Kim gathered with her squad on the football field's sideline as she began to limber up. The game would be starting in minutes. Kim stretched a leg out on a bleacher as she ran the moves for the squad's routine through her head one last time.
Although the entire squad had helped create the routine, Bonnie had definitely taken the lion's share of the flashy moves for herself. Kim could already tell that the two of them would have a tense relationship together on the squad. Perhaps Kim would raise the question of who exactly had elected Bonnie leader of the squad next time they practiced. Still, the squad's routine was a good one. Kim was confident that the audience would like it.
As Kim looked out into the bleachers, she saw her parents and the twins watching. Her mother gave her an encouraging wave after the twins had calmed down long enough for her to raise a hand. Jim and Tim were impossible to control, even by regular five year old children's standards.
"Good luck, Kimmie cub!" shouted her father. "You can do it!"
Kim blushed. She was happy for the support, but having her father yelling at her in front of the entire cheer squad was a little embarrassing. She noticed that Ron was not in the bleachers with her family. He must have been telling the truth about the date with Amelia. Not that Kim thought Ron was lying, of course, but still... Amelia?
Kim thought about her own date after the game. The note had been unsigned, and she had no idea who might have slipped it in her locker. Perhaps it was Walter Nelson, Kim thought. She wouldn't mind going on a date with him... they could talk about their braces! There was also a cute boy who Kim noticed in the halls from time to time. A boy with frosted blond hair. Kim didn't know his name, but she wouldn't mind if frosted-hair boy had been the one who slipped the note in her locker. Kim remembered the poem written on the note:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I sure would like
to go steady with you!
It was a bit corny, but Kim thought the poem might have been tongue-in-cheek.
"Earth to Kim!" shouted Bonnie. "Are you ready?"
Kim slipped out of her daze and noticed the rest of the squad looking at her.
"Yes Bonnie, I'm ready. Let's do it."
As the squad got into formation, Kim noticed her parents in the bleachers again. She realized that she hadn't mentioned the date to either of them. How would she even get there? Kim frowned as she formed the bottom of the pyramid and watched Bonnie vault to the top. Kim caught a flash of Bonnie's sardonic smile as she passed overhead, but that wasn't what had made Kim frown. She was realizing that she might have to get her parents to drive her to the date. Somehow she didn't think her father would be very keen on the idea.
The football teams were already out on the field, although they hadn't started playing yet. Kim looked out over the field after the squad broke up the pyramid and got into formation for some pom-pon moves. It was an unimpressive football field – Kim had seen the Middleton High School's field, and she was looking forward to cheering for high school games when she was old enough.
For just a moment, Kim could swear she caught a glimpse of Brick Flagg waving and winking at her before he got into his team's huddle. Could Brick be the one who slipped the note in her locker? He seemed like a nice guy, but Kim wasn't sure she was very interested in him. But then, Brick did seem like someone who might have written the corny poem. Maybe he had been winking at someone else...
"Come on, Kim! What in the world are you doing!"
Kim gritted her teeth as she regained her pace with the pom-pons, matching her squad mates. She would have to deal with the date when it came – right now, she had to focus on cheerleading. This was going to be harder than she thought.
Ron flexed his biceps in front of his bedroom mirror as he got ready for his date with Amelia. If he was not mistaken, Ron could swear he almost saw muscles. Not bad, he thought. Not bad at all.
"What do you think, Rufus?"
"Good!" squeaked his pet mole rat.
Ron nodded in satisfaction as he put on his trusty combination of dark long-sleeved T-shirt and red overshirt with white fringes. Since it was a special occasion, he grabbed a glass vial of liquid he had sneaked out of his parents' room – Eau de Latriné – and spritzed himself generously. Poetry and perfume. Ron had to pat himself on the back. He was doing everything right.
Some of the fears that had danced in Ron's mind earlier in the day were still lingering, but he felt his confidence growing. Why wouldn't Amelia show up? Ron knew he would be interested if he got a note from a secret admirer. It wasn't like Ron was still a child, after all – he was in middle school, which came with an automatic boost in maturity and suaveness. Amelia would be putty in his hands. Powerless against his charms.
"Ready to go, buddy?"
Rufus gave Ron a thumbs up as they bounded down the stairs, passing by the living room where Ron's parents were watching television on the couch.
"Mom, dad, I'm going out on a date!"
His father grunted without turning around.
"Have fun, son!"
James Possible stared incredulously at his daughter.
Her father was not angry, but Kim still wilted under the harsh tone of his voice. She had thought about lying to her parents – telling them she needed to hang out with a study buddy, perhaps – but she didn't have the nerve. Instead, she had told them the truth.
"Come on, dad. I'm in middle school now! Everybody has boyfriends and girlfriends now."
"Oh? And who would 'everybody' be?"
Kim pursed her lips and thought for a moment. She hadn't expected her father to demand specific examples.
"Well, I don't know, but I'm sure they do. Ron's going out with somebody."
Anne Possible raised an eyebrow at the comment as she listened to the conversation. "Ronald, going out? With a girl? Are you sure about that, Kimmie?"
"Yes, mother, I'm sure."
Anne was about to reply, but her attention was cut off by her sons struggling to get free of her grasp and run out onto the football field. She was beginning to wonder why they hadn't just gotten a babysitter while they watched their daughter cheer at the game.
"Well, I'll tell you one thing," said James, "no daughter of mine is going to be dating anyone until she's in college and far away from my parental oversight. Where were you going to be meeting this secret admirer of yours, anyway?"
"I don't know exactly. It's just an address at the bottom of the note I got in my locker."
Kim fished the note out of her cargo pants pocket, which she had changed into soon after the game ended, and showed it to her father. James stared at the note for a moment, and then broke into a smile. Anne, still holding desperately onto the twins as they complained about not being able to run around on the grass, looked over her husband's shoulder. They both began to laugh.
"What's so funny?" said Kim, a little annoyed. She knew the poem was corny, but she didn't think it was that bad.
"Kimmie-cub, this is where you were going to go on your first date?" James continued to laugh, wiping under his eye with a finger. "You know, maybe I'll come along and have a little talk with this secret admirer."
"Ooh," said Anne, "and we can bring Jim and Tim!"
Ron sat at a red plastic table in the center of the play room. Thumbs twiddling, he bobbed his head to the music playing on stage as he waited for his date to arrive. The animatronic animals on stage played their instruments to a near-empty play room, Ron sitting at one of the few occupied tables. Tonight was a slow night at J.P. Bearymore's Pizza Party-torium. Mister Bearymore himself seemed to be strumming his banjo a little forlornly. All the better, in Ron's opinion – the atmosphere was more romantic when the place wasn't crowded. Ron had been psyching himself up for the date ever since he had arrived at J.P. Bearymores, and his nervousness from earlier in the afternoon had almost disappeared.
Oh, Ron, said the Amelia of his imagination, what an excellent place to have a date!
You're totally right. This banjo music is a lot cooler than that corny violin stuff, don't you think?
I agree. And I love your little naked mole rat. Dogs and cats are so predictable – I think owning such an exotic pet is a sign of a sophisticated man.
Ron's imaginary self raised his eyebrow suggestively. What can I say? I'm a sophisticated guy. But I'm surprised you knew what kind of an animal it is. I guess you're a sophisticated lady.
What kind of lady doesn't have a healthy appreciation for a Heterocephalus glaber, Ronnie-wonnie?
A loud squeak broke Ron out of his reverie. Rufus, who had been gorging himself on pizza, stood up from where he had been laying down on the table and pointed to the other end of the play room, where a girl was standing and looking around hesitantly. Ron gasped. This was it. The moment of truth.
"Amelia! Over here!"
Amelia saw Ron waving and made her way through the empty plastic tables. She arrived at the table and stared at Ron and his mole rat pet.
"Yep, that's me." Ron got up and pulled a chair out for her. "Glad you decided to come!"
Amelia smiled, but she looked a little perplexed.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"I'm the one who gave you the note," said Ron. "I'm your secret admirer!"
Amelia frowned. She pulled a white piece of paper from her pocket and gave it a brief glance, and then shook her head.
"No you're not. This is signed Brick Flagg. Look."
Amelia held the note out to Ron. Sure enough, there was a poem on the note, but it was not Ron's poem – football seemed to be a major literary theme - and the signature at the bottom was Brick's.
"Hey, somebody say my name?"
Ron looked up from the table. Brick had arrived.
Amelia turned to find Brick standing next to her. "Brick, I got your note!" she exclaimed as she pulled him into a hug. Brick stared at Ron over Amelia's shoulder, clearly confused about what was going on.
"Note?" asked Brick. "Huh? But I invited Kim here. J.P. Bearymore's is my favorite place to hang out, I thought it would be a great place for a date with her."
"Um, no you didn't. The note was in my locker, not Kim's!"
Amelia wrapped her arm around Brick and led him away from the table towards some gaming machines in the back of the room. "Now, Brick, I saw the cutest teddy bear in the claw machine over there – would you mind getting it for me? I don't have any tokens so you'll have to buy some." Amelia glanced back at Ron as the two of them left him behind. "Um, goodbye you," she mentioned as an afterthought.
Brick also took a look back at Ron as Amelia led him away. His eyes seemed to be asking Ron what was going on, but Ron could only shrug his shoulders in response.
Ron sat at the table, wondering what had just happened. He glanced at Rufus, but the naked mole rat had already lost any interest in teen drama as he dived back onto a half-eaten pizza lying on a paper plate. Ron watched as Amelia guided Brick into a separate room to buy some tokens for the machines. Had he just been ditched by Amelia?
The way Amelia had said it, it sounded like Amelia had gotten Brick's note instead of his own, and yet Brick had intended for Kim to get the note. Ron had to credit Brick with having good taste, if he was setting up dates at J.P. Bearymore's. And yet Ron had watched Brick place his note in Kim's locker. He was feeling more confused by the second.
A familiar voice came from the play room's front doors.
"Kim! What's up?"
As Kim walked over to Ron's table, he noticed that her family was trailing behind her. He frowned; this did not seem like normal date procedure. Ron's motto may have been 'never be normal', but taking your family on a date seemed a bit much...
"Ron, what are you doing here? Did you invite Amelia here for your date too?"
Ron nodded. "I think there's been some kind of mix up, KP."
"What do you mean?"
"Um, can I see your note?"
Kim frowned and took the note from her pocket. Ron looked, and sure enough, it was his own.
"What the... I don't get it! This is my note. I could have sworn I put it into Amelia's locker. And then Amelia got Brick's note even though I watched him put it in your locker!"
"Ron, you did remember that we switched lockers, right?"
Ron sat silently for a moment. He felt a strong urge to smash his head into the table, but Rufus and a slice of pizza were in the way.
"Um, no. I didn't know that."
"I told you like three times, Ron! Wait, Amelia got Brick's – are you saying Brick and Amelia are here right now?"
"Yeah, they're off getting tokens for a game."
Kim sat down at the table and let her head fall back as she groaned. It was becoming apparent that Kim did not in fact have any secret admirer.
James Possible looked like he was about to lecture Ron about something, but instead he rolled his eyes and led Kim's twin brothers towards the food court to get some pizza. Anne Possible kissed her daughter on the forehead as Kim sat at the table, looking a bit catatonic, and then walked over to Ron and gave him a pat on the back.
"Ron," she said as she leaned over to whisper in his ear, "for future reference, J.P. Bearymore's is not the place to take a girl on a first date."
"Haha, yeah Ron!" the twins added. "Bad place for a date!"
Anne straightened up and looked fondly at Jim and Tim. The twins had immediately lost interest in Ron's dating foibles when they caught sight of their father. They leaped up and down at the sight of James Possible holding two plates topped with slices of cheese pizza.
"I think we'll leave the two of you alone for a while now," Anne said. "Have fun!"
Amelia leaned against the glass prize case beneath the counter as she watched her date for the evening purchasing some game tokens from a bored-looking J.P. Bearymore's employee. Getting a note earlier that afternoon in her locker had been the highlight of her day; secret notes were always nice, but Brick had caught Amelia's eye in the hallways ever since school started. He was a little on the thin side, but Amelia saw potential for the boy to bulk up in the future. And there was just something about his attitude. That easygoing way of speaking he had. That brash, self-confident swing in his step.
Amelia didn't know why Brick and Ron had been acting so strangely about who had asked out who. It sounded like maybe there was a note mix up, but Amelia wasn't going to think about that – Brick had left the note in her locker, his name had been on it, and that was that. Maybe they were just teasing her. Besides, she had always seen Kim in the hallway with that sandy-haired boy, Stoppable. She had noticed Bonnie Rockwaller glancing at Brick far more than Kim ever did. Not that Bonnie and Brick would ever work together. Amelia laughed at the thought.
"That one right there," said Amelia as she pointed to a stuffed teddy bear laying on a heap of its animal companions. Brick entered a token in and maneuvered the steel claw at the top of the glass box. Its tiny fingers clutched feebly at the bear but could not seem to grab hold of it.
Brick's tokens dwindled away without success. If anything, the claw had actually driven the bear deeper into the pile. A lone stuffed paw poked out of the pile, as if the bear was reaching for rescue. Amelia grunted in annoyance. She had no idea why Brick had asked her to go to J.P. Bearymore's in the first place. Not that Amelia had been on many dates, but it didn't seem like a romantic spot for one.
"Hey Brick," she said, "what do you say we go for a little romantic nighttime walk?"
Brick considered the suggestion. He looked back at the table across the game room where Ron was sitting in front of the stage with the animatronic musicians and noticed that Kim had arrived to sit next to her friend. Had he put his note into Amelia's locker accidentally? Maybe Ron had pointed him to the wrong locker. He looked back at Amelia, who was fluttering her eyelashes. Kim was a pretty girl, but Amelia was a knockout too. Brick decided a date was a date.
"Maybe I should say goodbye to Kim and Ron first."
Amelia looked back at the two figures in question, feeling a little threatened by the fact that Brick was mentioning Kim again. "No, you can say hi to them when you see them in school. I want to go out."
"But Amelia, I -"
Before he could finish his protest, Brick felt himself being led hastily out the front door as Amelia wrapped her arm around his. She was beautiful, Brick thought, but maybe a little controlling. That was alright though. Brick was surprised to find that there was something he liked about being led around by a girl.
During a break in the animatronic animals' stage performance, the sound of Ron's fingers drumming on the table rang out in the near-empty J.P. Bearymore's. Other than Kim's parents and the twins playing some games at the far end of the room, Ron thought he and Kim might be the only ones left in the building. He had seen Brick and Amelia playing one of those games with the iron claw and the plush toys earlier, but they had disappeared since then. Ron looked around absently, having been sitting across from his friend for what seemed like an eternity without saying much. The situation was a little awkward, Ron had to admit, and Kim still looked a little peeved at the sudden reversal of her dating situation.
"What is that smell?" asked Kim, scrunching up her face as she sniffed the air. "Is that coming from you?"
Ron sniffed himself in confusion before realizing what Kim was smelling. "Oh yeah, it's a fragrance I got from my parents' room. I thought Amelia would like it."
"It's a bit strong."
Ron shrugged helplessly. Maybe Kim just didn't understand dating protocol as well as he did; it was important to make a good first impression. Ron had even given his red pullover a once-over to make sure there weren't any nacho cheese stains on it before arriving at the date. There was no possible way he could have been more well-prepared.
Ron wasn't exactly what what he would have talked about if he had actually sat down to eat with Amelia – he was just planning to wing it when it came to conversation. He didn't really know anything about Amelia, now that he thought about it. Maybe it would have been a little harder than talking with his best friend. The thought of his best friend reminded Ron that he had missed Kim's first game, and he began to feel a little guilty.
"Sorry about missing your game, Kim."
"Oh, that's alright. It wasn't all that great."
"Really? Why not?"
"Well, don't get me wrong," Kim said, "I did great - I mean, I had all the moves down perfectly, but Bonnie kept going out of her place and trying to show off. It was almost like she was deliberately trying to show me up or something. I hope she doesn't think she's better than me."
Ron sympathized with Kim, and her story sounded like textbook Bonnie. It was unfortunate that the two of them sounded like they were getting along so poorly. Ron wondered if Kim had the perseverance to stay on the team for more than a couple weeks if Bonnie was going to be making things hard for her the whole time. He knew he'd quit in a week or two, no doubt about it.
"So did you actually want to go out with Brick?"
"Well, not really. I was kind of hoping for Walter Nelson, or that frosty-haired boy."
"Oh, right. I think his name is Josh Monkey."
Ron frowned. Josh Monkey seemed suspicious to him, although Ron couldn't pinpoint where the feeling came from. Something about the boy's name, maybe.
Ron was about to ask Kim why she was interested in either of the two boys she had mentioned, when a more concerning thought crossed his mind. If Kim had gotten his note, even if it was accidental, did that mean they were on a date now? Ron didn't think you were supposed to go on dates with your best friend. He wondered if he was breaking some law of nature.
"So, uh, why did you and Amelia switch lockers?" he asked.
"Mr. Larkin made her switch as a punishment. Apparently she was talking too much to people in her own grade who had the lockers around her, and kept being late to class, so Mr. Larkin wanted her to have a locker on the other end of the hall. I volunteered to switch with her."
Kim thought for a moment, and then leaned forward across the table and looked at Ron in excitement. "I was asking Mr. Larkin earlier, and apparently some of the lockers have electrical outlets in them. Amelia's locker has one too. I've been thinking about how maybe I could hook up a computer in my locker."
Ron was nonplussed. A computer? He knew that Kim had enjoyed building her new website, but he couldn't imagine it being so fun that she'd want to play with a computer in her locker.
"Why do you want that?"
"Well," said Kim, "When we rescued Mr. Paisley and Mr. McHenry from that laser grid, that was totally spanking, right? Even if he didn't give me a Flamingoat as a reward."
Ron nodded hesitantly. He knew that Kim had enjoyed the outing, but Ron couldn't say he shared her sentiments. For some reason, anytime he remembered visiting Mr. Paisley's mansion to help defuse the grid, vague images of a giant stone creature flitted about in the depths of his mind. Maybe a giant stone ape. Ron had no idea where the bizarre images came from, but his recollection of the visit to Mr. Paisley's house definitely weren't as spanking as Kim's apparently were.
"I've been thinking about doing more things like that," Kim continued. "Not just babysitting, but actually helping people out. I said I can do anything on my website, right? Maybe it's braggy, but I don't know - it could be fun!"
Kim leaned even closer, seeming to become more excited by the second. "And not only that, but I've been reading stuff on the internet about supervillains. It's fascinating! I had no idea where were so many people trying to take over the world, and nobody seems to do anything about it. I mean, beyond this one group of people in Upperton, Team Blow or something. But still, you know how I got mom to sign me up for some of those martial arts classes - maybe I could fight evil someday too!"
"And I didn't tell you this, I guess it's a little embarrassing, but I didn't make the whole site myself – I actually talked to this guy online, Wade, that looked over my site and helped clean it up. And he's been reading about these supervillains too! He made my site look so much better, he's gotta be like 30 years old or something with how good he is at computers. But Ron, it's like I have all these ideas and everything is starting to come together and -"
Ron smiled and nodded as Kim went on, although at this point she was starting to talk a little too fast for him to keep up. From the gist of it, Ron got the feeling that Kim was planning a lot of new activities, some of which would involve great danger.
Ron knew he would be volunteered to come along on these activities. He had known Kim forever. Almost a decade, in fact. Something Ron had discovered during that time was that Kim ran on all engines, all the time. And being best friends with her meant that Ron was always along for the ride.
Kim grinned sheepishly. "Sorry Ron, I guess I'm boring you."
"No, no, all that sounds like it would rock. And I think you could do it, KP. I mean, it's true, you can do anything."
Kim smiled and bashfully toyed with her red ponytail.
The bears kept up their song and dance on the stage, and the disco ball hanging above the play room made Kim's braces flash like fire in her mouth. Ron winced, but he didn't mind it. He liked to see Kim smile. She had kept her mouth closed the first day after she had gotten her braces, but Ron had convinced her that her smile was too pretty to hide, with or without braces.
Ron was still a little stung by the fact that Amelia had ditched him for Brick, even if Brick didn't look like he was a willing participant in the unexpected switch. Although the two of them had been missing for such a long time that Ron wondered if they were getting along better than Brick had expected. Despite missing out on his date with Amelia, however, Ron decided that he was more than happy to be hanging out with his best friend.
"So," he said to Kim, "Could I interest my beautiful date in a succulent slice of cheese pizza?"
Kim stared at Ron for a moment, taken aback by his lame attempt at suaveness, before she burst out laughing. Ron knew she was not being mean, and he laughed with her.
"That sounds tasty," Kim admitted.
"And after that," Ron continued, "perhaps we could share a romantic jump into the ball pit over there!"
"I think the twins might have already claimed that," Kim said as she got up with Ron to get a slice of pizza, "but maybe when we get a chance."
Ron skipped over to the food court as Rufus leaped up from the table to perch on his shoulder. Ron's disappointment was already dissipating as Amelia slipped from his mind. Pizza and a night of hanging out at J.P. Bearymore's with his best friend – Ron decided that things could have gone a lot worse.
As he thought about it, Ron decided that perhaps fighting evil with Kim wouldn't be so bad either. At least as long as he didn't have to parachute from planes or deal with monkeys. But even if Kim wanted to do both of those things, Ron would be there. He was sure of that. Ron always had his best friend's back.
Notes - That's it! Let me know what you think. For those of you who did not read this from the contest, I hope you liked it, and for those of you who did, I hope you liked the new scenes. They weren't major but I thought a couple of them would be amusing and maybe give a little more insight into Kim and Ron and their thoughts on their dates. Also I couldn't resist writing a little more Amelia and Brick.
If anyone read this who hasn't read any of my stuff before and wants to read something similar, I guess my story A Little Lemon might be closest in tone and in terms of being very Kim/Ron-centric. So there's my suggestion for further reading! :-p