Paved With Good Intentions

By Jeannine Trevizo

 

 

 

 

True to my word, as soon as everything had been taken care of in regards to saving the world, I teleported back to my motel room in Miami. Unfortunately, when I got back, a few hours had passed and Kim was no longer here.

 

Sighing, I went to the end table near the bed, grabbed the phone and dialed Kim's room in the dorm, dropping to the comfortable mattress as the phone starts to ring.

 

"Hello," says the sweetest sounding voice on the planet as Kim answers the phone.

 

"Hey there Beautiful, I'm back," I announce over the phone line, my face plastered with a silly grin at the sound of her voice on the other end of the line. Boy, do I have it bad.

 

"Hey handsome, glad to have you back in one piece," she says in a sweet tone that I remember in my dreams.

 

"Did you talk to Coach Schmidt?"

 

"Yeah. He was upset that I'd decided to leave the program, but after I explained my reasoning, he seemed to be okay with it. In truth, I'm sure he really could care less. I mean, I'm really just another gymnast to him."

 

I stifled a growl at her words.

 

"You're not 'just another gymnast' Kim. And if he can't see that, then you're better off with people who can."

 

Through the phone I can almost hear her start to argue, then stop herself.

 

"Well, I know that you appreciate me," Kim replied, her voice catching on the word you.

 

"So, are you packed?"

 

There's a long pause on the line, and I feel a chill run down my spine. She wasn't backing out, was she?

 

"Kim?"

 

"I am. I asked Adelle to ship everything to the Angel Grove main Post Office. So I have a suitcase with my bare essentials in it. But I guess the issue is that I should leave the dorm, since I'm not a part of the team anymore. Except I don't have anywhere to go until we head back for Angel Grove," she explained, her tone edged with that seductive quality that I remembered from before Zordon had contacted me.

 

If I had been any more thick-headed, I might have missed the implications of what Kim had just said. If she left the dorm, the only place for her to stay would be with me in my room. Sure, I probably could afford getting her a room too, but if she wanted that, she would have asked me if I could get her a room. It sounded like she wanted me to invite her to my motel room, maybe to pick up where we left off, and I certainly didn't have any objections to that.

 

"Grab a bag and take a taxi to the motel. I'll wait for you and pay the driver."

 

A slight inhale of breath on the other end of the line indicates to me that she's surprised I picked up her meaning. Hell, so am I. But I wasn't about to forget the sexual tension that having her rubbing herself into my lap had created, and was on the verge of returning just by hearing her voice.

 

I wait for her to confirm my request and start to become nervous, as the line stays quiet. Maybe I misunderstood what she was implying in her comment. If that's the case I may have dealt a damaging blow to our recently repaired relationship.

 

"Are you sure you want..." she begins and then falters, the words refusing to come out.

 

Am I sure I want what Kim, I think to myself. You to come here? Definitely. You in my bed? You bet. You in a very decidedly physical way...

 

Shit.

 

"Kim, if you're uncomfortable, I can always get you another room, or I can sleep on the floor. I just thought that you..." I stammer hurriedly, realizing that I really jumped the gun.

 

"I do," she replies quietly, meekly, and for the first time I understand the fear that is driving her down this path.

 

The whole time she's been here she's been made to feel inadequate, that she doesn't measure up to the others. The last thing she can probably handle is not measuring up to my standards, as a woman. I shake my head at her silliness.

 

"Beautiful," I gently call her across the phone line, "*you* are what I want. All I've ever wanted. I look at you and I see the beautiful woman you are. You couldn't disappoint me if you tried."

 

For a second, I hear a snuffle come from her end of the line, and I worry that I've said too much, too fast.

 

"I just," Kim begins, and then pauses before she pushes on, "I know that I've lost a lot of weight, that I'm not the Kimberly you remember. I don't want you to regret your decision to take me back."

 

My hand grips the phone so tight I'm afraid the plastic case will break. I hate what the last few months has done to my Kim. It's as if her spirit was broken under the yoke of this dream that turned into a nightmare for her. And for me as well, if I'm going to be honest. So when I received her letter, I made a promise to myself to get her back. Now, like she was there for me when I lost my green ranger powers, I'll be here for her during this crisis of self-esteem, of herself.

 

"I have no regrets, except for the one that nearly allowed me to lose you in the first place. Kim, you know I love you, and I want you to be with me. So get off the phone and get yourself here."

 

A familiar, lighthearted giggle breaks loose from her, and I can feel the tension disappear even at this distance.

 

"Alright handsome, I'm on my way. I hope that you're ready," the smile and the seductive tone have returned to her voice, and I feel happy and anxious at this turn of events.

 

"You bet. I'll see you soon."

 

With that the line goes dead and I stare at the phone with a silly grin. Then I begin to panic as I realize exactly what we're agreeing to. This is it. Once we cross this line there's no going back. I won't be able to let her leave again.

 

I shove my hand in my back pocket and pull out my wallet. I have cash for the taxi, but that's not what I'm searching for. With a slight curse, I realize that it's empty of other things that I really think I'll need tonight, and for a long while after if I guess right.

 

No condom.

 

Okay, I think, starting to nervously pace as my hand runs through the hair at the back of my neck. I need to buy a pack of condoms before Kim gets here. If nothing ends up happening, then I just take them back to Angel Grove, and if everything works out once we're home I'll end up using them later. But if things go the way I think they seem to be, I'll need them tonight.

 

Damn, where do I go to buy a pack of condoms at... 9pm in a strange city?

 

I grab the plastic card key and head out the door in a rush. Hopefully there's a guy at the front counter so I don't look like a boorish oaf to some young woman for asking about a pharmacy when my girlfriend's arriving in possibly fifteen minutes.

 

My luck seems to be holding as I find an older man with graying temples behind the counter, probably working his second job or something. Steeling myself, I head for the front desk.

 

"Excuse me."

 

"Good evening sir, how can I help you?"

 

"Yes, do you know of a pharmacy close by?" I ask plainly, trying to be calm while inside I'm shaking. "Or even a local corner store?"

 

"There's a small mom and pop grocery nearby. Just go out the door, turn right and go down two blocks then turn right and it's another block down," the man informs me kindly.

 

With that, I'm out the door like a shot. I don't have a lot of time to waste.

 

----------

 

I'm standing at the front of the motel when Kim shows up in a cab. I smile as she looks out the window and catches my eyes.

 

Quickly I'm at her door as she starts to open it. Behind the wheel, the taxi driver is watching us as if he's waiting to make sure we don't stiff him on his fare.

 

"Sixteen dollars even," he tells me, and I reach into my back pocket and fish out a twenty, handing it through the passenger window.

 

"Keep it," I say as I shove my wallet back into my pocket, then take first Kim's sole piece of luggage and then her hand. "Let's go."

 

With that I escort Kim before me into the motel lobby and down the hall to my room. I notice that she's changed into a dark pink dress with slip on shoes. Easy access, and I reign in thoughts of peeling it off of her the moment we cross the threshold of my room.

 

Slowly we make our way down the hall. As we arrive at my door, I start to pull my hand from its' resting place at the small of Kim's back. The keycard is in my back pocket, next to the small pack of condoms I just bought.

 

Suddenly Kim catches my hand, stopping me before my touch leaves her body.

 

"Where's the key?" she asks almost breathlessly.

 

"My pocket, but I..." I start to explain before her hand reaches behind me and brushes along my ass before it dives into the pocket with the key and the condoms.

 

I feel the pressure in my pocket increase with her hand in there as well, then it all disappears as Kimberly drags her hand forward to look at what's she's discovered. Her eyes take on a wicked gleam as she looks from the five pack of condoms up at me.

 

"I guess you're not forgetful about everything," she says in a husky tone that has my head spinning. All I can do is shrug with an embarrassed, guilty look on my face.

 

Key card in hand, she quickly shoves it in the lock and opens the door. Turning, she backs into my dark motel room, motioning to me to follow with a crook of her finger.

 

She doesn't need to ask me twice. I cross the threshold and drop her bag on the floor. Painfully I make myself turn from her beckoning gaze to close and bolt the door, but only after I slip the 'Do Not Disturb' sign over the outside door handle.

 

Slowly spinning towards the dark room, I can hardly make out her silhouette against the closed drapes. Some light seeping through the cracks allows me to see her back lit by orange streetlights, and I find myself about to come apart at the seems if I can't touch her right this minute.

 

Moving forward towards the beckoning shadow before me, I swiftly find my hands wrapped around Kim's slim waist. With a gentle tug, she's in my arms, her chest against mine as her arms loop behind my head with a bit of difficulty, due to the height difference. My eyes are adjusting quickly to the dark, and I start to see Kim in more detail, her lips curved in a smile and her eyes staring at me with more emotion that I've ever seen.

 

I lean down and she leans up to meet me, and our lips touch, then cling. She moves to slant her head more, and I deepen the kiss, running my tongue along her mouth until her tongue snakes out to meet mine. One of my hands slips beyond her waist, cupping the cheek of her ass like I've always wanted to do. Under my mouth, I hear a mewl of pleasure from her, and my heart pounds faster at the sound.

 

Somehow my love/lust addled mind realizes that her hands have moved and one is now making its way down my chest. The warmth of her touch seeps through my white shirt, and I wish I didn't have on so many clothes. The thought of her soft hand on my skin is slowly making it hard to think of anything but more intimate activities, and I need to be sure that's what she wants before we go too far.

 

With more strength than I realized I had, I break the kiss, bringing my hands back to Kim's waist, but keeping my head down, close to hers. I watch as she licks her lips, her eyes never wavering from mine.

 

"Are you sure about this Beautiful?" I ask quietly, afraid to break the spell that seems to have settled on us in the dark of this room on the other side of the country from home.

 

"You're the one thing I've always been sure of," she replies in a smoky tone I know for a fact that I've never heard pass her lips, because it goes straight to my cock, bringing it painfully to life, confined in my jeans. "Please Tommy, I want to be with you. I want to know you completely, and for you to know me the same way."

 

Without a second thought I pull her tightly back to me and attack her mouth with both my passion for her as well as my deep devotion. All those years when I first saw her in the hallway at Angel Grove High, I knew I was hers. I had no doubt of it. It was something that was in my bones, my soul. Now, we're finally going to explore the true depths of that connection, and my blood is on fire with the thought.

 

I bring my hands up to her head and let my hands drag through Kim's caramel brown locks, and then my palms land on her shoulders. My thumbs slip beneath the cloth at the collar of her dress and brush against her skin.

 

"May I?" I ask in a breathy tone that belies my control, which is considerable since all I really want to do is rip this dress off her and throw her onto the bed.

 

"Please," she replies simply.

 

I move to the buttons that first caught my attention and slowly slip each one from their hole. As the cloth parts beneath my hands, I find my eyes plastered on soft, tan skin and then the front clasp of the palest satin pink bra I've ever had the fortune of seeing. Once I have sunk to my knees before her, the buttons of the dress undone to her waist, I carefully pull apart the fabric covering Kim's upper half and expose all of the soft curves beneath. With great difficulty, I drag my eyes from the sight before me to meet Kim's nervous ones. I can't believe that Kim could think I would find her as anything less than perfect to me, and I need to make sure she knows that.

 

"You are so beautiful, you know that don't you?" I whisper, awe and devotion dripping from my every word.

 

"You make me beautiful," she responds lovingly, her fingers tangling in my hair.

 

My fingers make quick work of the rest of the buttons until her matching pink panties and her legs come into view. Then the cloth falls like water to the floor as Kim takes the initiative and shrugs her shoulders from the garment, letting it slip from her body. Reaching forward, I wrap my hands around her waist and ease her to a sitting position on the bed. With slow, and I hope sensual movements, I slip off each of her shoes in turn.

 

Before my hands leave her delicate yet dangerous foot, I feel Kim's hands on my shoulders, pulling on the white shirt. Looking up, I see her request in her face, and quickly pull both my button down and the tank shirt off, tossing them near the floor at the end of the bed.

 

Once my chest is bare, I watch in anticipation as Kim's hands reach for me, the smooth, warm texture of her palms smoothing down to my waistband. Instead of asking me, this time she purposefully pops the metal button from its hole and pulls my zipper down, allowing my straining erection to finally get some breathing room. My face must have look of utter surprise at Kim's boldness, as she gives me a half smile, half smirk as she pushes on the waistband, trying to shove the heavy black jeans over my hips.

 

"I'm gonna need you to help me here," Kim says playfully, her voice tinged with more than a small amount of seductiveness.

 

In a matter of seconds, I'm up off the floor, nearly ripping the jeans, boots and socks so I stand before Kim in my white Jockey shorts, which are tented by my very obvious erection that points its way forward towards Kim. I feel a blush start and my cock jump as Kim stares directly at it, and I feel the need to refocus the attention elsewhere.

 

Without delay, I drop back to my knees again, and pull Kim forward on the edge of the bed. Reaching up from her waist, I move to the front clasp of her bra, and pause for a long moment, waiting to see if she's changed her mind and wants me to stop.

 

Instead I'm shocked when Kim's small hands come to rest over mine, and she guides my hands into opening the plastic fastener. Carefully I peel the satin away and stare at what I have always known would be the most perfect breasts on the planet, and elsewhere, considering how many places the rangers have gone to. Without conscious thought, I find my hands reaching up and palming the light weight of them. The softness of them is incredible, and I can't help squeezing them to better appreciate them.

 

"Ohhhh, God Tommy that feels so good," Kim moans.

 

I glance up at her and see her head lolling back, her eyes shut. A smile forms on my lips, and then I think of what would feel better as I move my right hand so I can latch onto the pink nipple with my mouth. The taste of her sends my senses reeling, and I use my free hand to pull her closer as she arches herself farther into me.

 

Lapping and nipping at her, Kim moans and sighs, and I move to her other breast to lavish the same attention to it. As I am lost in the feel of Kim, I nearly start as I feel something brush my rampant erection, making me nearly moan. Abandoning Kim's breast, I glance down to find her nimble gymnast's foot rub against my cock, and I shudder at the intensity of it.

 

"Kimberly, please..." I stammer out as I try to get control of myself.

 

The repressed sexual tension for the last three years is finally breaking loose, and both Kim and I seem helpless but to follow our heart's and bodies' desires to come together.

 

"I want you Tommy, please," Kim murmurs, as her eyes open and fix on mine, her light brown colored with passion and love.

 

Nodding because I now can't seem to find my voice, I hook my fingers into the waistband of her panties and tug them down. As Kim scoots back onto the mattress, I slide out of my Jockey shorts and toss them aside. Slowly I lay down beside Kim, our full skin meeting, and we both moan at the contact. Even the first rush of morphing never sparked my nerve endings like this.

 

Slowly I run a hand over Kim's shoulder, down her arm, then cross to her stomach. My fingers dance along her skin, and I'm surprised that sparks don't fly beneath my touch. Kim shifts restlessly beneath my touch, gasping and moaning as I hit certain spots along her body. Finally I reach the soft caramel curls at her center, and dip my fingers through and past it to where I know her clit should be.

 

Mentally I send up a thank you to Jason's dad and his extensive 'video' collection that was certainly instructive, as well as helped alleviate a lot of that pent up frustration back in the day. Hey, I wore white spandex for years, how the hell do you think I was able to not have a noticeable boner every time Kim had those pink tights on.

 

As I brush against a hard yet fleshy nub, Kim's body nearly bolts off the bed, her voice catching on a strangled cry, and I know I've found my target.

 

"Ohh, there, please, don't stop," she moans beneath me.

 

With slow, circular strokes, my fingers move over her clit. From the way her lithe body is refusing to stay put, she has to be getting closer. I'm torn between seeing if I can get her off this way and watch her climax, or sheathing myself in her and trying to come together. Pausing for a moment while I try to make a decision, I let my fingers slide away from her clit and brush lower, along what I realize is her very soaked slit. Almost of their own accord, one of my digits teases the opening, and slides past. I'm now encased in the searing hot, wet clutch of her inner walls, and all thoughts of not doing this together disappear.

 

But there's still one final issue that I have to address.

 

"Beautiful?" I whisper, awed by the feel of her very obvious arousal at my presence, my touch.

 

"Tommy, what?" Kimberly murmurs almost distractedly, her eyes opening to look at me, the lips lowered half mast in lust.

 

"I, you, I mean we're both vir... I mean we've never been with anyone," I fumble, and hope I'm not breaking the mood or making Kim feel embarrassed. "I want to make you feel special, make this special. I will do my best to not hurt you, I mean if you want me to stop..."

 

Suddenly I'm moaning as Kim reaches over and wraps her small, warm hand around my cock, making me shudder.

 

"I love you Tommy Oliver, for so many reasons, but especially for being so sweet about this. But you won't hurt me. I want this. I want you inside me. I want us to come together," Kim tells me softly, lovingly.

 

"I love you Kim, so much," I answer before I crush her lips to mine, our open mouths slanting and tangling with each other.

 

After I can't stand another breathless second, I pull away and search desperately at the bottom of the bed for where Kim dropped the condoms. A grin of triumph surfaces on my face, and I rip open the box, then one foil package and carefully roll the latex onto my erection.

 

Turning back, I find Kimberly laid out on the bed, her arms open and inviting me to her, and the cradle of her legs as equally invitingly open. With deliberate gentleness, I move to her embrace, propping my weight on my hands, arms and knees as I settle into her.

 

Once I'm lying between her legs, I feel Kim wrap both her arms around my back, pulling me closer and causing my throbbing cock to press into her open center. At this first intimate contact, we both moan, and I feel the urge to thrust into her wet heat. Instead I circle my cock a bit, and I feel Kim shudder under me.

 

My heart is thudding in my chest at a blinding pace, and I can't stand this any longer. As I lean down and kiss Kim deeply, I balance my weight on one arm as I use my free hand to help guide my erection into Kim's body.

 

Immediately I feel the scalding heat and liquid fire of her inner walls surround me, even through the latex, and I have to force myself not to slam myself into her. With the slowest movements I can muster, I slowly inch myself into her, as we kiss more passionately with each deeper penetration of my cock.

 

While my heart soars, my mind can't wrap itself around the fact that Kim and I are making love, that she is my first and I am hers. Then suddenly Kim's groan and the sudden wall I meet inside her bring me back to the reality of the situation. Pain and blood.

 

"Kim, are you okay?" I whisper against her lips as I slide back millimeters inside of her, waiting for her approval.

 

"Mmmm, yes, I'm okay," Kim answers, her voice tinged with discomfort but determined as well. "Don't stop."

 

Crushing her lips to mine, I press back in, repeating until I feel her body give way and my cock slides all the way in. I'm encased in Kim's warm body. As my balls hit her ass, we both moan into the other's mouth, barely believing what we've done.

 

As incredible as this feels, I can tell that her climax and my own will be even more stunning, but for that to happen, I have to move. With a tentative stroke, I ease out until just the head of my erection remains inside, and then thrust in swiftly. I shudder at the intensity of the feeling of being inside of her, and Kim bucks beneath me, her legs wrapping around my thighs. Again I pull back, then plunge into her. This time I'm breathing hard and have to pull my lips from Kim's to take in a deep gulp of air.

 

My eyes flicker open and I see Kim below me, her head thrown back, eyes shut tight and hair spread about her like a fan. She licks her lips and I lever my hips, pulling nearly out of her and slamming back in. The move yanks a near howl from her throat, and I find that I'm over the edge as far as control is concerned as I start thrusting faster, harder into her. As I grunt and groan with each stroke, Kim answers in counter point with a moan or cry.

 

Kim's hands scrabble against my back and I feel her small nails scratch at my skin, making me shudder and move faster. I'm so close, I can feel my balls throbbing, and I need Kim to go with me.

 

With every ounce of my strength, I prop myself on one arm as I slip my right hand down to Kim's clit, rubbing it is tight, fast circles. I only have to pump into her a few more times before I feel the walls around my cock spasm as she cries out loudly, her legs and arms nearly convulsing around me. At that, I rev up to what has to be impossible speed, and then feel my own climax hits, my balls tightening as the mind-bending near-pain of my ejaculation starts, and I shout Kim's name and God's and a few swear words as the intense experience takes hold of me.

 

Once I can open my eyes, I look down to see Kimberly looking up at me, her face flush and sweaty but very happy and fulfilled. The smile I see there makes my heart expand nearly to bursting, and I can't help but bring the hand from between her legs up to cradle her face.

 

"I love you," Kim says as her breathing starts to slow.

 

"I love you too Beautiful."

 

Carefully I ease back, pulling my cock from her body. We both gasp at the feeling of being separated, and I pull Kim to me on the mattress. As we lie next to each other, coming down from the euphoria, I watch Kim's eyes dance as we gaze at each other. Loathe as I am to move, I pull away from Kim and get up, peeling the condom from my shrinking erection and pad into the bathroom to clean up.

 

I click on the light and see myself, covered in sweat, both mine and Kim's, and I can't suppress the grin that covers my face. Tossing the condom in the trash, I wet a washcloth and wipe the slight red streaks from my thighs, dropping the cloth in the sink and grabbing another to take to Kim. From behind, I feel soft, strong arms wrap around my waist, and I turn to see Kim there, glowing and happy.

 

"You okay?" I ask quietly, still not wanting to break the afterglow of this moment, as I hand her the cloth.

 

"Better than okay," she replies with that velvet tone I love.

 

"Should I give you a minute?"

 

A slight flush covers her cheeks, and I know that she's fighting between accepting my offer and not wanting to be away from one another for a second. Part of the reason I know is that I feel the same way.

 

"No, just let me," she murmurs as she runs the cloth under the warm water, and starts to turn from my sight.

 

I catch her hand and turn her back to me. A questioning look appears in her eyes as the flush deepens.

 

"May I?"

 

With a tentative nod, she agrees. But rather than taking the wet cloth from her hand, I grip her waist and set her petite ass on the counter. Only then do I accept the terrycloth wash cloth and move to tenderly clean the signs of the gift my Kim gave to me from her body.

 

After I have her clean and dried, we wander back to the bed. I pull back the tangled mess of blankets and sheets so we can get underneath. We finally curl up under the sheets and Kim lays her head on my chest as we settle in for the night, knowing come morning I'll change my flight, get her a ticket and we'll be heading home. Together.

 

----------

 

Clutching Kim's hand, we sat in our less than comfortable seats and watched the boring action film aimlessly on the flight back to Angel Grove. It's real hard to treat them seriously when you've spent three years of your life living something a lot more real.

 

Since we'd woken up this morning, checked out of the motel and headed for the airport I have barely let her hand or some part of her out of my reach. I'd always wondered if once Kim and I crossed that line how much it would change our relationship. I'd never thought that it would have cemented every emotion we'd had for one another for the last 3 years as it has. More now than ever I can see my future with this amazing woman seated by my side.

 

I feel something brush against my cheek and then glance down to see Kim rest her head on my shoulder. The weight of her resting there seems the most natural thing in the world to me, and I don't know how I would give it up now.

 

We have to make my parents and hers understand how much we need to stay together.

 

"You okay?" I hear her whisper.

 

"Hmm, yeah, I'm good. How are you Beautiful?" I reply as I brush my free hand against her cheek, remembering the feel of her skin against mine last night.

 

"Good. Happy," she says as she smiles up at me, melting my heart and making me shift a bit in my seat.

 

"Looking forward to being home?"

 

"Tommy, home is wherever you are."

 

My throat goes dry at that. The power of that statement is as significant as telling her how much I wanted her, loved her the first time. To think that she feels like this means the world to me, since I feel pretty much the same about her.

 

"I know the feeling. But the gang will be there, well except for Billy and Aisha. And I'll talk to Zordon once we get back to Angel Grove. I know that I can convince him that you should come back. I mean, you're one of the original team, you've proven yourself to him and us a thousand times over. I just know we'll find a way for you to come back to the team, okay?"

 

"Okay. And I am looking forward to seeing the guys. I missed you all so much since Christmas."

 

"Well, we'll be home in a few hours, and then we can start making plans for the future."

 

"Sounds good," she replies, and then starts to yawn, her small hand coming up to cover her mouth.

 

"Hey, you didn't get a lot of sleep last night," I remark with a knowing grin and watch her blush slightly, "why don't you catch a nap?"

 

"You didn't sleep much either," she shoots back, sounding so much more like my Kim than she did yesterday before she walked into my room that first time. "How about you nap and I'll nap on you?"

 

I catch her hand with mine and bring it to my lips, planting a soft kiss on the back of it.

 

"Sounds like a plan to me Beautiful."

 

With a flush and a brilliant smile, she snuggles further into me and closes her eyes. After watching her for long moments, I close my own eyes and allow myself to drift off, content in her presence. Maybe this plane ride won't be as long as I thought it would be.

 

----------

 

The first thing we do when we reach Angel Grove early in the afternoon is stop at my parents and drop our luggage, a bit wiped out from all the traveling. The house is empty except for us and one thing leads to another, and we end up being more exhausted after than we were before.

 

I know that there's a long list of things to do, so the first thing on my agenda is addressing the issue of Kim and the team. After I get dressed in my normal 'red' ranger attire, for which Kim stares at me a bit funny, I give her a kiss and teleport to the Command Center.

 

Standing in the Command Center, looking up at Zordon, I feel my throat catch before I voice the words that I never hoped I'd say.

 

"Zordon, Kim wants to come back."

 

"DID KIMBERLY TELL YOU WHY SHE HAS MADE THIS DECISION?" Zordon asked in his usual benevolent tone.

 

"She did, but I don't think it's my place to explain. I simply wanted to ask you before Kim came to talk to you if there was a way, outside of one of us giving her our power to bring her back to the team?" I questioned, my heart in my throat as I waited for the answer.

 

There was a long pause, and I wondered what was going on. The last time Zordon had been this thoughtful was when we last changed powers. Did that mean...

 

"TOMMY, THERE IS SOMETHING PERHAPS WE SHOULD DISCUSS BEFORE I BRING KIMBERLY TO THE COMMAND CENTER."

 

I nodded, waiting to hear something I knew was going to change my life.

 

"I'VE BEEN CONTACTED BY A MEMBER OF AN ANCIENT RACE FROM A PLANET AT THE OTHER END OF THE UNIVERSE. HE IS THE HOLDER OF THE GOLD RANGER POWERS. THESE POWERS ARE VERY POWERFUL, MORE SO THAN EVEN YOUR ZEO ONE RANGER POWERS. DO YOU FEEL KIMBERLY COULD WIELD THEM?"

 

I nearly fell over at that announcement. There was a power. One that Kim could have. We could be back together on all fronts. I paused for a moment, pondering Zordon's last statement.

 

"Is there a reason you think Kim couldn't handle the Gold ranger powers?" I asked seriously, worried now at Zordon's concern.

 

"SHE HAS BEEN THROUGH MUCH SINCE SHE LEFT ANGEL GROVE. WHILE THE KIMBERLY HART THAT LEFT US WOULD BE MORE THAN SUITABLE, I ASK YOU TOMMY, AS LEADER OF THE ZEO RANGERS, IS THE WOMAN KIMBERLY IS NOW BE ABLE TO BEAR THE BURDEN OF THE POWER AGAIN?"

 

I stood there for long minutes as I started to wonder if the last 2 months might have permanently impaired Kim's self-determination, the spirit that always made her the most resilient of the rangers. Then I mentally kicked myself. I know for a fact that our time together has made a difference in Kim's outlook. The last two days, from all appearances seems to have erased the last 2 months, and the way Kim behaved with the rest of the team today at lunch wasn't an act. She *is* who she used to be, and more so.

 

"I trust her with them Zordon."

 

"AND I TRUST YOUR JUDGEMENT."

 

Suddenly there's a flash of black and gold, and I look to see Kim beside me. She flings herself into my arms, then looks to Zordon with an overwhelmed smile.

 

"Oh Zordon," Kim says, tears in her eyes as she pulls away, but takes my hand, holding it tightly. "It's so good to see you."

 

"AND YOU AS WELL KIMBERLY," Zordon replies, his voice almost sounding fatherly. "TOMMY HAS INFORMED ME THAT IT IS YOUR WISH TO RETURN TO THE RANGERS."

 

"It is. I had a lot of time to think in Florida, and what I found was that the sacrifices I made for my dream weren't worth it. I was happy with my life before I left, and my dream wasn't what I thought I wanted. It wasn't until I gave up everything that I could really compare what I had and what I wanted. I realize now that everything I ever wanted is here in Angel Grove - Tommy, my friends, and the team. I want to keep all of them safe. And the best way I know how is to join the rangers again. If you'll have me."

 

Kim glanced down and then looked up at me with both excitement and fear in her eyes. I smiled and tightened my grip on her hand in what I hoped was a show of support.

 

"KIMBERLY, I SEE AGAIN WHY I CHOSE YOU THOSE MANY YEARS AGO AS THE PINK RANGER. YOUR HEART AND COURAGE HAVE NO LIMIT. WHILE THERE IS NO PLACE FOR YOU WITH THE ZEO RANGERS, I DO HAVE A ROLE FOR YOU TO PLAY."

 

I heard a gasp beside me, and I looked to see Kim's frown beginning. I was sure she was thinking the worst. Since Zordon hadn't said I had to stay out of it, I decided to speak.

 

"It's not what you think," I hurriedly told her, turning her towards me so I could see her in front of me. "It is a power, just not a Zeo power."

 

Before I could raise her head with my hand, Kim's head snapped up. Her eyes stared into mine, the tears visible in her brown eyes as she searched mine, looking for the honesty she knew she should find there.

 

"Really?" she asked, sounding like a small child.

 

"YES KIMBERLY. TOMMY SPEAKS TRULY. THE GOLD RANGER FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE UNIVERSE HAS RECENTLY COME TO ME IN SEARCH OF A CANDIDATE TO BESTOW HIS POWERS ON. BOTH TOMMY AND I AGREE THAT WE COULD NOT FIND A BETTER, MORE CARING AND DESERVING PERSON TO ASSUME THE GOLD RANGER'S MANTLE."

 

Again I find myself looking into the joy filled eyes of the woman I love more than my own life. And finally, after everything I see all of her within their depths. I never realized just how much of her was a ranger until I saw her when she wasn't one. I imagine it was similar to the times I lost the green ranger powers and she stood by me.

 

"How, when, I mean..." she started to rattle off, maybe more animated than she had been in my arms in bed yesterday afternoon. As I think back, I grin and change that opinion. Close, but not quite.

 

"IT MAY TAKE A FEW DAYS TO SET UP THE POWER TRANSFER WITH THE GOLD RANGER, BUT I WILL CONTACT HIM TO LET HIM KNOW I HAVE FOUND A CANDIDATE."

 

"This is so great!" Kim yells, throwing herself at me again. "I'm finally going to be back with the team."

 

"Yeah Beautiful, you are," I reply happily, "and this is only the beginning. Once we get your housing settled, there won't be anything left to keep us apart."

 

With that, I nodded up to Zordon and he teleported Kim back to the park as I followed in my red Zeo transport right behind her. We still had a lot to do

and not a lot of time today to do it in. Next will be Kim's mom and then my family.

 

Oh boy.

 

----------

 

My mom once told me that the road to hell was paved with good intentions. I never really though much about it until today, as I stand here listening to her and my dad lecture me in between bouts of yelling and silent staring.

 

Now, after asking them for permission to move Kim into our guest room until graduation, I'm learning exactly the meaning of the phrase. Kim had offered to come with me, but I thought this was something that I needed to do alone, so I sent her to the Juice Bar to meet up with the rest of the team and tell them about the Gold Ranger powers.

 

I'm glad I made that decision, because even after our promise to make this work, Kim would probably be considering running back to Miami or Paris at this rate, and leave me in her wake.

 

"Thomas James Oliver, what in the hell were you thinking?" mom yells again, and I shudder. I'm eternally glad that no one is here to see the mighty leader of the Zeo Rangers cowed by his mother. "You seriously expect us to allow you to move your girlfriend into our house, and allow God knows what kind of inappropriate behavior to take place under our roof?"

 

"What did Kim's mother have to say about this?" asks my dad, trying to be a bit more reasonable than my high-strung mom.

 

I drop my gaze and my foot scuffs the carpet. I was really hoping they wouldn't ask this question yet, but I knew it was coming. Sighing I look up and see anxious and heated faces watching me.

 

"Kim was going to call her mom from Florida, but..."

 

"But?" my mom asks, focusing in on my discomfort.

 

"I ended up getting my return ticket changed to come back earlier, so we didn't call until we got back to Angel Grove."

 

"What did she say?"

 

"She wasn't thrilled about the idea..."

 

That's probably the understatement of the year. I remember Kim and I sitting on the sofa that's behind me, talking to Mrs. Dumas in Paris. Kim just about held the phone as far from her ear as her arm would allow when her mom announced her 'displeasure' at the thought of her little girl living with her boyfriend and his folks'.

 

That might have been it, if I hadn't made Kim a promise that I intended to keep. We were going to make this work, because we had no other option. I couldn't live with her in Paris, just like I had hated her being in Florida, and Kim felt the same.

 

So we spent the better part of an hour calming her down and then another hour bombarding her with logical, solid reasons why this made sense.

 

"But we finally got her to agree to leave it to your better judgment, since Kim and I would be here, under your roof, not hers."

 

Mom's jaw nearly dropped at my announcement and dad just seemed to stare at me. Okay, so I know that most of the time I'm not the adult that I am as the leader of the rangers. But the last few months have made me have to grow up, and nearly losing Kim made me really get my shit together, if you know what I mean.

 

"Look mom, dad, I'm sure you're thinking a lot of things right now, and that this whole idea must seem insane. But I need you to look at this from my point of view for a minute," I begin, deciding that I need them to truly understand my motives for this, and hope that some of Billy's logical thinking rubbed off on me over the years. "Kim and I tried being apart. It was more than difficult, it nearly ripped us both into pieces. So, since Kim has left the training program, she has two choices, find somewhere in Angel Grove to stay while she finishes high school or head to Paris to stay with her mom."

 

My mom looks at me like I'm telling her something she already knew, but my dad seems genuinely interested in where I'm going with this. Good, I'm going to need his help here.

 

"Most of the people she knows in Angel Grove either don't have room for her or just can't let her stay. We have a guest room and you guys have always considered her family."

 

"But Tommy, it's not as easy as that. I can't condone you and her... "my mom starts to boldly state, then trails off before she actually says the words I know are on her mind.

 

"Having sex in your house?" I throw out, making my mom blush and frown and my dad stare at his feet. Time to slam dunk this issue, even if I have to embarrass myself to do it. "Mom, it's not like we couldn't find a way to sleep together, if that's really what you're worried about."

 

I watch my mom's face go as pale as my old white ranger uniform. My dad on the other hand gives me a smirk that looks like I may have hit on something here. Hell, he and mom have been known to spend a nice evening alone when I'm out, and I doubt they just sit and talk. The shock of my statement doesn't take long to wear off however.

 

"So have you and Kim been sleeping together?" my dad asks suddenly, and I find it's my turn to feel my blood burn under my skin.

 

"Do you really want me to answer that?" I throw back defensively.

 

My mom looks sort of helplessly at my dad. I guess they really didn't need me to answer. I'm glad because I don't know if I could have told them that Kim and I had already been intimate in Florida, and had tried out my bed a bit earlier this afternoon when they'd still been at work.

 

"Mom, Dad, I want you guys to understand something. I'm in love with Kim. Her being here in this house is temporary. As soon as we graduate, we'll both be moving out, getting jobs and going to college. And sometime this year, I'll probably ask her to marry me. So you need to get comfortable with the idea of us sleeping together. Especially if you figure on having grandkids after we get out of college."

 

The silence is deafening. I don't think, even through my request for the money to see Kim that they really understood the depth of my relationship with Kimberly. My declaration has now woken them up to the fact that this isn't a high school crush or first love that will pass. Kim and I are in it for the long haul and this is just the beginning.

 

"Tommy, are you sure you understand what you're saying?" mom asks, still a bit overwhelmed by my announcement.

 

"Yes mom, I do. Come on, you knew you and dad were meant for each other when you met. I've heard the story a million times. So why is it so hard to believe that Kim and I could be sure about us?"

 

There was another round of silence, but this time it seemed more thoughtful than embarrassed. I watched as they looked at each other, and I saw for the first time in them what I felt with Kim. A partnership based on enduring love that was stronger than anything. That had weathered bad times and flourished in good. So I knew they had to understand. How could they not?

 

"Tommy, let your mom and I talk about this some more, all right? We'll give you and Kim an answer over dinner," my dad stated.

 

Reluctantly I nodded and turned for the door. I glanced at my watch before I headed out, planning on meeting Kim and the gang at the Juice Bar with the news of my parent's non-decision. An hour. My whole life will change in an hour.

 

With that, I closed the door behind me and headed for Ernie's.

 

---------

 

I met up at the Juice Bar with Kim and the rest of the team after I left my folks. As I walked to the table, I saw not only her anxious face, but that of the rest of the team.

 

"They're thinking about it," I announced as I pulled out a seat next to Kim and Adam. My elbows hit the hard table and my chin found its way to my hands.

 

"Your parents are fair people Tommy, I can't imagine that they'd turn Kim away in the long run," Adam said sincerely, patting my back.

 

"Besides, now that Kim's back with the team, she has to stay in town," Rocky stated bluntly, his determination at having Kim back with the team obvious in his comment.

 

"I'm so glad that Zordon found a way for you to come back," Kat says softly, and I know that she probably was a little relieved that Kim wasn't back looking for her Zeo power.

 

"Well, being pink isn't all there is to being a ranger, is it?" Kim quips, giving a wink to Kat and I know now that they're all right with the situation.

 

"So, what are you going to do if Tommy's parents turn you guys down?" asks Tanya, brushing her dark hair from her face as she reaches for her soda.

 

"We'll figure something out. Maybe we could go to Kim's dad or something," I muse out loud.

 

Kim turns her gaze towards me and I see the apprehension to that plan in her face. She loves her dad, I know, but he's hurt her a lot in how he's neglected her. Fuck, who am I to talk, when I spent the last two months doing the same thing. I mentally kick myself for that stupidity again, knowing that its going to be a long time before I feel like I've made up for it with her.

 

"What about Billy's family? I know that he's gone, so maybe Kim could stay there?" Rocky suggests in his not so helpful way before chomping down on his burger.

 

"Maybe, but without Billy there, it might seem too much of an imposition," Kim remarks sullenly. "I just wish that he or Trini were here, then it would be easier."

 

"I'm sorry that we couldn't have you stay with us Kim," says Adam, smiling that ever shy smile at my girl. Lucky I know he means nothing but friendship by it.

 

"Same here," adds Rocky.

 

"But we're here if you need support for anything. We're a team, remember that," says Kat, making sure Kim knows she really means it.

 

"Thanks," Kim replies, taking Kat's hand in hers and gripping it. She glances around the table, her eyes a bit misty at the warm welcome from the team that she had been so afraid wouldn't be here. "Thanks guys. It really means a lot to me that you're here for me."

 

I stare at Kim, and then look at the faces of the team. Everyone is obviously glad she's back, no one more than myself. The cohesiveness that Kim was afraid would be lost is here, even between Kim and Kat, which I am grateful for. I know that its has to be hard on Kim to come back, to see Kat with her pink communicator and the power that would have been hers had she stayed. Kim made her choice to turn over her Pink Ninjetti powers to Kat when she left for Florida, but it I can't help but worry what emotions it must bring up for her, reminding her of what she sacrificed for a dream that she now realizes she never truly wanted.

 

Looking at the clock against the far wall, I notice that it is ten till six, and mom sets dinner out at six sharp. If we're late, it will only prove to them that we're not responsible, and paint our relationship in a bad light their minds.

 

"We need to go, we're expected at my house for dinner. Dad promised us an answer about Kim staying with us."

 

"Good luck," Rocky said in a smart-alec way that made Kim cuff him lightly with a hand to his head.

 

Taking Kim's hand, we head out for my folks, and hopefully our home for the next 3 months as well.

 

---------

 

As we walk into the house, I smell lasagna, and I fear the worst. It takes mom a good hour to make it, and unless they talked while she cooked, there wasn't really enough time for her to do that after she and dad discussed Kim staying with us.

 

"Mom, Dad?"á I call from the door as Kim trails behind me, her eyes darting from the kitchen to me and back again. I guess she's thinking the same thing.

 

"Sit down kids, dinner will be done in a minute," says my dad from the kitchen.

 

My brows raise at that. First that dad called us 'kids', like he used to do when Kim and I first started dating. Then that he's in the kitchen, which is a shock in itself. Looking to Kim, I grin as I notice her mouth has fallen open a bit, and I can't help but take advantage of the situation, leaning over and sealing my lips over hers, my tongue hoping for a formal invitation.

 

The slide of hers over mine gives me that, and for long moments we're caught up in the rush of mouth on mouth, breath on breath. A loud cough from the door to the dining room brings us instantly back to reality, and I see my dad looking at us with another of those smirks.

 

"I had to help your mom, or dinner wouldn't have been ready on time. So why don't you sit down and we'll bring in the food," dad says, setting down a pitcher of water and a basket of French bread.

 

Kim and I take our regular seats, me at the end of the table and Kim to my right, mirroring dad and mom's seating. I watch as mom comes in with a large pan and smell the lasagna as she sets it down near her seat. Dad then comes back in with the salad and sits as well.

 

I glance at Kim as my folks go through a regular dinner night, serving and passing food around like there had been no discussion and Kim's fate didn't rest in their hands. It was like many meals before that we'd spent during the years we dated, and it was starting to unnerve me.

 

"Mom, dad, I thought you said you were going to make a decision about Kim," I start as my mom hands me the salad bowl.

 

"We can eat and talk Tommy," mom says as she reaches for the bread and after taking a piece hands the basket to Kim with what suspiciously looks like a small smile.

 

There doesn't seem to be much more I can say to start the matter, and I think that if they were kicking Kim out that we wouldn't have gotten dinner, let alone wait until we start eating. I guess the decision is reasonable dinner conversation...

 

"Tommy, your mom and I have thought about this, and discussed the situation fully, and we've come to a decision."

 

Before I know it, Kim's hand is covering mine on the table, and I feel my heart thud in my chest.

 

"While we would much rather you two wait until later, we understand that Kim needs a place to stay while she finishes school. You made it quite clear that this was a temporary arrangement, and laid out your long term plans," dad explains, and I love him for not spilling it all to Kim just yet. "There's no way even if Kim was living somewhere else in town that you couldn't be having sex in your car or who knows where. So, as long as you promise that you'll be safe and keep things low-key, we can't turn Kim away just because of our concerns about your sex lives."

 

In a heartbeat I'm up and hugging dad and then mom as I realize that Kim is really staying. That I don't have to lose her again, and I feel a huge weight lift from my chest that I hadn't realized was there.

 

"Thank you," says Kim sincerely to my parents, and I watch as my mom reaches over and takes her hand.

 

"Actually Kim, we really need to thank you. It wasn't until you walked in tonight with Tommy that we realized that he really wasn't happy without you," mom says, her eyes clear as she brings up something that I never thought she had noticed. "So, we seem to owe you a lot more than just a place to live for a while."

 

At that, Kim gets up and my mom stands and they meet at the corner of the table, Kim wrapping her arms around my mom. In a second they are embracing tightly, my mom's eyes looking at me over Kim's shoulder. My mouth goes dry as I see there an understanding that wasn't there before. She knows that I wasn't kidding earlier. That Kim is just probably months away from being my fiancÚ, and that I need her in my life.

 

"So, I guess after dinner Kim has some unpacking to do," dad says, coming behind me and looping his arm over my shoulder.

 

Kim breaks away from my mom and turns towards me with a soft, warm look that melts my insides. As I watch her look at me, I can't imagine being without her, and I'm so glad that I refused to let her go.

 

Plus, with a wicked thought as we all start back to our seats to finish dinner, I wonder if my bed or hers will get used the most.

 

END

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