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It Was Only a Matter of Time (15/15)

Chapter Fourteen: This Girl is Going to be the Death of Me

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Chapter Fifteen: It Was Only a Matter of Time

“Where are you going to stay?” Donna asked.

Jackie shrugged. She didn’t have any other friends in Point Place. “I just know I can’t stay here.” It was too painful being so close to Steven. “Maybe I’ll try to get my job back in Chicago.”

Donna sat on the bed next to Jackie’s pink suitcase. She seemed at a loss for words. It wasn’t like Donna not to have some meaningful advice. Jackie closed the suitcase and sighed. She felt like her life was over. How did it happen so quickly?

Just a few weeks ago she was perfectly happy. She had turned eighteen, graduated from high school. She had a boyfriend who supposedly loved her and a career ready to take flight. Now she sat in Donna’s room with nothing—no job, no place to live, and no Steven. Tears burned her eyes again, but she refused to cry anymore over Steven Hyde.

Steven had made it perfectly clear how he felt about her. It wasn’t so much in what he had said to her—she knew that he had been angry and probably didn’t mean any of it—but he still said it, and that was what hurt the most. How could he say those things in such a callous way without even flinching? Steven could be so cold sometimes.

He had stood there and told her he had slept with that skank with a straight face. He had purposely tried to hurt her. Jackie was pretty sure he hadn’t slept with Missy. He promised never to do that again, and she trusted him, but seeing that tramp draped around him had sent her head spinning. She couldn’t think of anything else. Continue reading “It Was Only a Matter of Time (15/15)”

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It Was Only a Matter of Time (14/15)

Chapter Thirteen: My Buddy, Jack | Chapter Fifteen: It Was Only a Matter of Time

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Chapter Fourteen: This Girl is Going to be the Death of Me

Hyde stayed that way, in a drunken stupor, for nearly a week. He had briefly considered going next door and apologizing to Donna and trying to find out where Jackie had gone, but he couldn’t bring himself to look her in the eye. He guessed she wasn’t speaking to him anyway since he hadn’t gone after Jackie. Mrs. Forman came down a couple times a day to check on him.

She would knock and try to get him to eat something. He refused to leave his room so she left sandwiches outside his door. He ate them, but they left a sour taste in his mouth. WB had stopped by when Hyde hadn’t shown up for work. At first, he was fuming, but when he saw Hyde’s face, his voice softened. He had asked Hyde if everything was all right. Hyde, of course, lied through his teeth. He told his father he was coming down with the flu. He must have looked like hell because WB told him to take the week off.

He hadn’t had anything to drink the night before. He knew his little vacation was coming to an end, and he needed to sober up. Time to face the real world, he told himself. The room was dark and cold. He put on a clean t-shirt from the hamper near his door. Mrs. Forman must have done his laundry.

Hyde wondered what time it was. He wondered what the heck day it was. His mind was still fuzzy. Fez and Charlie were watching Price Is Right but barely paid any attention to him as he went up the stairs to the kitchen. Mrs. Forman was attacking some burnt food on the stove with a sad-looking sponge. She looked startled when he came through the door.

“Oh, Steven, you’re up,” she said. “How are you feeling, honey?”

Hyde wasn’t sure how much Mrs. Forman knew. She acted like a bit of scatterbrain most of the time, but she understood a lot more then she let on. Like with Laurie sleeping around or Red sneaking food he wasn’t supposed to have. Hyde poured himself a cup of coffee and sat at the table, rubbing his temples.

“Are you hungry?” she asked. Continue reading “It Was Only a Matter of Time (14/15)”

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It Was Only a Matter of Time (13/15)

Chapter Twelve: It’s Not What You Think | Chapter Fourteen: This Girl is Going to be the Death of Me

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Chapter Thirteen: My Buddy, Jack

I need to find her, Hyde kept telling himself as he got in the car. Except he didn’t go look for her. He just drove home feeling too exhausted to do much of anything. He grabbed a beer from the fridge and slumped into one of the kitchen chairs. Red and Mrs. Forman banged through the swinging door, arms around each other, flushed and all smiles. Hyde downed the rest of his beer in one gulp, almost gagging himself.

“Oh, Steven, you’re home early,” Mrs. Forman said with a shimmery laugh.

“Is that one of my beers?” Red barked. It wasn’t so much a question as an accusation.

Hyde crushed the can and tossed it in the trash. “Looks like it.”

Red squinted at him like he was trying to decide if he wanted to hit him or put his foot up Hyde’s ass. Hyde didn’t care anymore. He reached in the fridge and pulled out two more beer, tossing one to Red. He waited for Red to throw it at his head or something, but he just opened it and went to sit at the table. Hyde moved to join him when the sliding door flew open, catching him off guard.

Donna marched right up to Hyde. He backed away slightly, losing his composure and bumping against the edge of the counter. He was trapped again. Mrs. Forman looked surprised. Red just looked amused, like he was watching a good TV movie, but forgot the popcorn. He sipped his beer instead. Continue reading “It Was Only a Matter of Time (13/15)”

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It Was Only a Matter of Time (12/15)

Chapter Eleven: Give and Take | Chapter Thirteen: My Buddy, Jack

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Chapter Twelve: It’s Not What You Think

Hyde set the plate of cookies on the counter next to the cash register.

“Oh, you brought me a present,” Missy cooed.

Hyde frowned. Missy was almost acting normal now, and he didn’t want her to all Jekyll and Hyde on him now. “Mrs. Forman,” he explained, “she thought I could use something more than just a peanut butter sandwich for dinner.”

“They smell good. Can I have one?”

Hyde shrugged. He didn’t think he could eat two dozen cookies himself.

Missy sat chewing, thoughtfully. “You know, I was thinking. That Jackie chick just ain’t right for you. She’s too stuck-up and conceited. You need someone more down to Earth. Someone who isn’t going to try and drag you to the mall or ruin Charlie’s Angels for you by yapping about how much cuter she would look in each of the costumes.”

Hyde was amazed at how well Missy pegged Jackie. The old Jackie, he thought. She wasn’t like that anymore. Well, not all the time, anyway. “She’s not stuck-up,” Hyde mumbled, defensively. He still had this desire to protect her. It was one of the strongest feelings he had towards her. His history of protecting Jackie went back years—back before they were together. Heck, before they were even friends. He never understood why he wanted to defend her honor all the time.

At first, he just felt sorry for her because Kelso was always screwing around behind her back, but then… he kind of started to like how it felt—to be the strong protector. He hated to admit he had liked it when she would cry into his shoulder whenever Kelso did something wrong. He would pat her back, awkwardly, and tell her Kelso was a jerk. She would smile and feel better. Then she would turn around and go right back to him.

He had been really shocked with himself at the Forman’s barbeque a few years ago. Jackie had brought some jerk and when the guy admitted he just wanted to sleep with her, Hyde had gotten really mad. Then he had called her a bitch. That had been it. Before he knew what he was doing, he decked the guy. Right in front of everyone. Jackie thought it was so romantic. Hyde had just been confused. He still remembered that kiss later that night. He thought about it a lot lately. Continue reading “It Was Only a Matter of Time (12/15)”

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It Was Only a Matter of Time (11/15)

Chapter Ten: Fatherly Advice | Chapter Twelve: It’s Not What You Think

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Chapter Eleven: Give and Take

Jackie paced back and forth across Donna’s bedroom. Her nerves were so raw she jumped every time a car went by outside. Donna watched her from the bed, waiting for her to calm down and tell her what was wrong. Jackie kept wringing her hands and muttering to herself.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have come back,” she said, quietly. “Have you seen the girl that works with Steven? I think there is something going on with them.”

“You’re nuts.”

“They seemed pretty chummy to me.” Jackie had gone back to the record store last night, determined to go inside this time. She had passed by four times earlier in the day but chickened out each time. She hadn’t seen Steven in the store any of the times before, but she knew he was there. His El Camino was always parked out front. The last time, though—the time she finally resolved to go in—she saw him sitting there on the couch. The shade on the door was down, but she could see through the crack at the edge. Steven and that hussy, Missy, were having a circle and they seemed to be having a lot of fun.

Missy kept reaching over and touching his arm and leaning close to him. A couple times, Steven even reached over and brushed her crazy hair off of her face. It was all Jackie could do to keep from barfing right there. She had gone back to Donna’s and cried for most of the night. Donna had worked a late shift at the radio station so she had no one to talk to.

When she heard a car door, she thought Donna was home, but instead, she saw Steven standing in the Forman’s driveway, staring into space. He seemed to be deep in thought. Jackie had bit back tears. Seeing Steven was harder then she thought it was going to be. She was scared he would see her in the window but couldn’t tear herself away. He looked tired, and after a few minutes, he shook his head and went inside. Continue reading “It Was Only a Matter of Time (11/15)”

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It Was Only a Matter of Time (10/15)

Chapter Nine: Passing the Keys | Chapter Eleven: Give and Take

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Chapter Ten: Fatherly Advice

Hyde sat at the kitchen table trying to keep control of his growing panic. Mrs. Forman set a plate in front of him—two over-easy eggs and a slice of bacon smiled back at him.

Red looked down at his plate and back at Hyde’s. “How come he gets a smiley face?”

“Because he’s such a sad little guy,” she said, wrapping her arms around Hyde’s neck and kissing his cheek. He gently tried to disentangle himself from Mrs. Forman’s grip. “Look how sad he looks,” she continued holding Hyde’s chin in her hands and turning it side to side. “First his parents abandon him and now Jackie leaves, too. She hasn’t even called once since she left. Oh, you poor thing.” She started kissing him on the cheek again. Hyde had enough. Why did she always have to mention his parents leaving? He pulled her arms from around his neck.

“Mrs. Forman,” he started. She smiled sweetly at him in an over-concerned, motherly way. “I’m fine. Really,” he added, hoping it was enough to ease her worries. He had always liked Mrs. Forman. When he was a kid, she always offered to have him stay for dinner or to spend the night. He usually accepted eagerly, but there were a lot of times he had turned down the offer, telling her that his mom was waiting for him. It was usually a lie. Those times he did go home, it was to an empty house or to his drunken mother. Even back then the Formans were looking out for him—even if he was a hoodlum corrupting their son. They really cared about him and accepted him for who he was. If it hadn’t been for them, Hyde was sure he would have starved as a kid. Or be in prison now.

“Well, okay, sweetie. I have to go to work now, so you boys behave, hear me?” She patted Hyde on the shoulder and kissed Red good-bye. Hyde took a sip of his juice and glanced over the rim at Red. He sat leaning back in his chair, legs crossed, tapping a finger on the table. He had an amused look on his face. Continue reading “It Was Only a Matter of Time (10/15)”

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It Was Only a Matter of Time (9/15)

Chapter Eight: Facing the Music | Chapter Ten: Fatherly Advice

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Chapter Nine: Passing the Keys

Hyde returned to the store around ten. Missy was helping a young couple find the perfect song to use at their wedding. Hyde choked back the feeling of loss. Jackie would have dragged him out like that, and he would have said he hated it as much as that guy looked like he did. He secretly would have enjoyed himself—just being with her—but he never would have admitted it to anyone. The couple couldn’t decide so they left. Missy joined Hyde at the counter, leaning back in the chair and putting her tight, tanned legs up next to the cash register.

“Pretty slow night?” he asked, counting out the cash drawer.

“Pretty much,” she answered, nudging him with the tip of her combat boot. Hyde glanced over at her legs. He had noticed yesterday that she had started to wear short skirts and jeans with half the ass ripped out. He had been meaning to mention that her outfits were getting a little risqué for the store, but hadn’t found the time to bring it up.

“So, what are you up to tonight, boss?” She leaned back farther in the chair, letting her arms hang over the back. Her chest stuck out as far as humanly possible as she seductively bounced to the music. Hyde was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with her around. She was acting really weird and not in a good way. “Hot date or anything?”

“Nope.” Hyde hurried to finish with the cash drawer.

“You want one?” Continue reading “It Was Only a Matter of Time (9/15)”

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It Was Only a Matter of Time (8/15)

Chapter Seven: The Things We Do For Love | Chapter Nine: Passing the Keys

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Chapter Eight: Facing the Music

It was dark when Donna dropped Jackie off in front of the store. Jackie could hear the din of music coming from inside.

This was it, she thought. Time to face the music. The store was empty except for a bizarre-looking girl at the register. Her hair was sticking out all over, and her lips were painted an azure blue. Jackie could tell her hair had once been a brown color, slightly lighter than her own, but it had been dyed a platinum blond and the tips were tinted hot pink and neon green. She didn’t seem aware that Jackie had come in—she just sat, chomping on her gum and twitching to the music.

“Is Steven here?” Jackie asked sheepishly.

“Who?”

Jackie looked around, dread growing in the pit of her stomach. She still had no clue what she was going to say to him. She wasn’t entirely sure she’d be able to speak at all.

“Hyde.”

The girl flipped the pages of her magazine not even glancing at Jackie. “He ain’t here.”

“Do you know when he’ll be back?”

“Nope. Just said he needed some air.”

“Oh. Thanks.” Jackie turned to leave but was startled when the girl suddenly looked up and popped a huge purple bubble with her gum. She eyed Jackie thoughtfully. Feeling self-conscience, Jackie smoothed her dress and touched each button checking to make sure they were all done.

The girl snorted. “You must be Jackie.” Continue reading “It Was Only a Matter of Time (8/15)”

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It Was Only a Matter of Time (7/15)

Chapter Six: A Little Help From Our Friends | Chapter Eight: Facing the Music

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Chapter Seven: The Things We Do For Love

Hyde sat in his office doing something he never thought he would do in a million years—writing Jackie a letter. A heartfelt one at that. I’m so pathetic, he thought. Missy bounced in and Hyde covered the paper with his hand. She didn’t seem to notice.

“Did we get any of those Aerosmith records in yet?” she asked. Hyde could smell her grape flavored bubble gum, finding it soothingly familiar. He checked the inventory sheet sitting on the top of his in-box.

“I don’t think so, but these idiots keep screwing up the orders, so you might want to check in back.” Missy did a little pirouette and leaped out of the room. The more he worked with Missy, the more he liked her. She was a complete nut, but she didn’t cause him any grief, so that was good. He found her so comfortable to talk to that he actually told her about Jackie. She didn’t pry for more details or pity him. She just listened and offered some advice. It was on the other end of the spectrum from Donna’s, though. She told Hyde to go out and get laid, and fast. Hyde snorted, thinking about it.

A moment later, Missy poked her head back in. “There’s a cop outside to see you,” she said nervously.

Hyde’s eyes darted around the room, noting the dim haze that still filled the upper half of the office. It was a quick circle with Missy and Leo that had got him in the mood to write his letter to Jackie. He quickly sobered, though. “What does he want?”

“He just said he was a friend and wanted to talk to you.”

“Oh.” Hyde felt a surge of anger rise in him. He had been feeling more relaxed after he decided to talk to Jackie that he had forgotten why he had been so mad in the first place. He balled his fists, ready to give a beating. Continue reading “It Was Only a Matter of Time (7/15)”

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It Was Only a Matter of Time (6/15)

Chapter Five: The World Has Gone Mad | Chapter Seven: The Things We Do For Love

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Chapter Six: A Little Help From Our Friends

Jackie picked up the phone after four rings. She half-hoped it was Steven on the other line, but the voice that said “hello” was definitely a girl.

“Oh, hi, Donna,” she mumbled.

“My dad said you called earlier.”

“Uh, yeah, I did. I just wanted to- I mean, I need- I-” Jackie trailed off.

“Are you okay?” Donna asked.

“Of course.” Jackie tried to sound cheerful, but it was hard—what with all the crying. She sniffled.

“I talked to Hyde yesterday,” Donna told her. “He’s pretty upset. What the hell happened, Jackie? Why was Kelso in your motel room?”

Jackie broke down and started bawling. “Nothing happened, I swear.”

“Well, I’m glad. And I didn’t think anything did, but Hyde does.”

“I know.”

“You need to talk to him.”

“I don’t think he will ever talk to me again.” Jackie sobbed. “He hates me. I could tell from his look.”

“He doesn’t hate you, Jackie. He was just hurt and confused and angry. I don’t blame him, but now he is just miserable. He just mopes around the house or works all day.”

“He misses me?” Jackie asked, hopefully.

“Duh.” Donna waited a minute for Jackie to grasp that bit of info. “So are you coming home or what?”

“I can’t,” Jackie started. Continue reading “It Was Only a Matter of Time (6/15)”