birthday Disclaimer- Saban owns the Rangers, I don't. Lita Kino is MINE, however. You're welcome to borrow her, just ask first. The song "All the Good Ones are Gone" is by Pam Tillis, and is used without permission. Duh. This is in the Personality Conflicts series, set after "AGPD Blue." Just a little songfic, but trust me, there's a point. Eventually. :) (By the way, this puts Lita's birthday in the first half of December, which makes her a Sagittarius... ruled by Jupiter!)

Birthday Blues


She'll turn thirty-four this weekend,
Go out with her girlfriends.
They'll drink some margaritas,
Cut up, and carry on.

"Sure, Margaret," Lita Kino agreed, leaning back in her office chair. "Friday sounds good. But if you think I'm letting YOU pick the restaurant, you're insane. I remember what happened the last time."

She listened for a moment. "Hey, I wasn't the one we had to carry out to the car afterwards. You simply CANNOT have that many frozen drinks in a three-hour period and hope to walk straight. It's a medical impossibility. And yes, I am a doctor."

Idly, Lita began twirling the cord around her finger as she listened to her friend. "Sure, I'll let Julia chose the place. Just make sure I get directions, okay? The last thing I need is the two of you kidnapping me from my office like last year. Because I have commitments, okay? No, I don't expect you to understand... it comes under confidentiality. Just trust me. Yeah, I'll see you there, Margie. Thanks."

With a sigh, Lita rubbed her temples. She wasn't sure exactly WHY she was allowing her friends to talk her into another birthday dinner. She liked them, sure, but frankly, she wasn't sure that the passing of another year was necessarily something to celebrate.

On the other hand, surviving this year was in doubt at points... so maybe a celebration is in order, she thought wryly. The question was, would she survive Julia and Margaret's version of a party?

There'll be guys and there'll be come-ons,
She'll probably get hit on.
But she thinks that all the good ones are gone.

She knew the drill. They'd drag her out to dinner, and she'd have a good time, she really would. Then Margaret would start flirting with the nearest cute thing in sight, whether she was drunk or sober. Unfortunately, Margaret's flirting only served to remind Lita of the fact that she wasn't dating anybody, and hadn't had a long-term relationship in years. Her mind instinctively shied away from exactly how long it had been since she'd had a serious romantic relationship. Even with Max, it had only lasted ten months, and in all that time, it had never really gotten serious. She hadn't let it.

Part of that, of course, was her work with the Rangers. It was hard to get involved with somebody who wasn't in on the secret. There were too many jokes, too many odd perspectives, and too many broken commitments and missed meetings for it ever to be a smooth ride. It wasn't impossible-- Richie and Trini seemed to be managing-- but it wasn't a walk in the park.

The other part of it was that she just couldn't find someone she wanted to open up to. The men she met seemed to alternately be taken, jerks, or just absolutely wrong for her. Even Max, one of her closest friends had in the end admitted he was married to his work. _Just like me,_ she admitted.

She's got friends down at the office,
And she can't help but notice
When the day is over,
How they all hurry home.

Sighing, Lita shot a glance out at her front desk. As usual, her secretary Serena was on the phone, happily chatting away with Darien, her boyfriend. The two of them had been dating for almost four years now, and Lita was just waiting for the man to pop the question-- or maybe for Serena to do so. She'd seen them together on enough occasions that she knew the two of them would be quite happy.

God, am I in a black mood or what? Still, her old house seemed quite lonely sometimes, when the end of the day rolled around.

Each day, there's guys she works with
And even some she flirts with,
But it seems like all the good ones are gone.

It seemed as if all the men in her life were divided into two categories-- clients and casual acquaintances. Well, and then there were the Rangers, but they didn't really count. Lita frowned, trying to remember the last time she'd even flirted with a man. Well, there had been a couple of occasions with Peter Venkman, back during the Shadowborg siege, but that hardly counted. Those exchanges had little to do with attraction; instead, they were a combination of conditioned response (on Peter's part) and an attempt to keep the assorted heroes from really thinking about the situation. Distraction, the Ghostbuster was fond of saying, is the best way to avoid panic. No, she liked Peter well enough, but there wasn't any romantic attraction there. There hadn't been any, with anyone, for a long while.

And her mama called this morning,
Said, "I'm worried about my baby.
"I wish you had a family of your own."

To make things more oppressive, her mother had called that morning, to wish her a happy birthday. However, the conversation had, as always, swung around to the subject of grandchildren, and why there weren't any yet. Lita knew her mother meant well; Helen Kino truly wanted her daughter to be happy. She simply couldn't fathom that any woman COULD be happy unless married with a boatload of children under foot.

She said, "Mom, it's not that easy.
"You make it sound so simple."
She can't take the first man that comes along.

But Lita wasn't about to repeat her parents' mistakes. They had married early, and over the years had drifted apart. Her father had sacrificed everything to his work, including his marriage and his relationship with his daughter. And her mother had accepted it all without complaint, as the two of them became strangers living in one house. No, Lita had no intention of winding up like that.

Once she had someone to love her,
Back when she was younger,
And she wonders if she held out
A little bit too long.
Back then, there were so many,
But now there just aren't any,
And it seems like all the good ones are gone.

Were my standards TOO high? Lita wondered, her gaze drifting over her awards and diplomas. I spent so much time focusing on my career... maybe I let my chance pass me by. I didn't used to have such trouble finding men I liked. Of course, that was college, and I didn't have QUITE as much taste then. But is it too late for me to find someone? For me to have a family?

And her mama called this morning,
Said, "I'm worried about my baby.
"I wish you had a family of your own."
She said, "Mom, it's not that easy.
"You make it sound so simple."
She can't take the first man that comes along.

Continuing on, Lita's gaze fell first on her wall of dartboards, then the large framed picture from the post-Shadowborg party. Somehow, (Lita hadn't wanted to ask,) Tyler Steele had managed to find a camera that would manage to fit all forty-some partygoers into one frame. It was crowded, and people were falling all over each other, but everybody seemed to be having a good time. A number of Rangers were squashed up against significant others, and had quite large smiles on their faces. And-- yep, there it was. Peter Venkman was giving Art Fortunes bunny ears. That was, Egon had informed her, an almost Pavlovian response to being photographed.

Lita grinned, thinking of the gift that the Rangers had sent her for her birthday. They'd pooled their resources, she'd been told when Tommy dropped off the present. Inside the box was a T-shirt, green with white lettering. The front side read, "I psychoanalyzed a space alien." On the back, it bore the legend, "What did YOU do today?" Beneath the shirt were two tickets to the Jimmy Buffett concert next week in Los Angeles.

Those kids certainly knew her well... and cared enough to pick something out that she'd enjoy. A smile spread across the psychiatrist's face. You know, maybe she hadn't missed out on a family after all. Not that she intended to stop looking for a date, but...

Whistling, Lita turned to her paperwork with a much lighter heart. Suddenly, an evening with Margaret and Julia wasn't looking bad at all.

She'll turn thirty-four this weekend,
Go out with her girlfriends.
They'll drink some margaritas,
Cut up, and carry on.

The End