Chapter 11: Confidence
After "The Puppet Blaster"
Unfortunately though, Tanya Sloan was an impatient person. There was the time as a child in Africa she put extra logs on the fire to cook the dinner faster and ended up burning up the entire town's meal. Then there was the time didn't wait for her partner to go into the savannah, which resulted in her getting chased by a rhino. More recently she had given her science project plants extra fertilizer to help them blossom faster, causing them to wither and Kat to be quite bristled.
Then there was her crush on Adam Park. They had been more flirtatious than usual recently, particularly at the mall that afternoon. Yet it had been over two weeks since she's broken up with Shawn, and Adam still had yet to make a move. Tanya liked Adam more than any guy she'd ever met, but she was getting impatient waiting for him to find the confidence to tell her how he felt.
"Hey Tanya, this might be a good skirt for you," mocked Adam as he held up a tube top, teasing the yellow Zeo Ranger about her beginner's fashion mistake from the first time the pair went shopping at the mall together. Tanya made an angry face and began pelting the green Zeo Ranger with socks from the display table. Adam ducked behind the display table, waving a white tank top as a gesture of surrender. Tanya ran around the side and jumped piggy-back style onto Adam. The green Zeo Ranger proceeded to carry Tanya out of the store.
"There, we're done shopping for the day!" said Adam proudly still holding Tanya on his back.
"Put me down," cried Tanya trying to flip him over all while laughing. Adam swung her around to his front so that he was carrying her in his arms.
"M'lady," Adam said placing her on the ground with an exaggerated sense of chivalry. Tanya, still holding her arms around his neck, giggled flirtatiously.
"As cute as I do find this display of affection, if Adam and I don't go pick up our new baseball cleats we'll be late to meet the others at the Youth Center," said Rocky walking up behind his fellow rangers.
"I'm gonna grab a snack, so I'll wait for y'all in the food court," said Tanya glancing back affectionately at Adam as she walked away.
"Come on man, pull yourself together," said Rocky, dragging Adam with him as he stared back toward Tanya. "Are you ever going to ask her out?"
"What if things turned out like they did with Sarah?" hesitated Adam.
"Tanya's one of your best friends," exclaimed Rocky, smacking Adam on the head. "And Tanya isn't Sarah"
The friends picked up their baseball cleats and headed toward the food court. "Adam, you need to tell Tanya how you feel," urged Rocky. "It's obvious she likes you, but she's not going to wait around for you forever." Rocky paused. "I'm always going to regret that I missed the chance to tell Aisha that I still loved her," said Rocky quietly to himself.
As Adam tried to digest his friend's rare display of emotion, the green Zeo Ranger was met with another shock. Unaware that her friends had arrived, Tanya was sitting at the food court wrapped in the arms… of Brett Alderman. Images of the quarterback and Sarah Diaz lying in each other's arms rocketed through Adam's head. The fact that Brett had now targeted Tanya made the seething anger that coursing through Adam's body all the more intense. Adam stormed off toward his car, not even hearing from afar Tanya's protest of Brett's embrace.
"Adam, slow down!" yelled Tanya after him. "Adam! Adam! Please talk to me. What's wrong?" begged Tanya as she blocked the driver's door preventing Adam from getting in the door.
Rocky jogged up to the car. "Umm, I got to get a pair a new of… overalls," fibbed Rocky. "Yes, overalls are blue. I want blue overalls!" declared the blue Zeo Ranger.
"Rocky have you gone insane?" asked Adam sharply, but the blue Zeo Ranger had already dashed back into the mall.
"Someone can pick me up later, so you guys go on ahead to the Youth Center," he called over his shoulder. "Cya later!"
"Another one of Rocky's stupid plans that he thinks help me out," grumbled Adam to himself. Though the green Zeo Ranger would never admit it, Rocky often knew what Adam needed more than the Adam himself.
"Adam, did I do something?" asked Tanya getting choked up. The green Zeo Ranger walked around the passenger side of his car and opened the door.
"Get in," said Adam. "We're going to be late to meet the others." The pair didn't speak a word to each other on the way to the Youth Center, making it the most uncomfortable silence Tanya had ever endured. As Adam started to get out after parking his car, Tanya grabbed his arm.
"Look Adam, if what's bothering you is Brett Alderman, he came on to me," said Tanya breathlessly. "He's a self-centered prick. I was trying to get him to go away when you and Rocky showed up. I'm sorry if I upset you for some reason, but you upset me too by not talking to me about why you are so mad at me. Together we've been Power Rangers, baseball teammates, but most importantly, friends for a while now. I would never do anything to betray your trust. "
Tanya's confidence to say what was on her mind was perhaps the quality Adam loved about her most. He wanted to trust her, but he wasn't sure he could open himself up to being hurt by another girl again. Rocky's words rang in his head: "Tanya isn't Sarah." Adam sighed. As usual, Rocko knew him best.
"Tanya, did Rocky ever tell you about my last girlfriend, Sarah Diaz?" sighed Adam.
"No," replied Tanya surprised. "Who is she?"
"That's odd," said Adam ruefully. "Normally Rocko's mouth is as big as his stomach."
"Does your reaction to seeing me with Brett have something to do with your history with Sarah?" questioned Tanya gently, placing her hand comfortingly over his.
Adam closed his eyes, trying to somehow find the confidence to talk about one of the situations that hurt him more than any attack by Lord Zedd or King Mondo.
"Aisha set Sarah and I up at a Sadie Hawkins dance," Adam began to recall painfully. "We dated for many months. We said were in love with each other, but Lord Zedd didn't care about that. My responsibilities as a Power Ranger made me miss dates, miss dinners and worst of all, her sweet sixteen birthday party. I tried to make it up to her, but there's no way I could tell her I was a Power Ranger. I knew the rules. Sarah began to push me about why I was always running off, but I told her if she loved me that she would trust me." Adam paused; the next part of the story hurting worst of all. He looked at Tanya who with her caring eyes offered him the support he needed to tell what happened next.
"The weekend after I missed her sweet sixteen, I arrived at her house with a dozen red roses, pearl earrings and a new volleyball I knew she wanted," continued Adam, starting to shake slightly. "I wanted to give her the best gift ever to show her that although I couldn't explain why I couldn't always be around, I really did love her. But Sarah apparently didn't trust or love me, because I found her half-undressed on the coach with someone else. That someone else being Brett Alderman. I've never since had the confidence to put my heart out there for a girl again."
Adam wasn't looking at Tanya by this point; his hands still shaking slightly. Tanya grasped his palm tighter as her other hand turned his head toward hers. Adam's eyes shown with hurt, and Tanya more than anything wanted to make that pain go away. She leaned forward and softly pressed her lips to his. Maybe Adam lacked confidence, but she had it in spades. Finally, she had something she could help teach him. She placed another sweet kiss on his check before pulling back slightly
"I don't crush hearts, Adam," said Tanya gently. "Just cogs," she said smiling playfully.
Adam's heart raced in his chest. His eyes were wide open; he couldn't take them off the beautiful, confident Tanya Sloan. The couple slowly met in another tender kiss, acknowledging the attraction and affection that had been between them from the start.