Hey everyone! We’re extremely sorry for the lack of updates but things got in our way. We won’t bore you with the details, just know that our lives are busy and that we appreciate that you all are still sticking around. Hope you all enjoy this chapter!
“Hey Sky!” Z called, her voice overly cheery. The Yellow Ranger was sitting on one of the couches in the common room, reading a book she had borrowed from Boom. Just that morning, she, Jack and Bridge had met in the Red Ranger’s room to discuss their next plan of attack. Of course, the next part had to naturally fall on her shoulders. The boys wanted her to make Syd jealous the way Jack had made Sky jealous.
She had to admit, this might not be that bad. Sky was, as every girl in the academy was prone to agree to, easy on the eyes. And this morning was no exception. He was wearing a pair of snug blue jeans, with rips in some very enticing places. He also wore a tight white t-shirt with a blue and white plaid flannel shirt over that. On his feet were a pair of beat up, black work boots, and in his hands were the tool belt she’d seen him with sometime the week before and his backpack.
“Good morning Z,” Sky greeted, smiling briefly at her before going to the machine in the corner and punching in the button code for a couple bottles of water.
“Where you off to so early on our day off?” Z asked.
“I’ve got a project going on and it’s going to take all day,” Sky told her, sitting down next to her on the couch. “How about you? Plans with Bridge today?” he teased.
It was no secret to the Blue Ranger that Z was slowly developing feelings for Bridge. “Would you believe no?” Z asked, trying to stay off the topic of Bridge. Considering their Green companion asked her to do this, she was scared what kind of signals this was going to send to Sky who knew her secret. “He and Jack are going to Mariner Bay for the day, something to do with researching a project.”
Sky looked genuinely surprised. It seemed lately that Z and Bridge were attached at the hip. “What about Syd?”
Z shrugged. “She said she had something to do today too, so I’m all on my lonesome.”
“I’d ask you to come with me, but I don’t think you’ll have any fun where I’m going. It’s all work and no play.”
Before Z could tease him about his comment, the common room doors opened revealing a freshly scrubbed Sydney. The Pink Ranger was wearing a pair of blue jean short overalls with a white top underneath and a pink hoodie. Her feet were adorned with a pair of white and pink tennis shoes and her hair was pilled back into a tight ponytail, minus any curls. And for once, both the Yellow and Blue Rangers noticed she was wearing next to no makeup.
“Wow, Syd, what’s with the getup?” Z cracked, watching Sydney ignore Sky and stride across the room. Ever since the day they had battled the simulated spider, Syd and Sky had been avoiding each other like the plague, both on and off the battlefield.
“Believe it or not, I’m going to be getting dirty today, so I didn’t want to put a bunch of junk on.”
Both Z and Syd shot looks at Sky when he snorted and laughed at Sydney’s comment. “Sydney, actually get dirty?”
“Oh, come on Sky,” Z playfully started, lightly slapping his thigh. She almost choked when she saw Sydney’s eyes darken. Oh, this was good. “Syd’s not that bad. I mean, remember the incident after Bridge and Boom had to rebuild R.I.C.?”
Sky looked startled by Z hitting him, but it wasn’t so much that she’d hit him, it was more WHERE she’d hit him. Sydney, likewise, was in mild shock herself. She’d always thought that Z had a thing for Bridge, but maybe she’d been wrong. The Yellow Ranger was apparently not shy about touching Sky intimately now that she was use to him. Rolling her eyes, Sydney turned away from then and headed for the food synthesizer, ordering up a few bottles of water, same as Sky had.
Z noticed Sky was scooting away from her slightly and that Sydney had suddenly lost all interest in them. ‘Dang,’ she thought to herself, before deciding to give up for now and plan another attack for later.
“See ya!” Syd chirped, practically bouncing out of the room. Z chuckled when Sky shook his head but kept his eyes on Syd’s backside until the common room doors shut.
“Well, I gotta go. See ya later, Z!” Sky called, practically jumping up from his seat and following Sydney out the door.
“Bye Sky!” Z called, watching him leave before shaking her head. “God, he has it bad.”
“Sky!” Bob Conrad called out when Sky hopped off his bike after arriving at the school.
“Mr. Conrad. Is everyone here?” Sky asked, grinning. He was really looking forward to working with the same crew from the last project.
Bob smiled and nodded. “You bet. Hungry? The school’s volunteer staff brought in muffins and bagels and coffee for breakfast.”
“I could use some coffee, it’s still cool this morning,” Sky replied, the pair heading toward the tent where all of the other workers on site were standing.
“Caitlynn, allow me to introduce Sky Tate. Sky, this is Caitlynn Roberts, the director for the school,” Bob introduced the older woman to Sky. Immediately, Sky was at ease with Caitlynn. She seemed friendly and genuinely concerned about the kids of New Tech City.
“Thanks for helping out, Mr. Tate. I wish I could stay longer, but my star volunteer is waiting at one of the local churches for me. We’re cooking up a big lunch for all of you. Bob, if you need anything, Ally’s wondering around. See you later,” Caitlynn called, turning and rushing off toward her car.
Bob and Sky shared a chuckle before downing the rest of their coffee. “Well, Sky, how about we get started building these kids a new place to learn.”
Sky beamed. “Let’s get to work.”
Caitlynn couldn’t help but smile when she entered the church kitchen. Standing there, an apron wrapped around her front to keep her from getting dirty, was Sydney Drew, elbow deep in making pie crusts from scratch. Caitlynn took a moment to watch her young friend work. In everything Sydney did, whether it was teaching the kids to read, write, or even making pie crusts as she was now, the blonde always gave each task her all. It made Caitlynn proud to see a girl who had the world at her fingertips giving back to those less fortunate.
“Need some help?”
Sydney looked up, making Caitlynn laugh. Syd’s face was covered in flour already and the poor girl hadn’t been at it all that long yet.
“Jamie and Roxanne went to get more bread from the store for the sandwiches, and Melissa’s in the other room putting together the supplies to be taken over to the food tent.”
“You’ve been busy already,” Caitlynn teased, donning an apron and moving to start cutting vegetables for the chicken soup and the salads.
“You said lunch was at noon, that doesn’t give me much time,” Syd laughed. “How’s it going at the site?”
The older woman grinned and popped a carrot in her mouth, chewing and swallowing before she replied. “Pretty good. Bob’s crew has been there since early this morning and the last of his volunteers showed up before I left. They’ve got the roof off of the old building and are already adding the foundation for the expansion areas.”
“Is it gonna be big?”
“Huge. They’re adding on two new wings, two stories each, and a new office up front,” Caitlynn told her. “We’ve got nearly two hundred hungry construction workers to feed.”
“Then let’s get busy, this food isn’t going to make itself,” Syd teased, tossing a handful of flour in Caitlynn’s direction, making the older woman laugh.
Z was startled to by the voice. Looking up, she saw Jack and Bridge sitting around her, looking at her expectantly.
“How’d it go this morning?” Jack asked, alluding to the fact that Z had been set to flirt with Sky.
Z shook her head. “It didn’t faze her much. Her eyes got dark, and she looked slightly…I don’t think annoyed is the word, maybe disgusted works better. She didn’t say anything to me. In fact, I think Sky was more surprised and annoyed by it then Syd was.”
The boys looked forlorn. “Maybe we’re going about this the wrong way?” Bridge asked.
“If this isn’t the way, I don’t know much else we can do besides sitting them both down and directly asking them what’s going on or what happened,” Jack told them, leaning back on the beanbag chair he was sitting on.
“I can try again when they both get back, but you two should be there to help. Maybe if we start flirting with both of them, it might trigger something?” Z suggested, looking at Jack.
The boys nodded, knowing there wasn’t much more they could do.
Her back ached even as she hauled yet another tray of food from the van to the tent that had been set up for lunch. She’d spent the better part of three hours cooking, and now she was hauling food and supplies and setting up.
She had to admit though the ache was a good one. She was doing only a minor part in the massive project – the construction workers and volunteers were creating a miracle. They were giving deserving children a safer place to learn.
At the sound of her name, Sydney looked up and smiled. “Mr. Conrad, it’s nice to see you again,” she smiled, extending her hand. Bob took her hand and shook it softly.
“Likewise. Caitlynn’s been telling me you’ve been preparing for lunch practically all morning? I have to say I can’t wait for the food, I’m starved.”
“I’ve made most of it,” Syd grinned in triumph. “What I didn’t do, I coordinated. Hey, we have to keep you guys happy and well fed, right? You’re doing us a big favor.”
“Just what a man wants to hear!” Bob smiled. “Sydney, allow me to introduce one of my best workers, Sky Tate. Sky, meet Sydney Drew, Caitlynn’s star volunteer.”
The pink ranger shifted her gaze to the person standing next to Mr. Conrad and she froze. As soon as she heard Bob mention Sky’s name, her whole body went numb with shock and her mind completely shut down. All she could do was stand there, gaping at Sky. She couldn’t have been more shocked if lightening had hit her. What in the world was Sky doing there?
For his part, Sky looked equally shocked. His eyes were wide open and his mouth had dropped. He had seen her first, believed himself to be dreaming and even went as far to pinch himself while Bob had been talking to the pink ranger. He had felt pain shooting up his arm and knew it was no dream. So he did the only thing he could do, he stared.
“YOU!” the two of them hissed at each other, startling Bob. “What are you doing here?”
“I take it you two know each other?” Bob asked, watching both their shocked looks turn into angry glares.
Sydney was the first to back off, giving Bob an apologetic smile. “Unfortunately we do, Mr. Conrad. Sky and I are both on the same squad at S.P.D. We’ve known each other for quite awhile now.” Feeling uncomfortable and having the sudden need to get out of there, the pink ranger quickly made a break for it. “If you’ll excuse me, I have to go make sure everything’s ready for lunch.” With that, Sydney smiled at Bob again before pushing past Sky and running off.
“Well, that was interesting,” Bob said as he watched Sydney run off. He shook his head and chuckled softly as he got no response from Sky. The blue ranger was staring after the tiny blonde and hadn’t heard a word he said. ‘Ah, young love’, he smirked to himself. It seemed to him there was much more between the two, just from seeing them together this one time, then mere dislike.
Sky sat in the grass, his plate on the ground in front of him and glared. His deep blue eyes were trained on the petite blonde flitting around, talking and chatting with the other construction workers and volunteers.
“God, would you look at her?” one of the guys, a few years older than Sky, grinned and told his friend. “Wouldn’t you like to get a piece of that?”
“I know. Could you just imagine the kind of things a girl with that kind of body could do?”
Jaw clenched, Sky turned his attention back his lunch. He was confused, and mad as hell. Who did they think they were? They were talking about Sydney as if she was an easy lay, which he knew she wasn’t. When he found an empty plate staring back at him, Sky stood up and moved to the trash can, stopping briefly in front of the guys who’d just been talking. “Might I suggest you stop looking at her like that? She has a nasty iron fist that could rearrange your face,” Sky told both of them in his sweetest and most sarcastic voice.
The two guys watched Sky walk away. “Is that Sky’s woman?” the first guy asked.
“Sky, have a woman? That guy is so anal, I can’t even begin to see that even being a possibility.”
Sky was the first back to work, but his eyes kept wandering back to Sydney, who was standing with a group of people, and doing what looked like some heavy flirting. ‘Oh God’, he thought angrily. She was getting to him, and he hated it. He hated seeing her flirt and tease the guys he worked without outside of SPD, but what he hated most was that he wished to God she’d do that with him instead of practically screaming at him whenever they were within five feet of each other.
“Hey Sky.” Turning, Sky was surprised to see one of the female volunteers, Tammi, standing next to him. Tammi was a sweet natured young lady, just out of high school, who had started volunteering with Mr. Conrad’s group the summer before. She was bright, a quick study, not afraid of hard work, and Sky knew she had a crush on him. He wasn’t as clueless as most people thought.
“Tammi, hi. What can I do for you?” Sky asked, and was only mildly concerned and annoyed when she stepped closer to him.
“Nothing. I just wanted to see what you guys were doing over here?” she told him, leaning close to him.
Sky gulped. “Actually, um, I’m making sure the foundation’s level while it’s drying.”
The young lady smiled charmingly up at him. “Interesting. So what happens if it isn’t drying level?” she asked, leaning so close to Sky that the Blue Ranger could see down her very low cut tank top.
“SCHUYLER TATE COLLINS!”
Sky had never been more relieved in his life to hear Sydney screaming his name. “Excuse me, Tammi, here comes hurricane Sydney,” Sky muttered, moving around the girl and toward the blonde who was glaring and marching toward him. “What?”
“How dare you? You are not my father, stay out of my love life!” Sydney hissed at him.
The blue jean clad man could only stare as Sydney leaned forward and poked a finger at his chest. “What?”
“How dare you tell them about my powers to scare them? Do you want me to tell your little fan club about your little ability to create freaky shields?” Sydney growled, her voice lowering in tone, as she gestured toward Tammi.
“Sydney, wait a second!” Sky defended himself. “First of all, they were talking about you like you were a piece of meat. I wouldn’t let them talk about you, or any other girl for that matter, like that.”
“You’re not my father, don’t you dare think you can decide who’s talking about me in a bad way. Why, you…you… butt-faced miscreant! Stay out of my love life!” Sydney screamed at him before she turned and fled, leaving Sky staring after her. Exasperated, irritated, and down right pissed off, Sky spun around and was surprised to see that Tammi was no where to be seen. ‘Thank you, Syd. Your timing has never been more perfect’ he thought with a wry smile.
Then it hit him. Butt-faced miscreant? He had scared off guys that were talking about her like she was some property and she called him a butt-faced miscreant? Syd had called him plenty of names before, but butt-faced miscreant? That was new. Original, he had to give her that, but she totally overreacted!
“Oh no she didn’t,” Sky muttered, swinging back around and stomping off, to the surprise of everyone around him, in the direction Sydney had gone. Sky found her near the parking lot, bent over the fender of the Caitlynn’s van as she reached inside the back doors to reach something. Anger radiated off him, and probably would have drawn a decent heat seeking missile if there’d been any in the sky. About the only thing that made him stop in his mission was the sight of her nicely rounded behind in the tight jean overalls she was wearing. ‘Damn her’ he thought, realizing his body was starting to respond to the image of her backside.
Shaking his head to clear it, Sky leaned forward and grabbed her arm, before standing back up and dragging her with him. “OW!” Syd squeaked in protest, swinging out at whoever had grabbed her arm so tightly. “Sky! LET GO!”
“Excuse me, but did you just call me a butt-faced miscreant and then stalk off?” Sky demanded, his grip on her arm tightening.
Sydney merely gasped, his fingers like a vice on her arm. She squirmed and wiggled and yanked her arm, trying to get away from him. “Sky…” she nearly cried, tears welling in her eyes. “Sky, you’re hurting my arm.”
The sound of her breathy voice jolted Sky back into the present. His eyes went to where he held her arm. He let go and swore, watching as red marks appeared where his fingers had been. ‘Oh no’ he thought, reacting without thought. He pulled Sydney into his arms and cradled her against his chest. “God, Sydney, I’m sorry,” he whispered, his hand stroking her arm where he’d hurt her. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
Sydney looked up at him, the tears that had pooled in her eyes streaming down her cheeks. Neither of them realized they were moving until their lips touched. It wasn’t like the heated kisses they’d shared before, this one was tender, innocent, apologetic, and yet, still passionate.
Caitlynn’s voice startled them back into reality. With a parting glance, Sydney grabbed one of the trays out of the van and hurried off, leaving Sky staring after her, more confused then ever.
“Ok guys, I think it’s time to call it a day!” Bob called to the men up on the roof of the existing building. A few of them weren’t quite ignoring him, but then they were, as they kept working. Everyone was enthusiastic about getting the school done. Shaking his head, Bob moved to speak with Caitlynn and some of her volunteers.
“Jesse! Don’t run over there!” Sydney called out, chasing a little brown haired girl in a pink dress, who was heading for where the volunteers were still throwing pieces of the roof down. The little girl giggled, and continued to run from the Pink Ranger, thinking Sydney was playing a game of tag with her. “JESSE!”
Sky was just coming off the ladder from the roof when he heard Sydney scream and saw her lunge forward. He reacted instead of thinking, jumping off the last couple of steps and tackling Sydney before he threw up the biggest shield he’d ever created as a piece of roofing went crashing down on the two of them where they had tackled the little girl, Syd’s body covering the smaller one under her, and Sky covering her. Sky felt his heart jump up into his throat, even as he looked up and saw the familiar blue of his power. It had been too close a call.
“SYDNEY! SKY!” Bob and Caitlynn turned and yelled just as the boards and shingles came crashing down. Neither saw the blue shield that surrounded the trio until the dust settled and whatever hit Sky’s shield fell to the ground around where they lay.
“Syd?” Sky gasped, pushing himself up as his shield dissipated. Sydney and the little girl lay unmoving, which scared Sky. “Sydney?”
A groan rang out in answer, followed by the near hysterical crying of a little girl. Sky looked down and helped Jesse wiggle out from under Sydney, who had apparently been knocked unconscious. “Syd?” Sky frantically asked again, reaching down to cup her cheeks with his hands as he bent over her.
“Jesse?” Syd called out, her eyes opening slowly.
“She’s fine Sydney,” Caitlynn’s voice soothed from over Sky’s shoulder. Jesse was wrapped in Caitlynn’s arms, still shaking with fear. “Sky, is she okay?”
The Blue Ranger looked down at his teammate and saw that her eyes were completely open, and she looked more aware. Carefully, Sky pulled her into a sitting position and held her in his lap, his brow furrowing in concern as her head leaned against his chest. “Sydney, are you alright?”
“I think so, just sorta woozy,” she told him, closing her eyes again. “Is Jesse okay?”
“She’s fine. She looks more frightened that you’re hurt then from what happened to her,” Sky murmured in her ear, his free hand stroking her hair from her face.
“Jesse, honey, next time, no running off, ok?” Sydney told the little girl, who nodded and blinked away tears.
“It’s okay,” Sky told the little girl, smiling reassuringly at her. “Come on, Syd, let’s get you standing.” Slowly, the pair worked in quiet tandem until they were both standing up. “You’re not gonna be able to drive back.”
“I hate to admit you’re right, but I don’t want to chance me trying to drive back,” Syd told him, her hand tightening on his bicep as she tried to steady herself.
Sky nodded, and turned to Bob. “Mr. Conrad, do you think you can bring my bike back to the Academy? I’m gonna drive Syd’s jeep back.”
Bob nodded and reached his hand out for Sky’s keys, which the Blue Ranger surrendered quickly before he wrapped and arm around Sydney and began leading her over to the SPD jeep parked next to Caitlynn’s van. “All your stuff in here?” Sky asked her as he helped her into the front seat, securing the seatbelt around her as she leaned her head against the seat.
“Yeah,” Syd replied, stifling a yawn.
“Don’t go to sleep, I’m gonna get you back to base and have Kat and Dr. Felix take a look at you,” Sky ordered before he spun around to talk to Caitlynn. “I’m sorry.”
Caitlynn waved him off. “Don’t worry about it Sky. Just get her taken care of. And give me a call if you need anything.”
“Will do,” Sky nodded as he hurried around the jeep and hopped into the driver’s side, starting the engine and then gunning the vehicle. He pulled out of the parking lot and speed back towards the Academy, his heart filled with an unexplainable fear the entire way.