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Sorry for the delays folks, life is a mess, and reality really, REALLY sucks. Also, I want to apologize for not responding to reviews for the same reason. I appreciate each and every one, I really do.
Past and Present – Chapter 6
As Kim sat down on the couch, she took a good look at her future daughter-in-law. They were close to the same height, but with dirty-blond hair that was almost brown and a slightly larger chest, she definitely showed many of Bonnie's physical traits. Now that she knew whose daughter she was, she had kept looking for things that reminded her of her parents and kept spotting things every time she did. This time, it was the shape of Michelle's nose, so much like her mother's that Kim was surprised she had not seen it before. But despite a certain stubbornness and some physical features, this was entirely Ron's daughter.
With a sigh, Kim felt the tension throughout her body. It had been a long night, what with the talk with Ron and then with Hana. She knew this was going to be a difficult one as well. "Well, where should we start."
Michelle sat down across from Kim, looking over at her beloveds mother. She could see the sadness in her eyes and knew tonight could not have been easy for her, so she went right to the point. "I should hate you you know."
Kim winced at that. "Michelle..."
"I should hate you, but I don't." Michelle looked up into Kim's surprised expression, smiling weakly. "You know, he never once ever said anything bad about you while I was growing up." That seemed to surprise Kim even more. "When I was growing up, Daddy would tell me all these stories about you and him and your adventures together. My earliest memories are of sitting on his knee or getting ready for bed and him starting some story about some mission you had gone on. He always said those were some of the best times of his life. But the one thing he wouldn't do was tell me why you two split up. Whenever I asked him, he always would just say you grew apart. I knew there was more to it then that, but I could always see how sad he was when it came up."
Michelle paused as her fiancée came into the room carrying three coffee mugs, but not for long. "I guess what I am saying is this. You made a mistake. Fine. You made a second mistake by not talking to him earlier, or trying to clear the air, even after you found out about him and my mother. He made mistakes too, so I don't entirely blame you. I also think you really do want to try and clear things up with him, and after seeing the way he's hurting right now, I think he needs it. I just don't want you to do anything that might hurt him further."
Michelle paused to sip her coffee and take Michael's hand in hers. "Seeing how my father reacted to you... it scared me. Growing up, he has always been the nicest, kindest father anyone could have ever asked for. He always gave me everything I needed but never let me get spoiled like some of the other rich kids I knew growing up. He never had a harsh word for an employee, never raised his voice or berated them. Even when my mother was jerking him around, he never lost his temper. At that first party, when he blew up like that..." Michelle smiled wryly, "well, let's just say the only reason Monique didn't have a face full of fist was because I was so worried about my Dad." Even Kim chuckled a bit at that.
Michelle's expression grew more sombre though a moment later. "I knew my Dad had been hurt by your breakup, maybe even more than when he broke up with my Mom, but I never really knew how much he was hurting. He's always been so strong, but so lonely. After my Mom left, he almost never went out on dates. The only ones I know he went on were those set up by others that my Dad couldn't get out of."
Michelle looked down at the floor, contemplating her next words. "I want to help my father. I want him to be able to move on with his life. He's always been there for me, and I want to help be there for him." Michelle looked up to meet Kim's gaze, her eyes almost pleading. "I know that for him to do that, you two need to confront this, but for the life of me, I... we..." Michelle looked over at Michael and smiled, "don't know how to do that. I know you still care for my father, but I just have no idea what to do."
Kim sighed as she sat forward on the couch, looking first at her son, then to her future daughter-in-law. "I honestly don't know either. Your father, when we were growing up, was always the most forgiving person you could imagine. He never held a grudge, no matter what happened. The fact that Ron has been holding this in for so long... it's going to take drastic measures." Kim raised her head, looking resolute, with some of the fire returning to her eyes. "And I think I know what needs to be done."
"You're going to what?"
Kim looked at her stunned friend, as Monique looked like a fish trying to find more words. It was amusing to see her normally unflappable friend speechless, especially in the middle of a restaurant at lunch time. "The kids have a training room in their basement. Tonight, at the bachelor party, I'm going to take Ron down there and we are going to spar."
Monique took several deep breaths as she tried to get her mind around it. "Are you insane Kim? I mean, I know this is Ron, but this is not the same Ron we've always known. He is harboring some serious hate for you, and you want to throw yourself into a fight with him?"
Kim put down her fork and pushed her salad back. "Monique, that's the problem. This is the same Ron we always knew. Everyone I've talked to said the same thing. He's kind, he's wonderful, he's a great father. Heck, the next time you see him, I wouldn't bet against it if he apologized several times to you for how he acted towards you at the party. None of them ever saw Ron react the way he did until he saw me a couple of days ago. No, the problem isn't that Ron has changed. The problem is just me and the pain I put him through."
Monique frowned at that, her eyes narrowing as she looked at her best friend. "Don't forget the pain he put YOU through Kim. That boy put a serious hurt on you as well."
Kim sighed, her hands clasped in front of her. "And I haven't. It hurt real bad to see Bonnie there that day, but I also got all the facts later. I know he didn't intend to hurt me. Ron didn't get all those details like I did, as far as I can tell. Also, I had Joshua until he passed away. I was able to have a life and love someone else. Ron just had...Bonnie." Kim shuddered, trying hard not to picture it.
Monique shuddered along with her. "Okay, I'll give you that girl, but you still want to get into a knock em out with the ex? This is the same guy you told me launched a couple of aliens into the stratosphere because they hurt you. Well, you hurt him pretty good. How can you be sure he won't do the same to you, given the chance."
Kim looked up to meet Monique's eyes, and the fire was evident. "He wouldn't do that, and even if he tried, I'm not exactly a helpless maiden. I can handle him if things get too far out of hand. No, this is the only thing I can thing of to help him work through the anger. If he needs to get a couple of shots in to work through this and get on with his life, then that's what I'll do. I can take a hit or two if it means I can help my best friend."
Monique was shaking her head as she finished her lunch. "I still think you are seriously MITH... messed in the head... but if you think you gotta do it..."
"Thanks Monique." Kim grinned as she rose to her feet. "Maybe we can have lunch tomorrow and I can tell you how it went and everything will finally be better."
"You having a good time Mr. Stoppable?"
Ron leaned closer to the young man, one of Micheal's friends from college, straining to hear better. "Trying to." He winced at the music as it hit another high note, grating on his nerves.
The young man didn't quite catch Ron's less than enthusiastic views on the music. "I hung out with this band once a couple months back. Spankin' tunes, ain't they?"
"Not quite the word I would use." To Ron, it felt like someone was taking a power drill to a piece of sheet metal while yodeling. He remembered his parents telling him that as you got older, new music wouldn't be nearly as good when he was growing up, but he had always dismissed them. He was going to be cool about music no matter how old he got, but this... this noise... was as far from any music as he could have imagined. Nodding once to the young man who was shaking his head to what could possibly be the beat, though Ron couldn't detect one, he headed to the kitchen to get something to drink.
He was relieved to find the room empty for the moment, and let out a sigh of relief, even though he could still hear the music blaring in the other room. He moved to the fridge, pulling out a soda, and downing half the can in one go.
"Music a bit much for you?" Michael stood in the doorway, smiling.
Ron grinned in return. "Just a little bit. Maybe I'm just getting too old to appreciate what counts as culture nowadays."
Michael laughed, going to the fridge to get his own soda. "If you are, I must be. I never could stand this band, but half the dorm loved them."
Ron nodded his head before appearing more serious. "Michael... I'm... sorry for the way I've been acting since I got here. I just want you to know, I won't allow how I... feel... about your mother to interfere with the wedding anymore."
Michael popped the top on his soda and took a sip before responding. "I understand how you feel. If Michelle did that to me, I'd be pretty messed up, and we don't have nearly the history you and Mom did." Michael took another sip, leaning back against the counter. "You do know that Michelle's wracking her brain trying to figure out some way to help you with this. She figures that if you and Mom can finally work this out, you'll be able to move on and meet someone."
Ron chuckled, leaning onto the counter with his arms crossed in front of him. "That's Michelle for you. Do you know that she's been trying to set me up with dates since she was six years old?" Ron almost laughed again at the shocked expression on the young man's face. "Seriously, there was this one time she was in the first grade, Michelle got in trouble for fighting. Turns out, she only did it to get me to meet her teacher. When she admitted it at the parent teacher conference, she said, and I quote, she in't married and she's real pretty Daddy. You should marry her!"
Michael laughed loudly along with Ron until a few tears escaped. Wiping a stray tear away with his free hand, he considered his future father-in-law. "So... why didn't you? I mean, maybe not the teacher, but living in LA, there must have been a lot of eligible women."
Ron considered the young man in front of him before turning his attention to looking out the window in front of him. "I... don't know. After things with your mother went so... sour, and then the whole mess of a marriage with my ex... I just... I never wanted to put myself through that again. I know Michelle wants to see me happy, and I am for the most part. I just... don't think I can put my heart back out there, not without feeling like it's going to get stomped on again at any minute."
Michael nodded and was about to reply when a group of guys streamed into the kitchen. "What's up guys?"
The guys were all grinning broadly. "Dude, it's your party and you're hanging in the kitchen? You are looking at your last nights of freedom man, you have to live a little."
Michael almost looked defensive as he stood up straight. "I am having fun."
Scott, one of Michael's groomsmen, quickly moved over to his friend. "Well, you're about to have a lot more fun in a moment. We have a little surprise for you."
Michael looked a little worried as his friends quickly surrounded him. "Umm... what kind of surprise."
Scott's smile grew even bigger as he dangled a set of handcuffs of his finger in front of Michael. "Only the very best kind of surprise."
Kim was taking deep, even breaths as she sat in front of Michael and Michelle's house. Michelle had assured her before leaving that her father was indeed there tonight at the bachelor party. Now she just had to work up the nerve to do this.
This was still Ron, and except under mind control, she had never been able to hurt him, at least physically. She had always been too worried about hurting him to spar too seriously before they broke up. She had to work herself into the mindset she needed to be able to do this properly. She couldn't go easy, Ron would see that right away and believe she was just trying to humor him, maybe even think she was belittling him, and that was the last thing she wanted. No, this was going to hurt, probably in more ways than one.
She rolled her neck, hearing her spine crack, and let out the deep breath she had been holding. With determination, she jumped out of the car and stalked her way to the front door. She was focused and she was ready, and she was going to resolve this, one way or another. She barreled through the front door, barely registering the music playing, and made her way quickly to the living room. "Ron, I think..."
Well, Kim was ready for almost anything. The sight of her son, handcuffed to a chair, with a topless stripper sitting in his lap, her breasts pressed against his head, did stop her in her tracks.
Every head turned to look at her, eyes wide. Even the stripper's eyes were on her, her actions frozen. As some of the boys stares became a bit more appreciative, Kim remembered she was wearing her workout clothes, a pair of tight shorts, a sports bra, and a light, almost gauzy blouse for the ride over. She suddenly felt almost as bared as the stripper.
Vincent's eyes widened and his smile broadened as Kim was blushing brightly. "Dude, we have two strippers?"
Michael though was in full panic mode. "Mom, what are you doing here?"
Now all the eyes turned back to Michael, except for Ron's. It was Gary, a buddy from the swim team who responded first. "Seriously? That's your mother? Man, what a MILF!"
Kim was now blushing twice as brightly as Michael uttered a dozen curse words at his buddy inciting him to do a half dozen things that were anatomically impossible. She turned her attention back to Ron, trying to regain her cool. "Ron, let's head down to the basement. We need to have a discussion."
Ron's eyes narrowed sharply. "I don't follow your orders any more you know."
Now Kim was back on familiar ground. She knew Ron would react this way, and she knew just how to work the situation. Ignoring the gaping young males, she jammed her fists into her hips and glared at Ron. "Fine then, we won't resolve this and you can continue to make your daughter miserable. I thought you were a better father than that!"
THAT got the reaction Kim was looking for. Ron was on his feet in a heartbeat, stepping right into Kim's face. "You... you..."
She calmly stared hard into Ron's reddening face. "Then we are going to go downstairs and settle this, once and for all. Agreed?"
Ron's fingers flexed repeatedly, fists clenching over and over again. "Fine. You want to do this, we'll do this." He waved his hand towards the basement door that lead to the training room.
Kim turned and opened the door quickly. When it was open, she paused, turning to glare back at the stripper who had yet to move from her son's lap. "And you missy better keep your hands OUT of my son's pants."
The stripper Candy (really Janice, but that wasn't something she told people), eeped loudly and leapt to her feet. "Yes ma'am."
With one final glare, Kim headed down the stairs, followed right behind by a pissed off Ron Stoppable, who slammed the door behind them.
For a couple of minutes, no one moved or said anything. It was Gary, a real player, who broke the ice. "Damn man, you mom is hot!"
Michael glared at his friend, still handcuffed to the chair. "Shut up!"
Author's Notes – Next – Kim versus Ron... who will remain standing? Stay tuned!