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The ShadowLands

Really Want You
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Disclaimer: I don't own the Power Rangers.

 

Really Want You

by Jennifer Collins

 

 

"I can't go in there," Ethan said, shaking his head.

"Maybe it won't be so bad," Kira offered sympathetically.

"But everyone's going to know!"

Conner gave Ethan's shoulder a light squeeze. "Dude, I know it's hard. But you'll get through it."

"He's right," Kira put in. "It'll be ok, you'll see. Now come on. We don't want to be late for class." She took his hand and led him into the science classroom, with Conner following closely behind.

As the trio walked to their places, some classmates darted sorry looks in Ethan's direction. Others avoided meeting his gaze at all.

"Sorry about the break-up, dude. Must be rough," a random student said.

"He's fine," Kira said. She gently pushed Ethan along.

"Ahem," Dr. Oliver cleared his throat. "Can we all take our seats, please?"

The students who were standing idly went to their places so class could begin. Ethan stared across the room at Cassidy. She didn't look back at him once.

........................................................................................................................................

The fourth-period lunch crowd poured into Hayley's Cyberspace. Trent looked over the counter to Hayley. "You have fifteen minutes," she said knowingly.

Trent smiled. "Thanks, Hayley." He made his way over to the table Kira was holding for Conner and Ethan. "Hey, Kira!" He leaned down to give her a quick kiss, but Kira turned her head away.

She nodded over to where Conner and Ethan had just come through the door. "Maybe we shouldn't be too couply around Ethan yet," she said.

"You're probably right. Hey, guys," He said.

"Hey," Ethan mumbled.

"How's your day so far?" Trent asked, genuinely concerned.

Ethan frowned. "You're about the forty-thousandth person to ask me that."

"That good, huh?"

Conner wrinkled his nose. "This has to be the worst part of breaking up."

Ethan shook his head. "No, it's not the worst part."

Just then, the door to the Cyberspace flew open, and in walked Cassidy Cornell, followed by Devin and four other guys Ethan didn't recognize. They moved over to an empty table, and Devin pulled out Cassidy's chair for her.

"Oh thank you, you're so sweet!" Cassidy chirped loudly. The other guys crowded around the newly single Cassidy, who was in full flirt-mode.

Ethan turned the back of his chair towards her. "I'm not going to watch this."

There was an awkward silence that followed. It was broken by Trent remembering that he had to get back to work. Soon after he left, Conner began chatting about some sports event that Ethan couldn't care less about. Although he wasn't really paying attention, Ethan appreciated his friends' efforts.

"Hi, everyone!" Mindy Harper, the Activities Coordinator for the eleventh grade, strolled through Hayley's Cyberspace, passing out fliers. She slipped a couple into Kira's hand when she got to their table. "I hope to see you all at the dance on Saturday!"

Ethan winced. The others didn't have to be geniuses to figure out that he had made plans to take Cassidy to the dance before they had broken up.

"Kira, you're going to be singing at the dance, aren't you?" Mindy said, with phony excitement.

Kira nodded. "Yeah," she said quietly.

"Oh, that's great!" She exclaimed before heading off to another table.

"I didn't know you were performing on Saturday," Ethan said.

"Look, Ethan. If you don't want to go, I totally understand........."

"Are you kidding? I never miss one of your shows. I'll be there," he promised. "Now, if you'll excuse me......" Ethan rose out of his seat and went to one of the computers at the back of the room, away from all the high school drama.

Conner leaned across the table. "He's taking this break-up thing really hard, isn't he?"

Kira sighed. "He sure is."

"I don't get it. They didn't have anything in common. I thought he was over her."

"Oh come on, Conner. They really liked each other. Remember? Ethan thought Cassidy was his 'soulmate' because of that stupid internet thing, but that's what's important to him. Can't you relate? There must be someone that you really liked that you broke up with."

"Not me. I don't get attached to the girls I date."

Kira rolled her eyes.

"Besides, if they really liked each other, then why's she moving on so quickly?" Conner pointed in the direction of the Cassidy fanclub table. "It doesn't seem to be so hard for her."

Kira looked closely at Cassidy, who was sitting farther away from the group than she'd been before. The boys were all talking, but she didn't seem to be taking part in the conversation. "I don't think so, Conner. Maybe it's harder for her than she's letting on."

"Whatever. Hey, we'd better get going. I have a test next period, and I'm actually prepared for it."

Kira smiled teasingly. "Wow. I'm impressed. That like, never happens. We wouldn't want you to miss it." She gathered her books and waved goodbye to Trent. He gave her a warm smile.

Kira took a closer look at Cassidy as she and Conner walked past her table. Was it her imagination, or had Cassidy Cornell been crying? A glance back at Conner let her know that he hadn't missed the slightly puffy red circles under her eyes either. Cassidy quickly averted her gaze when she caught them staring.

"I don't believe it," Conner started to say, but Kira wasn't listening.

She patted his shoulder. "I have an idea," she said.

..........................................................................................................................................

Cassidy rushed to Reefside High's school newspaper office after what had to be the worst day in anyone's life, ever. She threw her book bag down on the floor, took a seat in the head reporter's chair, and buried her face in her hands. Usually, she would get straight to work preparing the next hot story, but today, she decided to take a few moments to herself before she became surrounded by people again.

Funny, most of the students at Reefside would never believe that she, Cassidy Cornell, was lonely. Ever since she'd stepped into the school's halls more than three years ago, she'd always engaged in all sorts of extracurricular and social activities. Cassidy was never seen alone in public, either she was with Devin or a swarm of followers and admirers. Lonely was a concept that had been foreign to Cassidy. Yet strangely, she was lonely today. She was lonely in her usual crowd, she lonely among the hopeful boys who'd been noticing her all year but who had also been too intimidated to do anything about it until now. She'd even felt alone the few moments she'd had with just Devin. And now, by herself, without Ethan, she was lonely.

Cassidy was interrupted from her thoughts by the sound of Devin, who came bounding into the newspaper office straight from his forced study session with Dr. Oliver. "Hey, Cassidy. Sorry I'm late," he greeted.

She straightened in her chair and glanced at him. "Hi, Devin."

Devin frowned. "Cass? Are you okay?"

"Of course I'm okay! Why wouldn't I be okay?"

He pulled out the chair next to her. "Look, Cass. It's me. You don't have to pretend."

For a moment, she considered keeping up the charade, but while it may have worked on the entire student body at Reefside, Devin Fong was a completely different story. He'd been the closest thing she had to a best friend since grade school.

"Okay, so maybe I didn't have the greatest day ever..... but so what? They'll get over it as soon as Mindy Harper dumps her stupid jock of a boyfriend anyway."

"That's why you're upset? Because a bunch of high school kids are gossiping about you?" Devin looked her in the eye. "Are you sure it's not because you miss him?"

She'd been thinking about it all day, but somehow it still surprised her to hear the words come from Devin's mouth. "Why would I miss him? We wouldn't have worked out. We're just too different."

"Uh, have you ever heard the saying, 'opposites attract?'"

Boy, for someone who had been known to be somewhat of a pushover, Devin was really sticking to his claims. "Puh-lease! I am a hard-working, and good-looking mind you, journalist, and he's a......a............a..........."

"Great guy who went all out for you like no one has before? Who actually took the time to get to know you and likes you for you?"

Cassidy bit her lip. It was true. Ethan had gone all out for her on their first date, and he did inspire a sort-of friendship between her and Kira, which ultimately led to the start of her biggest dream coming true. He'd even proved to be more than just the simple geek she'd thought he was. He was actually sweet and compassionate, charming, and........even cute.

Devin paused for a moment before continuing. "You know, Cass. I meant it when I said he made you nice. But I think it's something more than that. I think he made you.......happy."

Cassidy looked up, and this time, no one could mistake the tears in her eyes. "So what if you're right? It's not like I can just go crawling back to him!"

"Why not?"

"Because that's not what I do!"

"Maybe not the old you. But the new and improved you is honest and loyal. Come on, Cassidy. It can't hurt to give it a try."

Cassidy shook her head. "I just don't know if I can face him this weekend."

"Well, you're going to have to," Devin pointed out. "You're covering the school dance, and you know Ethan's gonna be there since Kira's singing."

"That's right, I almost forgot about that," she said, putting her hands to her head. Suddenly, she jumped up from her seat. "What are you just sitting there for, Devin? We have to go find something for me to wear!"

Devin smiled. Now this was the Cassidy he knew.

..............................................................................................................................................

Reefside High's gymnasium was elaborately decorated when Ethan walked in with Kira and Conner on Saturday night.  Mindy Harper and her crew had gone all out to transform the gym into a spring spectacular, with large butterflies hanging from the ceiling and paper flowers everywhere.  Even the DinoThunder teens, who couldn't have cared less about school functions, thought the place looked great. 

As they walked through the double doors, Conner winked and smiled invitingly to the many girls who were sending flirtatious glances his way.  Kira rolled her eyes, and Ethan kept his gaze on the floor, determined to avoid any awkward small-talk with anyone who felt sorry for him.

"I gotta go set up," Kira said.  She looked at Ethan.  "Are you going to be okay?"

"I'll be fine, as soon as you do your thing," he said.

She treated both boys with a small smile.  "Well, have a good time, guys."  She gave a slight wave as she walked off, and Ethan thought he caught a knowing glance between Kira and Conner, but he shrugged it off, too tired to make sense of it.

"Don't look now, but here comes her self-proclaimed royal highness," Conner observed.

Ethan turned his attention to the doors, where a stunning Cassidy walked in on Devin's arm.  She was wearing a long, pale pink dress with spaghetti straps, and her hair was pulled back and piled on top of her head in an elegant twist.

Some of the girls who'd been checking Conner out since they'd entered were starting to approach, and Conner quickly grew distracted.

"Dude, don't leave me!" Ethan commanded.

"Oh, right.  Sorry man." Conner tried to stay focused on being a good friend.  Besides, his other friend had just appeared on the stage, and the music was starting up.

Kira began singing a slow romantic song, as Mindy Harper had previously requested.  The students of Reefside began pairing off, and many of them headed for the dance floor.

As he listened to his friend's sweet and steady voice, Ethan looked around and studied the crowd.  He saw Dr. O and Hayley talking in the middle of large crowds of students, and he remembered that Dr. Oliver had agreed to be a chaperone, but only as long as he could bring a date.  All the way in the back of the gymnasium, Trent stood behind the long refreshment table, serving drinks and pastries.  He caught Ethan looking at him and waved.  Ethan nodded.  When he next scanned the groups of people dancing in front of the stage, Ethan was surprised to note that even Devin had found a girl.  A girl who was not Cassidy.  Before he could wonder where she was, he noticed her standing in a corner all by herself.

Conner followed his line of sight.  "Go ask her to dance," he said.  A pretty girl in a short dress came up to him and he took her hand.  "Later, dude," he called as he let the girl pull him to the dance floor.

"Right," Ethan said quietly.  He glanced back at Cassidy, deciding if he should really ask her to dance or not.  After all, she had broken up with him.  Then again, she looked so lonely, standing in the corner, watching everyone longingly......... it was just one dance, right?

Just as he'd pretty much made up his mind to go for it, the music stopped.  Kira paused to switch guitars before grabbing the microphone again.  "Okay, everyone.  This next song is dedicated to one of my best friends."

Ethan was momentarily distracted from his mission when he heard the opening chords of the song.  He hadn't known Kira was working on something new..... Ethan looked over his shoulder to the place where Cassidy had been standing, but she wasn't there anymore.  He took a quick scan of the room and realized that she was making her way to the refreshment stand.  Before he could stop himself, he started after her.  Then Kira began to sing:

It's hard to get over,
And sometimes I never,
Think that I'll be myself again.
Where did we go wrong?
Everything seemed to be so right.
Now I'm weak when I was strong before.

Ethan hadn't heard Cassidy place her order, but he did arrive in time to slip Trent some money.  "This one's on me," he said.

Cassidy turned to look up at him.  "Thanks," she said quietly.

I miss you.
Don't really wanna be...
Apart from you.
And somehow it seems,
You miss me the same way too.

There was an awkward silence that followed, and Cassidy averted her eyes to the dance floor.  Ethan placed a tentative hand on her shoulder.  "May I have this dance?" he asked, a little hopefully.  She nodded wordlessly.

Remember when we used to hang out?
And time would stop for us,
Like we were the king and queen of the world.
We had it all,
But now there's something missing inside,
And nothing feels alright anymore.

The swirling lights dimmed, and Cassidy moved closer to Ethan.  "Can we talk?"

"I think we need to," he replied.

I miss you.
Don't really wanna be...
Apart from you.
And somehow it seems,
Like you miss me the same way too.

"Look, that was a horrible date," Cassidy said.  Ethan looked horrified.  "But it wasn't the worst," she added quickly.  "I know you tried really hard for me, and I.....I appreciate that."

Ethan nodded.  "We can't have everything in common," he pointed out.

"True," Cassidy agreed.  "But I think we have the important stuff in common."

"Like?"

"Like we both know we have stuff to do."

"Yeah, but there's always going to be 'stuff,' so...."

"So we shouldn't let it come between us?" Cassidy asked.  "I mean, is that what you were going to say?"

Ethan smiled.  "Something like that."

"I know we're really different, " Cassidy said.

"But are we too different?" Ethan asked, putting his guard up.

"I don't know, are we?"

"I don't think so.  Maybe.  Does it matter?"

"I guess not," Cassidy said slowly.

"I guess now we just have to figure out where we are.  What we really want."

Why don't we go back?
Pick up where we left,
Only this time we won't...
Lose sight of all...
The good things that we had.

"What do you really want?" Cassidy asked.

Ethan hesitated only a second before answering, "I really want you."

Cassidy smiled brightly.  "I really want you, too!" She threw her arms around him.

I miss you.
So tell me now,
Do you miss me too?

All the students in the gym cheered as Kira finished the song, and Cassidy and Ethan pulled apart long enough to clap loudly. 

"They're not clapping for me, guys," Kira said into the microphone.  "They're clapping for you." She hopped off the stage, and pre-recorded music blared through the sound system.

"Thanks, Kira," Ethan whispered as she walked past him.  She squeezed his arm lightly before going to find Trent for the last song.  Conner and his new date came over, hand in hand, to congratulate him. 

Ethan led Cassidy off to the side after everyone had started to do their own thing.  "So we're not broken up, right?"

"Definately not.  I mean, I thought that's what I wanted, but it's not.  I think it's worth another try.  I really like you, Ethan."

"I really like you, too.  I missed you so much."

"Me too.  Devin was right.  I'm much happier when I'm with you.  I mean, think about it.  Sure, I was fine before we discovered each other on the internet thingy, but then-"

"Cassidy!" He interrupted her.  "Stop talking!"

"Oops, I'm sorry.  I talk too much!"

"I know." Ethan smiled.  "Don't worry.  It's just one of the many things I've grown to like about you."

"Good, 'cause I hate being interrupted." Cassidy laughed, for the first time in days.  She settled into Ethan's arms as he pulled her close for the last dance.