Always a Ranger - Part 11
Beyond the Sea
By Jeannine Trevizo
There were a lot of things that Kira didn’t care for, and the way that Trent’s father seemed to treat him these days was one of them. Trent had dreams, but Mercer didn’t seem to care what those dreams were or if Trent even wanted to follow in his footsteps. His agenda was all mapped out, and he was going to haul his son along, even if that wasn’t what was best for *him*.
She’d been seeing it for a while, but yesterday’s phone call before the Turboflowershark monster showed up had really brought it all home. Of course, the fact that she’d been looking forward to the time with Trent for days before hand didn’t help. Still, what Mercer was doing to his son was wrong, and she wasn’t the type of girl that would hold her tongue when she saw something that she felt was unfair.
“I don’t know why he treats you like that,” Kira complained as Trent came around the counter to stand in front of where she sat at the bar.
Trent dropped his head, trying to not stare at the girl whom he found so intriguing. It was just his luck that every time he started to get to know her better, his dad or something else conspired to pull them in opposite directions. Two of those ‘things’ that seemed to get between him and his attempts to spend time with Kira sat now at the LAN connections lining the back wall – Ethan and Conner. No matter that everyone said that the three were nothing more than friends, Trent still felt at a disadvantage. They spent so much time together. What chance did he have with Kira?
Still, he really wasn’t having much luck finding time to spend with Kira on his own front, what with his dad’s recent obsession with grooming him to take over the business. He sighed and brought his eyes up to meet Kira’s.
“He’s a good dad. He wants to make sure I’m taken care of. It’s just that he wants different things for me than I want for myself.”
Kira nodded. She’d gotten that much from her few encounters with Mercer. She still didn’t understand his relationship with his son though. Or with Dr. O for that matter. But Dr. O was an adult, and could work out his own issues with is former partner on his own. Trent was another matter. And how Mercer seemed to be throwing away his son’s talents for his own ambition was where her concern lay.
“So, would you’d like to do something with your art? You’re really good at that. Maybe you could be a comic artist after graduating?”
“Maybe. Or I thought I’d look into art school, maybe do digital effects, like for LucasArts or one of the other digital companies.”
“That would be so cool!”
There was a moment of awkward tension as they felt the connection, but it only lasted a second, as Trent and Kira both backed up emotionally.
“Yeah. I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to look at the art I’m working on for your demo yesterday,” Trent commented embarrassed.
“That’s okay. I mean, you can show it to me today, right?” she asked with a smile and her own nervous tone to her voice.
“Uhh, sorry… my dad scheduled a meeting with me and one of his advisors today after I leave. Maybe Friday?” Trent said with some apprehension, hoping that Kira wouldn’t be upset.
“Ohh. I understand. Well, maybe Friday then,” she replied, her smile sliding slightly.
“Great. Anyhow, I have to go. I’ll see you in class tomorrow.”
With that, Trent headed for the door, with Kira watching him leave. She’d just barely let out sigh of depression before Ethan and Conner appeared on either side of her, watching her watch Trent leave.
“You like Trent?” Ethan asked in a shocked voice.
“He’s a friend,” Kira defended, turning on her seat to smack at her fellow ranger. “I still haven’t gotten to see the demo designs yet. His dad had been keeping him on a short leash.”
“Come on Kira, admit it. You like him for more than his helping you out with your demo cover,” Conner commented, wiggling his eyebrows as he dropped down onto the stool beside her, throwing an arm around her shoulder conspiratorially. “Why don’t you ask him out?”
Shoving at his arm, Kira furiously stared at Conner. How dare he!
“It’s not like that!” she nearly yelled. “What? Do you guys still have Nikki on the brain that anyone who even remotely shows interest in someone of the opposite sex has to be in love or lust or something?”
Startled, both Conner and Ethan backed up, and Kira jumped from her seat and stalked towards the door, leaving her teammates in the dust. The two male rangers watched their female counterpart slam the door behind her, and then turned to each other with looks of astonishment.
“The lady doth protest too much,” smirked Ethan, and the two laughed together.
It had been a long day, and Tommy Oliver was more than ready to crash and worry about the lesson plan for the rest of the week when he woke up. But he wasn’t going to be able to sleep if he didn’t make his call.
Tommy picked up the phone and pressed the speed dial for Kim. With all the calls he’d been making to her since they’d really heated things up, he’d decided to just program it into his phone. Actually, as the phone rang, he thought about the discussions they’d had recently about their phone calls. The last time they’d e-mailed each other, he’d suggested getting a better long distance plan, or cell phones, but Kim had reminded him that there was only a few more months before she’d be leaving for Greece, making that idea not the best one.
She had told him that signing up for some plan for 2 years when by the fall she’d be living with him didn’t make much sense. And as good as cell phone service was, she didn’t think that she’d be getting service in Athens. Grudgingly, he’d acquiesced, but was making his plans to make sure that he’d still get his fix of his love while she was in Athens… he planned to send her a stack of International calling cards before she left for the games.
Finally the phone stopped ringing and he heard one of his favorite words in the English language spoken by his most favorite person in the world.
“Hey Beautiful,” he said as he felt is emotions rise at the sound of her voice across the line.
“Hey yourself handsome. So, what’s the news today? More monsters or a tough day at school?” she asked happily.
“Both. You know how it is. No rest for the weary.”
“Yeah, I get that. What else is new,” she smirked over the phone, and he couldn’t help but smile.
“So, really, is there anything new? I heard a rumor that you had a celebrity in town.”
“Should I even ask how you heard about that?” Tommy questioned, assuming that one of the infatuated guys had to e-mail Kim and tell her the whole story, not mentioning the acne part though, he was sure.
“Entertainment television tonight. They made a big deal about that Ocean Watch starlet being in Reefside.”
“Nikki Valentina. Boy, prima dona doesn’t even scratch the surface on her. But we made sure she stayed safe,” he remarked with a touch of irritation.
“What, you guys came to the rescue, but failed to gain her notice? You mean she ignored the hunk of hot ranger in black spandex?”
“She totally blew off all the male rangers,” he said with a verbal shrug.
“Good. That means I don’t have to go kill her then,” she stated in a tone that didn’t sound all that joking.
Tommy had to grin at that. After Principal Randall’s attentions, he’d realized that Kim had just as protective and territorial an attitude over him as he had about her. Of course, after they’d been together just a few weeks back, everything had really crystallized. He couldn’t say how he’d take to someone hitting on Kim right now, but he had to think that it wouldn’t be pretty.
“No, you don’t have to go hunt her down Beautiful. There’s only one woman in my life right now Kim, and considering how enthusiastic you when you were here, I don’t think I could handle more than just you.”
“Just you remember that.”
“Speaking of love connections, it seems that Kira might have a gentleman friend,” Kim commented off-handedly, even though Tommy could tell from the tone of her voice it was anything but.
“I don’t know what you mean Kim,” Tommy replied dumbly, shifting on the couch to stretch out his feet.
“She mentioned a young man in her classes who works at the cybercafe. Trent. I believe he’s Mercer’s son.”
“Right, Trent... she and he are friends.”
“You really are dense, aren’t you?” she asked with a hint of humor coloring her voice.
“What?” he asked curiously and concerned.
“She’s interested in him. And she thinks he might be interested in her. Ethan mentioned something similar in a recent e-mail. Seems that you have a ranger in love on your hands.”
“You must be mistaken. I would have noticed if they were dating.”
“Not if there wasn’t anything like that going on. They’re not dating Tommy. They’re just circling, you know, trying to figure out if the other person shares their feelings. Come on, you can’t tell me that you’ve forgotten the first year of our ‘relationship’, have you?” Kim asked, surprised.
At her words, Tommy started to figure out exactly what Kim was talking about. The memories of Kim and him during those early months of their ‘courtship’ bubbled up, flowing through his mind like fine wine. The coy looks, the little comments, the need to check on one another, the nervous smiles and glances away. God, how had he missed it he thought suddenly.
“Oh boy. Well, I was expecting it to be Conner first, but….”
“To start having to perfect the ‘date’ lying. I mean, between Jason and Rocky, I watched the guy rangers dating attempts fall apart around me. I was figuring it would be Conner with a girlfriend first.”
“You need to stop being such a sexist.”
“Me? Sexist?” he asked offended.
“Yes you, Mr. White Knight. How many times did you come to my rescue during the day? And when you couldn’t rescue me, you went into the whole guilt trip thing. Kira isn’t a delicate flower. Hell, I wish I’d been half the tough chick she is when I was in uniform.”
“You were Kim. I just always was overprotective of you. Even if I didn’t have to be.”
“And this stopped when?” she asked with a laugh, and he couldn’t help but join her.
“Okay, maybe I haven’t gotten past trying to take care of you. Can I help it if I love you so damn much that I want to make sure nothing ever touches you or makes you feel pain?”
“You can’t protect me, or Kira for that matter from the world.”
“So, do you think that there’s something there?”
“Maybe. They’ll have to figure it out themselves.”
“I just hope it goes better than our early days,” Tommy commented seriously.
“Please. Unless Trent becomes some monster or turned evil or gets a ranger power, I don’t think you have to worry. I mean, you were mister sweet guy, rescuing me from Bulk and Skull, then the next you’d were all evil green ranger. There’s no way that Kira could be that unlucky.”
Tommy shrugged and thought back. Damn, how the hell had he been lucky enough to get Kim after nearly trying to kill her?
“You know, one of these days, neither of us are going to remember that I tossed you and our friends from your zord as a first impression.”
“Sure we’re not. I’m sure that Jason will make some comment about it at our wedding.”
Once the words passed her lips, Kim suddenly went dead silent. She couldn’t believe what she’d suggested, and Tommy was just as dumbfounded. But he found his voice first.
“Beautiful, did you just insinuate that…”
“A slip of the tongue,” Kim demurred, but it didn’t sound convincing to either of them.
“You know I…” Tommy started to say when there was a knock at the door. “Hold that thought Kim.”
Without putting the phone down, he walked to the door with it still in hand. As he opened it up, he found Conner and Ethan at the door. Surprised, stood there with his hand on the frame, the other holding the phone to his ear.
“Hey guys, what’s up?”
“Sorry Dr. O, but we think we’ve got trouble,” announced Conner as he and the Ethan pushed into the living room.
“Kim,” Tommy started, then got cut off.
“I heard. Those rangers with their loud voices. Look, you take care of whatever is going on, and we’ll talk later. There’s nothing that’s urgent,” she insisted.
“But…” he stammered, still reeling with the Freudian slip Kim seemed to have made.
“No buts. Go save the world or whatever. I’ll be here when you get done.”
“Okay Kim. I’ll call you soon.”
“Be careful handsome,” Kim softly said, then got out in a rush, “I love you.”
“Love you too.”
With a quick jab at the talk button on his phone, Tommy then turned around to look at his rangers. The looks on their faces didn’t make him happy. Sighing, he turned and headed to the command center to figure out what the hell was going on, Ethan and Connor on his heels.
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