Author's Note: Now, normally a song like this would be used to describe some well-known couple that everyone, or at least a majority of everyones, agrees should be together or actually was together on the show. But since I am an avid worshipper of variety in all it's forms, I decided to do something a little different with this. Our story begins approximately one month after Passing of the Torch. The Phantom Ranger doesn't show up, and so far as this tale is concerned, doesn't even exist. Everyone with me so far? Good. Shall we begin?
She was everything that Carlos Valerte had ever wanted, needed, or dreamed of in a female. The moment he had laid eyes on her, the half-crush he had on Ashley Hammond had vanished as if it had never existed. The only thing he could think of was how long it would be until he could ask her out.
Of course, when he first met her, things were a little busy. The two of them had just been chosen by Adam Park and Kat Hillard to take their place on the Turbo Power Rangers team, and Cassie herself had just moved to Angel Grove, by accident. She had been intending to go to Stone Canyon to set herself up in the music business. A chance encounter and her own heart had led her into her new life.
And into Carlos' life. Not that he minded, of course. His every breath since seeing her had been taken with the faint hope that someday, somehow, she just might look in his direction and see more than just a fellow Ranger or a friend. So far, however, he felt as if his hopes were hopeless.
Sadly he toyed with a picture of her that he'd garnered when the whole group had went to the mall once and gotten pictures taken. Once they'd been developed, exchanges had taken place until each of them had one picture of each team member solo, and a group shot. The others Carlos had put in a drawer in his room. Cassie's he kept with him at all times, hidden in his wallet usually. But now, curled up in the Resource Room and all by himself, he stared at it with almost tears in his eyes.
The Fall Ball is coming up in three days, and I don't have a date, and I don't have the guts to ask her. She'd probably just tell me 'no thanks', anyway. Carlos recited the usual litany of every guy on the planet who had ever wanted a girl to go out with him yet didn't dare open his mouth and say the words. In some parts of his mind, he was scared if he did ask her, she would say yes, and what might happen after that was too terrifying for him to conceive.
He sighed, closing his eyes and letting the picture drop flat on his chest. He was so tired of dancing around his feelings for her, and not being able to let anyone else see what was going on in his heart. He dared not rush to her side either too soon or too late in battle, nor could he speak to her more often than any of the others. He was going to keep his emotions for her a tight secret until the day he died if he had to.
Gee, what happened to that little self-absorbed soccer player who was so convinced all he had to do to get Ashley on a regular basis was just to wave his title of 'greatest soccer ball kicker on the planet' in front of her face? He was disgusted with himself actually. He'd never acted this way around Ashley or any of the other girls that he'd dated over the last couple of years. Something about Cassie just made him tremble, inside and out, as if he were in the epicenter of an earthquake.
"So what are you doing, Carlos, trying to fall asleep here?" He almost jumped out of his skin at the sound of Justin's voice, and sat up quickly. Too quickly, the picture fluttered to the ground and attracted the young Blue Ranger's attention. "Is this yours?"
This is not my day. Carlos reached his hand out for the picture as Justin picked it up. "Yeah, it's mine. Give it here, would you?"
Justin was about to hand it over when he caught a good glimpse of who the picture was of, and smiled knowingly. "What are you doing with Cassie's picture?" he asked. "Do you like her?"
"Of course I like her, she's my friend." Carlos stated quickly, taking the picture and putting it away. "You know that, Justin."
The young boy shook his head. "I mean do you like her?" He hadn't hung around people who were in love for a year or so without picking up some of the signs, and Carlos was exhibiting every trait that his predecessor Adam had when the former Green Ranger had first started to fall in love with that girl Kimberly. Only Adam hadn't been anywhere nearly as obvious about it as Carlos was.
The Hispanic Ranger sighed. It was obvious he wasn't going to be able to hide this any longer, at least not from Justin. "Yeah, I do like her. I really like her. She's just so...perfect."
"So why don't you ask her out?" Justin asked sensibly. Girls had never made that much sense to him, though he had been occasionally noticing some of the older girls at the orphanage recently. It just didn't seem to be as all-encompassing as his friends found it, though. He presumed that was one of those things he'd understand once he got a little older.
At the moment, he was being entertained by the fact that Carlos appeared to be turning more shades of white and red than the Blue Ranger had ever considered possible by the laws of nature. "A..ask her out?" You would've thought he was talking about asking Divatox out or something! "You've got to be kidding me!"
"Carlos, I know I'm not exactly the expert on romance around here, but I do know that the only way to find out if a girl likes you is to ask her out. It's simple. You walk up to her, ask if she'd like to go somewhere with you, and then wait for her answer. Preferably without having a heart attack somewhere in there."
The Green Ranger stared at his friend for a few more seconds, waiting until his heart stopped racing before he actually spoke again. "I..I guess I could try." Something about actually having admitted how he felt to someone, even if it wasn't the actual object of his affections, gave him just a modicum of courage. "The worst that can happen is that she'll say no..." And I'll be completely embarrassed and humiliated and probably wind up joining the priesthood in shame one day. Eh, what the heck.
He squared his shoulders and smiled at Justin. "I think I will ask her."
I felt like I was falling forever, and I didn't mind one little bit. She smiled quietly to herself at the memory. The first moment their eyes had met, she had been gone forever. She had never wanted anyone else but him since then. And so far as she could tell, he barely knew she was alive. Well, I know he knows, since we're both Rangers, but he just doesn't do anything special. He's just there with me, like T.J. and Justin. He doesn't look at me, he doesn't even think about me as far as I can tell! It was enough to drive a sensible girl out of her mind.
With a sigh she set the brush down on her table and glanced at the picture residing in a carved frame on her nightstand. It had only been a month since she'd met him, and only about two weeks since the pictures had been taken. Since she'd gotten hers, it hadn't left her bedside. It was the only way she felt she could really be close to him.
Carlos Valerte. The Green Turbo Ranger. Quite probably the handsomest man she'd ever run into in her entire sixteen years of life. The way she'd traveled around, she'd run into quite a few good lookers, but they were always hollow inside, meaningless little do-nothings who probably couldn't have done anything useful if they'd tried. Unlike someone in green spandex she knew.
With the Fall Ball coming up shortly, she was hoping he would take the chance to ask her out, but it didn't look as if that was going to happen. He had been acting just the same as he always had towards her, not one longing look, not one stammered attempt, nothing. She stared at her phone for a moment, wondering if it would be worth trying to call him up and ask him out to it. It was the nineties after all, she could do that if she wanted to! Maybe....
Her hand drifted briefly towards the phone, then pulled back when it suddenly began to ring. Who could that be? She was about to answer it, when she heard Mrs. Hammond's faint voice from below, speaking. Oh, it must be someone for her.
Cassie sighed and reached over for her guitar. She might as well put in some practice time. Maybe she could get Mr. Stone to let her sing a few songs at the dance, and she could somehow communicate through the music what she felt for Carlos.
But she had barely begun to tune the instrument, when Ashley's mother's voice floated up to her. "Cassie! Telephone for you!"
"All right." She called back down. It was probably nothing. Quickly she picked it up. "I got it!" As the phone below clicked, ensuring the privacy of she and whoever was calling her, she asked, "Yes?"
She almost fell out of her chair.
"Yeah." The Green Ranger gulped a little, and all the nervousness and hope she could have ever asked for was in his voice. "I was wondering, you know that Fall Ball the school's having this weekend?"
Those five responsible were now making their way into the Youth Center. Justin was dateless, but he was having a good time anyway in his miniature outfit. It was standard Ranger practice never to be alone if they could help it, since you never knew when the villains might strike. T.J. wasn't going to have any of his team vanishing just because they weren't with the group.
He himself was most definitely there, and with a date he would never have dreamed he would've had a few days earlier: Ashley Hammond. She had asked him out just the day before, just when he was thinking he was going to have to work up the nerve to ask some girl out! Now with himself in a semi-form tux and herself in a glittering yellow outfit, they headed up the Ranger-parade into the dance area.
Right behind them was Justin, who immediately looked around and headed over for the refreshments. He had an idea he was probably going to spend most of his night there.
Coming in last, but most definitely not least, were Cassie and Carlos, holding hands and looking as if they were both walking on air. Carlos wore a similar outfit to T.J.'s, with a green tie, while Cassie was encased in a shimmering pink knee-length dress. As far as the two of them were concerned, the rest of the dance-goers might as well not have even been there.
"This is so much fun," Cassie murmured some time later as she and Carlos swayed gently to a song. She didn't know what the title of it was, she barely heard the lyrics. All she knew was that she was with someone she had wanted to be with for quite some time.
"I know." Carlos didn't know any more about the music than she did, and he cared even less. "It's more fun because I'm with you."
Cassie smiled softly, then glanced over at the D.J. stand. She'd made an arrangement with Tanya, and something within her stirred, saying that now was the time. "I'll be right back." She carefully disengaged herself from him, and headed over there. Carlos watched her for a moment, then headed over to the refreshments area, where Justin was holding sway.
"So how have things been?" the Blue Ranger asked, grinning. "You two look as if you're having a great time!"
"Trust me, we are." Carlos sighed happily. "I have never been so happy in my life!"
Justin smiled, handing him a small cup of punch. "Now aren't you glad you asked her out?"
"Oh, yes," Carlos sipped lightly, then almost dropped the cup as music began to play and a soft voice was raised.
"I'd like to dedicate this song to my date for the evening," Cassie said, getting everyone's attention. "Carlos Valerte, I know we haven't known each other all that long, but I really like you, and I hope we can be together for a long time. This is for you."
She took a long breath, then as the music rose in time, began to sing in a rich, beautiful voice that sent chills and thrills down the Green Ranger's spine.
"Who needs explanations?" she asked quietly. Quietly the two drew together, then as the lights went down everywhere but around them, circling the two new romancing teenagers in a ring of light, their lips touched for the very first time ever.