Disclaimer: Power Rangers does not belong to me, nor does the movie "Troy" or the TV show "Sex and the City." Any references from "Troy" and "Sex and the City" are not my original content and are being used in this story for entertainment purposes only.
Chapter 14: Season of Love
Takes place a little over a week after the last chapter
"Happy Holidays everyone!" greeted Tori as she walked into Dustin and Kelly's apartment on Christmas Eve.
"Happy Holidays!" replied the gang in unison as Tori entered the holiday party.
"You brought fruit cake!" said Shane, skipping over excitedly with Skyla. "You rock!"
"And who's this cute, stuffed animal?" asked Skyla, poking at the Mrs. Clause bear under Tori's arm.
"Just my date to the party tonight," joked Tori, remembering sadly who the other Very Merry Christmas Bear was with. It had been over a week since she'd sent her heartfelt e-mail to Blake and still no reply. By this point, Tori was beginning to think a reconciliation between her and Blake really would be a holiday miracle.
"…so the jolly, and chubby, Santa and Mrs. Clause live at the North Pole where all the toys are made," Tori heard Shane, as she snapped out of her reverie, explain to Skyla.
"Mrs. Clause, or Ms. Kringle as she likes to be called, isn't chubby!" retorted Skyla. "They've both been on the Atkins diet this past year!"
"Dating an alien will sure never be boring!" Shane chuckled to himself as he and Skyla met in a big, happy holiday kiss. Shaking his head, Shane put his arm around Skyla as they walked to put Tori's fruit cake on the food table that Cam and Kelly were arranging.
"By the way Cam, you really should just ask Kelly out already!" called Skyla, never one to keep her mouth shut.
"How do you even know?" sputtered Cam.
"Dude, we all know," cut in Hunter, eavesdropping on their conversation.
"Kapri!" groaned Kelly. "How could you tell Hunter?"
"I didn't!" perked up Kapri, proud that she had been able to keep the secret. "You two gave this one away on your own. Both of you are super smart, but not super stealthy."
"Especially when I caught Kelly a couple days ago sneaking condoms out of my desk draw!" announced Dustin loudly so that the whole party overheard and proceeded to laugh.
"Or when Cam came home with his fly undone," remembered Hunter, hooting with hilarity. Cam blushed bright red and squinted his eyes tightly while Kelly buried her face in her hands with embarrassment.
"Let's give our horny host some space so that Cam can ask her out!" urged Skyla again.
"Does she always speak her mind like this?" asked Cam annoyed.
"All the time," said Shane cheerfully, placing a kiss on Skyla's cheek.
"She's not the only one," said Cam remorsefully, glaring at Kelly. He and Kelly had certainly grown, "closer," over the past couple weeks. Yet the Storm Chargers owner had made it perfectly clear to Cam that their relationship did not extend outside her bedroom.
"Skyla and Shane have been kissy-face all week," complained Kelly as her guests turned back to their own conversations. "How dare Skyla call me horny!"
"So what was last night between us then?" asked Cam, looking at Kelly pointedly.
"A mistake," muttered Kelly, busying herself with smoothing out a corner of the tablecloth.
"And the night before that?" continued Cam.
"I've made many mistakes this week," responded Kelly, rolling her eyes. "Ok, maybe Skyla had a point!"
"Whatever you say," replied Cam. "My horny host," he teased mischievously.
"See, this is why I would never date you!" cried Kelly exasperatedly. "You mock me all the time, constantly piss me off, annoy me to…"
"Ok, I get the point!" exclaimed Cam, cutting her off. "But what do you say to maybe a movie and ordering in take-out at your place tomorrow night? We wouldn't even have to leave your bedroom and break the stupid rules you laid down for us."
"They aren't stupid rules," snapped Kelly. "And 'us' certainly does not exist!"
"What's so wrong if seeing if we have chemistry outside of bed as well?" argued Cam. "Are you afraid that you might enjoy it as much as what we've been doing these past couple weeks? Or of even, heaven forbid, actually having feelings for me?"
"I'm already falling for you," muttered Kelly, looking away from Cam.
"And I'll be there to catch you," reassured Cam softly, as he moved close to Kelly, tilting her chin upward so that their eyes met. Caressing Kelly's cheek, Cam placed a gentle kiss on her lips as she wrapped her arms comforted around his waist.
"Cam and Kelly can be so sweet to each other when they think no one else is looking," thought Kapri contently to herself as she regarded the new couple.
"Why do I think you had something to do with this, Cowgirl?" Kapri heard Hunter ask as he also watched Cam and Kelly kissing.
"Cam and Kelly?" questioned Kapri. "You could say on the night of Marah's birthday, I helped Cam find what he was looking for, and I don't mean the gift Dustin forgot to bring to her dinner party!"
"I also meant to ask you, Cowgirl," began Hunter. "Do you like the sweater vest I am wearing tonight?"
"It's the present I skipped ninja class to buy for you!" exclaimed Kapri surprised, seeing Hunter in the crimson sweater vest with the little Christmas elves and reindeer on it. Kapri narrowed her eyes. "Why are you wearing it? And more so, why have you suddenly started being so nice to me these past couple weeks?"
"Well even though your execution may sometimes be sloppy, or smelly," began Hunter, thinking of the "cow dung-covered Thunder staff incident, "I really do believe you have your friends' best interests at heart with everything you do," finished Hunter. He looked over the couples Kapri had helped: Kelly flirtatiously pelting Cam with confetti and Dustin lifting Marah up to put an ornament on the Christmas tree.
"I want my friends to find love," said Kapri blushing.
"Well putting yourself out there for others, that's definitely a quality I look for in a friend," replied Hunter. "Or maybe even someday, a girlfriend."
Kapri spun round to face him in stunned astonishment, definitely sure Hunter had drunk too much eggnog. However Hunter took her hand and pointed toward a green plant hanging from the ceiling.
"We're under the mistletoe," Hunter commented. "And we shouldn't break holiday tradition on Christmas Eve."
Just when Kapri thought she was maxed out on surprises, Hunter leaned forward and kissed her softly on the lips. Their mouths lingered close together as Hunter slowly pulled away, smiling at Kapri's wide-eyed, shocked stare.
"Happy Holidays, Cowgirl!" chuckled Hunter, putting an arm around Kapri who was now grinning from ear to ear.
"This was the best gift I could have…" began Kapri.
"I need attention from you dudes!" shouted Dustin from the center of the room. "And dudettes," he added quickly at Marah's shove, remembering his girlfriend liked him to be politically correct.
"You got something you wanna tell the world, Dustin?" joked Tori.
"Yeah, I do actually," grinned Dustin, holding Marah's hand. "I love this girl! I love this girl! I love…"
"Honey, quiet down please!" begged Marah embarrassed. "You're making a scene!"
"I don't care!" retorted Dustin happily. "I love you, and I want us to be together forever. You're the girl for me, Marah," proclaimed Dustin, dropping on one knee.
"Dustin!" shrieked Marah, as she saw her boyfriend pulling a small jewelry box from his coat pocket. "Honey, I love you too, but I'm only eighteen! We are way too young to get married!"
"Chill Babe, who said anything about getting married?" reassured Dustin, on his knee opening the jewelry box to reveal a ring bearing a golden, topaz stone.
"Honey, this isn't an engagement ring," replied Marah, regarding the stone. "Where is my diamond?"
"I hope to give you one someday, Babe," laughed Dustin. "This is a promise ring. I was hoping that you'd agree to agree to marry me one day."
"Honey, yes!" squealed Marah excitedly. "Of course, I'll agree to agree to agree to marry you," said Marah slowly, confused if she had gotten the right number of 'agrees.'
Marah could barely contain her happiness, jumping up and down as Dustin placed the ring on her finger. Overjoyed and relived beyond all belief, Dustin took Marah in his arms and swung his girlfriend ecstatically round in circles as the whole party burst into applause.
Alone at the back of the room, Tori Hanson stood by the doorway looking on with mixed emotions. She was genuinely glad beyond belief for the joyful conclusion to Dustin and Marah's romance. Tori just wished her own love story would have found a happy ending as well. After all, Dustin wasn't the only former Wind Ninja Ranger who had fallen for someone initially on the opposing team. Tori at that moment was reawakened from her reverie as she felt a stuffed animal sitting on her shoulder.
"Santa bear missed Mrs. Clause," Tori heard an upbeat, male voice whisper in her ear.
Tori's heart practically stopped. "I must be dreaming," Tori thought dazed to herself as she slowly turned to her left. Blinking her eyes in disbelief, she shook her head hard and looked again.
Blake was still there though, nuzzling his half of their Very Merry Christmas bear duo against her cheek. "You look like you've seen a ghost," he teased, regarding Tori's white face.
"Well, right now I feel like you're the Ghost of Christmas Past or something," replied Tori hesitantly. "What are you doing home?"
"You don't waste anytime getting to the point, do you?" chuckled Blake. "Well I heard about Shane's car accident, and I wanted to make sure that my boy was ok."
"Oh," responded Tori disappointedly. "Was that the… the only reason?"
"Well," said Blake, shoving his hands deep in his pockets and looking down. "I also came home to tell you something."
"What was that?" asked Tori, her heart thudding so loud in her chest she was certain Blake could hear it.
"I love you," said Blake, turning to look deep into Tori's now wide-open eyes.
"You flew home just to tell me that?" began Tori, her voice shaking.
"Can you think of a better reason?" asked Blake softly, pushing back a strand of her silky, blond hair.
"No I can't," whispered Tori.
Taking Tori's smooth face in his hands, Blake slowly brought Tori's lips to his. Tori felt herself exploding with both delight and disbelief when she and Blake pulled apart from each other reluctantly. Smiling a mile wide, Blake traced the curves of Tori's lips as she wrapped her arms around his waist.
"What about everything that happened?" asked Tori timidly. "During our last visit, the argument…"
"It's over with," cut in Blake firmly, pressing his forehead against hers. "We both made mistakes, but it's time to move past that. Besides, you did make me realize the most important thing…"
"What's that?" asked Tori, caressing Blake's cheek.
"That while I love my new life doing pro motocross," began Blake, pulling Tori close, "It doesn't mean anything without someone to share it with. You're the one for me too, Tor. We'll make this work. We'll make us work."
Blake paused, taking in Tori's beautiful, beaming face before passionately pressing his lips against hers. Wrapping her arms around Blake's neck, Tori pressed her body close to his in sheer bliss at being near her boy again. She finally knew she had Blake's love, and that was all that mattered.
Tori was pulled apart from Blake by Hunter, jumping on top of his brother's back in the excitement of seeing him again. As the gang encircled Blake, welcoming him home for the holidays, Tori stepped back to regard her friends.
They'd been through so much together, working as Ninja rangers and working their ways through romance. Yet somehow Tori and her friends had all found their hearts' desire during this most magical time of the year. It really was their season of love.
A/N: I just wanted to thank one last time everyone who reviewed this story along its way: Angel pen, BlueGirl90, the real vampire, jean, BlueAngel07 and star-chan. You're comments and support really provided me with so much encouragement. An extra special thanks to BiccaBoo, iceprincess18 and Pink-Green-White-4ever with whom I've enjoyed corresponding with so much during the writing of this story. (Please stay in touch!) I apologize if I've forgotten anyone, but y'all rock as well!
Happy Holidays, everyone!