As you are aware, the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers belong to Saban Entertainment. Just about all the characters you will see in this piece are Saban's. For the record, this fic takes place near the end of 2003. I've worked out a timeline for some major PR events for the sake of this story, so pay attention: the Countdown occurred in the end of 1999 (since it was predicted by the Millennium Message), and I heard that PRLG takes off five years afterwards, so I placed it in early 2005. So this fic takes place a little over a year before the space colony has been fully developed. Also, for the sake of my stories, Trini, Zack, and Jason left Angel Grove in November of 1995, yet had they remained, they would've graduated in 1997 with the Turbo team. As for the song, it's Mariah Carey... again.

I Still Believe
by Rachel D Dawson

It had been years since she last stepped foot in the building. It was very different, with surfing memorabilia and trophies against the walls, and the absence of any sports equipment on the lower level. It was more a restaurant than a hangout, complete with many more tables, a fuller menu, and waiters that circled the entire floor, taking orders and carrying trays.

Still, while the appearance of the restaurant didn't trigger memories, the atmosphere hadn't changed. The vast majority of the clientele seemed to be high school students, conversing excitedly over burgers, chilidogs, and smoothies.

"Hello, and welcome to the Surf Spot," said a teenaged waitress, her high ponytail swinging as she grabbed a menu, "Is it one for lunch?"

"Yes it is," the woman answered, greeting the teen with a warm smile.

"Would you like a table, or a seat at the bar?"

"The bar will be fine."

"Right this way!"

The woman followed the girl between tables, and took a seat on one of the elevated stools stationed next to the aqua-hued bar. She leaned her briefcase against the bar, and adjusted the collar on her cream satin blouse before looking at the menu.

"Someone will be here shortly to take your order," the waitress said cheerfully, before leaving. The woman skimmed over the menu, which was far more diverse than what was served at the Youth Center.

"But they still have the Veggie Pita Platter, and banana shakes," she noted, a grin crossing her lips, "What a stroll down memory lane."

"Can I help you, ma'am?"

"Yes, I'll have the Veggie..."

Her voice caught in her throat when she looked up from the menu, and laid eyes upon the young man behind the bar. He had the deep tawny complexion distinguishable to those of North African descent, which only enhanced the pearly whiteness of his toothy smile. Hazel eyes shone from beneath wavy, mahogany-colored bangs, which seemed to emit a smile of their own.

He looks so much like...

"uh... the Veggie Pita Platter, and a banana shake," she finished, releasing a breath. The young man fixed her with a curious look before turning to hand in her order.

"Excuse me!" she called, an almost urgent tone to her voice, "What's your name?"

The young man turned around, and pointed to his gold nametag. "Paul. Paul Hasada."

"Hasada," she repeated thoughtfully, "You wouldn't be related to a Richard Hasada... would you?"

At the question, the young man's smile returned. "Yeah," he answered, leaning against the counter towards her, "he's my big brother! How do you know him?"

"I went to school with him for a few months," she answered.

"Wow, so you're an Angel Grove High alum?" he inquired with interest, "What class are you?"

"I would've graduated in 1997, but I moved to Geneva for the World Peace Conference. I finished up high school there, as a matter of fact."

Paul's eyes widened at that. "You wouldn't be Trini Kwan, would you?"

Trini almost gasped at his insight. "How'd you know?"

He favored her with a knowing grin as he stepped away from the counter. "Richie talked a lot about you," he answered, "I'll be right back; lemme put in your order, or you'll be here awhile."

Trini kept her dark eyes on Paul's back as he disappeared into the kitchen. After he was out of eyeshot, Trini leaned her elbow on the counter, completely thunderstruck.

Of all the coincidences... Richie had a younger brother that was practically a dead-ringer for him, who just happened to have the same job he did eight years earlier.

She pursed her lips together tightly, as memories filled her mind. She inclined her head to the lower level of the restaurant. Even though it was filled with circular tables brimming with teens, all she saw was the smooth tiles of the gym floor. For the occasion, the gym equipment was cleared away, to make room for small goals at either end.

It was then, at the first broom ball practice, that she saw him. Smiling brightly, he kindly returned the rogue ball to the players.

"Oh, that's Richie," Kimberly had related to her, "He's a new kid in school. He's super, super nice!"

"And cute too," was her own dreamy response.

While Richie Hasada was certainly not her first crush, it was the first time she was literally slapped in the face with one. It wasn't love at first sight... a sensible woman like Trini didn't believe in such things... still there was an undeniable attraction. An interest that was so strong it was practically unbearable.

She had felt so embarrassed when she stared at him, unsure how much time she stood in awe of the light in his eyes. And now, eight years later, a blush crept on her cheeks just as rosy as the day she met him.

You look in my eyes
And I get emotional inside
I know it's crazy but
You still can touch my heart.
And after all this time,
You'd think that I,
I wouldn't feel the same
But time melts into nothing
And nothing's changed.

"Nothing's changed," she whispered to herself, sighing inwardly and shaking her head in amazement as she fished through her briefcase. She couldn't believe just the thought of Richie had stirred such powerful feelings within her. He wasn't even there, but just the memory was so intense that it affected her in the here and now.

How pathetic can I possibly be? she wondered, pulling out her itinerary, I haven't seen the man in eight years, and I'm still fawning over him like a schoolgirl!

She hadn't come to Angel Grove to see Richie. No, she wasn't even here to visit her parents. In fact, her entire family had moved from California while she was in college, in pursuit of a promotion that offered her father more money, as well as a closer proximity to her aging grandparents in Illinois. In fact, she hadn't even visited Angel Grove since she helped her parents move, not long before the Countdown. Thankfully, her parents had left just in time to avoid the climactic alien attack that focused in Angel Grove, and nearly razed the city to the ground.

However, it was that famed Countdown that did indirectly bring her to California again. That event gave birth to NASADA's space colony program, the GSA. With the aid of Earth's new ally KO-35, humans have developed the technology needed for hyper-speed travel, making it possible to visit other planets within a lifetime.

The goal of the GSA was to send a space colony on a mission to find another planet suitable for human life by January of 2005. Ever since 2001, however, NASADA has been preparing for this grand venture, establishing the GSA Academy to provide physically and mentally disciplined candidates with the technical and psychological training they'd need to staff the space colony, tentatively named Terra Venture. Also, the actual ship itself was already complete, and was ready for the first stages of testing.

However, other than the actual staff of Terra Venture, who should be allowed the opportunity to migrate to this New World? There was only enough room on the ship for approximately three hundred civilians, but how would the selection be made?

That was what the New World Conference was to determine. And that was why Trini found herself in Angel Grove.

The conference would span one week, and would include a variety of meetings in both Angel Grove, the home of NASADA, as well as Los Angeles. This week of meetings immediately followed a lengthy conference in Geneva, at the World Peace Conference headquarters, and would conclude in New York, in the United Nations. But now, the delegates were to familiarize themselves with Terra Venture itself, and the challenge ahead for the people selected to join the crew.

Trini had arrived in Angel Grove for the conference, but she couldn't resist a quick lunch stop at the Youth Center... which was now the Surf Spot. But, was it possible that deep down, she was hoping she'd still find Richie wiping down the countertops?

It was truly ludicrous to think so, especially since Zack had heard from his cousin Curtis that Richie was accepted into Georgetown after graduation. It wasn't even likely he still lived in Angel Grove.

Still, since his brother was in Angel Grove, perhaps she'd be able to get a phone number to reach him?

It was only two o'clock after all, and according to her itinerary her day was free until five that evening, for a dinner and discussion panel at the Civic Center. It was totally conceivable she could get Richie's number from Paul, or perhaps even drop by his office if he works in town...

"Dear God," she moaned, grasping her forehead, "I'm not that desperate!"

"I'm sorry?" Paul said, frowning slightly as he rested the large glass on the counter. Trini's eyes leapt from the itinerary, and her lips pursed with contained embarrassment as she slid the sheet back into her briefcase.

"Just thinking aloud," she confessed, an embarrassed smile peaking out despite her attempt to hide it.

"Your platter'll be out in a sec," Paul said, leaning against the counter casually. He watched Trini take a sip from her milkshake, and shrugged his eyebrows when she glanced up at him.

"It's terrific," she confessed, "Fresh bananas and everything."

Paul grinned proudly. "Richie showed me how it was done after he worked here a few months. But he landed a job in the mailroom at the Angel Grove Gazette during his spring break that year, and worked there through the rest of high school. It ate up a lot of his time, but he did get the chance to actually work on the paper... helping with the layout, running errands for the reporters and stuff."

"That's wonderful," Trini commented with a genuine smile, "So, did he go to Georgetown?"

"Yep, he studied there for five years. Submatriculated, and got his Master's degree in Journalism. All that work at the Gazette really got him into journalism, and newspaper publishing."

"I'm glad he found such a clear goal," Trini stated, a thoughtful expression on her face. She glanced up at Paul timidly, before dropping her gaze back to her shake.

"So," she ventured, playing with the straw idly, "where'd he end up? DC?"

"Nah," Paul muttered, wrinkling his nose slightly, "Richie hated it out there. Too much hustle and bustle. He likes living the slow-paced life."

"He always did like nature," Trini recalled, speaking more to herself than her companion, "He'd go roller-blading, bike riding, or even hiking." She cleared her throat, forcing herself to stop immersing her mind in half-faded memories and anchor herself in the present. "So, where is he now?" she repeated, trying her best not too appear too anxious for the information.

Her nervous, forced smile was met by an amused grin from the teen. "He's in Angel Grove. He's a reporter for the Angel Grove Gazette."

Paul looked up when a portly woman with long braids waved at him from the kitchen. "One second, Adelle!" he called, before leaning again to Trini. "I'll be right back."

Trini bit her lip, absently stirring her milkshake and staring into the whirlpool of thick ice cream. She couldn't believe it... Richie was still in Angel Grove! She could conceivably pay him a visit, if for nothing else than to rekindle a worthwhile friendship. And... who knows? Perhaps she had a second chance to start something that should've begun eight years ago?

Her teeth were still thoughtfully clamped over her bottom lip when Paul placed her meal before her.

"Thanks a lot," she said, reaching for the ketchup.

"By the way, Richie should be in the office all day today," Paul whispered, "The Gazette's on Kennedy Pike, about half a mile from Stone Canyon. I'll see you around, Trini."

Trini smiled, and watched Paul return to the kitchen. She then turned her attention to her lunch, slowly chewing the sandwich as a dozen questions raced through her mind in a panicked flurry.

What if he's married? What are the chances that someone like Richie would be alone for so long? Guys like him don't stay single... that just doesn't make sense. Especially if he's got such a great job, with terrific prospects for the future. Would he even remember her? True, even his younger brother was able to recall her name, but Paul had said that Richie "talked" a lot about her. Past tense. Obviously, she wasn't the foremost thing on his mind.

What did she expect from him? That he would sit and wait for her, as she wandered around the world? And even if he was still single, and even if he still was interested, where could their relationship possibly lead? She still lived and worked in Geneva, and he was in Angel Grove. Things were exactly the same as they were in high school... only their present locations were more permanent.

She knew she couldn't expect him to fall in love with her. She didn't even know what he really felt about her in high school. Still, she couldn't quench that flicker of hope that still warmed her heart, no matter how much cold logic she could try to douse it with. The flicker remained, and she couldn't just ignore it.

I still believe, someday you and me,
Will find ourselves in love again.
I had a dream, someday you and me,
Will find ourselves in love again.

"I really must be losing my mind," Trini muttered under her breath as she fished through her wallet. She passed the money over the front seat to the driver.

"Thanks, ma'am, and have a nice stay in Angel Grove."

Trini smiled her thanks, and slid out of the yellow cab. She stood still on the sidewalk, both hands tightly grasping her leather suitcase. Her eyes trailed along the silver letters that spelled The Angel Grove Gazette, and then fell to the glass doors sliding open and closed just two yards away from her.

Richie was somewhere in that building, and the very thought made her shiver with a strange mixture of anticipation and anxiety.

I'm going to look so foolish, parading into the building like this, she realized, as she took a timid step forward. That one step was followed closely by another, and soon she was walking smoothly into the building at a regular pace.

There was no point in shrinking back now. If nothing else, this encounter would put a final answer to the question that had been floating in and out of her mind for eight years.

What if?

It was amazing how thoughts of Richie had impeded her romantic life ever since. They never even had a relationship, and she only knew him for two weeks or so. Still, every time she had been approached by a man since, she kept wondering... what if she did get another chance with Richie? What if she was only ruining her chances of happiness if she allowed herself to fall in love with someone else?

What if Richie was "the one" that was her perfect match? She never really put much faith in such romantic fantasies- that was always Daydreamin' Kim's department. But still, what if it were true? Could she risk losing happiness?

These questions, on the nature of romantic love and her feelings for Richie, could be maddening at times. An answer... any answer was preferable to the void that is her future, in which anything is possible.

If nothing else, she wanted to eliminate a few possibilities.

"Welcome to the Angel Grove Gazette," the elderly receptionist stated, glancing over her desk at Trini, "How can I help you?"

"I'm looking for Richard Hasada, but I'm afraid I don't know his extension."

"And who may I ask is looking for him?"

Trini paused for a moment. "A friend from high school," she decided.

The receptionist smiled instantly at Trini's response. "Richie is such a sweetheart," she commented, pulling her phone off the hook, "He always asks me if I want anything when he goes to lunch..."

Trini waited anxiously as the receptionist made the call, yet a warm smile spread onto her lips at the thought of Richie's innate kindness.

"I'm sorry, but he's away from his desk. Should I leave a message?"

Trini pursed her lips in thought. She knew she wouldn't be able to build up the courage to come back, and she also knew how awkward it would be to just leave him a message.

"Is there any way I can wait for him?" she asked, shuffling her feet slightly with anxiety.

"Is it that important? I could page him-"

"No!" Trini said abruptly, "I mean, it's not that important. But I'm staying in Angel Grove for a short time, and I was hoping I could touch base with him before my schedule gets hectic."

The receptionist nodded with understanding. "Well, I don't think he's at lunch, so he must be around somewhere. You could wait at his desk if you'd like. He's on the eleventh floor, east wing. His name's on the wall of the cubicle."

Trini nodded, her grip once again tightening around her briefcase handle. "Thank you very much," she said, stepping towards the elevator.

After a few seconds, Trini stepped out on the eleventh floor. The room was a virtual maze of cubicles, but each wall was only about four feet high, so the occupants wouldn't feel so caged. Trini slowly perused the names on the side of each cubicle, carefully avoiding the racing reporters that hurried around the newsroom. Finally, at the end of the hallway just feet from the editor's office, was Richie's station.

She smiled when she noted the gold plaque with his name etched on in bold letters. She slowly ran her fingers along the outline of his last name.

Hasada. Trini Hasada. Trini Kwan-Hasada...?

Her smile fell into a bitter frown when she realized what she was doing.

"I'm not in fifth grade," she scolded herself under her breath, as she sharply drew her hand away from the plaque. She drew in a deep breath, shaking her head in amazement at what she was doing. There she was, a twenty-four year old woman, being trained as a diplomat. And suddenly, she had been reduced to a lovesick kid, complete with gastric butterflies.

"Um, excuse me... are you looking for Richie?"

Trini turned around sharply, and locked eyes with a man carrying a large cardboard box. He looked a few years older than her, and he wore large glasses that nearly slid off his nose.

"Yes," she responded after a moment, "Do you know where he is?"

"He's in a meeting with Editorial."

The man noticed Trini's face fall slightly.

"...but, he should be done soon," he added, shifting the box into one arm to free one hand. "I'm Eric, by the way."

"Trini," she answered, shaking his hand. She noticed the man nod, an interested expression on his face.

"Pleased to meet you," he greeted, releasing her hand to catch the box before it fell, "Uh, take a seat in Richie's chair. He shouldn't be more than ten minutes."

"Thank you," Trini said, watching the slender man leave. She vaguely wondered why Eric had reacted that way when he discovered her name, until she sat down in Richie's chair.

It was a comfortable chair, and the flexibility of the cushion gave testament to its frequent use. The desk itself was very large, with a laptop sitting on the top, and numerous stacks of papers. Still, the large load of paperwork was neatly organized.

"He was always neat," she recalled, her eyes falling upon a flash of metal. She slid the large pile out of the way, and lifted the brass picture frame for inspection.

"Now I'm fishing through his stuff," she sighed wearily. Still, she couldn't resist taking a look.

No... no wife in the photo. Just Richie, Paul, and their parents, standing in front of their Angel Grove home.

That was a good sign.

"Only one picture?" she whispered, slightly surprised. She continued looking around the small space, and then noted the frames hanging on the small space of wall above the wide filing cabinet. The first frame was of his college degree. The second was a photo of his college graduation, with his extended family surrounding him.

Trini's mouth slid open in amazement as she noted the third frame.

Within was a news clipping of the Angel Grove Gazette, in the Community column. It was a small article, occupying about two columns of text, with a small photograph in the center.

The headline read "Three Local Students Chosen for Peace Conference."

Trini was so overwhelmed by her discovery, she felt her eyes sting slightly. The photograph was of her, Jason, and Zack, taken during the farewell party Ernie had thrown at the Youth Center, to wish them well.

"He... he kept it," she whispered incredulously, pursing her trembling lips together as she reached out. Her fingertips gently brushed the wooden frame, and her teary eyes skimmed over the contents of the article.

This could only mean one thing: Richie cared about her very much. It was equivalent to having her picture on his desk! That was probably why Eric knew who she was... Richie must've talked about her!

"My God," she whispered in horror, her hand flying to her face. Her skin touched the moisture left by a tear, and she shuddered in disbelief.

"I can't let him see me this way," she muttered, hastily rising to her feet, "It's so... wrong!"

She began taking deep, calming breaths, as she reached for her briefcase and hurried through the maze of cubicles, desperation speeding her step.

Each day of my life
I'm filled with all the joy I could find.
You know that I am not the desperate type.
If there's one spark of hope left in my grasp
I'll hold it with both hands.
It's worth the risk of burning to have a second chance.

They were tears of joy that she shed. She was so completely overwhelmed by the very idea of Richie caring enough about her to be reminded of her daily, that the dam just burst, and the tears fell.

But at the same time, she couldn't meet Richie after eight years in that state. She couldn't let him see her crying with joy because of the frame. She was so embarrassed by her emotive reaction she couldn't make eye contact with anyone at the Gazette.

She wanted to sink into the wall.

"I can't believe this is happening to me!" she groaned loudly, exhaling dramatically as she sat on her hotel bed, "I ran away!"

Trini just wasn't good at dealing with the unexpected. She liked to be prepared for everything, or else she had no control over the situation. True, she didn't have a script memorized for her reunion with Richie, but she certainly didn't want it to include tears.

Her muscles were tense with anxiety as she slid her pumps off her feet, and peeled her nylon stockings from her legs. The entire day was overwhelming for her! She was back in Angel Grove, and she was almost certain Richie carried some sort of torch for her.

And then the dinner conference heralded in even more good news.

It was decided that a representative from the Geneva headquarters of the World Peace Conference should oversee the selection process of candidates for Terra Venture. Whoever was appointed to that position would have to live in Angel Grove for the next year, until Terra Venture is ready to depart.

Twelve months in Angel Grove... it was too good to be true! Plenty of time to create some kind of foundation for a relationship, and definitely enough time to plan out what they'd do after they were separated again. Perhaps, the Peace Conference would want a representative to stay with NASADA indefinitely, to work with any future programs dealing with interplanetary relations, or further colonies.

While it is true Trini is a very young member of the Conference, the fact that she is a native of Angel Grove, as well as an accomplished student in diplomacy and organization, would make her an excellent candidate for the position.

"But... how can I bring myself to reach Richie again?" she questioned, lying backward and sinking into the soft mattress, "I can't go back to the Gazette... that'd be too embarrassing!"

Suddenly, the shrill ring of the telephone seized her flighty attention. She wearily raised herself from the bed, and lifted the receiver. "Hello?"

^Trini? Uh... hi.^

Trini froze, her eyes widening at the soft, almost timid voice that had always managed to catch her breath in her throat.

^It's Richie.^

"Hi, Richie," Trini breathed, after she had recovered from her amazement. She slowly sat back on the side of her bed as she searched for the next words to say. "How's it going?"

She rolled her eyes at her own foolishness.

^Everything's great,^ he answered, the uncertainty in his voice giving away his discomfort. That made Trini feel a bit less foolish.

"So, how'd you think to call me?" Trini inquired, her brow furrowing with curiosity. After all, she hadn't even seen him, much less leave him her phone number.

^Well, my brother and my co-worker Eric told me you were in town,^ he answered, ^and the receptionist Dorothy told me that an exotic Asian woman was looking for me. I knew it had to be you, even before I talked to Eric and Paul.^

She felt the heat rise in her cheeks, and she pursed her lips together tightly to prohibit a squeal of delight from escaping.

^So... you had dinner?^

"Actually, I just got back-"

^How about dessert, then?^ he interrupted.

"Sounds terrific," she said honestly, turning to face the mirror on the vanity. She unclipped her flowing ebony hair, and fingered her bangs carefully. "What time's good for you?"

There was a long pause, until she received an answer. ^Actually, I'm... I'm in the lobby.^

Trini blinked in surprise. "You're here?"

^Yeah... but take all the time you need...^

"I'll be down in five minutes," she said, an excited smile creeping onto he lips.

^Terrific. See you soon.^

When the phone clicked on the other end, Trini released the excited squeal she had just managed to hold in. Once she recovered her senses, she raced to her suitcase, rummaging through her work clothes to find something appropriate.

No, no, no, no, no, no I need you baby.
I still believe that we can be together.
If we believe that true love never has to end,
Then we must know that we will love again.

"Good evening, and welcome to The Beanery. Two?"


"Right this way."

Richie gestured Trini to walk before him, as the pair followed the waiter between the circular wooden tables to the corner table by the window of the homey coffee shop. Once the waiter placed the menus on the table, Richie was quick to step in front of Trini, and pull her seat out. She smiled gratefully as she sat down, and watched Richie remove his blazer, and take a seat.

He hastily picked up his menu, glancing up at her to grin tenderly before he began perusing the restaurant's offerings.

Trini lifted her own menu, but couldn't help but gaze at Richie as inconspicuously as possible. He hadn't changed at all, despite the eight years that had passed since their last encounter. He still had the dancing light in his eyes, heartwarming grin, and gentle mannerisms that made him the perfect gentleman in high school. In addition, his charming timidity hadn't changed much, as was quite evident by how often he stumbled over words.

He was just as adorable as he was the first day they met.

"So," Richie ventured, his gaze still examining the menu, "does anything look good to you?"

Trini blinked, her eyes instantly falling to the menu that she hadn't paid much attention to. "Uh... I've never been to The Beanery before. Do you have any recommendations?"

Richie grinned. "Actually, the s'mores are dynamite, and they've got literally a dozen different kinds of dessert coffees to choose from."

Trini nodded, biting her peach lip before looking back at the menu.

"So," Richie uttered again, lying his menu on the table and gazing at her timidly, "you're in town for the New World Conference?"

She nodded, smiling slightly at his insight. "How'd you know?"

"The Gazette's running a series on the various conferences held on Terra Venture," he answered, nervously loosening his tie, "In fact, I was assigned to cover the Angel Grove conference myself."

Trini's eyes widened. "So you were at the discussion this evening?"

"Part of it. We weren't allowed to actually sit in on the discussion, since we couldn't interview the officials or anything. We saw it televised in the Press Conference room. But there's also a press conference later in the week, after the decision has been made as to who will stay in Angel Grove to preside over the selection process for Terra Venture's population."

She kept her gaze locked with his. "So you know all about that," she realized.

He nodded, biting his lip as he turned away from her gaze. He made eye contact with the waiter, who then moved over to their table.

"Yes, I think we're ready to order," Richie said, "We'll have s'mores for two, please."

"And to drink?"

"Irish coffee," he responded, handing the waiter the menu.

"And I'll have a chai, please?" Trini requested.

"I'll be right back," the waiter said, as he departed.

Richie then turned back to Trini, who was still avidly awaiting him to reprise their conversation.

"Is there... uh..." Richie stuttered, toying with his napkin absently, "any way you could be selected to stay in Angel Grove?"

Trini couldn't resist a smile. "I'm a pretty good candidate, but that decision won't be made until the entire conference is over."

Richie nodded, pursing his lips. Trini leaned forward, planting her elbows on the table. "But, I do hope I'm selected. I'd love to come back to Angel Grove."

Richie perked up at that. "Really?"


Richie's smile broadened. "That's terrific!" His face then became more serious, as he rested his clenched hands on the table. "Um... Trini... I think I should apologize, for not keeping in touch-"

Trini smiled gently, reaching across the table and bringing her hand to his in the most tender touch possible. "Richie, it's entirely my fault we lost contact. Things just got so busy in Geneva, and before I knew it, a month had gone by! And then..." her voice died as she withdrew her hands from his, "I... I felt silly when I tried to call you."

Richie blinked, his brow furrowing slightly with curiosity. "Why?"

She felt the heat rising in her cheeks, but she tried to push passed the onslaught of her building nerves. "We... uh..."

She cringed slightly as her throat closed up.

Richie then smiled gently, and he nodded in understanding. "We never did get together to study," he commented.

Trini giggled softly at his response. "Exactly."

He shrugged, leaning back in his seat as his eyes glanced toward the window beside them, filled with busy pedestrians on the sidewalk and dozens of cars moving along the busy street. "Why don't we do it this week?"

Trini blinked in confusion. "Do what?"

"Get together and study."

" what?" she asked, after a short interim.

He chuckled, a hint of nervousness in his voice. "I'll be honest with you... I didn't really want to study eight years ago. I wanted to invite you to rent a movie. For my English class, our assignment was to examine Lawrence Olivier's film 'Hamlet,' and I figured I'd invite you over." He lifted his gaze, his charming grin widening. "So, we could do that, if you're interested."

Trini repressed another laugh, for fear he would take her humor the wrong way. Instead, she grinned widely, nodding her head. "Sounds good," she decided, "We'll take it one step at a time."

Richie smiled excitedly, leaning forward and locking his gaze with hers. "Starting from right where we left off."

I still believe, someday you and me,
Will find ourselves in love again.
I had a dream... you and me
Will find ourselves
In love again...