The sequel to "That was us, Then"
Written by: Shawn
Summary: A chance meeting at a video store leads Tommy and Kim to a defining moment.
Spoiler/Timeline: Tommy lost his Green Ranger powers for the last time in MMPR episode "Green No More" which aired 9/28/94. He returned as the White Ranger less than a month later in the episode "White Light," which aired on 10/18/94. I want a little more distance since he departed to have taken place so assume that White Light in early December 1994 and Tommy was gone for about two months. In addition, Trini returned from the Peace Conference five months prior to the start of this story and assists the Rangers, but is not a Ranger herself. See Authors Notes.
Disclaimer: If I don't own PR. I wish I did. Then I'd be rich. *smile*
Authors Notes 1: Tommy and Kim are both 17 years old and this story picks up about ten days after Tommy returned to become the White Ranger. T/K never officially dated and now that he's back, both are sort of trying to feel each other out again.
Authors Notes 2: With all due respect to the shows characterization, expect T/K to sound a bit more realistic here. Nothing out of character, but just a little more appropriate for their age and the responsibilities they've lived for quite some time now.
Authors Notes 3: This could become a short series. We'll see.
Special Note: This series was inspired by Mili and Pink-Green-White-4ever, whose work has recently reminded me why I liked the PR's teen years so much. Thank you both. *bows before the talented authors*
Love enables you to put your deepest feelings and fears in the palm of you partner's hand, knowing they will be handled with care.
--Carl S. Avery
Saturday, December 20, 1994 6:30 PM
Angel Grove, Ca
"What a way to spend a Saturday night," Tommy muttered dejectedly under his breath as he walked down the action-aisle of the video store. Boredom crippled what was to be a great evening. Now in search of an alternate source of entertainment it seemed as if every movie he saw was either one he had already seen, one he never wanted to see again, or one he had dodged like the plague to begin with.
Upon rounding a corner he quickly sidestepped twin toddlers who nearly ran into him, and in doing so bumped a shelf full of tapes onto the floor. The crashing sound of which drew the attention of the little boys parents.
They actually had the nerve to snicker at him.
Great. Just great.
While picking up the tapes from the floor, Tommy considered the massive suckage of his Saturday night thus
far. Earlier in the week Rocky won three tickets to the most holy of this seasons college football games, Notre Dame at USC. The tickets were extremely hard to come by and it was only Rocky's incredible ability to name thirty-five different brands of cereal on a morning sports radio show that won him the tickets.
All week long the television stations had been hyping Notre Dame at USC as the game of the year. Wearing his USC football jersey with a white T-shirt underneath, Tommy was ready two hours ago to attend his first college football game. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Rocky's uncle called him two hours ago and told him he knew of some guys that would pay four times the going price of 50-yard line tickets for his. Minutes later Rocky had Adam and Tommy on the phone, apologizing over and over for selling the tickets. He was a couple of hundred bucks away from his first car and that money was going to finally put him over the top.
Though disappointed, Tommy understood. The teenage male without a car had little to no social life. Although at the moment he wasn't fairing all that well and he had a car.
Another aisle and another shelf full of comedies that failed to interest him. Forrest Gump wasn't going to turn his Saturday night around and he was simply to old to sit by himself and watch the Lion King. Plus, that sounded more than a little pathetic.
At least his friends weren't suffering a similar fate.
Billy and Trini were finally out on their first official date. Kim's mom is taking her and Aisha to a celebrity fashion show for charity. Adam went to his cousinsí house to watch the game and offered Tommy an invite, but he declined. At this point he just wasn't in the mood.
The grimace he wore while surveying a shelf full of lackluster choices told the tale of his inner mood. He was hungry; bored out of his mind and he missed Kim more than anything else. Ever since Rocky called with the bad news he's mentally beat himself up over having not asked her out on a date earlier in the week rather than going on and on about how great the football game was going to be. If he was with her they could be doing anything and he'd have fun. Now it's just him, a movie, and some leftovers.
That sounded oh so exciting. Not!
Picking up a tape with Sylvester Stallone on the cover, Tommy quipped, "Hey Rambo, want a date?"
"Should I be worried that you're asking out a shirtless guy carrying a gun on a video box?"
Risking whiplash, Tommy swiveled his head around so fast and found the very lovely Kimberly Hart standing a few feet away. A most teasing smile curled her lips. Her chestnut-brown hair was pulled back by a clip in a style he hadn't seen her wear before. Over a pink and white shirt she wore a blue jean jacket and matching skirt.
She looked fantastic. Even better than that. She looked so damn kissable.
Tommy instantly wanted to say something cool or cute but his mind went blank. "Of course I don't want to date Rambo."
"I should hope not. That would totally interfere with some of my plans."
He fixed her with a curious expression. "Plans?"
Ignoring his query, Kim gave him an amused glance. She couldn't help admiring the way his jersey melded very nicely to his slim but muscular frame. He set the box back on the shelf and attempted to compose himself. She knew she made him a bit nervous at times. Of course he did the same to her. "What are you doing here?"
He shrugged, flashing her a grin. "I could ask you the same thing."
"The charity fashion show was rescheduled at the last minute for sometime in the New Year. Everyone was turned away at the door. We didn't even get an explanation why."
"I'm sorry to hear that. I know how you were looking forward to being at that show."
"It was going to be so much fun. And now my mom is on the phone with my aunt yacking about the good ole days while Aisha's going to dinner with her parents. So that leaves me all by my lonesome." Kim waited until an elderly couple walked by before speaking again. "What's your excuse for perusing the lonely video store aisles?"
Tommy sighed, his hands in his pockets. "You can blame Rocky and his great car quest for that one. He sold the tickets he won to the game for four times what they were worth. Now he has a down payment for the car he wants to buy."
"And now you're out of luck for Saturday night?"
Kim felt his gaze moving over her in an appreciative sweep that warmed color to her cheeks. They exchanged a look that was unmistakable. Both were free tonight. That made for some intriguing possibilities.
Tommy hadn't noticed until now that she was already holding a tape. "What did you pick out?"
Kim took a careful step backward and looked away, hesitating for a moment. "This is just about the last movie you'd ever want to see. And the title alone would give you fits."
Tommy laughed, "What is it?"
"No." His daring advance toward her was met with a smirk as she hid the tape behind her back. "It's just a movie."
"I promise I won't laugh."
"I don't believe you." He's even closer now, towering over her. They're nearly making a scene and yet she just can't seem to care. There's an intoxicating allure to being this close to him. "Back off."
The mischief dancing in her eyes told him otherwise. "Just show me the tape." When she angled away from him he ended up wrapping his arms around her from behind, effectively trapping her. Quick hands snatched the tape from her grip. When he read the title he couldn't help doing what he said he wouldn't. "Pretty in Pink?"
"It's funny," Kim defended herself despite the solid feel of having him pressed to her back with one arm circled around her waist. She noticed the older lady at the counter not to far away giving them the evil eye and discreetly created some distance between her and Tommy. More for her sanity's sake than discretion. "Are you happy now?"
Being with her made him happy. Even if all they were doing was play-arguing in a video store. "I've seen Pretty in Pink before. And I actually laughed once or twice. My mother loves this movie."
Kim hadn't expected that. "Color me surprised."
"I've seen worse, believe me." Tommy handed her tape back. "And while the title is funny considering..."
"I know, I know."
"At least you found something to rent. I'm still searching."
He looked as bored as she felt. And was far too handsome to be alone tonight. "What are you in the mood for?" He gave her a look that left her breathless. She allowed the moment to linger... but not for to long. "Maybe I can help."
"I'm not sure. I haven't had much luck so far."
"Most guys enjoy loud, violent movies with at least one scene of a woman flashing her large fake boobs and another of a guy running in slow motion with things exploding behind him.Ē Kim realized Tommy stopped walking all of a sudden. When she turned his glare met her. His attempted glare at least. "What? Did I lie?"
"You're generalizing men."
"Your kind has yet to prove me wrong."
"I do possess a sensitive side you know."
"I noticed your sensitive side when you were staring at the back of the Porky's 2 box. And I'm sure your sensitive side forced you to consider Basic Instinct, right?" He seemed to struggle with his reply.
"I... I didn't rent either of those movies. You can't hold that against me." He stood face to face with her
again. "And just how long have you been stalking..."
"Stalking me," he corrected her, "around this video store?"
He had such a knack for tying her stomach up in knots. When he invades her personal space while flashing that killer smile of his she felt light-headed. "You're tall. I saw you over the aisle. I'm short. You didn't see me. I wasn't stalking. I just didn't want to interrupt you." As rational as that sounded she could tell he wasn't buying it. Of course the truth, that she just loved watching him when he didn't know she was there was out of the
question. She couldn't let him know he had that much of an effect on her.
Kim knew it was time to switch gears. "Let's try the new releases section. I think we'll have more luck there."
Tommy let it go... for now. "Lead the way."
The short, silent trip to the other side of the store saw them walking closely together. Tommy's hand brushed Kim's once or twice, but never took it in his. Progress for them came in their subtle acceptance that what was between them was far more than friendship. An accepted intimacy had been reached. But neither were anywhere near ready for displays of public affection.
"The Fugitive," Kim pointed out triumphantly. She grabbed the tape behind the box and handed it to Tommy. "You told me you wanted to see this and you didn't have a chance to catch it at the movies. And I know you like Harrison Ford. It's got drama, action, and a man running with things blowing up behind him."
Tommy remembered telling her about the film months ago. He considered the tape in his hand. "Good choice."
"You should thank me. I have saved your sensitive side for the evening."
"Thanks." Her brilliant smile dramatically lifted his mood. Deciding to take the bull by the horns, he mustered up all his courage and asked, "Why don't you come over to my house tonight?"
Kim did her best to not appear shocked. It was a first move and he made it for once. Their talk in her backyard hadn't just flown over his head days later. "Would your parents be okay with that on short notice?"
"For you, yes."
That was a curious thing to say. Had he talked about her with his parents? The thought of that made her heart race. "What would we do?"
"Are you hungry?"
"So am I." Tommy hand her the tape he was holding. "Okay, how about this. You rent the movies and I'll order us a deep-dish pizza. My treat. We can spend some time together and talk. What do you say?"
'Yes, I'll marry you' was on the tip of Kim's tongue. She nodded as if she thought it over and came to the conclusion that spending the evening with him would be an okay thing to do. In reality she's ready to do a series of complicated back flips and tumble-rolls all over this video store that would impress Olympic judges. "Sounds like fun."
"It will be."
"It's a good thing I can stay out until midnight tonight."
"Your mom extended your curfew?"
"She said that I had earned her trust due to the better than she expected grades I got this semester. I think that was a compliment," she laughed. "Those extra study sessions with Billy paid off. I even have her car tonight."
Sparing a glance at his watch, Tommy thought about her new curfew and how much alone time they'd have. More than enough for him have the talk he'd been meaning to have with her. "Can you give me an hour?"
"I've waited two years, Tommy. Sixty more minutes isn't going to kill me." Kim walked off at that point, confident that having the last word was the best way for a woman to leave any conversation with a man. She felt his eyes focused on her the whole time. That felt just a little bit exhilarating.
The home of Tommy Oliver
Saturday, December 20, 1994 7:40 PM
Angel Grove, Ca
Will wonders never cease?
Watching Tommy vacuum the entire basement that doubled as his personal rec room, James Oliver pondered if he'd ever seen his son act so domestic before. And if that wasn't enough, his maddening pace was manifested in how he was cleaning up like the President was about to stop by.
Only for him the person coming over was far more important than the leader of the free world.
Thoroughly amused by his son's mood tonight, James sat on the second to last step and tried to recall his first love from so long ago. Her name was Karen and she was the most beautiful 15-year-old girl he had ever seen. She possessed a pair of haunting green eyes, long dark hair, and was the best piano at their high school. Due to her fascination with her brotherís love of cars she knew as much about engines as James did. That only enhanced her appeal.
The first time James asked her out he felt as if he'd run the Boston Marathon twice. His heart resided in his lungs until she said yes with a smile so bright it made the sun pale in comparison. He took her to a drive-in, shared a milkshake, and kissed her cheek twice.
That night was the best night of his life to that point.
Remembering the innocence of his teenage youth revisited in the form of his son left James somewhat awestruck at the passage of time. With little experience concerning the fairer sex and an even greater lack of understanding, all a guy had was his ability to make a girl feel special. And if cleaning every square inch of wherever you were going to be spending time with her aided in that goal then so be it.
James noted that his son had re-arranged the furniture, which consisted of two love seats and a recliner, to something resembling an actual setting rather than the usual 'sports theater' style of side by side. He vacuumed the entire floor twice, dusted the shelves, wiped the 25 inch television screen, replaced the two light bulbs his mom had complained about for the last six months, stacked the magazines neatly on the table, sprayed air freshener, and had even taken a second quick shower.
If his nose wasn't betraying him due to middle age his son dashed on a little cologne as well. Not bad, James thought to himself. Not bad at all.
Indeed, Kimberly had stolen Tommy's heart for him to be acting this way. James recognized that his son was in love for the very first time. The worlds worst kept secret was his son's feelings for her, but when it came to girls he was a bit of a late bloomer.
Tommy was a gentleman, so he never had problems with girls. But he was far more focused on his martial arts than dating.
Moving to Angel Grove almost three years ago had been a family decision made due to the fantastic job offer James received by the California branch office of his architecture firm. It was the beginning of Fall and with Helen looking to start her own business and Tommy not really having any close friends to leave behind, the deal was set.
While admiring their son's dedication to martial arts, solid grades in school, and his lack of getting into trouble James and Helen did hope he'd meet some young people that would pull him out of his loner status. He was such a quiet, serious person and while that wasn't necessarily a bad thing, they wanted him to have a normal teenage social life.
Thankfully it wasn't long before he met a nice circle of friends who took him in and made the new kid in town feel welcome.
She pushed, shoved, and bulldozed her way through his emotional barriers until he had no choice but to deal with the feelings between them. Their mating dance was a long time in coming, but now seemed ready to finally take center stage.
"Son, she'll be here any minute," James called out over the vacuumís blaring hum. When he received no reply he calmly walked over to the wall socket and pulled the cord. That got his son's attention. "You're done. The basement is cleaner than it has ever been. You could eat off the floor," he joked. "Why don't you sit down for a minute and take a deep breath. You look like you're about to pass out."
Tommy's heart was racing, that's for sure. While rolling up the cord he carefully surveyed his surroundings. The deep-dish cheese, sausage, pepperoni, and mushroom pizza sat on the table in front of the love seats. The mini-fridge for the guysí weekend football games was stocked with cans of Coke and Pepsi. The basement smelled pretty good and actually looked neat for once.
His father regarded him with a curious grin. Tommy sighed, "I haven't gone crazy you know."
Aside from feeling slightly embarrassed on some level, James was certain of his son's sanity. At least until Kim arrived. "You need to relax, Tom. You don't want to start sweating. Girls don't like sweating."
James sat down in the recliner while Tommy dropped into the loveseat. He knew his father wanted to have a few words with him alone before Kim arrived. As horrible as this was going to be, at least he could get one topic of conversation out of the way pronto. "You don't have to worry about anything sexual happening tonight. I not acting this way because of anything like that."
"I never thought that," James assured him. "The door will remain partially open all evening long," he felt the need to remind Tommy yet again. He loved and trusted his son, but he remembered what it felt like to be a teenage boy battling raging hormones. "Your mother and I like Kim. We think very highly of her. And we trust you both."
Tommy felt as if he was about to receive a death row pardon. "So we don't have to have the sex talk?"
"Son, I think our prior attempts have shown that we are neither capable nor do we want to ever finish that conversation." They laughed over the failed attempts of the past. "Your mother and I have raised you with morals and an understanding of what's expected of you, as well as consequences of your actions. Outside of that I never, ever want to have 'the talk' with you. I think that would be a traumatizing experience for both of us."
Tommy knew he had a pretty great father. As he grew older he appreciated it more. "Dad, it's a big night for me."
His son wanted to have a talk without saying he wanted to talk. Dťja Vu was just as weird as James's father told him it would be one day. "Define big?" Tommy started to say something and then looked away. He scratched his head as if searching for the right words.
"I want Kim to be my girlfriend," Tommy declared after a pause. His father didn't appear surprised in the
least. "We've liked each other for a very long time but we've never made things official between us."
"And that's what you want to do tonight?"
"That's the plan."
"I'm happy for you and Kim. I think things are going to work out just fine." James felt his son needed to hear
that. As confident a young man as Tommy was he had his moments of self-doubt. Being adopted came with a host of issues it often took a lifetime to come to grips with. "Just tell her how you feel. I don't think you'll be disappointed with the outcome."
"I'm going to hold you to that." Tommy shut his eyes briefly while resting his head back. "I don't know why I'm so nervous."
"You've never been in love before."
Suddenly he felt very young in his father's presence. "That's true."
"Love is the most terrifying, viciously painful, and utterly gratifying emotion you will ever experience. That never changes as you get older."
"Any tips for a first-timer?"
His own fathersí words of wisdom echoed in James's head. He bent toward his son and looked him directly in the eyes. "You can be who you've always been to everyone you know, but with her you have to be completely open. You can't treat her like you treat everyone else. You can't hide from her. You have to show her your best and your worst and trust that she will still love you."
"Is that all?"
"You have to make her feel like she is the most important, most special person in your life. If you do that," James began laughing softly, "There's a 25% chance things will work out."
Tommy's eyes narrowed. "Those are the best odds you can give me?"
"I'm an architect, not a relationship expert. And I got reeeaaallly lucky with your mom." A seconds worth of his son's glare caused him to add, "You know what I mean."
His father definitely had an interesting sense of humor. "You're also a great father."
That was easily the best compliment he received all year long. "You're a pretty terrific son most of the time," he said wearing a smile.
Looking to lighten the mood before Kim arrived, James decided to ask his son about something that's been driving him and his wife crazy ever since they moved in Angel Grove and met his friends. "Tommy, can I ask you a question?"
"Of course." A puzzling look came over his father's face. "What?"
"I couldn't help but to notice that up until a couple of weeks ago you owned something like 35 different green shirts. I never knew you liked the color so much until one day I realized you were wearing it every single day. Recently you've taken to wearing solid whites in all your clothing. Your mom and I were wondering if that was a new teenage trend or something? You know, picking one color and wearing it predominately."
He continued, "We couldn't help but to notice that your friends do the same thing. Billy has a vast array of blue shirts; while Rocky loves red more than any guy I've ever met before. His socks are even red."
Suppressing the urge to burst out laughing, Tommy composed himself, took a deep breath, and stared directly at his father. "Dad, we're the Power Rangers. We wear the colors of our outfits. It's a superhero thing."
A quiet, intriguing moment between father and son lingered...
"Funny, son. Real funny." Laughing a bit mysteriously, James wasn't going to press 'that' issue just yet. The sound of soft footsteps alerted them that someone had arrived upstairs. Both looked toward the basement door when they heard Helen greeting someone. Kim's voice came in next. "Your date's here."
'Showtime' Tommy thought to himself. Feeling calmer after the talk with his dad, he stood and gave him a quick
As Kim descended the stairs a nervous energy seemed to radiate from every pore of Tommy's body. His father greeted her with a polite hug. He told her how happy he was to see her again and that she was welcome
anytime. She didn't need an invitation. A gracious "Thank you," followed by her blush was evidence enough that she hadn't expected that, but appreciated it nonetheless.
Once Kim's eyes locked with Tommy's all else seemed to fade away into nothingness. A far off, distant "Enjoy yourselves," came from above just before the basement door almost shut, but not quite.
At last they were alone.
Judging by the mildly serious expression he wore, Kim sensed that Tommy was deeply preoccupied by his inner thoughts. He looked so good in that red and gold USC Trojans jersey, jeans, with his long hair pulled into his trademark ponytail. That wasn't anything new. He looked good to her every day of his life. Tonight though, he seemed... determined, for lack of a better word. He hadn't made a move toward her yet, not that she knew what to expect if he did.
She couldn't shake the question in her head of what was tonight going to be like. Were they going to act like two close friends enjoying pizza and a movie or something more? What were the rules? Do any of their friends know she's there? Did he tell them not to stop by unannounced? Would kissing factor in at any point tonight?
She certainly hoped the answer to the latter was yes.
In spite of Kim's racing pulse her tone remained light. "Don't I even rate a hello?"
Tommy's gaze flickered over her lovingly. She wore what she had on at the video store minus the blue jean
jacket. Her hair was down framing her beautiful face. Her legs looked so good in that skirt.
His father's words echoed in the back of Tommy's mind. He felt she needed to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she wasn't just one of his friends, but that she was so much more than that.
Despite her calm exterior, Kim's insides quickly turned to jelly when Tommy walked over to her without saying a word. He exuded the confidence of a man with his mind made up. The sudden invasion of her personal space was as welcome as it was unexpected.
And then the soothing warmth of his hands on her face barely registered in the sensory department when the softest, sweetest kiss she had ever known was given to her.
It began with a gentle caress of lips on lips. One soft, slow sway after another as hands tenderly stroked cheeks and necks. They were engaged in the longest kiss they had ever shared. One that saw Tommy dare to brush his tongue along hers once... and then twice until Kim dropped the videos she was holding and wrapped her arms around him.
Silence, save for the gentle smacking sounds of a sensuous kiss.
The kiss ended only when the heat began to sear a little to close to a place they weren't ready to go just
yet. But even teasing the edges of it shifted everything between them. With their arms around locked each other they simply breathed in the air of this brave new world.
"Hello," Tommy greeted her when he found his voice again. Kim's smile lit a spark in her brown eyes that was so deliciously attractive.
"What was that all about?"
"The kiss?" She gave him a sidelong glance that clearly stated she wasn't buying any sarcasm. His arms released their hold around her petite waist to create space between them. He found it hard to think straight when he was that close to her. "I was just trying to keep walking forward."
That was a perfect answer considering their talk under the stars not that long ago. He's openly scared before her and yet it didn't stop him from making the first move tonight. She loved so many things about this young man but it was his ability to surprise her that topped them all. "Thank you."
"Listening to me."
"Did you think I would forget our talk?"
She politely teased, "You don't have the best memory."
"When it comes to you I remember everything." The way she gently tugged at the bottom of her lip with her teeth left him unable to blink. As always, his heart skipped a beat in her presence.
Diverting his attention from her lips to the floor and back again, Tommy poked fun at her. "You dropped the
movies." Kim's facial expression went from a misunderstanding to slight embarrassment when she realized she wasnít holding the movies anymore. He picked up the tapes for her.
"Not a word from you," Kim warned him playfully. With their first kiss out of the way the pizza's spicy scent aroused her taste buds. The box was calling out to her. "I am so hungry."
"The paper plates are right there," Tommy pointed then out. "We have some cold cans of Coke and Pepsi in the mini-fridge."
She sat out two plates on the table and a couple of Cokes for them. "Okay, what will it be? The Fugitive or Pretty in Pink?"
"You look fantastic tonight," Tommy complimented out of the blue, catching her off guard. Kim sent a surprised smile his way that nearly stopped his heart.
"So do you," she replied and then looked away for a moment to collect herself. Wishing that their relationship would move forward proved to be quite different than it actually happening as it was now. She was flying without a safety net. "Which movie will we watch first?"
Kim held up a tape. "The Fugitive."
"But you picked out Pretty in Pink."
"After a kiss like the one you just gave me the least I can do is watch your movie first."
Oh how she enjoyed toying with him and then leaving him tongue-tied. Kim's flirtatious mood was highly
infectious. Tommy didn't have anything resembling a comeback to that statement.
While putting the movie in the VCR, he knew tonight was going to be one of a kind.
They took their seats next to each other. The Fugitive's opening credits rolled, the pizza box was opened, and the unofficial date began as such.
As delightful as the sight of Kim's tongue twirling around a particularly stringy piece of cheese was, Tommy ate two slices before he knew it. "I didn't realize how hungry I was."
"Me either. This pizza is great." Kim glanced at the side of the box. "Amici's is the best, hands down."
Tommy couldn't have agreed more. "I skipped lunch after working out at the Youth Center because I thought I'd be eating at the game tonight. That was seven hours ago." He bit into another thick slice.
"I skipped lunch after my workout too. I was trying to be able to fit into my dress tonight. Pigging out wouldn't have helped the cause." Kim quickly finished off her first slice. "After I came home and showered I was off to Trini's house for a two hour outfit-picking-out session for her date tonight."
"How did that go?"
"Pretty good," Kim said. "Trini doesn't obsess over clothes the way I do. She was just nervous because it's their first date and she wants it to go well."
Tommy knew how first dates had the ability to drive you insane. "Billy's the same way. He asked me about some of our dates without actually asking for advice or anything. I think he wished Jason and Zack were here," he admitted. "Billy and I get along well enough, but he doesn't really open up to me. He's closer to Adam than Rocky or I are."
"Billy called Jason last night and they talked for nearly three hours about the date."
"How do you know that?"
"Jason called me afterwards."
"So Billy's okay?"
"No, he's an absolute nervous wreck. But that's what you're supposed to be. It let's you know when you really like someone."
Truer words had never been spoken. No one made Tommy more nervous than Kim, and she didn't even have
to try. "I'm sure they'll have a great time and Trini will call you about it later on tonight and dish all the gossip."
"I don't think she'll be the only one dishing gossip," Kim added with a sly smile. "When everyone finds out we spent the evening together they're going to want all the juicy details."
"Actually, the guys won't. Billy, Adam, and Rocky know you're here." A look of surprise came over her. "I didn't want anyone stopping by tonight so I left messages with all of them that unless Zordon told them we had an emergency to deal with or if they saw Lord Zedd walking down the street then don't come to my house or call me."
Kim dared to ask, "You wanted me all to yourself?"
Tommy gazed into her eyes and gave a slow nod. He hesitated, and then said, "We have some things to discuss tonight."
Tommy took a deep breath before answering, "Yes."
"What do we have to discuss?"
"Later." He turned back to the movie while reaching for another slice of pizza. He knew Kim didn't like not getting her way. That made making her wait all the better.
As for Kim, she wondered how much she would put up with if he werenít so gorgeous? Then again, that wasn't
fair. In due time he'll explain all. For now she simply wanted to enjoy this long-awaited time alone with the man she loved. And maybe, just maybe... she might tell him that tonight.
"Lord Zedd's been awfully quiet lately."
"Yeah, too quiet. He's up to something. That's for sure." And that worried Kim.
"Like Zordon said yesterday. We can't worry about what hasn't happened yet. We can only stay prepared and ready for anything."
"Alpha's keeping twenty-four hour a day watch over the satellites and magical sensors. If Big, Red, and Ugly shows up we'll know about it."
Tommy held his can of Coke up. "Here's to him not causing any trouble tonight."
"Cheers." Kim clinked her can with his and then they both laughed at the gesture. As they settled into watching the movie she peered around the cozy finished basementís laid-back guy decor. Tommy's martial arts trophies aligned a shelf in the back along with his fatherís high school football awards. As many times as she's been down here she's never seen it this clean before. Or maybe the better description was 'neat.'
For his sixteenth birthday Helen Oliver gave Tommy the basement for a hangout as long as he kept it clean and kept the noise down.
It was really nice down here.
And when Tommy causally draped his arm over Kim's shoulder it became just this side of perfect. Throwing caution to the wind in the face of the boldest advance he had ever made, she snuggled up closer to his side and laid her head on his shoulder. Then his hand slipped into hers as their fingers twined.
Lord Zedd had nothing on the magic they created when they were together. Nothing at all.
"I can't believe Christmas is only five days away," Kim spoke in an intimately soft tone. He smelled so good to
her. "Where did the year go?"
"I was wondering that exact same thing," Tommy said before pressing a kiss to her temple. Her eyes lifted to capture his, holding them spellbound. "Hopefully I won't lose my powers at all next year."
"I'd like to never be turned into a boy again."
"I could do without being turned evil."
"A vacation to an island with no illusions would be nice."
"I don't want to fight a clone of myself ever again."
"I would prefer that no more of my guitars turn into monsters."
"Skull finding another girl to obsess over wouldn't be a bad thing."
Her teasing smirk begged for a kiss. "Hardly."
"Good." Kim gazed down at their linked hands, admiring how soft, gentle, and reassuring his touch felt. "Are there any girls I need to be jealous of?"
"Sara Lee is pretty sweet."
"Sara who?" Kim's brows narrowed angrily until he began laughing at her so hard she had to duck her head in shame. How had she fallen for that one? "I hate you."
When she tried to pull away he only pulled her closer. "No you don't."
"I bet you think you're so clever?"
"Sara Lee was the first name that came to mind. I'm a snack cake fan," he informed her. "Trini and Aisha are like sisters to me."
"Plenty of girls would love the chance."
"The same could be said for you and other boys."
"I'm not interested in plenty of girls." He added. "And it's not like I have all that much experience with them
anyway." A silence fell over Kim. One that Tommy picked up on pretty quickly. Her mood seemed to change in that instant. "What is it?"
"Just how much experience do you have with girls?" The words shot out of her mouth before she could catch herself. And while she was fairly certain of his answer she still needed to hear it from his own mouth. When he paused it made her worry. "I'm sorry. I don't know why I..."
"No, it's okay. I just didn't expect what you asked..." he trailed off, lifting a hand to nervously rub the back of his neck.
Kim shifted one leg beneath her as they faced each other again. "I don't usually insert my foot in my mouth."
What she asked was unmistakable. The one question all men hated to answer until the answer didn't make them feel less than other men. But Kim deserved to know the truth. Tommy sat up straight and took her hand into his. "I haven't done anymore with a girl than I've done with you," he told her truthfully. "Just kissing. That's all."
Kim didn't know why she exhaled the deep breath she'd been holding, but she did. "Me either."
"So you've only kissed girls?"
"Don't make me kick you," she laughed along with him as they relaxed a bit. "You know what I mean."
"Yeah, I do."
"And I'm not going to have sex anytime soon," she added before she lost her nerve. As much respect as she knew Tommy had for women he was still a man. She knew how guys talked from the cafeteria chatter she'd heard for years now. Expectations, no matter how nice the guy was, always seemed to come up. "I'm not ready to have sex yet. I don't know when Iíll be ready. And I don't really need the stress of worrying about it all the time. I feel you should know that up front."
She's scared of his reaction. It's written all over her lovely face. No matter how long she's known him she's afraid she could lose him over this. "I'd be lying if I said I never thought about us... that way."
"Me too," she confessed.
"I'm not ready either, Kim. I'm just as nervous as you are. Waiting is not an issue with me. And I promise you that I won't pressure you."
She was relieved to say the least. And through it all he held her hand, ever considerate of her feelings. He wasn't perfect but he was perfect for her. Judging from the way he looks at her, she might be perfect for him too.
Her name was barely more than a whisper on his lips. "Yes?"
"I'm in love with you."
Kim closed her eyes, reeling with emotion. She's seen the love he has for her within his gaze. She felt his love in the way he treated her. She trusted his love because she trusted him with her life. She knew his heart the way she knew her own. And now she had her declaration.
Kim squeezed his hand while gazing into his eyes. "I'm in love with you too." His smile seemed to go on
forever. That was the desired response. He looked so happy that she loved him too. "So can I finally call you my boyfriend?"
Tommy couldn't believe what he just heard. "I was about to ask you to be my girlfriend."
"You move to slow."
"I was just about to ask? I was like two seconds away."
"Still to slow."
Tommy bent his head so that his lips hovered just over hers. "Please don't tell anyone you asked first, okay? It would destroy my super-cool leader persona."
"It'll be our little secret," Kim replied before his lips pressed softly to hers, dancing the rest of the night away.