Always a Ranger - Part 27
News at Eleven
By Jeannine Trevizo
Tommy turned off the TV after seeing Cassidy’s broadcast. It wasn’t bad, considering everything.
Catching the news was actually part of his habit; maybe he could call it a ritual… The team would fight with Mesogog’s goons and then beat the monster. They’d all then come back to the basement command center and debriefing, and then he’d send them home afterwards. Then he’d climb the stairs and watch some TV, eat some dinner and call Kim.
It wasn’t a bad way to spend a day by his standards.
Without a second thought, he got up and headed to the kitchen. Prying the stubborn refrigerator door open, he pulled out a container of refrigerated leftovers and heated them up. Eating was mechanical, he didn’t even sit down as he leaned against the counter and stuck the fork into the microwave container, into his mouth and back again. In truth, his attention to meals alone had never been high on his priority list, and it had been that way for probably the last seven years. It was only when Kim was there that he actually cared. It was lucky for him that her being there everyday was going to happen soon. Then he might actually eat decent meals.
Tossing the empty container in the sink for a light wash before making its way to the dishwasher, he headed back to the fridge and pulled out a bottle of the latest six-pack of MGD he’d bought. Usually it was a way to unwind from a long day. Instead, today he put it back and pulled out a pitcher of iced tea, and then went hunting for a clean glass.
Iced tea in hand, he headed back out to the living room, picking up the phone on his way. The number was indelibly etched into his memory now, which made it just like every other thing about Kimberly… a part of him.
It took a few seconds for him to dial the number, but when it started to ring, he settled on the couch and stuck his feet up on the coffee table, taking a sip of the tea.
“Hello?” said Kim from her end of the line and the country.
“Hey Kim,” he said, setting the glass down on the table before him.
“Tommy, hey! How are you? How’s the team?”
“Good. Missing you, but that’s not news, is it?”
Kim smiled on her end of the line, settling on her own couch as she let herself enjoy their regular phone call and get their fix of one another before she could be there in person.
“Nope. Especially when I’m feeling the same way.”
Tommy smiled and reached for the tea glass. He took a swallow and continued the conversation. Kim always seemed to leave him parched…
“So the team’s okay. They’re still getting used to having Trent with them, and Conner with his Triassic powers. Although Hayley did figure out a way to keep Kira and Ethan morphed when they share power with Conner to give him the Triassic power.”
“You know, it’s never easy dealing with new powers, is it? I mean, how many did we go through before I left for Florida… three maybe? And each time it was all about adjusting to them.”
“It could have been worse. Ethan and Kira could have lost their powers for good when Conner got the shield,” Tommy remarked coolly, remembering his own losses.
“Not only would you not let that happen, but I don’t think Conner would leave his team mates out in the cold like that,” Kim quickly mentioned, knowing that Tommy would never put someone through what he’d been through himself.
“True… Conner, Ethan and Kira are really tight. Just like the original team was before I joined.”
“And you know you ended up blending with us in a matter of weeks Tommy. Don’t be melodramatic. And Trent will get comfortable with the team too. He was on the other side for a lot longer than you were,” she reminded him, “but you’ve said they’re making progress already.”
“Yeah, though Trent still hasn’t been too open with me, Kira or the others. Its funny, he seems like there’s something still holding him back. I don’t know…” he said, letting his unformed thoughts trail off.
“He’ll come around in his own time. But how are you doing… really? Any nightmares?”
He had to stop and think about what she was asking. Ever since Zeltrax, he’d been wrestling with his subconscious, and his sleeping patterns had been blown to smithereens. He was glad school wasn’t in session, or he’d be sleepwalking at six a.m. to get to class.
“Nothing that you here and sleeping with me won’t sure,” he fired off nonchalantly.
“Please, you can’t fool me. I told you that it wasn’t your fault. You have to believe that and let it go.”
“I just wonder if there was something else I could have done…”
Kim sighed on her end and wished she was there. This was just the kind of behavior she was expecting from him. The Oliver guilt complex was her biggest enemy in keeping Tommy focused. But it was part of what made him a good leader and a kind man… things that made him the man she loved.
“Maybe, maybe not. But you did what you did, and now it’s time to move on. How about you tell me about your recent battle? I know there had to be one… you have this habit of calling me afterwards.”
“How did you…”
“It’s me Tommy. I know you.”
He smiled, realizing again just how true that was.
“I know you do Beautiful. Anyway, Kira helped Cassidy, the journalism girl from the high school get a job at the TV station as a reporter.”
“How did that happen? I got the impression from Kira, Conner and Ethan that Cassidy was a stuck up bitch?”
“I have no idea. All I know is that Ethan and Kira have been being nice to her recently. Maybe they finally took pity on her and thought they’d try being nice.”
“Being nice to Bulk and Skull only ended up causing us more headaches in the long run,” Kim mused, remembering the pair of troublemakers that had caused her more than a few embarrassments in high school in their hunt for the power rangers.
“Bulk and Skull were their own problem. Cassidy seems… misguided. And the ego the girl has needs a reality check,” he joked.
“So, what’s she doing at the station?”
“They gave her a reporting assignment: a petting zoo opening…” he started, and Kim laughed.
“Oh boy, from what I’ve heard from the kids, her having to walk though animals and their crap was probably on the top of her list.”
“Well, she ended up getting an exclusive…”
Kim fell silent, and her heart pounded in her chest. She couldn’t have gotten the ranger’s identities, or Tommy wouldn’t be so relaxed.
“What was it?”
“She caught some battle footage of the team taking on the Jupitor monster at the station. It was pretty well shot, and the station was pretty happy with it. They aired it and she got some face time, introducing the footage. She actually did pretty well.”
“Wow… Cassidy’s a reporter now, and it sounds like she’s pretty famous with an exclusive like that. You guys just seem to have more fun that we ever did. I mean, starlets, pop stars, news personalities… what’s next, Nobel scientists?” Kim asked humorously.
“Unless Billy or Hayley win it within the next few months, no, I doubt that. But I still would rather the simple bad guys like King Mondo or Rita from the old days.”
“Speaking of the old days, I got an e-mail from Adam. He says that he’s really glad he took that job in San Francisco, even if Rocky and Tanya were sad to see him go. I guess that the studio’s bookings have increased by ten percent since he got there.”
“I got an e-mail about that from him too… wonder why he e-mailed us separately,” Tommy mused, then remembered Adam’s post-script about whether or not he’d made any decisions about his and Kim’s future.
“Who knows. Maybe he forgot to copy you along with everyone else.”
“Probably. Any news from Zack?”
“He decided to stay put in Vegas. Said the money was too good there, and that the RENT gig was too short a run. Besides, he’s talking like he might be able to get a small business loan soon to open up his studio.”
“Wow. Between him and Aisha with the clinic, we have some impressive friends.”
“Oh yeah, says the man with the PhD,” complained Kim with a laugh.
“I got really lucky. If Hayley hadn’t been there to keep me on track…” began Tommy, before he trailed off, wondering how that sounded to Kim.
Tommy knew that he had never spoken to Kim about his friendship with Hayley. Sure, he’d said that she was instrumental in creating the dino technology, but the issue was the past, not the present. He wouldn’t be surprised at all if Kim thought he and Hayley had… but they hadn’t. Still, from the reports from the team about Kim and Hayley’s first meeting while he’d been encased in that amber prison, there was some intense conflict between the two.
And his reminding Kim of his friendship with Hayley probably didn’t help matters much.
“It is good that she was there,” Kim said finally, understanding her love’s concern. “And I don’t begrudge her the time she spent with you when I wasn’t around. She’d your friend. I’m not threatened. Or at least not anymore since I heard about her and Billy.”
“Which I understand is going to heat up again once Billy gets another chance to take some time off from his duties on Aquitar and come to visit. Supposedly he’s going to get a hotel, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Hayley offers up her spare bedroom,” Tommy suggested.
“Just like you’d offer me your spare bedroom, I assume?”
“I don’t have one.”
“Sure you do… I saw it,” Kim argued.
“NO, I mean for you, there is NO spare room. The only place you’re sleeping is in our bed.”
On her end, Kim couldn’t help but smile and shake her head. Since she and Tommy had put their relationship back on track after so long, he’d become as possessive and jealous as he ever had been, if not worse.
Not that she really was complaining.
“I guess that means when we get into a fight, you’ll be sleeping on the couch,” she laughed, imaging years of her and Tommy together… and the realities of a relationship.
“No way. No only do I not fit on the couch, my mother taught me never to go to sleep angry,” he stated seriously.
“Oh boy, I see lots of long nights in our future.”
“I don’t plan on us fighting very often Kim, but I have to say that I like the sound of that… our future.”
“Just about three weeks or so now,” Tommy reminded her.
“I know. I have to start making plans about the apartment.”
“You’re still shipping your things out here, right?”
“It seems the best idea,” Kim admitted. “I have to find a shipping company though. I asked around and have a few recommendations.”
The sound of a familiar chime from his wrist interrupted him before he could say anything else.
“Kim…” he started with a sigh.
“I know, duty calls. I understand. I love you and I’ll talk to you soon.”
“I love you too.”
With that, Tommy hung up, dropping the phone on the couch as he headed downstairs to see what the situation was, his mind trying to focus on Mesogog and bad guys rather than the woman who was his life.
To be continued…
A/N2: sorry it’s short. But I promise future installments will make up for it.
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