Chapter 1: The Very Public Confrontation
"Conner, you do realize what you're eating, if Krista finds out, she's gonna have a cow…er…conniption fit."
"Trent, I'm a desperate man. My spirit animal is a T-Rex and I've gone without any kind of meat or dairy for 6 months, tofu is not the same thing as a burger. I can't go without meat this long!"
Trent chuckled and handed over the little red basket to Conner who was practically salivating over the perfectly cooked hamburger and fries.
The first bite was heaven. The second bite was Nirvana. By the sixth bite, it was all over for him.
"Conner McKnight! What are you doing?" Came the near screeching voice next to him.
The red ranger veteran nearly choked as he turned to see his very angry girlfriend looking ready to kill him.
Trent looked at him with sympathy before turned to get another drink order.
Conner wiped his mouth and said a silent prayer.
"I'm sorry, Krista. I'm not like you, I'm a carnivore, and you're a vegetarian. I need my protein and Tofu just doesn't work for me."
The slap could be heard across the cyberspace.
Conner hissed…his girlfriend could really hit hard. "How could you Conner? You sacrifice some poor cow to feed your craving! Think of what that poor cow had to go through just for this burger! Take another bite and we're over- I'm not kidding!"
Conner was at a loss for words until he saw Kira sitting on the edge of the stage, looking at him with concern etched across her face. Before he could say anything more, Krista followed his gaze. "It's her isn't it?! She's corrupted you!"
"Kira hasn't done anything, she's my best friend and she's been respectful of my attempt to be a vegetarian. Leave her out of this!"
But Krista was on a roll. "Don't play games with me, Conner, I know you're more than just best friends. My friends saw you holding her, have you been fucking her as well? I heard you were a man-whore. So glad I found out before I gave myself to you."
"Hold on a second, Krista," Conner said with his hands up, trying to defuse the situation. "I haven't slept with anyone. Not with Kira and if you're going to keep attacking me, than I sure won't sleep with you either. The reason your friends saw me holding her, was because she'd just broken up with her boyfriend and I was comforting her. I was friends with her before I ever even knew you and if Kira needs me, than no one, not even my girlfriend is going to forbid me being there for her when she needs me."
Krista looked at him angrily and just as her open hand went flying, Kira promptly grabbed her wrist in a tight hold. "That's enough, Krista, I won't allow you to keep attacking my best friend. And I know what your next line is going to be. He doesn't need me to fight his battles, but he's too much of a gentleman to hit a girl, However, I have no problem slapping you for him. This is not how a good girlfriend should act, so why not take your tofu and your tree hugging ways and leave. You've caused enough of a scene."
Krista jerked her wrist free and then glared at Conner. "Fine, we're over, you cow killer, keep your fugly little slut and have fun with her. I hope she gives you the clap."
Kira glared at her as she left; it was taking everything she had to stay in one spot and not react. When she was gone, Conner, blushing bright red sighed and rested his head against the bar."
"Hey, Kira. This is a bro moment," Trent said softly. "I better take over from here."
Kira's face was flaming and she stepped back not saying a word. Trent carefully took the food basket and ushered him back through the double doors.
Kira walked her way to the exit only to run into to Kimberly who had seen everything. "Hey, Kira. You look like you could use a time out too. I'm meeting my girls at Olive Garden. You're going to join us. Good food with good friends always helps the situation look better."
Kira could only nod though she chanced a look at the double doors. When she looked back, Kimberly squeezed her hand and gently led her out the door.
Kira didn't show it, but she couldn't help but feel humiliated.
"Hey, don't let that bitch's words get to you." Kimberly said as she pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant.
Kira looked up, startled at her mentor's words. "Is it that obvious?"
Kim nodded at her with a small smile. "You haven't said a single word all the way here. There was real venom in those insults, she truly believed you were sleeping with Conner."
"But I haven't. I'm still a virgin and just broke up with Trent two weeks ago. We never even slept together."
Kimberly nodded. "Yeah, I figured as much. I have a sixth sense about these things, I'd bet my morpher that you wouldn't have slept with Trent anyway…not when you've only got eyes for Conner." At Kira's startled look, Kimberly laughed softly and gently squeezed her hand. "I'm a mother, I know these things."
Kira nodded in resignation. "Things are so fucked up right now!"
"Not necessarily. That boy's got eyes for you too. I've been watching you two dance around each other for a while now. Tommy and the other guys have Conner well in hand. We're just going to go in here and have a nice long lunch with the other girls and by the tonight, things will be that much better."
Kira gave her a dubious look, but Kimberly only got out the car and waited for her psudo daughter to join her.
As usual Kimberly was right and by the time their main course was brought in, Kira felt much more at ease. She looked at her mentor. "So, don't these kinds of interventions come with sage advice? Did you have a hard time with Dr. O when you first started going out?"
"Yeah, Kimmie bear, tell her just how hard you had it with Tommy. Don't keep us in suspense!"
Kimberly gave Trini, whom had asked the question a glaring look. "What suspense? Both you and Aisha were there when all this went down."
Trini gave her an innocent look. "I have no idea what you're talking about. You told me, and I quote, 'This never happened.'" She used air quotes to make her point.
"Ok, then have mercy on me." Kira begged. "Please prove to me that what happened today isn't as bad as it can get."
Kimberly sighed and put her head in her hands. After a moment, she lifted her head and looked at her friend in resignation. "It was a lot of things that led up to that awkward moment."
"Please Kim, you've always downplayed that moment." Aisha said. "You were damn spectacular and you know it. She's our family now, and my protégé, she can handle it."
Kimberly looked at Kira who was giving her an expectant look and the older woman sighed heavily.
"First, I want you to know that what happened in the café earlier, with Krista was not as bad as it can get. You acted must like any of us would and you should not let any of those awful things she said get to you. She's not the first judgmental bitch you're going to run into."
Kira only nodded.
Kim nodded and took a deep breath. "To hear Aisha talk about it, you'd think it was some massive final fight scene from a martial arts movie…but to me it was a blur full of adrenaline and I don't even remember most of it."
"Don't worry, Kimmie, I'll be happy to fill in the blanks."
"Yeah, 'Sha. I'm sure you will." Kimberly said, rolling her eyes.
After a moment, the former pink ranger looked at Kira solemnly. "It was just another weekend. Ernie had asked Tommy to help him unload a delivery truck that was coming in. His usual helper had sprained his ankle the night before and as usual, my sweet boyfriend had immediately volunteered. Anyway, the plan was for me to come to the youth center and from there, we'd go on to get some lunch to an actual restaurant and then to the drive in. Anyway, I was slightly late to the Ernie's-don't ask me what it was because I truly don't remember-but when I got there, I saw one of the older seniors making a move on Tommy. She had gotten really close to him and was seriously flirting with him. I of course knew the girl.
She was the classic high school slut. She'd already slept with most of the jocks on both the football and basketball team. If they were athletic and hot, she'd do everything she could to get them into her bed.
But the guys in our group knew all too well what she was up to. I got an earful as I walked up. What made me snap was when she leaned in close to whisper in Tommy's ear and he brushed her off."
Kimberly's eye brow raised as the girl laughed as if Tommy had told her a funny joke. She reached out to touch his thigh and Tommy moved away from her.
"I'm flattered Britney. But I've got a girlfriend already and she's the only one I let touch me like that. Please, leave me alone."
The blonde laughed again. "Oh please Tommy. Why would you want that valley girl when you could have me? I can make all your wildest dreams come true."
And Kimberly saw red.
She marched over to them and tapped Britney on the shoulder. When she turned, Kimberly crossed her arms
over her chest.
"Move aside, Britney, you're barking up the wrong tree. Tommy is with me…and we have a hot date to get on with. Now, get lost."
The blonde looked at her and scoffed. "What? With you? He must have really lowered his standards if he's sleeping with you."
Kimberly took a deep breath. "That's none of your business. He's chosen me and not you. You seriously need to get lost, before I do something I'll later regret."
The blonde laughed out loud.
And then Kimberly swung her fist and caught the blonde in the mid-section. When the girl doubled over clutching her stomach Kimberly pulled a side kick that Tommy had taught her, connecting with the back of her knees and drove the blonde to the ground. The blonde rolled over and put her hands up to fend off
Kimberly, but the smaller girl grabbed her hand and with a move almost too fast to see, she had rolled
Britney again and pinned her arm behind her back.
With a cry of pain, Britney tried to move, but Kimberly was too heavy. "I warned you, Bambi. You leave my boyfriend alone. He's mine and if you don't want me to beat your ass twice, you'll keep your hands away from him. I don't want him to be the next victim of The Clap."
Britney nodded and Kimberly released her and instantly got up, not about not give the blonde a chance to retaliate. As it turned out, she needn't have worried. The blonde got up, wiping a little bit of blood of her face. She gave Tommy a long look. "Fine, I don't want ass that your psycho girlfriend already had. Have fun with your dirty little slut." The she flipped her now messy hair and walked away.
"When I got finally tore my eyes from her, I noticed that everyone was staring at me. Especially Tommy. He was slack jawed and also just a little impressed. Jason looked so proud and my girls here were laughing their butts off. I was so red in the face and embarrassed that I'd let my rage get the best of me."
"Oh please, Kim, don't downplay it. That was quite the impressive display of power. You got your point across and we never saw her again. And if I recall, when we saw you guys the next day…you had that glow about you…and Tommy had a skip in his step. We knew it was only a matter of time before a proposal came."
Kimberly chuckled and looked at Kira. "So, you see, how you handled it was a damn shade more noble than what I did. You didn't give her a beat down and both you and Conner are unscathed. I know you think that what happened today was embarrassing, but it could have been a lot worse."
Kira nodded, unable to form any sort of witty reply, instead, she picked up another breadstick and bit into it.
The Oliver house
Conner inhaled the scent of meat and groaned in appreciation. The men were having a full blown cookout and Adam and Rocky were manning the really impressive grill.
Tommy sat across from him on the other side of the picnic table and leveled him with serious look. "Are you ready to tell me exactly what happened? Trent and Ethan gave me the run down but I want to hear it from you…and not just about the confrontation."
Conner sighed. "I'm not meant to be a vegetarian…or a tree-hugger. I really did give the whole veggie only diet a try, but I didn't do it for me…I did it to keep my relationship with Krista going. But I'm a guy, I have to have meat. I can't go without this long; the truth is that I've been cheating on the diet for months now. This is just the first time I've been caught."
Dr. O nodded thoughtfully. "Yeah, I don't blame you…you are after all a red power ranger, and Jason can attest to that personally. According to Kim, Jason's appetite for meat increased tenfold after he took on the mantle, and his zord was a T-Rex too, ironically enough. I'm not surprised at all that you had a hard time with tofu. So, you got caught, what happened next?"
Conner sighed again. "It got really nasty…and she slapped me, hard. And she was accusing me of sleeping with Kira, once she caught me looking at Kira over her shoulder. I hated what she called Kira and I tried to calm the situation, but Krista was on a roll. She went to slap me again but Kira intervened and chased her off. And then Trent dragged me off to the kitchen to recover from the confrontation. He let me eat the rest of the burger before bringing me back here." Conner was quiet for a moment before meeting Tommy's eyes again. "I know I should have stayed with Kira instead of leaving, but I just didn't know what to say. I'm not used to girls coming to my defense outside of battle."
"Gee, Conner, you sound just like Tommy did." Jason said after picking up a couple of sodas from the cooler. He handed his fellow rangers their cold drinks and then sat down on the top of the picnic table. Tommy looked up at Jason, "You're going to tell that story aren't you. About that show down at Ernie's."
Jason shrugged and Conner gave him an intrigued look. "A showdown…what, did Kimberly beat someone up in a fit of jealousy?"
Jason grinned and opened the can of soda. "Yep, and it's pretty hilarious. I've never been so proud of my baby sister in my life."
Conner listened with rapt attention as the story was told with almost play by play accuracy. "After Kim's little showdown against that skank, Tommy just sat there looking dumbstruck and Kimberly was just as embarrassed after she came out of her bloodlust. Thankfully, we weren't in school so there was no detention or a call home to the parents. He just simply gave the man-eater a look over to make sure she didn't need an ambulance before very publicly kicking her out of his youth center."
Conner raised an eyebrow. "A man-eater?"
Tommy snorted. "It's amazing she hadn't contracted some kind of STD by the time she got to me. Even if Kim and I weren't dating, there's virtually no way I'd have ever mounted the village bicycle."
Jason was smirking at the shocked look Conner was sporting at his teacher's straight forward comment. He'd never heard his teacher and mentor talk about any woman the way he'd just did.
Tommy chuckled. "Really, Conner, I'd have thought by now you'd begun to see beyond the shirt and tie. I'm not your teacher anymore, I'm just a regular guy when I'm not at school...and once upon a time, I was a teenager just like you and surprise, surprise, we had hooches."
"Hooches?" Conner asked, even more confused.
Tommy sighed and put his head in his hands. Thankfully Jason after laughing for a minute translated. "That's 90's slang for a girl who sleeps with just about anybody with a heartbeat."
"Oh…ok. So this…hooch made a move on you, and Mrs. O kicked her ass in front of everybody."
Tommy nodded. "Once the shock of seeing my petite girlfriend using moves I've never seen before wore off, I knew I couldn't wait much longer to marry her. By the following Christmas, just after we passed the torch to the next generation of rangers, Kim and I were celebrating our first Christmas as a married couple."
Conner shook his head at his mentor's statement. And then startled slightly at the next question. "So, it's time to decide how you're going to handle this situation." Tommy said, all joking aside. "You're a man now, and the girl you say you feel for is going to be feeling pretty raw after all the drama at the café. My wife has her in hand for now. But they'll be making their way here after their lunch." Tommy paused thinking of his next few words. "I'm saying this as your mentor; I know you definitely feel something for her, I've known it for a while now. That Krista girl really made everything pretty damn awkward, for the both of you with all her accusations. Now is the time for you to help Kira move on from what happened today. Honor and validate her defense of you-"
"I got it Dr. O, I'll talk to her as soon as she gets here. I'll make things right between us."
"See that you do. But for now, let's eat."