A/N: Because I hate disclaimers, I will acknowledge the episodes in this chapter: That '70s Pilot and The First Time. And here's a huge hint for the next chapter: it will include a scene from That '70s Finale…. And for all the geeks out there that actually remember my first story, That '80s Beginning, the first memory I vaguely mentioned in the first chapter of the story.
In a flash of colors and light, Lizzy and I arrived at our destination-one warm day in the beginning of September: the first day of 8th grade. Outside, the air was beginning to change, but I remember promising myself to never change, even though that summer had brought big changes. I'll leave you hanging on that one except with the image of Eric
to after a vacation at the beach.
The young me was walking through the garage, a younger version of my mom trailing behind me.
"But Donna," my mom said. "Are you sure you remembered-"
"Yes, Mom," I snapped, turning around when we reached the porch. "You can go now."
"Why would I do that? It's your first day of school," my mom told me, even though I obviously knew what day it was.
Rolling my eyes, I opened the sliding door and closed it before my mom could get in. I was smart, unlike her, and I knew it would take her a few minutes to figure out why she couldn't get in.
Me, the older me, followed her in along with Lizzy. We took our places in the corner and watched the scene unfold in front of us.
"Hi, Donna. Want some breakfast?" Mrs. Forman looked at me with a smile and came around to the table where Eric and Red were sitting, a large plate of toast in her hand.
"Yeah, I'm starved. My mom burned my scrambled eggs three times this morning," I took a seat next to Eric, I could tell he felt awkward next to me, what with him and his new height and my… let's just call them enhancements.
"Is that even possible?" Red folded his newspaper and looked around. "Where is Midge anyway?"
Mrs. Forman walked to the door and looked out, shaking her head. "Huh. Looks like she's flirting with the mailman."
I pushed back my plate as did Eric; we'd both lost our appetites.
"Uh, Dad?" Eric's voice cracked as he tried to break the tension. "Shouldn't we go now?"
Mrs. Forman broke in before Red could say anything, clapping her hands in excitement. "We need to take a picture! Come on, let's go do it now!"
Eric shot me a "You have permission to kill me once we get to school" look, but we stood up anyway and followed both of his parents out the door.
"Okay, now both of you lean up against the car and put your arms around each other," Kitty instructed.
"Dad," Eric whined. "Can we just go? School starts in 10 minutes."
Red crossed his arms and stood next to Kitty. "Try 30 minutes, dumbass. Just stand next to the Cruiser and actually show that you like her."
I gave a nervous smile to Eric, just that summer Kelso had told me Eric liked me, but I didn't want to believe it. I grabbed him into a side hug, careful not to squish him, and gave my best perfect-picture face.
Kitty giggled like a little girl as she pulled the Polaroid out of the camera. "Just think of what your kids will say when they see this picture!"
"Red!" I immediately yelled.
Red laughed and got into the car, looking up at us as he started it. He smirked and said, "Deal with it."
I was about to get into the car when my mom came running down the driveway, I hit Eric when I saw him looking at her chest bouncing under her sweater. "Wait, Donna," my mom yelled. "Are you sure you brought enough tampons with you?"
My eyes bugged out and finally my mom got the message to leave without an answer. Slowly, I got into the car, humiliated and left to deal with my best friend who actually seemed cool about it.
My real self slowly came back to reality as I watched the car pull out of the driveway.
I crossed my arms and looked at Lizzy from our spot on the porch, not very impressed. "What was the whole point of that?" I asked.
Lizzy looked puzzled. "Didn't you see, Donna? Remember how this day changed all of your thoughts that summer?"
I pursed my lips. "What do you mean by that?"
"You liked Hyde that summer, remember? And when Midge embarrassed you that day and Eric didn't seem affected at all, like he understood, something changed inside you that day."
I tried to act like I didn't know what she was talking about, but I clearly did. "Can we just get this over with?"
Lizzy shook her head with a smile and held out her hand. "We have about four more memories to visit and when you're with an angel, there's no getting anything over with."
~~~ . . . ~~~
When Lizzy and I arrived in the basement, I automatically knew what memory we were visiting. It was three weeks after the first day of school on the stormiest night of the year. The water had flooded the streets 10 inches and lighting and thunder were going off almost every five seconds.
"Hey, Pinciotti," Hyde said when I came down the stairs from the kitchen. "Ready for another round?"
I sat down next to Eric on the couch. "It's not like we have a choice." It was true, though. We'd already set up candles as a result of the power outage.
"I got one!" Kelso yelled, jumping off the top of the dryer and waving his hands in the air. "Eric, truth or dare?"
Eric looked at Kelso and shrugged. "Truth."
Kelso grinned deviously. "Who was the first person you kissed?"
"I haven't kissed anyone yet," Eric mumbled.
"Really?" Kelso knew how Eric would answer beforehand and now was his time to torture him. "Because I've already kissed Colleen James, Pam Macy, and Jessica Tamberelli and that's only this past month. I'm telling you guys, not having my headgear anymore has opened me up to a lot of new experiences."
"There's no way you kissed Pam Macy," I interjected.
"He definitely hasn't," Hyde told us. "But I have."
Eric rolled his eyes. "Yeah, right."
Kelso ignored us, but continued on with the game. "So, Donna, who was the first person you ever kissed?"
I shot a look at Eric and then at Kelso, blushing. "I haven't kissed anyone either."
Hyde and Kelso exchanged a long glance and then back to me and Eric. "So, Pinciotti," Hyde started. "Truth or dare?"
I sighed; a long one that I wish would prevent me from answering. "Dare."
Hyde leaned forward, his eyes not giving anything away. "I dare you to kiss Forman."
Eric and I jumped up simultaneously. "No way, I can't kiss him."
"Yeah," Eric said, but not as emotional as my rebuttal was. "I mean, I don't have anything against her, but…."
"Come on," Kelso stepped forward towards us. "We all know you like each other, so let's just get this whole thing over with."
Eric was quick to answer. "I don't like her!"
"Guys, we're just best friends," I fought back.
Hyde stood up next to Kelso. "Stop trying to fight this. However you guys feel about each other isn't exactly a secret, so come on already."
I turned around to Eric. I remember contemplating if I really did like this boy, this kid I'd seen everyday of my life. Somewhere inside of me I knew that I liked him and I could tell that somewhere inside of him he felt the same way, even though we both didn't admit to it. Maybe it was true and somehow I thought kissing him would make me realize my true feelings.
I took a step towards Eric and awkwardly leaned in. Obviously this was new to both of us and the only references we had were movies that Kelso had stolen from his sister. Eric stepped closer so we were barely an inch apart and before I knew it, we were kissing.
And just like that, I fell in love with him.
~~~ . . . ~~~
Once again, the picture dissolved and changed into the Formans driveway. I didn't complain this time, though. It was kind of interesting to see what I was like when I was younger. This time, just like the last memory, I knew exactly what was going to unfold in front of me before it happened. This was our real first kiss, right after the Todd Rundgren concert.
We arrived just as I was getting off the car and I knew exactly what was going through my head then: I was deciding whether or not I should take the next step.
Wow, I thought just now. Look how young we were. I could see all of the makeup on my face; I remember putting it all on to impress Eric. I'd later find out he liked me for me and not my looks like Kelso and Jackie.
"By the way," I said, coming back to the hood. "Thanks for the ride." Eric's face was blank and he just lay there, not knowing what was coming. I went in for the kiss, taking time to take the moment in, unlike our other kiss.
This time, Eric's face was of complete shock as he sat up. "What was that for?" he asked.
Without hesitation, I answered, "I just wanted to see what it was like."
Eric gulped. "What was it like?"
I raised my eyebrows. "You were there!"
"Well, I wasn't ready for it"
I remember thinking the same thing because I really wasn't ready for it; it just came to me that I'd probably never have a chance like it again. "What would you have done differently?"
"I don't know, something with my lips."
I laughed and stuck my hand into my pocket. "Sounds good. Let's try that next time."
As I walked away, Eric seemed even more shocked at this. "When exactly is next time?"
I walked away and this memory version of me passed Lizzy and I. The memory version smiled as she yelled back, "Goodnight."
I looked toward the kitchen window and I swear I saw Eric right there, standing in his pajamas next to this middle-aged guy. I shook my head and suddenly they were gone. I turned to Lizzy who still had a large smile painted on her face.
"There's more, isn't there?"
"Oh, there are plenty." Lizzy took a quick look at her watch, she'd been checking it a lot the evening. For some reason, it irritated me greatly. "So full speed on to the past."
Lizzy took my hand and we fell into Eric's bedroom. We stood there, Eric and me, holding each other.
"I wasn't ready before now."
"Before now, like right now?"
"Eric, when I had to write those vows, I had to think about love. And when I thought about love I thought about you. I love you Eric and I want to be with you."
"God, Donna, I love you…. Are you sure, sure?"
And- could it be true?- I started crying, then and there. Not a heavy cry like I had right after I broke up with Eric, but tears were coming out, a mixture of happiness and sadness. What I'd just said there, with Eric, was completely true and we both knew it. I could never give up loving him and Lizzy was right, I could never hate him. But I still did. He broke my heart and nothing would be the same.
For the last time that night, Lizzy grabbed my hand and the world spun around us again, both figuratively and in reality.