Kimberly Hart's Guide to Dating and Ex-Boyfriend Mar 19, 2009 13:36:26 GMT -5
Post by .liz on Mar 19, 2009 13:36:26 GMT -5
Kimberly Hart’s Guide to Dating and Ex-Boyfriends
Disclaimer: I don’t own Power Rangers
:: I thank my sister for beta-ing in spite of her dislike against TK and a bunch of solid gratitude for Shawn for all the help, including the title and the summary. Hail the King of TK!
:: I haven’t written for God knows how long and therefore it felt a bit difficult to finish this fic. On the other hand, I also made an artwork accompanying this story. You could find the link in my profile page. It would direct you to Perfect Chemistry, an awesome TK/SS board with all its awesomeness.
Ephemeral; ephemeros-- Lasting only one day, transitory, existing only briefly. Typically the term is used to describe objects found in nature, although it can describe a wide of range things, such as feelings and relationships.
“I really need to get laid,” Aisha mumbled as they exited McDonalds together and got lost in the crowds. It was Friday night and the avenue was crowded with people looking for a good time in the city. “Ever since Rocky left it seems like my only pleasure comes from either from the late episodes of CSI, a half box of Godiva he sent me for Valentine’s Day or that naughty toy you got me for my birthday last year. God, I need to thank whoever invented that equipment! It’s a girls’ best friend next right to sapphires, since you know that I’m not quite a diamond type of girl,”
“And here I thought Rocky had thrown that away,” Kim snickered with a repressed laugh, recalling the post panic attack two months following Aisha’s birthday. Her former teammate had actually called her to consult about Aisha’s latest addiction. “I seem to remember someone feeling very threatened.”
Aisha giggled, “But to tell you the truth, we had plenty of fun-,”
“Okay, okay,” Kim hastened to wave her hand to stop Aisha mid-sentence, wind tousling her brunette tresses while Aisha’s braided locks rested neatly against her back. “There’s actually something called ‘too much information’, you know,” As much as she loved her friend, no sordid details were required.
Or maybe you just don’t want to know how happy they are…
…which of course was untrue. There was just no reason whatsoever that she needed to be that bitter, now was there? After a few heartbreaks and one failed pseudo marriage she perfectly understood how it felt to be in love, have that wonderful warmth overwhelming you everytime that special someone was around, or mentioned, in Aisha’s case because she was positively glowing at the moment.
Once upon a time her mother had told her every night before kissing her forehead and tucking Mr. Rabbit in her arms, that there was a prince out there looking for her and when the time came they would live happily and ever after. Twenty years later, she realized how deceiving and misleading that was and she had solemnly sworn that her future children would receive no such treatment. It was bad enough that the only thing shown on TV nowadays failed to stray from the same old template of a bunch of wealthy teenagers having complicated love-rectangular relationships that usually and normally always led to sex, more sex and sometimes babies. Kids didn’t need their moms to put a bunch of nonsense into their heads. Someone should have sued Disney for producing all those fairytale cartoons a long time ago.
She’s not being bitter, not at all.
“Are you okay?” Aisha asked, picking up the sudden change in mood, fully aware of what was probably swiveling around Kim’s head at the moment. “You’ll find someone, don’t worry,” She slung her arm around friend's shoulder. “And who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and meet someone handsome with gorgeous eyes and a breathtaking smile that could sooth your wounded heart… someone dreamy.”
Kim pushed back half an arm length to eye Aisha skeptically. “Oh, and if he’s a doctor that would be even better, wouldn’t it?”
“Exactly,” Aisha sighed, her free hand clutching her chest tightly as her dark eyes took a dreamy look, pun intended. She might be thinking about playing doctor and nurse with the gentleman and every inch of her face showed her every fantasy. “He would be a much better husband than that man-whore McSteamy.”
Grey's Anatomy fanatics that they were, Kim laughed, “Oh boy, I guess I have to say that Rocky is very lucky that you’ve had that ring on your finger already. That man has quite a competition. I always seem to forget that Saturday is the McDreamy rerun.”
Looking half guilty and half amused, Aisha turned serious as they resumed their casual walk to the video store. “What I meant is that you don’t have to worry. You won’t grow old alone in a small home with plastic covered furniture and ten cats mingling around your feet. So being the wonderful sista that I am, I'm gonna let you choose the movies tonight. I won’t even complain if you decide to go with Lord of the Ring, the extended version.” After a pause, she went on to emphasize, “Which is around nine hours long.” She left her words hanging and Kim shot her a hard look. “What? I’m just making a point that it’s probably the longest trilogy ever made.”
“Just promise me you’ll kill me if I make the same mistake as I did 3 years ago. I swear I watched that Oprah episode with Doctor Oz and he clearly said that women are bound to easily get drunk because all the alcohol will go straight to our bloodstream, unlike men who only absorb half of the alcohol. Even nature is being sexist! How fair is that?”
“Alright, so you pulled a Britney Spears to a tee and I’ve got to admit that it was wrong in so many ways, but you haven’t shaved your head in front of millions of paparazzi. You won’t be in E! True Hollywood Story anytime soon, so take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy this evening with your best friend and Ronald McDonald.”
“And that’s supposed to cheer me up?”
“Yes,” Aisha nodded.
Shaking her head in defeat, Kim let Aisha slip her arm around hers and lead the way. Just the fact that she had been inhaling all kinds of junk food for the last week was more than enough of a hint for her to be aware of the frustration that permeated her life. All romantic relationship problems aside, life in general was kind of suck-ass at the moment. Her boss was still not happy that Angel Grove Gazette had the full coverage of the Beckhams leaving Europe to finally settle in the US three days ahead of their magazine. Who actually cared if Beckham decided to go to Qatar and join the army? Well, gallons of tears would be shed and Victoria would probably go all the way and stop eating altogether, but it’s still not the end of the world. She couldn’t believe that she wrote gossips for a living. The old Kimberly Hart would have been very happy to be able to get the first scoop about who’s dating who and who’s cheating on whom, but not this 2008 version of Kimberly Hart. There’s nothing wrong with the profession, she just hoped she could do better.
And of course, there’s the other issue with her mother. The constant nagging as to when Kim’s going to give Caroline grandkids annoyed Kim just as much as it disturbed her to wake up every morning and realize that she’s 29. Just one more step to the big three-o.
Brian, the last guy she was seeing before he politely and gentlemanly broke things off, was a Yale graduate and a lawyer in the biggest firm in Angel Grove. He had told her over lunch -- lunch. And people were still asking why she wouldn’t accept a lunch date-- that he didn’t really have time to be in a serious relationship now. To be frank, Kim had a suspicion that he just didn’t want to tell his lawyer buddies that he was dating a gossip columnist.
“Yo, Kim, check this out,” Aisha stopped and dragged her to a small coffee shop they regularly visited every week or so. The special menu of the day that was usually written on the 60 x 60 cm blackboard had been wiped off and replaced with a 4 huge, block words: ANGEL GROVE SPEED DATE.
A knot formed inside her belly as she glanced at Aisha warily, watching the corner of Aisha’s lips lift into a sly smile and her eyes twinkle with glee. “You know, suddenly I'm not feeling so well.” Kim was never a good liar and tonight she was even worse. But after being friends with Aisha for almost 2 decades, Kim knew when Aisha had something up her sleeve.
“Didn’t you say you were craving for some Alfredo?” Aisha asked, ignoring Kim’s statement and eagerly looking at the chalked announcement. “With garlic bread and cheese sticks?”
“I never said that.”
Aisha finally straightened her back and turned to look at Kim, both hands clasping her upper arms as her dark eyes bored into her skull. “Kim, you’ve got to try this.”
“I don’t want to disappoint Ronald,” was the first thing in Kim’s mind while she’s swinging the McDonald’s bag to stress her meaning.
“I’ll pay,” Aisha offered obstinately.
“Hey, you have got a fiancée already, missy,” Kim rejected, not even trying to pretend that Aisha was talking about the Alfredo with extra cheese sticks instead of the speed dating thing. “I wonder what Rocky would say about that.”
“Well, we’re just fooling around. Come on! This is like, much better, than spending 5 hours watching some fantasy movie with mumbling old wizards and talking trees.”
“It’s 681 minutes.”
“Urgh, it sounds bad when you say it like that!”
“Maybe your McDreamy is in there.”
“Well, I wouldn’t bet my money on that one.”
“Why don’t we check this out first? I know Angel Grove Speed Date. The participants have to pay via credit card first but they actually don’t mind some walk-ins, just in case they need to balance out the male and female groups. Sometimes there’s a no show.”
Kim gave Aisha a funny look while she blabbered her knowledge.
“What? Your magazine has its ad on every edition, just in case you missed that,” Aisha pointed out and folded her arms over her chest.
“I’m not that desperate!” Kim wanted to stomp her feet like a 5 year old in a candy store.
“I never said you were. I’m just saying that you should try this. Come on, where’s the daring, brave and of course, shameless pink ranger I used to know?”
“I kick butts, not go into some speed dating service.”
“I would tell your boss that you had dinner with Keith!” Aisha finally fired the cannon ball. It was with a smug smile that she watched Kim’s face pale and her lips press tight into a thin line. Keith Adkins was Kim’s long time friend who by chance was also the assistant director of Angel Grove Gazette. Given the latest situation, her boss most likely wouldn’t approve of one of his people having a friendly chit-chat with a member of the enemy camp.
“You know, that’s really mature.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment and really, Kim, you’ve got nothing to lose.”
Aisha grabbed Kim’s arm and pulled her into the café. “One day I'll get you for this.”
Instead of Maxwell, their usual maitre d’, a tall guy with a burgundy dress shirt with a name tag that said ‘Chuck’ pinned on his shirt came to greet them. He flashed them a smile that showed off a nice set of white teeth that would make any dentist give a standing ovation and clasped his hands together, his face full of anticipation.
“My friend and I were walking through when we saw the ad,” Aisha chimed in happily. “We were wondering if we could join?”
“Are you listed?”
“No, not yet.”
Kim exhaled tightly, hoping that the place was already full. They said there’s always a first for everything, but she didn’t think this was the most brilliant idea ever.
After Tommy, she had endured her fair share of failed relationships; not to mention a massive mistake of a 36 hour marriage. And right after Brian, she had seriously considered changing directions... sexually speaking. Maybe men and Kimberly Hart were just not compatible. Despite whatever people had said, she thought that’s probably what’s inside Lindsay Lohan’s head before she decided to go out with her new girlfriend.
After winning 3 gold medals at the Olympics a few years ago, she was practically America’s Sweetheart. It was kind of tragic to see a former Olympian now working in a local magazine that wrote about Paris Hilton’s latest catfight with her former BFF. Unlike her dreams as a small girl, she didn’t own a gymnastic studio or even have the desire to be in that field anymore. She felt as though that part of her life was over although she was going to cherish it still. She didn’t want to spend the rest of her life doing gymnastics and perhaps that was what made her go back to college.
Of course, deep down there was a small piece of her heart that was willing to admit that her real reason letting gymnastics go was because it had cost her life so much; a painful reminder of everything that she had lost.
Even after nearly a decade, Tommy Oliver seemed to refuse to let her live in peace and that’s probably the only thing that she wholeheartedly hated about him. He hurt her simply by existing.
“Thank you so much, Chuck, I appreciate it,” Aisha gushed. She proudly held up 2 name tags with ‘Kimberly’ and ‘Aisha’ written in red marker and slipped one card to Kim’s front pocket while she flung hers to her bag. “Come on, Kim, we’re good. We’re almost late but it’s fine. We don’t want to look too eager, now, do we?”
Somehow she thought Aisha must have planned this all along.
As they came rather late, they didn’t have time to schmooze before the game started. But still, Kim managed to take a quick scoop over the room. It was a classic café which had been around for nearly two decades now. It had been there when she was still a sixteen year old teenager full of hope and she was confident that this place would still be around when she was sixty one.
“Okay, here’s the thing,” Aisha took out her card; it was green and was surprisingly professional looking with the AGSD logo embossed on the right corner. “This is where you have to fill in your date’s name and their numbers,” She turned the card and tapped the small 7-row table at the back. Her yellow polished fingernails looked brownish under the minimalist light. “And just tick Yes/No under this one,” Her finger moved to the ‘Would you like to see this person again’ section. “No sharing phone numbers, emails or mobile. The guys are supposed to call you in two days if you’re compatible. I’ve filled the form for you by the way. You can thank me later.”
“With a crowbar?”
“Oh hush, girl. If you don't get some loving soon you're gonna forget how its done.”
“You’ve done this before, haven’t you,” Kim stated, her eyes narrowed to a slit.
“Just once. Speed dating was fun, in a way,” Aisha answered truthfully. “But one guy I did like apparently didn’t want to see me again. Obviously he was very flawed and had serial killer potential. That was a pretty traumatizing experience… but oh well, I guess I could still pretend to be single, and you,” She stopped and smiled. “I’m sorry, I forgot you were single.”
Kim scowled. Yeah, she didn’t need to act. She was just torn whether she should be herself or come up with some put-on personalities. Perhaps she should say that she had ten cats waiting for her at home, or that she was just released from jail after breaking and entering her ex’s new girlfriend’s apartment…
Sighing, she looked around again. There’re only a few regular customers besides the speed daters, and behind the bar, Master Julian was wiping the counter down. When their eyes met, the old lad winked. Kim smiled; it was good to see a familiar face.
Seven women- nine with Aisha and her-, and eight men. Seven dates. She could do this. The worst case scenario was to spill her wine on herself because she was so nervous her hands trembled, but she wore a red blouse tonight so it’s all covered. The yearning to go to the bar and ask for some bourbon was strong. She might as well get a bit tipsy if she’s going to talk to all those strangers, but Chuck had stepped in, a bell in his hand. Bummer.
Date number one/ Brett Stevenson.
Her first date appeared to be so nervous that he tripped on his way to her table. Just her luck. Brett broke into a sweat and sat down with a nervous, embarrassed smile. Somehow knowing that he was just as anxious, if not more, than her, calmed her a little.
“Hi, I’m Kimberly,” She tried to smile as if she didn’t see him tripping over his own feet.
“Hi, the name’s Brett. Brett Stevenson.”
“It’s Hart here,”
“I know!” Brett quickly replied, hands clasping together. She could see beads of perspirations began to form on his brow and she didn’t have the heart to correct him, nor laugh at the situation. This was going downhill fast and they'd only gotten the introductions out of the way. “It’s kinda hard for me too to do this, but well, the ad was so intriguing! Success rate of 85%, they say. My mom resented me doing this. She even threatened to lock me in my room just the way the ugly stepmother locked Cinderella at the tower when those men came with the glass shoe. I’m an only child and after dad passing, there’re just two of us together. We live in a small townhouse near the mall, you know that place right? I mean, you’re a true Angel Grovean right?”
Lives with mom... Mama's boy... Oh boy... Kim was about to answer when Brett went on, wiping his hands repeatedly on his pants. “Me too, well, not actually. I came from New Jersey. I still have the accent, though it’s very faint. But it’s there. Can you hear it?”
No. “Er… yes,”
“Kinda sexy, don’t cha think?” He smiled that nervous smile again although his body posture had started to loosen up. He didn’t look as rigid as a scarecrow anymore. “Yeah well, Mother doesn’t think so though. She thinks we don’t actually have accent since New Jersey is a melting pot. What did those teachers teach ya at school, she often yells at me. Many people seem to confuse the New Jersey accent with the New York accent.”
As Brett went on about the New Jersey population and how the world would come to an end in 2012, Kim took several sips of her drink. Just listening to Brett talking made her throat go as dry as the Gobi desert. She’s a believer in letting others to introduce themselves, but it was obvious that the person sitting opposite her thought differently. So far all he knew was her name.
Her eyes latched onto the top button of his dress shirt that now was hanging loosely. His mother must have forgotten to sew it for him, she thought with an inward grin. From his stories, Brett was perfectly fine with his mother taking care of his mails, life insurance, taxes and car insurance and he wasn’t showing any signs of taking charge of his own life anytime soon. At least Mother let him drive his own car, that’s something.
At last after six and a half minute -—Mom said it was dangerous to go out here, just in case I meet some nutcase chick who’s infected by Aids, but you’re really cool!-- Chuck rang the bell. Meanwhile Kim’s glass was nearly empty and the back of her right hand was now covered with four sets of half-moon marks. She had to dig in her fingernails deep to avoid from bursting out laughing and risked offending Brett. She didn’t want to make him go home and cry to his mother and have Mother knocking on her door, going Freddie Kruger on her.
Brett stood up and after giving her hand a light squeeze, he moved on to the next table.
As soon as everything’s over, Aisha would be dead. Kim marked her card. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which option she chose.
Date Number Two/ Ryan O’Hare
Her second guy was a tall man with messy shoulder-length sandy blond hair that looked grimy. He had on a pair of white and black Nike air with his suit and tie, and a horn rimmed glasses sat on his nose. He was Mickey Rourke in the making.
“Hello, I’m Kimberly Hart,” She introduced herself, not wanting to repeat the same disaster with her first date. The silence that followed told Kim that this would be, or not, she hoped, a long 7 minute. “So, Ryan, what do you do for a living?” She asked her ice breaker question.
He seemed startled that she spoke first, but he answered. Short and to the point. “I’m a technician for Microsoft.”
He didn't elaborate. “That’s pretty cool,” Kim tried to fill the blank. “I’m working in AGQ, you know, that monthly magazine. We had that Hannah Montana girl for our cover the last issue,” she added after a quick thinking, hoping for some reaction that hopefully would lead to a conversation. What wistful thinking.
Kim played with her straw, twisting and pulling it, when her eyes met Aisha, sitting 3 tables away. She was laughing and twisting her hair slightly flirtatiously, clearly having a fun banter with the brunet and forgetting Rocky.
“Is this your first time?” Kim finally asked, not able to endure a dead silence while everyone was chatting gregariously around them. “It’s my first, to tell you the truth. My friend practically had to drag me to go down here. She’s right there, talking with that guy in blue shirt.” She nodded at Aisha’s direction.
Ryan spared them a brief glance before turning the attention to the painting behind her head, staring blankly. He was a type of person that couldn’t maintain a direct eye contact when talking and that’s, while understandable, given the situation they were in, was a bit disturbing. He reminded her of one guy in middle school who was constantly being bullied in school for washing his hands 10 times a day.
Five minutes and thirty eight seconds.
He was a cum-laude graduate of the University of Texas, finishing half a year early than his friends and had even hacked into the university computer and changed all webcast in school to MTV due to a lost bet. It must have been the most ‘fun’ he had while he was in there, she thought, add sarcasm there.
Three minutes and twenty six seconds.
Aisha would be dead. Really dead.
Three minutes and ten seconds.
Why did time seem to move in slow motion?
Two minutes and fifty five seconds.
Ryan liked reading Japanese mangas, loved working with computers, enjoyed Japanese food including all kind of sushi, adored Stephen King; especially Carrie (wonder why?), and really wanted to have a cat. He told her all these while staring at the croaked edge of the table.
Date Number Three/ Royal Davis
She would have paid a bit more attention to her next date, if only she wasn’t distracted by the guy moving to the table in front of hers. She couldn’t believe her eyes, but sitting right there, and looking as staggered as she was, was Tommy Oliver. The same Tommy Oliver she had dated when she was sixteen. The same Tommy Oliver that had dumped her 2 years ago. A wave of sickening nausea rushed in and her muscles went weak, her arms laying limply on both side of her.
“Hi there, Beautiful,” The man sitting straight in front of her greeted her sweetly in his sing-a-song, thick British accent and she cringed silently. Of course, she noticed, she wasn’t the only one conscious of the sweet endearment.
“If you’d excuse me, I need to go to the ladies room,” She swallowed a lump in her throat with no success and moved to stand up. Royal’s hand flew to hers, holding it in place. “I’ll be back in a sec.”
“Come on, we just met!” Royal was a man with an oval face, a split chin, twinkling curious hazel eyes and receding hairline. While he was standing he didn’t look that much taller from her and that was enough reason for her to scratch a No. “Now we only have 6 more minutes,”
Her mouth had open to object when she caught Tommy’s lopsided grin from her peripheral vision. That did it. She sat down and crossed her leg, not being careful enough, brushing Royal’s calf. He leered at her and Kim’s heart sunk even deeper. “Fine,” She leaned back in defeat, the thundering of her heart making her feel faint.
“That’s my girl,” Royal smiled brightly. “So… you know what?”
“No,” Kim answered cautiously while keeping one eye open, her fingers unconsciously moved over her one year old tattoo of an angel with torn up wings on her arm, courtesy of the talented Kat Von D. “What?”
Royal leaned over, his eyes never once left her nervous ones. “I didn’t know that angels could fly so low,”
. . . . . If the situation had been different, she probably would snort out loud at that terrible line, but now the only sound came out of her lips was a soft whimper similar to a wounded kitten. “Why, thank you,”
“So, Gorgeous, please tell me how you end up right here,” Royal asked, real curiosity in his blue eyes. “Seriously, you should have never even thought of joining this speed dating thing. But oh well, I guess that’s for the best or else I wouldn’t have met you here! You remind me so much of my ex wife.” He grabbed his card, it was yellow, and a pen. “Look at this, I will make sure that this won’t be our last meeting, there’s no doubt about it,”
“Well, what if I told you that I was in jail for six months for breaking into my ex’s new girlfriend’s apartment?” Kim asked perkily. “I accidentally killed the cat and well, I gave Becky, that’s the name, the girl not the cat, a black-eye and a bloody nose. If only her current boyfriend, my ex, didn’t show up in time you probably would have read her name in the paper. The obituary section,”
Royal was quiet for a few moments and she wondered whether the story had spooked him as much as it had her. The desire to tell a lie about killing “Becky” was probably provoked by the fact that the old guilt was mercilessly and slowly killing herself right now. Just what the hell was he doing here?
Despite his sweet talking, Royal was definitely the dog type of a guy. He would rather have a dog instead of a wife because if a dog had babies he could just put an ad on the paper and give them away.
“Where did you say you’re from again?”
“I didn’t, but I originally came from Angel Grove. I’m a California girl at heart.”
“Are you sure? Cos I have a great vibe that you’re from Pearl Harbor, cos Thumbelina, you’re the bomb!” He whistled after throwing her his latest cheesy pick line assault and Kim was tempted to look down under the table, half hoping to find a stack or cards on his lap. How dare he called her ‘Thumbelina’ while he wasn’t a Yao Ming either?
Then her ears pricked up. She wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, but she just heard them. Maybe it was the side effect of working in the show bizz environment. She was trained.
In his early briefing, Chuck had said that the age range for the female participants was 25 to 30, but apparently Karen had broken the rule since she said that she was older than 30. Karen loved her Chihuahua, Tinkybell, to pieces. Not that it surprised Kim because Karen looked like a perfect imitation of Paris Hilton, down to that ‘Oh my God, a doctor! That’s hawt!’ catchphrase. Her hobby included playing with Tinky when she wasn’t doing any modeling. Yes, that’s right, she’s a model. While she didn’t say anything about it, Kim was pretty convinced that Karen Nip/Tucked her nose and lips; she looked like she was pouting all the time.
“Kimberly, are you alright?”
“Yes,” Kim immediately fixed her eyes back on Royal and he continued his story about his passion for writing and how he was in the process of doing a young-adult novel that sounded similar to Oliver Twist, just with some modern twists, this time around.
The clock was ticking and the anxiety was mounting. She needed more wine. For once that evening, she didn’t want Chuck to ring the bell. Despite being Thumbelina himself, Royal was a much better companion for her than the rests of the guys and she was not looking forward to talking with Tommy.
But of course, when did everything go the way she wanted it to be?
Date Number Four/ Tommy Oliver
After his last compliment--‘If beauty were sunlight, you’d shine from a million light-years away. So long, Milady’-- Royal reluctantly stood up and dragged his feet to the next table where a cheery face blonde was waiting.
There it was, the moment of truth. From everything she wanted to say to him, the first thing that came out of her mouth when he had sat down was, “You prick,” although she realized she had no excuse to be upset.
“No, my name is Tommy,” he answered. For a few seconds that felt like eternity, she had really thought he would stand up and leave.
“Did Aisha talk you to come here? She planned all of this, didn’t she?” Kim was sparing her friend a glance but Aisha wasn’t looking at them, in fact, she seemed not to notice Tommy’s being there at all. Deliberately or not, she would find out.
“Yes, Aisha is here.” If they’re going to spend 8 minutes talking about who’s here and why, then so be it.
“What are you doing here, Kim?” His forehead furrowed, accentuating the lines on his brow. He was every bit the same as the last time she saw him. Even after all this time the short spiked hair hadn’t really grown on her. Those chocolate eyes looked tired and droopy, as if she was an old movie that had been going for 2 hours when he was in desperate need to sleep.
“Shouldn’t that be my question?” He should be in Los Angeles, burying his nose in his thick textbooks and what not instead being in here, partaking in this event.
He was staring at her with those eyes which used to be able to sooth her. Now it didn’t do more than make it her difficult to breathe. They had had a long history together. A pretty good one, she dared to say, until she ended everything by sending the infamous Dear John letter. While everyone never really directly brought it up, she knew that the topic had made all their friends wonder and speculate.
Tommy and she had made peace all those years ago after the Turbo Rangers saved both Jason and her from Divatox. Tommy was sort of dating Katherine at the time, but they managed to take some time before she was scheduled to go back to Florida and talk, trying to clear the air and get some closures.
There was nothing much to say except how sorry she was and that she didn’t mean to hurt him like that. That she didn’t think it would hurt him the way it had. Unless of course, she probably hadn’t really used her head when she wrote the letter. Still, the letter was true to some extent. She did meet someone else and in her loneliness during that time, Jon was everything she could have ever hoped for.
At the very least, he was there.
Then karma bit Kimberly back in the arse and Jon left her for another girl. It's funny the directions life can take you in the end?
When she accepted Jason’s invitation to go on scuba diving and surprise the old gang, she accepted that she would finally see Tommy again. It’s shocking how nervous that had made her. She knew shouldn’t have been a nervous wreck; she thought she had been over him. But even the prospect of seeing him again turned her insides to mush.
They talked for an hour that night, simply sitting on one of the benches in Angel Grove Park. Just like her first time had been, the conversation was painfully quick. While she hadn’t been sure whether she still loved him or not, Tommy seemed to have moved on. He told her he had forgiven her, and he looked genuinely content about his relationship with Katherine. It would have been too fairy-tailish to have him drop to his knees, beg her to take him back and say he would call things off with Katherine in a heartbeat. Life just didn’t work that way.
Sometimes you just didn’t know what you had until its gone. She had never really paid attention to that saying before. Why should she care about a line that appeared in every possible poem or romance novel? Unfortunately, they were on those books for a reason.
“Kim,” Tommy started after a few minutes, breaking her trail of thoughts. She had a good feeling that he was giving her some space and time to absorb the situation.
“I’m sorry, I just didn’t expect I would meet you here,” That was the understatement of the year. “How have you been doing?”
“I'm doing really good, Kim. I’m going to fill in an empty position at Reefside High School next fall.”
“Yep, you’re looking at the new science teacher of Reefside High,” Tommy was smiling now.
“Is it for real?” While she had also never quite pictured him being a paleontologist, this news surprised her more. It’s funny how in the end neither of them ended up doing something they had thought they would be doing when they’re grown up. Now the ever shy Tommy Oliver was going to teach teenyboppers while the former Olympic medalist was writing gossip columns.
“Can’t be more real than this,” He waved, gesturing at the ironic situation. After all they had been through, it saddened her to see how they were behaving. The tension and the awkwardness were so thick that one could slice through it with a knife. When people said that sex tends to complicate things; they weren't joking.
“Surprised to see me here? Well then I guess that makes two of us.”
“I’m more surprised that you’re still wearing pink,” He looked at her attire; pink sweater with crochet detail, and a small cross pendant just above her bosom.
“Laundry day. This was the only thing available,”
“Not the only thing,” Tommy remarked. “Seeing that you’re here, I would say that you’re available too,”
“No I just want to get laid.” She retorted back.
He was laughing but it seemed unreal. He sounded fake, even. “Okay, fair enough,”
After the laughter died down, she asked persistently. “Seriously Tommy, what are you doing here?”
“I told you,” he frowned. “New teacher. Reeside High. Ring a bell?”
“No, I mean here,”
“Maybe I just want to get laid,” replied flippantly, his lips lifting to the trademark smile that tugged at her heart just a little.
“No, I was being honest,”
“Talking about honest, maybe this was my only option. Maybe I was that desperate. Why do you care? You broke up with me, remember?” Sort of, she said in the privacy of her mind. As silly as it was, seeing him here infuriated her although it’s supposed to be the other way around.
“I said that we needed some time off to see where we stood. I sure as hell didn’t expect you get married to some 'guy' in Las Vegas,” Gone was the mirth in his voice and she winced inwardly, bracing herself for what was coming. He was more than ready to lash out now.
“Geez, Tommy, have you ever seen ‘What Happens in Vegas’? Not all Hollywood movies are crap, you know,” This guilt and the disappointment of not being trusted by the one person who should simply sucked. Granted, she had a lot to make up for and regaining his trust would take time, but he should have known her better. She deserved it, but receiving his anger especially after two years started to irk her. The fact that she was PMS-ing didn’t help either.
“Of all people, you married Jason. Have you ever considered how that would make me feel?” He grimaced as though she had just kicked him down below the belt and in a way, she probably had.
“I told you that was an accident. We were drunk,” The reasons sounded lame and weak even in her ears, but that was the truth. They didn’t even consummate the wedding. Kim shivered at the thought of sharing a bed with Jason other than for sleeping, literally. That would be like incest, only worse, because it’s Jason. “Nothing happened. Trini and Aisha burst into the room before anything could,” Her voice got tinier towards the end.
“Right, and I had to find out through Rocky, who knew from Adam,”
Kim sighed in exasperation. She had been beyond angry at Rocky and he still had nightmares about that. “I wanted to tell you, but I was just trying to find the right time. I wanted to tell you when we’re face to face because I knew how you were going to react.”
“That’s an understatement. First you dumped me for a flyboy gymnast, and then when I thought we were friends, you suddenly left again without even leaving a note. When we met again 3 years ago, I frankly didn’t expect to fall back into a relationship with you again, hence the request for taking a break later on. But nope, you just had to marry my bestfriend.”
The annual paleontology week was held in Adelaide in the first midweek of October 2006, bringing together all the paleontologists around the world in Down Under. Among those expert was Tommy which was scheduled to do a public presentation on the second day.
Kim was there for a two week vacation. Marrying a Skippy, Kenny had decided to leave the States and reside in Australia. He was paying the whole thing, so declining the offer was not an option. Although, later when she was already laying in her bed, staring at the ceiling and unable to sleep, regret would begin eating her inside out. As inviting the offer had been, rejecting it would have saved both Tommy and her from more problem in the future.
By the fourth evening, Tommy and she had become lovers. After spending a few days together, being happy and arguing for the most part, he then told her that they should take a step back and reflect about what had happened. Said that they should take things slower and do some self-introspection before deciding what step they’d want to take next. Kim had wanted to do the self reflection while doing the whole relationship thing, trying to get to know each other again, whereas Tommy asked for them to take some time off first to cool down their heads. The arguments went on for hours and when she was sitting on the plane heading back home the day after, it was certainly the longest plane ride she had ever been on.
“How could I be even sure that you and Jason weren’t screwing behind my back?” His words splashed her face like cold water.
“And how could I be sure that you weren’t screwing Kat while we were together? You surely hooked up with her soon enough,” She hissed, hands clenching tightly to avoid punching him on the face.
“Don’t make this about you, Kim.”
“Well then stop being a jerk,” Kim lashed out. “Geez, Tommy, with that PhD I would have expected more. Do you really think I would do something like that? God!”
“Wouldn’t be the first time,” He said tightly and she had to refrain from rolling her eyes.
“I never cheated on you,” She said dryly and found herself unable to stop. “I thought I had made it clear that Jon came to the picture after the letter. As for the marriage... Jason loves you, and I-,” She stopped and turned her face away. “I have said whatever I needed to say to you. It’s up to you whether you choose to believe me or listen to your irrational mind sprouting nonsense.”
She was more than a little out of breath by the time she had finished. He wasted no more second and pushed the chair backward, the scratching noise a disharmony to the soft melody of Winds beneath My Wings.
Date Number Five/ Lincoln Lindley
Lincoln was a former football player that she never got the chance to date in high school. He was almost 6’8’’with well built body and military haircut. He was talking nonstop about sports, which was somewhat of a relief. After the little accident with Tommy, she just didn’t think she’d be able to talk or even continue this little game altogether. Tommy was sitting next to her and tried as she might, she couldn’t ignore the weight of his eyes on her and the guilt tripled effortlessly. Lincoln’s face seemed to blur and the song out of the juke box-- Starlight-- reverberated through as her mind went down the memory lane.
Trini had received 5 free tickets to the Cirque Del Soleil from her colleague at work and thought it would have been such a nice treat for the girls to get a break from life. Jason had just gotten out of a 2 and a half year relationship with a woman he was hopelessly in love with and was practically an emotional wreck when she ended it. In an attempt to distract his mind from thinking about the woman who had cut him out of her life, they had forced him to go with them. To chaperone, Aisha has said to persuade him. It wasn’t an easy deal, but after a few hours of endless pleading and nagging, he succumbed.
Half way into the show, Jason who thought the event was as gay as watching a Bold and Beautiful episode, managed to slip out and escape to a bar. Kimberly tagged along, not wanting to wake up in the morning and watch about some drunken California tourist found dead drowning in the Bellagio fountains in the news. Before they knew what had happened, they had gotten drunk and got hitched in front of the King. As simple as that, though the after effect was as complicated as a tangled web.
She didn’t expect Tommy to be happy about it, laugh and pretend it was just another joke. His semi-girlfriend got married with his bestfriend. Accident or not, it counted for something. He wasn’t exactly blowing up back then, but he’d made it clear in his last phone call that he didn’t think it was the right time to get back together. She would rather have him yelled at her than hearing the deep disappointment lacing his voice.
She had been learning to live her life without him. If her latest ex was struggling to be a lawyer, Tommy was going to make a living out of studying Dinosaurs. He was supposed to be making out with some Tyrannosaurus fossils, but no, he was here.
“You’re born under the sign of Venus.”
Kim blinked and she slowly returned to reality where her number five date was wiggling his fingers in front of him like a conductor gesturing his baton; a sneaky, mysterious smile tugging at the corner of his lips. “Excuse me?”
“Your birthday is on April?”
“Ahh… my bad, I apologize. You were born under the sign of the Moon,” He amended, not forgetting the ridiculous hand gestures. “You are not very open and a bit unable to focus. You are not very adventurous but steady. You are intelligent but you are also slow.”
Being under pressure, it was tough not to be sarcastic, but still, she held back. She was not adventurous, not at all. It must have been her body double in the pink spandex suit fighting hideous monsters and piloting the Zord, flying 8,000 feet above the sea line.
“From the structure of your head I could tell that you’re a goal oriented person, someone careful in your financial planning. Maybe a teacher, a lawyer or someone in the accounting business?”
Discreetly kicking her shopping bags deeper under the table, she smiled at him. She wanted to tell him that she was the one who wrote the ‘Sex up Your Life’ article in the magazine peeking out of his 7eleven plastic bag but she didn’t have the heart to break his spell. He was asking for her hand and after a minute of consideration, she held her left hand out to him.
Lincoln was humming, or chanting to be more precise, a tune and with a wolfish smile his calloused fingers slowly caressed her palm, his other hand warm underneath hers. “Pink is your favorite color and you love animals. You’re a dog lover. As your smile is as bright as the spring water and morning sunrise, you’re earthy. Lilies are the flower for you…,”
Her eyes caught an abrupt movement next to her and when she looked up, Tommy was already hovering beside her table. He, however, wasn’t looking at her; his eyes darkened when they fixated at Lincoln.
Tommy grabbed her arm and pushed her up, a bit rougher than he’d intended to be. “Look, buddy, she works in a magazine and her favorite color is lilac. She hates dogs with a passion because a collie bit her when she was six. Hating adventures, slow, difficult to focus and somewhat of a loner… I guess you mixed up Aquarius with Taurus, my friend,” His grasp was strong while he pulled her along with him. People had started to stare and god helps her, she never felt so… alive and thrilled. “Oh, and by the way, she’s allergic to lilies,”
Tommy was pulling her outside and over to a nearby park. It wasn’t nearly as similar as their park, but if he wanted to find someplace quiet to talk, it would do.
Above their heads the moon was shining silvery brightly upon them, casting a soft reflection of shimmering lights onto the water. For a March night, it was unexpectedly warm and for that Kim was utterly grateful since she had left her coat in the cafe.
After reaching a pretty secluded part of the park, they stopped. She eyed him curiously and he stirred them to one of the park benches, even sparing a few seconds to wipe the evening dew from the bench with his sleeve. It was only then did he release her hand and gesture for her to take a sit. Tommy left enough space for her not to feel suffocated and for him to regain his composure. She realized that she shouldn’t, but she couldn’t help the laughter clawing out from her throat. It erupted and in two seconds, Tommy’s laughter burst forth and they both laughed until the amusement petered down to breathless chuckles.
“I’m sorry, but it was just too hilarious. You saved me, thank you,” Kim gave a weak laugh, her hand wiping her tears from her cheeks. “It shocked me how there’re so many people with different quirks out there. And as a former Power Ranger I thought I have seen everything,”
It was silence for a moment and she could faintly hear the water rippling in the pond when the wind was blowing, carrying a faint melodic sound from a radio in a distance.
“Why did you leave, Kim?” It was a simple yet loaded question and she felt her heart constrict inside her chest. When they reconciled two years ago, they seemed to have mutually decided to forget about the past and move forward. The talks when they were teenager had been sufficient for them to move on, but obviously tonight the bandage had been ripped opened revealing the festering wound.
“You were happy with Katherine, that’s good enough for me,” She answered after a moment of hesitancy.
His voice was wavering and Kim knew it was with great control that he tried not to yell at her again. “Didn’t you know how I felt when Jason told me that you’d flown back to Florida? We have come clean that evening and I thought we’re friends, but suddenly you left without even saying anything,”
When Jason had cautiously offered to come with him to Angel Grove and help with the charity, she had thought she was over Tommy. Clearly, she was not. “What do you want me to say? That I was happy that you were happy with Katherine? That I was glad that I didn’t have to pick up the pieces of your heart I had broken?”
“If that’s what you wanted to say,”
How sometimes she wished Tommy weren’t so wise. She then turned sideways and tucked her leg underneath her to face Tommy, their position reminiscing to the one that they often found themselves in when they were still dating and happy. A wave of déjà vu hit her like a tidal wave and she had to blink back the first hot tears stinging her eyes. “As immature I was when I was seventeen, I couldn’t be your friend and be in love with you. I couldn’t stand watching you be so happy while I was feeling so miserable. It was childish, egotistical and silly, but it’s the truth. I spent nights thinking that you might have purposely rubbed your happiness in front of me because you were trying to get back at me.”
“I thought you were happy with your gymnast.”
“Oh yes, I would have loved to shout in your face how unhappy I was, how I was convinced that Jon was not the one for me and how he treated me far from a princess… but I just couldn’t,” Kim noted sadly, remembering the uncertainty she had felt upon seeing Tommy together with the new pink ranger while she had a boyfriend waiting for her on the other side of the country. “After what I did to you, I didn't feel I deserved happiness. I've always been a good actress when I wanted to be,” she added, hoping to lighten the mood for even just a little bit.
“I just wished you would have said something…” he left his sentence hanging and growled in aggravation, his fingers raking through his hair. “What on earth was God thinking when he made women? You think they’re happy when they’re not. Instead of getting right down to the problem, women beat around the bushes with hints. Do they not speak English? Do you?”
“Well, maybe women beat around the bush, hoping your kind would slowly come around to a level of maturity that might sustain a relationship.”
“When it comes to emotions and relationships, I've always thought more like a guy than a woman. Can’t think like one either, sorry,” She decisively closed the topic for further discussion. It was yet another moment she realized male and female’s brain just didn’t work the same way.
“It was a polite question.”
“Well, we crossed that bridge a long time ago. We are here now, single and I don’t know, are you happy?”
“Actually, seeing you was like having a tons of bricks thrown at my head.”
“Ouch, that hurts,”
“Can’t be compared with how I felt when I knew that you were married to Jason,” He retorted quietly and her mind wandered off to the wedding ring that still hadn’t been removed from her bathroom cabinet after many night of wanting to flush it down the toilet 2 years ago.
“I know. I must own the ‘Worst Girlfriend’ award, huh? I can’t believe how unlucky you are to have ever loved me.”
“As much as it had hurt me, whatever happened, happened. It’s still a bit weird to talk to Jason but hopefully one day we'll laugh about it together, chalking it up as one crazy thing that can’t escape us, ex rangers,” He said, stretching both his arms along the top of the bench, his right arm was placed dangerously close to her shoulder. “I know that I can’t really blame you, though I probably would gladly burn down Red Square with all the vodkas in the giant freezer and probably shoot that priest dressed as Elvis who presided over your married.” He said in a gentle voice, his face flushing scarlet, as if he was embarrassed for being civil to someone he had furiously yelled at not too long time ago.
I’m getting rusty, he’d once told her with a chuckle after putting back the Smith and Wesson revolver into his drawer. She hadn’t liked it then, and still didn’t like it now. The thought of a former green, white, red and black ranger keeping a firearm sounded a bit off to her.
It was a common knowledge that Tommy had punched Jason’s lights off as soon as he saw him soon after the Vegas fiasco. They nearly trashed Tanya’s birthday party and Kim hadn’t known whether she had to cry or laugh for not being able to attend the celebration. Tommy had made himself perfectly clear that he needed some time off to collect himself together that she had stopped trying to call for another apologize. “What made you think like that?”
“It’s been 2 years, Kim. As far as I’m concerned, it’s water under the bridge. I’m not that seventeen year old boy anymore,”
“So it was that seventeen year old Tommy Oliver back in the café?”
“Seeing you again… it was strange,” he shifted uncomfortably.
“I still remember what you said to me the last time we talked. You’re done with me.” It had hurt like hell but she could see where he came from and she would probably have done the same thing if their positions were reversed.
Tommy looked at her. “Done with something doesn’t always mean forgetting it,”
“Did you get them from fortune cookies?” He laughed at her blatant question, a few tiny wrinkles radiating outward the corner of his eyes. She bit her lips, her slim fingers tracing the plaid pattern on her skirt. “So… is it safe for me to assume that we’re… friends?”
“As much as I want to escape from you, I guess yeah, for the fourth time,” He shrugged with a chuckle. “I’m not giving you another chance, though, just so you know.”
There was enough acceptance in his voice that made her want to weep and tackle him in a huge hug at the same. Shaking the thought away, she reverted her attention back to the man she hadn’t seen for what felt like forever, slowly learning his feature all over again and refraining the giddy teenage girl that still resided in her to break free.
“You never really answered my question: what are you doing here?”
“A friend bribed me with sushi and booze to go with him. He’s a journalist.”
She lifted a curious eyebrow. “Which one is he?”
“The one who didn’t believe that angel could fly so low?” He scooted back a bit just in case she went bonkers and decided to bat him with her shoe. “He’s doing a research, going undercover if you may,”
“The full of crap British?”
“Try Washington. Royal assumes that everything in British accent sounds like Shakespeare in muggles’ ears,”
That, she had to agree. “Well, I guess I can’t completely blame him, seeing that I told him I was a potential murderer myself,” He had opened his mouth to ask but she held her hand up.
“Still loving your job?” He asked with a smirk.
“I got to see Brad Pitt’s butt once in a photoshoot when I was still a novice,” Kim half joked, recalling how hysterical she had been when the newly titled Mr. Jolie visited the studio in her early years. “A friend in LA has offered me a job, but I haven’t really thought about it. I’m just…,”
“You’re unsure with the changes,” He kindly filled in for her and she graced him with a bright, brilliant smile. How she had missed this.
“I guess so. From experience, normally changes leads me to my doom. The outcome’s negative instead of positive,” She explained, thinking about her parents divorce when she was little and her life after she gave up the power. “Although of course, it can’t be worse than writing 500 word article about Enrique’s mole,”
“I can relate,” Tommy nodded in agreement. “Being a contractor’s son, we moved a lot. From one city to another, one school to another school… We would be staying in one place for approximately 3 months and when I finally made some friends, Dad would tell us to pack. I hated it. We’ve got a house, but no home,” Then he smiled and gave her a tender look that made butterflies in her stomach soar high. “Though I was glad that we came to Angel Grove that day,”
Unbelievably, she blushed. “When I have made my decisions, you’re going to be the first person to know,”
“I really messed up, didn’t I?” She asked softly, honoring the comfortable silence that had come between them.
Instead of answering, he erased the short distance between them and gently took her hand and laced their fingers together. Right there, it felt that the wall that had separated them was momentarily demolished and everything was alright with their world. “I’ve missed you,”
She gave his hand a light squeeze full of gratitude. She wanted to try to recapture what they once had back then but she perfectly realized that they both needed more time to delve deeper into this relationship.
“When we’re sure we won’t fight over something as silly as spilling a glass of juice or leaving a towel on the floor after showering, maybe we could think of something,” He suggested with a good-natured wink.
Kim laughter diminished the last tension in the air and with a new energized spirit, she got to her feet and pulled him up. “Okay, boyfriend, it’s getting late, let’s get back,”
“So, I'm your boyfriend now?”
“Are you telling me that you’re a girl?” She wiggled her eyebrows playfully, completely happy that they have started exchanging less than awkward banter. It almost felt like the old times.
“Very funny, Kim.”
“I didn’t even know you’re into astrology!” Kim chuckled, remembering Lincoln’s shocked, pale face when Tommy rudely interrupted.
“Just something I read in Rocky’s bathroom.” He shrugged, not looking guilty at the slightest.
By the time the pair had arrived back at the café, it was nearly over ten o’clock and the last of the Speed Daters were walking outside. She looked inside through the window and saw that Aisha had also left. Kim trusted that her friend took care of her belongings. Her answering machine at home was probably full of Aisha’s messages, demanding Kim to share all the sordid details.
“If I were you, I would be terrified because Aisha’s not there anymore. I’d better give her a call before she calls the cops and reports you missing,” She then leaned back against the window and looked up at him. Her arms wrapped tightly over her chest; the temptation to wrap her arms around his neck in an old fashion habit was almost too strong to resist. “Despite the circumstances, I’m really glad that we talked.”
“So am I.” He gave her a wry smile but it was a genuine smile nonetheless.
“So when are you going back to Reefside?” She quiered as the wind blew and not for the first time that evening, thought how good it would feel to cuddle up next to Tommy in her living room with a huge cup of hot chocolate cupped between her palms. Naughty Kim! One step at a time!
“Thursday.” He answered and she immediately made a quick note in her head. She had 4 more days to really, really get things right between them. If they had to be apart again, even for only a few hours drive, she wanted him to be sure that she was done hurting him. As if he could probe into her mind and listen to her inner dialogue, he casually bent forward to her and said, “How about you buy me lunch tomorrow? If you have time, that is. I’m sort of craving that Caesar Salad at Lot 8,”
He was grinning so she knew he was just pulling her legs. She realized she owed him much more than just lunch, even a year of food stock wasn’t nearly enough compensation for what she had done to him. “But I’ve just been there yesterday for meeting,” She protested. “And I don’t do lunch date.”
“I never said it was a date.” He tucked a fallen hair behind her ear. “And you’re not exactly in bargaining position, Beautiful.”
And just like that he had swept her feet off the ground and she wasn’t sure if she wanted to go back. “Fine.”
“I’m sorry for being such an ass.” It was said so earnestly and Kim appreciated it to the utmost.
“You had every right in the world to be upset, Tommy. I’m just glad that you’ll still consider me as a friend,” The F word tasted pungent in her mouth, but if that’s the most she could get, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’ll walk you home.”
“You don’t have to,” She insisted gently with a warm grin. So much had happened in a short period of time and she needed some time alone to fully internalize and assimilate it. Either she wouldn’t sleep tonight or she would depart to la la land as soon as her head touched her pillow, because forgiveness never tasted so sweet before. “The night is still young, you don’t have to worry. Good night, Tommy,”
“If I followed you home, would you take me in?” Tommy suddenly asked, mimicking Royal’s bogus accent perfectly.
“Shut up,” She replied but couldn’t pin down her giggles at his silliness.
“Come on, I’m no Fred Flinstone, but I could make your bed rock!”
“Is that a proposition.”
“Oh wait, here’s my number,” Tommy pulled out his wallet, producing a white business card.
“But Chuck said we must not share contacts,” She commented although her hand was already halfway to accept the card.
“Fine,” He followed along and acted as if he would shove the card back into his wallet when her hand snatched it fast. Kim studied it, sporting a satisfied grin and pushed it into her pocket before he could take it back. “How about yours?”
“You can find it in the telephone book, Tough Guy!” Kim playfully poked his chest, giving Tommy a teasing look while walking backward towards the subway. She turned around, his laughter echoed through the cool evening air. Never in her life had she thought this day would come.
Maybe life wasn’t so bad after all.