So I really am sorry for not getting anything written for so long. School came quicker than I thought it would, and work has picked up like crazy. I'm a senior this year, so now it's on to graduate school preparation. Which, well, if I start that, is really going to put a limitation on writing – not that I want to think about that. Anyway, I promised this story would be finished, so in order to that, I've got to proceed with the updating; thus, I give you chapter 29.
"Dr. O?" Conner's voice broke the silence that had settled over the jeep since they'd left the parking lot five minutes before. However, different from his usual voice, sincerity ran in every syllable. "Dr. Oliver, I'm sorry. It was a stupid stunt to pull. I just… well, you seemed to have so much on your mind, that I didn't want you to have to worry about anything else," he spoke, disregarding the fact that Tommy never bothered to acknowledge the fact that he was speaking. When he finished, another uneasy silence descended onto the occupants of the vehicle. Conner sighed, and sank back into his seat, clearly defeated. Trent placed a hand on his shoulder, showing that at least he understood his teammate.
Ten minutes later, the Dino Thunder team reached the parking lot of the botanical gardens. They were almost an hour late for the scheduled time of the reception, but no way in hell was Tommy going to let any of the preparation for the day go to waste.
"Conner, Ethan; come here a minute," These were the first words Tommy had spoken since they got into the car. The two teenagers paused, preparing themselves for the worst and turned on their heels, while Trent and Kira proceeded into the building. "Have you two learned your lesson?"
"Absolutely. We never meant to cause so much trouble," Ethan answered, eager to be done with the whole insane mess.
"Are you sure? You're done running off on your own? You think you can stay put for the next week?"
"Yes," Conner agreed. "We really are sorry. We'll be even better behaved than Kira and Trent," he added, causing Tommy to laugh a bit.
"I highly doubt that; but in any case, thank you."
"Thank you?" Ethan replied, extremely confused. Conner was too dumbstruck to say or think anything. "Come again?"
"I mean it; thank you. As crazy as what you did was, it gave us all one more chance to work as a team, not to mention have a laugh. And you caused Kim and I to come clean. We shouldn't have been pretending; it'll only hurt more later."
"You were pretending?" Conner gapped until Ethan elbowed him in the gut. By this time Jason and Rocky's cars were pulling into the lot.
"Um… you're welcome then?" Ethan asked more than replied. "Does this mean we're off the hook?"
"Ha. Not quite. You two are grounded once again for the night, and when we get home, you guys get to spend a week trying to clean up the lab."
"Aww man," Conner groaned.
"Everything ok here?" Jason asked, as the rest of the group finally came up beside Tommy.
"Just fine. I was just finishing giving the boys their punishment."
"I thought there was a law against cruel and unusual punishment," Ethan muttered.
"It gets suspended in cases like this; but we can worry about it later. We have a wedding to celebrate," Tommy replied, and turned to his friends, smiling, ready to put the whole thing behind him. Jason looked at him when the others gave him questioning looks. The first red ranger just shrugged, clearly the signal for them all to move on.
"Alright, but the cake better be good," Jason told him, laughing and trying to lighten up the mood.
"Damn it, we forgot the cake," Rocky blurted out until Trini turned and glared at him. "I'm kidding. I'm kidding."
"Rocky, that's probably not the smartest thing to joke about," Kat laughed as the group proceeded inside, Kim bringing up the rear while engrossed in a conversation with Aisha. She hadn't so much as cast a glance at Tommy since they'd gotten there.
Trent and Kira were already seated, drinking ice tea, when the others finally joined them in the private room that was decorated in yellow and red with tinges of gold every once in a while.
"Took you long enough," Kira said pouting. "I want cake."
"Don't we all," Aisha replied, falling into a chair beside her.
"Well, it's a good thing you didn't eat it," Adam told the girl as he entered, almost physically attached to Tanya. Since the chaos had ended, the two had been inseparable. "Or Trini might have killed you."
"Yep. My cake," Trini confirmed, laughing slightly as she slipped into a chair at the center of the table, Jason on one side of her, and Kimberly on the other. Tommy took the other seat beside Kim, surprising just about everyone. Kimberly looked at him, shock on her face. He just smiled, and Kim's surprised look turned into a glare. She instantly turned away from him as everyone else took seats and the waiters came to take their orders.
"What was that about?" Trini whispered to her best friend. Kim shrugged.
"No idea, but he's pissing me off."
"He's the one who said he couldn't do it Trini; and now he's just teasing me. Well, I'm not going to stand for it."
"Kim, I highly doubt he's teasing you," Trini protested.
"Trust me; he's just being an ass," Kim retorted.
Tommy didn't hear their exchange because Zack and Billy were busy asking him similar questions.
"I said I couldn't pretend to be her boyfriend. Not that I didn't want to."
"So you want to be in a relationship with her?" Billy asked. Tommy just shrugged. Truthfully, he didn't know what he wanted.
"I don't know. Maybe. But it's not going to happen like it did in high school. I'm not just going to be able to look at her or rescue her from some greasy slime ball and have her fall in love with me. It's going to take something much bigger than that."
"Like saving her from Goldar?" Zack offered, as if it could be arranged. Tommy shook his head.
"Who knows. But I'm want to at least be her friend. In fact, I owe her and myself that much."
"Tommy, I don't think it's going to be that easy. I'm pretty sure that glare she gave you means she's currently wishing you weren't here, let alone sitting beside her."
"That's just it, Billy. I don't care anymore. I couldn't care less what she wants. The last time I respected any of her decisions, I ended up loosing the one person I've ever really loved. Well, it's not about what she wants anymore. It's about me. For once in my life I'm making this about me."
"You're serious?" Zack asked him, almost not believing what he'd heard. Tommy nodded. He was officially done playing games.
"I've wasted a week. I'm not going to waste another. I'm just not sure how I'm going to do it yet. But stay out of it. All I want right now is to be her friend and you all just complicate things."
"We do not," Zack protested.
Zack just blinked. "Ha, ha, very funny. He-who-won't-admit-he-loves-Kimberly."
"Knock it off, both of you," Billy cut them off. "We'll stay out of it; just know that if you change your mind…"
"I know. I know. And thanks," Tommy replied.
"You're welcome, he-who-has-no-brains," Zack laughed, and Tommy hit him in the head while Billy watched them, shaking his.
Brunch went smoothly, save Kimberly pretending Tommy didn't exist, once again. However, this time she refrained from yelling and making a scene. By the time they were done eating, Trini was getting antsy, as they'd brought out the cake.
"No, you can not dive head first into the cake," Jason was telling his wife. Trini pouted.
"Because I worked too hard to get that at such short notice," Kimberly told her.
"You mean 'we'," Tommy interjected. Kim sighed angrily, but nodded.
"Fine. We worked too hard. You can cut it at the end of the party."
"Well, why isn't the party over? What do we do now?"
"We do what we always do at wedding receptions," Zack told Trini. He was no longer seated, but standing with a remote in his hand. He pressed a button and somewhere in the room, a stereo turned on. "We dance." Zack held his hand out to Kat, who laughed and accepted. Adam and Tanya followed, and Aisha dragged Rocky out with them.
"But I don't wanna," Trini protested. "I want wedding cake."
"Come on Trini. They worked hard. We can dance for a little," Jason laughed, pulling her to her feet. The former yellow ranger submitted, laughing at him.
"Trent?" Kira pouted, tugging on her boyfriends arm. Trent nodded and got up to follow her.
"Hey, what about us?" Conner called after them.
"Dance with each other," Trent suggested, grinning, before turning back to Kira.
Conner cast a look at Ethan, who shrugged. "Fine, but I'm out if it's a slow song," he told Conner as they joined the others.
Tommy sighed and stretched, lacing his arm over Kimberly's chair. He smiled at Billy, who just cocked an eyebrow at him. "Alone at last," Tommy replied nonchalantly.
"Billy's here," Kimberly shot back at him.
"Is he?" Tommy asked, almost as if he hadn't noticed.
"He is. Billy, would you care to dance? It looks like fun," Kim replied, taking control of the situation. Billy cast Tommy a look, who gave a tiny nod, the smirk never leaving his face.
"Sure," Billy told her, getting up and following her lead onto the dance floor, leaving Tommy at the table alone. He crossed his arms across his chest, watching everyone carefully, although most of the time, his eyes were settled on Kim. He would win this game. She was going to be his again, but no one else needed to know that. And she definitely didn't need to. Play time was officially over.
Half an hour later, the music slowed down, and true to his word, Ethan retreated back to the table, Conner following behind him.
"You look lonely," Conner mentioned to Tommy who just cast a look at him and shook his head.
"Nah, just waiting for the right moment," he answered. "And it looks like it just arrived. See you later, boys." He pushed himself out of his chair, now that Billy had accidentally positioned Kim with her back to the table. He'd even decided to show off and sent her into a spin. Unfortunately for Kimberly, it wasn't Billy who caught her when she spun back.
"Mind if I cut in," Tommy asked, grinning down at Kimberly.
"Not at all," Billy smiled, slinking off toward the chairs.
"Did you miss me?" Tommy asked her.
"What are you playing at?" Kimberly answered, refusing to dignify his question with an answer. Tommy was wearing a look she hadn't seen since he was the evil green ranger.
"Not playing," he told her, pulling her closer to him. "I just want to dance with a friend."
"Friends? Is that what you think we are?" She asked him, glaring.
"Maybe," he replied.
"Let me go; my feet hurt," she hissed, even though she was dancing in his arms, and part of her wanted to stay there. However, she was way too angry and hurt by him to listen to that half, even for a moment.
"No they don't. Admit it, you like this," he teased her. "Just follow my lead."
"Follow this, ass hole," she growled, plunging her heel into the tips of his toes. Tommy winced in pain and dropped her, allowing her to escape. "Now at least someone's feet hurt," she added, whirling away and retreating to the table as he pulled his foot up to put pressure on it, not dignifying her with anything more than a pained look.
"Brutal," Zack told him. He and Kat had come up behind him and Kim just a moment before.
"Yeah; but I can't say I didn't deserve it. Maybe this is a bad idea."
"No, don't give up," Kat told him. It seemed Zack had filled her in on their earlier conversation.
"Kat, she just slammed her heel into my toes," Tommy stressed. "I'm pretty sure she would have done worse if she could."
"Yeah, but she didn't," Zack told him. Tommy just looked at him and shook his head.
"I think I've got to approach this differently," Tommy replied. Zack opened his mouth to say something, but Tommy cut him off. "No, it doesn't involve you." With that said, he walked over to Conner and Ethan, and started to talk to them as if nothing had ever happened.
"Those two have problems," Zack told Kat, tapping his head to get his point across.
"You think," Kat replied sarcastically, rolling her eyes. "Lets go tell Trini she can have her cake now."
"Jason! Hurry up," Trini called to her husband who was finishing a conversation with Zack and Billy. Jason just smiled and sighed, leading his two friends over to the rest of the group where Aisha was refusing to give Trini the cake knife. "He's here. Give me it," she pouted.
"I've never seen her want cake this badly," Kim laughed to Tanya.
"That's cause I've never had a day like this," Trini replied, casting meaningful looks at Conner and Ethan, who both blushed and mutted the word "sorry".
"Alright, Alright," Aisha laughed and turned the knife over.
"Thank you," Trini replied, grinning as Jason came up behind her and rested his hand on top of hers.
"Ready," he asked her. Trini's response was a smile and then pressing the knife into the cake. Their friends cheered as they made second and third cuts, serving two pieces for themselves, before allowing Billy to take the knife and serve everyone else.
"Trini?" Jason asked; Trini turned to him, only to have a small piece of the cake shoved into her face.
"Oh, you are so dead," she retorted, grabbing a piece and chucking it at him; unfortunately, Jason ducked and the cake hit Tanya, who thought Adam had thrown it. To bad he hadn't, and the piece of cake she tossed at him, resulted in him throwing one back and hitting Zack.
"Ok, that is so not cool," Zack laughed. "In the words of most teenagers: FOOD FIGHT!"
"Zack, you've got to be kid-" Tommy started to say, but was cut off by Conner shoving a bowl of vegetable dip into his face. "-ing." He blinked a few times before brushing the dip out of his eyes. "You did not just do that," he told the teenager, who was now regretting his move. Conner gulped and took a few steps back as Tommy picked up another bowl of dip. He grinned and took aim, and then tossed the bowl towards the teenager ranger who used to have super speed. For about five seconds, Tommy sort of wondered if the teenager had managed to keep that part of his ranger powers. At least, he wondered until he heard a high pitched scream. "Oh shit," he whispered, looking from Conner to a now dip covered Kimberly. "I-uh... I was aiming for Conner," he tried to apologize.
"Die!" she hissed, tossing a large piece of cake at Tommy's head.
"Somehow I didn't think the reception would end this way," Rocky commented to Aisha just before she smiled at him, and hit him in the face with a hand full of cherries. "Ok… but now you've got to lick them off."
After Conner's short term stint during the pandemonium that ensued, Ethan grabbed him by the back of the shirt and dragged him towards the doorway where Kira and Trent had positioned themselves outside the line of fire.
"Wow," Trent whistled.
"This has got to be at least the third time this week that I've thought the world had gone insane," Ethan added. Kira nodded.
"Weren't we supposed to cause the chaos?" Conner asked.
Kira shook her head and looked at him. "You did help a little."
The four teenagers leaned against the wall watching as the so called adults engaged in the worlds silliest food fight. Who in their right mind chucked food at each other while wearing wedding attire? And how were they going to explain the mess?
"Uh guys, I don't want to be here when the staff arrives," Kira told her friends.
"I agree, but Conner and I absolutely promised not to wander off without permission anymore."
"Well then," Kira sighed, then smiled as she got an idea. "Dr. O!" she called. "We're going to go walk around the gardens."
"Whatever," he called back as Jason dumped a bowl of punch over his head. Kira wasn't exactly sure he'd even heard her, but he'd answered, and that was good enough for her.
"You head the man," Conner laughed and lead the other three teenagers out the door. Ethan, Trent, and Kira didn't hesitate to follow, especially after they rounded a corner and saw the waiters slowly making their way down the hall.
"Could you tell us how to get to the gardens?" Trent asked one of them. The man sort of grunted and pointed them in the right direction.
As soon as they were outside, Kira linked her arm with Trent's and then leaned against his shoulder. "So, what did Dr. O sentence you to? You headed home any time soon?" Kira asked.
"Actually, no. He thanked us," Ethan laughed.
"Thanked you?" Trent asked, astounded.
"Yeah," Conner replied. "It was really weird."
"What did he thank you for?"
"From what I gathered, causing a huge mess that made them work together," Ethan answered Kira.
"Oh, I get it."
"You do?" all three asked her.
"Yeah, its easy. They weren't just working together. You little stunt caused them to become power rangers again. Team work, saving the day. Your scheme was just complicated enough."
"You mean they saw Ethan and Conner as some sort of creepy alien monsters in need of destruction.
"Weird," Conner realized.
"Definitely weird," Ethan agreed.
"So what exactly is your punishment? There is one, right?" Trent asked.
"Yeah. We gotta clean the lab."
"Brutal," Trent hissed, as if wincing in pain. "I'm glad I'm not you."
"Your concern touches us, Trent," Ethan said sarcastically, causing everyone to laugh.
"It's really pretty out here," Kira commented randomly.
"Well duh. It's a massive flower garden," Conner pointed out.
"I know. But it's still really pretty. I don't ever want to go back inside."
"Unfortunately, I don't think we get that choice," Trent sighed. "Listen." His teammates obeyed, straining to hear over the light sound of running water and buzzing insects. It wasn't very difficult to hear masked shouting coming from the direction of the building.
"What do you say we meet them all in the parking lot instead of going in there?" Ethan asked. The other three quickly agreed.
By the time the teens reached the cars, the yelling seemed to have died down. A few moments later the adults came out covered in food and drink, nearly head to toe. The only one who seemed remotely clean was Kimberly and it was probably because everyone was too scared to throw anything at her after her brutal attack on Tommy. The teenagers just smirked at the adults who were desperately in need of showers as they drew near.
"Did you have fun?" Kira asked, arms folded across her chest in a mocking gesture.
"Tommy, your yellow is making fun of us," Jason complained.
"So, how much trouble are you in?" Trent laughed. Jason, Tommy, and Rocky rolled their eyes.
"We got banned," Zack informed them.
"You got banned?" Ethan laughed, nearly falling off the hood of Tommy's jeep where he was sitting.
"For life," Rocky added, looking slightly amused. Aisha glared at him. "What?" She just shook her head and walked off, followed by all of the other women.
"And they're not very happy about it," Adam told the teens.
"I don't blame them," Kira laughed. "Want me to try and smooth things over?"
"Would you Kira? I don't think we're going to be able to leave until you do; and the staff wants us gone in ten minutes or they're going to press charges," Tommy told her.
"Only because Zack got jello on the ceiling," Billy added as Kira nodded and ran off after the women.
"Jello?" Conner asked.
"On the ceiling?" Trent added.
"Banned for life?" Ethan laughed.
"Oh, I am so calling Haley," Conner put in, diving for his phone as Tommy tried to stop him.
"Hey guys," Kira stated as she reached the group of women who'd wandered towards the far end of the lot, startling them.
"Kira! Don't do that. You'll give us all heart attacks," Kat laughed, although, like all of the others, she had assumed fighting stance.
"Can't take the ranger out of the power ranger, huh?" the teenager laughed. The older realized what she was talking about and adjusted themselves while laughing a bit.
"So, they sent you?" Trini asked her.
"Sorta. But I kind of volunteered."
"Traitor," Aisha mumbled with a smile.
"I am not. Just kind of tired of all the arguing," Kira told them bluntly, causing all five to blush. They had been doing that a bit too much.
"Have we been that childish?" Kim asked her.
"Just a tad," Kira smiled. "Come on. So they got you banned from a flower garden. You have to admit, it was fun, not to mention hilarious."
"She's right," Tanya put in.
"Damn her," Trini added.
"Besides, why get angry when you can get even?"
"Did I mention I really love this girl?" Aisha laughed.
"You might have," Kimberly agreed. "Come on, we have to get back anyway. There are presents and the cruise tickets for Jason and Trini back at the hotel." Everyone nodded agreement. Trini paused and smiled evilly.
"I've already got my revenge on Jason planned. Kim, do you think you mention the cruise tickets as soon as we get back to the guys?"
"Of course," Kim laughed, not completely sure what her friend was planning. As promised, Kim brought up the gifts and tickets as soon as they returned to the guys and Tommy had given Kira a nod of thanks.
"It's tickets for two right?"
"Yep. It'll be just the two of you," Tommy told Trini as he unlocked the jeep.
"Well, in that case, would anyone mind if I took someone besides Jason? I mean, I didn't get to have a stripper at my bachelorette party."
Kimberly finally realized what her best friend is doing and grinned. "Who did you want to take?" She used her best acting skills to keep her face straight.
"Um, I was thinking that I might take Billy," Trini replied casually. She could have sworn she heard something break near Jason. "Honey? Everything alright?"
"Just fine," Jason replied through gritted teeth from the driver's side door of their SUV. He looked down at the broken car door handle in his hand and then glared at Billy.
"Um, Trini. It think it might be exceptionally beneficial if you went on this escape with your husband," Billy said nervously.
"Nah. I've got my whole life to take a moonlight cruise with Jason, but only this week to go with you."
"I'm not sure Cestria would approve of that," the former blue ranger tried to argue.
"What she doesn't know won't hurt her," Trini replied.
"Trini, I don't…"
"Billy, you're going with me, and that's that," Trini ordered before climbing into the vehicle beside her now fuming husband.
"Would anyone mind switching seats with me? Somehow I don't think I'm going to be welcome in that car."
"Nope," Aisha told him, sliding into the front seat of Rocky's car. Tanya and Kat shook their heads and followed her.
Kimberly gave each of the teens looks that told them not to even dare, before climbing into the back seat of Jason's SUV. Kira, Trent, Conner, and Ethan scurried into their mentor's jeep, leaving Billy to look at Adam.
"Billy, I would," Adam began, "but somehow I think Tanya will castrate me if I do."
"I would too man, but considering I'm in the same car, I don't think it would make much of a difference.
Billy just groaned and followed him to the SUV. It was going to be a long drive back to the hotel.
The minute the car door had closed, Jason had sped off back to the hotel. Kimberly and Zack dived out of the car and ran for safety in the lobby of the hotel. Trini slipped out of her own seat and started to saunter away seductively.
"I'll be ready in a few minutes, Billy," she called over her shoulder before disappearing, which only served to infuriate Jason more, if it was possible.
By the time Tommy and Rocky had driven up, Jason was almost to the point of punching Billy. He was shouting at the top of his lungs, growling curses, and several times, Billy could of sworn Jason had wished he'd abandoned the blue ranger in times of need. Billy was doing everything in his power to defend himself, but it wasn't really working.
"Do you think we should stop them?" Tanya whispered to Kim who had actually snuck back out. Zack was still cowering inside. The guys were standing around Jason and Billy attempting to calm the enraged red ranger down, while the girls stood against the cars.
"No, it's Trini's call," Kim replied.
"Where is she anyway?" Aisha asked. Kimberly just shrugged and actually searched for her friend who was no where in sight.
"Right here," Trini answered, coming up behind them. "Snuck around back." With that, she smiled and then walked into the group. "Jason, it's not his fault. If you want to be angry with someone, be angry with me. It's my idea."
"What is?" Billy coughed out.
"You don't have to be afraid of him Billy. He can't hurt us. We can tell him about our plan to run off together." She was leaning against him, running her hand across his chest.
"Trini? You'd really leave me for him?" Jason asked, looking distinctly hurt. Trini turned to look at Jason and smiled.
"Of course not you fool. I love you. But don't you ever get me banned from any more flower gardens," she laughed, latching onto him. "Or you," she called over to Billy who looked positively stunned.
"I- won't?" he asked, stuttering. Trini just nodded, smiling.
"Well, come on Jason. Lets go get ready to go," she told him, grabbing his sleeve and dragging him toward the hotel.
"We're all in deep trouble, aren't we?" Adam asked Tommy and Rocky. The three cast looks behind them at the girls who stood leaning against the car behind them. All four grinned evilly and waved, as the guys turned back around.
"Oh yeah," Rocky agreed.
"Try deep shit," Tommy added.
"Wonderful," Adam sighed as the girls walked past them into the hotel. "Might as well just get it over with," he added as the guys lead four very confused teenagers inside.
Ok, so I hope you enjoyed. Sorry it took so long to get that up, but like I said, school has been running me through a loop. Anyway, I do hope the next chapter will be up sooner.
Please review, I love to read your comments,