Didn't take over two years this time. Thanks to all those still hanging with me through the years I appreciate that, I really do. I am not going to completely abandon this story you have my word.
Is this really happening? Monique thought to herself as her eyes danced back and forth from the television set in her parent's living room to Kim, who was currently sharing a seat with her on the couch. The television featured live coverage from Florida where dozens of attractive young men and women were enjoying the benefits of a corporately sponsored pool party. Kim had her eyes glued to her cell phone, her thumb flicking across the device as she scrolled and scrolled and scrolled.
Monique sighed. "Kim, does it not seem strange to you that instead of spring breaking on a sandy beach we've come back home?"
"It's crossed my mind," Kim answered without looking up from her cell phone.
Monique sighed heavily. "Honesty time Miss Possible, are we goody two-shoes?"
"Well, I wouldn't go that far" Kim chuckled.
"How far would you go?"
"Monique, you and I are creatures of atmosphere and mood. We don't just go 'wild' for going wild's sake, y'know? We need the right circumstances and also probably the right person to go wild with."
"You think Ron is the right person?"
Kim glanced up from her cell phone.
"For you," Monique added sweetly.
"That's an odd thing to say, Monique."
"Is it? If you haven't noticed I'm going to clue you in… You're in my house e-stalking his ex-girlfriend."
Kim put a hand up in the air. "Allow me to correct you on a few things—"
"Please do," her friend requested while locking her arms across her chest.
"-She's not Ron's ex and this is nothing at all like stalking. This is closer to….intelligence gathering."
"I was not aware that we were working for the NSA."
Kim rolled her eyes before extending the phone to Monique. "I came over to get your opinion on something important. Tell me what you think?"
"What do I think about, what?"
Kim's tongue darted quickly over her lips. "You think she's pretty?"
Eyeing her friend suspiciously Monique graciously accepted the phone. After a meticulous glance she declared. "She's not pretty, Kim. She's a stone, cold, fox."
"You think so?" was the weak reply.
"My eyeballs know so. So we are concerned about her attractiveness because...?"
Kim drew in a deep breath.
"She broke his heart Monique, but I was thinking it might do Ron some good to get some closure."
"Does he want closure?" Monique shot back.
"Closure is healthy" Kim said with a tense smile.
"That doesn't answer my question, Kim."
"Closure can't hurt."
Monique provided Kim with a skeptical look but the redhead ignored it.
"Of course I'm going to talk to Ron about this first. He might not even want to go through with it, I don't know how I'm going to convince to him."
Leaning back into the couch cushions Monique laughed. "He's going to say yes if you ask. You and I both know this, what you're really worried about is that he's going to take one look at this girl and once again fall madly in love."
"Actually," Kim said as she retrieved her phone from Monique. "It's more like I'm worried that he might get hurt again."
"Girl, you just said closure can't hurt."
"Monique, you are complicating the issue here," Kim replied with a wave of her hand.
"I just want to let you know Kim. I am looking at your face right now and your face is telling me that there is a whole lot of conflict going on beneath all that red."
Kim pointed at herself. "I have only one concern at the moment, Monique and it's regarding Ron's happiness. That's all there is to it."
"Alright Miss Altruism, that is understandable from your perspective. From another perspective it might seem like you are sticking your nose where it doesn't belong."
Kim sighed as she rubbed head with the heel of one hand, "I get that…but-"
"But you think you are right?"
"-I think this for the best," Kim corrected. "I'm not going to push… I'm just going to offer a suggestion."
"So you're not meddling, you are giving advice."
"Exactly," Kim nodded.
Monique nodded along. "You know you could have just texted me that photo, right?"
Kim smiled sheepishly. "I needed a face to face on this one, Monique."
"Uh –huh," Monique said turning her attention back to the television. "Well, just remember what they say about advice, it's judged by results not by intentions."
The door to Ron's parents' house flew open seconds after Kim's finger had hit the buzzer and the blond young man was already chattering as if he had started the conversation long before she had even gotten there.
"Trust me Kim, I've known about this frozen yogurt place for years. It tastes so good you won't even care that it's totally healthy."
Kim was dubious and that didn't escape Ron's notice.
"Well okay, it's kind of healthy" He conceded. "It's healthier than a cheeseburger that's for sure."
Kim shook her head. "Before all of that are you sure you're okay? How is everything-down there?"
It had been three days since she had walked Ron back home from their run-in with her brother's rouge experiment. At the time Ron could barely stand on his own two feet. Additionally he couldn't go more than few sentences without the pain causing him to take in a gulp of air. She hadn't expected him to return to his spritely self until they needed to head back to school.
Ron glanced down. "Down there, oh no, no, no, no, it's still pretty bad down there."
She winced. "Sore?"
"I've been sitting on my mother's frozen peas for two days straight."
"The peas remain in their carton I hope?"
"Of course they are still in their carton, I'm not an animal."
He paused before whispering "You know the worst part about it is I have to censor my thoughts at all times… The cover of one of my mom's romance novels was enough to drop me to one knee."
Kim scratched at her forehead. "Yeah, does "T.M.I" mean anything to you?"
"Hey, you asked!" Ron replied stepping out of the house. As he was closing the door behind him he abruptly turned to Kim his face that of a man who had come to a sudden realization.
"Oh, it was a guy and a girl on the cover," he then paused once again. "It wasn't one of the covers with like just a guy."
Kim broadcasted her amusement with a smirk and a tilt of her head.
"I didn't really ask for any clarification."
"See romance novels can have two kinds of covers and—"
"Yeah Ron, I am aware of the classic bodice ripper covers."
Pulling out his keys Ron turned to the door in an attempt to hide his embarrassment. "Okay, I'll just be quiet now."
"I do find it interesting however that it just takes a dash of cleavage to get you all spiced up."
Ron shut the door with a loud click and he turned back to Kim very, very slowly. "Hey it wasn't a dash of cleavage-; we're taking major bread dough spillover. It was an impressive amount."
"Ah, so it's not just your meals you like grande-sized?"
Ron snorted. "That's not fair, I happen to be very broad-minded."
"Apparently" Kim snapped back.
This brought a smirk to Ron's face. "Okay Kim that was decent joke. Major props for the quickness but let it be known the Ron-man doesn't discriminate against sizes for example you-"
He cut himself off abruptly as his breath escaped in some sort of hiccup.
"I what?" Kim inquired with narrowed eyes.
"You…." Repeated as his own eyes widened in panic
Kim leaned in closer to him. "I'm listening."
"Yooooou …" Ron continued.
"Meeeeee, what, Ron?"
Ron closed his eyes. In a monotone voice he said "You are the-kind of girl…whose…I…..eyes….would…make-such-a-minor aspect-of feminine beauty-completely-irrelevant."
Kim's eyes narrowed further. "Alright I'll give you credit for the recovery but still…."
She punched him lightly on the shoulder.
"Kim! I'm a wounded man!" he cried.
"Well despite your pain you do seem to be chipper" she observed.
There was a sudden flash of light in Ron's eyes.
With a rush of enthusiasm he said "Kim I have come to a decision and..."
Once again he stopped himself short.
He both hands up to his shoulders, "Nope I don't want to jinx it, no jinx, no jinx…no jinx. Here's what I can tell you KP I got a call from a friend. Jake…you remember Jake right?"
"Sorta," she replied.
"Well he called and we had a discussion about something potentially good that is in the works."
Kim eyed him curiously. "Careful Ron you're being too specific."
He nodded to her. "I acknowledge your sarcasm Kim but I can't tell you anymore."
"So it's about something 'good'?"
"Potentially good, no jinx."
"And you don't want to tell me about it?"
"Want to…can't" he said.
"Because you don't want to jinx it?"
"No jinx," he muttered with a shake of his head.
"Okay," Kim sighed. "Are you sure there's nothing more you could possibly tell me about what it is concerning?"
Ron ran his hands together. "Well potentially, my future."
"So it's a pretty big deal?"
"Yah!" Ron replied.
"And you're sure you don't want to talk about it?"
"I've already said too much, Kim."
She shrugged. "Okay, well um, I don't know what else I can say."
Ron opened his hands wide and started down the porch steps. "Nothing else needs to be said KP. Let us simply bask in the great potential of this hypothetical goodness."
"Fair enough" she conceded following him off the porch. They had taken a few steps away from the house when she suddenly declared, "Well, I've got some news too."
"It is a good day for news. What's it about?" Ron asked.
"Um, you… actually."
He stopped walking. "Is it good news or bad news?"
"Well, it's news" she replied quickly.
His smile faded. "It can't be neutral news if it's about me. Personal news runs on a black and white system if it's not good, it's gotta be bad."
"Actually it all depends on how you react. If you react well, its good news. If you don't, its-Okay wait I'm going off track," Kim took a beat to carefully consider her words.
"I found Cynthia, online I mean."
Kim had thought it best to take the direct route. However she began to doubt the merits of that plan when Ron stiffened as if Medusa had appeared before them in the Stoppable's driveway. She imagined if she reached out and tipped him over he would have shattered against the ground like Humpty Dumpty.
"Alright," Ron said stoically, bringing Kim back from a world where she couldn't put Ron back together again.
"After my tearful story you were curious annnnnnd I get that. I would have been curious too annnnnnd I probably would have done the same. That's okay so let's drop it and go get that yogurt."
He made to turn away but Kim stopped him. "Hold on, I think you should consider maybe meeting up with her."
Ron tilted his head and ran his index finger through his ear. "Wait a sec. I got some crazy in my ear."
After a thorough digging off his ear canal he said, "Okay, I think I got. So let's go get that yogurt."
"I'm serious," Kim stated.
He stared at her in silence for some time before uttering, "Why?"
Everything that needed to be said had been summed up in that one word. Kim answered with a single word of her own.
Ron simply blinked back in response as if he were delivering Morse code with his eye lids.
So taking the initiative Kim went on to explain how closure was important after the hurtful end of an important relationship. How important it was to find peace within oneself and the relationship or else risk hindering one's growth both socially and as a person.
"Are you taking a psych class this semester?" Ron asked softly.
"No actually I took psych freshman year…but I'm not playing psychiatrist here. I'm just saying closure can help you move on."
"Move on to whom?" Ron asked wearily.
You've got to hold on to romance, don't let it slide. There's a special kind of magic in the air. When you find another heart that needs to share
A blast of music had interrupted Kim before she could answer. She and Ron turned to see the source of the music a small-ish mini-van creeping slowly up the street. The music came to a stop as the Mini-van pulled up to curb in front of Ron's house. A woman leaned out the passenger side window and asked "Hey do either of you know where Maple Street is?"
"Two blocks and then take a right," Ron and Kim answered sharply yet in complete unison.
A look of bemusement crossed the woman's face. "Uh-thanks, I guess"
She quickly pulled her head back into the minivan. The music abruptly started up again as the vehicle pulled away.
Baby, come to me, let me put my arms around you this was meant to be and I'm oh so glad I found you. Need you every day, got to have your love around me. Baby, always stay 'cause I can't go back to living' without you
When the minivan hit a sharp corner Kim cleared her throat before looking back at Ron. "You know, you're taking this a little better than I expected."
"Actually I-I-I'm pretty sure I'm freaking out right now" Ron said.
"Could have fooled me."
Ron considered this for a moment. "This unusually mature calmness is actually what happens when my emotions burn themselves out. No actually my emotions have caved in on themselves and imploded. Where my emotions once stood there exists a region of space-time from which gravity prevents anything, including light, from escaping."
Kim chuckled anxiously. "Ron, I didn't mean to upset you."
He looked away, staring off at nothing in particular "I do not want to do that, KP. I won't do that, KP. Don't ask me to do that, KP."
After a moment's hesitation Kim blurted out a succinct. "Okay"
Ron smiled but his expression was one of frustration.
"You're totally not okay, are you? I know you. But why should I care if you're okay with it, it's not about you, It's about me. It's about what I am or am not comfortable with!"
Kim flinched at the explosive emergence of Ron's once imploded emotions. "Okay you're right. It's not about me, it shouldn't be about me. But hey I can't help it if it hurts me to see you hurting."
Her words fell on a long moment of silence until the front windows to the Stoppable homestead suddenly popped open shattering the quiet. Two stuffed dolls each being held up by a tiny hand tentatively poked through the curtains and out the window.
"It's like this," a little voice declared from behind the dolls. The dolls, a bear and a lion, then had their faces unceremoniously smushed together.
"Not now Han! Ron shouted.
"You've got to use the lips!" Han declared from the shadows of the house.
The dolls retreated quickly back into the house and the window subsequently slammed shut.
Ron sighed. "My little sister thinks I don't know to kiss"
Kim grinned. "Well kids these days might be more mature than we were at that age."
She looked back at Ron only to be met with a frown.
"I want to dislike you right now…like so bad" Ron announced flatly to her.
Her grin vanquished Kim averted her gaze. "L-let's just take a rain check on the yogurt okay?"
She started to leave but Ron called after her. "
"Don't go anywhere. Just give me a minute"
Ron strolled to the middle of the Stoppable's front yard and Kim watched wordlessly as he lay down in the grass.
"Ron, what are you doing?"
"What does it look like I am doing? I'm thinking." Ron said as he interlocked his hands beneath his head.
Kim glanced furtively around her shoulders before slowly inching closer to Ron. He said nothing as she approached his contemplative gaze fixed somewhere in the clouds. She stopped a step or two away from him and considered his form for a moment before shrugging to herself. She sat beside him initially; silently taking in the neighborhood, however after a few more glances around she simply surrendered to the moment.
"Are you mad at me?" Kim asked seconds after sprawling herself across the Stoppables front lawn.
They were now both on their backs, their arms lightly touching. Ron kept his gaze on the skies above as he said "Kind of, but that's not the real problem here."
"KP, I have the instincts of a gazelle, I am ready to bolt at any hint of danger physically or emotionally. Right now there is a voice in the back of my head screaming danger, danger, danger Ron Stoppable, run away. This should be a 100 percent guaranteed Ron runs away moment, it's a nightmare scenario but I am here laying in the grass thinking about it Kim, I'm really thinking about it."
"Ron, I am sorry, I don't want you to think that I'm pushing you into corner…"
"The real problem is-" Ron interrupted while turning towards her. "-Is that I trust you and you, dammit you make me not want to run away."
"Oh," Kim said in hushed tone. She found herself at a loss for words.
"That's my problem," Ron turned back to the sky. "So you think this will help?"
"It might," she replied honestly.
"It's the word 'might' that makes me nervous KP."
"I wish I could guarantee it but I can't."
"So there's a good chance this won't completely cure me of all my issues?"
"To be honest Ron it might take the cooperation of a higher power to fix all your issues," Kim answered teasingly.
Ron let out a subdued laugh.
"Kim, that fight we just had, was really melodramatic."
"You think so?"
"Oh yeah, it was the stuff bad teen novels are made of"
With no additional comment Kim reached over, took his hand, and held it in hers.
"Is it me or have we been holding hands like pre-schoolers a lot lately?" Ron asked.
"Hush and stop spoiling the moment."
They remained still for a while, composed, eyes on the clouds.
"You know what the cloud looks like? An aardvark."
Kim regarded him with an arched eyebrow. "Have you ever seen an aardvark?"
"I've been to a zoo Kim I know an aardvark when I see one."
"Are we looking at the same cloud?"
Ron pointed upwards. "Right there what does that cloud look like to you?"
"Not an aardvark."
Ron waved idly. "You're just being stubborn."
"I don't think I am. Ron, that looks nothing like an aardvark."
"Quick question KP," Ron said suddenly. "Do you think it's normal for us to be lying down in my parent's front yard like this?"
"It's definitely not normal. But maybe it's okay to not be normal sometimes."
Ron plucked a strand of grass from his hair. "Hmm now there's an interesting thought."
Hopefully in between the long updates the quality of these chapters has remained better than decent.
Once again thanks to Joe for helping me out.