Taking a Chance:
Mia smiled as she walked home. She touched her cheek, remembering the smile on Ronny’s face as Ronny touched the same spot. She resisted touching her lips as she paused outside the gate. She didn’t want to go back in. What if her fr…teammates could tell she’d been on a date? What if she had a besotted look on her face? What would she say when they started asking questions? Would they even like her when she answered?
Mia took a deep breath and shook her head with a small self-deprecating smile. These were her teammates, these were her friends and they’d taken the few lies as to who she was at face value. Why should they start questioning her now?
She found Kevin, Mike and Emily around a bowl of popcorn in the kitchen. She paused as she stepped towards them, her throat swallowing the greeting she’d been about to give as she realized their topic of conversation. She wrapped her arms tightly around herself, took a slow breath and forced herself to join them. She tried to push a smile onto her face. They all gave her a smile of greeting before going back to their conversation.
“I’m just saying it’s none of our business,” Kevin said with an exasperation look at Mike.
Mike smiled and shook his head, “And I’m just saying that if they aren’t together we should do something about it.”
Emily laughed, “You’re just thinking of the potential hijinks.”
Mike nodded enthusiastically as he snagged a handful of popcorn.
“They’re not together,” Kevin insisted, “They’re just really good friends.”
“If they are together,” Emily sighed, “Then Antonio is the best boyfriend ever.”
Mike nodded his agreement.
“He always lets Jayden know when he’s going out. He does these little things to make him smile,” Emily started.
“They’re best friends,” Kevin pointed out.
Mia backed away and peeked toward the couch where Antonio and Jayden were watching a movie on Antonio’s laptop. Antonio had his legs thrown over Jayden's and the two of them had the laptop balanced between them. The popcorn was resting in Antonio’s lap and the two of them were leaned close to each other. They shared a smile and Jayden said something Mia couldn’t make out, but it made Antonio smirk and feed Jayden a piece of popcorn.
Mia couldn’t help but smile as she rejoined the group in the kitchen.
“You can’t do that,” Kevin was telling Mike, “What if Jayden is straight?”
“Jayden, but not Antonio?” Emily questioned.
Kevin had the decency to look sheepish at the protective look on Emily’s face. Mike snagged more popcorn as he looked between them.
“Well,” Kevin squirmed, “He followed me around, didn’t he?”
“To try and become a better Samurai,” Mike countered.
“To try and get you to accept him as a teammate,” Emily told him.
Kevin looked at her and Mia shook her head. She wasn’t even going to contribute to this conversation.
“He came back after all these years for Jayden,” Kevin said.
Emily nodded. Mike offered Mia some popcorn.
“Go on,” Emily pushed.
Mia snagged some popcorn as Kevin frowned.
“It’s the way he looks at Jayden, like Jayden the most important thing in his world, even more important than fishing,” Kevin continued.
“Getting warmer,” Emily praised.
“It’s all those little best friend moments. That sometimes they just look at each other and it almost as if they’re having an entire conversation,” Kevin broke off and paused, crossing his arms, “They could just be friends.”
“They could be,” Emily agreed.
“Hey, I thought you were on my side,” Mike protested.
Emily shook her head, “I’m taking their side. If they aren’t together then I’m happy for them, that they can have their bordering on epic friendship…”
“Bromance,” Mike corrected.
Emily shrugged and continued, “If they are together then they’ll tell us when they’re comfortable. I think Kevin’s wrong and he’s right. I don’t think they’re just friends, but it really isn’t any of our business.”
“They’re our teammates,” Mike protested, “Our family!”
Kevin gave Mike a disapproving look as he took a handful of popcorn.
“I just want our family to be honest and happy,” Mike admitted with a frown.
Mia wet her lips and leaned against the counter.
“We are,” Emily offered.
The truth was on the tip of Mia’s tongue, the want to let them know and not lose them. She gripped the edge of the counter as she admitted, “I had a date tonight.”
Kevin frowned. Mike paused, hand halfway to the popcorn bowl. Emily smiled.
“It was just a first date,” Mia said as she looked down at the popcorn.
“What’s his name?” Emily asked as she latched on to the new topic.
Mia wet her lips again, glanced at Emily, then at Mike, then Kevin before she took a slow breath and told herself not to back down. She was a Power Ranger. She was helping to save the world. She could do this without playing pronoun games. She could start being truthful with them. She just hoped it wouldn’t hurt badly.
“Her name’s Ronny.”
There was a brief pause as they absorbed her words. Mia’s grip on the counter tightened and she looked up in surprise as Emily wrapped an arm around her.
“You look worried,” Emily frowned.
“I don’t want to lose you guys,” Mia admitted as she leaned against Emily, relieved that her teammate was still touching her.
“Where’d you meet?” Mike asked.
“What does she do?” Kevin asked at the same time.
Mia looked at them, eyes widening in surprise. Kevin pushed the popcorn bowl towards her. She glanced at Emily.
“Want me to get Antonio and Jayden so we can all grill you together?” Emily offered, “We have to decide if she’s good enough for you…”
Mia laughed at the tease.
“No one’s good enough for Mia,” Mike smirked.
“We might have to scare them off with our sword fighting skills,” Kevin added.
“Oh,” Emily smiled, rubbing her hands together with glee, “I know how to clean a shotgun.”
Emily’s smile grew as they looked at her.
“Grew up on a farm,” Kevin put in. Emily nodded.
“Well it’d be better than swords,” Mike admitted, “Mia’s way better at sword fighting than we are.”
“We need more practice,” Kevin countered.
Mia laughed and they smiled at her. It’d been the purpose of the teasing all along, Mia realized as Mike gave her a hug. She leaned into his embrace as Emily stepped out of the kitchen to get Antonio and Jayden.
“So do you…” Kevin trailed off uncomfortably and then grabbed some popcorn.
“Just women,” Mia told him.
Kevin nodded as Emily joined them, her eyes wide.
“What?” Mike asked.
“Oh, they know they’re attracted to each other,” Emily said.
“Really?” Mike smiled as he started toward the door.
Kevin grabbed him by the shirt, “Leave them alone.”
“But…” Mike protested.
Emily shook her head, “It’s not polite to interrupt people when their kissing and you’ll probably just embarrass them.”
Mike squirmed, but joined them back at the counter. He rested his chin in his hands and gave Emily a forlorn look. Emily smiled and shook her head.
“What does Ronny do?” Kevin asked.
“She races cars,” Mia admitted.
“Wait, she’s that Ronny?” Mike asked, straightening up and looking at her in amazement, “The used to be a yellow power ranger Ronny?”
“Did you tell her?” Kevin asked, the concern evident in his tone.
Mia shook her head, “I just met her. I didn’t even recognize her until she mentioned being a Power Ranger. She’s not in town for long and it was only a first date. She travels a lot, but we have a lunch date tomorrow.”
“Long distance is hard,” Mike commented, “but you really seem to like her.”
Kevin nodded his agreement.
“What's she like?” Emily asked.
Mia took the three of them in slowly, “You’re really okay with this?”
“We’re Power Ranger,” Emily said, “Accepting each other is part of the tradition.”
“Differences and all,” Mike agreed.
“Like Mike said, at the end of the day, you’re our family,” Kevin told her as he wrapped his arms around her.
Mia closed her eyes and leaned in. She wasn’t surprised when Emily joined them and Mike called out, “You guys are missing out on the group hug!”
She laughed as Mike wrapped his arms around her back as Antonio came sprinting into the kitchen laughing, “Random group hugs are the best!”
Jayden smiled at them, took the five of them in and then laughed as Antonio waved at him to join in. Kevin grabbed Jayden’s wrist and pulled him in. Mia laughed and closed her eyes, enjoyed the feeling of their acceptance and love.