Fic: "Traces of My Lipstick"
One-Shot
Written by: Shawn

Summary: And so it began in a small hotel room at midnight...

Category: Angsty Erotica
Rating: MA
Ship: Tommy/Kimberly

Timeline/Spoilers: Everything up to and including "Turbo: A Power
Rangers Movie" is canon. Kim's life after leaving the show is all
mine. This story picks up the night of the martial arts tournament at
the end of the Turbo movie.

Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to anything Power Ranger related
and will make no income from writing this story.

Authors Notes 1: This story was written for the November Fic Prompt
quote at the Perfect Chemistry PR forum. You can find a link on my FF
authors page.

Authors Notes 2: Tommy and Kimberly are normal human beings,
imperfect as you, me, and everyone else in the world. Try as we might
to always do the right thing and never act in a way that people
wouldn't expect of us, we all have moments of weakness. If you're
human then you aren't perfect. This is a very erotic, very complex
love story between two adults. This is not a fairy tale.

Authors Notes 3: Tommy and Kim are both 19 years old here.

Dedicated to: Terra for coming up with the amazing Fic prompt that
inspired this story.


~~~~~~

"Kissed By Fire"

What sin may I find this night?
Whose kiss of fire shall sate my need?
My center aching needfully
My sweet slit flowing its cream.
Flames spiraling
Ascending higher.
Beyond the rapture I've known.
Flitting fingers caressing my flesh
My hollow need be filled.
Wanton wet my center
Straining against the heat.
Lips searing my budded pleasure
Tongue licking with ravenous greed.
My hips tauntingĖwhetting his hunger
That ever aching thirst.
Come quench me now
My deliverance hastened
Emancipate my need.
The fire stoked
His kiss the flame
A swelling heat is rushed.
Its fervent rocking raising me high
Soothed by fires of bliss
An aching purely quenched
Lips of fire my sinful savior
What recompense be his?
My answer sure and swift.
Lips of fire shall kiss him now
Bringing a sweeter need.
My desire for him
Our souls to touch.
Another aching need."

~~ Tess Mackall

~~~~~~

******

******

Kimberly Ann Hart's hotel room
Marriott Inn Hotel
1974 Grimes Drive
Room - 33
Saturday, March 29, 12:35 AM 1997
Stone Canyon, California

It was never supposed to be this way.

"Oh God, don't stop," Kim grunted around Tommy's ear lobe, gently
clenched between her teeth, panting rapidly over the shell. In
response his head turned, and he quickly sealed his mouth over hers
again. They kissed with a demanding intensity, their tongues wetly
gliding inside their mouths. With her right arm clutched tightly
around his neck, his vigorous thrusting was met by her frantic
counter-thrusting, both trembling with passionate exertion. Straining
against each other, their bodies glistened with perspiration as they
were mating with such raw hunger, dancing the razor's edge of
conflicting emotions and this incredible onslaught of pure lust
between them. The wet, slapping noise of their urgent fucking
accompanied the loud, throaty gasps and moaning that filled the air
around them.

The road to tonight was never supposed to end like this.

During their world-wind high school romance, Kim had always imagined
they'd secure Tommy's uncle's cabin in the mountains for one quiet
weekend when they finally decided to take their relationship to the
next level. They would be shy and innocent, learning the ways of physical
love for the very first time together. Never did they fathom their
first time would be madly rutting like wild animals in the dark on
beige carpet in a small hotel room when both were involved with other
people.

They were supposed to fall softly into bed, slowly taking their
clothes off, their hearts racing a mile a minute. Inexperienced love
birds soaring to new heights.
Here tonight, they were lost in a
hypnotic trance of dark passion, brought on by an angry argument
twenty minutes ago that was months overdue.

"Sodamngood, " Tommy groaned over the sweat-glistening hollow of her
throat, his muscles straining with every forward surge into the
tight, slick depths of her. Gazing at her now, her bottom lip caught
between her teeth, Kimberly was more beautiful than any fantasy he'd
ever had of her. She was a source of such intense pleasure he knew
his addiction to her would never end. She whimpered for him to fuck
her harder, and then locked her ankles over his lower back. Her nails
ran along his flanks, grazing his body, and then began grasping and
kneading his ass. Quivering thighs locked him in place, while the
heady sensation of her heated breath fanning the side of his neck
aroused him even more. She felt exquisitely snug around his cock, her
vaginal muscles drawing on his every withdrawal, and then sucking him
back into her. He swallowed hard, breathing faster while finally
taking her. They were writhing as one, fucking in the dark with
blades of light creeping in from beneath the hotel room door. He
vaguely heard the sound of footsteps ghost by every now and then, but
couldn't concentrate. The prideful sting of her nails raking over his
back when she came so hard, crying out his name, utterly crippled his
sanity.

To think they hadn't said a single word to each other the last eight
hours.

After tonightís martial arts tournament and subsequent victory, Kim
quietly excused herself following a polite congratulations to the
gang. She didn't go out to dinner with her friends seeing as she was
unable to stomach anymore of seeing Tommy and Katherine together. The
painful sight was worse than she'd even prepared herself for. She
hated her fear of finally talking to Tommy alone so that they could
clear the air. A fear that's been with her so long she wasn't sure
she could live without it. He called her three times tonight. Each
time she ignored the phone, all the while knowing that as she had
seven more days in town eventually she'd have to face him.

Tonight, he pressed the issue.

She was up late because she couldn't sleep. Frustration and stress
were kicking her butt and her mind just wouldn't shut off for her to
get any rest. Sure that the knock on her hotel room door was Jason
checking up on her before he went to bed, she quickly opened it. Her
ex-boyfriend stood there with his arms crossed, severely disappointed
with her. They stared at each other for a long beat... and then she
let him in because really, what else could she do? She shut the door
behind him and apologized for avoiding him all evening. She owed him
that much. He told her that even though she wrote the letter, he was
sure he meant more to her than being avoided.

Guilt tore Kim up inside. She told him he means the world to her,
mindful of the present tense of her words.

Tommy apologized for coming so late, unannounced. He confessed that
he couldn't sleep and just needed to see her. He told her that he
missed her, and she remembered a time when she echoed the same words
to him. Despite the mental walk down memory lane she asked him if
they could please talk tomorrow, citing that it was late and she was
tired. He told her she'd disappear again or avoid it altogether. That
struck a cord in her, which led to an angry retort. Suddenly, they
couldn't talk for arguing. Both were annoyed and frustrated and still
hurting over a multitude of things involving the other. When once
they never shared an angry word, tonight they hurled accusations with
venom, lashing out at one another until she shut off the light in the
living room and ordered him to leave.

Kim stalked toward the bedroom, but never heard her front door open.
She turned around and saw him standing perfectly still in the dark.
Her emotions flared between crying and throwing something hard
against the wall. She truly loved and hated him at the same time, and
was sure he felt the same. When she marched back into the living room
intent on getting him out he grabbed her and...

A litany of gasping "Ahhs" seared her eardrums, his warm mouth
Frenching the side of her neck while he drove himself between her
trembling thighs. They'd somehow moved a foot or two across the
carpet, and if her mind was able to think straight she'd worry about
rug burn... later. Tonight, the only thing that existed was the man
she loved claiming her in the dark, filling her time after time until
she could only clutch him for dear life, crying tears of ecstasy over
his broad shoulder. He felt so good her toes curled. Her brown eyes
shut out the world, her white teeth bared, mouth open in the shape of
a
bow. Her face twisted in a contortion of erotic fever, loving the
way his heaving, large frame draped over her, thrusting hard inside
her. He was a pulsing throb of flesh as she began to grind her hips
upward, equaling his hot need.

She'd never been this wet before...

The music of their lovemaking drowned out her thoughts, while the
strong scent of them hung thick in the air. She hadn't expected his
angry kiss when she approached him earlier. Hadn't seen the darkness
dwelling behind his beloved eyes when she moved closer.
When he
captured her mouth, her sex clenched tight that very second. She
hadn't expected to be pressed hard against the wall, stripped naked
before him, drug to the floor, and taken with more passion than she
thought was capable of existing.

One moment she was dying for him to leave her alone and forget they
ever loved each other. The next, she was dying to have him inside her
the way he was now. His open mouth paying homage to her glistening
breasts, drawing loudly on one peaked nipple before moving to the
other, all the while still moving inside her.
The euphoria of being
inside his mouth, with his tongue whipping back and forth over the
tip of her nipple before suckling again left her whining softly.
The
hot surge of pleasure came over her so violently than when the
signaling shudders began she physically detonated beneath him in a
shuddering, writhing climax. "OhFuck....OhGod, I'm cumming so
hard....Tommy. ...ohTommy. ...Ohmygod. .."

Loving the delicious words escaping her mouth, Tommy nipped at her
neck with his teeth. He left faint marks, branding her as his.
Finally! Not her first, but for sure her best ever. If tonight was
the end of the world he wanted to die inside her... loving her with
every ounce of strength he had. Her wrenching orgasm was his grand
prize, and he loved every sweet second of it. His own was closing in
fast, dragging him towards the edge of oblivion. "Kim... Kim, I'm..."

He took her physical cue when she pushed at his shoulder, rolling
them over so that she was on top. Gazing down at the pure rapture
written all over his face, Kim began curling her body like a snake
over his lap, rocking back and down in a glorious rhythm that saw his
eyes roll back. She squeezed around him so tight, damning Katherine
with every moan and sigh that fled his lips. Tonight, he was hers
again. He felt so robust inside her now - so deep she swore he was
nudging the back of her throat. There was a sense of power filling
her as she rode in him the dark, bent over him, gliding up and down
over his throbbing cock. It felt so damn good she just couldn't stop
moving.

Needing the taste of her again, Tommy's right hand cupped the back of
her head, drawing her down to him. He locked his lips over hers,
drowning in the sweet bliss of kissing her for as long as he wanted,
their mouths moving erotically back and forth. When she broke their
kiss her head snapped back, tossing her gorgeous brown locks. She
braced on hand dead center of his chest and bounced on his cock so
wickedly his hands took hold of her hips, driving her down onto him.
She was a Goddess and he was her willing servant. They were so far
out of the realm of coherent thought he couldn't even believe this
was happening. This was the woman who broke his heart into a million
pieces. Who betrayed him and their love.

Who was now riding him right out of his mind and all that he could
think about was that tonight she belonged to him and him alone. Kim
had never looked sexier than she did now with her head dipped back,
her lips trembling, her lower body curling fast and hard until he
firmly gripped her hips. The building sensation reached a shatter-
point when the very second he came she covered his mouth with her own
and ate the sounds he made while he erupted in bursting waves of wet
warmth inside her, shuddering beneath her.

While deeply kissing Tommy, Kim didn't ease up over him, rolling her
hips in tight little circles, milking him fully of every last drop
until his head rapped back on the carpet. No, he would never forget
this night. Katherine couldn't come close to creating this sort of
passion with him. Whatever they had, it wasn't this and never would
be. What she shared with Paul paled miserably.

She didn't want to think about that right now.

Kim had always loved kissing him and how she felt in his arms. Now
exhausted and drenched in sweat, she rested over him, her rapidly
beating heart pressed over his own. Lying in his arms while they
kissed in the dark.
Softer, slower... more sensual now. Loving, the
way they used to be before she messed everything up. Still, the past
was for another night. A less incredible, more responsible one. For
now, she basked in his embrace once more.

He was hers again.

And she was his.

Lifting her head over his, despite the unbelievable encounter they
just had, Kim's lips quirked into a smile. "I don't want to talk
tonight."

"Neither do I," Tommy replied, and before he knew it, was smiling
right back at her. His hands were softly caressing her flat belly,
just over her navel. The blades of light from beneath the front door
flickered when a couple of people walked by. "I've fantasized
about..."

"I... I know."

She was in a darker, sexy mood that matched his own. "... yes.
Hundreds of times."

"
I beat you. I thought about it even more than that."

"And yet you broke up with me."

A statement made with no anger in his voice. No pain or resentment on
his face. He simply said it... and never stopped touching her. She
gave a slow nod. "Can we talk about that some other time, please?"

The unmistakable tenderness in Kimberly's voice touched something
inside Tommy. Something he never thought she'd touch again. He gave an
answering nod, and then she carefully lifted off him and laid down on
the carpet so close their shoulders were brushing. His gaze fixated
on the ceiling, and out of the corner of his eye he saw hers focused
there as well. My God, what had they done? And what was the next
step? "So how are you feeling after the whole Maligore thing?"

"You mean when I was temporarily turned evil after being lowered into
a pit of volcano goo?" She laughed in the dark, happy to hear his
again. Mercy, how she's missed his laughter. "I'm no worse for wear.
And I hope you don't think tonight was about some left-over residue
of evil."

"I just want you to be alright."

His caring made her want to take his hand so badly. So why after
finally making love did she feel that she couldn't. "You saved me. I
knew you would."

Exhaling a deep breath, Tommy sat up, running his hand over his
face. "I was so scared for you. And Jason."

His use of her name first made her feel special, politically
incorrect as that was. "Adam told me how you almost drowned when you
thought Jason and I were thrown in the water." His silence revealed
it all. He didn't want to go there with her. Not yet. "I was scared
for you too."

Looking to her, the night shadows couldn't hide her sincerity. Or her
beauty.
Nude before him... satisfied by him... she still owned his
heart. But he'd cut it out of his own chest before he told her
that. "We saved each other, Kim."

"I like the sound of that," she noted with a smile, feeling...
strangely happy. She searched her heart for regret and found none.
What they shared was complex, intimate, and viciously private.
Katherine and Paul didn't deserve to be cheated on. But neither of
them could possibly understand the connection she has with Tommy.
Again, present tense. And after tonight, perhaps forever. "I liked
your White Ranger uniform better? The chest plate was cool."

That got a chuckle out of him. "Me too. But Red seems my thing these
days."

Kim shook her head. "Jason's a Red. So's Rocky. You were born to be a
White Ranger."

"I used to be yours."

"Complete with the White Tiger to match." She titled her head to him,
smirking. "And I was your Beautiful." The words dripped honey sweet
from her lips. He didn't deny her claim. Even seemed to remember it
fondly.
It was as if tonight was its own separate pocket universe
outside reality, and they'd chosen to live in the moment before
addressing the how and why. For the time being... she just wanted to
be with him. "I've got a half-eaten cheese, sausage, and mushroom pizza.
Wanna heat it up? I'm kinda hungry."

"We're going to totally not talk about anything important, aren't
we?" Tommy asked, offering her a hand off the floor. She took it, and
was gently pulled into his arms.

"Not tonight. I just... I want..." She couldn't say. Couldn't find
the words.
Didn't know if he felt the same.

"I might as well spend the night." It wasn't what he meant to say.
Good Tommy knew this should have never happened, no matter how badly
he's always wanted her. Good Tommy should be at home, sleeping, the
way Katherine believed him to be. But Good Tommy was... well, he
wasn't in this hotel room. Not tonight, anyway.

"Itís a King-sized bed," Kim stated half-nervously, and with a little
shrug. "Itís a lot of room."

"I want to stop loving you."

His declaration wasn't a bucket of cold water as much as it rang so
true in her own heart. How many nights had she wished for the exact
same thing? To many to count. "Harder than it looks, isn't it?"

Kim, vague and moody as ever. Tommy watched her closely. "And you?"

"Loving you is like breathing. Itís not something I have any control
over."

******

Three Days Later

******

Flying Dragon Martial Arts Academy
25 Missa Park Way
The parking lot
Tuesday, April 1, 12:02 AM 1997
Stone Canyon, California

This was sheer madness.

While seated behind the steering wheel of her black 1996 Dodge
Stratos rental car, Kim watched God's tears aggressively drown
southern California like she'd never seen before. Robust rain
droplets frantically pelted her windshield, driven by gusting winds
that were blowing nearby tree's leaves all around her vehicle. Mother
Nature cried out when white streaks of lightening burst through the
thick, gathering clouds above. Nonetheless, her immaculately pink-painted nails impatiently
tapped over the armrest, her brown eyes ever alert. For the life of
her she couldn't think of one good reason why she was parked all
alone on this dark, stormy night.

Of course that was a lie.

Kimberly knew exactly why she was here, despite all the blaring
warning signs screaming of the emotional danger ahead in big, bold
red letters. Not even thirty minutes ago her phone rang. Judging by
the late hour she had a clue who it was, and then felt guilty for who
she wanted it to be. Her assumption proved correct when even his sigh
was instantly recognized. She felt him from all the way across
town... After the incredible night they spent together, they stayed
clear of each other for the next seventy-two hours. Three days cold
turkey, denying themselves the new addiction they created.

Making love three times in one night saw them far to close to the
flames, so they fled the kitchen... and each other. For Kimberly,
when he made her cum so hard she chanted his name through every
shuddering throb, forgetting their time together just wasn't
possible. The man emotionally imprinted himself on her consciousness,
and she was sure by the way he held her throughout the night that she
was flowing in his bloodstream as well. Still, they stayed away,
making no attempt to contact the other.

But tonight Tommy reached out to her. Kimberly closed her eyes and
remembered the call.

"Hello?" she answered after three rings, still half asleep. Thunder
rumbled in the distance, signaling the storms fury had amplified in
the last hour since it began. "Hello?"

"..." Silence, followed by a long, troubled sigh.

She knew who it was as surely as she knew her first kiss. Despite the
late hour her snarky side emerged. "I never thought of you as the
crank-caller type. Is this where you start breathing heavy over the
phone?"

"Can I see you tonight?"

No, she thought to herself. No way. Never again. Paul loves her, and
despite their problems of late he wasn't a bad person. Sure, he had
his faults, but deserved better than she'd given him. She knew she
was not the kind of person that... and then she recalled the erotic
specter of Tommy's sweaty, heaving body over her own. The way he felt
inside her was so indescribable. Suddenly, she was helpless, and
surrendered. "... I'm alone."

Tommy exhaled softly, "Not there."

Thunder crackled loudly in the skies above, drawing Kim from her
short walk down recent memory lane. She gnawed at her bottom lip, the
former Pink Ranger's trademark response when she was conflicted and
unsure of her next move. Tommy wanted to meet her tonight in the
parking lot of the martial arts school he taught at part-time. It
didn't make alot of sense. Her reply was was a flat-out no. He
paused, and then told her midnight, sharp. She hung up on the
audacity he had to simply state when he expected her.

It was raining cats and dogs before she even reached for her blue
jean jacket and car keys.

The twenty-minute drive here saw her mind and heart wage war,
fiercely fighting for control of her thoughts. Three nights ago she
made love to Tommy... no, the first time they fucked each others
brains out. He gave it to her so damn good she could still feel the
phantom thrill of him inside her days later. His unique scent clung
to her soft skin even after she showered. His taste was still on the
tip if her tongue. Later that night they made love in her bed, slow
and sensual and full of exploring and passion. But not one "I love
you," was spoken the entire time. And that wasn't something she'd
ever imagined when she gave herself to him. She always thought they
wouldn't be able to stop saying it.

Life's ultimate curve ball. Give her heart its fondest wish, one
she'd dreamed of for years, but completely stripped of what she knew
would make it so special.

Rain-swept rivets cascaded down the windshield of Kimberly's car when
twin bright lights caught her attention via the rear view mirror.
Tommy's truck pulled into the lot and parked along side her car.
Blurry, water-streaked glass separated their heated gazes, but even
then she could feel his unrest. It deftly matched her own. She
exhaled deeply, watching him as he watched her for a long pause of
time. And when he reached over to unlock the passenger door on his
truck, she understood what he wanted.

Everything in her shouted to back out of this lot as fast as she
could, drive straight back to her hotel, climb into bed and call
Paul. Try to work things out between them and make a go of it while
there was still something left to save. Absolve herself of the heart-
wrenching guilt tearing her up inside by trying to fix things in
their relationship. That's what she felt she should do.

But that wasn't what she wanted to do.

The blustery rain battered her blue jean jacket the second she fled
her car, and then entered Tommy's, slamming the door shut. They were
on the move even before she finished buckling her seatbelt, ushering
them out of the empty lot and down the highway accompanied by a
torrential downpour.

Whoever said it never rained in southern California deserved a real
ass-kicking for tonightís terrible weather.

Driving during a thunderstorm felt therapeutic to Tommy as he
carefully navigated the slick roads during the late night hour.
Unable to resist, he dared a sideways glance at Kimberly. She sat
quietly with her hands folded in her lap, her honey-brown eyes
appearing as sleepy as they were lovely. The seconds worth of
rainfall she endured left a fine, moist sheen over her face and neck.
Even in the dim shadows of his front seat, she was gloriously
beautiful. The brief flash of her toned legs courtesy of her short,
dark skirt... He ached to touch her just one more time... all the
while knowing that with each caress he wasn't loosening her grip on
his soul, but tightening it like a noose around his neck.

Nonetheless, he was powerless to stay away.

His bedroom felt more like a tomb the last three lonely nights. The
tension between him and Katherine was strained with short, clipped
conversations and his unwillingness to open up about whatever was
bothering him. He knew it wasn't fair to her, and he regretted that,
his jaw clenching at the obvious pain he saw in her eyes earlier
today when he didn't invite her home. She was no fool, and had to
know, at least on some level that Kim's unexpected reappearance in
their lives played a part in his mood. She deserved better, and
certainly more than lying in his bed making love to him while his
heart made love to another woman. It just wasn't right. None of this
was.

But depriving himself of Kim felt like suffocation. Tommy wanted his
first love more than his next breath of air. And after a long,
restless slumber, he finally called her, damning his self-control and
discipline. He needed to see her again. He needed...

Rain continued to fall in earnest as the storm showed no sign of
easing up anytime soon. "Where are we going?" Kimberly finally asked
twenty-minutes later as the miles ticked by.

"I don't know."

Kim was sure Tommy's answer had as much to do with their complex
relationship as it did with tonight's destination. Right then and
there she considered that as they drove along a dark stretch of
highway toward the Angel Grove mountains, she just didn't care where
they ended up. She didn't care if he took a left turn or a right, or
even
if he made a u-turn and sent them back from where they came. All
that she wanted was to be by his side on this dark, stormy night. And
she wasn't dumb or fooling herself. She knew what he wanted. Could
feel his desire even when he wasn't looking at her.
It clearly
matched her own.

At some time tonight, no matter the rhyme or reason, they were going
to give in again. It was inevitable. And what was worse... she
couldn't wait.

Heavy rainfall finally began to give way to a light drizzle when
Tommy finally pulled to the side of the road. He killed the engine,
scanning the foreboding heavens with a sigh. Kimberly's gaze was
fixated out the passenger side window on the rolling hills of Angel
Grove in the distance. Single droplets tap-danced over the windshield
when he finally broke the silence between them. "I just needed to be
near you tonight."

She melted that very second, but hid it well. After undoing her
seatbelt, she crossed her legs, and then turned her head to talk to
him. "Why not in my hotel room?"

Because if they were anywhere near a bed he wouldn't be able to
control himself was the truth. But saying that would give her to much
power over him. As if she didn't wield enough of that already. "Why
did you come tonight?"

"I haven't...yet. " Her eyes sparkled mischievously, and she found a
older, more mature light in his. His smirk claimed just a little more
of her heart. She often wondered how she was able to breathe at all
with how much of it she'd lost to him. "Paul made me so angry today."

The boyfriend... Tommy suddenly felt as if he were in a episode of
the Twilight Zone, seated beside the woman he still deeply loved
while she talked about the man she's currently involved with. It was
surreal to say the least. "Is this where I ask you how?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

Resting her head sideways on the back of the seat, Kimberly smiled
just a little bit, and then her gaze turned moody. "I want you to
care."

"I care to much already."

"Good."


Tommy wanted to kiss that triumphant expression off her face oh-so
badly. When she lifted her hand to brush some of her damp hair behind
her ear, he caught sight of a thin, silver charm bracelet with tiny
dangling hearts on her wrist. One of the hearts read "Paul," while
another was written with "Kim." Unable to resist, his hand closed
around her wrist, softly lifting it between them so that he could
inspect his newest fascination. A gift given to her by her lover. A
man that wasn't him.
He exhaled while gently fingering a single heart.

"Take it off," she echoed out of the blue, drawing his attention.
Brown eyes bore into the same as she felt the familiar possessiveness
that he'd made love to her with seventy-two hours ago. She physically
trembled when he undid the small clasp, and then dripped the bracelet
into the palm of his right hand. She watched him inspect the gift,
testing its weight and texture. He was so jealous that she partied
inside her soul over that little fact. Traditionally, she wasn't the
Bad Girl. But sometimes the shoes fit. She was wearing them
tonight. "Things haven't been so good between us for a while now."

Kim could easily play it off and say she's talking about them, but
Tommy sensed she wasn't trying to hide or be vague tonight. And a
part of him rejoiced that she wasn't head-over-heels in love with
this Paul guy. In that quiet moment he wondered if he'd ever truly be happy for
her with another man. Perhaps if he was sure she was happy and
fulfilled, but he didn't sense that with this guy. Or maybe that was
just what he wanted to see. "I know the feeling."

She couldn't pinpoint the emotion she felt at his response as joy,
but she wasn't so perfect as to dislike what she heard. "With college
around just the corner it feels like we're drifting apart. To be
honest, its felt that way for a while now." She continued after a
moment. "Itís not that I don't love him. I'm just not sure if things
are strong enough between us to last."

"It feels like you've gone as far with the person as you were
supposed to go," Tommy chimed in before she finished her thought. His
own were a jumble of emotions as he felt her gaze upon him. "I don't
want to hurt her."

"I know," Kimberly nodded, bowing her head for a moment of silence.
Katherine had never been anything less than nice to her, but affairs
of the heart were complex and possessive. There were aspects to love
you just couldn't understand if you hadn't experienced it for
yourself at some time in your life. The tension between the former
and current Pink Ranger since Muranthius had only intensified.

Being in loving with the same man tended to do that between two women.

When Kim lifted her eyes Tommy was still holding her charm bracelet.
She waited, and then her patience was rewarded when he removed his
keys from the ignition and took a trinket off his key chain and held
it out to her. She smiled, "Are you trying to make me jealous?"

Tommy stayed away from that one. "This was a birthday gift."

A small gold Persian cat cradling the word "TomKat" nestled in the
palm of Kimberly's hand. It was cute and probably a sweet idea, but
she hated it as well. It was a loverís gift. Something Katherine had
custom made for the man she loved. The latter being something the
original Pink Ranger had in common with the current one. After
inspecting the design and quality, Kim handed it back to Tommy, and
then took her bracelet in the exchange. "Would it be politically
correct for me to say I want to run over that thing a couple of times
with my car?"

"About as politically correct as it would be if I tossed your
bracelet out the window next time we cross Johnson's bridge." They
shared a carefree laugh, and at least one smile before the tension
returned. Try as they did to live in the passion they shared three
nights ago, they had ties to other people. So even though their time
together was the most passionate, most incredible moment of their
lives... it had to remain a very private, very quiet secret.

At least until they could make some sense of it.

Leaning his head back, Tommy shut his eyes, and sighed, "I can't stop
thinking about our night together." His lips curled around his
suggestive tone of voice. This was so unlike him, and yet it felt
exciting to stray on the dark side of life on his own terms for once.
He was human, after all.

Unable to resist, Kimberly blushed at the sultry memory. "I only
slept with Paul before you," she confessed while looking away. "But
we were never as passionate... I've never felt what you made me feel
that night. Thank God for my birth control pills," she managed a
smile.

Her expression was one that he lived for in high school. When her
brown eyes lit up with mischief and she could get her way with him,
win any argument that they had simply because he loved her so
dearly. "Come outside with me."

Kim quirked a brow, titling her head. "Itís raining."

"Itís us."

She watched him exit the truck, his red sweatshirt darkening with
small blotches of raindrops as soon as he leaned against the door. It
wasn't raining hard at all, but the storm had taken a breather, not
gone away. She studied his profile from behind, again mystified at the
strong allure he awakened within her. Was it love at first sight? Her
cynical side screamed for her to get her head out of the clouds
created by romance novels.

But her heart sent her out of the truck and to his side again...
where she always wanted to be.

Coming to lean against the drivers-side door on his right, Kim
followed his gaze skyward, taking in the dark, rolling storm clouds.
Misty rain wet gently her face, but she didn't care. She had never
felt so alive. "Do you want to talk?" No response at first, and then
he kicked at a rock on the ground. They watched it roll off the side
of the road into the dirt. "What did that rock ever do to you?"

Turning to her, Tommy couldn't help but to laugh. "Don't tell me
you're defending a rock?"

Kim pursed her lips. "You just kicked it for no good reason. That's
called assault."

"The rock isn't alive, Kim."

"That rock might have a family at home waiting for it to return
safely. But oh no, big, bad rock-kicking Tommy had to kick something
tonight. And that poor, innocent, defenseless rock just happened to
be in the wrong place at the wrong time."

He shook his head. "Kimberly Anne Hart. Lawyer for a rock."

"
Thomas James Oliver. Rock abuser."

They laughed side-by-side, enjoying the elusive conversation absent
three nights ago when they were all over each other. Tommy thought to
himself that this was a fiasco of a romance, and yet he loved her
more with every passing beat of his heart. He stared at Kim, noting
how much more beautiful she was now than the high school freshman he
fell in love with. Maturity and life experience, even for her year-
plus in Florida, had aged her exquisitely. "Thank you for coming out
tonight."

"Thank you for asking," she replied, watching him ever so closely
when he calmly entered her personal space. Now standing directly in
front of her.
A shiver coursed through her body at his close proximity.

He was more than handsome tonight... he was bold. And it turned her

on so deeply.

This rain-soaked, long stretch of highway in the dead of night played
host to what she felt was about to become a monumental moment between
them. She was undone by the piercing way he gazed into her eyes.

"What's on your mind?"

Hands in his pockets, Tommy moved just a little closer. "You."

"Little Ole me?
And no jokes about my height." He gave a small smile,
and then lifted his right hand to softly caress her cheek, his thumb
smoothing away the wetness that tapered off her chin. Instinctively,
her face turned into the warmth of his palm. His tender affection
caused her to tremble. "I missed this. The way you touch me."

"
Then why did you give it up?"

Appropriately enough, thunder rumbled in the distance, igniting the
heavens with streaks of lightening. Kimberly's gaze fell, and then
she summoned her courage to forge ahead at last as the rain picked up
again. With fresh tears glistening her eyes, she set about resolving
things with him once and for all. "The simple answer is that I
thought I'd fallen in love with someone else. I did... for a while.
And after two kisses I felt so ashamed of myself that I had to break
up with you." She paused momentarily to gather her thoughts. "I know
I handled everything wrong. You deserved better than a badly written
letter, and for that I'm sorry. I could spend the rest of the night
giving you every single detail, going over mistakes we both made in
our relationship, and tell you all about how many nights I cried
myself to sleep, and how I've been so afraid to face you and have you
hate me. I could tell you all about what attracted me to him and how
different he was from you. But at the end of the day, I made a huge
mistake. I was wrong about him and so many things. And I've lived
with the consequences of my actions. I'm human. And I'm sorry."

With tears streaming down her lovely face, Kimberly was humble,
contrite, and sincere before him. And hauntingly beautiful. Though
she broke his heart, she still owned every single piece of it. There
were many more questions he wanted to ask her. More things that he
wanted to hear from her own lips about what he could have done better
or differently, or what she wishes she could take back. He wanted to
know the hows and whys of the letter she sent him, but at the same
time he realized that none of it mattered. Life happened, just as his
dad said it would. Life wasn't always on your side. It didn't fight
fair. And it didn't care what you thought you deserved. Life happened
to everyone. No one was exempt. Or perfect. And no one that wasn't
God's son ever would be.

Leaning into her, Tommy softly brushed his mouth over her forehead,
and then shut his eyes. While sobbing tearfully, Kimberly reached for
his shirt with both hands, gently holding onto it as the rain
showered down on them. As the heavens wept heavily around them once
more, they gazed into each others eyes and found what was thought
long lost.

His head bent as hers lifted, and they met in a liquid kiss, each
clutching the other. Desire invigorated them as their mouths rocked
wetly back and forth, never mind the raging storm drenching them from
head to toe. The crackling thunder and howling winds serenaded them.

"I love you," Kimberly whispered hotly around his questing tongue
before shoving hers against it.

"I love you," barely escaped between their heated kiss as robust
raindrops rapidly pelted the truck and the road they stood on.
Gusting winds began blowing when Tommy tore his mouth from
hers. "Backseat, now."

"You first!"


Never before had Tommy been more thankful for a full-sized back seat
when he climbed in and quickly Kim straddled him before slamming the
door shut. They were soaked clear through their clothing, kissing so
urgently and with such aching passion that when the wind actually
shook the truck they didn't even notice. Stripped raw of inhibition,
fire burned through their veins as they were all over each other,
their hands roaming and caressing, tearing her blue jean jacket off
while the heavy downpour battered the truck.

Three nights ago they gave in for the very first time. Innocence was
lost when raw lust swept over them. Tonight was no different, though
tinged with an emotionally deeper core.

"I love you," Tommy kissed the words into Kimberly's panting mouth.
His warm hands caressed the soft, damp skin of her trembling thighs,
all the while groaning at the small hand grazing over the hardest
erection he had ever had before. Their demanding mouths melded with
greedy hunger, their bodies already rocking in a age old rhythm that
required so much more than the clothes-restricted friction they were
creating. Where she sat over his lap, rocking against the heat of his
throbbing cock, she swallowed the deep groans that emerged from the
back of his throat. Her sex throbbed with need as they were grinding
intensely in the dark, kissing so hard they felt like they were
bathed in flames.

Overcome with his feelings for her, Tommy stared at Kim when she went
for his belt, and then drew his zipper down. The sound exploded in
his ears until the erotic sensation of her small hand coursing
through the opening of his underwear to curl around him stole the
very breath from his lungs. His eyes narrowed when she began
corkscrewing her fist around him. Instinctively, his hand lazily
snaked up along her inner thigh, and gently tugged her panties
sideways. He dipped his middle finger inside her heat, slowly pumping
it until she began to whimper and moan. Their lips clashed once more
when she poised herself over his hard cock, and then slowly sank him
inside her until she was full of him. Her bottom lip caught between
her teeth, her eyes shut as a couple of heartbeats passed before she
settled fully over his lap, their lips a breath apart.

The storm raged furiously outside the truck, raining endlessly,
thunder blaring through the skies.

"Oh God...Tommy, oh... You feel so..." With every sinking glide she
felt his hard flesh throbbing within her. Spreading her. Every ridge
and vein forever committed to her memory. Kim's breath caught in her
throat as she rose and fell over him, their bodies tightly
interjoined. It didn't matter the uncomfortably wet clothes still in
the way, nor that they were parked on the side of a road. This was
the reckless, desperate passion she craved that only he could give
her. So white-hot she knew she'd never be able to resist it. She
already loved him far more than she ever wanted to again, and now as
they mated vigorously tonight she couldn't help loving the way she
possessed him. He was hers and she was taking him, riding him so damn
good he'd never be able to think about another woman the same way
again. "I want you to crave me."

"I already do."

Her slender arms locked around Tommy's neck, while she drank
passionately from his mouth. Hot pleasure curled inside her belly
when his strong hands took hold of her hips, guiding her the way he
wanted her to ride him. On every down thrust she flexed around him,
and then began slithering her body like a snake, rolling her back and
hips in a hypnotic rhythm designed to drive him crazy. She provoked
madness through his senses, lifting and falling over him. Her mission
was accomplished when he began sucking on her tongue while meeting
her tight down strokes with surging thrusts of his own. "Damn you're
big... God, so much of you... I love you."

With the rain loudly pelting roof of the truck, Tommy relinquished
her lips to gaze into the pure intensity of her brown eyes focused
solely on him. She was a beautiful Goddess riding him right out of
his mind. He couldn't think straight long enough to feel guilty.
Didn't care that his clothes were soaked or even if the world was
ending around him.
All that he wanted was the woman in his arms
making love to him. "I love you, Kim... I need... I need you..."

"You're mine... say it."

"I'm yours..." His warm mouth latched onto her throat, suckling the
soft skin while his hands filled with the firm cheeks of her
backside, squeezing them while dragging her slender body down his
cock. They were straining into each other now, their kisses inhaling
gasps of air while she rode him. Her arms were on either side of his
head now, her hands gripping the back of the seat. Her soft whimpers
tore through his mind. He watched her rise and fall, gazing into her
eyes and was captivated beyond words. No woman had ever driven him to
such heights of pleasure before. After capturing her mouth again, his
tongue dove against her own, swirling all around the inside of her
mouth. The rustling sound of their clothing, the howling storm, and
the sensual symphony of their bodies echoed around the backseat. The
carnal scent of their coupling invaded their senses. The decadent way
she writhed over his lap, twisting her hips in slow circles with him
trapped so deeply inside her was heaven on Earth. "I love the way you
do that."

"I know. And I love the way you feel inside me," Kim growled into his
ear before swallowing the shell and biting gently, then nursing the
tip. His hands cascaded up and down her lower back under her shirt,
before ghosting over her thighs. Fiery lances of sensations began
building when their heaving bodies reached a crescendo that saw her
riding him so hard and fast her fingernails dug into his shoulder
blades, her head thrown back, breath hissing between her
teeth.. "I'm... Tommy, I'm going to...ohgodohgod. .."

"Let go, Beautiful. Cum for me... please cum for me." Gripping her
hips, Tommy brought her down on him so hard one last time before she
wailed with a sharp cry of pleasure as a gut-wrenching climax roared
though her trembling body. She held him tightly inside her while
unconsciously closing around him over and over, cumming so hard. The
passionate contortions that swept over her beautiful face combined
with the way she jerked and bucked over him were indescribable to
observe. Seconds later gently slumped in his arms. He held her
closely, pressing soft kisses over her cheek and neck. Before he
could even think, he swiveled their bodies around, never mind the
confining space, and laid her down on the seat.

"I got mine," Kim smiled through a foggy haze of sated desire.
Panting heavily, she whispered, "Get yours."

Tommy quickly shoved more of his pants down his thighs before
entering her again. "Mine!"

"Yes...God, yes." That first jolting impact drew a feral grown
from deep within her... nearly as deep as he was buried inside her.
The second and third solid, jarring thrust saw her blushing at how
fast she could feel another climax approaching. He felt so hard she
swore she'd be feeling him weeks after tonight. Gusting winds and
heavy rain blew rivets of water against the truck, but she could only
hold onto her lover for dear life as he took her so possessively. She
loved him... mercy, she loved him and missed him and couldn't fathom
being without him again. It was wrong and so very right at the exact
same time. His strong hands took hold of her hips, now whipsawing
into her with his face buried in the crook of her neck. His moaning
came with a litany of "So good, Kim," and "Love you," until her legs
locked snug over his lower back. "I want you to cum inside me. Don't
stop... Give it to me..."

While laboring pleasurably above her, Tommy heard her unconscious
thoughts parade out of her sweet mouth. She moaned how he was her
best ever, and how badly she missed him, and how she loved him more
than anything in the world. Her body might thrill him, but it was
always her beautiful heart that captured his own. Their heaving
bodies glided into each other, sending electric vibrations throughout
his body. His body drew tight, the sensation building powerfully, and
then he whispered his love into her ear while surging between her
trembling thighs. She replied the same while her sex pulled and
clenched tightly along the length of him until it became too much and
scalding torrents of liquid heat rushed out of him and into her.
Straining, orgasmic waves tore through him like never before, all the
while promising her his love and receiving the same in return.

They were so broken they were perfect for each other. There was a
primal note to the music of their lives... holding each other now as
the storm's anger grew still and the heavens became quiet. There was
nothing left save their breathing and the after effects of such fiery
passion. But unlike three nights ago, their hearts spoke the truth of
what was truly between them. The unspoken was now out in the open.

And that only complicated things further.

******

Two Days Later

******

The Youth Center
9097 Bliss Avenue
Thursday, April 3, 8:50 PM 1997
Angel Grove, California

He's not coming.

From the moment she casually walked into her Going-Away party, Kim
had hoped for a final, quiet farewell with Tommy before the evening
was over. She wasn't sure exactly how that would go, but she at least
needed to a have serious talk with him that didn't end with both of
them being naked. Especially after two nights ago when their passion
won out yet again.
Only this time their true feelings were finally
revealed, but they still hadn't gotten anywhere. Not that she was
sure exactly where she wanted to go with him.

All that Kim knew was that she was still in love with Tommy. The
right and wrong of her feelings for him in light of the other man in
her life aside, she couldn't keep lying to herself. She had
unfinished business back home that she couldn't magically wish away.
She needed to deal with it so that she could truly move on. And while
her final destination was unknown, at least she would be journeying
forward. That was the point of life, after all.

Jason, Adam, Ernie, and Rocky put together her party in grand
fashion. Kim was so touched at how they went above and beyond with
all the pink decorations and catering. She'd expected maybe ten
people at best, not the twenty-plus that showed up including a couple
more friends from high school and a surprise visit from her brother.
Having him and her father here, along with so many of her good
friends, in a place that held most of her fondest memories was a true
blessing. Tommy's absence stung, while Katherine and Tanya's were
expected. The latter two were certainly deserved, all things
considered. Nonetheless, she painted on her happiest expression,
danced, laughed, and reminisced with some of the most important
people in her life. She was having a great time despite it all,
especially with the secret inside jokes being tossed around about the
Power Rangers that the non-Ranger guests knew nothing about.

While tomorrow morning came with a early flight back to Florida,
tonight was about fun and reconnecting with all that she had left
behind. She didn't have to pretend to be happy when Jason began
dancing around with a lamp shade on his head, or when her brother
began trying to sing a Britney Spears song dedicated to her. And
Rocky spiking the punch certainly went a long way in lightening the
mood. A long-distance talk earlier today with Trini
about "everything" brought some clarity to her mind. Her sister
didn't pat her on the back or revel in what she'd done, but
understood the complexities of life and how eventually you had to do
the right thing. No matter how painful that ultimately was.

Trini was the kind of friend that would go off on you for screwing
up, and then wrap her arms around you and tell you that she still
loved you and would stand by you. Kim had needed that more than she
could say.

Armed with her second cup of Rocky's' Raspberry Super-Surprise, of
which she was sure doubled as NASA rocket fuel due to its potency,
Kim stole a quiet moment alone in the back. She fondly gazed about
the Youth Center, noting the same old white-print tables she sat at
nearly every day after school. The well-used blue gymnastics floor
mats she worked her butt off for years to hone her craft. The little
section behind a ceiling-high pillar where she secretly watched
Tommy's exhausting workouts, blushing to herself the whole time at
her blatant sensual admiration.
In this place she'd laughed until it
hurt to laugh anymore. Returning here was like returning home in so
many ways.

Cautious footsteps approached Kim from behind. It amused her that she
recognized them immediately. "I'm fine."

"No, you're not," Jason mildly noted, coming to stand by her side
with his hands in his jeans pockets. "Only this time I don't think
you'll tell me what's bothering you."

It took barely a second to register the sympathetic expression in his
brown eyes and define its origin. "He talked to you, didn't he?"

"Yeah," Jason nodded slowly, rubbing the back of his neck as he was
known to do when he felt a bit uneasy. "It's none of my business,
sis. I don't judge. And I'm not perfect either."

"I'm sorry about you and Trini." When Jason flinched for a split-
second, Kim studied the subtle tick of a vein in his neck. The
emotional wounds from his recent breakup were still fresh in his
heart. "She misses you too."

"I came over here to comfort you over your love life, not mine." The
words were spoken softly, and came with a sincere smile. He knew all
too well that Kim was an emotional track star and could divert
conversations from herself with the best of them. "Besides, we might
try again someday. The future's not yet written."

"You pushed her too fast and too hard." Crossing her arms over her
chest, Kim fixed her big brother with a mock of a glare. He wasn't
pleased to hear her assessment, especially since he didn't ask for
it. But he didn't argue it either. She suddenly felt guilty. "Sorry."

"You're probably right," Jason acknowledged. "Just like I'm right
when I tell you that you are still a good person."
She was wearing
her pain on her sleeve tonight, and only five people on Earth could
effectively see through her legendary Poker face. Good thing he was
one of them. "Like I said, I don't judge. And I don't live in a glass
house either."

"I cheated on Paul. I cheated on Tommy. I'm starting to see a pattern
that I don't like." Kim sighed behind closed eyes, leaning her back
against the wall. "I don't like what this says about my character."

"With Tommy, you were barely seventeen years old and you broke up
with him. With Paul, well, I don't know him or how deep your
relationship runs. I'm not going to tell you what you did was right.
It wasn't and you know that. But I've seen you risk your life
hundreds of times to save people from dying. I know that you
practically stayed at the hospital with me for two days straight
after my dad had a heart attack. I know how caring and courageous you
are." Jason tipped her chin with a finger, and then shrugged. "So you
have some things about yourself you don't like. Big deal. All of us
do. Every single person alive. So what you do is take a good, hard
look at your life and then fix it. We all make mistakes. The key is
to learn from them."

Common sense mixed with compassion was often the best wisdom anyone
could ever give or live by. Ever grateful for such a wise big
brother, Kim brushed a kiss over his cheek. "Thank you."

"What, no sarcastic reply?" he smiled.

"Nah, sometimes you just gotta show the love."

Jason caught sight of something just over her shoulder that made him
smile. "Speaking of love, you have a late arriving guest."

Turning her head, Kim found Tommy quietly entering from the back
entrance of the Youth Center. When their eyes met he gave a nod
towards the back area, and then disappeared out of sight. It seemed
their defining moment was at hand. "Looks like I have some unfinished
business."

"Do you still love him?"

"Endlessly," Kim heard herself answer, leaving Jason behind. She
effortlessly parted the crowd, offering a wave of her hand as they
went by. A moment later she was venturing down a quiet hall towards
the Youth Center's athletic storage room. One of the three doors were
open, with light splintering from the partially open door. She gently
pushed it open to find Tommy looking over the new weight benches that
were set to be installed next week. His back was to her, thankfully
enough. It gave her an ever so brief moment to take a deep breath,
center herself, and accept that she still loved him. No matter what
the future held that acceptance freed her. Among one other thing she'd done today.

Sighing happily, Kim appreciated the sight of him from behind. "When
you came, you were like red wine and honey, and the taste of you
burnt my mouth with its sweetness."

With his fingertips tapering off the weight bench's head-rest, Tommy
enjoyed a mildly devilish smile. Her poetic words captured his
attention. "You can never just say hi, can you?"

"That line is from a poem written by Amy Lowell," she explained while
quietly shutting the door behind them. Sealing them inside. Whatever
was to come of this conversation, it needed to be just the two
of them. "It reminds me of you... at least recently." She approached
him, and when he turned around the faint amber mark on his cheek
caught her eye. It wasn't quite a bruise, but he'd been slapped. Of
that there was no doubt. Guilt suddenly flooded through her. "What
happened?"

"I told Katherine everything," Tommy confessed softly, his head bowed
at first. When he lifted it the emotion within him could barely be
contained. "As you could expect, she's heartbroken and feels horribly
betrayed. I didn't try to defend myself, but what really hurt her was
when she asked me if I regretted it. I told her I regretted hurting
her. She wanted me to regret being with you. I just couldn't do that."

Shutting her eyes, Kim could relate to feeling betrayed as well as
being the betrayer. She hated the pain she knew Katherine must be
feeling. And she partly hated herself. Unfortunately, what was done,
was done. And just maybe, someday, if the opportunity were ever given,
she would apologize to her. It that were to ever take place it was a
very long time off. And she owed more than one apology. "I told Paul
everything too."

Tommy couldn't say he was surprised. As flawed as they were, they
knew that couldn't keep on lying in their other relationships. He
invaded her personal space and took her hand in his, warming around
her fingers. "I regret the pain we've caused, but not being with you.
If I did I'd be lying to myself."

Exhaling a trembled breath, a single tear lazily ran down her
cheek. "What happened to our fairy tale?"

"Life isn't one," Tommy replied while bringing her gently against his
chest, hugging her tightly. Once upon a time they were the golden
couple of Angel Grove High. By day, the popular Class President and
her martial arts expert boyfriend.
Behind closed doors, the super hero
leader and his beloved partner. They innocently circled one another
for well over a year, never mind the unhidden affections both held
for the other. Everyone knew and encouraged their love, but they took
their own dear time.

Life interfered as it was known to do. Obstacles, both ordinary and
extraordinary, wrecked havoc on their romance.
Add into that equation
a long-distance relationship and their fairy tale went the way of the
dinosaurs. What was left today was far to complex to ever appear in a
Disney storybook romance. Their fairy tale was over, sadly enough.
But that didn't mean true love still wouldn't win out.

Just maybe not in the most conventional sense of things. Life was
tricky that way.

Stepping back once, Kim held onto his hand, enjoying the genuine
smile he wore while gazing at her. Ultimately, what more could they
do after the deed was done. They told their respective ex's
everything and now they had to move on. "Paul broke up with me, as
you might imagine."

"Katherine told me I was dead to her."

The words stung and clearly, deeply hurt him. Kim squeezed his
hand. "One day her pain will fade. For now she is heartbroken and
reacting. She doesn't mean what she said."

Tommy gave a slow nod, and then exhaled deeply. "How did Paul take
the news?"

Kim shrugged, and then shook her head. "He called me names I deserved
and then he told me we were done. I apologized, but really, what else
can you say? I cried for an hour or two before calling Trini."

"I told Kat I was sorry."

"Time heals all wounds," Kim offered. "Or so I've been told."

"In our case, it's true. So I hope that trend continues."

Something within her heart soared with the way he phrased what he
just said. His loving tone of voice spoke volumes. Smiling, she
released his hand and walked around him, taking a seat on the weight
benches seat. He soon joined her as they settled in quietly, both not quite
sure how to proceed, only knowing that they needed too. "So how do
you feel after everything that's happened?"

Tommy paused before speaking, and then felt himself surprised at his
answer. "Relieved," he admitted with no small amount of
guilt. "Katherine and I were just going through the motions. I wasn't
making her any happier than she was making me. She didn't deserve
what I did, but something needed to be the catalyst for a change. And
I'm just not sure either of us were going to break up with the other.
Now she's heartbroken and I hate that I'm the cause, but at least
she's free to find someone who will love her the way she deserves."

"I know how you feel," Kim nodded in agreement. "Paul and I were
spinning our wheels for months and with college coming up for me, I
could feel myself pulling away from him. He should be free to pursue
a relationship where the other person is in it full time. The way I
haven't been for a while. I hate that I hurt him so much, but at last
now he knows the truth, has said his peace, and will move on. I set
him free. And the guilt is all mine."

Fate, though seemingly unconcerned with fairy tales, had nonetheless
drawn them back together again. Being with her was indescribable to
Tommy. And after experiencing her passion, he wasn't sure he'd ever
be the same again. "So now what?"

"
I love you," escaped Kimberly's lips before she had a moment to stop
herself. And then she realized that she didn't want to. Tonight, she
too was free. She found his affectionate gaze so utterly charming. "I
have always loved you. I will always love you in some way. But I
don't know what the future holds for us."

There was no way Tommy could ever outrun his feelings for her. His
lingering guilt aside, his right hand lifted to cup her face, and
then his mouth fell upon her own. He covered her lips with a slow,
methodically passionate kiss that saw them gliding back and forth as
one. Their intense physical chemistry threatened to overwhelm him
again, but he mastered it this time. Instead of tearing at her
clothes, he made love to her beautiful mouth. After the two illicit
nights they shared he had control of himself. And nothing had ever
felt as right as kissing her did right now.

The possessive feel of his mouth over hers made Kim hum softly in the
back of her throat. She gasped a little when their lips finally
parted. "We are so not gonna do it on this weight bench seat."

"What about the floo.."

"No," she playfully swatted the back of his head, smiling widely. "So
what did that kiss mean?"

"That I love you too. That I always have and will in some way."

Kimberly blushed pinkly. It was appropriate, after all. "So what's
next for you?"

"I'm going to pursue my racing career, but at some point I'm going to
go to college. I'm going to find a way to work with Kat for as long
as we're Rangers, and I'm going to miss you every day we're apart."

"Good answer," she was happy to say. "I'm going to college here in
the fall. I just haven't decided on where."

So there was hope... possibilities, no matter their mistakes. Tommy
felt a weight lift from his shoulders. "I'm not leaving California
either."

She knew he was thinking the exact same thing she was. And a summer
of late night calls and keeping in touch could yield the most loving
of opportunities next fall. For now, they knew where they stood. It
was enough. "Until then." Her lips nipped softly at his once more,
and then claimed them firmly for a couple of heartbeats until she had
her fill, and let him go.

Tommy watched her rise to her feet and stretch her arms above her
head. "I'm not going to stick around for the rest of the party. I'm
gonna beat it. Head home and get some rest."

"I figured as much," she replied. "The natives have missed me long
enough, so I'm going to return to them and have some more of Rocky's
spiked punch. I think it'll help clear my head."

"Have a safe flight tomorrow."

The love shone in his warm brown eyes matched her own perfectly. She
had him back, even if it was unsaid. The pain they caused deserved to
eat at them for a long while. They needed to grow up some more and
mature before ever trying again. But at least now it looked as though
the chance might come. "Don't crash into any walls on the racetrack,
okay. I'd like to keep you in one piece."

"I'll do my best," he smiled dearly. "And I love you, Kim."

"I love you too, Tommy."

They shared a lasting gaze... "We'll see what the future brings."

"That, we will." His smile earned one in return. Kim stood over him,
and using the pad of her thumb, she slowly brushed it over his lips
three short times.

"What was that for?"

"Traces of my lipstick," she noted with a sly smile. "Bye, Handsome."

"See you soon, Beautiful." He watched her disappear out of the room,
but never from his heart. And somehow, someway, someday... they'd get
their fairy tale back.

He was sure of it.

******

The End