Thank you to all of the readers who reviewed. I'm sorry for the lack of update, hopefully this lengthy chapter will make up for it.
"Man, Dr. O, don't ever leave us like that again!" Ethan exclaimed, while sipping his glass of soda. The team was gathered in the basement of Tommy's house, filling in the Black Ranger.
"No kidding," Conner said. "We just didn't click without you."
Tommy shrugged as he tapped away on the keyboard. "According to Hayley, you guys did fine. You're all in one piece aren't you?"
Kira laughed. "I think the boys are more curious as to why you left so suddenly and their just trying to find a way to guilt trip the information out of you."
Both 'boys' shot Kira evil looks. Their teacher swiveled in his chair, expression serious. "I was helping out a friend, nothing more."
He turned around again, but the three rangers traded knowing looks. Tommy had been extremely close lipped about his emergency trip that had almost cost him his job at the high school. Some fast talking and charm had persuaded Principal Randall to give him a second chance.
"Don't you three have homework to get to?"
The three teens shook their heads, overlapping each other as they ran through the various assignments they'd completed.
"Fine, I sense a pop quiz on chapter five brewing in my mind. I suggest you three go and study for it."
Taking the hint, the three Dino Rangers departed, grumbling about ill-tempered teachers. Once they were gone, Tommy switched off the computer and rubbed his face tiredly. Ever since his return, he'd been snappish with everyone. He couldn't help it though. While Kim and he had talked several times, it just didn't seem like their relationship was going in the direction that Tommy wanted. It also didn't help that Kimberly continued to stick by her decision to stay away until his newest stint as a ranger was finished. Unfortunately, Tommy didn't know when that would be.
If there was only some way to convince Kim that California was the place to be. Fresh out of ideas, and his stomach rumbling, Tommy abandoned the basement for his phone and delivery service.
Oh my love my darling
"Kimberly, I need you in my office. Now."
Sighing, Kimberly stopped what she was doing. How had she ended up here? Doing this? Kimberly grabbed the heavy planner that always sat next to her elbow and walked into the office of David Marques, the savviest businessman in the states of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. While her position was no slum job, she still wondered why she had made the transition from excellent gymnast to personal assistant to David Marques of Marques Corporations. Oh yeah, she was trying to save up money for her another try at opening a gym. Between teaching girls the basics of gymnastics and serving the needs of Mr. Marques, Kim had no idea where she'd find the time.
"Yes, Mr. Marques?" Kimberly asked, entering the large, comfortable office. David Marques sat in his leather chair, feet propped on the desk. He was old, but still as sharp as a tack, which was why he had yet to hand the business over to his eldest son, Anthony, who sat in a chair opposite his father. Anthony looked like David had in his youth. He was tall, broad shouldered, dark hair and light blue eyes. Had Kimberly not already been deeply in love with Tommy, she might have set her eyes on the eldest Marques' son. As it was, Anthony was engaged to be married.
"Sit down, Kimberly. Why did you bring that blasted planner?"
Stifling a smile, Kimberly reminded him, "You do have several important appointments to keep, Mr. Marques."
"Humph. Some days I wish you wouldn't do your job so well," David muttered.
"Father," Anthony prodded. "I'm sure Miss Hart has other business to attend to besides listening to you complain."
"Right, of course. Kimberly, you're the most valuable asset I have. You're trustworthy, reliable, and damn good at your job. I've talked with my son and we feel that it's time for Marques' Corporation to expand even further then we have. Eventually, global proportions. As of now, I'm happy to attempt California."
He stopped and stared at her, waiting for a reaction. Kimberly merely stared back, face blank. Where was he going with all of this?
David cleared his throat. "Right. Well, I'm to old to go traipsing all the way across the United States so I've decided to send Anthony in my stead. While I hate to do this, I want Anthony to have the best of everything while he's setting up our new offices and I want you to go with him."
It took a moment for the news to sink in. Kimberly mentally shook her head and tried to calm the rising joy in her heart. "So, you want me to traipse all the way to California to assist Mr. Marques in expanding the company."
"Exactly," David beamed. "There will be an attractive raise in it for you as well as an apartment provided by the company. It is uncertain how long it will take to get everything settled and running. It's a lot to ask, but I hope that you'll do so. I know how important your gymnastics is."
"And if I decided not to?" Kim asked, already knowing she would say, no scream, yes.
"Well, you'll stay on as my personal assistant. I'm not going to fire the best thing that's happened to this company. If it weren't for you, I'd have lost my head ages ago."
Kimberly smiled, knowing it was mostly true. While Marques Corporation had been booming when Kimberly started work, the owner of the company was a scatterbrain from hell. He had difficulty keeping secretaries because he was abrupt, rude, and unfailingly honest about everything. Kim had just finished failing yet again in her attempts at a career in gymnastics and had liked the sound of the challenge. She had been originally hired as a secretary for the ground floor, but had marched herself straight to David Marques office and said she wanted to try her hand at being his assistant. He'd liked her spunk and hired her on the spot. The first few months had been rough, but Kim was too stubborn to fail again. Years later, she was being offered the chance to return to California and being paid to do it.
"Of course I'll go, Mr. Marques, but who will take care of you while I'm gone?"
David threw his head back and laughed. "I'll handle it. The temp agency can send someone over. Will two weeks be enough for you to train her?"
"Two weeks?" Kim exclaimed. "I suppose so, but it's rather short notice."
"Excellent, I know I can always count on you! So, which idiot am I supposed to meet with today?"
I've hungered for your touch
Kimberly burst into her apartment after work, her eyes bright and face grinning. For the first time in weeks, she was happy. The feeling of euphoria seemed so foreign to her, and Kim wondered when the last time was that she'd felt so great. With Tommy. She was always happy when she was with Tommy, even during the worst of times.
Now she had the chance to be with him. Her boss really wanted her in California and so that's where she would go. The gym had plenty of teachers, so they wouldn't miss her. Everything in her life was finally falling into place and it was about damn time. Reaching for the phone, Kim paused. Did she want to tell Tommy and share the joyous news or did she want to surprise him? Hanging up the phone, Kim laughed. Surprise him, definitely!
Standing up, Kim looked around the apartment, making lists in her head of what she was keeping and what was going. She really didn't have a lot of time to pack. Two weeks! Laughing merrily, Kim went into her bedroom and dug her suitcases out from under her bed. Rummaging through her closet, Kim began to throw clothes into the traveling bags. She knew that she was going to have to repack, but there was so much energy coursing through her, she needed to do something.
She had no boxes.
Kim paused in her throwing of the clothes and tapped a finger to her lips. Who would have tons of boxes and be willing to get rid of them?
A long lonely time
"Maurice, I really appreciate this. My boss just tossed this at me from out of nowhere."
"Oh, it's no problem," Maurice said, waving his hand gaily. The Jamaican born storeowner unlocked the back room and flipped on the light switch. Boxes were piled in several corners, some broken down, and others halfway there. "You're actually saving me and my employees' hours of work," he added in his enchanting accent.
"Well, I always like to help out a friend."
Maurice chuckled. "Help yourself to whatever you need and pile it by the exit. I'll have Jamie load them in the truck and take them back to your apartment. Are you sure you don't need any help packing?"
Kim shook her head, golden brown hair flying with the movement. "Nope. All the big stuff is being taken care of by the moving company."
"Good, well I better get back to the front. Jamie will be here in a couple of minutes, I'm sure."
Kim smiled. "Thanks Maurice."
He nodded and shut the door behind him. It had been a long time since he'd seen Kimberly this happy. The last time had been…he couldn't even remember. Well, whoever it was in California that had her smiling again had his eternal thanks. Kimberly had been like a little sister to him ever since she came looking for a job to pay the bills. She had been struggling to get her gymnastics business open and had no extra money for necessities. Maurice had liked her attitude and hired her immediately.
After the failure of her gym, the two had formed a strong bond of friendship. Even after she had left for Marques Corporation, they'd kept in touch. The tinkling of a bell alerted Maurice to customers and he abandoned his memories.
And time goes by so slowly
Well, that was that. Kim looked around the near empty apartment as movers gathered the last of her furniture. Her heart was thumping as she thought of boarding the plane in several hours. It was exciting and she wanted to leap for joy. The two weeks had seemed to crawl by and Kim had had to avoid Tommy's calls. She'd been scared of blurting out the good news the moment she heard his voice. Kim only hoped that he would understand when he saw her on his doorstep.
"Miss. Hart, are you ready?"
Kim looked over her shoulder at Anthony Marques looking devilishly handsome in a casual shirt and jeans. His beauty did absolutely nothing for her. He was too pale and his eyes to light. Nope, she needed her tall, dark falcon. Smiling, Kim nodded. "Oh, yes, Mr. Marques, I've never been more ready."
"Then let's head out. The limo is waiting to take us."
Kim grabbed her carry on and ever present planner. She was ready to embark on her new life in an old home. Tommy would be there and her life would be complete.
On the Marques private plane, Kim tapped out notes while Anthony rambled on about plans for opening the business in California. Specifically, Reefside. According to the elder Marques, the quiet town of Reefside was an undiscovered gem. Working for the younger Marques was a completely new adventure. Anthony was quiet, studious, and ever serious. David, despite his advanced years, was a ball of energy, loud, and talked often. Anthony took his own notes before he even spoke to her. David talked out his notes, allowing Kim to write them up.
"I think that's enough for now. We should be landing soon." Anthony sat down in his seat and stretched out his long legs. "Are you excited?"
"Extremely," Kim replied, putting away her laptop. "I used to live in California, so it's a coming home thing for me."
"That's right; your employee file said you were born in Angel Grove. That's not too far from Reefside."
Kimberly smiled. "Yes, but the move to Reefside is exciting all the same."
"Do you have friends there?" Anthony asked, taking a sip from his bottle of water. Kim nodded.
"Some. Most of them have spread out over the States, though. We still keep in touch."
He sighed. "That must be nice."
Frowning, Kimberly asked, "Don't you have any friends?"
Her boss gave her a sad smile. "Not really. I have a few acquaintances that mean well, and a lot who want what my money can bring them: fame, glory, and more money."
"I can be your friend," Kimberly offered, her heart aching for the poor man, even if he was her boss.
Anthony looked at her for several moments and Kim wondered if the man was going to laugh in her face. He surprised her by saying, "Thank you, Miss. Hart. I appreciate that."
Blushing slightly, Kim mumbled, "Your welcome," and buckled her seatbelt.
And time can do so much
Tommy lay sprawled on his couch, a beer in hand, as he watched football. His team was losing splendidly and any hopes of making the playoffs were diminishing with each fumble and interception. Draining the last of his drink, Tommy arched his arm and heard a satisfying thunk as it landed in his trashcan. Man, he was good! If he had his way, Tommy wasn't moving from this spot…
Ring, Ring, Ring. Tommy groaned. If it was who he thought it was, they had another thing coming. There was no way he was going to let them hang around all day. "I'm coming," he yelled, if only to stop the incessant ringing of his doorbell. He should really consider having it disconnected. Flinging the door open, Tommy nearly fainted at the sight.
"I'm here," A cutely dressed Kimberly cried, throwing her arms wide. Tommy stared, unbelieving. If this was what one beer did, he wondered what would happen if he finished the case.
"Tommy, aren't you going to say anything?"
"Ah…are you really here, or is this a figment of my imagination, because I wouldn't doubt it the way things have been going around here."
"Tommy," Kimberly cut off his rambling and flung her arms around him. "Trust me when I say I'm real." Pressing a kiss to his lips, Tommy suddenly had to agree as he fiercely kissed her back, all of his lonely nights and aching dreams flowing from him. She was back. She had come, of her own free will.
Kimberly gently broke the kiss, her breath coming in slight gasps. "Whoa, tiger save some for the after party!"
Grinning mischievously, Tommy said, "It isn't tiger anymore, Beautiful. Hasn't been for a long time."
"Well, you still got in you," Kim retorted. "Now, are you going to invite me in or what?"
"Oh right," Tommy cleared his throat and moved to the side. "It's kind of a mess."
"That's okay, babe, it's not like you knew I was coming."
"Am I glad, though," Tommy said, following her into the living room. She stopped and looked at the TV, her lips curving into a grin.
"Your team's still losing, I see. Some things never change."
"Hey," Tommy cried, mock offended, "We might still have a chance…"
"In hell," Kim finished, laughing merrily. She was so happy to be here, next to him. If she wanted, she could reach out and touch him. And she did, enveloping herself in his warm embrace.
"I missed you so much, Tommy. I'm so glad things worked out."
Pulling away slightly, Tommy led her to the couch. "What things? How'd you come to be here, Kim? What about your job?"
Smiling, Kim grasped his hand, and ran her fingers over his knuckles. She didn't want to let go of him yet. "My boss, Mr. Marques, decided he wanted to open up one of his corporations here, in Reefside. He wanted me to come and help his son get everything ready. So, here I am."
"And how long do you think it will take to get this corporation up and running?" Tommy asked, his heart wanting to soar, but his mind trying to stall false hope.
"A long, long time," Kim answered, leaning in for another kiss. Tommy, happy beyond belief, obliged her.
Are you still mine
I need your love
Over Chinese, Tommy and Kim discussed living arrangements.
"The company is providing me with a nice apartment right in the middle of the city. It's not far from where I'll be working. Plus, I don't have to pay for a thing. Mr. Marques is taking care of everything. I think he might own the place, actually. I don't know."
Tommy finished chewing his noodles and said, "I can see the benefits, but it would be…safer if you live out here."
Kim cocked an eyebrow. "I see the baddies favorite target hasn't changed. They always head downtown, huh?"
"Most of the time, yes," Tommy said. He watched her over the rim of his cup as he took a drink. He knew, by the stubborn glint in her eyes, there was no way she was moving in with him.
"As much as the thought of living with you appeals to me, Tommy, I'm not ready to give up my complete independence just yet. Besides, I think we need to take this romance between us slowly. I love you, there's no mistaking that, but I will love you even if we're just friends. I want to be sure, before I commit myself fully, that there will be no turning back, no ending."
"I understand," Tommy said. "I'm not happy, because I want you here where I can keep you safe, but I understand. And, you're probably right. A lot of time has passed since we were together and we both carry a lot of baggage now."
"Exactly," Kim said. "I'm still wary about the whole Power Rangers thing, too. I don't like the idea of someone I love so much going up against aliens again. I mean, I guess I thought it was different when we were young and thought we had nothing to lose. Now, we're older and I guess stuff has fallen into perspective for me. Eventually, I want to get married and have kids. I can't do that if you're going to be rushing off every other day to battle space aliens."
"I know, Kimberly," Tommy replied, even though inside he really didn't understand. He didn't see how his part time profession of kicking alien butt differed from being in the military and going to war, or being a police officer and fighting crime, but sometimes it was better to just agree with Kim then argue. Maybe she would come to his conclusion on her own.
"Hopefully, you'll be able to defeat these guys soon and hand your powers to someone else."
Tommy nodded, though he wasn't sure if that's what he wanted to do. He realized that even after he lost Kim, he was happiest when he was a Ranger, fighting evil aliens. It made him feel as if his life had a purpose. If he could have Kim and his Ranger duties, life would be absolutely perfect. Unfortunately, Tommy knew that couldn't happen and somewhere down the road he was going to have to choose between the two.
I need your love
Kimberly's life fell into a routine that made her explicitly happy. She would wake up and head to work. Her new job was challenging and kept her on her toes. After work, she would drive to Tommy's or he would come to her apartment where they would spend the evening together. On the weekends, Tommy would take her to the movies or shopping. Sometimes they would drive to Angel Grove to see old friends. Kimberly had never felt so complete or happy. The contentment was going to fade, however, and soon. The Powers That Be had never let past or present Rangers stay content for long.
God speed your love to me
"Tommy," Kimberly called out to the empty house. She closed the front door, wondering where her, dare she call him, boyfriend was. His jeep was in the driveway, so obviously he was home. Walking through the kitchen, Kimberly saw plates covered in food amassed in the sink. Someone had been there and ate a lot. Pushing up the sleeves of her sweater, Kimberly filled the sink with soapy water and quickly washed and dried the dishes. A creaking from somewhere alerted Kim and she left the kitchen, towel drying her hands.
"Hello? Tommy? Where are you, Tommy? This is not funny!"
The patter of feet caused Kim to drop the towel and assume a long repressed position of defense. A flash of yellow caught her attention. "Hey, wait!"
Kim trotted down the hall and caught up to the girl who was trying to sneak out a window. "Hold up there missy!" Almost guiltily, the girl slipped back inside.
Crossing her arms, Kimberly said, "Who do you think you are, sneaking into this house? Are you a thief? Do I need to call the police?"
Straightening, the young girl pushed her blonde hair out of her face. She was young, Kim noted, and very pretty. "Um," the girl began. "Actually, I'm a student of Dr. Oliver's and I needed some help on an assignment."
Kim glared at her suspiciously. "So you came to his house? Isn't that grounds for something?"
The girl suddenly crossed her arms as if finding her nerve. "And who are you? At least I have a reason for being here. Maybe you're a thief?"
Unable to stop herself, Kim chuckled, unnerving the girl in front of her. "No, I'm not a thief. I'm an old friend of Tommy's. Do you know where he is?"
The girl stared at her, eyes narrowed. "You look really familiar; I think I've seen you before."
"That's impossible, unless Tommy kept some of our high school pictures around and showed you."
The girl suddenly gasped, her hand rising to her mouth and Kim noticed the communicator.
"Oh my…you're a Ranger," Kim accused. The girl looked at her communicator and then nodded.
"You're the Pink Ranger, aren't you? The original one."
"Tommy talked about me?"
The girl shook her head. "No, my fellow Rangers and I watched a diary he had compiled of the past Ranger teams and you were there. I'm Kira, by the way, yellow ranger if you hadn't guessed."
Kimberly looked at the girls yellow tank and smiled. "An affectation most Rangers adopt, I'm afraid. It took me a long time to spice up my wardrobe with something that wasn't pink."
"I bet you're wondering where Tommy is, huh?" Kira finally asked, nervously chewing her lip.
"Yep," Kim replied, "Just a bit curious."
Kira sighed. "I know the guys won't like this, but you are one of us. Follow me."
Kimberly followed Kira through the house and down a hidden flight of stairs to the basement. She could hear the familiar clicks and whirring of computers and felt a familiar sense of calm wash over her. Sure, it wasn't the Command Center, but it was the closest thing to it. Unfortunately, the sight that greeted her bore no comfort.
"Oh, Tommy," Kim wailed and rushed to the figure of the man she loved completely encased in amber.
Lonely rivers flow to the sea to the sea
After several hours of introductions and explanations, Kim sat in a chair, her hand resting on the cool amber. While she could not see the face protected by the black helmet, Kim had his features memorized, and imagined every look Tommy had ever conjured. Tears welled in her eyes, but Kim held them back, knowing they would do no good.
Several feet away, Hayley sat clacking away at her console, unsure of how she should feel about this Kimberly. She'd heard some stories about the lost love of Tommy's life, but had not paid much attention to them. Women like Kim rarely reappeared in the life of one whose heart they'd broke.
Kimberly, however, was no ordinary woman. She too had been a Power Ranger and had shared a part of Tommy's life that Hayley could never touch. The genius behind the Dino Rangers identified some of her feelings as jealousy. It was not a beautiful emotion, for sure, but it described perfectly what she was feeling.
"It's probably going to be awhile before I find a way to free him," Hayley ventured, swiveling her seat to meet the brown-eyed gaze of Tommy's girlfriend. Kim shrugged.
"I have plenty of sick time racked up. My boss won't mind if I'm gone for a few days."
Hayley thought to mention it would probably be more then a few days, but changed her comment when she saw Kim whip out a cell phone.
"That won't get a signal in here," Hayley cautioned. "It's best to use the upstairs phone."
Kim shot Hayley a friendly smile. "This baby is property of Marques Corporation. It could get a signal a thousand feet underground in a cave."
Hayley shrugged, but watched with some amazement as Kim's call connected and she spoke quickly with a man. Hanging up the phone, Kim resumed her quiet contemplation of Tommy. Hayley stifled a sigh. As long as the woman stayed on her side of the room and didn't pester Hayley with questions, she supposed it wouldn't hurt.
To the open arms of the sea
The front door creaked open, and Kim stuck her head out into the hallway. "Hey guys, I'm in the kitchen."
The three Rangers trooped in looking exhausted. "I'm making dinner if you guys are hungry."
"What finally dragged you away from Dr. O?" Ethan asked, his mouth watering at the smells coming from the stove.
Kim grimaced as she stirred some sauce. "Hayley made me get up and leave. She said it was impossible to work with me hanging around all the time."
Kira laughed tiredly. "We think we may have something to help Hayley. We'll go deliver it and then be back to eat."
Nodding, Kim continued to stir the sauce, not wanting to let her hopes rise. There would be no sense in causing disappointment if whatever they discovered didn't work. Sighing, Kim began to slice bread while keeping her eye on the simmering sauce. This was why she hadn't wanted to get involved with Tommy until his Ranger duties were finished. But, she had to be impulsive and rush out here the second she got a chance. Swiping away some stray tears, Kim tried to grasp some semblance of composure. The kids would be coming back up and she didn't want to break down in front of them.
Besides, Kim had come to realize that despite the destruction to her nerves, she wouldn't change a minute of her time spent with Tommy. Maybe she was stronger then she thought. Maybe she could handle being the wife of a Ranger. Kim just didn't know. She supposed her final decision rested on the outcome of this new predicament. She wasn't sure how thrilled a priest would be marrying her to a man encased completely in amber.
The creaking of floorboards announced the arrival of a hungry team. Kim did not turn, but gestured towards the table. "Go ahead and sit down, guys. I'll serve it up in a minute."
"It sure smells good, Beautiful, but I don't know how I'm going to get it past this helmet."
At the tones of the familiar voice, Kim dropped her wooden spoon in the sauce and whirled around. "Tommy, you're back! You're alive!"
Kim threw herself into the Black Ranger's arms. "Oh, I was so scared! Why haven't you powered down?"
"I can't," Tommy replied, unwilling to let Kim go just yet. He ran his hands up and down her back soothingly. "Something happened to my morpher when I was in the amber. It'll be awhile before I can power down."
Sniffling, Kim said, "I don't care, just as long as you're alive and well."
"Hayley said you stayed the whole time; that you wouldn't leave my side. Why Kim?"
Brushing away her tears, Kim said, "Because I love you goofball! I could never leave you, especially not when you're hurt or trapped or whatever."
Laughing, Tommy tightened his hold for a few minutes before letting go. "You guys can come in now."
The rest of the team entered, in their regular clothes, followed by Hayley who looked exhausted. Kim walked towards the other woman and gave her a big hug. Startled, Hayley returned the hug, albeit tentatively.
"Thank you so much Hayley for all of the time and energy you spent to free Tommy. I owe you so much."
Tommy's face beamed inside his helmet. Gosh, he loved this woman! And it was at times like these he felt that love renew. She was always so generous and caring. Hayley nodded and shrugged off the praise.
Conner and Ethan had gathered near the stove, smelling the aroma from the spaghetti sauce. Kim regained her composure and shooed them towards the table. "Everyone snag a seat and the food will be with you shortly."
Hayley still stood by the door, feeling awkward for some reason. "I think I'm just going to go crash," she began.
Kim interrupted her kindly, "Absolutely not, Hayley. You have been surviving in that basement on packaged foods for days. You deserve a nice, hot meal. Besides, we're all family here and families need each other whether it's to grieve or celebrate."
Tommy nodded and gestured towards a seat. He knew how important family was to Kim, especially after her parents had divorced. Hayley entered the kitchen and took a seat, unable to hide the growing smile as Kim set plates and food on the table. It did feel nice to belong.
Lonely rivers sigh wait for me wait for me
It was difficult adjusting to Tommy's newest situation. Thankfully, it was possible to remove the helmet or who knows how the Black Ranger would have eaten. Other matters, however, were a bit difficult to manage.
Kimberly parked her car in the enclosed garage that was adjacent to her apartment. It had been another long weekend trying to figure out, unsuccessfully, a way to fix Tommy's powers. They thought they'd had a breakthrough yesterday, but Tommy had been turned invisible. Kim wasn't sure how much more disappointment she could take. Rolling her neck to relieve some of the tension, Kimberly fished her purse out of the seat beside her and dug around for her keys as she made the familiar walk to her door.
Finally snagging the elusive key, Kim looked up and saw, with some surprise, Anthony leaning against the wall. He smiled softly when he saw her and straightened.
"Mr. Marques? What brings you here?" Kim asked politely, struggling with her sticky lock.
"Please, Miss. Hart, you said we were friends, right?"
Kim nodded, jerking the key around until the door opened. "Then when we're not at work, please call me Anthony."
The brown haired beauty glanced at her boss out of the corner of her eye. He shot her a friendly smile and she returned it. "Very well, um…Anthony. I guess you might as well call me Kim."
"Thanks…Kim," Anthony replied, flashing a megawatt smile that didn't quite reach his eyes.
"Uh…would you like to come in?" Kim offered, flicking on the lights as she entered. Anthony followed shutting the door behind him.
Kim dropped her purse on the kitchen counter and glanced at her answering machine, surprised to find it empty. Anthony strolled around the apartment decorated with her rather eclectic tastes.
"I like to shop," Kim replied. "Especially at antique stores. You'd be surprised at what you can find."
"Yeah, my mom loved doing stuff like that."
Kim nodded. "So, what brings you over to my humble abode?"
"Have you eaten?" Anthony asked, studying a Mayan mask. Kim shook her head, still unsure of her boss' motives.
"Would you like to have dinner with me? I'm feeling kind of lonely and I need a friend."
Staring at her nails for a moment, Kim contemplated the innocence of his suggestion. Technically Tommy and she were not an exclusive couple. Nothing had been said about their fragile relationship and Kim was loth to see it crumble. However, she had promised Mr—Anthony that they were friends.
"Sure, where are we going?"
"I found this cute Mexican restaurant and I have been meaning to try it."
"Okay, let's go."
Kim grabbed her purse and made sure her phone was on and working. She had given the rest of the Rangers and Hayley her phone number in case of an emergency or a breakthrough. Following Anthony out to the garage, Kimberly hoped she wasn't making some kind of mistake.
The restaurant was a cute little building off the beach. Inside, the atmosphere was warm and friendly and Kimberly felt herself relax. Anthony turned out to be a rather charming dinner companion and the conversation never lagged. Kim supposed he would have had immense amounts of practice with all of the charity events his father made him attend.
After finishing dinner, the two decided to walk back to Kim's apartment. It was a rather beautiful night and Kim knew the walk would ready her for bed.
"So," Kim said, "Why did you decide after all this time you wanted to take me out to dinner?"
Anthony's mouth twisted slightly. "Well, my fiancée and I broke up last night."
"Oh, Anthony," Kim sighed, squeezing his arm sympathetically. "I'm so sorry. I know how horrible it can feel to lose someone."
Anthony's mouth twisted even more sourly. "I think I'm more relieved then anything. It was more my father's idea. She was the daughter of a friend and my father was looking at a twofold merger, if you know what I mean."
Kim nodded, feeling so sad inside for her boss turned friend. "What happened to make you brave enough to flout your father?"
"It was her idea, not mine. I just told her to do whatever she wanted." Despite the flippancy in his tone, Kim knew Anthony was hurting.
"What's really bothering you, Anthony?"
"You know, Kim, I wish I would have screwed up the courage to talk to you a long time ago."
Gaping, Kim stopped walking. "Wait…what?"
Anthony paused and half-turned. "I've always known who you are, I mean, ever since my father hired you. He was always bragging about you. I used to watch you all the time while you worked and my father held his 'meetings' with me. Every time I left his office, I always said, Today's the day I'm going to stop and talk to her, and then I never did."
"Why? Why couldn't you stop?" Kim asked, somewhat hoarsely. She'd always thought the son of her boss was a handsome man, but he'd seemed so untouchable.
"I didn't think I could ever touch you. I mean, you seemed so real, so unlike any girl I'd ever met, I was afraid of you. I think I knew that if I ever tried to talk to you, things would never be the same. I mean, Kim, you aren't the kind of girl a man screws around with. I wasn't sure if I was ready for such a commitment, you know?"
Kim nodded and inside her heart ached softly. She had always wondered if maybe Anthony could have been powerful enough to chase away her memories of Tommy.
"I wish you would've said something," Kim said. "I used to wonder as well, but now…"
She let her words trail into silence and Anthony knew she had found someone here. In his heart, a small fragment ached for what might have been, but he knew that he'd never had Kim. It had been a long shot and, maybe the depression was just talking.
"However, Anthony, I have a lot of single friends I can introduce you to. There's someone out there for you, but it's up to you to find them. Don't leave decisions like marriage up to your father."
A shrill ring disturbed the silence and Kim dug around in her purse for her phone. The damn purse wasn't even that big so she could never understand why everything she ever needed fell to the bottom and was lost. Snatching the slim, silver phone, Kim answered with a bright, "Hello."
Her face, however, suddenly dropped as the voice on the other end spoke. Struggling to control herself, Kim hung up the phone, her face white. "Anthony, I'm sorry to cut the evening short, but I need to go. Someone I…love is in the hospital."
"Do you need me to drive, you?" Anthony asked concern in his voice. Kim shook her head.
"No, I need time to think. I need to compose myself."
Anthony nodded and rushed Kim back to her apartment and saw her safely to her car. He watched as she peeled out of the garage and whispered a prayer for her.
I'll be coming home wait for me
Kim rushed into the hospital, gasping at the receptionist for directions. Rushing to the elevator, she pressed the button in quick succession, trying to hurry the contraption along. Almost ready for the stairs, a ping announced the elevator's arrival. Kim hurried inside and slammed her choice of floor, ignoring the shocked stares other people gave her.
The former pink ranger jiggled impatiently and nearly pried the doors open to escape to the hall. The strong chemical smell of the hospital twisted Kim's queasy stomach, but she pushed down the bile as she saw the room where Tommy slept.
"Ma'am, excuse me, Ma'am, you can't go in there. Only family is allowed." Kim turned on the nurse, her eyes flashing. The other woman moved to stand firmly in front of the door.
"I am Tommy Oliver's fiancée and I demand to see him!" Kim said firmly. The nurse looked at her skeptically, but opened the door.
"Miss. Oliver, is this the fiancée of Tommy Oliver?" Kim peered over the nurse's shoulder to see the surprised face of Hayley.
"Oh, yes, it is," Hayley, said, recovering quickly. The nurse shot Kim a somewhat sour look, but let the young woman in, shutting the door behind her.
"Miss. Oliver?" Kim queried as she moved to Tommy's side.
Hayley gave her a small grin. "I didn't know Tommy proposed. Congratulations."
Despite the seriousness of the situation, Kim couldn't help the small, nervous laugh. Taking a seat, Kim grasped Tommy's bare hand. "What happened, Hayley?" she whispered hoarsely.
Oh my love my darling
"I thought I had found a way to cure him. I was wary, I wanted to test it some more, but you know Tommy. It definitely worked, but now he's in a coma and the Doctor doesn't know if he'll ever wake up."
Kim's eyes welled with tears and she tried to hold them back, she tried to be strong, but they slipped through her defenses like tiny diamonds. Hayley felt suddenly uncomfortable, not sure how to deal with an emotional Kim. They weren't that close. Kim took a deep breath and tried desperately to compose herself.
"Where are the kids?" She asked, looking around her.
"Battling," Hayley, said simply. "Now that you're here, I'm going to return to the house and help them out anyway I can. I'm going to send a message to some friends and see if they can think of a way to get Tommy out of this coma."
Kim nodded and barely acknowledged Hayley's departure. Kim scooted her chair closer and ran her fingers down Tommy's smooth face. She loved to watch him sleep. He always seemed so peaceful and relaxed. It was difficult in this point of his life to catch him relaxed. Constantly saving the world would put anyone on edge.
"Oh, Tommy, you have to wake up. I love you so much. I can't live without you and I don't want to waste another moment. I don't care if you're going to be a ranger until the day you die; I can bear it as long as I have you."
And as Kimberly whispered those words to her love, she realized everything she said was true. It suddenly didn't matter anymore that Tommy was a ranger. Life was too short to waste. Hadn't she uttered those same words some time ago? Yes, she had, but it had taken longer then she thought to understand. Even if Tommy died the day after their marriage, at least she would have that one day.
As soon as he woke up, she would tell him that. She would show him she was ready for everything he was ready to give. If only he would wake up.
I've hungered hungered for your touch
A long lonely time
Kimberly laid her head on the bed and closed her eyes, half-asleep. It had been a long weekend and who knew how many sleepless nights lay ahead. A slight movement startled her and Kim shot up. No way. Could it be possible?
Standing, Kim leaned over the bed slightly and stared hard at Tommy's flickering eyes. Her mind told her to yell for a doctor, but something else told her to pause. Slowly, Tommy opened his eyes, groggily looking around and then settling on her. Kim saw the love seep into his dark eyes and she chocked back tears.
"Oh, Tommy, you're awake. Thank God!"
"What happened?" He muttered, slowly sitting up. "Hey, Hayley's machine worked."
"You were in a coma, Tommy. You're lucky to be alive."
"A coma," Tommy whispered. "No, I was fighting. I was being tested and I passed. I feel so powerful."
"The kids are in trouble," Kimberly blurted. "Hayley just left to help them, but I think it's bad. She looked really worried." Kim had no idea what possessed her tell Tommy this. He needed to rest, not go racing downtown to save the world. However, the ranger in Kim, the one that had slept for so long, realized how important it was for Tommy to take care of his team.
"Beautiful," Tommy began, but paused when Kim placed her silky fingers on his lips.
"I understand, Tommy. I just want you to know I love you and I'll be here when you return."
Tommy smiled and kissed her quickly before sneaking out of the hospital. Kim sighed and grabbed her purse before following in his footsteps, making sure she was long gone before the Nazi nurse discovered Tommy missing.
And time goes by so slowly
There was a knock at the door and Kim peeked through the peephole to see Tommy standing out in the hall. Heaving a sigh of relief, Kim quickly unlocked the door and ushered him inside.
"Is everyone okay? Are you okay? What happened?"
"They're all fine. I'm fine, but tired. We beat the monsters, but who knows when they'll be back. It never seems to end, Kim."
Tommy slouched on her couch while Kim got him a glass of water. She handed it to him and then curled next to his warm body, happy to feel his smooth skin.
"I'm so glad you're here, with me," Tommy whispered, pulling her close. "After the battle, I never even went to the house, I came straight here. All I could think about was holding you in my arms. You're all the medicine I'll ever need, Beautiful."
And time can do so much
"Tommy," Kim whispered. "I was so scared when I saw you in that hospital bed. I know that there's a possibility that something like that can happen again, but if it does, I don't want to be kept away from you because I'm Miss. Hart. I can't live without you and I don't want to waste another minute."
Are you still mine
"Kimberly Hart, are you proposing to me?" Tommy said, surprise and pleasure in his voice.
"Why, yes, Tommy Oliver, I believe I am."
Tommy laughed. "Well, if you marry me, I know I can marry you."
I need your love
Kim felt her heart burst inside from happiness. "Oh my…we're getting married, Tommy! I love you so much!"
Tommy caught the love of his life in his arms and swung her around the room, carefully avoiding her antique treasures.
"I don't ever want to be separated from you again," Kim whispered.
Nodding, Tommy pressed a kiss to her lips. A thought suddenly occurred to him and pulled away. "What about your job?"
"Well," Kim said mischievously, "As long as Mr. Marques, Sr. is invited to the wedding, I don't see why he wouldn't let me stay here and work at the California branch."
Tommy sighed and kissed her again. "Beautiful, I've been waiting for this day for a long time. I'm glad we finally came to our senses."
I need your love
Kim suddenly groaned. "Oh geez, Tommy."
"What?" He said, slightly worried.
"Jason is going to be impossible to live with after this."
God speed your love to me
To be continued…