes shopper."
Eric grinned, "Yeah, but I can shop for groceries!"
Red looked in the dusty old garage with a smile in his heart. Nothing had changed. All of his old tools were still here and it smelled like oil. It was good to be home.
The next week was a slight period of adjustment. Eric went back to work and Jackie wasn't always at home so Kitty and Red had the house to themselves often. Red was learning his way around and his limitations, but with the modifications Eric had made, such as the seat in the shower and the ramp in the living room, Red felt completely comfortable. Why did he ever let Paula talk them into moving to Florida?
Red smiled. If that move hadn't happened, then Eric would have never stepped in and became the confident man he was today. Red Forman knew that his son would take care of house and home and now he could retire and heal himself.
Kitty found that without the carpeting, the house was less dusty and easier to maintain. Helping Jackie clean house was a breeze so Kitty focused on her baking and learning new hobbies to relax. It was nice to be home.
Tyler Kelly, the production manager approached the set. "Jackie, I have great news for you."
Jackie looked up at her former Fancy and Free commercial manager, "I love good news."
Tyler set his schedule down on the table. "We bought into several affiliates and you only have to do this shoot once, and we can broadcast it to all 50 states. That means no more sleeping in your van driving from city to city."
Jackie's face broke into a big smile. "No more road shows? I can stay home for a while?"
Tyler nodded his head. "Since your shampoo was such a hit, I've lined up some celebrities who want to do the headshots for your conditioner."
Jackie was stoked. "Who! Tell me, I gotta know!"
Tyler grinned, "Jaclyn Smith loved your shampoo and she's coming, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathleen Turner and Harrison Ford are the celebrities." Jackie didn't hear the rest of the guests – Harrison Ford was going to let her wash and condition his hair! This was the best day of her life!
"Jackie!" Tyler was snapping his fingers in front of her face. "Snap out of it."
She wiped her sweaty palms down the front of her pants. "Sorry, I guess I got a little star struck there. What were you saying?"
"We also got some male and female models from a local beauty college. This will be an all star commercial."
Jackie had to sit down. Four movie stars loved her shampoo? The same four volunteered to be models for the conditioner? She felt a little woozy. What would she wear? No more road shows? She could finally retire the van and get a real car!
"Oh, and Jackie, you can't tell anyone. The agents expressively forbid advance advertising – the clients are flying in to do the commercial and that's all, no press, no autographs – it's just business."
"Okay. When do I need to be here?"
The first thing Jackie did was go to the bank and check on her account. She had let her earnings reinvest themselves and she was never short of cash. Now she was going to buy a new car and that signified that she had arrived! She was engaged, she had a home, her little company with Fez was a success and Harrison Ford was coming to Kenosha!
Red was in the garage when she pulled into the driveway. She bounced out so excited Red thought she was going slip on the ice. He was cleaning his tools as part of his physical therapy.
"Oh Mr. Forman, I have exciting news but I can't tell you." She couldn't sit still. "I want you and Mrs. Forman to come with me."
"Where to Jackie? Why are you so damn excited?"
Jackie was beaming. "I'm buying a new car and I want you to have my van. I know you got rid of the Toyota, but next week after my commercial goes on air, I don't need a van anymore. I get to stay local and I don't have to sleep in it!"
"You were sleeping in your van?"
"Well, it saved money on hotel rooms. I had so many cities to go to, but I don't have to any more! Come with me?"
Red liked the idea of not having to buy a car and Jackie's van was still pretty new. Kitty liked it when they went shopping and there was plenty of room for his walker. "Okay sweetheart. Go get Kitty and tell her to bring my coat."
Red liked the van. The door frame had handles that helped him in and out of the driver's seat. Kitty like the captains chairs with arm rests. The heater kept her feet warm and the upholstery was nice and cushiony. Jackie sat in the back and said nothing so Red would feel confident that the van was easy to drive.
Jackie had picked out a Mustang and waited while Red checked it out and gave it his Forman blessing. She kissed the old weathered cheek and told them she would see them at home. The car dealer helped her sign the pink slip over to the Forman's as soon as Jackie handed him a check for the new car. She was giddy with excitement. She had to talk to Fez and Eric!
"Red, I didn't want to say anything in front of Jackie, but we could never have afforded this van."
"I know sweetheart, it's a good vehicle and she kept up the maintenance, I'm proud of her for that. Now that we have a car, we can get out and do stuff. I hated Paula's Volvo. This is an American car and dammit, I feel good! Let's go to lunch."
Jackie was waiting for Eric to get home. Fez was thrilled about the commercial and wanted to visit the set but Jackie forbid it. She asked him to really push the conditioner during the week and asked him how he was going to spend the money.
"Ahh, me and Teena are going to fly to Hawaii. She needs to tan up a little so we'll play on the beach and eat chocolate macadamia nuts all week long."
"Oh, did I thank you for corrupting my tennis partner?"
"No, but she taught me how to serve. Wait until you play against the Fez, I will squash you."
Jackie laughed, "I'm looking forward to it!"
Eric found Jackie upstairs and the Mustang in the driveway. "How are you here and when did dad get a new car."
"Eric put your glasses on."
Eric frowned. "What?"
Jackie climbed off the bed and gave him an old sweater vest. "Put this on over your shirt."
"Hey, this is ugly, what are you doing?"
She gave him a glare. "Just do it." Eric shrugged and pulled the vest over his shirt. Jackie pulled the collar out and waited until he put on his glasses. "Perfect. Now sit on the bed." Eric thought she was going nuts until she tackled him and starting kissing him. "Call me Marion."
"Oh Indy!" she squealed.
"Oh…Marion…." He said as he voice was swallowed in a frenzied kiss. His glasses were ripped off his face and she undressed him faster than he thought humanly possible.
"Take me Indy….I'm yours…" Well, Eric was a guy and well…..
"Harrison Ford. Really? You're going to use your product on Han Solo?"
"No… Indiana Jones! Just imagine if Carrie Fisher was a student, wouldn't you get a little nutty too?"
"Princess Leia - In my classroom? Oh hell yeah! Oh, I see…this is a good thing." He kissed her forehead as she rested against the pillows. "That was some…."
"A quickie. Go ahead and say it. I was going to meet you at school but you weren't there so…."
"We were we going to do it in your new car?"
"Oh yeah." She smiled.
Eric grinned. "That's why I love you so much!"
Jackie had the perfect outfit, matching shoes, and she pinned her hair back with rhinestone combs. The makeup lady made her face glow against the set lighting. Everything was perfect. Jackie was a mess. Jaclyn and the girls were in the green room waiting, and Harrison hadn't shown up yet. She was so nervous about meeting him she kept a tissue in her pocket for her sweaty palms.
There was some commotion beyond the set and there he was with his beautiful blue eyes and swaggering walk. He held out his hand to meet the inventor of his favorite shampoo and she fainted.
"Jackie are you okay?" She heard Tyler's concerned voice. Jackie struggled to sit up; Harrison was kneeling by the set manager. "Umm.. just nerves….I'm sorry, I never fainted before."
Harrison helped her stand up. "I'm glad to meet you." Jackie looked at the strong arm at her elbow and felt woozy again. Eric had the same kind of hands! "Me too." She squeaked. "Excuse me!" She ran behind the set and threw up in a trash can. Her head was sweating and she never felt this nervous before. Not even when she was at the top of the cheerleaders pyramid. God, this was terrible!
The makeup woman came back around and gave her a mint. "I fainted once when I met Elvis. It's natural." She quickly fixed Jackie's makeup and told Jackie to take a couple of deep breaths.
Minutes later, the professional shampoo woman stepped in front of the camera's and sold her new conditioner, Recovery, the only organic conditioner on the market.
When it was over, Harrison kissed her cheek and posed for a picture. Jaclyn asked for some bottles to take home with her and posed for a picture. Michelle was stuffing bottles in her bag and autographed some poster board advertising the conditioner. Kathleen signed the board and posed for a picture. Tyler declared the commercial a success and told Jackie he would call her when he had an air date.
Jackie drove home feeling like she was on a cloud. This was her best day ever.
It was early November when Jackie got the call. The second Friday on the shopping network on prime time television, her commercial would air. Jackie was sick with worry, what if her conditioner bombed? What if no one called to order? What if everyone saw her making googly eyes at Harrison?
Eric was proud and invited Fez and Teena and the Kelso's over to join the Forman's to watch the premier of Jackie's commercial. So far Jackie had told no one who the extra guests were. Eric only knew about Han Solo.
Michael, Brooke and Betsy were the first to arrive. Kelso gave Kitty a monkey hug and told her how much he missed her. Kitty blushed but loved the attention. She was shocked to see how much Betsy had grown and loved seeing Brooke again.
Jackie waved them into the living room where Eric sat with his dad. Kitty looked at Jackie. "Are you okay honey? I thought you'd be more excited than this."
Jackie was drinking cocoa. "I feel sick to my stomach – what if this is a failure? I mean my shampoo was personal. I went to people and they felt like they knew me, now I'm just selling it to a camera. Can I tell you a secret?"
Kitty sat at the table. She loved secrets. Jackie leaned forward, "Harrison Ford, the actor? He's one of my models and when he shook my hand, I fainted!"
Kitty gasped. "I saw him in the Fugitive earlier this year. He is so handsome!"
Jackie shook her head. "I know! What if I make a fool of myself on TV?" Kitty covered Jackie's small hand. "Don't think that way. You got to be on TV with the most handsome movie star and touch his hair. Do you know how lucky you are?"
Jackie smiled. That was a different way of thinking about it. Yeah, she was lucky, wait until her friends found out who else was in the commercial!
Fez and Teena showed up ten minutes before show time. Kitty had really missed Fez and his shampoo sessions. Red scowled, "At least you're not my son-in-law anymore!" Fez grinned "I missed you too Red!"
Kitty brought in several bowls of popcorn and everyone took seats on the furniture or floor. Jackie sat on Eric's lap as the clock ticked to the beginning of her show.
The half hour commercial was a success! Kelso was crazed that one of Charlie's Angel's was there, Fez was jealous that he didn't get to wash Kathleen Turner's naturally blond hair, Brooke loved Michelle Pfeiffer's dress and now Eric understood Jackie's affection for Indiana Jones.
Red was proud and almost felt compelled to purchase some of the conditioner for his thinning hair but realized he lived with the inventor and dismissed the thought. Jackie brought out the celebrity photos and the autographed card. Betsy was excited that her god-mother was on TV and would be forever immortalized in reruns and 35 mm film.
Eric was proud for different reasons. He knew his fiancée worked hard on this project and her celebrity was going to be talked about all over Kenosha. He loved that she made sure her engagement ring got in nearly every shot.
While the living room group was talking and reminiscing, Eric pulled her to the kitchen. "Jackie, I am so proud of you. I was kind of hoping we could play Indy and Marion again tonight…."
She wrapped her arms around his neck. "I'd like that. I was so nervous! I'm still nervous! I'm going to get some antacid. I'll be right back."
Eric went into the living room and announced, "Yeah, that was my fiancée on TV – you can get autographs later but remember, she's going to be a Forman as soon as dad can walk her down the aisle."
Red smiled – his strength was coming back a little each day and he was looking forward to the small wedding. Returning home was the best decision he ever made in his life.
Kitty rounded up the group. "Brooke, you and Michael get Eric's old room and Betsy gets the other. Fez, you just have to go home because you live close anyways. But make sure you come back because I'm making a turkey for Thanksgiving!"
Eric smiled as he heard his mom bossing everyone around. It was just like the old days.
Tyler had called on Sunday morning asking Jackie to come down to the studio on Monday for a meeting with some advertisers. She still felt sick and wondered if she was getting an ulcer. She had been so worried about this for weeks. This meeting was going to tell her what her future was. Should she bring up the face cream formula she had used on Eric?
She pulled her navy dress suit out of the closet and found her good pumps. Blue was a power color and she wanted to convey a young confident woman. She wouldn't let some advertisers tell her what to do with her product!
The jacket was a tight fit and she wondered if maybe she shouldn't have tried to wear a camisole and light sweater under it. She opted for the camisole only and a jacket over the top. But then, shoulder pads were going out of style anyways.
The meeting was a success as far as the product went. Several CEO's liked her product and wanted to advertise during some upcoming new Christmas shows. Would she be interested in plugging Recover and Fancy and Free on some late night television shows?
Jackie expressed that she would and Tyler suggested she look to losing some weight. "Jackie honey, the camera adds ten pounds and that suit does nothing for you dear."
Jackie drove home, how dare him to call her a fatty! But then she had been taking seconds of Mrs. Forman's great dinners. She could work this weight off by Christmas! Then she could make the appearances and start working on her special cream.
Kitty turned around when Jackie slammed the patio door closed. "Jackie honey, what happened?"
Jackie fell into the kitchen chair and tried not to cry. Her suit was tight and Tyler was right, she had gained weight. But she was 32 not 18! She wasn't some young model anymore. "Mrs. Forman, they told me I needed to lose weight – that I was too fat to be on TV."
Kitty smiled sadly. She knew Jackie had some vanity issue but she was a very beautiful woman. She stroked Jackie's dark hair. "Honey, the camera loves you. Every time I see your commercial and the way Harrison is looking at you, it's just obvious that you are a pretty girl."
"I Know!" She cried. "But they way they said it just hurt my feelings." Jackie struggled to get out of the suit coat and popped a button. "God, even my bra feels tight."
Kitty sat down, a smile curling on her lips. "Jackie, when was your last….cycle."
"I don't know. I'm never regular. Why?"
"Can you remember your last one?"
"August - maybe? We were moving my furniture in and Eric and I….oh my, you don't think…"
Kitty nodded. "I'm guessing but yes, those weren't just nerves that have been making you sick…You need to take a trip to the drug store honey."
The thought never occurred to Jackie. She thought she was too old to worry about this…."I'll be right back. Say nothing!"
Jackie returned from the drugstore with five different versions of an at home pregnancy test. She waited patiently at the kitchen table with Kitty who was more nervous than Jackie. "Now honey, even if it says positive, you still need a doctor's appointment. Those sticks often show false positives. But sweetie, I would love to be a grandma."
Jackie smiled at her future mother-in-law. "You'd be a good one too." The timer dinged loudly, startling both women. "Shall we check?"
Kitty and Jackie squeezed into the hall bathroom and examined the results. Jackie looked at Kitty in the mirror. "Is it possible to have all five be false positive?"
Kitty was grinning. "No – I'm going to be a grandmother and you're going to be a mommy!" Kitty hugged Jackie and kissed her head. "If we hurry, I can get you into the doctor's office this afternoon just to make sure."
"Shouldn't I tell Eric first?"
Kitty felt possessive of her pending grandchild. "What? And tell him it was a false positive? No! Let's get a firm answer before we tell anybody."
Jackie sat there with her legs hanging off the bed, the little paper gown covering her legs. "Wow, three months." She looked at Kitty. "But I had no clue. No morning sickness or any of that stuff that regular woman get. I thought I had an ulcer."
"Jackie, you are having a baby! You're right, Eric should have been here. But, let's get an ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow and then you can see the baby and hear the heartbeat."
"But I'm so old. Betsy's thirteen and I'm 32. Will it be normal?"
Kitty loved this girl. "Honey, all pregnancies are risky, there are women who have babies in their 40's! Remember when I thought I was pregnant but it was menopause?" Kitty touched Jackie's belly. "This is going to be a very much loved baby."
Jackie was still trying to figure out how she couldn't tell she was pregnant. "And they said I was fat! I'm pregnant! Ha!" Now she felt vindicated. "Mrs. Forman, I'm so glad you moved back to Point Place."
"Oh honey, me too! If I was in Miami, I would never see my only grandchild!"
"Well, let's not say anything to Eric until tomorrow okay? I mean he can know, but I don't want him to know how far along – he might freak out or something.
Kitty sighed. "He's just going to love you all the more."
Eric got home and noticed that Jackie's Mustang was gone. She must still be at that meeting. Eric pulled the roses out of the backseat and the small gift he picked up from the student store. He opened the door to see his dad sitting at the kitchen table looking upset.
"Hey dad, how are you?"
"Those roses better not be for me dumbass."
Eric grinned. "No, they're for Jackie. She had a big meeting with the advertisers today. They want to use her product during some shows next month. This is a bouquet of "congratulations" or "better luck next time"
"Well, you're Jackie and my wife took off somewhere and I'm starving." Eric set the flowers on the bar. "I'll make you a sandwich dad. Do you want a beer?"
"God yes, give me one since your mom's not here."
Eric made his dad a roast beef sandwich and noticed that he was using his left hand more. "Dad, is it just your leg that's weak? Your hand looks stronger." Red looked at his hand and made a fist. "What do you know, it is stronger. I guess working in the garage was better physical therapy than playing with those rubber balls."
Eric set a plate on the table. "Hey, at least you won't set off metal detectors at the airport!"
Red laughed and opened his beer, marveling that he could do that simple task now. "This is good son. Your mom is so happy with her new room and I have to admit I like the wood stove. My dad had one when I was a kid and it always kept my feet warm."
"I'm glad you like it dad. If it hadn't been for Jackie, I just might have sold it, but she made me see all the possibilities it had and I'm glad I listened."
"Well, that makes two of us. Hey, there's the Mustang."
"Okay Jackie, he's gonna love you and you're going to be a mom. Think pink and blue! Hahahaha" Kitty reminded her. Jackie smiled and looked through the door. Eric and Red were talking at the table. Red looked up and smiled. Kitty held Jackie's arm.
"Let me go in first and get Red out of the kitchen so you can tell Eric okay? Then come back and give me details okay?"
Jackie nodded her head and entered the kitchen as Red was being ushered into the living room. "Hurry up Red; I know that walker can move faster than that."
Eric got up and took Jackie's hand. "Hey how did it go?"
"Not exactly what I was expecting." She confessed.
Eric grabbed the roses and the gift. "These are for you."
"You got me flowers?" She smelled the roses. How thoughtful he was! "And a present?"
She put the flowers on the table and opened the gift box. Eric grinned, "You kept saying how cold your hands were so I thought…."
"They're lambskin. Oh Eric how sweet! Please sit down; I need to talk to you."
Eric sat at the table and Jackie sat next to him. "First, the meeting was great, their going to plug my conditioner and the shampoo together. I have to hire a manager to make sure I get paid every time a commercial runs and second, what are your plans for next summer vacation?"
Eric shrugged. "Well, this summer was so busy and I couldn't walk…I hadn't really thought about next year. Why do you ask?"
Jackie moved over to sit on his lap. She wanted to be close when she told him. Actually she felt so confused and strange she could cry. "Well, remember that last night on the big bed?"
"Ahh…the kitchen sink…I'll never forget it."
She bent low and whispered, "You're going to be a daddy." Eric froze; did he just hear what he thought he heard? "Say again?"
Jackie leaned back. "I'm pregnant. I checked five times and your mom took me to the doctor. It's real and you have to come with me for the ultrasound tomorrow."
Eric was still in shock. A dad? He was going to be a father? Eric Forman, Superdad!
"Eric, did you hear what I said?"
Eric crushed her to his chest and smiled into her hair. "Yes, I did and we are going to be a family! My own little family."
"Eric, you're squeezing me!" She came up for air. "I feel like I'm in shock like this isn't really happening."
"Me either. How come we didn't know?"
Jackie shrugged, "We've been so busy….I just thought I was worried about the product and had a bad case of the nerves. I didn't get morning sickness or nothing. It was only when they called me fat this morning…"
"Wait, someone call you fat? You want me to kick some ass for you?"
Jackie giggled. "Yes. No! I mean, it's sweet that you would offer. But, come with me tomorrow? Then we can find out all the details?"
"Missy, you couldn't keep me away."
The Christmas of 1994 was the happiest the Forman household ever enjoyed. Six month old Harrison Reginald Forman was sitting by the Christmas tree playing with Grandpa Red's car keys. Red was 99% recovered and enjoyed getting on the floor playing with his grandson.
Kitty was the proud grandmother toting little Harry around in his car seat in the van as she visited some of her old friends to show off the handsome young heir to the family.
Jackie's miracle face cream was bought by a pharmaceutical company when she showed them a binder full of pictures of Eric's recovery and how the application of her formula faded the scars – Eric was a poster boy for the new product.
Fez married Teena and opened a salon in Oahu for six months of each year. The other six, Jackie managed in Kenosha and every once in a while, a celebrity would come in for a special Jackie wash and set, signing her celebrity autograph board.
Michael finally got promoted and transferred to Kenosha to be closer to his friends and Brooke was expecting her second child with a 14 year gap between the two.
Eric was the most popular professor on campus – his marriage to Jackie was a big blow to Dale Wheat who signed on for night courses in Madison. Eric had a dedicated student teacher who would fill in for him when he had to fly with Jackie to a medical conference. Everyone wanted to see the sad broken man that healed into a hero.
Every night before he went to sleep, he said a pray of thanks for his wife…his son, his folks and the accident that brought them all together.
A/N – The author was losing it at the end folks. I could have gone on for a few more chapters about the pregnancy, but I've already done one like that. I hope this kept you entertained and that you'll be around for my next story.
Thanks so my dedicated reviewers…you know who you are and thanks to fat ppl for the idea.