Thanks to all readers who haven't yet given up on me in frustration, and to the reviewers of chapter 14: daywalkr82, CajunBear73, ZK Chromedragozoid, whitem, Yankee Bard, aedan cameron, MrDrP, spectre666, Zaratan, Joel Connell, CastaS, dartblade, Drakonis Aurous, Gray Cardinal, illjwamh, Sir Sebastian, rds9674, shana elmsford, and BlueEyedBrigadier.

Disclaimer: Disney owns most of these characters.

Supplementary Disclaimer (for mrs. campy's benefit): No actual teenagers in bikinis were ogled during the production of this story. Okay, maybe one. Two, tops.

Mating Games


Chapter 15a

Beep beep be-beep

Even while attending a party, Kim would not, could not ignore the call to action. She pounced on her tote bag, snatched the Kimmunicator and thumbed the answer button in one smooth motion.

Bonnie, on her way to the spot to reveal her swimsuit, stopped. "Kim! You did that on purpose to upstage me!" she whispered angrily.

"Shush, Bonnie. What's the sitch, Wade?"

Kim's 12-year-old computer wizard's eyes opened wide upon seeing her in her bikini top. "Uh … this a bad time, Kim?"

"Just a pool party, Wade," the teen hero said impatiently. "Now, tell me what you've got."

"It's Dementor. He just stole an experimental ultrasonic drill, and we think he's going to use it to break into a top-secret lab."

"And we think that, why?"

"Well, mainly because this lab's just chock-full of dangerous tech, the kind of stuff every supervillain craves," Wade took a sip of his Slurpster and went on. "And also, he left behind a 'To-Do' list with that as the next item."

"He made a 'To-Do' list?" Ron, who had joined his partner, said. "How lame. What's after the lab? 'Conquer World'?"

Wade pressed a key. "No, after the lab he has 'Call Mother.' 'Conquer World' is item four."

Ron looked skeptical. "I don't know, Wade, this sounds too trap-ish to be real. What do you think, KP? I mean, why would a supervillain make a list like that?"

"Mmm, I'd chalk it up to overly strict potty training. We better check it out. Got a ride for us, Wade?"

"They'll be at your location in about three minutes," Wade said.

Kim signed off and tossed the Kimmunicator back into her bag. She began to pull her coverup back over her head.

By this time, most of the other boys had drifted over to where the girls were and several whispered conversations had begun. Bonnie, standing off by herself, cleared her throat. "Ahem. Hel–lo? Cheer captain here, ready to show off her bathing suit."

"Oh! Right," Kim said. "C'mon, everyone, it's Bonnie's turn. Go ahead, B."

Everyone turned to look at Bonnie. Smiling saucily, she swept her teal gaze over the assembled crowd. Then, she reached for the hem of her oversized Middleton High t-shirt and began to lift it … just as the Mountain Men medley stopped playing.

"Aughh! Can someone get that?" Bonnie said.

"I got it," Felix said. "Just a sec." He rolled over to the table and manipulated the mePod's menus until the music started again. When all eyes were back on Bonnie she slowly peeled off her shirt to reveal her recent purchase from Yvette's: a tiny gold lamé bikini that glistened in the summer sunshine as she posed. It was the perfect complement to her tanned skin and brunette tresses, and displayed her flawless figure to the amazement and admiration of all, especially the boys.

Bonnie's perfect moment in the sun didn't last long, however. A large, red Global Justice helicopter swooped in, hovered low over the pool and lowered a rope ladder.

"Ride's here. Let's go, Ron," Kim said. "Great suit, Bonnie. Enjoy the party, everyone!"

Kim and Ron hooked on to the ladder and, waving goodbye, slowly rose toward the chopper, which banked and began to fly off, raising a cloud of dust and grass clippings from the Gubermans' lawn and blowing it all over Bonnie.

"Aaah!" the brunette shrieked, and she shook her fist angrily at the departing aircraft. "You did that on purpose too, Kim!"

Tara hurried over to Bonnie. "You okay, B? Oh, you've got grass and stuff all over you. Maybe you should go inside and clean up."

Bonnie shot Tara a glare and strode toward the house, the blonde following.

Kevin opened the patio door for Bonnie, and pointed the way for her. "There's a bathroom down that hall, Bonnie. Oh, wait a sec, you've got a leaf in your hair—"

"Don't touch me, nerd," she said icily.

"What did she just call you?" Tara said.

"Huh? Oh, um, nothing. I just, uh, told her where the bathroom was and she said she, um, heard … me."

"Uh huh. That's not what it sounded like."

Kevin grimaced, then took her hand in his and gently turned her away from the door. "Please, Tara, leave it alone. I don't want to start a fight between you and Bonnie today."

"You're not starting anything, Kevin. She is. And whatever she wants to start, I'm willing to finish."

"C'mon, Tar, let's just enjoy the party —"

"Hi Dr. G!" Tara said. Kevin turned to see his dad, cell phone in hand, at the door.

"Hi Tara, nice to see you again. Kevin, what was that racket just before?" Phil Guberman asked.

"Racket? Oh, that was a helicopter, picking up Kim and Ron. They got called away on a mission," Kevin said.

"Ah. Well, I just got a call from the medical center. Dr. Gillespie wants me to come in and look at a patient of his. Can I leave you kids alone for a couple hours?"

"Sure, Dad, no prob," Kevin said. "We'll be fine. Adam over there is a certified lifeguard, so don't worry about us."

"Thanks, Kev. Okay, Leonard," Phil said into the phone as he walked away, "I can be there in twenty minutes."

"There ya go," Kevin said to Tara. "I just told Dad everything's cool. You don't want to make a liar of me, do you?"

Tara let out a sigh and grinned at him. "Oooh, you … what did I ever do to deserve a boyfriend as great as you?"

Kevin slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her close. "Hmmm, how 'bout we start with filling out a bikini better than any girl in Middleton? Wow, you look so great today. You're definitely the prettiest one here. But I'm confused. I thought you said you bought a new suit for the party?"

Tara blushed and turned to face him, draping her arms on his shoulders. "I decided to wear this one instead. When Jess told me he was coming …"

Kevin glanced over at the rest of the group. Jason Morgan stood slightly apart, looking in their direction with a smirk on his face.

"Yeah, well, Bonnie said she'd keep him away from you," Kevin said. "C'mon, we should join the party."

Over by the pool, the teens had begun to settle into the party groove. The 60's music had given way to something a little more this century, and the sunshine and hormones were starting to warm things up.

"So, anyone willing to call a winner in this year's contest?" Crystal asked her squadmates. "Seems to me everyone pretty much got an equal reaction."

The girls exchanged looks, nods and shrugs.

"Everyone except maybe me," Liz said, shaking her head. "I got stuck following Hope's big shocker."

"No way, Liz, you look awesome!" Logan the golfer protested.

Liz smiled at him.

"You so do, Liz," Crystal agreed. "But yeah, Hope, that's hardly your usual granny suit."

"Yeah, girl," Marcella said, "How'd you ever get that past your parents? Sneak?"

Hope, perched on the arm of her date's wheelchair, grinned. "Nope, they let me buy it. All thanks to Felix here."

"Huh?" Crystal said. "Explain, please."

"Well, it all started when Hope's dad took this job consulting with the space center," Felix said. "He's an expert on exotic alloys who's helping my mom find materials for robot applications. I've got a summer job in her lab, so he met me and decided I was the kind of guy he wanted Hope to hang out with."

"So he invited the Rentons to a barbeque last weekend," Hope continued, "and we hit it off pretty well. Then later, I'm helping my mom in the kitchen, she's going on about how smart Felix is and how he's a cinch to get into some great college like Carnegie Mellon or MIST next year, and I ought to spend some time with him. I was so surprised I didn't say anything, then she mentions that if I did, they'd ease up on the no-bikini rule a little." She smiled down at Felix affectionately. "Good thing she didn't notice me giving him my digits a half hour before."

"Your 'rents still trying to fix you up?" Marcella said. "Totally old-world. I cured mine of that habit long ago."

"Yeah, they've tried to push a few honor-student sons of their friends on me, but I always shot them down. But thanks to Kim and Tara showing the way, I was finally ready to look beyond the food chain. Some of these honor students are kinda cute."

Jess leaned forward on her lounge. "Hey, what about me?" she interjected.

The rest of the girls looked at her, perplexed. "What about you, Jess?" Crystal finally said.

"Well, I was the first one of us to date an honor student. Kevin's best friend, as a matter of fact. Don't I get any credit here?"

Marcella raised an eyebrow. "Uh, Jess? You're dating a sports star who just happens to get good grades."

"So?" the freckled blonde asked.

"So no, you don't get any credit," Liz said.

"Hmpff," Jess snorted grumpily, and slumped back on her lounge.

"Well, if you ask me, there's no reason to abandon the cheerleaders – jocks thing. I think we're, like, the ideal combo," Bonnie, rejoining the group, said. "We have so much in common. We both have great bods, and know how to use them." With this, she sauntered between Todd and Adam and linked an arm with each of them. "Ooh, nice triceps, Todd," she purred, pressing a well-filled triangle of gold lamé against the muscle in question. The big footballer was entranced. Adam began tensing his smaller, leaner swimmer's build perceptibly, and the other three unattached boys all visibly puffed up, unconsciously hoping to attract the eye of the bronzed seductress.

Kevin could sense Tara begin to anger. "It's cool," he whispered.

Tara clasped his hand tightly and refused to react.

"Cheerleaders and jocks just belong together," Bonnie continued. "Don't you agree, Crystal?

Crystal shot Tara and Hope a sympathetic look. She liked that her boyfriend Craig was admired for his lacrosse prowess, but she'd learned to appreciate his other qualities as well. And she knew how happy Tara was with Kevin. "Whatever floats your boat, B," she said.

"Well, I'm sure Liz and Marcella agree. Right, ladies?"

Liz and Marcella nodded reluctantly. They could see no other choice. The boys they were interested in were lost in the Bonnie Zone, and they had to join or be left out in the cold.

Bonnie grinned triumphantly and began to lead her satellites to a lounge a few yards away. "Now, which of you big, handsome studs wants to get me a diet cola?"

more to come …