A/N: Okay, just warning you, this is quite the long author's note, haha, so if you want to skip it and just read the epilogue, I understand. :D.
So here it is, guys – the final update on "Haunted". This is actually the first story that I've ever finished (besides oneshots). I really couldn't have done it without you guys; your reviews really kept me motivated to finish. Ahh I'm gonna miss writing this story so much… Haha, anyways, enough of my sappy speech. Just one more quick note and then the epilogue, I promise!
I've gotten the opportunity to thank most of my reviewers individually through review replies, but sadly, I cannot reply to anonymous reviews. So I just wanted to thank you guys!
Anna: You've reviewed just about every chapter since the beginning, and I really appreciate that! I always looked forward to reading your reviews. Thank you so, so much for your reviews :D ^^ You rock!
Fan: Your reviews were always long and encouraging, and once you started reading this story, you reviewed pretty much every chapter. It totally helped me to finish the story, rather than let myself be defeated by writer's block! You're awesome, and thank you so, so much for your reviews!
There were also many other anonymous reviewers, and you guys totally helped me to not give up on this story, too! So thank you ^^
Disclaimer: I do not own "That 70's Show" or any of the characters. This story is merely for entertainment purposes, and I am not getting paid in any way, shape, or form.
Epilogue: Happily Ever After:
She was almost finished. She put the scissors in her pocket and took a step back, admiring her work. It had cost her an extra three hours at the office, but it was worth it. Her fliers were perfect. There was going to be auditions next week for the lead role in her new television show, and she knew now that everyone would want to sign up after looking at her flawless posters.
"Well, that's a wrap," she giggled to herself as she stacked the fliers in a pile and locked up her office.
She didn't have a car, and the apartment was fairly close anyways, so she just figured that she'd walk. In the back of her mind, she knew that it wasn't really a good idea, considering that it was one in the morning, but she was sure that her chances of actually getting attacked were slim to none. Most people had enough sense not to mess with Jackie Burkhart… right?
She stepped outside into the brisk autumn air and shivered a little bit. It was chillier than she'd expected it to be.
Her mind began wandering as she walked. She knew that she'd have to wait until the morning to call Hyde, which disappointed her. She always looked forward to talking to him – it was the only thing here in Chicago that kept her going. But since it was so late, and she didn't want to wake him up, she decided she would call in the morning.
"Hey beautiful," a man suddenly said darkly, stepping out from the shadows. Jackie whirled around to see a man with dark hair. He was dressed in all black.
She decided to quicken her pace. There was a sort of vibe about this man that made Jackie sick to her stomach. Hopefully if she just ignored him, he would just give up.
"Where you going so quickly, sweetie?" he called after her. "Come on, we barely know each other, and you're going to leave so fast?"
"Leave me alone," she said firmly, turning around for half a second.
"Feisty, feisty," he said, shaking his head. "I like 'em that way." And then, Jackie was running. She was running as quick as she could. When she heard quick footsteps behind her, she began screaming.
"What the hell do you want?" Jackie shouted as she continued running. The man chasing her wasn't too far behind.
"You're a pretty young girl," he said. "Isn't it obvious?"
"I have a boyfriend who could kick your ass," Jackie threatened as she yet again quickened her pace.
"Don't be so sure," the man snickered. "He may be at a bit of a… disadvantage against me." A gunshot was suddenly heard and Jackie screamed.
"Get out of here!" she cried.
"And who's going to stop me?"
"Steven!" Jackie yelled, even though she knew he was miles and miles away. "Donna! Fez! Michael! Help me!"
The man grabbed onto Jackie's ponytail roughly, pulling her back and restraining her from escaping.
"What's your name, sweetie?" Jackie struggled against the man, pulling and pushing and screaming in pain as her hair was tugged.
She reached in her pocket and grabbed the pair of scissors from earlier. She snipped off part of the ponytail that the man was holding, and then she took off running again.
"You can run, and you can hide, but it won't do any good, Jackie," he said in a polite, yet menacing voice.
She was screaming. She was running down a dark road in the dead of night. He was following her. He was yelling at her and there was a knife in his hand and a gun in his pocket.
She ran faster, screaming more and more as her attacker slowly caught up. She shouted for anyone that could help her – anyone, anyone. Even though half of the people that she yelled for weren't even within a hundred miles of her.
Her mind was racing and her breath was coming in short gasps. She had to get away.
She screamed again as she stepped on her shoelace, tripping her and causing her to smash her elbows into the ground. She cringed, cussing under her breath at the pain. She felt weight on her back and then she screamed again.
"You thought you could get away," he laughed maniacally, "but in truth, Jackie Burkhart, is that you will never escape me. You can run and you can hide, but I will always catch up to you. I will always find you. Because you are mine."
"Leave me alone!" she shouted. "I'll call the police!"
"You're beautiful," he snickered, completely ignoring her previous comment.
"Please let me go!" Jackie shrieked as she fought to squirm free. It wasn't much use, though. She was lying on her stomach and the man was weighing her down on her back. "Please! I'll pay!"
"I don't want your money," he growled as he flipped her over. Jackie cried out in pain as her wrist twisted morbidly. She couldn't find her voice to speak for the next couple minutes. She could only scream in terror and pain. He began kissing her neck roughly.
"Let me go!"
"Shut it, beautiful," he sneered as he punched her face, leaving a black eye. She gasped for air – he was crushing her. She couldn't move – she couldn't' breathe. She heard a couple of ribs crack and she gasped in pain. "Shut your mouth!" He punched her shoulders and everywhere else, it seemed. To Jackie, the pain never ended.
She'd given up squirming by the time he ripped her shirt off. She could only cry and sob.
She knew it was over. She was going to die. Tears began pouring down her cheeks as she thought of all the things that she'd never gotten to do in life – get married, have a family, grow old with the love of her life, go to Europe, learn how to cook food that was actually edible, and become famous.
And she would never get to tell Hyde how much she truly loved him…
Jackie gasped as her eyes shot open. It had been a long time since she'd dreamt of Josh, and although it had been years since the attack, her dreams of him never ceased to terrify her.
She sat up, reaching over to the nightstand to turn on the lamp. When it was just light enough to see, Jackie took a good look around. There was nothing out of the ordinary. Everything was as it should be.
"He's dead," she whispered to herself. "He's not here. He'll never be here."
"Jackie?" a groggy Hyde asked as he sat up. "You okay?"
"Yeah," she replied. "I'm fine."
"What happened?" he asked, immediately seeing through her façade. "I'm not stupid." Jackie shook her head.
"I never said you were. It was just… that dream again," she finally said. She began absent-mindedly fiddling with her wedding band. Hyde just responded by pulling her into a tight embrace.
"It's okay," he promised. "Josh is dead. There's no way-,"
"Don't worry, I'm aware that he's dead," Jackie interrupted as she put her arms around his neck. "It just always feels so real."
"I know," Hyde told her. "The doctors said that you could never fully recover from such a horrible experience," he said regretfully. "But it'll get better with time."
"It's been almost ten years," Jackie sighed.
"And you haven't had that dream in a long time," Hyde explained. "See? We're making progress." Jackie couldn't help but smile a little.
"True," she agreed. Then she kissed him passionately.
In that kiss, she just felt complete. She always felt happy with Hyde – she felt like she belonged. She felt loved, and she felt love for him.
Jackie and Hyde both pulled away abruptly as they turned to face their three year old daughter who had just jumped onto the bed.
"Why are you eating daddy's face?" she inquired. Jackie giggled, and even Hyde laughed a little bit.
"What are you doing up so late, Sarah?" Hyde asked as he pulled the little girl in for a big hug.
"I couldn't sleep," Sarah answered.
"Probably these footy-pajamas," Hyde mumbled. "Jackie, I told you they were ridiculous."
"They keep her warm!" Jackie defended. "Plus, they're pink. Her favorite color, right?"
"Yep!" Sarah yelled excitedly. Both Hyde and Jackie shushed her immediately.
"Your brother's trying to sleep," Jackie reminded Sarah.
"Is Sarah up again?" asked a five year old boy. He was standing at the door, rubbing his green eyes tiredly. He was a spitting image of his father – except for the eyes, of course. Hyde's eyes were blue.
"She never runs out of energy, Jason. You should know that by now," Jackie laughed. Jason climbed onto the bed, as well, so now the whole family was together.
And what a happy family they were.
"All right, you two, back to bed now," Jackie said, smiling down at them. "We have a big day tomorrow. Mandy's coming over in the morning, and then Aunt Donna and Uncle Eric are coming over later-,"
"Which means Luke and Erica are coming over!" Jason grinned. Jackie laughed. She still didn't know how Eric had convinced Donna to let him name one of their children after a Star Wars character. Some things never changed. "What about Uncle Kelso and Betsy and Aunt Brooke? Uncle Fez?"
"Yea, they're coming," Hyde told him.
"What about Grandma Kitty and Grandpa Red?" Sarah asked. Hyde ran his hand through his daughter's raven locks and chuckled. Kitty spoiled their children rotten.
"They're coming, too," Hyde promised. Damn, it's gonna be like a party here tomorrow… but without circle time, he thought to himself. Sarah smiled up at Hyde, her bright blue eyes filled with excitement and childhood innocence.
"Now I won't be able to sleep at all," Sarah announced.
"But they won't be able to come over if you don't sleep tonight," Jackie said, shaking her head. "Because you'll be too tired. Then you'll have to wait even longer." Sarah's eyes went wide.
"To the royal chamber!" she declared as she made a dash to her bedroom. Jason also went back to bed, rolling his eyes.
"The royal chamber?" Hyde asked in disbelief once both of the children had left.
"Hey, it's your fault," Jackie laughed. "You're the one who's always calling her your little princess." Hyde blushed.
"I think it's cute," Jackie laughed. "You play catch with Jason and do manly things with him, but then you get all soft and girly like Eric when you're with Sarah. You're a perfect father," she whispered, kissing his lips softly.
"I love you," he told her quietly. Jackie grinned. It was a nice change to hear him say it first.
"I love you, too," she replied.
This was Jackie Burkhart Hyde's life now. Sweet and wonderful children, loving husband, great friends, and an awesome job (stay at home mom).
She and her friends had been through so much, but they'd gotten through it together. She was on top of the world – for once, everything seemed right.
Her stalker, 'Josh', was gone. Jackie had never learned his real name, and she never wanted to. She felt no need to know anything about him. He was no longer a problem. He was long gone and he only appeared in her dreams – from time to time. And even that was becoming less and less frequent.
And after every dream, she knew that it was all okay – she knew that she and her family were safe.
It was so long ago, but she knew that she would never forget it. And that was okay. She'd learned to accept it, and she knew that it had made her stronger. It had made her relationship with Hyde stronger. It had made her appreciate everything in life. It had caused her to live happily ever after.
Jackie was free of 'Josh'. And she was no longer haunted.
A/N: Ahh no more dramatic questions that I can ask… lol. Everybody lived happily ever after!
Anyways, a review always makes my day, so if you have a second, I'd totally appreciate it! ^^
Also, some chapters back, a few anonymous reviewers (Joey, 23JYDE and MrsJackieHyde) gave me an idea to write a story about when Hyde found out that Jackie was alone in the mansion and she started staying with him in the basement. I just wanted to let you guys know that I finally did finish that, and it has been posted! It's called "Here With Me", rated T, genre Romance/Hurt/Comfort, so check it out if you have a minute.
Anyways, guys, thanks so much for reading and reviewing "Haunted". You guys are the best! I loves yous!