I Miss You By: Pink-Green-White-4ever Last Revised: June 11, 2008
Summary: Written for the Perfect Chemistry June Fic Prompt. Kim finds herself on memory lane, and gets more than she ever expected. Rating: T for language Ship: Mentions of TKat and TKim
Dedicated to: All those TK romancers out there; maybe one day we’ll get our fairytale reunion!
Angel Grove May 1997
Three very simple words defined their relationship much more than any other could. I love you didn’t come close. Their nicknames for each other – Beautiful and Handsome – didn’t hold a candle, not even a sickeningly green one, to the three simple words she’d uttered to him once upon a time. I Miss You. It summed up everything. Three months ago, those words could have fixed everything that had gone wrong. Now, it only served to remind them both of what they’d lost.
She only spoke when she was directly spoken to, choosing instead to hide between Jason and Rocky. It hurt, seeing him wrapped around Kat, but she’d come to expect it; after all, she’d made her choice, hadn’t she? Stress and international gymnastics had taken a front seat to being a Power Ranger and having him by her side. For a moment, she felt sick all over again. How far had she fallen in seeking this childhood dream? Life would never be quite the same, and she could only wonder how it would be now that those dreams she’d dreamed when he’d first walked into her life were dead.
UCLA 1 Year Later
“I’m serious Kimber, that hot guy is in the stands again!” her teammate, Lori, giggled as they got ready for the last home meet of the year.
“Lori, every time you’ve ever said that, you point him out and he disappears before I can get a good look at him,” she huffed. Her focus needed to be on the beam that she was getting ready to mount, not on some hot guy in the stands who may or may not be a figment of her roommate’s imagination. To top it off, she felt sorta sick. There had been reports coming in all morning from Angel Grove about Astronema and the Space Rangers. The part of her she’d long buried was clawing its way to freedom; something was happening, something major, and she knew she should have been there to help stop it.
All that was forgotten, or pushed aside, as she was told to mount the balance beam. Taking a deep breath, she mounted and began the complicated routine; her body balanced four feet in the air on a narrow piece of wood. It wasn’t until she got ready to do her final tumbling pass that she spotted a familiar figure, wearing green and white, and sitting eye level of where she was at. Nor was it until she saw him that she felt like her insides were ripping apart. Shaking her head, she began tumbling, flipping off the end of the beam when she felt the familiar, mournful cry of the bird who had been her animal spirit. And that’s when she knew. Even as she hit the mat head first, she knew – Zordon was gone.
It smelled like a hospital. She hated hospitals; hated the fact that to her, they represented the beginning of the end of her tenure as the spirited Pink Ranger, and that they represented the fact that she’d almost lost her life. It took her a few seconds to remember why she was in the hospital, and then it all came tumbling back. Tommy in the stands. The tumbling pass. Feeling sick. Zordon. The tears came then, burning her skin as they sliced their way from her eyes. The sobs bubbled up, wanting to escape only to get caught in her throat. He was gone. Not just gone away to visit, but dead gone. Zordon was dead. He couldn’t be dead! He wasn’t supposed to die! He was the guardian of peace, justice and the power; he wasn’t supposed to lose his life!
She felt him then; right next to her, just like before, watching over her, taking care of her, just like he’d always done. But this time, the healing balm of his presence couldn’t mend her shattered heart. Enough was enough, and Kimberly Hart had finally had too much. “Hey Beautiful, it’s time to wake up.” The words were whispered so softly in her ear that briefly wondered if they were real. When her eyes opened, she saw him sitting on the bed beside her, one hand extending toward her cheek, and she knew they were real. “Welcome back.”
Clearly confused by the affection in his eyes and doped up from the medicines, she did all she could do – leaned into the palm of his hand. “What happened?” she whispered.
“You don’t remember?” he softly asked. “The beam?”
“I fell again,” she uttered, her eyes filling when she saw the emotions in his eyes. “Zordon.”
Tommy bit his lip, nodded his head and squeezed her hand. “Kim….”
“He can’t be….” she uttered, the tears she’d been forcing back finally breaking free. “Tommy, he can’t be gone. Please, tell me that isn’t what I felt, that isn’t why I heard her cry out.”
His eyes narrowed for a brief moment until he remembered something Ninjor had told him during one of their talks after Kimberly had left – no matter that Kim had passed her Ranger powers to Kat, or the ability for the blonde beauty to use the Ninja Powers, the Crane was Kimberly’s animal spirit; a physical representation of her soul.
“I got the call just as you were falling,” he told her, watching her face scrunch up. “I felt mine cry out too, the second we lost him.”
“Wh-wh-what ha-ha-ppened?” she sobbed softly, squeezing his hand.
“Andros had to take his life, to wipe out Dark Spector and his forces. Zordon made him do it, ordered him to. Zedd, Rita, Goldar….all of them are gone,” Tommy whispered. She noticed the tension that had been part of him since he became a Ranger strangely gone. “Andros almost lost his sister in the process, and everyone knows who the Space Rangers are now.”
Tugging herself free of his grip, Kim rolled into a ball on her side and buried her face in her hands. The last two years had felt like an incredibly horrible dream, and this latest news wasn’t helping. She didn’t budge when Tommy leaned over to kiss her cheek. She didn’t respond when he brushed her hair from her face. And her heart seemed to break even more when he whispered in her ear. “I’ll see you around.” --
Angel Grove 2 Weeks Later
Two weeks had passed since her fall, and Kimberly couldn’t be happier to be out of the hospital (even if she only spent two days there for observation) nor could she have imagined that the coaches and her roommate would be constantly looking over her shoulder. She’d been a Power Ranger for Pete’s sake! She could take care of herself. That’s what this trip was all about. She had taken a day away from school and gymnastics, to come back to the only place she’d ever truly known and called home – Angel Grove.
She hadn’t seen hide nor hair of Tommy since that night in the hospital, nor did she expect to. From what she knew from Jason, he was racing for his Uncle’s racing team. He was probably on the road. Driving through the familiar streets, she noted that despite the latest brush with Astronema and Dark Spector, Angel Grove didn’t look any worse for wear.
Lunch had been at the Youth Center, but that had hurt like hell. Ernie was gone and now it was being run by someone she didn’t recognize and it looked nothing like it had just two years before. New buildings were popping up everywhere, so she got a little lost, until she found her way to the one place that she knew would never change – the park.
It was Angel Grove’s pride and joy, a park that everyone in the community had had a hand in helping expand. She had hours to kill before she needed to be back to UCLA and up for school, so she took her time and traveled around the familiar paths. Everywhere she looked were places where memories so dear to her heart called out to her – the jungle gym where as Rangers they’d encountered countless putties and Tengas, the pavilion where’d they’d had so many picnics, the path leading down to the beach where again, as Rangers, they’d made some tough stands, the park bench where she’d sat when she realized she was no longer in possession of her power coin, and the spot by the Koi pond where she and Tommy had kissed for the very first time.
She’d made some agonizing choices the last two years, had made choices she wasn’t proud of, had hurt people she never meant to; that was the kicker there. She understood that, in the end, you always end up hurting the ones you never wanted to. Her letter to Tommy was childish in so many ways she couldn’t begin to count. Some days she wondered if Zedd had invaded her body and made her write it, and then she came back to reality. She’d been a coward, she’d written him a letter instead of coming home to visit or call. There had been someone in Florida, though at the time nothing had happened, but she wanted, craved, the stability of having someone there with her, someone she could talk to. Someone who understood what she’d been going through at the time. Bryce had been that person. And then it had all come crashing down. However much she’d hurt Tommy had been repaid in spades – to walk into her dorm room and find Bryce making love to one of her teammates on her own bed had been the worst experience of her life, romantically speaking. Aisha and Trini had called it Karma, and it had bitten her in the ass, royally. “If you keep making that face, you’re going to have worry lines and wrinkles before you’re twenty-one,” a familiar voice chuckled, causing her to yelp and spin around. The sun was setting, so the owner of the voice was cast in the dying embers of the sun. Staring at him, she wondered if she’d ever seen him look as good as he did in the black boots, black jeans, white button up and the green bandana. Gone was any trace of red from his clothing.
“How did you do that?” she asked, rubbing a hand over her chest where her heart thudded against it.
He just grinned and shrugged his shoulders. Walking toward her, he tucked his hands into his pockets and stopped at the edge of the pond, his eyes on the setting sun. “Still have the old school Ninja skills I suppose,” he murmured, looking at her from the corner of his eye. She was standing so far away from him that his heart ached even more. They’d always been comfortable around each other, that their last couple of meetings had sincerely hammered home the fact that they no longer were each other’s everything. “What brings you out here?”
She sighed and wrapped her arms across her chest. “Trip down memory lane, wanted to make sure, really sure, that despite everything, even Zordon’s death, that Angel Grove was still standing, that the world hadn’t changed so drastically in two years that home was still here.”
Nodding, he shuffled his feet and then turned to look at her. “Listen, Kim, I…”
Shaking her head, the look in her eyes had him quieting. “It feels like forever since we stood here last, not to mention that it feels like forever since those much happier times. Why does growing up have to suck so much?” she asked, looking down at their shoes before looking up at him.
“I don’t know, laws of nature?” he joked. “We could always call Billy and ask, he’s sure to know the answer.”
“Aquitar is really long distance. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have enough money in my bank account for the cost of that phone call, at least not without some help,” she quipped, her smile bright as Tommy cracked up laughing.
“I’m sure Andros could give us a hand if we really needed it.”
Silence hung between them again, each lost in their own thoughts, or in Kim’s case, an inner battle for courage. She knew it was time to bite the bullet, she had to at least apologize for what she’d done, and maybe, just maybe, they could be on the road to being friends again. “Tommy?”
Turning, they stood facing each other again, so much left unsaid between them. “I want to apologize to you,” she started, watching him open his mouth before she closed the gap between them, her fingers resting on his lips. “Let me get it out before I lose what’s left of the courage I have. I’m sorry I hurt you; sorry I broke your heart. I never meant to, of that I want to be absolutely clear. I’m sorry I was a coward for doing it the way I did, and if I could do it over again, I’d have handled it all differently, but I can’t travel back in time and take it back. I know it’s too soon to forgive me, but I’m asking you, knowing the kind of man you are, if you’ll try to some day.”
Those pools of chocolate brown she loved so much stared into her own with an intensity that she hadn’t ever seen before. It was the look of a man who knew what it was like to live with shattered dreams and a broken heart, what it was like to be asked to do something he wasn’t ready to do. “Just answer me one thing,” he started, taking her hand away from his face and holding it in his own. “Why?”
“I have no excuse, and no reason, not one that would justify what happened.”
“Did you cheat on me?” he softly asked the one question that had been burning at his heart since he’d gotten the letter.
Tears pooled in her eyes. “I fell for Bryce before I sent the letter, but I never acted on it until after it was said and done. You know me better than that, after what happened with my parents, you know better than that. I may have been stupid in how I handled everything, but I never cheated on you.”
He hurt. He still felt betrayed beyond words, but the sincere honesty in the eyes he knew so well spoke volumes. She was staring at him, allowing him to see her answer in her eyes. Whatever had happened between them, he could honestly say the qualities that made Zordon pick her as Ranger were still there – honesty being one of them. He had his answers, however hurtful they were.
“Thank you for being honest with me.”
Kim swallowed hard. “I’m sorry it took me so long to apologize. I’m not as brave or courageous as I once thought, even I have weaknesses, and confrontations are one of them. I’ll see you around,” she whispered before turning to flee the scene.
She got a good thirty feet from him before he called out to her. “Kimberly! Wait!”
Stopping, Kim turned slowly to see him coming toward her. “What’s wrong?” she asked him, looking up into his beloved face.
“If we’re going to be honest, I have something to tell you,” he told her, watching her sigh. “You hurt me, Kim. Losing you hurt like hell, to the point that I wasn’t sure I would mend. Kat tried to help, and for a while, she did. She’s a sweet heart, and I’ll always love her for being there when I needed her.”
The emotion in her eyes made him ache to reach out and hold her, to make it go away. “Understandable.”
“I never tried to replace you, you have to know that. Kat’s her own woman, and so are you. You may share a lot of similarities, but you’re both very different.”
“Why are you telling me this?” she asked, finally too emotionally tired to deal with everything.
He smiled at her. “Because. After two years of having to live without you, I’ve realized I lost me when I lost you; I miss you.”
Kimberly’s eyes filled with tears so fast that her vision became blurry in an instant. She had never expected those words; hadn’t hoped for them, hadn’t wished for them at this time. To be given them was beyond measure. “Tommy…” “Look, I’m not ready to jump back into anything, especially right now. I like where my life is, I’m not looking for any ‘romantic entanglements’ as Aisha would put it,” he grinned at her, watching her laugh and blink away the tears. “What I can use is my best friend again, the one who me better than I knew myself. I have to believe even after all of this, that hasn’t changed; you’re still my best friend.”
“You’re an incredible man, Tommy Oliver,” she whispered, her voice cracking. “It’s why Zedd and Rita never understood you – your capacity to forgive, to care, to be a good person, it’s beyond their scope of understanding. Thank you.”
He looked hopeful and bashful all at once. “So, friends?” he asked, sticking out his hand to her.
His smile was the healing balm her heart desperately needed. “So, as friends, could I interest you in coming with me to dinner? I’m supposed to be meeting Rocky, Adam, Jason and Justin in about ten minutes.”
“I’d love that.” At her words, Tommy reached out and took her hand, giving it a good squeeze before leading her away from the pond and toward his truck. Things may have been settled between them, and Tommy may have had his answers, but it wasn’t the end. In fact, it was the beginning, all over again; a chance to nurture the friendship that had taken a backseat to their love affair. Who knew, maybe at some point they’d find their way back to each other. After all, their love was summed up in three simple words – I Miss You.
** This fic has not been edited, so if there are mistakes, I apologize.
Kim its amazing hun. You hit the nail on the head here. I mean the fact that they finally get to talk about the letter and that they do it without YELLING and do it rational with one another is great. I also love the fact that the one place they meet back up at is the park...it is a special place for both of them. ALSO the fact that you didnt have them jump into one anothers arms after they talked...that they agree to be friends...because I think that is where it has to start if they ever wanna go anywhere else.
Title: "365" A one-shot entry in the Perfect Chemistry Prompt of the Month fic challenge Written by: Shawn
Summary: Their first face-to-face meeting in a year after the letter, Tommy and Kim talk after the Pan Global Games in London.
Category: Angst/Drama/Romance Rating: PG-13 for language Ship: TK
Timeline: Set during Turbo, but after the movie.
Email: Dayshawn1974@gmail.com Distribution: Perfect Chemistry only
Authors Notes 1: This is told in Kim's P.O.V.
Why do people have to lose things to find out what they really mean? ~~ unknown
When you are in love and you get hurt, it’s like a cut... it will heal, but there will always be a scar. ~~ unknown
Whenever I cried he would always make me feel like he would change the world if he could so it couldn't hurt me anymore. But now I’m crying and he's not here. ~~ unknown
London Marriott Hotel The lobby Westminster Bridge Road London, SE1 7PB Saturday, May 15, 1997 11:00 PM United Kingdom
And so it begins...
How can I possibly crave the very sight of him and yet dread it at the same time? How can I allow my cowardice to keep me hidden behind this pillar, watching Tommy sit there waiting for, looking as tense as I have ever seen him? Jesus, I've made a mess of things. On what she be one of the best nights of my entire life I feel like the worst person in the world for having broken his heart a year ago. Back in my hotel room there are three medals, two gold and a silver lying on my bed. The results of my commitment, hard work, sacrifice...
... and his pain.
Part of me already regrets asking to talk to him alone tonight. But Aisha and Trini were right. I have to face this, explain my actions, give him the space to voice what he feels, and then let him move on. He deserves that and so much more.
I absolutely hate crying over this. I hate that he still haunts me no matter how far away from him I am. It feels like I've shed a thousand tears over Tommy, and yet I always find more. That's why my feet can't move. That's why I'm stuck in this mental purgatory, desperately hating that when I gaze into his warm brown eyes I will see hate and betrayal there. Never mind he came with the entire Turbo team to see me compete. Zordon's graduation gift via teleportation to the Rangers, both current and former. I saw him in the stands cheering, but didn't have the heart to make eye contact with him. He could have easily not come. No one would have blamed him. To be honest, I didn't even expect to see him.
Part of me hoped he would stay home. Part of me wished he was still my hearts home. But I gave that up, and now I feel fragmented these days. There are so many shattered paces of me that I don't know how to be whole anymore.
Of course I noticed the way Katherine shadowed Tommy most of the evening. Whispering in his ear from time to time... I tried not to look at them in the stands, but failed miserably. Thankfully, I had my gymnastics performance to focus on. But during the intermission Kat and I exchanged pleasantries and a warm hug. She wished me well, and was still as sweet and genuine as I remember her. She's also Tommy's... something. Something special. I can tell by the way he looks at her the same way he used to look at me. And it breaks my heart to see them together. It absolutely does.
Its been a year, you know.
One full year to the day Billy called me to tell me Tommy got the letter I sent him. Imagine my horror to hear it was read out loud in front of the Rangers. As if I wasn't stupid enough to even send it there, hoping Ernie would pull Tommy aside and give it to him personally, he had his heart crushed in front of his friends. All by my hands. All because I... I don't know anymore. The past year's a blur to me. Training, studying, and trying to breathe life into something I should have known was doomed from the start.
I see you looking at me now, having found me hiding in the midst of my shame. I can't bear to think that you hate me, and yet I can't blame you if you do. I know what we shared and I know how I devalued it in my letter. I called you a sibling, when I have forever fantasized that one day you'd be my husband. I wanted to push you away by rewriting us into something we never were. And now I have to face you so that we can both move on. Even if you already have.
The moment of truth has arrived.
So I'm willing my feet to move, side-stepping a couple and the bellhop pushing their luggage cart until we are just a few feet apart. My hands are fidgeting, and I can't seem to stop my heart from racing. There's not a trace of warmth for me in your eyes anymore. Nothing to ward of the cold. When you stand I can't help the crippling feeling that you don't love me anymore. That one day if we passed on the street you might not even say hello. "Thank you for coming."
I watch him give a slow nod, and can feel the apprehensive mood he's in. He doesn't try to hug me, not that I'm surprised. He doesn't want to be here anymore than I do, and yet he was compelled anyway. I've never seen him look so tired before. "You were magnificent tonight. Congratulations. I knew you could do it."
I'm wiping away tears the instant his compliment hits me. I have always imagined if I were able to win a medal at the games he'd be there to whisk me off my feet, tell me how much he loved me and that he was so proud I accomplished my goal. That dream died a year ago. "Thank you. It was a lot of hard work."
"It certainly paid off. Winning three medals is fantastic."
This is so awkward... and so painful. Conversation was always easy for us, whether we were flirting or bantering. So intimate even if we didn't say much. And now we're standing here like strangers, going through the motions, no different than the guests walking about around us. I've never been alone with him and felt unconnected to him. Not until now.
Somehow I manage to extend my hand towards two empty chairs by the far wall. He takes the hint as we walk over together, silently, both of us no doubt lost in our inner thoughts. "Tommy, we've needed to talk for the longest time and I'm so sorry that I have been such a coward about it. I flaked out after the whole Divatox thing and you deserved better. Again, I'm sorry."
Tommy ran his hand through his hair, staring right through me. "I... I never imagined you'd act that way."
He's so disappointed in me as we took our seats. Join the club. I'm someone he doesn't recognize anymore. And I'm in that club too. "I've been scared to face you."
"You never have to fear me."
"But I broke your heart."
His careful pause left me breathless. I want to take it all back. I want him to take me back. I want to go back in time and do it all over again. Alas, I'm a adult and these are the consequences of my actions. "I know you must have a million things you want to ask me?" I used to know what he was thinking without him saying a word. Now he's a bit of a stranger to me, no matter my heart dying for him. "Or do you just want me to start talking?"
He's quiet for a time, moody and fragile in a way I've never seen him before. His hands rest over his knees, looking away before saying, "At the end of the day, how can I still be mad at you? You fell in love with someone else, and even if you handled our breakup badly, I can't hate you. That's life, sad as it is. Sometimes people fall out of love."
He's trying to take the high road. The class his character shows humbles me. "But weren't you angry with me?"
"More than I have ever been angry with anyone in my entire life," he confessed in a way that made me want to run far away. I bowed my head, preparing for the worst. "I yelled at you in my bedroom. I shouted at your picture. I tore them all up," he told me what I'm sure he's wanted to say to my face for the longest time. "I lost sleep wondering if you were making love to him. If were laughing in bed while I was all alone. And I felt like a fool for not seeing any of this coming, because I didn't."
I'm crying on the inside, struggling to maintain even a hint of composure and maturity. I was such a fool. "I... I felt overwhelmed," my voice trembled.
"I'm sorry, were you saving the world at the time?" Tommy nearly snarled at me. His anger, which was mute at first has arrived. I've hurt him so... "No matter how bad things got, or how lonely I was, or how frustrated I was I never once cheated on you."
I know that, but can do no more than nod. The shame here is mine alone. I can't believe that its not until right now I've ever considered that the thought of me sleeping with Josh hurt him. I tried so hard to put his feelings out of my mind, because if I thought about them I would hate myself. "I didn't mean for this to happen."
Tommy sighed. "You could have at least told me you were rethinking us."
"Then why the fuck did you write that letter?"
I have, in my lifetime heard Tommy curse exactly three times, including just now. He doesn't curse, period. He's above that sort of thing. So for him to use that language with me... My voice cracks as I began trying to explain to him what happened. "When I started having feelings for Josh, I didn't know what to do about us. I was happy with you, but you were in Angel Grove with my old life and my old friends. In Florida I was planning my future. I was making new friends and we were all on this shared journey of competing at the Pan Globals." I'm choking up again, but I press through. Never mind that he can't even look at me. "I didn't sleep with him before I sent the letter to you, but we did kiss. I know that doesn't matter to you because its still cheating."
He looked me dead in the eyes. "And I would have never expected that of you."
He used to think the world of me... "I'm not perfect," I confessed softly, sadly.
"I wasn't in love with perfect. I was in love with you."
The past tense he uses breaks my heart into a thousand pieces. "I felt like my new life, the one I was building, was there in Florida. And it was so hard for me being so far from home and you. I... I felt like I was holding onto two lives and I had to let one go. I couldn't maintain my focus on gymnastics, studying, and dealing with day-to-day life on the compound while missing you terribly. I was constantly worried about you and the team. I felt like I was being pulled in two different directions at the same time. I had to make a choice, so I did."
His eyes told me he wanted to say so much... wanted to rail on me and make it hurt... but then they softened. A sadness swept over him. He still cares, no matter how much I hurt him. Leaning back in his chair, his eyes shut and he sighed. "Why did you break up with me in a letter?"
"Because I was too chicken shit to call you or do it in person."
On some level he seemed to appreciate my honesty. "Why send it to the Youth Center?"
"Because on some stupid level I didn't want your parents to see it. They were always so nice to me and.... I know It doesn't make alot of sense. I was in a very bad place when I was writing the letter."
"Why did you completely ignore that we were in love?"
I swallowed hard, dealing with this at last. Suddenly I'm crying again, unable to stem the tide of tears cascading down my face. "I had to create a friendship out of what we had to make myself not feel so bad that I was breaking your heart. What I did was wrong in every way. I take full responsibility for that. I've been in love with you almost since day one. But in the letter if I wrote the truth about us, then I wouldn't be able to live with myself for hurting you. In my head to keep going I had to rationalize us as something different. What I did was stupid and disrespectful to what we shared. I'm so sorry, Tommy. I don't know what else to say."
His somber stare made me feel like I was under a heat lamp. He's looked at me before with adoration, frustration, love, and desire. But never, ever disappointment. Not until now. "Tell me about Josh?"
Crossing my legs, the back of my hand brushes aside my tears as I delve into the letter guy. "He's 18 years old and competes in track and field. I met him at the first media day all the athletes had to attend. A sort of group formed that day of newcomers who became good friends. We were in that group and... we... he was easy to talk to. He was from Nevada, so he was far away from home and missing his life back there. He was smart and down to Earth. I didn't fall for him like I did for you. It wasn't something that clicked right away, but over time..." My voice stalls when the scorned expression on Tommy's face breaks my heart again. I betrayed us, yes, I know. And I feel rotten about it. "He knew I had a boyfriend back home. He never pushed me for anything... but as we got closer and were sharing the stress of what we were going through..."
"Stress you obviously couldn't share with me."
You're so hurt by my actions and I hate myself for it. Tommy... sweetheart, I am so sorry. "You weren't there."
"You could of called," he challenged me to debate.
"I know, but I needed... I wanted to, but you already had such a heavy load with school and leading the team. Josh was there in front of me and..." My words are falling on deaf ears. I can feel Tommy's anger and pain over my betrayal driving him farther away from me. "I made the mistake of not reaching out to you. I was wrong and I'm sorry. I regret cheating on you. I... I made a lot of mistakes."
Tommy stares at me for the longest time, almost as if he still can't believe were here having this conversation. God, I know the feeling. "Did you love him?"
"Yes..." The truth is what he deserves, but even that only hurts him more. I know for a fact that he never thought I could love another man because I sure as hell didn't think he could love another woman. Naive maybe, considering our age, but tell that to our hearts. "What else do you want to know?" As soon as the words leave my mouth I regret them. I want the last five seconds of my life back, because I can clearly see what Tommy's going to ask me. And if I'm right...
"Did you sleep with Josh?"
I could easily say that's none of his business because it isn't. I could say its not important or a number of other things to evade the question. He knows I left for Florida a virgin, having never given myself to him. We never had our one special night. And now I feel like I'm suffocating under his appraisal. It seems I can't spare him any pain tonight. "Yes, I did."
Tommy doesn't say a word for ten minutes straight. Nothing at all. There's a vacant quality to his warm brown eyes that sickens me because I am responsible for it. We're sitting here watching people walk in and out of the hotel, some smiling and laughing, while others possessed faces you couldn't read. I finally muster up enough courage to look at him again. "Do you want me to leave?"
Slowly shaking his head, his hand rubbed over his mouth, and then he exhaled deeply. "I'm sorry I asked that, Kim. It was out of line and... It's ... its not my business. I'm sorry."
"We didn't work out," I offered out of the blue, gazing ahead at nothing at all. "Josh and I dated for seven and a half months until we both realized that training for this competition and maintaining a relationship wasn't something either of us could do. Towards the end we were just going through the motions of being a couple, but the connection just wasn't there. I felt like a fool so many nights, Tommy," I reveal as he listens closely. "What I felt for Josh doesn't compare to what I felt for you. I mistook companionship for love. I broke your beautiful heart because I couldn't deal with my life. I made a ton of mistakes that I can't take back and... I'm so sorry."
Tommy stares at me, and then the strangest thing happens when he cracks a small smile. "Sometimes I forget both of us turned 18 this year, and all of this happened last year. I think because we were Rangers we sometimes forget how young we are."
"We've been through so much..." When his hand touches mine I want to fall in his arms, but I know I can't. His touch is friendly... I can't help wanting more.
"Look, Kim. What's done is done. I don't hate you. I was very hurt by the letter, and I still am to some degree. I guess I just thought we'd make it. But I know you aren't a evil, mean person. You're just human, same as me and everyone else. It's just... I loved you so much, you just don't know."
Oh, I know, Tommy. That's why this hurts me so bad now. "Why did you never call me after I sent the letter?"
"Did you want me to?"
"That's not a answer."
"But did you?"
"Yes... and no," I confessed truthfully. "I was terrified of you calling."
"And I knew that if you could break up with me, after all we've been through, you meant it. You didn't want me to fight for you. The way the letter sounded, it was pretty final. You have to understand that I was so angry and my pride was hurt. I didn't want to ever hear you tell me how happy you were when I was miserable. And by the time I wanted to here your side of things I realized a month had passed. At that point, after no more letters or phone calls... I let you go. I didn't have a choice."
"Was that when you and Kat began dating?"
Tommy shook his head. "No. We didn't start dating until months later. Things progressed very slowly for us. Kat wanted no part of being the rebound girl, and I knew she deserved better. When my feelings for her grew we started dating and things progressed from there."
While sitting up straighter in preparation for whats to come, I guess its time I filled in the blanks for all of my own personal questions. I'm going into this knowing I'm going to pay dearly for asking the things I will. "Did you fall in love with her?"
"Eventually, yes," he replied in a wistful tone that caught my attention. "She was so patient with me, and so respectful of us even after the breakup. She knew what you meant to me. In some ways I think she knows me better than anyone ever has."
My expression stalls. My voice fled my lungs in a rush of hot air. I'm crushed under the weight of his revelation. Trying so hard not to cry again and make a fool of myself. I didn't think anyone touched Tommy the way I did, but after I broke his heart he moved on to someone else. I guess I just never wanted her to be as special to him as I was. And I know that's not fair at all. "Did you sleep with her?"
He could be a jerk and make this hurt as badly as I probably deserve. Instead, he's calm and to the point, simply answering, "Yes. We were each other's first."
Like islands in a dream, watching all our dreams start to fade... lyrics to a old song I fell in love with a long time ago. I'm speechless for a time, unable to find a way to express how deeply heart-sick I am over all of this. Had I talked to Tommy more instead of bottling up my feelings and all the stress I was under, we might of worked through it all. Now we're sitting together overseas, on a night we've both dreamed of enjoying together... and we've just told each that we've made love to other people. Life is so crazy sometimes. "Are you happy?"
"Yeah, I'm... I'm alright," Tommy nodded. "Professionally, my racing career is going well. I'm still learning as I go, but I won two races in the last year. That's not bad at all for a rookie on the circuit."
I try to imagine his first race and how nervous he might of been, or when he needed to talk someone when he was considering pursuing racing as a career. Who was his confidant and inspiration? I know who it wasn't. And who it should of been. When I told him about wanting to compete in the Pan Globals he was so sweet to me. He was my champion, and believed in me more than anyone ever has. I have let him down so many times... how could I do that when I love him with all my heart?
His hand softly grazes mine, pulling me away from my thoughts. "You're quite."
"I hate that you had sex with her," flies out of my mouth before I have even a second to think about it. By admitting that, I've revealed so much that I never wanted him to know. "I'm sorry. That's not fair for me to say."
Squeezing my hand, Tommy offered, "I feel the same way about you and Josh. The difference is, I don't care if it's fair or not. The thought of anyone touching you like that... after I waited and... it's tortured me on more nights than you can imagine."
"At least you have someone now. And it's my turn to be tortured." Somethings swirling around his mind. I can tell by the way he's looking at me. As if he's deciding what he should and shouldn't say. And all I want to do is kiss him. Random, yes, but I do.
"Kat and I officially broke up two months ago," he explained as my eyes widened in surprise. "We're still very close, but with my racing schedule keeping me on the road so much and her going to college in London in the fall, we didn't see a way to mesh our lives and... we didn't feel enough for each other to try, sad as that sounds. But we love each other a great deal. I have the utmost respect for Katherine. It just didn't work out."
I'm not sure how much I heard after he told me they officially broke up. The rest is still lingering in my mind, twisting my thoughts towards something I hadn't considered once tonight. That there was a chance in hell I could fix anything that I messed up in the last year. "So you don't hate me?"
"No," he shook his head, favoring me with that devastating smile of his. "I think you handled our breakup the wrong way, but I know you have a good heart and you're human. I'm not perfect either. No one is or ever will be. Neither one of us are named Jesus," he actually laughed, which somehow lightened the mood between us. "You hurt me," he added softly. "Badly."
"I'll always regret that. At the time I rationalized that I was doing the right thing, but I wasn't. I was doing what was easiest for me. I should have never cheated on you, and when I began having feelings for Josh I should have told you. I should have opened up to you about how hard things were for me. Instead, I made a mess of things."
"Despite all that, look at tonight," Tommy declared to me. "You were able to accomplish your goals and live your dream of competing and winning in the Pan Global Games. Your parents and all your friends were here cheering you on. So the last year was a hard one. I don't think life is going to get easier for any of us as we get older. But all in all things worked out. Look at us now. We're talking like real friends. That's a start."
Friends... it'll never be enough for me, but he's right. This is a start. And he doesn't hate me. Even if he should, he doesn't. That means the world to my heart. "Thank you, Tommy."
"You're welcome, Kim."
His eyes caress me the way they used to, and I can feel myself blushing. My gaze fades before he can see the hope written all over my face. He's single and doesn't hate me. And just like I dreamed of from the moment I got on that plane to Florida, I'm with him on the night of the Pan Global Games. Maybe things aren't so bad after all. "After a year of having to live without you, I've realized I lost me when I lost you... I miss you."
He looks as shocked by what I said as I am that I said it. It takes a moment for both of us to register what this means. We can't fix a year's worth of hell in one conversation, but I can't let a second more go by without telling him what's in my heart.
I watch him stand to his feet, stretching his arms above his head. Sitting in those chairs in the stands for so many hours probably wasn't the most comfortable way to spend a evening. "I miss you too." When he extends his hand to me I feel lightheaded. Nonetheless, I grab on, loving the way it curls around mine. Just like it used to. Like its meant to. "Listen, I'm starving. All I've had is a hot dog since like 4:00 PM today," he smiled at me. "How about we go to my room, order room-service, and finish catching up?"
Right about now I'd follow him up and down Mount Everest while blindfolded in a snow storm with the wreckage of the Titanic shackled to my ankle. But dinner and more time alone with him is better for me than all those medals I won. I just don't want tonight to end, so I tell him, "Lead the way," when all I want to say is that I love him, want a second chance, and desperately miss his arms around me. Before the night is out I swear I will say all those things to his face. I swear it.
We stand beside a elevator as it empties, and then take our place inside. I can't help but to tease him with, "You know, some girls might think that when a guy invites her to their hotel room late at night he's flirting with her?"
"I should hope so," he noted with a cute smirk I just wanted to kiss. The elevator doors shut as our banter continues, light and easy. Earlier, on my way to the hotel lobby the idea of talking to Tommy tonight felt like a final ending to our fairy tale.
When in fact, it feels despite every bump in the road... like a new beginning.
Again, I've already told you I loved it, but just have to say it again here now that you've posted it. (Look for my standard feedback in an email soon.) I think you've done a great job of having them talk it out, and then leaving it on a hopeful note of a romantic relationship being had once more. LOVE IT!
I'm so glad our little monthly prompt inspired you (I'm sure it had nothing to do with Kim forcing you to write it lol). Thanks for posting it!
Don't forget if you need anything important, to shoot me an email NOT a PM!! falconcranelove(at)yahoo(dot)com Gonna be busy for a while!! Love you guys! *HUGS*
I dunno, Cat. I mean, being tied up to a pole near an ant hill doesn't sound like free will to me. And coercion doesn't sound much better. That poor guy, it's a wonder that Shawn's survived this long! *grins*
Anyhow, Kim, you sent me bits and pieces of your fic and I'll say the same thing now that I did then: I absolutely love it! It's great, and sad at the same time! It's a wonderful TK piece.
Shawn, even if you were tied up to a pole near an ant hill or coerced, whichever one you prefer, I still love it. I like that you had them sit down and talk it out like adults. They did get a bit upset, and who wouldn't? Remind me again why there can't be a sequel? I mean, that wouldn't be TOO hard for the King of TK now, would it? *grins*