Hey guys :) Once again thanks for the Reviews. I hope you continue to read and send in feedback. I have a lot going on in my life so writing this has been a real stress reliever for me so I hope that you send int he reviews so I can continue the story!
The following afternoon, Jackie and Hyde had to drive the rest of the gang to the airport. Their visit had been much to short for all of their liking, and it didn't exactly end up the way they had expected or hoped. As they walked to the gate where they had to say goodbye, Donna quickly pulled Jackie to the side while they boys began to say their goodbyes.
"Are you going to be okay?" Donna asked Jackie staring at her with a concerned expression.
Jackie sighed and pulled her sweater around her shoulders tighter, "Donna I'm going to be fine. I wish you would all stop staring at me like I'm a piece of glass that's a bout to shatter…"
Donna frowned, "What happened last night…I can't imagine how you must be feeling."
Jackie looked up at her with a blank face and shrugged, "Honestly…I'm not feeling much of anything."
"But that's not good either…" Donna whispered shaking her head, "Maybe you should come home for awhile. You could stay with the Formans and-"
Jackie shook her head adamantly. "No. No way Donna. I'm not going back to Point Place. I've come so far and I'm not going backwards."
Donna stared at her short friend; she had always looked so small in her eyes. She always seemed so vulnerable and fragile, and yet she was beginning to see she was not only stubborn, but she was a hell of a lot stronger than people gave her credit for.
"Okay. Fine. I understand…" She whispered sadly.
Jackie nodded and smiled softly, "I won't pretend like it didn't scare me to death Donna. But you guys got to me before he could…" She paused and shivered at the thought of what could have happened, "All that matters is that it didn't get to that point. Okay?"
Donna nodded slowly and reached out a hand to Jackie's arm, "You know I'm here for you. I know I may not have been the best friend the past couple of months…but I'm here now." She smiled and shrugged, "Just a phone call away…"
Jackie smiled brighter and pulled Donna towards her, "Come here you crazy lumberjack…"
Donna laughed and hugged Jackie back, "I'm gonna miss you midget."
Jackie held her tighter and smiled, "I'll be home for Thanksgiving. I promise."
When Donna pulled away she looked at her sternly, "You better be…or I'll be on the next plane over with Mrs. Forman to drag your ass back home."
Jackie chuckled and linked her arm with Donna's as they walked towards the boys, "Duly noted."
The four guys smiled at the girls and Kelso pulled Jackie in for a tight embrace, "Don't stay out here too long…Point Place isn't the same without you guys."
Jackie smiled and hugged him back; "We will see you in a month."
Fez pouted and pushed Kelso away as he pulled Jackie towards him, "Ai…I hate saying goodbye. Especially to you my beautiful goddess."
Jackie smiled and held him close; "It's not forever Fezzie."
Eric stood back as their friends all hugged Jackie and then he sighed, "You know…the past few days I've learned you're not as bad as I thought you were."
Jackie shrugged, "I guess I could say the same thing about you…you know minus the whole throwing up for hours when you first got here." She said with a smirk.
Eric rolled his eyes as his friends laughed, "I was hoping we could put that behind us and never speak of it again…"
"We could…" Jackie said nodding, "But you do refer to me as the devil and so I have to live up to the name."
Eric laughed and pulled her in for a hug, "Well played Burkhart…well played."
She smiled and hugged him back, "Tell your parents I said hi and that I miss them."
"I will." He kissed her cheek and pulled away from her and said sincerely, "Take care of yourself…okay?"
She smiled at his concern. "I will."
He nodded and then walked back to Fez, Kelso and Donna as their flight was called. The four of them walked through the gate and waved one last time as Jackie and Hyde stood back and watched them all leave. They waited until the plane took off and then left the airport to go back to the car where Sadie was anxiously waiting.
Jackie sat in the passenger seat, and Sadie sat between them loving being in the car with her two favorite people. Hyde turned down the radio as he drove and looked over at Jackie who was staring out the window and stroking Sadie behind the ear.
"Are you in a rush to get back home?" He asked her, wanting to spend as much time with her as he could to make sure she was okay.
She turned back to him slowly and shook her head, "No. I'm in no rush. Why?"
He shrugged, "Want to hang out for a bit?"
She smiled and nodded, "I'd like that…"
He nodded before turning back to the road and driving until he came to the harbor in the city. Jackie hooked Sadie up to her leash and let her hop out of the car, she anxiously began to sniff around as Jackie and Hyde walked behind her.
"It was weird saying goodbye to them this time around…" Hyde said honestly.
Jackie looked over at them, "What do you mean?"
He shrugged and shoved his hands in his pockets, "I don't know. It felt different than last time…"
Jackie stared down at the road as she talked to him, "I didn't actually say goodbye…so it wasn't that strange for me."
"No…you didn't." He whispered, the hurt evident in his voice.
She wrapped the leash around one of her hands and pushed some hair out of her face from the wind as she looked over at him, "I suppose we never really talked about that…"
"No. We didn't…I didn't think you would want too." He said shrugging.
Jackie walked over towards the dock and sat down, Hyde watched her for a few moments before he followed her. Sitting down beside her, he put an arm around Sadie who was staring down at the ducks in the water.
"I couldn't face you…" She whispered, never looking at him as she spoke. "I knew that seeing your face would make me want to stay…"
"I probably wouldn't have taken it that well if you did tell me you wanted to leave." Hyde said softly.
She turned towards him and said in a flat tone, "You probably would have told me to have a nice trip…"
He pursed his lips but couldn't help but laugh, she was definitely tougher than everyone gave her credit for. "Ouch…"
She raised an eyebrow and scoffed, "Yeah…ouch."
"Are you sure you want to talk about this right now? I'm sure you are really emotional after everything that has happened in the last 24 hours…" He said with concern evident in his voice.
Jackie sighed and pulled her legs up into and crossed them, she wrapped her sweater around her closer because the wind was picking up. "I think we've been avoiding it for long enough…"
"I didn't want to upset you…" He said honestly, "I was trying to take things at your pace."
She nodded and looked out back at the water, "Did you read the letter?"
"Yes." He let the answer hang in the air for a moment before continuing, "I didn't want too…I think at first I felt that if I did read it…it would make it all real."
"And what did you think of it?" She asked as she suddenly found the ducks very interesting to look at.
"It was very honest…" Hyde whispered as his voice cracked with emotion, "But I was actually expecting it to be a lot more aggressive than it was."
"What do you mean?" She asked turning back to him with a curious expression.
He smirked at her, "I guess I expected you to say that you hated me and that you didn't care if you ever saw me again."
She smirked, "That was in the first draft…but I scrapped it for some reason."
He chuckled, "Well I'm glad you did…" She smiled and turned back to the water again, "It mad me sad, and angry but not at you…at myself."
"Why?" She said in a small, pained voice.
"Because it was more evidence of just how much I had screwed things up…about how badly I had hurt you. And it killed me…" He said this while staring deep into her eyes, hoping that she would see how genuinely sorry he was and how much he actually cared.
Jackie felt her heart racing in her chest; she wondered if now was the right time to do this. But she realized there really was no turning back…and they had been avoiding it, which wasn't good either.
"Can I ask you something about Sam?" She asked in a soft, shaky voice.
He never took his eyes off of her as he nodded his head, "Sure."
She swallowed hard and licked her lips, her mouth felt very dry at the moment. "Did you want to marry her?"
He smirked and shook his head, "I was drunk…"
"Yes…but did you want to marry her?" She asked again, ignoring his answer.
Hyde sighed and rested his elbows on his knees. "No."
"Then why did you do it?" She asked, her eyes filling up with tears at the memory. "Why did you marry her when you said you couldn't marry me?"
He was quiet for a moment, he knew the answer but he was afraid this moment was going to push her away again. He reached beside him and picked a pebble up on the ground and tossed it into the harbor.
"When I left the hotel…I was in such a rage that everything was a complete blur." As he started to speak, she felt like she couldn't turn away form him even though he wasn't looking at her. "I remember getting into the car…and hearing you screaming after me…but I couldn't stop." He picked up another pebble and tossed it farther this time, "And when I got to Vegas…I went straight to the bar. I stared drinking as much as I possibly could…cuz the only thing I could see at that point was you and Kelso in a towel…"
"Steven I-" She started to say as her voice cracked, but he ignored her.
"I don't even know how long I was sitting at the bar, how many drinks I had…" He threw another pebble; Sadie tugged on her leash as if she wanted to jump in the water after it but Jackie pulled her back and continued to listen. "And then…somehow Sam ended up beside me…I don't even know what we talked about. But I just remember thinking…she is nothing like Jackie…"
"I still don't understand…" She whispered to him as Sadie continued to tug on her leash.
Hyde threw another pebble and then sighed, letting his hand fall into his lap. "I wanted to forget you ever existed. I want to erase any memory I had of you because I was so…" He paused and smiled sadly, feeling the lump in his throat grow he cracked out, "I was so hurt…"
Jackie let his words hang in the air for a few minutes, as he eyes burned with the tears that were threatening to spill over. She closed her eyes tightly and turned towards the water, unable to look at him any longer as the old feelings began to resurface.
"You believe me when I say nothing happened don't you?" She asked nervously.
Hyde nodded without turning to look at her, "Now I do."
"Why now? Why not then?" She asked turning back to him starting to feel angry.
He shook his head sadly and turned back to her, "Jackie how did you feel when Sam showed up and said she was my wife?"
Her heart flipped in her chest and she whispered, "Like someone had ripped out my heart and ripped it into a million pieces…"
He nodded slowly and turned his body towards her, "And you ran off right away." He paused, "Because you were hurt…because you couldn't' be in the same room as me…"
"And that's how you felt…" She said staring intently at him.
He nodded and then turned back to the water, "Exactly. That's how I felt. Even though now I know it's not true…at that moment I was so upset I couldn't listen to reason. And so I did a really stupid thing…and I'm going to spend the rest of my life regretting that I left without hearing you out…" He shrugged and began to throw pebbles again, "But it is what it is and I can't change it…I can only move on from it. And that's what I'm trying to do…"
All the emotions she had been feeling in the last few months felt so overwhelming. And after what happened yesterday, she felt so extremely exhausted she didn't think she could sit here any longer.
She sighed and wiped a tear away from her face as she laughed slightly to herself, "I'm so tired…"
Hyde nodded, still not looking over at her. "Me too Jackie…me too…"
They knew they had talked about enough today; it was time to let it drop before it went to far. Things were at a good place for them, and pushing it any further would only send them backwards rather than forwards.
They had the rest of their lives to hash out the past…
Later that day; Hyde drove Jackie back to her apartment in Tacoma. He helped her carry her bags upstairs to her floor and walked her and Sadie to the door.
Jackie unlocked it and walked inside, he followed her inside. "Thanks for your help…" She said as she threw her keys down on the table.
Hyde put her bags on the couch and turned back to her, "No problem."
She leaned down and unhooked Sadie from her leash and she immediately ran over to her water bowl leaving her parents alone.
Jackie rubbed her hands together nervously and looked around the apartment, "Um…so I have a couple of shoots to do this week with Anna. I don't know how much free time I'll have…"
He stared at her for a moment and wondered if what she was saying was true, or if she was saying it because she needed and wanted space. "Sure. I understand…"
She took a deep breath and turned back to him, "I can't thank you enough for saving me last night…"
He smiled at her, "You know I'd do it again in a heart beat…"
She smiled back and nodded, "I know…"
He took a step towards her and stared her straight in the eye, "I meant what I said to you last night Jackie…I won't ever let anyone hurt you."
She shoved her hands in her pockets, hoping he wouldn't see that they were shaking. "I know…" She whispered again.
He took a deep breath, leaned in to her and kissed her forehead again. "Call me if you need anything Jacks."
She watched him walk to the door and wanted nothing more than to run after him and hold him so tight he would never be able to leave. But she was so drained, every part of her body and mind felt like it was reaching their breaking point and she just wanted to close her eyes…
When he got to the door, he turned and looked at her as he opened it. He smiled once more before turning and walking through it without saying another word.
Jackie stared at the closed door for a what felt like an eternity until she felt Sadie pawing at her leg. She quickly snapped out of her daze and leaned down to scoop Sadie up, snuggling her neck to make herself feel safer.
"God do I love that man…" She whispered, feeling good about finally letting the words out but safe knowing that no one else could hear them.
The next day, Hyde was at work busy stacking a new shipment of records. He hadn't heard from Jackie at all last night and it had been hard not to call her and check in. However he had a feeling she wouldn't answer, she seemed like she just wanted to be on her own to think things through.
The last few days had been extremely draining. Hell…the last few months had been emotionally draining if he was being honest with himself. Sighing, he ran a hand through his unruly hair and made his way towards his office where he heard his phone ringing.
He sat down beside his desk and closed his eyes as he answered the phone, "Grooves. How may I help you?"
"Hey it's Eric…" He heard the person on the other end of the phone say.
Hyde relaxed a little and rested his head on the back of his chair, "Hey Forman. What's up?"
"I thought I should call and check in on everything, how's Jackie doing?" He asked sincerely worried about her.
"I'm not really sure…" Hyde said sadly, "We hung out for a bit after we dropped you guys off but then I took her home and I haven't heard from her since."
"I'm not really surprised…" Eric said sighing.
Hyde chuckled, "She's changed so much…usually she would cling to me if she was upset and needed something. But now…"
"Now she just wants to push you as far away as possible…" Eric said finishing Hyde's train of thought.
"Pretty much." He said reaching for his soda on the desk, he took a sip. "Do you know if she talked to Donna about what happened?"
"Not really. She just said Jackie said all that mattered was that it didn't result in anything because you got there first…" Eric said.
"I don't' know what I would have done if I hadn't gotten there in time…if I had walked in there and he was ra-" Hyde started feeling his blood boil and his muscles tighten.
"But that didn't happen. And we should all be grateful for that…" Eric said trying to reason with him.
Hyde was quiet before he talked again, "I don't know how to fix everything that's happened between us. I don't know how to fix her…"
"Something's can't be fixed…" Eric said sadly.
Hyde grunted, "Gee thanks Forman…cuz that's exactly what I want to hear."
"Look I'm sorry." Eric said sighing, "It's not like I want all this to be happening. I just don't want to see you get your hopes up that things will get better and then they don't…"
"So you don't think I have a chance at getting back together with her?" He asked.
"I don't know. It could really go either way…" Eric said to his old friend, "I feel like so much has changed over the last few years ya know? I never would have thought the six us would be where we are today…"
"What? Did you think we were all going to be in the basement forever?" Hyde asked with a sad chuckle.
"It would have been nice, don't you think?" Eric asked.
Hyde smiled, thinking about how close they all had been at one point. "Yeah. It would have been nice. I'd give anything to go back to those days…as boring and dramatic as it all seemed at the time…it was a hell of a lot better than our lives right now."
"Then why don't you just come home Hyde?" Eric asked hopefully. "Maybe that's what you need to do…"
"You know I can't do that Forman…" Hyde said feeling tired again.
"But why not? What is staying out there accomplishing? I know you didn't know she was going to be there when you left…but now it just seems so freaking complicated. Maybe if you come home you will be able to get a better perspective on things…" Eric said trying to reason with him.
"I can't leave her Forman…especially not now." Hyde said honestly.
"If she doesn't want to be with you then what are you doing?" Eric asked, trying to understand his reason for staying.
"Even if she doesn't want to be with me in that way…I owe it to her to support her now." Hyde said with confidence, "I was never there for her in the way she deserved before. I need to help her get back on her feet again…No I didn't know she was going to be here when I moved. But now she's here…and I won't leave her alone again."
"And what if she takes off again?" Eric asked feeling nervous.
"Well I'll cross that bridge when and if I come to it…" Hyde said feeling his heart race in his chest at the thought of her leaving him again.
Eric sighed; he knew there was no arguing with Hyde when he made his mind about something. "I just don't want to see you lose everything you have built for yourself…"
"Forman I have a great job…I'm proud of what I've done. But it doesn't really mean anything to me anymore…not compared to what I lost." Hyde said feeling sad.
"I may not understand it…but I will respect it if that's what you want to do." Eric said honestly.
"Thanks Forman. I appreciate it." Hyde said.
"Hey…what are friends for?" Eric said as Hyde chuckled, "I'll call you in a few days okay? Take good care of Jackie…"
"I will." Hyde said, "Say hi to your parents for me and tell your Mom I'll call her soon."
"You better. She didn't even ask me about the trip at all for the first hour I was home. She just wanted to know if you looked like you were eating and sleeping enough." Eric said.
Hyde chuckled. "Tell her I love her."
"Aww…you do have a heart." Eric said cracking up on the other end.
"Get bent Forman." Hyde said as he slammed the phone down on the receiver again.
He couldn't help but laugh though afterwards, as much as he wanted to go home to his family…he knew his place was here with Jackie. Whatever she wanted…whatever she needed he'd be here for her. He just hoped eventually…she would want the same thing as he did.
Later that night, Jackie was washing her dishes after making dinner when she heard a knock on the door. She dried her hands as Sadie jumped up and down barking loudly, she looked through the peephole and smiled when she saw Liz and Anna on the other side.
She opened it and smiled, "Hey."
Liz held out a bag of candy, "We came as soon as we got your message…" She said with a pout, "Do you want to drown your sorrows in chocolate?"
Jackie laughed and stepped aside to let them in, "Couldn't hurt."
The three of them walked over to the couch and sat down as they began to eat the candy together. Sadie jumped up beside Jackie and let her tail wag, hoping she would share with her.
"So are you okay?" Anna asked looking Jackie up and down, "I mean I know he didn't get to actually…" She shivered at the thought and shook her head, "But did he hurt you at all?"
Jackie shrugged, "I have a few bruises on my back but they should go away soon."
Liz sighed sadly, "God I can't believe it…what a creep."
Jackie nodded and bit into a peanut butter cup, "I'm just lucky my friends were there and Hyde got into the room in time. I don't want to think about what would have happened if-"
"Don't think about it…" Anna whispered.
Jackie sighed and pulled a blanket around her, "The crazy thing is…I don't know what I'm more upset about. What happened in the club…or my talk with Steven."
"Jackie I think it's pretty obvious that you still have feelings for him…" Liz said staring at her friend with concern in her eyes, "When are you just going to admit it to him?"
"It's not that simple Liz…I would love to say that I could just be with him again. I know what he means to me…but I'm afraid it won't last. I am so grateful to have him as a friend right now that I don't want to lose him again…" She whispered.
"But how long can you play this game?" She asked, "How long can you two pretend that there isn't anything else going on between you?"
"I don't know…" Jackie smirked and shrugged, "Forever?"
"Jackie…" Liz said laughing sympathetically.
Jackie sighed again and threw down the other half of her uneaten peanut butter cup, "Yesterday when he dropped me off…all I wanted to do was pull him close and tell him to never leave me again. I wanted to kiss him…and make him erase the feeling of that man's hands on me…"
"It's probably a good thing that you didn't do that…" Anna said, "As much as you care about him it could have complicated things even more. You may have broken down emotionally after everything that had happened…"
Jackie was quiet for a moment; "I haven't been with another man since Steven…"
"That's a long time…" Liz whispered, surprised by her statement.
"I know that I could never feel what I feel with him if I slept with someone else…it wouldn't be right…" She said wiping her tears away.
"I think that tells you what you have to do…" Anna said to her with a smile.
Jackie sighed again and rested her head on the back of the couch, "I know…but I'm scared."
"So then take a little bit more time…let everything calm down a little and then you can face your future." Liz suggested.
Jackie smiled and pulled her blanket around her tighter again, "Do you think that two people can be happy? Truly be happy…after going through so much?"
"If they love each other as much as the two of you do…" Anna whispered with a smile, "Then yes…"
"I just want to be happy again…" She said with tears in her eyes.
Anna smiled wider and leaned forward to squeeze her hand, "You will be happy again Jackie. You will be…"
Jackie smiled at her two friends and let her emotions wash over her. She felt so exhausted by everything but she knew the time was coming when she was going to have to finally face everything she had been hiding from for months.
She just hoped she was going to be ready for when it came…
But more importantly she hoped that Hyde was ready to be the man she so desperately needed him to be…
So...the way I have this all planned out in my head...there aren't really that many more chapters before it's over. So if you want me to continue so you see how it all ends, send in a review and I'll make sure to update as soon as I can. Thanks! Hope you enjoyed :)