Always a Ranger - Part 9

Sins of the Father

By Jeannine Trevizo

 

 

 

The cheers as Anton Mercer was unceremoniously run out of Hayley's place was nearly a roar. Kira, Conner and Tommy all congratulated Hayley in being able to keep the place open along with the dozens of teenagers that regularly patronized the establishment that Councilwoman Sanchez now considered a youth supportive environment that couldn't be replaced.
 
As the celebrating continued, Ethan walked to the door to watch Anton Mercer and his flunkies stalk off.
 
"Yeah, we did it baby!" Ethan laughed at the doorway as Mercer walked away.
 
Anton barely turned his head to look to see who had spoken like that, but stopped in mid movement. It wasn't worth his notice. He and his employees walked away, and Ethan turned to see Trent standing on the other side of the doorway, watching Anton leave.
 
"Dude, come on, get in here."
 
Trent looked at his adoptive father walk away, still trying to figure out what the hell that thing had been in his father's office that had brought him to the exact location that his father was actually at, and that it was the cybercafe as well.
 
"Alright, I'll be right there," Trent said.
 
After another minute, Trent turned and walked into the celebration that was occurring. His efforts had obviously been appreciated, as Hayley saw him and shouted over all the noise.
 
"Everyone, I wouldn't have been able to keep this place open if it hadn't been for the efforts of one very special young man, employee and friend. Three cheers for Trent!"
 
There was a full on series of yells and cheers and Trent found himself engulfed by the patrons of the café, all congratulating him and thanking him. He nodded and said the appropriate thing, but really wasn't paying attention. His mind was still focused on the portal that had brought him here.
 
"Thank you again for coming forward to see me, and convince me that this establishment was better left alone," said Councilwoman Sanchez as she shook Trent's hand. "That decision had to have been difficult, and I'm pleased that you felt you could make it."
 
With that, Councilwoman Sanchez turned and shook Hayley's hand, and then took her leave as the festivities continued on.
 
"The first round of café lattés and smoothies are on the house!" announced Hayley, and the crowd moved towards the bar as the celebration kicked into high gear.
 
----
 
Tommy came into his house after the party at the cybercafe had finally wound down, walked through the living room without pausing and threw his jacket over the chair in the kitchen. It was hard coming home now and not imaging having Kim there. Wasn't it just a week ago that she'd sat there, eating breakfast with him? And he didn't want to think about how falling asleep in his bed was just an exercise in futility.
 
Of course, nearly daily monster attacks helped exhaust him enough that he did sleep.
 
After making himself a sandwich and a beer, he chewed as he pulled out the daily assignment for the classes, and started grading as he ate. There were a few, like Cassidy's that made him sigh. Was she just stupid, or did she refuse to apply herself?
 
Ah, such were the questions of a high school teacher. He really should have respected Ms. Applebee more in the day. This was not as easy as it looked. Once his food and the papers were done, he turned to the highlight of the day and went to crash on the couch, picking up the phone on his way. He didn't need to bring the address book anymore, he had the number memorized.
 
That's a feat that Kim probably would never ascribed to me, Tommy thought as he dialed the ten digit number and waited for his love to answer on the other end. At the third ring, Tommy was just about impatient enough to hang up and try an e-mail when Kimberly's voice came across the line.
 
"Hey there handsome," she said with enthusiasm.
 
"Hey Kim, I was starting to think I wasn't going to reach you."
 
"Sorry, I was in the shower. Long day, and I really was feeling the kinks of working the team."
 
"I wish I could have been there to help rub them out," Tommy stated in a tone that had Kim feeling hotter than the shower had been.
 
"Me too. But rather than get all hot and bothered already, tell me what's up. I heard about the Vegas monster or something from Ethan. That reminds me, when did you give the team my e-mail address?"
 
Tommy sighed. He should have known that once the team had met Kim that there'd be no stopping his ingenious students from finding ways to keep in touch with their former ranger 'expert'. No doubt, Ethan was asking questions about equipment and stories about Angel Grove that Tommy would rather be left in the past.
 
"I didn't. You know Ethan, too smart for his own good. I bet he looked it up somewhere, or got it through the Olympic committee. He's not bothering you, is he? If so I'll talk to him about..."
 
"No! It's fine Tommy. I mean, it's kind of nice, to be looked at as the old guard, a source of information and guidance. I mean, we never had that, someone who could understand us when it was us in uniform... okay, when it was us in uniform back in the day," Kim amended humorously. "By the way, I just realized, during the whole weekend last time, I didn't see your uniform."
 
"I was trying to keep that part out of the weekend visit, remember?" Tommy complained slightly, twisting on the couch to lay his head on the sofa arm and stretch his legs out. "How about after you move in with me, I'll let you find out if you can peel ranger spandex off with your bare hands?"
 
"Deal!" stated Kim as she tried to not think about what she was missing right now, being pressed up against Tommy's naked chest, and then shook the thought away as she focused on the avoidance she heard in her lover's voice. "Anyway, what happened today? I get the impression that you're stalling."
 
Stopping at Kim's words, Tommy wondered if that was true - was he stalling because he'd had another run-in with Mercer that continued to perplex and bother him? He'd made a point of using his knowledge of Anton to help Hayley keep her lease with the city so the café could stay open, but at what cost?
 
"Hayley nearly had the cybercafe sold from underneath her."
 
"Wow, that's really... I don't know what to say. Hayley's your friend from college, right?" Kim asked.
 
"Yeah. She's really helped me with everything - school, the rangers. I'm glad to have met her when I did," Tommy replied, scratching his chin.
 
"So, what, were they going to tear it down or turn it into a Starbucks or something?"
 
"We weren't sure what was going to happen to it. But the thing was it was Anton that tried to by the lease from the city and kick Hayley out. See, his son works there, and I guess there was some issue about Mercer thinking it was beneath his son to be working there, so he bought it for him to run, after they remodeled it that is."
 
"Son? You mean Trent, the kid who's one of your students at the high school? He bought a business for a teenager?"
 
"Yeah, Trent. I'm not sure why he did it though. It doesn't hurt me, and I think it just confuses Trent, seeing as they really haven't spent much time together over the last few years. I gave Trent a ride home yesterday and found out why I'd never heard of him."
 
"Okay, don't make me guess, what's the story?"
 
"Seems that Trent's parents were on a dig Anton was running, and got killed in a cave-in. So Anton took Trent in, I guess adopting him and making sure he got taken care of."
 
There was silence for a minuet on Kim's end as she thought about how close to home Trent's situation would have hit Tommy. She got up from her couch in her apartment and started pacing with her cordless phone still attached to her ear.
 
"Are you okay?"
 
"What do you mean?" Tommy asked, puzzled.
 
"I mean Trent's in a position like you were in, orphaned and adopted... you can't tell me that his problems with Anton aren't making you wish there was something you could do for him, since you had been lucky enough with the adoptive parents you ended up with," Kim explained slowly, hoping she wasn't misreading him.
 
As long as she had known Tommy, his parentage had always been something that wasn't discussed, but it was still there, in the back of his mind. Especially when he'd found David...
 
"I really hadn't thought..." Tommy replied, and then trailed off.
 
Sitting up, he leaned his elbows on his knees as he tried to think about his reactions to Trent's comments regarding his parents and Anton. He'd been in a better situation than he thought Trent was. His parents had always been more concerned with what he wanted, not how it would help them. He had to say that Trent had dealt with it all better than he would have.
 
"I guess that I wish he and Anton had a better relationship. I know that Trent seems to like me, and it means a lot to have that kind of teacher/student relationship. But in the end, there's not much I can do but hope that he won't let Anton's cold-blooded behavior, in business and in life make him hard."
 
"Well, I got the feeling from Ethan that Trent's got some other people looking out for him besides you. Like Kira?"
 
Tommy fought a smirk. There were times when Kira and Trent reminded him of him and Kim. But neither had showed any of the signs that they were moving toward the other. At least with Kim and I, she had made some kind of move to get you to admit you were interested, Tommy berated himself mentally. Now that you’re together again, you need to pick up the slack...
 
"I don’t know if she's interested in Trent like that, and the same goes for him too. They're very unsure about themselves and each other."
 
"Sounds like they’ve got some thinking to do," Kim remarked.
 
"I miss you," Tommy said suddenly in a quiet voice. "Last weekend was too short."
 
"Just a few more months handsome, and then you're going to see so much of me you're going to be ready to kick me out," Kim replied lovingly, her voice dropping to a near whisper.
 
"Never."
 
"Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating. But it's still a ways away. We have to get through right now."
 
"I'm just glad that you decided to move out here after the games."
 
"What? You mean you doubted that I would?"
 
"I... I hoped we were finally at that point, but I wasn't sure," Tommy nearly stammered.
 
"It wasn't a hard decision. Especially after being out there with you..." Kim said, trailing off as she let him fill in the rest of what she was leaving unsaid. The days and nights together that were now her constant companions when she fell asleep at night in her twin bed.
 
"I know, me too."
 
On Kimberly's end of the phone, an alarm could be heard, and Tommy pulled the phone away to look at it in curiosity.
 
"Kim?"
 
"Sorry. We have a 4am meeting before practice starts, so I set the alarm to remind me that I had to get to sleep before eleven, or I'd fall asleep in the meeting. Not a good move, if you get my meaning."
 
"It's okay Beautiful," Tommy said with affection. "I know you've got a job to do out there. Just get to bed and have good dreams, okay?"
 
"I'll just dream of us - that always seems to work," she replied, and Tommy could almost imagine the smile on her face. "You too, okay? It will all work out."
 
"Alright. 'night Kim."
 
"Good night... I love you."
 
"Love you too Beautiful."
 
With that, Tommy hung up his end and sat back on the sofa and closed his eyes and intoned his new mantra... a few more months, a few more months. With a sigh, he got up and headed for bed, hoping that dreaming about Kim would get his mind of Trent and Anton and what was going on with all of it. At least for a little while.

 

-End-

 

tbc in 2 weeks (due to the series schedule)….

 

GO TO CHAPTER 10

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