Starlight Starbright

03 – Time of Change

Chapter 03 – Time of Change

December 31, 1989

Donna brushed out her hair and looked at Eric in the reflection of the mirror. "So the press junket should be over around 11:00 and I don't plan on staying for the after party so when I get home, we'll break open a bottle of wine and ring in the New Year….sound good?"

Eric smiled back at Donna. "I think that would be the perfect way to end a decade."

He walked back over to the window and looked down at the streets of Chicago below him. Little Matchbox cars and tiny people were rushing around like crazy ants all the while he was safely ensconced in his expensive apartment. A satisfied grin curled his lips. Yep, it looked like 1990 was going to be a nice new beginning.

Eric looked at his watch for the 3rd time. It was 11:45 and Donna hadn't called and her promise of NOT going to the after party certainly changed Eric's plans. He was going to ring in the next decade alone and with a bottle of expensive wine. Oh well, it's not like it's the first or last time that would happen! Instead of bitching about it, he pulled his favorite chair over to the plate glass window and sat down, propping his loafer heels on the sill.

After uncorking the wine, Eric dismissed getting up for a glass and just drank straight from the bottle. It was another cold New Year's Eve and he noticed an unusually bright star was shining above him in the black sky. Something about it seemed familiar. With a half smile on his face Eric wished upon a star.

December 31, 1979

Eric is still on the footpath between the Forman and Pinciotti houses. An unusually bright star shined above him in the cold black sky. He remembered a poem from his childhood and murmured to himself, "Star light, star bright….the first star I see tonight…I wish I may…I wish I might….have this wish I wish tonight." He shivers and whispered, "I want to be loved again. I wish that I can have that true love back."

Opening his eyes, Eric spies the Anderson's can sitting on a trash can lid waving a paw at him. Is it hello? Or is it Hell…oh! He's back! Eric sighs and trudged through the path between the houses.

New Year's Eve 1979 and Jackie was not in the party mood. She just got through kissing Fez on the water tower and to really be honest….a relationship with Fez was just an outright lie. Jackie decided she'd let Fez think that Yes, you are wonderful – it's not you…it's me.

It was cold but at least it wasn't snowing. Eric had been flying all night long and his Dad wasn't at the airport to pick him up, so all of his spare cash was used on a cab ride home. Eric walked in from the path between the two houses to find Jackie(?) sitting on his car, the Vista Cruiser This was going to be one crazy night!

He put his hands in his pockets and stepped up closer. "Hey - Happy New Year."

Jackie shook herself out of a daydream – was that really Eric? Donna's Eric from a year ago? He looked exactly the same and she was so glad. She didn't know what to expect but if she thought about it, twelve months wasn't really that long.

Wait….could he tell she kissed Fez?

Jackie smiled brightly, "Eric…"

Eric replied, "Jackie?, I'm sorry I'm late. This is … I caught the last flight out so…."

They looked into each other's eyes for some kind of confirmation or feeling that they both understood each other – Jackie laughed it off, there was too much emotion in the moment to say anything.

Eric reached out and grabbed her mittened hand, "So…awkward….how are you?"

Jackie slid off the hood of the cruiser, "I'm good. I start junior college next week." She said proudly.

Eric hadn't been expecting that bit of news. "Oh, well that's awesome."

"Yeah" She hadn't really thought about school, but at that moment it was important to her that Eric thought she was doing something with her life. She asked, "So what… you just came back for New Year's Eve?"

Eric did the most unconventional thing Jackie could ever remember. He covered her hand with his, "Look Jackie – when I left Point Place I was so positive that I was doing the right thing and now that I've been gone for so long…"

Jackie pulled her hand away. "Eric, things are a little different now. Donna is a lot different than you remember."

Eric looked down at his worn sneakers, "I know." He looked back up into her beautiful face, "It's just that Donna…I thought about her every day – and you know what? It turns out. Red was right, I am a dumbass!"

Jackie chuckled and heartened to hear her laugh, Eric chuckled too. "Can you tell Donna, I'm sorry?"

Another awkward moment.

Eric had been waiting to kiss his high school sweetheart for the last year and Donna was no where to be found. Only her midget friend.

Breaking the tension, Eric joked, "So it sounds like there's a party?"

Jackie looked back towards the kitchen. "Yeah, your mom's really drunk." Eric grinned – at least some things never change - I don't know if I'm ready for all that. If only there was some way to take the edge off.

Then it was the official count down to the next decade.

December 24, 1989

"Daddy….wake up!" An insistent little voice was whispering in his ear. Eric tried to brush away the buzzing noise but was abruptly aware of soft feminine curves snuggled up next to his side. This must be the special nightgown Donna had bought on one of her Euro trips.

"Dad….deeee! Is Santa coming tonight?"

Eric groaned and opened one eye to spy a pair of bright green ones looking right back at him. "Santa…Daddy….I've been a good boy all year….like you said."

Eric sat up and the warm body next to him rolled over taking the covers with her. Eric whispered at this pint sized green eyed troll. "Who are you and what are you doing in my apartment?"

The little "troll" laughed. "Daddy, you funny. This is our house. What's a part-ment?"

A bare arm was flung over his thighs and a voice murmured, "Coffee….and lots of it."

Eric was frozen. What the hell was happening? This room! There were curtains over the window and this definitely wasn't his Sealy mattress! Who was this woman that didn't feel like Donna?

He carefully lifted a tendril of long dark hair and Jackie Burkhart's face smiled at him. "Good morning honey….coffee? Now?"

That was when Eric fainted.


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