Always a Ranger - Part 32

Against All Odds

By Jeannine Trevizo

 

 

 

If anyone had told Tommy the day he got the letter breaking his heart that nearly eight years later he’d be engaged to the love of his life he would have laughed in their face. It was against all the odds that he and Kim had found their way back together.

 

On the other hand, maybe it wasn’t. Jason had always said that they were meant for one another. Perhaps that was what had led them back to one another. When no one else would do for either of them, it was the only thing that they could do… find their way back to each other so they could be whole again.

 

He thought of that as he made his calls. He’s spoken to Kim briefly after arriving back in the states, and they’d agreed to start calling people about the engagement. He was only now, days later getting around to it. The first call had been to his parents, who were more than a little surprised. While he’d kept them in the loop about how he and Kim had finally settled things between them and were friends again, he had been a bit behind on informing them that he and Kim were serious again, even though that hadn’t happened until six months ago.

 

Next had been a call to David to let him know that his gift was going to be used sooner than later. He’d ended up talking briefly to Sam, who had simply said that he would be happy to accompany David to the wedding after Kimberly arrived in Reefside. As usually, Tommy took the older shaman’s words in stride. He’d long ago learned that Sam knew more than anyone really should, and simply thanked him again for advising David to send the rings.

 

Once he hung up with his brother, he knew he had one more call to make. He had to call the person that was going to give him hell about the engagement – Jason.

 

Flipping the pages in his address book, Tommy got to Jason’s page, and started to dial the phone. The other end rang a few times and finally Jase picked up.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Jason, hey…”

 

“Tommy,” Jason replied, recognizing his friend’s voice, “what’s news? Everything in Reefside okay?”

 

“Yeah, I just…” Tommy began and then paused, not sure how to tell his friend the news.

 

“What?”

 

“You’ve got maybe a month to finish the speech,” Tommy said finally with a slight hint of humor in his voice.

 

“You… I, she, you finally asked her?” Jason fired off in stuttering surprise. While his best friend had asked him about how to ask Kim, he was shocked at how soon it had happened.

 

“I did.”

 

“Congratulations!”

 

“So, you know you’re going to have to stand up for me,” Tommy stated, rather than asked, smiling widely at the thought of Jase by his side as Kim walked down the aisle at their wedding.

 

“Why else would I be writing the damn speech?” remarked Jason, and Tommy laughed on his end of the phone. “Who else knows?”

 

“Kim’s calling her parents and Aisha when she has time at the games. I already called my brother, and my parents…”

 

“And what did they think of having Kim as their future daughter in law?”

 

“They were surprised…”

 

“Why… I mean once I knew you two were back together I knew…”commented Jason, and as silence greeted him, he realized why Tommy’s parents would be surprised. “Don’t tell me you didn’t tell them?”

 

“I kept planning on telling them. But with the teaching job, Mesogog, Kim, the new rangers, me being back in uniform and the evil ranger… I just never got around to it.”

 

Jason sighed on the other end of the line. His friend was a good man, but had a horrible memory and even worse sense of communicating long distance. He still was amazed that Tommy had been able to make things work with Kim this time.

 

“Fine. So, have you set a date yet?”

 

“Not officially. We, well *I* sort of figured to wait for a few weeks until Kim got settled here before…”

 

“Okay, late September then. If I know you, you’ll have the ring around her finger before she can change her mind. I’ll put in the vacation request.”

 

“Sounds good.”

 

“You mind if I call Zack, Adam and Rocky?”

 

“Sure, no prob. Why do you want to tell them the news?” Tommy asked, curious.

 

“They owe me twenty bucks each,” replied Jason with laughter in his voice.

 

“You… you bet on how long it was going to take me to propose to Kim?” asked Tommy indignantly.

 

“They figured you’d wait at least until she got to Reefside, or a few months after that. I knew you wouldn’t be able to wait much longer, especially after you called about the ring.”

 

“I don’t believe you were betting on my love life,” Tommy sighed on his end of the phone and shook his head.

 

“How about I use my ill-gained winnings to buy the first round of drinks at your bachelor party. Will that make up for it?”

 

“Maybe.”

 

“Speaking of the proposal, she’s in Athens still, right? So how did you ask her? I mean, you had to ask her over the phone? Man, that’s really bad bro. You should have waited to do it face to face.”

 

“Uh, that’s not really how it happened…” Tommy started, his voice unsure, and he knew Jason would pick up on it, which he did

 

“Spill it Tommy. You know I’m going to find out anyway,” Jason reminded him in his own stern leader-like voice.

 

“Uh, I was in Athens two days ago,” admitted Tommy uncomfortably.

 

“What? Whoa, wait a second. Why did you do that? I mean, yeah, I know you love the woman and couldn’t wait to get that ring on her finger, but to fly to Greece?”

 

“It really wasn’t my idea… the team sort of said I should…”

 

“Wait, your team? Conner and the rest?”

 

“Mostly Kira, the new yellow ranger and Conner, but yeah. It’s a long story, and most of it not very good.”

 

There was a silence on Jason’s end, and Tommy knew that he couldn’t keep things like this from his friend. As it was, what he and Kim had gone through was something that he really needed to talk about. So he decided to go ahead and explain. With a sigh, Tommy began his tale of how he’d seen the picture of Kim with Chris, and then been persuaded to follow his gut and go ‘rescue’ her. He skimmed over the more intimate parts, and then went into the whole terrorist bombing.

 

“You guys okay?” asked Jason in shock and concern. He’d heard about the terrorist bombing, but had not been concerned about Kim because he hadn’t seen her name on the list of casualties. Now his concern was for their state of mind.

 

“Yeah. Kim got a bit scraped up, and I ended up getting a few paper stitches before I left for the states for a cut in my shoulder. Overall, I’ve been through worse. It was just the willful destruction and death, you know? I mean with Zedd and Rita and the others, even Mesogog, they’re aliens; they don’t care about humanity. But for other human beings to do that to people… it just…”

 

“It’s hard to think we can do that to each other,” Jase remarked, and Tommy confirmed his hypothesis. “So, you and Kim were there, being heroes, huh?”

 

“Yeah. You know, once a ranger…” Tommy said, and Jase laughed in understanding.

 

“So was this what prompted the proposal?”

 

“I didn’t want to leave without asking her, just in case…” Tommy explained, and Jason understood.

 

“How did she like the ring?”

 

“Uh… I didn’t have it. I promised she’d get it when she got to Reefside.”

 

Jason sighed. After all these years, he’d have thought that his friend would have invested in memory enhancing supplements or something. But no, he had to be so impetuous that he ran off to make sure he still had a girlfriend that he ended up not having the engagement ring with him when he finally got the courage up to ask her.

 

Greatest ranger ever, maybe… best memory, never.

 

“Well, as long as you asked her… You know bro, I’m really glad you and Kim are where you belong you know.”

 

“So am I.”

 

“E-mail me with the date, okay?” said Jason.

 

“Alright. Talk to you soon.”

 

With that, Jase hung up his end, and Tommy hung up his. Then like clockwork he reached for his remote control and turned on the Olympics, looking for that elusive shot of his fiancé, tape delayed and half a world away.

 

-

 

Kimberly Hart sat with the phone glued to her head in the athletes’ pavilion. She had finally been able to find the time to call Aisha about the engagement, who was now nearly screaming her ear off as Kim told her the news.

 

“You’re kidding?” Aisha asked, shocked beyond all reason. She knew things were serious with her best friend and their former fearless leader, but engaged…

 

“No. It was so… You wouldn’t believe the whole thing if I told you ‘sha,” demurred Kim, not wanting to air the disaster of Chris Masters, the catalyst of the whole thing even to her best friend. She was still upset with herself for even saying two words to the man.

 

“What’s the ring look like?”

 

“I don’t know. He didn’t bring it with him.”

 

“Same old Tommy – forgetful to the end. I mean, not bringing your engagement ring when he proposes to you. True to form.”

 

“He hadn’t really planned on asking me. It was a spur of the moment thing, you know?”

 

“Yeah. So, when are you finally making it legal?”

 

“I’m not sure. I mean I’m not out there yet, and we haven’t talked about how long we want to plan this out…” Kim rambled, and then realized there was something she still hadn’t brought up with the person who’d been her best friend since nearly the day they’d met. “You’re going to be with me in this, right?”

 

“Of course I will. I mean, no one could be happier about this than me. I knew you two were meant for one another. Just tell me when it’s going to be and I’ll be there,” Aisha stated.

 

Confused at Aisha’s reply, Kim wondered if she’d been clear, and decided to state her wishes more specifically.

 

“No… Aisha, I mean… will you stand up for me?”

 

“Oh my God, Kim… I’m so flattered, of course I will. I’m… Thank you,” Aisha said, shocked. “Kim, I know that you probably would have asked…”

 

“Stop it,” Kim snapped, and then softened her tone. “You’re one of my best friends. Yeah, I wish Trini could be here, but it just means I don’t have to make you flip a coin to see who got the job.”

 

Aisha couldn’t help but laugh at the image, remembering the raven haired ranger and thought that there might have been a fight to push for the best two out of three. Or maybe really fighting… Kim listened, and waited.

 

“Sorry, I was just imagining Trini and I arm wrestling for the honor.”

 

Then Kim laughed, and they both shared the moment. No matter Trini wasn’t with them in person, her spirit lived on in all of them.

 

“So, I’ll contact you after I get to Reefside with the date.”

 

“Sounds good girlfriend. You take care out there, and get those girls a gold, alright?”

 

“You got it. Bye ‘sha.”

 

Kim hung up the phone with a smile. There had been no doubt that Aisha and the rest of the team would be happy for her. However the last two calls she had on her list were the ones she was worried about – her parents. Her mom and Pierre were still in Paris, with Pierre’s art still selling very well and keeping them comfortable. Her dad was another matter. She had a number for him, but she was still torn if she wanted to call him. After the divorce, things had been tough, but in the last six years they’d drifted further and further apart.

 

Hell, she wasn’t even sure she wanted him to walk her down the aisle.

 

Still, that could wait. She needed to call her mom. Taking the phone back off the hook, she dialed her calling card number, then her mom’s number in Paris. The phone rang a few times before her mom answered in French.

 

“Hi mom,” Kim said.

 

“Kimberly! How are you?” Caroline asked, shifting from French to English in a second. “We’ve been watching the games. You’re girls are doing wonderfully.”

 

“Thanks. Anyway, that’s not really why I was calling.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“You remember I told you Tommy and I were talking again…”

 

“I remember. So, have things changed?”

 

“You could say that… he asked me to marry him yesterday.”

 

“You’re kidding!” Caroline exclaimed.

 

“Nope.”

 

“And?”

 

“What? I said yes.”

 

“This is so wonderful,” Caroline gushed, making Kim wonder what had happened to her normally conservative mother. “I knew that you were never happy after your breakup with him. He always seemed to make you so happy. I know that you probably thought that I was oblivious, but I knew you two really cared for each other.”

 

“I always thought you weren’t pleased with my being with Tommy, especially in the beginning.”

 

“Maybe, but I think I gained a new perspective after meeting Pierre. I learned that being with the person you love is the most important thing in the world. And I’m so happy that you’re finally going to get that chance again.”

 

“Thanks mom.”

 

“So, when is the wedding?”

 

“Sometime after I get to Reefside I guess. Maybe a few months, or longer depending. We haven’t gotten as far as to set a date.”

 

“Well, you call me when you get settled and let me know when Pierre and I need to come out. Have you called your father?”

 

Kim paused and wondered for the hundredth time since Tommy had asked her about her inviting her father to the wedding. She loved him, but things between them weren’t like they used to be. Still, it was her wedding, and he was her father.

 

“Not yet. Actually, I don’t have his number with me… I packed my address book to send to Reefside, and only had you and Aisha’s numbers memorized. Could you call him for me?”

 

“Kim…”

 

“Really mom… I’m not sure he’ll be happy, let alone want to come. And I don’t want to deal with it right now. Besides, I have to get to dinner with the team in fifteen minutes.”

 

Caroline sighed and wished again that her divorce with Kim’s father had gone better, and that her ex-husband had been more involved in his daughter’s life. But the choices had been made, and there wasn’t anything anyone could do about it. She was only glad that Kim had been able to find happiness with someone she really cared for.

 

“Alright, but you should call him when you get back to the states.”

 

“I will, thanks. Love you mom.”

 

“Love you too sweetie.”

 

With that, they hung up, and Kim turned and headed for the athletes’ cafeteria.

 

-

 

Gauging the time zone difference had been tough, but Kim was pretty sure she had figured it out. It was 9pm her time, which meant Tommy should be up in the U.S. and her calling wouldn’t wake him. Still she felt like the distance now was more an annoyance than ever. She just wanted the last of the finals to be over, so they could hand out the medals and she could get on a plane for home.

 

She’d gotten her ticket… for the first flight out the morning after the last of the women’s gymnastics medal ceremonies. When she’d explained to Anton she was planning on leaving on that first flight out, he’d nodded in understanding and informed her that she needed to check in with him before she left. Once that agreement had been finalized, she’d spent the rest of the last week in a daze: between the aftermath of the bombing, her engagement and the girls’ performances, she had been in a whirlwind of activity. And there was still the individual all around medals and the apparatus medal competitions still to go.

 

As it was, this was only her second call to Tommy since he’d gotten back to the U.S. The first had been right after the opening ceremonies had ended, and he’d just gotten into Reefside. The conversation had been brief, consisting of a lot of ‘I love you’s’ and ‘be careful’s’.

 

This was her first call to really speak with him, including giving him her flight number.

 

Her hands nearly trembled as she dialed her calling card number, and then the international code followed by Tommy’s number. The line rang with the slight transatlantic buzz before the ring, and after only the second ring on his end, she heard the line pick up.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Hi you,” Kim said, her voice suddenly full of emotion at just the sound of his on the line.

 

“Kim, God I’m so glad to hear from you,” he replied, his voice matching hers in its tone.

 

“I’m sorry I haven’t called sooner. I had so much going on here, and then I had to call Aisha and my mom about the engagement…”

 

“How did your mom take it?” Tommy asked, slightly worried.

 

“She’s thrilled. You’d think that I won the lottery or something,” she remarked, and then amended herself. “Which I think I did in a way.”

 

“Me too. I called David and my parents. They’re looking forward to you being Mrs. Oliver almost as much as me,” said Tommy, and Kim laughed on her end, shifting on her seat in the small phone booths in the athlete’s lounge. “And I called Jase. He was surprised that I asked you already, considering he knew you were there, and well… I ended up telling him about my flying to Athens.”

 

“What did he say?” Kim asked, concerned about what her dear friend might have thought of the circumstances of Tommy having to tax his credit card more to fly to Athens to make sure Kim hadn’t been stolen away by her ex.

 

“He was more concerned about the bombing. While he hadn’t seen your name in the injured or casualty lists, he’d been concerned for you, and when I told him how we’d been across the street…” Tommy explained in detail, “he was more than a little worried that we both were okay.”

 

“And are you? I know that I had a hard time sleeping that night, and the security here for the athletes has tripled. We’re being told that for our safety that we should stay close to the village or our venues.”

 

“I had a nightmare or two,” he admitted slightly, but refused to share more.

 

The last thing he wanted to tell her was he’d woken up after coming in from Athens in a cold sweat, his dream being of Kim walking alone along that street when the blast had occurred, and no one had been there to shield her, and the concussion blast had thrown her violently to the pavement, her body bleeding from a million shards of glass embedded in her skin.

 

“You know I’m okay, and I’ll stay that way,” she assured him, knowing instinctively that he was probably thinking up the worst that could happen before she could make her way to the safety of his arms. “Besides, I’m going to be so busy with the finals with the team, I will probably barely get time to eat.”

 

Tommy nodded on his end, still awed by this woman. How had he been so lucky…

 

“I saw they got the silver overall. You must be proud.”

 

“I am, but I’ll be glad when it’s all over.”

 

“When are you coming home? Which, by the way looks like a storage area.”

 

“The boxes got there? Oh good, I was starting to think they’d lost them…”

 

“They showed up three days ago. I guess you shipped them super cheap freight. Anyway, I would have called, but you really don’t have a number there that I can guarantee reaching you at.”

 

“I understand. And in less than a week I’ll be there.”

 

“That soon? But aren’t the closing ceremonies on the 29th…”

 

“They are, but the last of the individual women’s gymnastics competitions are on the 23rd, so I got the first flight out the next morning. Coach Gregor already said it was fine by him since I’ll have finished my job as soon as the last of the scores are announced. The rest is just pageantry.”

 

“Alright then, if you’re sure. What’s the flight number?” Tommy asked, getting up quickly to grab a piece of paper and pen from his desk.

 

“1572/601 on KLM. I’ll be leaving Athens at 5:45am, and arriving after a connection in Amsterdam in Reefside around 2pm. You think you can remember to come and pick me up at the airport?”

 

He laughed briefly as he wrote down the information in bold block letters.

 

“I can guarantee that I’ll remember. And if setting every alarm clock, computer meeting reminder and e-mailing our friends to make sure I get to the airport on time will convince you that I’ll be there then I’ll do it.”

 

Kim smirked on her end, and fought to not start laughing herself. She hated to tease him about his memory, but it was just so easy.

 

“Good.”

 

“So, how are things with the individual all around and the apparatus competitions looking? I know you guys had some problems in the preliminaries and the all around team. It looked a lot like little mistakes.”

 

At the mention of the team’s little errors, Kim groaned.

 

“Well, we got the silver, which you already know about, which wasn’t bad with everything we had to go through. I was worried about this kinda thing happening, the little mistakes that happen when you’re not as polished as you should be, as comfortable with the routines, and we got really lucky it wasn’t worse. As for the individual all-around, Carly’s most definitely looking good. But I’m just trying to focus on the things I can control… offering advice and assistance for the girls during the competition.”

 

“Which you do very well. I noticed you talking to Courtney after her placing fourth in the qualifying round. I think she really was glad you were there,” Tommy remarked.

 

“You saw that? Ugh, I looked horrible. I couldn’t get my hair to cooperate that morning, and had ended up just pinning it up and out of the way,” complained Kim.

 

“So? You will always look beautiful to me Beautiful.”

 

“That’s why I’m willing to marry you. No matter how I look, you still think I’m beautiful.”

 

“That’s it?” he remarked, a fake hurt tone to his voice.

 

“Well, maybe it’s because I love you and can’t live without you,” she relented, her voice dropping to a husky whisper.

 

“That’s better. I love you too Kim, and I can’t wait to have you here with me instead of looking for glimpses of you on delayed TV footage.”

 

“I feel the same way handsome.”

 

“Kim… you know I’d love to talk longer, but I have a syllabus due to the principal tomorrow at 8, and I…”

 

“Haven’t started it. Why am I not surprised. I’ll let you go and call you as soon as I can.”

 

“Love you,” said Tommy, his voice nearly cracking on the last word.

 

“Love you too handsome. Good luck.”

 

“You too.”

 

With that, Kim hung up and sighed. She missed him, and hearing him on the phone just reinforced that. Still, she had to remind herself as she got up and exited the booth, she was almost there… where she belonged.

 

And she could manage being alone just a little longer knowing that he was there waiting for her.

 

-End-

 

tbc…

 

A/N2: The next chapter will be posted next SATURDAY, August 28, which will get us back on our Saturday posting schedule. This will also be the true departure from the TV series, so chapters will no longer be tied to the weekly show.

 

GO TO THE PG VERSION OF CHAPTER 33

GO TO THE NC-17 VERSION OF CHAPTER 33

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