[I haven't even asked anyone], he thought, flipping through a book of photographs half-heartedly. He wanted to know if there any results on Jason, but at the same time, he was finding his thoughts drawn irresistibly to both the former and current Pink Rangers. [It's not like I haven't had chances. ..]three school dances had came and went since then, but he had spent all of them at home, trying hard not to think of all the dances he and Kim had went to together.
[Kat is so beautiful. . .]he let the image of his friend and teammate wander through his mind for a moment, considering it in opposition to his tiny and beautiful ex-girlfriend Kim. Total opposites, but he found that he was caring about both of them. [I can't do that. I have to pick one or the others. ..well, not really. Kim broke off our relationship fairly firmly.]
That was still a pain in his heart. The Red Ranger had found himself wondering for months afterward just how long Kim had been thinking about breaking up with him, if she'd just waited until she were three thousand miles away before saying anything about it to him. And why hadn't she called...or written again, to anyone. ..since then? That letter had been the last any of them had heard of her. He knew Billy had tried to call her a couple of times, but according to the ex-Blue Ranger, she had always been out when he had called.
With a deep sigh, he got up. He would deal with his love-life later. Right now, he had to check and see how Jason was. They would probably be at the Youth Center by now. He checked his reflection quickly, wanting to look his best. After all, Kat would be there! * * *
As Kat left the Youth Center, she wondered if Tommy would ever have the courage to ask her out. Then she sighed to herself. [I should know better. The shadow of Kim is still on him.] She hated thinking in hyperbole like that, but there it was. The wounds of Kim's 'Dear Tommy' letter were still wide in her friend, and Kat wasn't stupid enough to think that just she could heal them.
She paused for a moment as she glanced at a payphone she passed on the way home. [I wonder. . .]Kat only thought about it for a moment before heading home as fast as she could. She had a phone call to make.* * *
"Great move, Casanova," Adam chuckled a little as he clapped a hand on his leader's shoulder, more at the expression on Tommy's face than anything else. Jason nodded as he moved up to Tommy's other side.
"Why didn't you ask her out, man?" the Gold Ranger wondered. Kat was [exactly] the type that Tommy was suited for, Jason thought. Kim was someone who needed a mothering, nurturing stance in her relationship. Tommy didn't need that anymore, he needed an equal and a partner, someone with shared experiences. He needed Kat, and Jason knew it.
The Red Ranger shook his head. "What are you talking about? She wouldn't want to go out with me!" [I'm the one with the crush on her. She's probably got some boyfriend in Australia. ..]then again, she had been living here for a couple of years.
"Hello!" Tanya almost rolled her eyes. "She's obviously interested in you!" Interested was one way to put it. Kat had told her yellow companion not long after they had assumed the Zeo powers that she loved Tommy, but respected his love for Kim too much to even begin to interfere. She had been content to just be his friend, if that was all it was meant to be.
An expression of joined confusion and hope touched his face. "You think so? Really? Wow, me and Kat. . .," Tommy let one of his favored fantasies drift across his mind, of the two of them together. ..
Adam grinned. "You wouldn't be afraid to ask her out?"
"No, you know, but if I'm going to ask her out, I want it to be the perfect first date," Tommy reassured them. The others all agreed. It wasn't easy to have [any] sort of date when you were a Power Ranger...but Tommy found himself very determined that this would be a date to be remembered.* * *
Kat looked up the number quickly, her fingers almost shaking as she dialed. She didn't do this sort of thing very often, for which she knew her parents were grateful. [It's not as if I'm calling home,] she thought as the phone on the other end began to ring. [Just calling a friend. . .]
"Gunther Schmidt's compound, Jill speaking, how can I help you?" a female voice picked up the phone after a couple of rings.
"I'd like to speak to Kimberly Hart please," the Pink Zeo Ranger said. "Tell her that it's important."
"One moment, please."
Kat clenched her fists as she waited for the reply. This was a spur of the moment decision in many ways, but she wasn't going to say yes or no to Tommy until she knew how Kim really felt. She wouldn't feel right either way.
The familiar voice of her predecessor came to the phone. It sounded a little different than it had the last time Kat had heard it, somewhat more mature, but tired at the same time. "Hello?"
"Kim? This is Kat."
Life literally flooded back into Kim's voice. "Kat? Hi!! It's been a while! Why haven't you called sooner?"
"Things have been kind of busy around here," Kat found a comfortable place to sit and curled up. "Billy tried to call you before he left, but you were always out."
She heard something in the background that was probably Kim settling down herself. "Yeah, I know. It's been a real madhouse around here the last few weeks. Ummm. ..how's Tommy doing?"
"Not too badly," Kat reported. "I. ..I think he's considering asking me out," she half-blurted the words out. "And I wanted to talk to you before I said yes or no."
Kim was silent for a moment. "To ask me about the letter?"
"Yeah. I guess. . .sort of to get your permission, in a way," Kat wondered what she would do if Kim said she still wanted Tommy. . .[I'll go back to what I was. ..to looking from afar, and hoping I find love somewhere else. ..with someone else.]
Kim took a long breath, and Kat bit her lip, praying wordlessly, she knew not for what. Then, her friend spoke. "If you guys want to go out," and there was not a trifle of reluctance in her voice, not one bit whatsoever. "Then I hope you guys make a wonderful couple. Good luck with him, Kat. I think you guys will look magnificent together."
"Are you certain?"
"Yes," Kim's voice was firm. "I'll be coming down to visit in a couple of months, and I'll explain everything then. But I broke up with Tommy for reasons that haven't changed. I wish the two of you good luck. Make him happy, Kat."
The Pink Ranger's voice literally soared with joy. "I will, Kim. And thank you. ..for everything. And I wish you luck with whoever your boyfriend is now too."
"Thank you, Kat. I've got to go now," before Kat could say anything else, Kim hung up. Quietly, she headed out of the room and back to the training area. She whispered to herself softly, "I wish I had a new boyfriend, Kat. But I do wish you luck with Tommy. You guys were made for each other. Don't throw it away."* * *
Rocky and Tommy were just starting a workout in their usual area at the Youth Center. Ernie's luau was later that day, and Tommy still hadn't asked Kat out yet. As the two of them grappled, he found his gaze drawn irresistibly to the Pink Ranger as she taught some girls the basics of ballet, and barely noticed when Rocky flipped him over and pinned him.
"Come on," Rocky hauled his leader up. "Hey, man, why don't you just go ask her? I mean, the luau's today."
Tommy glanced over, then back to the Blue Ranger. "I don't know. Are you sure she wants to go out with me?"
"Are you kidding me?" Rocky grinned. Tommy could be [so] insecure at times!! "Just go, come on!"
Slowly, Tommy made his way over to where Kat was just dismissing the class. As he came up behind her and tapped her shoulder, she turned around, and smiled. "Oh, hey! How are you?"
"Good. What's going on?" Tommy tried to start a general conversation.
Kat smiled. "Not much. Did you see the girls? Aren't they terrific?" she asked. Since her talk with Kim the previous day, she had been waiting with baited breath to see if Tommy did ask her out or not. Could this be it?
"You're doing a great job with them," he congratulated her. Both of them fell silent for a few moments, Tommy almost too nervous to breath. What if she said no? What if she said yes? What if Kim returned and he found out he still loved her? What if . . .
Kat looked at him. "Is something wrong?"
"Wrong? No, no, not at all. I was just wondering if you'd heard about Ernie's luau," Tommy grasped quickly at the words, as if they would slip away if he didn't speak them swiftly.
"Oh, yeah, Tanya told me about it. It sounds like fun, I thought I might check it out," she glanced up at him curiously. "Are you going to go?"
Tommy took a breath. "Yeah, I am. that's what I'm kinda here about it. Look, I was wondering if you'd like to ...go with me?"
"You mean like on a date?" Kat had to ask it, she had to know.
"Yeah, yeah, no, no," his mind almost fell apart! "I mean, if you're busy.. ."
Kat smiled quietly. "No. I'd love to." [I've been waiting so long for this. ..thank you, Kim.]
Tommy smiled back at her. It looked like things were going to be looking up at last for his love life. With graduation looming in just a short while, he had taken what could be his last chance for love with someone who could understand him. . .and he prayed with every bit of his soul that it would be worth it.
And after their [second] date, totally uninterrupted by Cogs, he knew that it was.
But what happened then is another story.