PAPERS

Kim was cleaning the house on Saturday morning. The kids were off somewhere with their friends. Ron was working at the restaurant. Kim moved room to room picking something here, dusting something there. Their anniversary had been only a few weeks earlier. The ad Ron had put in the paper had been the talk of the town. Few of their friends had ever expected Ron to be able to even write something like that much less have the nerve to pay to put it in the paper. Kim felt warm as she remembered the words he had written. Ron Stoppable had made sure that she knew above all things that he loved her.

The night had been wonderful; they had just gone out to Bueno Nacho and gotten a simple supper. Many patrons came up to Ron and shook his hand. All of them commented on what he had written in the paper. Kim thought her face would never stop blushing. Ron had done some wonderful things for her in her life but this one really topped them all.

Now several weeks later, the restaurant was still not doing well and the creditors were really hounding Ron. There had been a number of fights over the past few weeks. Including two bad enough that the kids thought is better to leave the house for a while. The fights had been over money of course. Kim had been furious at one point when a check bounced and yelled at Ron before she realized what she was doing. He fought back just as hard. Then she had all but demanded he close the restaurant and just get another job. She thought back if she could have just been able to take those words back. She had never really said anything to hurt Ron as much as that did. He loved the restaurant. He loved cooking, it was his life and the only thing he had ever done. Now she had demanded that he give up the thing he loved doing the most. He had left the room leaving her standing there.

She followed him to their room. No lights were on. She saw him lying on the bed. The room was very quiet except for his tortured breathing. She came over and sat on the other side of the bed, then began to make suggestions that might help the restaurant. Ron grumbled for a few minutes, but soon they talked of maybe new menu item that people would enjoy yet not cost as much and be easier to prepare. After a while, Ron was smiling again. Kim leaned over to give him a hug and kissed his neck. They went out later just the two of them. All they really did was ride around town but soon were laughing and joking.

That had been just a few weeks ago. Ron had changed over the past number of days; he would be moody at times. She had tried to talk to him but the minute she did he would brighten up and be the normal 'or as normal as Ron could ever be' Ron. She just put it off to stress. Ron seemed happier now, as if a load had been lifted from his shoulders. He had been talking to the attorney's and getting help working out the debt for the restaurant. He was more attentive to her and the children. Playing with the kids telling them how much he loved them. When with her alone, he could not stop telling her what she meant to him. It was like the ad all over again. He would pour out his soul to her as if making sure she knew what she meant to him.

Kim entered the room Ron used as his office at home. She dusted around the computer and around the file cabinet. She noticed that the room seemed far neater than she had ever known it to be. Everything seemed to be in its proper place, which was rare for her husband. He seemed to thrive on the adage that a clean desk is a signal of a sick mind. She put it off as just him getting things together better for the office and restaurant. She knelt down to empty the trashcan under his shredder. As she dumped the contents of the can into the trash bag, she noticed that some papers had gone through and not shredded. There were too many pages in the stack. She pulled them out and separated them getting them ready to put back though the shredder. It was then she noticed what the papers were and what was written on them. It was life insurance forms and social security forms. They all listed the death benefits of Ronald Dean Stoppable. Her hands shook as she sat down. Another page showed the income of the restaurant lately and for the years before. Next to the calculations were the totals of the death benefits for the insurance and social security.

Her heart started to beat faster. The totals showed something frightening at the bottom of the page. Ron had underlined both totals. He had circled the one totaling the insurance benefits. That total exceeded the total of the income from the restaurant. In the hurried handwriting that Ron used when he was upset. "What use is a man when he is worth more dead to his family than alive?" Across the bottom of the page, there were small scribbles. "car wreck, accident at restaurant, accident at home". Kim's hands were shaking so she could barely continue to read.

"He couldn't be thinking?" She summered.

However, she knew Ron. He would stop at nothing to make sure they were taken care of. His total commitment to them was the part that drove him. He just might do it if he was desperate enough. Kim quickly put the papers back through the shredder and dumped the remains into the trash. She wiped the tears from her face. She glanced around the room. Pictures on the wall told their life story. There were pictures of the two of them in high school as just friends. There was the one special picture given them by the yearbook staff. The kiss at the prom. That one telling point of their lives. Other pictures were of missions, dates, and special occasions. One of the night he proposed, others of special holiday. A very special picture of the two of them the day she became Kim Stoppable. There were pictures of the kids from birth to present. Their lives were portrayed through the pictures on the walls.

Kim stood up from her sitting place. No matter what somehow she would show Ron that it was not the money that made a family. It was the love they held for each other. It was the tickle fights in the living room or the water battles at the beach. It was the cookouts on a summer afternoon or a snowball fight in new fallen snow. It was helping the kids with homework until the late hours. It was sitting just listening to a broken heart. It was sitting down to a meal together and sharing each other day with the others. It was saying good night and I love you each night. Ron worked so hard at each of these. Kim knew that her Ron was a champion of each of these things. She would make it a point to remind him everyday just what he meant to their family. That he meant more that just a paycheck.

The front door rattled as Ron came in the door. Kim stuffed the trash bag to the side and went to meet him.

"What are you doing home this early? Is something up?" she asked worriedly. She gasped as Ron took quickstep toward her and taking her into his arms kissed her. Then laughing he picked her and spun her around in the room.

She screeched "Ron STOPPABLE. WHAT has gotten into you? Put me down before you break something."

Ron set her down and enveloped her into another kiss.

"A new client came into the restaurant today. It is a big civic club and they are looking for a new place to meet. They want to start coming to the restaurant. It will mean a steady date each week and several special dinners a year. Also he was so pleased with the arrangements he mentioned that he would spread the word to other clubs and groups in town." Ron grinned happier than he had been in sometime.

"It's a place to start again Kim. It will be a lot of hard work. However, things seem to be turning around. We have a long road to go. But at least there is a chance now."

Kim stared into her husband's eyes. They were still dark and tired but there was a light of hope in them now.

She pulled him closer and laid her head on that place on his shoulder that just seemed to fit her head so well. "I want to tell you that you are a very rich man Ron Stoppable, you have two wonderful kids who love you and I love you very much. I don't care where we live or what we are doing as long as we are together and I want you to never, ever forget that."

She held him a little tighter and then snuck her hands down to the certain tickle spot.

"TICKLE FIGHT!" she yelled as she dug her fingers into that spot. Ron howled with laughter and collapsed to the floor. Soon he retaliated and had Kim screaming in laughter. Dinner that night was just normal and for the first time in awhile they stuck a movie in the vcr and all four watched the movie as they pulled out their favorite board game. They played and laughed into the night. As the lights went out in the house that night, it was hugs and "I love you's" all around.

Ron walked through the darkened home checking that the doors were locked, the dishes done, sink not dripping and the refrigerator door was closed good. He checked the setting on the heat. Then turned and surveyed his home and his life. Life was good, and family meant more than dollars any day. He turned and flipped out the light to the kitchen. Soon all lights at the Stoppable home were out. The moon rose over the modest home. The home of Ron Stoppable, the richest man in Middleton.

Kim Possible and all the characters of the show are owned by the Disney Company. I own this work of fiction.