Ronny growled as she pulled her things from her pack, "Where is it?"
Ronny turned to find Mack standing in the door to her new room, "What?" She snapped.
Mack blinked, "I was just going to ask," he stopped, "is everything ok?"
"No," Ronny replied, "I can't find my phone card."
"Phone card?" Mack repeated.
"I need to make a phone call," Ronny replied.
"Just use the phone," Mack said, "we've got free long distance."
"I need to call Italy," Ronny said, "and I probably shouldn't do it on your dad's dime."
Mack snorted, "Dad makes three hour calls to Japan, Spain, and Australia every day. A call to Italy isn't going to break the phone. If you feel bad about it, we can ask Dad if he minds."
"I don't think," Ronny began, but the newly minted Red Ranger was already off and running. She frowned, muttered one of those Italian words she really wasn't supposed to know, and resumed digging in her bag.
"Dad says as long as you don't talk forever its fine," Mack announced popping back in her room. "The guest rooms all have private lines so you can give that out if you want, or just give them the manse number and Spencer will field the calls for you."
Ronny barely managed to refrain from snapping as she brushed her hair from her face. "Thank you," she said instead. When Mack didn't move, she stood, "A little privacy, please?"
"Oh, yeah, sure," Mack replied. "Dinner's in an hour, Ronny." He closed the door and Ronny could hear him start to whistle as he left.
Ronny sighed, bent over to grab her address book, and headed to the phone on the desk, flipping through the numbers until she found the one she wanted. Interminable minutes later, she heard the voice she always missed the most. "VR Racing, this is Vick."
"Vick, it's Ronny," Ronny said as she sat down on the desk chair.
"Ronny? Is everything ok?" Her twin asked, all the cheerfulness vanishing in an instant.
"I think so," Ronny replied, "either that or I finally did the stupidest thing ever."
"What is going on, are you…pregnant?" Vick asked.
"God no," Ronny said, startled into a laugh. "No, it's nothing like that. Vick, I'm a Power Ranger."
"What, how?" Vick asked, "You said you were meeting a sponsor."
"I thought I was," Ronny replied, "but he asked, and there was this ghost and we were attacked by lizards and ice monsters and I morphed and Vick, I'm a Power Ranger." Only sheer effort of will kept Ronny from laughing hysterically at the thought of her day.
"Ronny," Vick said, "slow down. Who asked you to be a Ranger?"
"Andrew Hartford, from Hartford Industries," Ronny replied, "why me? Vick, you're the calm logical one!"
"We'll worry about that later. You said there was a ghost?" Vick said.
"Rose and Mr. Hartford said he was the 'Sentinel Knight', the protector of this crown, the Corona Aurora," Ronny said.
"I've heard of the Corona Aurora," Vick said, "I took that year in Universal Legends, remember."
"That's what Rose said," Ronny replied with a laugh, "you probably had the same professor."
"Maybe we did," Vick replied. "Who's we, by the way."
"Rose Ortiz, Will Aston and Dax Lo," Ronny said, "well, and Mack Hartford, Mr. Hartford's son."
"All right," Vick said, "can you tell me the rest of it now, are you feeling calmer?"
"Of course," Ronny said and launched into the extended version of her trip to San Angeles, California. Talking to her twin brother had always had a soothing affect on Ronny, one that had first shown itself during their childhood. Vick was the older twin, and the more dominant. Ronny was loud and exuberant, willing to jump head first into anything. Vick was more likely to be the one to temper her rashness with logic. Ronny had barely scrapped past high school and trade school; Vick had graduated early and went to Harvard. Ronny had always been determined to drive, while Vick split his time between managing the team and finance.
"You'll be taking a leave of absence then," Vick said when Ronny finally wound down.
"Vick," Ronny said.
"Hey, it's ok," Vick said, "Michele and Sarah aren't Grand Prix drivers yet, but this will be good for them. You know your star casts deep shadows over them no matter what. This way, they get exposure that they need without it looking like you're buying that exposure. I'll stay close to the team and keep things together, but you have to tell Dad."
"Vick," Ronny whined.
"No, Ronny," Vick said firmly. "You have to tell Dad. I'll handle your European sponsors, ok. I won't mention the Ranger thing until you do, so you'll probably see some odd headlines."
Ronny slumped even further into her chair, "I'll tell Dad, and I'll ask the team about the press. God Vick, these people aren't car people. They're the exact opposite of car people. Mack's a rich kid, Dax is, I think, a stunt man who spends way too much time talking about his 'connections', Will is a spy, or a thief, I'm not sure, and Rose is highly intelligent."
"You'll get along fine, Ronny," Vick said. "Just show them your good side and don't get too competitive."
"I'll try," Ronny hedged.
"Now, I have work to do, and you should probably call Dad," Vick said.
"Slave driver," Ronny muttered. Vick laughed as he hung up. Ronny clicked off the phone and stared at it. She really didn't want to have to call her father and explain this. Her finger drifted over the talk button for a long moment and she sighed, "This is stupid." She started to press the talk button.
Someone pounded on the door, "Ronny!" Dax called, "Dinner!"
"Coming," Ronny replied, glancing at the clock by her bed. She blinked in surprise as she realized that she had spent an hour talking to her brother. She put the phone back on the charger with a feeling of guilty relief before she stood up and opened the door. Dax was still standing there, dancing from foot to foot, "What?" She asked him.
Dax shrugged, "I just thought you'd like an escort down to the dining room."
"Ok," Ronny began, "do you know where the dining room is?"
Dax flushed, "I was kind of hoping you'd know."
Ronny laughed lightly, "I actually do remember. Come on Dax, I'll guide you down there."
"Thanks Ronny," Dax said. "I'm not usually this bad at directions."
"I've been in enough strange places," Ronny replied, "I've just gotten good at remembering the important places, the bathroom, the kitchen, the bar."
"There's a bar here?" Dax repeated.
"Dad doesn't drink," Mack said, appearing from behind them. "Sorry, I thought you might have gotten lost."
"Not exactly," Ronny replied. "There's no alcohol here?"
"Not unless Spencer has some stashed somewhere," Mack replied, "the stairs down are right around this corner."
"Great," Dax said, "I'm starving."
"You had a snack half an hour ago," Mack pointed out as they rounded the corner and found the stairs.
"But I'm still hungry," Dax replied.
"He's right," Ronny said, "I'm hungry too."
Mack shrugged as they started down the stairs, "Probably from all the excitement. Will and Rose were saying the same thing."