Written by: Shawn
Summary: On his way to Aisha's wedding in Chicago a fierce thunderstorm forces Tommy to seek refuge at a roadside motel and a chance encounter with the very last person he wanted to see.
Rating: M language and sexual situations
Ship: Tommy/Kim Nothing else really exists in my head.
Timeline Spoilers: No Dino Thunder here. All Rangers have lived normal lives for years now, though fondly remember their wilder days. Tommy and Kim long ago worked out their high school relationship and made peace. They even dated for six months in 2006 before Tommy ended things. That relationship is explained within the story.
Disclaimer: If I owned PR I'd be rich. I'm not rich.
Email: Notes 1: Tommy and Kim are around 27 years old here.
Authors Notes 2: Passion, anger, regret, and a deeply profound love are the hallmarks of this story.
"The best thing about loving and being hurt is that you get to know what true love really is. For as gold is tested in fire, and so will love be perfected in pain"
Marvin Jay M. Torres
"Love and electricity are one in the same, my dear. If you do not feel the jolt in your soul every time a kiss is shared, a whisper is spoken, a touch is felt, then your not really in love at all"
C. J. Franks
"True love doesn't just fill your heart, it overflows into your whole body and soul"
Interstate 74 Leaving Davenport, Iowa towards Illinois
Friday, October 13, 2006 9:00 PM Nearing Peoria, Illinois
Perhaps an ark would have been a better choice than a Chevy Blazer?
Pushing thoughts of Noah's biblical journey aside, Tommy used every trick in the book to carefully navigate the slick, winding roads of Interstate 74. As predicted, raging winds and heavy rainfall drowned the world below, offering near zero visibility and the most hazardous conditions imaginable. Droplets pelted his car in rapid succession as the thunderstorm seemed to be getting worse by the minute. Having as much driving experience as he did he knew he'd better find someplace to crash for the night. He had hoped to reach Chicago where his hotel reservation was, but at the moment driving was just to dangerous.
Hopes of flying into Chicago were dashed a couple of hours ago when his flight was re-routed to Iowa because of bad weather. He had the choice of spending most of the night at the airport waiting for the storm to pass or grabbing a rental car and driving a couple of hours. Anything beat sitting still so he chose the latter.
Thankfully salvation appeared up ahead in the vision of a Residence Inn Motel. The long flight he endured from California left him exhausted and he was so hungry his cellphone was beginning to look pretty tasty. At the very least the motel had to have some candy machines. If snacks were all he'd get for dinner at this point he was ready to thank God for it.
"Damn," Tommy sighed upon noticing how every single car space except one was filled when he pulled into the motel's parking lot. He hoped they had at least one vacancy left in the ten-room motel as the next one was a couple more miles down the road. Those broad lightening streaks across the sky weren't a sign the storm was letting up any time soon. He needed a couple of aspirin, something to eat and a bed to relax in badly.
As thunder rumbled loudly from above Tommy pondered that wasn't it bad enough sometime tomorrow he'd be seeing 'her' again? The very least fate could offer him was a good nights sleep.
He quickly swung open the driver's side door and it took all of five seconds for him to get drenched from head to toe when he ran around the car to grab his two travel bags from the trunk and race inside the motel. Average best described the interior, though at the moment it resembled the Taj Mahal compared to what he'd just driven through the last four hours. That it was dry was more than enough for him.
His Visa credit card was out the second he reached the counter and bless the soul of the kindly middle-aged Hispanic woman who informed him that one room was left.
Deciding against leaning over the counter to kiss his thanks on her cheek, Tommy sent a polite smile her way, took his key, and then walked off down the grey-themed hallway towards his room. One corner to go and then he'd be out of his uncomfortable wet clothes and into a hot shower.
Of course when Tommy Oliver turned that corner he ran into the last person he wanted to see on Earth, a suddenly grinning Kimberly Hart.
"Well look what the cat dragged in. And since she's dating Jason now I assume she's not with you?" While wearing her shock on the inside at his unexpected appearance, Kim rather enjoyed the surprised expression he wore. Looking as though he'd just gone swimming with all his clothes on, his less than come-hither mood didn't scream 'I'm happy to see you'.
Kim didn't mind at all. If ever there were a sign from the heavens that she needed in order to get them back on track this was it.
"What are you doing here?" flew from Tommy's mouth before he could even think to say the words. Never mind how nice, warm, and dry she appeared he couldn't wrap his brain around the fact that she was standing in front of him as if everything were okay with them when it surely wasn't. What did she expect while wearing that smile, a hug? "I'm waiting."
Stern tone of voice and clenched jaw... Kim could practically see the frustration lifting about him like steam. "My flight out of California was diverted to Iowa a couple of hours ago because of the storm. I'm a child of waiting at the airport and have no interest of ever doing that again so I rented a car and hit the road for Chi-Town. Then Mother Nature saw fit to kick me in the behind. I decided to crash here overnight and get back on the road in the morning. Now what's your story?"
'Oh crap' was the first thought penetrating Tommy's mind. The second was that she looked stunning in those jeans and with her hair pulled back in a messy ponytail. Damn her effect on him, he swore to himself. Sometimes he worried if he didn't have bad luck he'd have none at all. Especially with women.
"Whatever," he finally spat out before making his way past her.
"Oh, so you're here for the same reasons, aren't you?" There was no doubt in Kim's mind he could hear the mischief in her voice. Where he was angry she discovered newfound determination to right a grievous wrong. Sure, she was leaping to one hell of a conclusion, but she had a funny feeling about this. "Just admit it? Your flight was stalled, you rented a car, hit the road and somehow ended up at the exact same hotel as me. No matter how many different routes there are to Chicago or if all the flights were diverted on all the airlines or all the hotels we both passed on the way here or were just a few short miles away you still ended up here," she gave an amused little laugh, "With me."
Her conclusions were ludicrous and he was much to tired and hungry to deal with her now. It seemed like she lived to torment him in one way or another. It was bad enough she smelled so good. "You're the last person I want to see."
"When you go to bed at night?" she playfully alluded too while flashing a seductive smile. The glare clouding his handsome face when he spun around was expected. Her amusement was further enhanced by the whimsical part of her that found him so good looking even when he resembled a drowned rat. Yeah, she knew she had it bad. "Its good to see you, Tommy."
"I dumped you, remember?"
Not insulted in the least, Kim shrugged. "Oh yeah, I remember. I'm just not really interested in talking about that right now."
Sanity wasn't Kim's strong suit. Even Trini had told him that. Aisha cosigned the claim. "So why are you standing here?"
"Because you and I have made a ton of mistakes and its time we got our acts together."
Tearing his eyes away from her rosy pursed lips... lips he'd kissed so many times... the anger that clawed at his soul over ever letting her back in his life again reared its ugly head. Couldn't she just stay gone? "Look, I don't want to cause a scene in the hallway, so how about we just say goodnight?"
"My bed or yours?"
"Crazy for you, Tommy," she nodded slowly and then began pacing around him. After pausing for a moment to collect her thoughts she stood before him again. Risking it all meant diving right in. "Our breakup two months ago was stupid and deep down you know that."
While rubbing his aching head Tommy found just enough irony to laugh. "If you hadn't jumped on a plane the day after I broke up with you I might actually believe you gave a damn about me."
"I needed that time away with my mom in Paris," Kim began to explain as he seemed unwilling to listen. Breaking down the emotional barriers he's surrounded his heart with wasn't going to be easy. "I needed some perspective on my life, our relationship and maybe even a kick in the ass."
"I hope you enjoyed your trip."
"I missed you every day."
Tommy cracked a slow to rise bitter smile. "Its funny, you know. Putting a ocean between yourself and the man you claim to love doesn't really prove that."
"Well, I was dumped."
"You were wasting my time."
"Move in or move on is what I seem to remember. And I don't like ultimatums."
"I only wanted to be with you. That's when you locked up and suddenly needed a break."
"Save it." The throbbing in the back of Tommy's head worsened by the second. "Look, I have a bad head ache, I'm exhausted and starving. I don't want to do this with you. I don't have anything else to say."
Inspiration suddenly beamed a shining light inside Kim's head. "The two snack machines in the lobby are broken. I noticed that on the way in. You're out of luck in the cup cake and candy bar department." He winced almost painfully and then cursed under his breath. "But I have a solution."
The rumbling in the pit of his stomach forced him to ask, "And that would be?"
"I stopped at a roadside mom and pop restaurant a couple of miles back. When they brought my order I was in such a rush to get out of there before the storm got worse I accidentally picked up the wrong order. I have two lasagna dinners instead of..."
"Your steak burger and roasted chicken salad," he finished and almost... well, he didn't glare at least.
"And here I thought you forgot everything." she teased. Tommy dropped his luggage to the floor and quickly produced his wallet. Kim shook her head. "No, you can't buy one from me."
"Because I refuse to sell."
"You're being unreasonable."
"And you still love me but you won't admit it."
Kim often made Tommy want to throw things at the wall. Or put his fist through one. Or kiss her breathless. Now where in the hell did that come from? And why wouldn't she just go away? "Look, I just want something to eat, okay."
"I'll trade you one of the dinners for a chance to talk to you in your room." Kim felt that was more than fair. "Deal?"
Whatever her game was Tommy was done playing it. "Why are you doing this?"
Despite their difference in height Kim stood up to him. "Because somehow, someway we ended up on the same road, at the same motel, almost at the same time when neither of us knew what the others travel plans were. To me that sounds like fate."
"It's chance or coincidence."
"Destiny, Tommy. We're meant to be," she corrected him and then took a step forward, invading his personal space. His throat clenched. So did hers. Being this close, no matter the circumstances, was intoxicating. "Deal or no deal?"
Tommy didn't want to spend five seconds with her much less longer than that, though he was hungry enough to endure it anyway. If she wanted to hear how angry and regretful he was for ever allowing her back in his heart then it was her pain she'd receive, not his forgiveness. Certainly not his love ever again. "Deal."
Victory, even if it was a small one, was a good thing. His bad mood would fade in time and then he'd listen to her as she knew his heart best. After all, she owned it, loved it, and had every intention of winning it back. "What room are you in?"
"See you in a few minutes." The more frustrated he looked the wider she smiled. Only his indifference would have scared her. But his emotion, whether affectionate or angry meant she still got to him. Meant she still mattered enough to incite something within him.
With her arms crossed over her chest, Kim watched him travel down the hall to his room. "Tommy?" she called out.
"I don't want to be your girlfriend anymore?"
"I want to be your wife." And with those hauntingly blunt words she walked off, not bothering to gauge his reaction.
For if she did she's only be faced with a viciously annoyed sneer.
Yeah, she still got to him. Big time.
Ten Minutes Later
Flashes of lightening lit up the night sky as if Mother Nature herself were preparing for the battle of the century.
With his hand parting the sea-green curtains of his bedroom window, Tommy followed the rhythmic rivets of rain wash down as if hypnotized by their simplicity. The three aspirin he just swallowed were already fading away his headache, and though he was too hungry to grab a shower right away he was at least in dry clothes again.
Sometimes you just had to be thankful for the small things.
Speaking of small things, his motel room was little more than a glorified closet, though at least it came with a king-sized bed, TV/DVD combo, and a larger than expected shower. They were more than enough for a one nights stay, though being confined in such close quarters with Kim wasn't something he was looking forward too. Especially since they'd have to eat on the bed seeing as his room didn't even come with a table.
The complex emotions brought forth by thunderstorms, the large bed, and being trapped alone with Kimberly painted a most ominous picture in his minds eye. His internal 'danger' alarm was blaring loudly.
Shutting his weary eyes after a booming thunder pierced the dark sky so powerfully it rattled the windows, Tommy silently feared being so close to her again. Or maybe he just didn't trust himself in her presence. Her sensual spirit drew him in like a moth to a flame. For all the nights of his youth he went to bed aching for her he's claimed her twice over for as long as he wanted in every conceivable position.
In the ethereal of his soul she was his. Alas, two broken hearts were enough for a lifetime. Common sense should have steered him clear of her. Hell, even her last name was evidence of impending doom.
Tommy knew better than to let her back in.
He knew better than to trust a woman who'd broken up with her last three boyfriends before him. Still, he ignored that nagging little voice in the back of his head because she felt so perfect in his arms. In the middle of the night she would always curl her body around his and he loved the need within her to do so. Waking up to the scent of her skin clung to his bedsheets... And since six months had passed in their relationship he sincerely had felt they were building for today and not simply trying to recapture yesteryear because they were lonely in the present.
Tommy never doubted that he had fallen in love with her again, nor did he ever question Kim's feelings for him. They shared a undeniable chemistry that was as passionate as it was profound. Loving her was easy. Walking away from her was the hardest thing he had ever done.
He sometimes wondered if he was a glutton for punishment.
Dating Katherine for a couple of years was fun, exciting, and the very first adult relationship of his life. Certainly the first sexual. But towards the end both knew that they weren't each others end game. He would always love the woman who repaired his broken heart with a tender smile and careful hands, but friendship would best define them from now on.
Haley was brilliant and a very down to earth sort of person. She wasn't athletic like Kim or Katherine were, but her genuine soul and sweet personality won Tommy over. She was different than any woman he had ever dated before, but no less wonderful. Having met her in college, their's was a special friendship that grew into something more.
Fast forward two years later and just after graduation Haley received the job offer of a lifetime overseas. Her choice was to stay in the States with him or leave.
Yet again a woman Tommy cared for walked away to pursue her own goals in life. He couldn't blame her any more than he could offer her a stronger commitment for a future together. She wanted a ring and he knew that. The feelings just weren't there and so he bid her farewell, took his bruised heart and went home.
Same old, same old.
Then came all the former Ranger's gathering for Zack's 27th birthday party this past March in New York. Seeing Kim again wasn't a big deal as they had mended all fences and were friends again. Maybe not best friends but the awkwardness was finally gone. Being in the same room together was just no big deal.
And when she asked him to dance it wasn't a big deal either.
When he offered her a ride back to her hotel at the end of the night, well, that was just being a gentleman. And her offer of a night cap was a nice show of gratitude. Just two friends sharing a drink and a couple of old stories from once upon a time.
The fiery, intense fucking definitely wasn't expected.
Not all all. It took them both by surprise. Tommy recalled that one moment they were laughing by the fireplace and the next...
"Gotta get her out of my head," Tommy told himself, still enamored by the raging storm outside. The memories of that first, incredible night that led to an admission of attraction and then dating now lived as one of his deepest regrets. Desiring her was easy, but keeping her was near impossible. Especially when she was such a mess in her own right, not that he was anymore perfect either.
For six amazing months they dated, grew closer than ever, and seemed to be on the same page where they wanted to go relationship wise. Just as things were going great she began to pull away from him. It was subtle at first and as so many things went unsaid the resentment built until they both laid down ultimatums that the other wanted no part of.
Though pledging her love, Kim requested a break to think things through. Tommy asked her to move in, feeling that would help them grow closer and stronger.
Their last fight came on a sunny Monday afternoon nearly two months ago. Tommy could remember it as clear as day and as painful as a heart attack. She wanted space and so he gave it all to her. He stared into her beautiful brown eyes as her tears fell and told her goodbye. Privately, he was dying for her to fight for them.
Third times a charm as she boarded a flight bound for Paris the very next day. She never even said goodbye.
Lifting his head when a knock came at the door, Tommy swore she would never get the chance to hurt him again. No matter the blazing, out-of control heat between them it wasn't worth being treated like crap.
Stalking toward the door, Tommy unlocked and turned the knob. He stepped aside as Kim confidently strode into the room as if she had every right to be there. She was carrying two Styrofoam boxes with two Pepsi's balanced on top. "You took longer than ten minutes."
After setting the food down on the bed, Kimberly found his tense gaze trained on her. The rains torrential downpour continued outside, though it had nothing on the storm brewing in this motel room "I knew you'd wait forever for me."
Tommy rolled his eyes. Giving her no reply as that was something he often whispered in her ear in the middle of the night, he reached for one of the Styrofoam boxes and quickly opened it. The delicious lasagna scent captivated his senses and it looked incredible. Mac and cheese with a side of Italian butter bread were heaven on Earth. He took a seat on the floor, careful to keep distance between himself and Kim.
Being a wonderful man didn't exclude Tommy from being a normal guy as well. Kim smiled his way. "The food's not about to get up and run from you, Tommy." He didn't miss a beat despite her playful dig. And while he was transfixed stuffing his face she casually moved in so close their shoulders were touching. Her goal tonight, as she needed him to truly listen to her, was a willing ear. Hopefully he wouldn't turn a deaf one.
While pulling the lid back on her soda, Kim surveyed Tommy's modest motel room. Martha Stewart hadn't ever visited here, that was for sure. "This is a closet."
"Really? I hadn't noticed."
The attitude in which he said that didn't deter her in the slightest. Kim knew she had her work cut out for her.
As Tommy had expected, she reached for the television remote as soon as she saw it, ever the ultimate example of a remote control-freak. Any annoyance at her actions was shoved aside as he was finally sating his hunger. Never mind the new one he was trying to ignore. Stealing looks at her wasn't even a conscious action. "Thanks for dinner."
The sight of Kim brushing a few strands of her gorgeous hair out of her eyes while she ate struck a tender nerve. Tommy fought to shove the feeling aside.
The comforting, warm feel of his solid body pressed against hers was only one of a thousand intimate things Kim missed desperately. Her fears, issues, and insecurities caused him further heartache, something she had vowed to never do again. There was once a time when if she were anywhere near him his arm would slip around her waist of over her slender shoulders as the need to touch her would overwhelm him. Now he sat beside her as if she weren't the love of his life and that cut her deeply.
It was only the heartfelt belief Kim took to bed each night that he still loved her as much as she loved him that gave her hope she could fix things. "Are you still angry at me?"
Lowering his plastic fork, Tommy stopped mid-bite, turning to face her. "What do you think?"
"I think you still love me more than anything in the world."
"What has loving you ever gotten me?"
"What has not loving me ever gotten you?"
The nerve of her after what she's done... "I didn't do anything wrong here."
"If you can't admit to any wrongdoing then what chance do we have?"
"Who says I want a chance?"
A fight wasn't what she came here for and yet she could feel her own defensiveness ready to kick in gear. Getting him to talk and listen required finesse. It was a good thing she had that in spades. "How about we just calm down and watch something on cable, k?"
Flashes of lightening illuminated the room for a brief second. Fighting off his protective urge to hold her close, Tommy relented. "Turn to ESPN."
"Fine, how about an action movie? Try Starz or Showtime."
"Not in the mood?"
Peeking from the corner of his eye, Tommy watched her flip channels in search of... well, he was never quite sure. She was bossy that way. For some strange reason that side of her sparked his arousal. "We can rent a scary movie on Pay-Per-View?"
"Nope." Kim paid his suggestion little mind and then stumbled upon the one movie complex enough for them to relate to. This would set the mood she wanted them to be in. Nudging him with her elbow, she asked with an impish grin, "What do you think?"
"Unfaithful?" Tommy couldn't believe she had the nerve. Sexually raw, angsty, and very dark best described the desire/betrayal-based film on screen. As if the thunderstorm was bad enough acting as a natural aphrodisiac, this was worse. This was much, much worse. Still, if she wanted to test his resolve she'd find him more than ready for war. "Fine."
Choosing against peering away, Kim made no attempt to hide her triumphant smirk. And though she longed to rest her head on his shoulder or be pulled over his lap to cuddle she remained patient. She knew his immense pride had been hurt and mending that wound would take time. "My room's bigger than this."
"Am I supposed to have motel room envy?"
"No, you're supposed to have fond memories of the last time we were alone in a motel room," she purposely reminded him in a low and breathless tone. Not so innocently she ran her hand over his thigh. The muscles in his neck tensed in response. "I seem to remember that evening ending very well, don't you?"
Their first time... Tommy had left teeth marks on her damp inner thighs and worn her nail scrapes over his back as badges of honor. He had loved her until she screamed his name at the height of orgasm and that wasn't a sound he could ever forget.
Nonetheless, hating his traitorous body's reaction to her only strengthened Tommy's intent to resist her flesh. "I don't think about it."
While curling her tongue slowly around a stringy layer of cheese dripping from her fork, Kim asked softly, "So you don't think about how we made love that night? I know I do."
Images of that night awakened his desire, but had no effect on his anger. "I only remember how bad I felt when I found out you were on that plane to Paris." Suddenly the TV was muted. Kim shifted her body in front of him, her face a mask of seriousness. Apparently the talk she bargained in exchange for dinner was about to begin. "I have always wanted you. I have always desired you. But I don't want to be with you anymore."
"I don't believe you."
"Because I know your heart," she proclaimed without a doubt. "I know how you still look at me. And I know how badly I hurt you."
"You're seeing what you want to see."
"Then tell me you're not in love with me anymore. Tell me to my face that you don't dream of a future with me." Her poker face revealed no fear even as her heart refused to beat. What if he said the words? What if she had been wrong all along? What if...
"It doesn't matter."
That answer was all that Kim needed. That look in his eyes spoke volumes. She violated a trust they had rebuilt and now he's protecting himself from her. Understanding that was the key to showing him otherwise. "Tommy, I'm sorry. I truly mean that. I owe you so much more, but to start with, I'm sorry."
"Explain to me what you are sorry for?"
Kim gave a wistful sigh as she sought to reclaim what was most precious to her in all the world. "I'm sorry for not talking to you about how scared I was when I realized how serious we were as a couple," she began. "I'm sorry for not sharing with you how much I'm still struggling with my parents divorce and how its affected every relationship I've ever had."
How did she manage to draw him in even when he knew to run as far away as possible? Tommy found himself hearing her rather than simply being angry with her. As badly as he wished otherwise she was still his sweet surrender. "You could have talked to me about anything. And if you weren't sure about us..."
"No, I was. I am," she stated flat out and then lowered her head before revealing, "I'm sure that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I just have a tendency to mess things up as soon as my life is going good. It's a character flaw I've been working on for some time now."
"So fix it... with the next guy."
"There won't ever be a next guy for me, Tommy. There's only you. It's only ever been you." Knowing him better than he knew himself, Kim understood the war being waged within him over her. It was all in his eyes how badly he still wanted her. "I had a lot of time when I was in Paris to really think about my life and the choices I've made. I took a good long hard look at myself in the mirror, especially how I've dealt with my romantic relationships. I... I feel like my emotional maturity is only now catching up to the rest of me."
Whenever she appeared fragile he needed to hold her and pledge forever. Even now he felt the alluring pull that had always existed between them. And yet he still couldn't embrace her either physically or otherwise. "You shut me out."
"And you made demands."
"I only wanted you closer so that we could work on us together."
"I became terrified when I realized we might actually have a shot at having everything I've ever wanted. That's when something ugly triggered in me and I couldn't deal with us. I got scared, pushed you away, and then followed my first instinct which is to run. I'm not proud of what I did at all and I'm very sorry. The last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt you."
"I hate I ever let you back in my heart."
He just broke hers. "You don't mean that."
"I must look like a fool to all of our friends," Tommy was reluctant to admit out loud. "You didn't even stick around long enough to grieve the end of our relationship. Just as soon as you could you put an ocean between us and killed all contact. I didn't get so much as an email from you."
What he said was true, shameful on her part as it was. Kim made no defense of her actions as she humbled herself. "Part of me wanted to put you out of sight and mind until it dawned on me that wasn't possible. I'm not my mom and you're not my dad. I can't imagine how stupid that must sound to you considering my age, but those are my issues. I had to get a grip on my life and be totally honest with myself over what I wanted and what made me happy."
Lowering his head, Tommy's eyes fell towards the floor when she leaned into him, effectively erasing the space between them. And then placed her hands on his strong shoulders.
"You," she whispered softly. "I need, want, and love only you. From the bottom of my heart I'm sorry for shutting you out, not sharing my feelings and running away. I want a second chance."
"Third," she amended wearing a inexplicably cautious smile and then settled seductively over his thighs, straddling him low so that she felt what he longed to hide from her. Her arms locked around his neck, drawing him closer. He remained stoic even as he couldn't push her away. He didn't have the fight left in him to do so. "I love you," she vowed once and then again, "I love you."
Her soft lips pressed to his neck, searing his skin, and then her tongue flashed over his pulse. Next, her mouth smoothly brushed over the shell of his ear. Stifling the moan that threated to tear from his throat nearly killed him, even as her lower body nested firm over his throbbing erection. They shared a steamy, voracious moment in each others eyes. Tendrils of her lightly scented hair fell about his face until her warm breath played over his lips.
And then she kissed him.
Slowly, tenderally at first until his resistance finally fell, his mouth parted, and then his powerful arms hauled her hard against his chest. Lost in the decadent flavor of her mouth, Tommy drank from her until he felt lightheaded, devouring her tongue with such intensity and vigor that by the time he'd laid her down on the floor, his body covering hers, she was already undoing his belt.
His body screamed to make her his again!
"No," Tommy gasped almost painfully, dragging his lips from hers as he did his soul, though the latter refused to comply. Standing to his feet, now backing off, he shook his head, angry at himself. "Seducing me isn't going to win me back."
"You're fighting fate, Tommy. We love each other. We always have. We always will. Nothings ever going to change that."
"I need a shower, Kim." Turning his back on her, he reached for the hem of his shirt. "You know the way out."
Watching the bathroom door shut behind him, Kim gritted her teeth. She'd be damned if he was going to walk out of her life that easy.
Taking the hottest shower of his entire life still couldn't compare to her fiery passionate kiss.
Surrounded by a cloud of sultry steam in the dark, Tommy emotionally drowned beneath the chrome shower nozzles heated spray, his palms braced flat against the white tiled wall in front of him. Sweltry waters rained down the base of his skull, cascading the length of his body as he tried to banish thoughts of hers from his mind forever. His goal was to tear her from his soul utterly, though his head bowed in mute concession to the greedy desire begging for her inside him.
Privately in his true heart of hearts he knew he'd love her till the day he died. But that didn't mean she was good for him or even vice-versa if he was honest with himself. They took their shot at the fairy tale and came up empty. Such was life. He wanted to move on. He needed to move on.
He couldn't move on.
Like a specter the memory of Kim haunted his home, curled around his heart, attached to his soul and burrowed under his very skin into his bloodstream. That was why when the bathroom door creaked slowly open and then shut the words died in his throat to demand she leave. The angry retort was murdered on the tip of his tongue when the zipper to her jeans fell. His gut clenched hard from the rustle of clothes that signaled she was undressing and about to attack.
... she was killing him.
The feeling was mutual.
Intent on driving her point home in a way he would never be able to deny, standing nude before the translucent shower curtain, Kimberly gazed with such longing at the silhouetted form of him surrounded by steam rising to the ceiling. His body was perfect before her hungry eyes, appearing chiseled from granite and everything a woman wanted a man to be. Certainly all that she had ever wanted.
What had captured her heart and never relinquished was the man within the hero. His courage... his compassion... his ability to love so deeply... even his darkness drew her in. Especially now as she's come to discover the darkness within her as well. They shared a kinship forged in fire and battle tested by time. The love she held dear for him was nothing less than the sum of her whole being, and so walking away was simply not an option. Neither was losing this fight.
Bravely, Kim marched forward into the great unknown. Pulling the curtain aside, her feet lifted off the bath mat as she stepped into the shower behind him, careful to keep what little distance she could. The unforgettable sight of his dripping wet body sent a jolt of desire through her so white hot she trembled. She couldn't take her eyes off of him while he refused to even acknowledge her presence. It was enough so far that he hadn't angrily told her to leave or left himself. She knew he couldn't any more than she could. This has always been about him wanting to see if their relationship mattered enough to her to fight for.
An old wound still being dealt with in the present.
"I forgot to wash my hair," was her cheeky explanation, not that he asked. With his eyes shut he leaned forward under the waters steamy spray as if she weren't there. Looking away, she noted their ghostly reflection in the fogged over floor-length mirror on the back of the bathroom door. It alone revealed what he wished he could hide. How badly he wanted her as the same resonated in her eyes.
Kimberly's love was patient for Tommy as he was prone to being moody when he felt backed into a corner. When that happened he needed his space to find his way. She didn't mind as his way always led him back to her.
Forcing himself quiet when she reached past him for the bar of soap, his cock ached so hard he could barely stand it. Two months absent of making love to her and to now have her so close... naked and dripping wet... They'd shared more than a few showers over the the course of their recent relationship and he had never been able to keep his hands off of her. To do so now was torture, though he held onto his anger with a death grip. It was all that he had in the world.
Throwing caution to the wind, Kim lifted her hand, running the soap slowly over his shoulders and then methodically lathered down with the showers spray. "I miss your kiss, baby," she whispered in the dark, rolling the bar around her palms before working his lower back in tender circles. "Going two months without kissing you just isn't right. And I know you've missed me too."
No words... nothing. Zero. He wanted her to leave with nothing the way she left him. Barren and alone. The only problem was deep down he had thought about her every single day and missed her even more than that. Even hated her some nights.
While lovingly kneading his muscled backside with one hand, Kim gently pressed the other to the back of his head. He dipped for the rinse, understanding her silent command. His hair looked darker when wet, something she secretly loved for reasons unknown to her.
When her hands lathered over his ribs he sighed. Her nipples tightened in response. She drug her nails across his chest before soothing with a softer caress. He could not disguise the deep groan that escaped his lungs. Her small hands were driving him towards madness, massaging all over his chest and down his flat belly, then swirling over his hips before rising again.
"I miss how safe you make me feel." Kim rinsed her hands over his toned abs, loving the hard muscle beneath her finger tips. Being this close to him, caring for him in this way only amplified how deeply in love with him she was. "I trust you with my life, Tommy. I trust you with seeing all the different sides of me. Even the not so good ones."
A cold heart began to slowly thaw... she could always get to him.
"I trust you with my triumphs and failures," she confessed. "I trust you with all of my hopes and dreams."
His Beautiful... Tommy longed to tell her that she was entrusted with the same, all that he was or would ever be was hers.
"I miss your scent on my pillow cases," she spoke from her heart. "I miss holding your hand, seeing you smile, and even those terrible sports bars you eat to stay in shape." She actually made him laugh, albeit quietly. Pressing her body to his warm back, her right hand trailed a timely path down his stomach until it reached his urgently rigid cock. Her slim fingers wrapped around it and this time he couldn't hide the heady moan her lazy stroking forced from him.
"I miss feeling you inside me," she revealed while slowly pumping him from root to tip. When her lips brushed a kiss over his shoulder blade his hands clawed at the tiled wall. She felt powerful while doing this to him... for him, giving him such divine pleasure. "I miss how much bigger the shower in your apartment is than mine," she mentioned while holding the pulsating flesh in her palm, throbbing mightily. "You used to grab me around the waist and lift me up on your hips," she reminded him while listened to his suddenly labored breathing. "Then you'd nail me against the wall and fuck me until I came so hard for you. Always for you... And I loved every second of it."
Without a doubt Tommy was being seduced and there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it. Where was the fight left in him? The feel of her small hand firmly wrapped around him felt so damn good. She knew just how to... God, she was incredible. He was near delirious with need.
"Most of all in these last two months I've missed knowing that one day I was going to be your wife."
A fraction of a second before he was about to turn around and... Summoning the last bit of restraint he had left Tommy brushed her hand away. He quickly shut off the water, his heart pumping wildly. He needed to get away from her before he did something he knew he'd regret for the rest of his life. He had to get away. Had to shut her out and make her hurt and take back the control for once in his miserable life and...
Smiling somewhat of a naughty grin, Kim's arms crossed her chest while watching him frantically exit the shower, step over their collective pile of clothes and grab a thick white bath towel from the wall rack. He dried off, tied it around his lower body and then fled the bathroom. Not a word was said. He never once even looked in her eyes.
He just couldn't.
Tommy ran from his feelings for her. Kim knew she had him on the ropes. The end game was about to begin.
Taking a moment alone to mentally prepare herself for what was about to happen, Kim turned off the water and then exited the shower. She used the wall rack's remaining white bath towel to dry off. She thought of tying it around her, but then remembered how Tommy had always loved it when she threw on one of his shirts just to lounge around his apartment in. She never failed to provoke his sensual appetite when wearing something he owned. His maroon USC Trojans T-shirt lying on the pile of clothes in the center of the bathroom called out to her. She slipped it on over her head and was immediately enveloped in his comforting scent.
Wasting not another second, Kim boldly strode out of the bathroom, stopping just outside the door. She found a very quiet Tommy seated at the edge of the bed, his head bowed, eyes shut, hands on his knees in deep thought. Her first humbling thought was that she was even in love with his pain. She understood he hated that he loved her more than his next breath because in recent weeks she tried to damn him from her heart. That was until she realized finally that her heart was so entwined with his she'd be committing suicide to try and not love him.
They've utterly broken each other and being together was the only way they'd ever be whole again.
So Kim patiently waited, allowing him his space to internally brood and battle over the inevitable. It wasn't ego that led her to believe he would give them a second chance. If she truly saw in his eyes, the windows to the soul they shared that he honestly wanted no part of a future with her then she'd take the pieces of her shattered heart and walk home alone. But when she looked into his warm brown eyes she saw the love that had always been hers, as well as the severe pain she had caused him.
So began her silent vigil over the love of her life.
Of course he knew she was there.
More than having heard her enter the room or the creak of the old, worn bathroom door when it opened he sensed her beloved presence, forever branded on his subconscious. The powerful bond they shared had never severed no matter how badly he wished otherwise. Above it all though, he desperately missed her. Good, bad, right, wrong or in between she was a part of him. She lived inside him as surely as the beating heart in his chest. The one he didn't even own as she had stolen it the very first time he gazed into her brown eyes so many years ago. "I'm sorry, Kim."
Exhaling a deep, calming breath, Kimberly crossed the small room towards the wall facing the bed... facing Tommy. She braced her back against it, her attention focused on him, silent with her patient love.
"I'm sorry for not giving you the space you needed and immediately feeling as though if I did you would never come back to me," he confessed his fears to the tune of further rumbling in the dark skies outside. "I didn't want to listen to why you needed time to think about us or where we were going. I just thought that you didn't want to be with me anymore and needed an easy way out. I just couldn't hear you above the voices in my head telling me you're going to lose her again and if you thought it was bad the first time..." his voice faltered as it trailed off and then he ran his hand through his short dark hair in frustration.
"I'm sorry for throwing demands at you rather than talking to you." Such an admission wasn't easy, but losing her would be infinitely worse. Exposing his deepest, darkest insecurities was worth it if they could get back what they had. No other woman had ever made him feel this way before. No one ever could.
Still unable to meet her stare, Tommy sighed as the heavy rains continued to rapidly pelt the windows. The storm seemed to reignite in ferocity. "I'm old enough to know that demands never work in a relationship. I should have listened to you and come up with a compromise rather than give you an ultimatum. I'm sorry for that. You deserved better. I hope you can forgive me."
Kim already had. Weeks ago in fact. Staying angry with Tommy wasn't something she could ever do for very long, especially when she was just as much at fault as he was. He had always been and would always be a difficult man. But he was her man. Hers! And at this very moment she loved him so dearly she thought her heart would burst. Still, she held her tongue. He had more to say and she knew it.
"I'm sorry for being so quick to end things with you," he continued while shaking his head in disgust over his impatient actions. "I think part of me for once just wanted the control. I wanted to be able to have the say for once. And I was more concerned with that than trying to work with you to fix what was wrong with us."
There was a beat of silence and then when Tommy finally lifted his gaze toward her a sly smile appeared in his dark brown eyes. His USC Trojan's T-shirt was practically a dress on her slim, toned frame. Something uniquely male swelled in his chest as he adored her so completely. She effortlessly possessed a sensuality that was as undeniable as her limitless charm.
Just like that he fell in love with her all over again. All because she was wearing his shirt. The thought of which gave him such hope for the future. In the time being there was still more he had to get off his chest at long last. Earlier she revealed the deeply personal issues she's dealt with all of her adult life and how they've affected her relationships. She was due the same in return. "I'll never know why my birth parents gave me up for adoption."
His most profound sorrow... Kim listened on while fighting the urge to take him in her arms. Alas, he needed this time to air out his soul.
"I will never know why they didn't want me, Kim." He paused a moment to collect his thoughts as an orphans grief returned to him after a long absence. "I'll never know the circumstances surrounding the decision they made or even if they wanted to make it at all. But I sometimes envision the worst case scenario that they just didn't want me and as much as I've struggled to make sense and peace of the unknown I'm still haunted by it."
Even as Tommy spoke he knew he had ever said any of those things out loud before. He was baring his soul to its mate. "I was given away the day I was born, but I was also blessed with two wonderful step-parents. Then years later I met and fell head over heels in love with you," he recalled fondly until the emotion began to fade. "We know how that ended. You left me. And when Katherine and I decided to part ways she initiated our breakup. Then Haley decided her career was more important than me. So when I had you back and we were so good together... when it felt so right and then you said you needed a break all I heard in my head was you're going to get left again. Trust me, I know all of my relationships weren't as simple as a single sentence for each. I know that. But from birth to now I am used to people leaving me. I kept people at arms length when I was a kid because I didn't want to get to close to anyone and possibly lose them. I never felt like I fit in. And you remember how long it was before I was comfortable enough with you guys in high school that I even wanted to be around you all the time."
Those yesteryear days came back to Kim in snapshot images of her high school era. He had been so shy back then. So quiet as if he didn't belong even when he did. Breaking through his shell had taken well over a year, though he had stolen her heart almost on sight. The irony that she was his first love and heartbreak wasn't lost on her.
"I'm sorry I let my abandonment issues prevent me from working with you instead of against us. It's just..." While gazing into her eyes Tommy wondered if Kim understood. If she knew truly knew who she was to him. She was his warm, sunny day. His Christmas morning. His everything and even more than that.
"I'm sorry that I'm allot less than perfect, Beautiful. But there is one thing you need to know and never doubt." Tommy found her tender smile fixed solely on him and it felt so good. He gave her the same in return. "I love you, Kim. Always."
Pushing everything else aside, Kim could feel his sincere dedication to fixing their relationship equaled her own. She loved every scar adorning his tortured soul as they matched her own. As imperfect as they both were they were perfect for each other.
At the end of the day that was all that mattered and so her bare feet padded softly across the carpet, carrying her to him. With her lips curled into a sensual smirk she playfully nudged his knee's apart with her own until his legs opened, creating a space for her. She ventured into it, their thighs brushing warmth, arousing them both.
Before Tommy could say another word Kim pressed a lone finger to his lips, lovingly tracing the shape. She shook her head as the time for talking was over. Reasons had been reasoned and apologies had been accepted. Their voyage back to each other was once again a journey forward together.
Warm hands began caressing the back of her thighs until her breath trembled as a fiery yearning coursed throughout her body. Leaning forward, she pursed her lips over his, softly cupping his face with her hands as their mouths merged in a greedy, hot kiss. Her arms clutched around his neck when he hauled her over his lap, his hands grazed along her smooth legs. She groaned loudly in his mouth when he began kneading the small, rounded cheeks of her firm ass. Her fingers combed through the hair on the back of his head while she sucked on his tongue in such a decadent manner he shook with desire, lost in the lush heat of her passion.
Tilting her head to the side, his mouth nipped and bit softly at the hollow of her throat causing her thighs to quiver. Her heady response, she reached her right hand down between them and yanked at the cotton knot on his hip, tearing away the towel from around his waist. His cock leapt against her belly once, ghosting moisture from the tip, and then again before she took the hardened flesh in her hand and squeezed. His tongue lashed over the nape of her neck as the breathless hissing her smooth strokes caused echoed in her ear, warming the shell.
The ecstasy of her corkscrewing hand left Tommy gasping onto her shoulder as her touch thrilled him. He tensed all over as the rapturous need to claim her rose by the second. He quickly recaptured her rosy-sweet lips, drinking in the throaty whimpers threatening to escape. When he hauled her lower body flush against his own the top ridge of his cock brushed over her clit, causing her body to arch like a bow in his arms.
She was writhing, swollen and ripe... gazing into the dark, desire flashing in his pupils... flashing like the lights in the room just before flickering dead as the power went out, drowning them in pure darkness save for their heavy breathing... and then she lifted just over him, pushing the shirt she wore aside, and welcomed him home with her body... impaled slowly on the hard length of him.
"Awwww..." Kim descended on a husky moan as the very pulse of his heart beat inside her. After a moment of accommodation, she reclined her hips over his lap, lifted, then dove all the way back down in such a lazy rhythm that soon they were clutching each other so tight. Seated upright, their hips rocked back and forth, grinding together, slow and deep in the dark as the loud storm serenaded their hot lovemaking.
Tommy slipped one arm around her waist, his other hand anchored her backside so that he could move in time with her. Kim's lovely face was flushed with intense exertion, contorted passionately and so utterly beautiful he could die watching her... feeling her tight depths pull and drag so deliciously on his cock each time she rose and fell. Liquid heat glistened her every slow, warm gallop.
She was a Goddess whom he would worship for all the days of his life.
Her thighs squeezed hard around him as her hips began rolling harder circles, riding him at a rougher pace that he met in stride, now thrusting high into her... hitting that little sweet spot only he could find. She whimpered huskily as the mattress creaked, now cradling his head into her neck as she rode his hard flesh with deep, slow thrusts. Her body loved his, clenching hot around him as spasming jolts of pleasure engulfed her.
They were in perfect sync, rocking together until she finally pushed him down on his back, braced her palms on his chest, and then began to ride him so good his eyes rolled in the back of his head. Heat tingled along her spine each time his cock spread her open, buried deeply, filling her so fully she had never felt so wet before. God, she loved this man.
"Mmmmm..." The vision of his Beautiful biting her lip as she ground her hips, willing him deeper, left Tommy hissing her name through gritted teeth. His shirt hid the sight of their bodies connection, but he could feel it all from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. Feel every incredible sensation as she made love to him. The unconscious contractions around him signaled how close she was and through gritted teeth he wanted her pushed over the edge to oblivion. She was almost sobbing over how good he felt inside her and that alone mad him feel like a God.
Hunched over him now, Kim used short, hard movements, her lungs emptying as her nails dug sharp into his shoulders. "I..." she began to say, not sure she should even mention this or why, but did so anyway. "I haven't... the last two months... I'm not on... We're not using any..."
Tommy drowned her words with a fiery kiss, devouring her mouth while subconsciously processing what she was trying to tell him, how it made him feel, and how little control he had over this new, searing force of desire raging through him.
"I would never... never regret if we..." Riding him harder at an angle that saw their pelvic bones grinding in a way that rubbed over her clit, her body was set ablaze in sensation. Mercy, she was so close. Just a little more... "A child."
Kim held her breath when she was aggressively lifted and shoved down on the bed, pinned beneath him, and then fucked so hard and fast she came almost immediately in a violent, ear-splitting orgasm that left her clinging to him for dear life, only to feel him thrust so deep one last time as the warm heat of his seed furiously erupted inside her to the tune of him crying out her name against her neck, still surging into her.
Long minutes passed before either of them could move and when they did it was silently and slow, kissing softly in the dark, arms locked tight around each other. There lovemaking had been a union of souls at last reunited.
Blissfully, they fell asleep in each others arms.
The next morning
They awoke amidst a fit of lazy, slow kissing and tender caresses. An early morning celebration under the warm covers to relish the luxury of being together again. Their lonely, cold nights apart were behind them at last. In this bed they were an intimate tangle of legs, arms, hearts and souls. A pair of small feet rubbing playfully against a larger set as they indulged in being happy for the first time in a very long time.
Lying beneath him, Kimberly opened her sleepy eyes just before he did, gazing at him with such a precious love and no small amount of humor. "Hey beautiful, you awake?"
It took a second or two for Tommy to recall where he'd heard that line before, and then once it came to him he laughed softly over her lips, pressing lightly just to taste her again. "I can't believe it. Is it really you?"
His mock attempt to mimic her voice was easily ignored by the pleasant surprise she enjoyed. "Okay, you win major points for remembering that."
"I don't forget everything, you know. Especially women who faint the moment they see me," he teasingly reminded her with a hint of bravado. "I think you were awed by my presence."
"I wasn't awed," came her amused yet slightly defensive reply. "I was just happy to see you, that's all."
"I... I tripped."
"You weren't walking anywhere."
"You were taking off your helmet. You missed the walking and the tripping." Never one to give in no matter what, Kim held her ground, silly as it was. His head bowed as their foreheads touched now, staring into each others eyes. Yes, this ratty little motel room, with its bland colors and well-used to the point of not really wanting to think about it to hard bed was certifiably perfect in her eyes.
"We should hit the road in the next two hours or so," she remarked after taking a quick glance at a wall mounted clock. "We have Aisha's wedding rehearsal starting at 11:00. And we still gotta check in our hotel rooms."
"I'm at the Hilton downtown."
"So am I. Small world," she smiled before graciously accepting another kiss.
"I'm sure Sha, Trini, Kat, and Tanya will be all over you for the details of last night."
"Oh, they already know." His questioning expression was kind of funny in a way. "I got out of bed last night to pee and called Trini on my cell phone in the bathroom. She called Aisha on three-way and then Sha called Tanya and then T called Kat who was grumpy that so many of us called her so late. Once the bitching was done we talked for about an hour."
While pondering how in the world he could have missed her getting out of bed when he fell asleep holding her, Tommy pushed those thoughts aside. "So what did they say?"
"They were mostly asking about the sex."
"So I've been relegated to a piece of meat now?"
"My little eclectic group of ex-super heroines are quite guy-like in that regard. And at 3:00 AM they just wanted to know about the sex. All our lovey-dovey talking was just blah, blah, blah to them."
"So what did you say?"
"That's classified information."
"Well did I at least rate a passing grade?" he chuckled.
"You got all A-plus's across the board, Handsome. Though I did have to check Kat on reminding me yet again that she has your V-card in her purse."
"What did you tell her?"
"I'm going to steal her purse and burn it. I get all your cards from now on. Credit and otherwise." Her feisty attitude was rewarded with another long kiss as they thoroughly enjoyed the lighthearted moment.
"This is one of the best mornings of my entire life, Beautiful," Tommy admitted sincerely while brushing some of her hair off the side of her face, now tucked behind her ear. "All because I have you again."
Considering there was probably no time like the present, Kimberly hoped to pose something to him but was a bit hesitant as a slightly nervous tremble echoed in her voice. "Would you like to have this every morning?"
"Of course," Tommy replied quickly because the answer was so clear to him, despite not being completely sure what caused her change in mood as she seemed to be thinking over something very important. He shifted his body when she began moving out from under him. She smoothed down his shirt she wore and then settled back on her knees, seated in front of him while wearing a very determined expression. "What is it?"
This was Kim's moment of truth and though she felt she knew what she would say if she had the opportunity she never expected it to come this soon. She had hoped she'd get him to agree to go out to a nice, romantic dinner and then she'd have the entire evening carefully planned out and be ready as well as empowered by a couple of glasses of wine.
Instead, she's sitting here in an oversized t-shirt with bed hair, no make-up and the urge to suddenly run. But that wasn't what she wanted. That wasn't her goal upon boarding that plane back to the States from Paris four days ago.
Forever with him was.
With nothing less than her entire future riding on her pulling this off, Kim dove right in. "The very first time I saw you I just knew there was something so special about you."
"Yeah, I was really cute."
Rolling her eyes, Kim would eternally hold it against Trini that she told Tommy that. "Besides the obvious, I felt something immediately and I just knew we would be connected somehow. Trust me, I know how crazy and sappy that sounds considering how old I was. But that's what I honestly felt."
This wasn't a frivolous conversation for fun nor was she playing games as Tommy quickly realized. She had a serious agenda here and he knew he'd better listen closely and pay attention.
"I just thought it was the sweetest thing ever when you got rid of Bulk and Skull for me in the hallway the first time we talked. I had planned on asking around about you, but when you appeared out of nowhere it was just magic. You have no idea how I was on Cloud 9 for the rest of the day. All because you agreed to meet me later on."
Kim's eyes were filled with s pleasing sparkle as Tommy thought back to their first meeting. "I was so nervous when you introduced yourself and it was enough that you did. I was about to walk away before you called after me. I just couldn't think of anything to say and was sure if I did it I would sound so stupid you'd never speak to me again."
"I couldn't let you go. Not then and not now. Not ever it seems," she noted secretly and then took a deep, calming breath. "Of all the things you've said and done to show me that you loved me back then the way you encouraged me to follow my dreams and go to Florida was the most special. I know how badly you wanted me to stay. I could see it in your eyes. But you wanted me to pursue my goals more than you wanted me to stay in Angel Grove with you. It was the most selfless thing anyone's ever done for me."
She'd never know how hard that was for him. "I love you," was all that he could say.
Those words were so dear to her that she blushed. "That means the world to me. It did then and it still does."
As much as she hated to bring up the letter and all the pain that it caused him she owed their future to their past and every single scar that went along with it. "I hate that I cheated on you and no matter how many years ago it was I'm still ashamed that I did it. That's not the kind of person I ever wanted to be and as much as my actions didn't show it I truly loved you back then."
"I appreciate the apology, but you gave it to me years ago. I don't judge the woman you are by the actions of the teenager you were."
"I know, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that while I hate what I did to us, the character you showed in maintaining good grades while leading the Rangers and missing me and all that stress... I just don't know how you did it. But I do know you never cheated on me. No matter what, you were true to me and its one of the greatest examples I've ever had in my life that I could trust a man. No matter how things turned out it mattered to me to know that there were still some good guys out there."
"I remember how sweet you were after the whole Divatox adventure." Kim gave a slow nod while recalling their emotional talk. "I thought you hated me and would just rail on me about what I did, but you were kind when you didn't have to be. You let me ball my eyes out while trying to explain why I did what I did and how sorry I was. And when I told you how Jeff cheated on me and broke my heart you never once threw it in my face or told me I deserved what I got. You held me close and forgave me. You extended your hand in friendship when I didn't think I deserved it and I'll never forget that."
Sighing, Tommy bowed his head as the memories washed over him. "It was the hardest thing I've ever done."
"But that didn't stop you. Nothing ever has. I respect you so much, Tommy. I think the world of you. I always have, even when we were apart."
They shared a quiet, gentle moment... and then it was time to move on.
"The night you broke up with Kat you called me first and you'll never know what that meant to me. It was the first time I truly felt like we were very good friends again."
Tommy felt exactly the same way afterwards. "It still shocks me that we talked for three hours that night. I never imagined pouring my heart out about another woman to you."
"And I cried through our entire conversation." The surprise shone in his eyes was expected. "I was never going to tell you that."
Pausing to find the right words, Kim struggled to admit, "I was deeply in love with you at the time and I didn't want that talk to be about me and my feelings. I wanted to help and comfort you."
"I really needed you that night and you came through for me."
"I bit my tongue, wiped away my tears and listened to you talk about your broken heart. All the while mine was breaking in the process."
"Because as crazy as this sounds it was the first time I had to acknowledge that you did indeed love someone after me."
"But not more than you. Not ever."
Fresh tears wet Kimberly's eyes as she struggled to rein in her emotions. "The feeling's mutual." So far so good, she thought to herself. "You remembered my birthday every year," she appreciated more than words could say. "No matter where I was you always found a way to call me or send me a card or some flowers."
"You do the same on my birthday."
"It was just another example of how we were still dear to each other no matter how many years that passed or how far apart we were. Little gestures like that matter to me. They say allot."
"I agree." When Kim shut her deep brown eyes to him a somber mood began to set in. Tommy gave her the space she needed to face whatever it was she felt.
"Two years ago when my dad's cancer went into remission and we had this big family party you came."
"You invited me."
"But it was on such short notice, like about a week before and it was in Kentucky. You had your own life and career in California. Just picking up and taking off for a party across the country... if you had not come I wouldn't have held it against you. But that you did was so special to me. Having you there to celebrate my dad's recovery was wonderful. You were the only ex-ranger who was able to attend and it told me so much about you."
Every so casually Tommy could feel something major brewing. She was working up to something big. He decided to just go with the flow. "It was a great party and I was so happy for your father's recovery."
Kim smiled her thanks and then continued, "I'll never forget that night not long after we got back together when you took me horseback riding by moonlight." A deep and resounding joy warmed her heart as she felt so cherished in his gaze. That night they sat under the stars, ate chocolate strawberries, drank champagne and kissed. Nothing more and for no reason other than he wanted to surprise her after a particularity bad week at work. She knew then what she knows now, only in the present she no longer fears it. "That was the most romantic night of my life."
Tommy loved the sound of that. "I wanted you to feel like a princess that night."
"You make me feel that way every day."
Her heartfelt delivery humbled him, and then as she was prone to do she surprised him by suddenly scampering off the bed and into the bathroom. He laughed to himself when he remembered their clothes were still on the floor. She returned a moment later with a sheet of paper in her hand.
'Here goes everything,' Kim thought to herself as she reclaimed her spot on the bed and handed Tommy the paper. He took it from her, looked over it, and began shaking his head at the lunacy, his hand over his mouth. "I polled all our friends on if you should marry me and they all signed this petition for you to do so. On that paper are the signatures of all our friends who feel you would do well to marry me as soon as possible. And be sure to check for Billy's official NASA seal. Even the Unioted States space program thinks we're fated to be together."
In every way this was the sweetest thing he had ever seen. Manhood aside, he was sincerely touched by her efforts to get their friends to sign this and how much it obviously meant to her. "Rocky has the worst handwriting."
"He does, doesn't he? God, it looks like a preschooler wrote his name. And to think he works in advertising and is so successful now. Maybe marrying Sha will improve it," she shook her head while trying to pretend she was breathing. It was time to go for it, so she edged closer to him and took right his hand between hers. "I love you with all my heart and soul. I don't have a fairy tale image of us. We're two very real, very complicated, very imperfect people. But we are meant to be together. We have loved each other for years and we still do. I want to spend the rest of my life with you and even have a little Tommy or a little Kim someday."
Their playful banter eased some her nervousness. "I want forever with you, Tommy. Will you marry me?"
His first thought was to tease her about how they just got back together and this was moving light-speed fast. That wasn't what his heart wanted as he was overwhelmed she was ready for the ultimate commitment. He surely loved her more than his own life. Yeah, they were going to be fun together. Just as soon as he said something and she breathed again. "I'll be right back."
"What?" Kim squeaked loudly while watching him exit the bed and make his own trip to the bathroom and then back to her side. "What?" she squeaked again as it was all that she could say. Then the jerk... her hopefully future hubby-jerk produced a quarter.
"I'm gonna flip for it. Heads we get married. Tails we call it a friendship and go our separate ways." Her eyes suddenly burned into him. Smiling he flipped the coin in the air, but she caught it in mid-air.
"How in the hell can you risk our future on a coin toss? That is the most insensitive, dumb-headed, mean spirited thing I have ever..." and then she noticed in the palm of her hand as she flipped the coin over it was double-sided. Heads on both.
She started to cry right then and there.
Not above teasing her viciously, Tommy reached for her and held his love close to his chest, kissing her brow while while knowing that some time in the not to distant future payback was coming his way and it was going to be a bitch. An evil bitch. Kim didn't ever let anything go. "Yes, Beautiful. Always yes. I'm dying to marry you."
Her glowing smile lit up the room, no matter the tears that fell. His gently wiped them away while she collected herself. "I'm so gonna kick your ass for what you did."
"Good." At least he knew payback was coming. "And you're buying me a new pair of shoes for the wedding because of that coin trick."
"I understand shopping is my penance. I expected no less."
"You think this is so funny, don't you?" she couldn't help but to laugh herself, now engaged to this man she adored so deeply. "We're going to have so much fun planning our wedding."
"No, you are. I'm going to nod allot and write checks."
Kim thought it over for a moment. "Works for me."
"I'm glad that's settled."
Lying in his strong arms, Kim shut her eyes, having finally won her dream since high school. "Mr and Mrs. Kimberly Oliver-Hart."
"Uhm, excuse me?"
"It's the 'in' thing these days."
"I will not be Tommy Oliver-Hart."
"Tommy Hart works just fine."
"Don't make me divorce you before I marry you."
"Hey, I make the decisions in this relationship. You will not divorce me unless I tell you too, got it?"
"You're going to be on Bridezilla. I can feel it now."
"The fact that you even know what Bridezilla is makes me question your sexuality." Turned and shoved down under the covers on her back again, his body lowered over hers, pressing flush against her center.
"Allow me to answer all those questions now."
And he did... thoroughly... for well over an hour... and all was right with the world.
The End No Sequel