Summary: The prelude to a reunion that brings around the revelation of secrets.
Rating: I think I'll go for a change and have an R, for planned subject content in later chapters. Nothing too bad in this particular chapter.
Disclaimer: I own the right to any characters that I choose to inroduce that are not characters on the show. Someone mean owns the rest.
Author's Notes/Thank You's: Thanks must go to everyone that's sent in positive reviews for my previous story 'Turn'. (If you haven't read it, do so now!) Also to all my friends that have provided support, Alex and Chloe.
"I just have to go to the mall to try and pick up a pair of shoes, Jason," Trini Kwan said laughingly. "It's not as though I'm running a military operation single-handedly,"
"No-one would know from the way that you go shopping, I know what you're like," Jason Scott told her. "I don't want to be dragged around fifty-seven different shops to inspect miniscule differences between two hundred pairs of shoes. I have better things to do with my time."
"Oh yeah, like what exactly?" Trini asked, throwing a cushion at him. "Watching baseball on television does take a lot of energy out of you, I'll admit, but--OW!!!" Jason had retaliated by throwing back the cushion. They were in Trini's new apartment in Angel Grove, where she had been living for the past three months. She needed some shoes to match her planned outfit for a formal dinner at the most expensive restaurant in the city, Tallo's, a re-union of old friends.
Zack Taylor, Billy Cranston and Tommy Oliver would all be there, as well as Rocky DeSantos, Adam Park and newly returned Aisha Campbell. Only one of their close knit friends had as yet failed to respond to her invitation, Kim Hart. She had been in Florida, but according to her roommate had left Florida six weeks ago, leaving only an e-mail address behind. The dinner was only two weeks away, and Trini was hoping that her friend would pick up her e-mails soon and be able to get to Angel Grove in time.
"Let's go, shall we?" Jason said. "The quicker we leave here, the quicker we get back, and I might be able to catch the San Diego game."
"And what makes you think that you will be able to watch the game here?" Trini asked. "I've already warned you about eating all my food, and now I have to tell you not to watch my television 24/7? Don't you have a home to go to?"
Jason shrugged. "It's been pretty lonely since Emily left," he admitted. "I figured here I'd have better company and better food than I can cook." Emily Walker, Jason's girlfriend, had been transferred to San Francisco to work, and she only got the chance to come back to Angel Grove every other month or so. "Zack's always at some dance rehearsal or other, and Billy's permanently on research duty at the university. You're the only one of us who's been kind enough to extend hospitality to a lonely long time friend."
"Kind enough? I'd say stupid enough," Trini said, grabbing her purse from the armchair where it had been discarded earlier on. "Still, you're company of a sort, so I'll keep quiet. Come on, I'm ready now."
"Finally," Jason groused as he strolled out out of the apartment.
* * * * *
Two hours later, in the depths of Angel Grove Mall, Jason was getting more than slightly bored of discussing the relative merits of deep violet coloured shoes. Strappy or covered? Flat or heeled? Jason couldn't honestly say that he could care any less. As long as Trini could walk in them, there should be no other problem, according to him.
"You're not exactly enjoying this, are you Jase," Trini said as she put back a pair of purple trainers, and shook her head regretfully at the hovering attendant. "Do you want to go somewhere else, and we'll meet up in about an hour or so?"
"Yeah, I guess I could check out the sports shop or something," Jason said gratefully. "Shall I meet you in the food court?"
"I have never met a guy like you for food capacity. Oh wait, i take it back, Rocky could give you a run for your money," Trini told him as they strolled leisurely out of the shop. "The food court sounds good though, I'll see you there."
"Right then, see you in an hour." Jason hurried away, and Trini found herself staring after the tall figure making his way through the crowds.
Ever since she'd returned to Angel Grove, there had been a subtle change in their relationship, ever since they had discovered that Billy was engaged to a fellow university graduate. And after Emily's departure, they'd been spending more and more time together, though strictly as friends.
As Trini made her way into yet another clothes shop, she privately wondered how long their current state of affairs would last. She was rudely awakened from her reverie by fleetingly catchign sight of someone she would never have expected to see back in Angel Grove without making contact with her, Kimberly Hart.
* * * * *
Kim had wanted to slip back into normal life in Angel Grove without making any ripples, or drawing any attention to herself. The Kim that had returned to Angel Grove was a very different one to the girl that left four years ago, and it showed. She had purposely ignored Jason and Trini's e-mail, leaving it unanswered, not sure what to say after all this time.
'Sorry I can't make it, I hate leaving the security of my home after dark?'
'Yes, I'd love to come, but only if you don't mind me sitting in the corner hardly making a sound?'
Despite her reluctance to make contact, Kim was genuinely happy to see Trini again. They hadn't seen each other for five years, and as they embraced the differences were evident.
Trini's previously waist length hair was now cropped, with slightly longer pieces at the front. The ever present yellow in her wardrobe had been replaced with muted shades of grey and purple.
Kim was a couple of inches taller than her seventeen year old self, and her previous favourite colour of pink had also seemingly disappeared from her wish list. She'd opted today for a sea-green spaghetti strapped top and a pair of blue jeans.
"Kim!! What are you doing back here?" Trini asked joyfully. "I knew you weren't in Miami anymore, but I figured you'd gone back to paris to see your mother or something."
"No, I've been here for about three weeks. I spent a fortnight with my dad in Colorado, then I bought an apartment here."
Trini took her arm and ushered Kim out of the shop. "I'm supposed to meet Jason in the food court in an hour, but let's go there now, so we can chat. Did you get my e-mail?"
Kim sent up a silent plea for forgiveness to whoever was up there in the heavens, and told Trini, "I've only just got my computer back on track, so I haven't got the chance to check my e-mails yet."
"Oh. Well, never mind. I'll explain it to you over a Coke int he food court. Is that what you want, a Coke I mean?"
"Um, yeah, whatever. I'll go save us a seat," Kim said, and disappeared into the crowd of people.
Her first instinct was to run. Old friends meant old memories, which almost always meant trouble these days. From Trini's e-mail, she had learnt that Tommy would be at this formal dinner at Tallo's, and that prospect was already filling her with dread.
The opportunity to go to Florida. Her leaving. The Powers draining from her body. The only people who could possibly help her at least on the other side of the continent, or in a completely different one.
There hadn't been another guy when she had broken off her relationship with Tommy in an admittedly heartless letter. Six months later there had been someone who seemed to have held the potential to easeher pain. In the end, after three years of torture, he had almost permanently ended her pain.
If you know what I mean.
But now it was too late to run. Trini was making her way towards a table and gesturing for Kim to follow her, which she reluctantly did.
Secrets must come out, eventually. But Kim wished at that moment that she was anywhere but in Angel Grove's food court, where in a few minutes, she'd be forced to tell her friend all that had gone on, or at least to leave her with suspicions that wouldn't be easily dulled.