Written by: Shawn
Summary: Eight years, four months, and twenty-one hours have come down to this one emotional moment.
Rating: R there is NC-17 version and if you want it email me. It's also posted at my Yahoo Group
Timeline/Spoilers: Everything up until the finale of "Power Rangers in Space" when Zordon dies. After that it's all my universe. Dino Thunder did not take place in this world.
Disclaimer: Disney owns it all now, lol.
Email: personal archive: http/groups. Notes 1: The summary refers to the airdate of the Power Rangers Zeo episode "There's No Business Like Snow Business," which debuted on 5/13/1996. The day the infamous letter was written.
Authors Notes 2: Both Tommy and Kimberly are twenty-five in this story. They co-own and operate 'TK's Martial Arts and Gymnastics Academy.'
Dedicated to: Gina... cause she's hot wink
"If I had a rose for every time I thought of you we'd be walking in a field of roses forever"
-- author unknown
819 South 14th 6-C Tommy's apartment Sunday, September 20, 2005 9:00 PM Angel Grove, Ca
This was dangerous.
Her course was pre-set the moment she heard the shocking news. Now as Kim stood alone in this dimly lit hallway outside of the door to Tommy's apartment she fought off a wave of nervous energy, stilling herself for the confrontation to come. A caged lion laid in wait for her. Fearing him had never crossed her mind. Never. But fearing what he made her feel... that was another story entirely. He's intrinsically tied into her past and present. On her loneliest nights, within her most private thoughts, perhaps her future. She drawn to him like a moth to a flame. Even more so when he's wounded, as he was tonight.
An undeniable allure she's lived with since the first time she saw him. Since the last time. Since every time...
This was a bad idea and she's thought of that and nothing else on the twenty minute drive here from Katherine's apartment. Tommy's anger was a part of him as surely as his Native American heritage. It fueled him in battle. It pushed him when he needed to be pushed. It helped him overcome obstacles in life. And it has never been aimed her way.
That could all change tonight. There are things he must face that he can't punch or kick or shout down from on high to fix. There are wrongs that at long last have to be righted.
A path found and a risk taken.
Her hands carefully smoothed down her skirt just before she raised her right hand and knocked on the door. Ten second passed before she heard footsteps approach. The door swung open, revealing a tortured man tight-rope walking the edge of a razor blade. Tommy appeared hard, cold, and unforgiving. He's hurting so bad, as his eyes conveyed, and yet his anger was written all over his face in place of a lesser emotion he hated ever admitting. He stared at her, mildly surprised, and then slammed the door in her face. His footsteps walked away from the door.
The entire world was his enemy tonight, but she's determined to be his friend against all odds. Kim produced the extra house key he kept at the office they shared. She inserted the key and turned the knob, letting herself in. Dropping the key back in her purse, she shut the door behind her and walked into his quiet, dark living room. His back's to her, gazing out of a open window at a full moon. The dark sweatshirt he wore clung to him like a second skin, outlining his muscular frame and the hard set of his shoulders. He's utterly beautiful to her. "I saw Katherine."
"Was she being hit by a bus?"
"Tommy, don't do this."
"Because if that's not the case then I'm not interested."
It's more than his heart that's bruised tonight. It's his ego. And his pride. Suddenly, Kim realized it was 'her' all over again. "She's sorry."
"So were you."
Kimberly sighed under her breath, then joined him at the window, standing to his left. "You know, when Zack and Jason were eight years old they created a club called the 'Girl Haters Organization." Her eyes lifted to him, yet he did not meet her. His mind was elsewhere. "The funniest thing about that club was that they let Trini and I join because we weren't really girls to them. Zack took a whole pack of white T-shirts out of his house and used a black marker to make them 'Girl Haters' shirts. Why do I get the feeling you want to start the Oliver branch of that organization."
Her attempt at levity didn't sway him in the least. "Is this little trip down memory lane supposed to make me feel better?"
With a note of hope, she replied, "I thought it might earn me a smile."
"If I fake one will you leave?"
He still refused to even look at her. Such a stubborn man. It took an infinite amount of patience to love him. And she had just that much. "I'm not leaving you until I know you're alright."
"If that's the case you'll never leave me again," he declared in a ghost of a way, his arms folded over his chest, vision aimed skyward at the night sky. "Don't try to defend her, Kim. You of all people don't have a leg to stand on concerning any of this."
"I'm your best friend, Tommy."
"Your choice, not mine."
"I'm gonna pay for that letter for the rest of my life, aren't I?" For the briefest moment her eyes met his and she saw within them something shattered. Something sad and bitter. A colder emotion than she ever thought his warm, caring brown eyes were capable of. "Talk me to. Let it all out. Yell if you need too. Just tell me how you feel."
"And say what?" His loud tone was quick and biting. She didn't budge an inch. "Should I cry? Would that make you feel better?" he asked her, brushing by her back into the living room. "Maybe I should call Katherine on the phone and curse at her for an hour or so. Maybe call her names. Ask her why she's been cheating on me for the last month with her co-worker and I had to find out the way I did?"
Kim knew she had to tread very carefully. "I'm not going to try and defend her, but things are rarely as black and white as that."
Tommy's jaw tightened with a barely restrained aggression. "I'm not even close to being perfect and I know that, but I have never cheated on a woman I was dating. Not as a teenager or a adult. So don't give me the 'big gray area' talk. Some things you just don't do. You don't hurt the one person you claim to love the most. Of course, it's happened to me twice, so what do I know." His eyes shut hard, willing the darkness to fall over him. The sensual scent of Kimberly's perfume invaded instead. He's trained himself to ignore her presence, and the affect it has on him. "Did she tell you how I found out?"
"No," she shook her head slowly. "She was beside herself when I arrived, Tommy. She was crying hysterically and Tanya said she had been for a long time."
The wall he built around his heart, now fortified with betrayal forced any compassion for his ex-girlfriend from him. Either of them. "She deserves that and more."
"She made a mistake."
"For a month, Kim?" He turned to her finally. "How long did you make yours before you told me?"
The letter she wrote still haunted them, even years later. It's only now that she realized it wasn't the breakup that crushed Tommy as much as the betrayal. Kim's walked a mile in a lot of girls shoes. Life experience was what it was. "Katherine made a huge mistake, alright. No one is denying that. But you also can't deny that you two haven't been on good terms for a long time now." She faced his fury with the truth, standing her ground. She knew his deep, dark secret. That his bark was worse than his bite. Now his ability to forgive... that was another question. "When I returned to Angel Grove we were very awkward around each other," she reminded him of those first tentative months a year and a half ago. "But somehow we got to know each other again, and that was with you dating Katherine fulltime. I was dating off and on and we were fine. We became friends again. And when we went into business together eight months ago we became best friends again. So don't hide from me. You can't," she said, then added softly, "I won't let you."
How could he not appreciate her? "Kim, I'm not mad at you. I'm mad at..."
"Myself," the fowl word escaped him, along with whatever trust he had left in his ability to judge people. "I was seventeen years old when we dated." Memories of days long gone swept over him. The sweetest first kiss shared with the girl of his dreams. Adventures wilder than children's imaginations. Love... "I remember being so in love with you I couldn't see straight. I would stutter when you came around. I literally walked into a few doors. It took all the nerve I had to try and hold your hand when we walked together. I remember loving you so much that when the opportunity came for you to pursue your dream of competing in the Pan Global Games I pushed aside my feelings because I never wanted to stand in your way. I wanted to see you fulfill your dreams. All of them. I was so proud of you." He took his time pacing the room, and felt her eyes follow him the whole time. "I was naive, but in love. I figured we had two years of high school left and then we'd graduate and hopefully attend a college near each other, or maybe even the same one." He advanced in front of her now, capturing her undivided attention. "I was washing cars on the weekends, cleaning up the Youth Center after it closed and saving every dollar I could becasue I wanted to be in the audience cheering you on at the Pan Global's. No one would have cheered for you louder than me. Those were my minor, teenage goals. They all involved you. And while I was dreaming of us and fighting with the Rangers and dealing with school, I thought for sure we were okay. I knew there was the distance between us and all, but I never thought about cheating on you. I never came close to it. And even when I realized Kat was attracted to me, I was never even tempted. I'm not trying to come off like Mr. Perfect here. I'm just telling you the truth."
He broke her heart all over again. It's a pity she can never allow him to see it. Kim held her tongue and forced back the tears that threatened to fall. She's long since made peace with the mistakes of her youth, but that didn't mean they still didn't hurt so bad sometimes.
"In hindsight, years later, I accepted that I didn't recognize what was going wrong with us because I was young and naive. We were kids and each others first love. Being with you was magical to me. You could do no wrong in my eyes."
"I disappointed you."
"I exalted you."
She's crushed by his honesty.
"I reconciled that I saw what I wanted to see, and maybe ignored any signs that went against that. In time I accepted my equal part in why we broke up."
"I was a fool in that situation," she finally broke her silence. "I gave up on us."
"But I didn't fight for us either," he pointed out with no small amount of regret. "I didn't try to fly there or try to get Billy to teleport me behind Zordon's back. I never wrote back to you. I didn't even call you. I just let you go, Kim." He ducked away from her, hands in his pockets, soul miles away. The pain in her eyes matched his own. Eight years was far to long to still be mending a broken heart, and yet, here they are. "My point is that I made peace with us and our breakup becasue it happens to young people all the time. That's life for a teenager, and we were no different than anyone else."
He need not say anymore. She already understood what he was getting at. What was the root of his anger. His pain. "You can't blame yourself for what happened."
"For Katherine's affair? Trust me, I don't. But what I do blame myself for yet again, even as I'm a grown man now, I still wasn't able to see that things weren't working out and that she was unhappy and unfulfilled in our relationship."
"This time was different."
"Of course it was. We're all adults."
"That's not what I meant. When we were together, you were happy with me. But if you're truly honest with yourself, you haven't been happy with Katherine for well over a year."
"You lost the rights to play pyschic with my love life when you no longer wanted to be a part of it."
"I've spent more time with you over the last eight months than anyone, Tommy. We have talked and laughed and shared so many things I never thought we would again. We've always known each other better than anyone else knew us, and that hasn't changed."
"Aren't you sick and tired of that?" he shouted angrily, and for reasons he could not face.
"Yes," she bluntly confessed, her own temper simmering just below the surface. "I wish someone would come into my life and know me better than you do. I wish for that every single day. But I never wish that for you."
Mysterious and oh so cryptic. He often wished women came with a translator so that he could clearly understand everything they truly meant.
Kim switched gears. "When I arrived back in Angel Grove you and I were barely ex-teammates, much less friends. Eight years changes us in so many ways. Changed everyone and everything around us. Once we got to know the new Tommy and Kim we grew up into then we were able to turn that proverbial corner and we became close friends again. You can't deny that."
"You don't know what this feels like."
"You know I've been cheated on too. I told you all about Greg and James. Karma is a bitch and it came back around to get me too."
"The difference is Katherine and I have been dating on and off for years. I thought we..."
"What, Tommy? Were going to get married? Becasue if that's what you thought then that's what she thought too. She told me that on more than one occasion. But what does it say that you've been on again and off again for years? Think about that. What does that say to her?"
"I never cheated."
"Fidelity, while very important, is not the only important thing in a relationship."
"I did my best."
She softened her voice. "I know you did and I know you love Katherine. I've never doubted that. But we're all twenty-five or older now. Dating a girl for almost five years gives her expectations. And after while if those expectations aren't met then a serious rift can form. That's what I think started all this."
"So you're saying I should have married Kat by now?"
"No, I'm asking why you haven't? And I think you need to be honest with yourself." She secretly feared his answer as much as he obviously feared the question and it's implications. The dangerous territory she was about to enter was a necessary risk. "What's holding you back from moving forward with her?"
"You mean besides the fact that I caught her in bed with another man?"
Even a hint of sarcasm from him was better than nothing. "You know what I mean."
Tommy sincerely hated times like these when she forced him to face things he'd rather not. She didn't understand anyway. This was a road he's gone down twice with the two people he loved the most. He shook his head, side-stepping her to take a seat on the couch. She sat on the armrest, waiting for him. "I love Katherine."
Kim paused, but only for a moment. "I know that."
But to what degree, he pondered. "And we've been each others rock through some pretty rough times," he explained. "When my Dad had his heart attack in 2001 she stayed at the hospital with me all night long. And when her niece died two years ago I traveled to Australia with her for the funeral. I held her up when college was dragging her down and she encouraged me when I pursued a career in racing, unlike just about everyone else in my life, including my parents."
"You've been each others rock," Kim conceded with a heavy heart for reasons she wasn't quite ready to face. "I get that."
"I figured that one day I'd wake up and look into her eyes and know that I want forever with her."
The proud, thrill-seeking former leader of the Power Rangers was still a romantic at heart. Just another facet of him that was so appealing to her. "I've looked for that before too."
"I've only felt that one time."
"Then why didn't you follow through with Katherine?"
"I never said it was with Katherine."
Suddenly she couldn't be as close to him as she was. Departing the armrest, Kim walked the length of his living room, considering the implications of what he said... and why.
"What are you thinking?" Tommy asked as he followed her every move.
"I'm thinking that maybe it wasn't such a good idea coming here tonight?"
He was standing behind her before he knew it, with no clue what his next move would be. "Why are you here?"
She turned around. "Can't one friend look after another?"
"Katherine and I are finished, and you're not changing my mind on that. But you already know that, don't you?"
He took a step forward as she took one backward. The tension settled heavy between them. She wanted to comfort him. She wanted to fight him. She simply wanted him. "I don't know what you're getting at."
"Misery loves company."
"I'm not miserable."
"Your last five dates have all sucked. You told me about each and every one."
"I'm here for you, Tommy. Not myself."
"Why would you want to come here tonight of all nights when you did the exact same thing to me as Katherine did? How about you explain that one?" His question invaded her personal space as surely as he did, towering over her now.
"We're close," she offered as a excuse, meeting his direct stare. "I was worried about you."
"Is that the only reason?"
Prey. She felt like prey. His prey and she didn't like it one bit... she loved it. "What other reason could there have been?"
"You want me," he stated with such conviction he dared her to deny it. Chewing on her bottom lip only drove him closer to madness. "Admit it?"
"On Christmas night you kissed me under the mistletoe at our school."
"Millions of people kiss under mistletoe."
"For five minutes when they already have a girlfriend?" she threw back in his face. He had kissed her with such hunger that she nearly threw all caution to the wind. "The real answer here is that you want me."
"I could have had you already if I wanted you." He felt glorified in telling her that. Months of close conversations, going over the financial books, planning with the staff and sponsors. Through it all something had been building just below the surface. "I've caught you staring at me more than a few times in recent months. I know what you want."
"You see what you want to see, Tommy. That's why you keep finding yourself cheated on." Her inner pit bull roared at him, not caring one bit if it hurt.
That sharp tongue of hers captivated him in more ways than one. She's as stubborn and defiant as he is. "I get cheated on by unworthy women. Maybe it's for the best that they leave. It's not like years later they don't see the error of their ways. Right?"
If she didn't slap him soon she just might... "I came here to help you." He moved in even closer until her back pressed against the wall, leaving her no where to run. The sheer dominating force of his presence caused her to swallow hard. It's not like this in the small office they share. It hasn't felt this way on late work nights that became impromptu movie nights. Their boundaries were clear. No matter what attraction she felt for him, or he for her, as long as he was still involved with Katherine she would never be 'the other woman.' She had to much class for that, faltering only one time when that Christmas kiss rocked her bells.
"Katherine was jealous of you."
Kim hesitated, needing a plan of escape. "She had no reason to be."
"She hated that when I was ready to finally go after my dream of opening a martial arts school, I went after that dream with you."
"It wasn't a plot. We both wanted to teach and neither of us had enough money on our own. Together just made more sense."
"I could have gone into business with Rocky or Adam or even Jason. She asked me why I didn't and I told her the timing never felt right." She's trapped against his chest and the wall, her hands braced on his chest to shove him away, but she didn't. Couldn't. Won't. "I've hated you on more nights than you could possibly imagine."
"And wanted me on just as many."
"You're here to finally make your move now that Katherine's out the picture."
"No, but you're dying for me too." When his hands fell on her hips and squeezed she melted. Her hands fell from his powerful chest to cover his hands. She held them where they were...
"You've been waiting for tonight ever since you were seventeen years old."
"We were together eight years ago. Get over it."
Her focus fell onto his lips... dammit. "I haven't lived the life of a nun."
"And yet, here you are. Alone, in the dark, with me."
"Becasue I didn't come here to give you a pity fuck."
"Good. I don't want your pity."
He took her lips that very second as she tilted her head up to accept his deliriously passionate kiss. His arms wrapped tight around her, holding her so close to him she's nearly off her feet. Their tongues melded inside each others mouths as she moaned and tried to press her body even closer to his. God almighty, the heat they generated set them on fire. Their chests pressed together as he kissed her with such intensity, shoving his tongue into her mouth, and she groaned into the kiss, aggressively plundering his soft lips.
Kim was pushed against the wall as his hands pulled up her skirt, then gripped her ass as he ravaged her mouth and ground his hips against hers. She whimpered when she felt the solid, throbbing evidence of what she invoked in him. Her legs instinctually wrapped around his waist. Eyes shut. Tommy made it as far as in front of his couch on memory alone, the burning need inside him to finally be inside her raged out of control. They kissed out of control, as if fighting for their very lives. Her nails dug into his shoulders, clawing, dragging down his back. She's never been this hot. This needy. Never this aroused.
Never in all her life.
He was broken. Finished. Other women need not apply. Game over. The world had ended.
A short time later, maybe a minute or so, they laid side by side on the floor, both staring up at the ceiling.
So, uhm... yeah."
Okay, uhm... Kim?"
"You made need to call a ambulance for me because I think I broke my back."
She smiled beside him. "Tommy, my ability to move is limited to only my lips."
"I don't want to tell you that was the best sex I ever had."
"My knees are killing me."
"I think I can move my feet again. Yep. My big toes are now operational."
Tommy laughed beside her. He reached over and took her hand in his. "Is this long talk time?"
"No, that can wait. You're single now, so I'm not feeling all that guilty."
"So we can discuss the possibilities of falling in love again later?"
"Yes. Now go and lay some clean clothes outside your bathroom door for me. I'm going to take a shower."
"You're staying the night?"
"Absolutely. Just in case we don't work out at least I can say we had a lot of great sex that one night."
"We're going to work out."
"I'm very happy you stopped by."
"I figured it would turn out better than my other idea."
"To write you another letter." She rolled onto her side and raced out of the living room with him right after her... and on to happier days ahead.