Kim took advantage of Ron's different lunch period on Tuesdays for a private conversation with Monique. “I like being out with Shego, but it's really weird. There's some sort of tension between us when we're out for coffee.”
Monique leaned forward and softly knocked twice on Kim's forehead. “Hello, earth to Kim, you two hate each other. There is so much tension between the two of you that you should be committed for even wanting to go back.”
“It's not like that. We really have a truce going on Friday night. And… And this is really going to sound crazy, but I want it to continue.”
“Crazy doesn't even start to cover it.”
“If I get another call from Shego, will you come with me?”
“You really want me to come?”
“Seriously… Wait, you don't get the joke.”
“See, maybe that's why I like coffee with Shego. She knows the dangerous part of my life. You know the sane part of my life. Please come and try to get a feel on this. I want your opinion.”
Monique sighed, “I'm not sure you've got a sane part left in your life. You really want your best girlfriend to meet the FBI's most wanted woman in the world?”
“Please and thank you?”
“Only for you, Kim,”
Kim asked Wade to contact her at Monique's if another invitation arrived. She wondered why her heart was going a little faster, she was as nervous as if she was expecting a phone call for a date. What was going on? Could she actually be looking forward to a call from Shego? Was she worried that Shego would stand her up or that Monique might be in danger, was it a bad idea to introduce her to Shego?
Kim grabbed the Kimmunicator before the second beep.
“Wow, you were right on top of that. Were you expecting a hit on the website tonight Kim?”
“Oh, well, if it really doesn't matter to you--”
After the brief conversation with Wade Monique drove Kim over in the family beater. She hadn't seen Kim fidget like this since they both had the hots for Hiro. “What's wrong? Why are you so nervous?”
“Maybe this isn't a good idea. Shego can be dangerous.”
“So the light bulb went off at last. Great! Let me take you home.”
“No, you can let me out. I'll be fine. I don't need for you to come in with me.”
“GF, you REALLY need me to come in with you.”
Introductions did not go well. Shego seemed uncomfortable, almost hostile. Monique was understandably nervous in the company of a wanted criminal.
Kim did her best to get her two talking, but her best wasn't terribly successful. “Shego's mad at me for bringing someone without checking. Does she think this is a trap?”
Monique wondered why Kim said she enjoyed talking with Shego. The woman had the personality of an angry gorilla. After about half an hour, though, a thought struck her; Shego was jealous of her -- Shego resented her being there.
All that Shego and Monique shared appeared to be a desire to stay on good terms with Kim. They tried, with little success, to find some middle ground for conversation. Their efforts, like Kim's to get them engaged in conversation, were unsuccessful. There were too many long gaps in the conversation at the booth that evening.
One of the periods of silence was broken by the voice of someone approaching the booth, “Why couldn't you say it was Monique you've been with?” Kim started as the sound of her mother. “I was working late at the hospital and called to see if you needed a ride home. Monique's mom said you had come here.”
Mrs. Dr. Possible was standing at an angle where she couldn't see Shego, wedged back in the corner of the booth
“Oh crap,” Kim thought,“how in the world am I doing to get out of this?”
And, to make matters worse, it was Shego who broke the silence. “Ah, no, Dr. Possible, I'm afraid that I'm the one who asked Kim to lend me her ear.”
Kim's mom had moved in to see who was speaking. It was her turn to start visibly at the sight of the pale-green skinned woman with whom Kim shared one side of the booth. “Will you please join us?” Shego's voice sounded strained -- but Kim sensed she was trying to sound normal. Monique slid over, opposite Shego. Mrs. Possible suddenly feeling a little weak in the knees sat down heavily. “What in the hell is going on?”
The spiky haired waiter came over as Mrs. Possible sat down, and Shego ordered a latte for her while Kim's mom tried to collect her wits.
Kim and Shego were both suddenly grateful for Monique being there, it somehow made this seem normal. Kim blushed as she realized she wanted this to appear normal to her mother. Kim stared at her mom, sitting opposite her. She recognized the clenched jaw muscles as anger. While they waited for the latte Kim tried to calm her own fears. Monique smiled quietly. Her presence here marked her as an accessory, but she had a sense that witnessing things first hand was worth any price she would have to pay.
“What are you doing here young lady?” Jean Possible asked after her coffee came and when she was finally able to speak.
“Please, Dr. Possible,” Shego interrupted. Jean Possible glared at her. “Your daughter is here because she is a good person. I… I wanted to talk to someone and she is someone I feel I can trust.”
“This is with my daughter,” Dr. Possible snapped. “Kimmie, this woman has tried to kill you.”
“Please Mom, I trust her.”
“WHAT?” Shego and Mrs. Possible stared at each other as they realized they had shouted the word simultaneously.
The shout momentarily stilled much of the conversation in C2K.
“Well, maybe trust is too strong a word,” Kim said in a hushed tone as the babble returned to normal volume in the rest of the coffee house. “But we all need someone. I've got you and Dad, and Ron, Monique and Felix… Shego doesn't have anyone.”
“I don't need your charity,” Shego hissed.
“Hey, you asked me to come see you.”
“Well, you didn't have to come!”
“No,” thought Dr. Possible, “you didn't have to come.”
As her latte arrived conversation picked up a bit at the back booth. Kim said the least. She could tell her Mom and Shego were struggling to find a way to defuse the tension, and Monique… Monique was really starting to enjoy either the conversation or Kim's discomfort, and Kim feared it was the latter. “I am so dead.”
Monique left around midnight. At 1:00 C2K closed and the Possibles and Shego went out. Dr. Possible glanced around the neighborhood.
“You've been walking home from here?” she demanded.
“I offer her rides,” Shego said defensively
“Yes, Mom, hey I can save the world, remember?”
“And Dr. Possible, I've been following her home to make sure she arrived safely.” Shocked, Kim glanced at the slightly older woman, then over to her mom. “A couple weeks ago two drunken frat boys came at her, she had them flattened before I could set the hovercraft down.”
Kim couldn't interpret her mother's glare at Shego. It might have been, “You're the biggest threat here,” or “Thank God someone has an ounce of sense,” or, “Why do I let Kim get into danger like this.”
“Ah, Shego, I don't think that last story made my mom feel any better.”
“Sorry Kim… I was trying to help.”
Kim sat uncomfortably silent in the passenger seat for the drive home. “Uh, mom… she began.
“Don't say a word,” her mom replied. “We need a long talk.”
Kim spent much of Saturday avoiding her mom. She half hoped for a call from Wade with a mission, but worried that the thought of her being in danger would only hurt her cause more. Fortunately the looming end of the school year meant plenty of assignments to complete. At least she could put in the appearance of good and virtuous. Kim caught herself wondering at her own thoughts, appearance of good and virtuous?
Kim was getting ready for bed when her mother finally came in for ‘the talk’. Jean Possible sat on the desk chair while her daughter sat cross-legged on the bed.
“I worry about you,” her mom began. “You haven't really been out with anyone since you and Ron broke up--”
“MOM! We didn't break up!”
“The two of you were seriously dating for awhile.”
“We were… sometimes. But was he over here any more while we were quote, ‘dating,’ unquote than before?”
“And has he been over here any less since we quote, ‘broke up,’ unquote?”
Her mom smiled, “No, I guess not. I just worry about you.”
Kim rolled her eyes. “I'm tired of people worrying about me. How old were you when you met dad?”
“That's not relevant.”
“Yes it is. You've always said you were a sophomore in college. That's two years away for me. Why are you wanting to pair me up with someone?”
“I don't want you to find your life's partner, Kim. You have a lot of growing up to do. You need to find yourself and what you want to do with your life. And I'm sorry if it seems like I'm trying to pressure you. High school is a good time to start learning those dating and social skills. And that's the reason my history isn't relevant to your case. I had an active social life in high school. And I had an active social life in college. When I first met your father I never dreamed I'd marry him …” She fell silent.
“It hurts that grandma and grandpa hardly ever call, doesn't it.”
“I don't know why they can't accept James,” Jean said, trying hard to hide a tear. “But it's their loss. They never got to know three wonderful grandchildren.”
Kim got off the bed and threw her arms around her mother, who returned the hug. Jean sighed, “I learned some valuable lessons from them. I try to listen to my children and I'll apologize when I'm wrong. If and when you or the boys give me grandkids I will never ignore them. But I'd like to wait at least five years for you and ten years for them before you make me a grandmother.”
“That sounds like a safe promise,” Kim smiled. “At least for me.”
“Anyway, as I was saying. I had an active social life in high school. You're almost eighteen. You're beautiful. You're a cheerleader; you could be the most popular girl in school. But you have no social life--”
“Mom! I'm on every committee at school!”
“Don't confuse that with a social life. You're never out on dates with boys.”
“I'm over with Ron and Felix all the time.”
“Oh yes, those two are more like brothers to you than your brothers are.”
Kim switched tactics, “But I'm so busy saving the world.”
“Ron is just as busy. Who are some of the girls we've heard him talk about at dinner, Tara, Zita, Amelia, Shoshana and Debbie--”
“Mom, those last two were in middle school.”
“And who did you date in middle school? Did you say something about a Yori coming to see him from Japan?”
“Okay, how about Josh and Hiro?”
“Josh… that crush you had your sophomore year? Hiro, who was in town for a little more than week two years ago? I was happy that you dated Ron for a while. You two are such good friends I thought something deeper would develop, and then that ended. He was the best relationship you've had with a boy, and you seemed uncomfortable with him as a boyfriend.”
“You make it sound like I'm gay.”
“No. I'm saying you're my daughter and I love you. I'm saying that despite the many ways in which you are mature and level-headed beyond your years you don't have a lot of emotional experience. Why do you really plan to start at Middleton U this fall Kimmie? Close your mouth, your Dad and I can afford to send you anywhere you want -- even if you skipped those schools that offered you scholarships. I think you feel safer here at home.”
“You know Middleton is a good school. Lots of kids from my class are going there.”
“And how many are planning to live at home? I mean besides those who need to in order to save money? But I'm getting away from what's important. We're happy you'll be at home. But we don't want you in a protective cocoon. We… I worry. I'm afraid you're lonelier than you let on, that you don't know what you are and could crush on an older more experienced person who showed an interest in you. I don't want you to get hurt.”
“And you're worried about me and Shego?”
Her mother smiled. “I suppose I'm more worried about her than I would be anyone else. Why did she ask you out? I worry about you going out, even for coffee, with a woman who has hurt you. It scares me that you think you can trust her. She's predatory.”
Kim could see tears welling up in her mother's eyes. She threw her arms around her mom's neck and hugged her tightly. The two cried on each other's shoulders for a few minutes.
“I'm not crushing on Shego? Mom, we've been fighting for years. She's put me in the hospital -- she's already hurt me.”
“There are worse hurts than cracked ribs and burns. I don't want Shego to take advantage of your innocence and vulnerability. I saw her look at you last night Kimmie. I heard her talk to you. She wants you for something. I'm not sure what. Maybe she really does just need a friend. But if you ever see her socially again, and I'm hoping you won't, you will invite her for dinner here.”
“Promise me Kim, if she is a friend she will accept. If she is using you…
“Kim, I'm your mom. I'll love you forever. I'll love you and will do my absolute best to accept whoever you fall in love with… House rules Kimmie -- you don't sleep with anyone you would be ashamed to have at the breakfast table with your family the next morning. Other than that your dad and I will support… New house rule Kimmie, you are not allowed to fall in love with a cow. I will not allow a cow at the breakfast table. No dating outside your species.”
Kim laughed, “But mom, think of the money we'd save on milk.”
Jean Possible laughed and kissed her daughter on the forehead
Alone in her room Kim stared at the ceiling for a long time, her mother was wrong. “There is no way I am crushing on Shego. I just want her to be a hero again even if I can't tell her that.”
The next day Kim had equal trouble with Monique's report. “She likes you Kim. I can't tell how much or how strong -- but she was really jealous of me being there with you. She likes you, and yet she knows you are her enemy.”
“And you think that's the tension I'm picking up?”
“Not all of it. You like her too. I don't know what your other Fridays have been like -- she was cold last night and you were trying to jolly her along. That tells me the two of you have had a better time before, you wanted me to hear it also. You almost apologized to her for bringing me along. You didn't want me there ruining your good time. That was cold Kim.”
“I'm sorry Monique.”
“You better be. But that was my read. You like her also, but you aren't sure why or how much -- and you can't shake the fact she is your best enemy any more than she can.
That evening Kim reflected on the words from her mother and Monique. It was odd for them to both be so totally wrong. Shego was becoming a friend. There was nothing more to it than that. How could her mom and Monique imagine anything else?