Disclaimer: Blah blah, blah, blah blah, blah blah, (etc.. infinitum, yada yada, I own nothing.) I reserve the right to amend and revise this disclaimer to say whatever I want it to say, whenever I wish and you must accept it retroactively. (I call it my Timelord contract loophole.)
Thank you for all the kind reviews and adding my to you alerts. It means a great deal to me. I haven't been totally asleep at the wheel. I have written some good stuff that will be coming up in future chapters, I promise.
Yet again super special thanks to CajunBear73 for proof reading this chapter, so the rest of you can enjoy the story without being completely sidetracked by a million misspellings, and improper word usage. I thought I was really improving, until I got back the corrected document. Man, I have a long way to go. :) I feel bad that I get all the great reviews, trust me you wouldn't have enjoyed the story as much without CajunBear73's contribution.
It is my pleasure to give you ...
Waste Not Want Not
Chapter five: New day, new hope - Part three
Heaven. That was the only way to describe how she felt. Tara pressed herself against Ron's back and relished the feel of her arms wrapped around his waist, swaying back and forth as his motorcycle nimbly took the curves in the road. For the last hour, she had been in such a state of dream-filled bliss, she failed to notice the motorcycle pull into the parking lot of the Steak House and slow to a stop.
"Um ... Tara?"
Slowly she came out of her trance and noticed that they were parked, and the engine was no longer running. Regretfully she released her hold around Ron's waist, and removed Ron's helmet from her head. "Sorry, I guess I kind of zoned out there."
Ron had a look of concern on his face. "You were holding on awful tight."
Tara quickly worried that she had given away too much, too fast.
Ron continued "I really tried to take it easy, but if you're scared of the motorcycle, I could get you a taxi, or ..."
"No!! It's not that! Honest! ... In fact it was kind of the opposite. I was having such I good time, I wasn't ready for it to end yet."
Ron's face flashed relief, and then he smiled. "Well after dinner, we still have the ride home."
Tara returned Ron's smile with one of her own. "Do you think we could find another curvy road on the way back?"
"I think that could be arranged. ... So, is this the place?"
"That's what Bonnie said. Let's go in and check it out."
Kim had been a little nervous about going over to Josh's house after school. She had been there before, but this was the first time she had been there without his parents home. When Kim told her parents that she was going to Josh's after school, they asked if there would be adult supervision. She should have told them that his parents were away for the night, but instead, she told them there would be "an adult present". After all Josh's sister Sally was home and she was 23. She mostly stayed down in the basement doing doing god only knows what, but she did walk through the living room every once in awhile, so Kim hadn't really lied about the supervision.
Kim started to get nervous, she knew she was ready to start getting a little more physical. After all who wouldn't with Josh? It was just that she didn't want to go too fast too soon. After a few minutes of raiding the kitchen for snacks and soda pop, Kim started to head towards the living room.
"This way, lets watch the movie in my room, I've got a better sound system in there."
Kim hesitated for a second. Josh was perfect, but just what was she getting herself into? Was Josh going to try and get more physical with her? Why did she hope and dread that exact thing happening? She felt she was ready for more than just kissing, but not ready for 'it'. How far could she trust Josh, more importantly how far could she trust herself? Too many questions, too many fears. Why did she ever agree to come over when his parents weren't home?
"Are you sure Josh? That couch looks mighty comfy."
"You think that's comfy, you ain't seen nothing yet. My TV is at the foot of my bed. We can lay down and watch."
Another shot of fear filled Kim. She tried to keep her mind from wandering by changing the topic from Josh's bed, to anything else. "So you said the movie was a surprise. Can you tell me now, what did you get?"
"I, have gotten the early release of the 'High School Musical Two!' collector's DVD!" Josh exclaimed with glee.
'What have I gotten myself into?' Kim thought to herself. Some of the cheerleaders had talked about how much they liked the movie, but unable to hold their boyfriend's interest, it had kind of become the 'code' for make-out time. 'Wendy, are those hickeys?' 'Me and Bobbie spent last night watching High School Musical.' Kim was getting more scared by the minute. She took a deep breath and reminded herself that she was nearly an adult, and she had complete trust in Josh.
Had she only known what was about to happen ...
Walking to the door of the restaurant Ron saw Bonnie and Brick waiting to be seated. Upon seeing Bonnie, Tara made a bee line for them and startled Bonnie when she wrapped her into a big hug from behind. Bonnie's face was red with fury until she looked up and saw Tara. Bonnie's face shifted immediately to ... well Ron could have sworn it was a smile. He had seen Bonnie smile before, but those smiles never reached her eyes, and were usually followed by a request for a favor. Ron stood dumbfounded as the scene continued to play out. Still hugging Bonnie from behind, Tara pressed her cheek to Bonnie's. "Bonnie Bear!!".
Bonnie in response rolled her eyes, but maintained a her smile. Tara had moved her head slightly way, but this time Bonnie pressed her cheek to Tara's and in a slightly more subdued voice than Tara's actually said "Tar-Bear. You seem to be in an exceptionally good mood."
Tara blushed and snuck a glance at Ron, and then let go of the hug with Bonnie, but quickly found her hand and started pulling Bonnie away. "Ron, we're going to powder our noses, we'll be right back."
"Go ahead Tara, I'll be here talking to Brick ..." Ron glanced at Brick who was staring intently at the fish tank, and slowly moving his mouth in a way the mimicked the gold fish. "... or the fish." he rolled his eyes which was promptly rewarded with a giggle from Tara. Bonnie rolled her eyes but after glancing between Ron and Tara, she actually flashed another smile.
Shego's opinion of Global Justice was never high, but until today incompetence was not a word that she would have used to describe them. Reviewing all the data they had collected on Ron, she was starting to think incompetence was the only term to describe it. She had expected GJ to have the scoop on where Ron learned to fight, and the extent of his skill. This was the report she had been banking on. The trip to his high school, and breaking into his financial history, had only been done because she prided herself on being thorough. It was going that extra mile that made her the best, and on occasions like this, it was that extra mile that made all the difference. GJ had come to the conclusion that there might have been more to Ron than met the eye. However after early Ron-Factor research, nothing was turned up, and his activities and participation had since gone completely ignored. Shego was stunned to find out as little as she knew about Ron, there was nothing new to be found in his GJ records apart from a family history, and the names of his parents.
In contrast, she expected to find very little information in his school records, and less than that from bank and credit reports. It came as quite a surprise to find both were full of useful information. Ron's freshmen year IQ tests demonstrated a superior intelligence and aptitude tests suggested he could easily excel in any one of numerous career fields. Attached was a note from someone named Steven Barkin:
'After my first meeting with young Ronald Stoppable, it is evident that he plans to coast along aimlessly. With just the slightest effort he could be a 'A' student, but instead he would rather put forth no effort and remain content with 'C's. Well, Mr. Stoppable, not on my watch! If it takes a months worth of detentions and advanced 'extra homework' every time he turns around, I will find reasons to hound this boy until he grows up, and makes something out of himself. And, I not talking about just riding along on Miss Possible's coattails.'
The rest of Ron's school records were massive. It was a testament to this Barkin's relentless efforts to pull Ron out of his complacency, and force him to make something out of himself. Apparently in many of Ron's detentions, Barkin had made Ron write papers describing several of his and Kim's missions. After reading some of these mission briefs, which had been added to his file, Shego couldn't help but feel a little bit of respect for what Barkin was trying to do. He made Ron rewrite one mission report over eight times. The problem wasn't grammar or spelling, it was how Ron had minimized his contribution during the mission. It seemed clear Barkin had gotten a more accurate account from Kim, and was determined to force Ron to recognize his role in their victory. Having actually been in conflict with Team Possible on that particular mission, Shego marveled at how the final version, was still quite modest on Ron's behalf. Shego smiled, thinking that next time she managed to capture Team Possible, she would make him rewrite it again.
Additional administrative documents addressed Ron's legal status. A little over a year ago some legal issues with allowing minors traveling unsupervised around the world, had caused a little holdup in Kim and Ron's reentry into the country, after having saved the world. To avoid any further complications, both teens had, with their parents support, applied for and were granted the status of emancipated minors. Thus, making them legally independent adults in the eyes of the government. This also gave them the legal authority to pull themselves out of class for missions, sign their own permission slips, and several other liberties that would not normally be granted to average student under the age of 18. Whether because of circumstance, or some agreement with their parents, it appeared that Ron had used this privilege more frequently than Kim. 'Emancipated minor, so would he still be considered jail bait?' Shego shook her head free of such thoughts and continued reviewing her research. "Here we go!" She said out loud as she noticed documents describing Ron's foreign exchange trip to Japan. He had only been gone a week, but the dates matched with the changes she had witnessed on security footage of fights with Team Possible. That had to be where he picked up some of his skills, or at least where his journey had started. The school, Yamanouchi, seemed vaguely familiar to her, but she couldn't place it. She quickly reviewed all of the documents from Yamanouchi, and any extra papers filed around the time of Ron's return, but was unable to find out more. Yamanouchi documents were perfectly normal, a little too perfect if you were to ask Shego. In addition Ron's record showed not a single detention or extra homework assignment for two weeks following his return. That seemed odd, either this Barkin guy was on vacation, or someone had done a number scrubbing anything that from his record that might have been interesting.
As surprising as the school documents were, Ron's banking and credit reports nearly caused Shego to faint. She and Drakken had managed to steal nearly 99 million dollars from him at one point, but apparently that came from just one of several quarterly royalty checks from Bueno Nacho. The total amounts were hard to get a grasp of. Unlike the first lump sum check, Ron was now getting the money in the form of two to five million dollar checks, stock options, dividend payouts, and prepaid gift cards to Bueno Nacho, and other stores owned by their parent and sister corporations. The accounts that received the deposits were rotated regularly. To figure it all out would take some kind super accountant, or actuary. Luckily it didn't take a genius to quickly figure out it wasn't chump change we were talking about here. He may not be Senor Senior Sr. rich, but he was definitely on the upper register of loaded. Just this morning, his father had authorized a transfer of five million dollars into Ron's normal checking account.
Shego took another pass at everything before her, just to make sure she hadn't missed anything. She still had a little time to kill before her final appointment.
Tara and Bonnie returned from the restroom to find Ron and Brick seated at their table discussing football.
Ron sat slack jawed at the wealth of knowledge Brick had on the topic. Brick could, with great acumen, describe pros and cons of endless offensive and defensive formations given field dynamics such as down, yards to goal, and time on the clock. Ron had thought Brick as a little on the slow side, but this discussion made him readjust is thinking. It was as if Brick had chosen to dedicate every ounce of gray matter to football. Remembering how to tie your shoes without having to sing the 'rabbit goes through the hole' is okay, but why waste the braincells when they could be put to better use memorizing the strengths and weaknesses of the 'West Coast' offense against the 'Tampa 2' hybrid of defense cover-two and cover-three.
"You see Ron, last year McFadden at strong-side wide-out gave us speed, but he didn't have the best hands. Plus without another serious speedster on the team, the other teams made sure their free safeties kept him in their sights. We just couldn't take advantage of him like we wanted. Now with both of you starting on the wings, they can't just focus on one threat. In cover-zero and cover-one man-to-man situations they have to play you both deep, giving up completions to prevent giving up break-aways for a touchdown. On traditional passing downs, if the try cover-two three or four, and try to lock you in with a zone, we just have to probe for weaknesses by running some soft routes into the slots and then exploit those weaknesses."
"Fascinating!" Ron exclaimed.
"You understood all that mumbo-jumbo?" Bonnie asked
"Not a word, but it was fascinating."
"Listen Ron, Barkin doesn't have us running patterns for another two weeks, but I think me, you and McFadden should get together this Saturday, and start practicing. To be honest, with your speed, if you can catch at all, we just went from a 'rebuilding year' to having a real shot at conference champs."
Tara caught the look that flashed in Bonnie's eye. She knew her friend better than anyone else, and right now she knew Bonnie was plotting something.
"I'd like that Brick, but right now I'm still trying to adjust to my work schedule at my Vo-Tech job. I'll have to see if I'm scheduled to do a job or not."
Tara giggled and poked Ron's shoulder. "I think you mean 'work'. 'Do a job' sounds like you're on 'The Soprano's' and you have to go 'whack somebody'."
Ron laughed along nervously, thinking to himself. 'I hope they don't expect me to do anything like that.'
"Brick, this Saturday is no good, you promised to take me Clear Lake State Park for a picnic and a little hiking on the nature trails." Bonnie announced.
"Are you calling me a liar?"
Tara smirked at the exchange, knowing full well Bonnie had just come up with the idea on the spot. Bonnie didn't usually like to spend an entire day alone with Brick, so she still didn't understand what Bonnie was up too.
"No Bonnie, I'd never call you that, I just didn't remember, honest." Brick said in his defense.
"I'll let it pass this time. Tara, isn't Tommy McFadden dating Hope?"
"Yeah, she was talking about him at cheer practice today."
"Well, if everyone is free, I suppose the six of us could go out to Clear Lake. Between lunch and hiking the boys could throw the football around, and Tara and Hope could keep me company."
"Oh yeah, that would be sweet!" Brick exclaimed. "You got to go Ron, it will be great!"
Tara gave a quick thanks to God for having a friend like Bonnie, and held her breath waiting for Ron's reply.
"Well I um ... I mean, it sound like ... um ... ... Bonnie, are you feeling okay? You do realize that you just suggested an idea that has us actually associating with one another?"
Tara saw Bonnie start to lose her cool. Being sociable to Ron hadn't been easy, and whether or not he knew it, he had just called her out on it.
"Listen up Stoppable! I'm not doing it for you, I'm doing this for ..." feeling Tara kick her in the shin made her Bonnie change what she was about to say. "... I'm doing this for Brick and the good of the team." Bonnie quickly pulled herself back together.
"I'm sorry Bonnie, it's just that you were freaking me out a little. I'd love to come up to Clear Lake with you guys. I'll check to see if I'm free this Saturday."
Bonnie looked over at Tara who was smiling from ear to ear.
After a few minutes when the boys had resumed talking about football, Tara leaned over and whispered to Bonnie. "Bonnie-Bear, you are the best best-friend ever. I could just kiss you."
Bonnie chuckled "Well let's not confuse the poor boy." Getting uncharacteristically serious for a moment Bonnie added "Tar-Bear, I'm happy you're happy. You know I'd do anything for you right?"
With a tear in her eye she whispered "Right back at ya."
Kim felt dirty, violated; she had lost a piece of innocence forever. For the last three and a half hours, Josh had made her not only watch "High School Musical Two", but also the special feature bonus material. The show was so bad, Kim was stunned that Drakken's name didn't appear in the credits. Josh on the other hand was mesmerized. About twenty minutes into the show, Kim went so far as to make a move on Josh, just so she could distract him long enough to change the channel. She was soundly rebuked as Josh backed the movie up to the start of the current dance number. As the movie ended, finally feeling some relief, she nearly cried when Josh started into the second DVD of extra bonus material.
"Um ... Josh, I should be getting home my curfew is up in 20 minutes."
"So soon? Man that was such a good movie, I lost complete track of time. We haven't even gotten around to watching it with the alternate sound tracks. There is a director's comments, cast comments, German, French, and Spanish versions of the movie. Did you know Corbin voiced himself on the German version!!" With a look of consternation he added "I suppose I could wait to watch it with you tomorrow, if you want to come over after school?"
"God no!! ... um, ... I mean I couldn't ask you to wait just for me."
"You're the greatest Kim! I think that will be best, it will give me time to review the choreography, then next time we could try to duplicate the dance moves."
"Um ... okay."
"Take care babe, drive safe, I'll be thinking off you." Josh leaned into Kim and gave her a chased kiss, which to her delight turned deep and passionate. Josh had even squeezed her butt a little. It would have been perfect if it wasn't for the fact that another Corbin solo had just started playing seconds earlier.
A minute later, with reluctance, Kim broke off the kiss and headed home.
On the ride home Ron kept having to remind himself the Tara was just a friend. He had to stop himself from falling for every female friend he got close to. It just hurt too much when the illusion burst and he had to watch them flirt with other guys.
While Ron was trying to keep his mind from roaming, Tara was having a similar fight with her hands. She wasn't being too obvious, but she did indulge in allowing her fingers to flex, tracing lightly back and forth over his taught stomach. His shirt was a little thick to be sure, but she could have sworn she felt a little more definition, than most would have accredited to Ron Stoppable. It took all her will power to keep from moving her hands further north to see if the same held true for his chest.
It took effort, but both teens were finally able to stop thinking and just enjoy the ride. After some time Ron reluctantly started his way back toward Tara's house. That last thing he wanted was to anger Tara's parents by getting her home after her curfew.
As he gently slowed to a stop in front of Tara's house. Tara removed Ron's helmet from her head, and handed it back to Ron over his shoulder. He took it and hung it off his handlebars. He was a little puzzled why she hadn't dismounted from her seat, but a second later, he found out why. As tight as she had been hanging on before, it didn't hold a candle to the way she raised up and swung her right arm over the top of his right shoulder, and her left just under his left arm. Hugging him tightly, her head came over his left shoulder and she pressed her cheek to his.
"Thank you Ron for a really great evening! I had the best time!"
"I...I...I...I'm ... gl ...gl...gl ..." Ron stuttered as he tried to get a grasp on his ability to talk. He took a deep breath, "I mean ... I'm really glad you had a good time, because I know that I did."
Tara reluctantly peeled herself off of Ron and stepped off the motorcycle. "So does that mean you might ask to give me a ride home after school tomorrow?"
Ron started to answer affirmatively, but he stopped himself and smiled with a devilish smirk. "No."
Tara had caught the look on his face, and knew he didn't mean it. She just beamed a smile back at him and asked "No?"
"No 'asking' to it." Ron puffed up his chest and bellowed in his best faux Barkin voice "It's an order soldier! I expect you to report for motor pool duty at exactly at seventeen hundred hours plus three-zero minutes! Are we clear soldier?"
Tara snapped to attention, back straight, chest out. "Sir! Crystal clear Sir!" She giggled and started walking backwards to her front door. "So tomorrow after practice? You promise?"
"I promise. Goodnight Tara."
"Goodnight Ron!" she said as she slipped inside her house. She quickly sprinted upstairs to the landing and laid down on the carpet and stared out the window at a certain blond haired boy who was wearing the biggest smile. Slowing he managed to tear his eyes away from her door. He started the motorcycle, put on the helmet he had let her wear, and proceeded to drive away.
It had taken her a while to track him down, but luckily for her, he had moved to the states and was currently living in Sonoma, California. Drakken's hover jet had made quick work of the flight from Middleton, and Shego waited for her contact in a small all-night bistro.
"Mistress Shego, I do hope I am not tardy. Could I get you an espresso, or something to eat?" Said a slightly plump older gentleman.
"Relax Jeeves, you're not a butler anymore. Just sit down and let's get down to business."
"The name is Bates madam, and I trust you remember the conditions of our arrangement?"
"Yeah, yeah, fifty thousand upfront, you tell me everything you know about Stoppable. At the end, if I think your information is worth it, I'll give you another fifty thousand."
"Agreed, but I should also say that although I am no longer in the employ of Montgomery, I will not disclose anything that could be used against him. I am still indebted to the memory of his parents."
"Fair enough, but Bates ..."
"If you are pulling my chain, or can't give me anything I don't already know, I will be taking back the first fifty thousand, and I'll personally kick your British ass, for wasting my time."
"Madam, I was more than Montgomery's butler, I was his lead researcher, in his quest for mystical power, and for glory. After the encounter at Yamanouchi, it was clear that Ron was the one foretold in the legends, and not Monty. His pride and ego refused to believe it, and he continues to chase a dream that will forever elude him. I feel for Monty, and don't know what lays in his future, but knowing what Ron has become, and those who have a vested interest in helping him along his path? Yes Miss Shego, there are many things I can tell you about young Master Stoppable. I suggest you prepare yourself to part with the rest of your money."
Nealy two hours later Shego left the bistro, cursing herself for her curiosity, cursing that damn birthday present Ron had given her that started all of this. She even cursed the 100,000 dollars she had to pay for the information, although she had to admit for what she found out, she would have paid more.
Bates watched as Shego left, withdrew his cell phone, and hit speed dial. "Yes sir, I have given her the information. ... No sir, I only told her the parts we had agreed to. ... She didn't think to ask. She was too wrapped up in Ron's role in the prophesy to think to ask if she was mentioned. That would have only complicated things. ... Thank you ... I am currently reviewing archives held in private storage, but the identity of 'The Mother' remains clouded. ... There is no need, it is my honor to be of service Master Douchu.'
... to be continued
Important Author's Note: I think my biggest delay in writing this chapter is fighting between letting the story flow and take on it's own life, and driving it toward my originally planned ending. I'm sorry, but I'm really new to writing, and not sure about the best way to proceed. I've made some statements in previous author's notes. Those comments are currently still true, but I've decided to take this story one chapter at a time. That means those statements are now guidelines for me, not promises to my readers. We will both have to just wait and see how the story ends up. (Don't read too much into that. I can see many more chapters ahead, so don't think anything has started to wrap-up.)
Misc Author's Notes:
1. Yes only one helmet, and it was Ron's but he made Tara wear it when she was with him. Colorado is one of only a few states that does not have a mandatory helmet law. Could be mandatory for minors, but hey I don't live there, I don't know the rules, and it's a story so just work with me. lol
2. I love football and even though I played the sport, I still needed help with terms and formations. Found them here thanks to the Internet. Can't in clude the link but type ("American football strategy" wiki) in google and you'll get it.
Credit where Credit is due:
1. I am trying to use the idea that Kim and Ron are both still in school but somehow she goes through a time period where she doesn't see Ron regularly. (VRWC had Kim in a Mankey daze for 6 months in the story 'Shocked'. I'm secret borrowing that idea but trying to justify a lack of contact. Nonetheless I was inspired by his work and need to give VRWC a nod.)
2. In chapter 2 when Shego met Sally. ("Well then I'll just be ..." Sally started ... "Going." Shego finished. "What a splendid idea.") Thanks to one of my reviewers for pointing out that was a nod to the bar scene in Animal House. Thought I should note that too.
3. In chapter 1 when Tara walked up to Kim and told her she knew she could kick her ass but couldn't live with herself if she didn't let Kim know what she thought about her, and then slapped her. Was secretly borrowed from a very old movie "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" when the youngest brother, takes a swing as his oldest brother for not coming home for the birth of his daughter.
4. Will there by more secret borrowing? You can count on it! I'll try to remember them all and note them as they come up.