Chapter 01 – Total Eclipse
It's 1980 and set after season seven: Eric never goes to Africa; Red still had the heart attack. WB and Angie are still part of Hyde's family. Kelso is still a dad, Hyde and Jackie are still broke up because of her marriage ultimatum, and Donna and Eric are just maybe more than friends…the saga continues…
Donna was sitting in the Forman basement fanning herself with the July edition of Tiger Beat magazine. Jackie must have left it the last time she was down there. She tightened the knot in the back of the red checked scarf on her blonde head. It helped keep the sweat off her face on this freaking hot August afternoon. Where the hell was Eric with her beer?
Hyde finally came out of his bedroom stretching his arms above his head yawning. He saw Donna and smiled, "Hey Donna, what brings you over here so early?"
Donna looked up, "Early? Jeez Hyde, it's almost 4:00 o'clock. Have you been sleeping ALL day?" Hyde scratched his cheek. "Are you sure it's not four in the morning?"
Donna set the magazine on the table. "Yes, how hard did you party last night?" Hyde took a seat in his favorite chair and put his foot on the huge spool that was used as a coffee table. "I know there was beer, but I'm not hung over. There was an excellent bag of ….smoke….yeah I did party hard last night. How's Forman?"
"Dead if he doesn't get a beer down here, it's freaking hot! Why does August in Point Place have to feel like Hell?"
Eric was walking down the basement stairs, "I'll answer that. Hell is the place where Red Forman is King. I had to sell my soul just to get one beer so we have to share."
Donna reached over and snagged the chilled can from his hands. Eric climbed over the back of the small yellow sofa and sat down. "It's hot everywhere. Mom's started drinking everything that has ice."
Hyde yawned again, "Man, I don't think I slept this good since….I don't think I've slept. Let's do that again." Eric held up his hand, "I was praying to the porcelain god all morning. It's not good to try and out drink Kelso."
Donna laughed, "Where were you guys?" Eric looked at Hyde, "I didn't drive home, and who took Kelso?" Hyde looked at his curly haired friend, "Fez?" The basement door pushed open. "Who called my name?"
Fez walked into the basement wearing nice slacks and a long sleeve polyester shirt. Donna gaped at him, "How can you wear that in August? It's like 105 degrees out there!"
Fez smiled. "I'm hot. Because… I'm hot. Besides, when I sweat, the fabric clings to my chest and that's the way Mindy likes it. Uh-huh-uh-huh."
Eric looked at Hyde, "If Fez is here, that means Kelso is still….."
Both Hyde and Eric shouted, "….on the water tower!" Donna started laughing, "You dill holes left a drunken Kelso on the water tower? You better get to the hospital and make sure he's okay."
The basement door opened as a lobster red faced, sunburned Kelso pushed into the room. "OKAY… who's bright idea was it to LEAVE me ALONE on the water tower? LOOK at my FACE!"
Hyde smirked, "Man, you got burned." Fez smiled and nodded knowingly, "A sunBURN you idiot! Why did you sleep outside?"
Kelso walked to the lawn chair and carefully lowered himself into the chair. His arms and chest were a bright red and visible through his white tee shirt. "No one TOLD me to sleep outside. I was passed out. DAMN. Watch me forget you guys next time."
Hyde looked around the room everyone was there except for…dammit…. Jackie was going to show up just because he didn't want her to. Ever since they had that stupid marriage ultimatum and Jackie nearly took the job in Chicago, he couldn't stand to be around her. It seemed like every conversation was the beginning of the same tired argument.
He crossed his arms and looked at Eric who was mooning over Donna. Since she decided to rededicate herself to feminism and convinced Eric to sing, "I am Woman," at a park rally, Eric couldn't stop sniffing around. Would they ever be a couple again? Yes. No. Whatever.
"I'm here! Did you miss me?" Jackie paused on the steps and smiled at the group. "It's gorgeous outside. Why don't we all go swimming or something? I have a new bikini…? She smiled cheerfully.
Hyde only had one comment. "Pfft." Kelso laughed and then grabbed his cheeks in pain. Jackie was nonplussed and walked around Steven to sit in between Donna and Eric. "Donna, I'm going to a Tupperware party at Amy Silver's house. You want to come?"
Donna looked at Hyde and rolled her eyes. "No. I seriously doubt that I'll need Tupperware."
Jackie slapped Donna on the thigh. "It's a par-ty. You know…with other girls… having fun and talking… you could use some female influence. Well, I mean besides Eric." Jackie looked over at the brown haired boy and smirked.
Eric looked back and replied, "Ha. You're so NOT funny." Jackie shrugged and looked at Kelso. "Oh my God, Michael! What happened to your face?"
Kelso pointed at Hyde, "They left me passed out on the water tower!" Jackie looked at Hyde. "Steven! How could you? Don't you know that Michael's looks are 90 percent of his personality?"
Kelso added, "Yeah! What's my other ten percent?"
Hyde was Zen. He shrugged and replied, 'Whatever."
Fez unwrapped a roll of Smarties pastel colored candy. "Kelso was moaning and I couldn't understand him. I thought he said, Fez, push me off the water tower, but he's my friend... so I didn't.' He popped the pink Smarties into his mouth.
Jackie looked at Eric, "Michael's your friend too, why didn't you take him home?"
"I thought Hyde had him. Does it matter? Lobster man is right there." Eric replied. Kelso rolled his eyes. 'Now I won't share my AWESOME secret with you. Well, maybe I'll share with Jackie and Donna cuz well, they look kinda hot right now…but NOT you guys."
Eric leaned forward and put his elbows on his knees. "Kelso, I apologize for all of us. We shouldn't have left you there and I KNOW you want to tell your secret so spill it dude."
All acrimony towards his friends disappeared as Kelso excitedly said, "Guys…I know a guy who knows a guy that works in a video store. He's getting me….." Kelso looked around to make sure no one else was listening, then he continued in a whisper, "….a bootleg copy of…..Star Wars!"
Eric was beside himself. Bootleg? What? Star Wars? Was this a sequel? Hyde grinned, 'Cool man. When do we get to watch it?"
Kelso looked around to make sure the gang was still alone. "Eric, can you get rid of your folks Saturday night?"
Eric pointed at himself, "What? Who me? You want me to get rid of Red? Why?"
Kelso rolled his eyes, "Because you are the only one we know that has a working VCR! Duh!"
Eric looked at his friend, "Is there new stuff in this bootleg? I don't know if Mark Hamill stared in that one."
Hyde groaned. "No you tool. A bootleg is an illegal copy." Hyde let his glasses slide down his nose and looked at Kelso, "Actually it's pretty bad ass of Kelso to get a copy. I can get rid of the Forman's."
Eric looked at Hyde, "How are you going to get rid of my folks on a Saturday night? That's the night of the lunar eclipse. My mom made a big deal about borrowing Uncle Marty's telescope because she never saw one before."
Hyde smiled and pushed his glasses back on the bridge of his nose, "Forman….leave that to me."
"Oh Steven, how thoughtful of you!" Kitty exclaimed. She showed the tickets to her husband, "Red, look. Steven got us reservations to see the eclipse at the Yerkes Observatory. We can watch the lunar eclipse with other people!"
Red snorted. "You want me to drive all the way to Williams Bay so we can see a three minute light show?" Red didn't know that Kitty had done some homework. She sat down and fingered the edge of the tickets. "Red, this is a penumbral eclipse and I've never seen the moon pass through the Earth's penumbra."
"Kitty, do you even know what a penumbra is?" Red asked patiently. Kitty bit her lips, "Well, not exactly but I do know I've never seen one! How often does a chance like come up? Besides, you haven't taken me out of the house on a Saturday night since you worked at Price Mart."
Red knew when he was losing a battle. He looked at a smirking Hyde and said, "Thanks a lot dumbass." Hyde grinned and grabbed a beer from the fridge. "You're welcome Red. Show Mrs. Forman a good time. She deserves it."
"Oh you wonderful boy!" Kitty put her hands on the sides of Hyde's face and pulled him down to kiss the top of his head. "I deserve it."
The Channel Six weather report predicted a lightning storm for later that evening. Kitty was almost put out because a storm would mean she couldn't see the eclipse. Steven assured her it wouldn't be raining in Williams Bay and encouraged her to go to the observatory.
"Thank you for checking for me Steven." Kitty smiled. "Now, I've left some roast beef for sandwiches. What are all of you going to be doing tonight?"
Eric looked at Hyde to make sure he didn't give anything away. Hyde smiled, "We're watching Star…..an educational video about the solar system."
Red looked at the two boys and said, "There better not be any porn in my VCR." Kitty looked shocked, "Red! They wouldn't do that in our living room." She looked pointedly at Eric and said, "Would you?"
Eric looked all shades of guilty, "No mom. Never! It's just going to be the gang watching…the film. What time will you be home?"
Kitty smiled, "Well, the eclipse is around 8:30 and we should be home about 45 minutes later. What do you think Red?"
Red sighed. "That's if traffic is good. Now I don't want to come home and find out one you dumbasses ruined my machine. If it's broke, you are buying me the Beta version!"
Donna ran a wide toothed comb through the tendrils of her long blonde hair. There was static in the air which caused flyaway's and she had spent the major portion of the afternoon getting shocked by every metal object she touched. Hopefully, this new conditioner Fez recommended would stop the static shocks! There was a knock on her door and Jackie walked in.
"Donna, are you going to watch the eclipse?" Jackie asked excitedly.
Donna set the comb down on her dressing table. "No, I'm sitting with the guys and watching Star Wars. Why is this a big deal?"
Jackie shrugged. "I've never seen one and it's the moon. I thought if I could get Steven to stand outside with me, it would be romantic."
Donna tried not to laugh but Hyde was definitely not interested. Jackie would just annoy him and ruin the evening. It was laughable because this little midget would never give up. One minute she's decided Fez is the Perfect Man and the next she's still chasing Hyde.
Jackie borrowed Donna's mirror and quickly twisted her dark hair into a ponytail. "There's a storm coming, I sure hope I get to see the eclipse before it hits."
Donna looked at Jackie's reflection in the mirror. "What's so exciting about a lunar eclipse? We have eclipses all the time. There have probably been more than 25 since you were born."
Jackie touched up her lipstick. "Well, I didn't pay attention before and this one is at night and that makes it more romantic." Donna turned around and grabbed Jackie by the upper arms. "Look, I didn't want to say this before but I'm saying it now. Hyde is not interested. You guys broke up. You gave him an ultimatum and he bailed. You came back. It's over."
Jackie listened to Donna's words but she could only think of Steven's sweet kiss under the darkness of the eclipse and then the gently falling rain. That was a romantic moment worth the wait. "Donna, I know you care about me… but Steven and I have a bond…we complete each other."
Donna felt like giving up or running away. Why couldn't Jackie see what wasn't under her nose anymore. Hyde liked being alone. He was getting along better with Angie and WB. He was becoming a better businessman without having to worry about Jackie all the time.
Donna looked at the short girl. "You complete each other. Whatever. The movie starts at 7:00 o'clock. Don't be late or you'll have to sit with Kelso."
Eric was almost giddy with excitement. He was going to watch an ILLEGAL copy of Star Wars in his living room! The best movie of all time and in his house! He pulled some chairs out of the kitchen and set them behind the sofa for Fez, Kelso and Jackie. Hyde could sit in Red's chair while he and Donna could lounge on the sofa. That's if she wanted to!
Fez and Kelso came in with a cold six pack and tossed a can to Eric who pushed the tape in the VCR. He turned the TV on channel 3 and waited for Donna. Kelso jumped over the back of the couch and took the middle seat.
"Oh no my friend. That's for me and Donna." Eric warned Kelso. "You get the chairs back there."
Fez sat down next to Kelso, "Well, where are we supposed to put our beers?"
Eric shrugged. "Hold on to them. I don't care." It was then that Donna breezed through the door holding a big bowl of fresh popped corn. Kelso grinned and snagged the bowl. "That's cuz I got the tape!" he smiled blissfully and shoved a handful of popcorn in his mouth. Donna sat down between the two and Eric sighed. There was no way four people could sit comfortably together. Maybe he could take a spot if one of the guys got up.
Hyde came in from the kitchen and jumped in Red's chair. "Hey, that copy's not too bad." Eric looked back and realized the movie was beginning. All friends accounted for? Check. Beer in hand? Check. Eric sat in a kitchen chair and propped his feet on the back of the couch. Okay, this could work!
As the Star Wars theme score resonated through the TV speakers, Eric could hear thunder and see bright flashes of lightening. None of that mattered because this was freaking Star Wars and it was playing right now, in his house!
Jackie had changed her outfit three more times. The first time was after she stepped outside, the hot moist air made her silky blouse cling unattractively. She ran back up the Pinciotti staircase and looked for something nice in cotton. She found a pretty salmon colored blouse but her tan pants didn't match.
After much debate, she just showered again, dried her hair and wrapped it in a new pony tail. A lavender blouse with a U-shaped collar matched her dark blue denim pants. She slipped her pretty pink toes into a nice pair of sandals. A little coral lipstick and she was Steven irresistible!
When she crossed the Forman driveway, the sky was eerily dark and the lightning strikes cracked as they illuminated the clouds and touched the ground. She could feel the thunder rumbling on the ground. The Forman patio doors were locked. Crap. She quickly ran to the basement stairs and found the side entrance was locked too! Who would do that? She put her shoulders back and headed for the front door where she would lean on that doorbell!
Another bolt of lightning cracked close by and startled her. Where was the moon? Maybe the eclipse was happening now! She was missing it! Jackie hurried to the Forman's front door and started ringing the bell.
Eric heard the doorbell but Obi-Wan was talking to Luke. Who would be coming to the house this late? Hyde grumbled, "God Forman, answer the stupid door!"
Fez and Kelso were giggling as Eric got up and walked to the door. It was Jackie. Shit. "Why are you ringing my doorbell?" Jackie grabbed Eric by the shirt pulling him away from the door. "Who locked me out of the house? Your folks never lock the door." Eric could hear his movie playing without him.
All of a sudden a closer bolt of lightning blazed out of the sky and struck a nearby tree, startling them both. Eric looked over Jackie's shoulder and his mouth fell open. An oval sphere of colored lights seemed to be dancing on the Anderson's front lawn. He steered Jackie's around to see the phenomenon with him.
"Eric, what is that?" she whispered in awe. The ball of light seemed to radiate flames and flash with colors as it bounced on the grass and over the white picket fence. Eric almost whispered, "That's ball lightning."
Jackie watched as the lights seemed to come towards them but her feet were frozen. The colors were pretty as it was jumping in the air. Eric's hand was still on her shoulder when the orb burst into a huge flash that seemed to "pop" loudly in the yard. Jackie looked at Eric and she felt like a huge knife was splitting her head in two. Eric looked like he was experiencing the same pain.
Suddenly, the neighborhood became extraordinarily quiet. The dark clouds seemed to be hanging lower than normal. Jackie looked at Eric like everything was in slow motion and the only words she could hear was Sir Alec Guinness saying, "The Force will be with you, always." She closed her eyes as the pain split through her head again.
Eric was looking with Jackie as the bouncing ball of lightning exploded in front of them. A pain radiated though his skull and he felt like he was underwater because the whole thing was in slow motion. Jackie had turned to look at him and she was saying something but all he could hear was Obi-Wan Kenobi saying, "The Force will be with you, always."
A wind picked up and thunder started rumbling loud and close. Sky to ground lightning lit up the neighborhood against the backdrop of black clouds. Jackie looked at Eric and thought she heard him say, "What the hell was that?" but his lips never moved. Eric looked at the lightning and heard Jackie say, "Where did that come from?" but her mouth didn't move.
With one loud crack, a lightning bolt struck the planter at the side of the house. Sparks flew from the strike and the air buzzed with electricity. Eric closed his eyes as the pain from seconds ago seemed to engulf him. Simultaneously, Jackie and Eric fell to a heap of arms and legs on the Forman porch.
The sky opened and the rain fell in torrents.