A Chance for Happiness

    Kari layed on the couch watching TV when Rick came walking in. She looked up as he put a large stack of bills into a cabinit. Normally she would have said something about that, but decided to wait. Kari: "Any word from Cerina?" Rick shook his head. Kari turned and looked at the clock behind her. Kari: "Its getting really late." Rick headed over towards the couch. Rick: "Don't worry about her. She can take care of herself." Kari: "I know. But what could she be doing out there? And doesn't she...." They both stopped when they saw Niki. Niki: "Is mommy back yet?" Rick sat down and put one foot up on the coffee table. Rick: "No. Not yet." They were all silent for a moment. Then Kari tried to change the subject. Kari: "Isn't it past your bedtime?" Niki didn't fall for it. Niki: "Where do you think she is?" Kari: "We don't know. But I'm sure she's all right." Niki: "For all you know, Vulca could have her!" Rick: "Bed, now." Niki: "But..." She stopped when she saw his expression. He starred blankly back the hall without blinking. She turned and ran.
    At about 3:00 A.M., Cerina came stumbling in. Her eyes were blood-shot and her shirt was torn. She walked over to the couch and crashed. Kelly came out of the kitchen with a cigarette in her hand. Kelly: "So, this is how you spend your time. After calling Ransik a bad father, you leave your daughter to worry about you while you drink yourself stupid." Cerina: "With someone like Nadira here, its no wonder I drink." Kelly rolled her eyes. Kelly: "Its pointless to argue with you now." She started back to her room. Kelly: "Though it is nice to see you as you really are. A worthless drunk and nothing more." She pushed past Kari as she headed back to bed. Kari: "Where have you been?" Cerina let herself fall over. Cerina: "I was out for a while. Its none of your business." Kari: "Do you have any idea how worried we were?" Cerina: "I don't really care." Kari walked over to her and helped her off the couch. Kari: "We'll talk in the morning. Just get some sleep. You look like he*l."
    Kitana looked at Vulca and laughed. Kitana: "You didn't tell me she couldn't handle her alcohol." Vulca crossed her legs. Vulca: "When she first started working for me, she picked up a bad drinking habbit. Within a year, she was lost in the bottle. Every night after that little brat went to bed, she was drunk." Kitana: "Ha! That's great." Vulca: "Till one day something got through her head. She stopped right then and there." Kitana: "Looks like she fell off the wagon again." Vulca: "Yes." Vulca sat for a moment thinking. Then looked back up at Kitana. Vulca: "I'd almost be mad at Boron for that monster. She beat her up, but didn't kill her when she had the chance." Kitana: "Almost?" Vulca: "She lived, but if I know Cerina, she won't be able to take Ransik much longer." Kitana: "So you think she's going to kill him?" Vulca: "I'm not sure." An evil smile spread accross her face. Vulca: "Though I wouldn't count out that possibility."
    The next morning, Cerina was woke up by Rick banging on the door. She groaned and looked at the clock beside her bed. Cerina: "What?" Rick opened the door. Rick: "Come out here." He didn't give her time to object. Just slammed the door back shut. She got up and made her way to the living room. The others were already sitting down. Cerina: "What is this and why couldn't it wait?" Kari stood in the center of the room, her hands on her hips. Kari: "Cerina, Ransik, I've had enough. This fighting between the two of you has to stop." Ransik: "But if she thinks..." Cerina: "Ah screw you!" Rick at the top of his lungs: "Shut up! Cerina, sit down. We are going to fix this and fix it now." Cerina looked angirly at him, then took a seat. Kari: "This team was formed to fight Vulca and bring some peace to Stregna. But instead, all we have done is fight with each other. If this continues, we have no chance of victory. And we may as well surrender now." Ransik: "I don't appriciate being talked to as if I'm a child." Rick leaned back against the wall. Rick: "If you don't want to be treated that way, stop acting like one." Cerina: "Its not my fault his daughter is a bi*ch." Ransik: "Listen lady..." Cerina: "Anybody other than him wanna tell me she's not?" Kari: "Stop. I can tell you two aren't going to be the best of friends." Cerina: "You figure that one out all by yourself?" Kari ignored her. Kari: "But you can at least make an effort to get along."
    Lucas woke up to find Niki back at the side of his bed. Lucas: "What's all the noise?" Niki got up to close the door. Niki: "They're all fighting." Lucas saw he couldn't go anywhere, so he decided to fake an interest. Lucas: "About what?" Niki: "My mom and Ransik hate each other. And Kari's mad at them cause they always fight." Lucas smiled. Lucas: "Your mom's a smart lady. Ransik is trouble." Niki: "How do you know him?" Lucas: "Uh... he's someone I knew long ago." Niki: "I wish he'd just leave and take his stupid ex-wife with him." Lucas couldn't believe it, but he actually found himself liking the little girl. He sat up and looked out the window. Lucas: "So I've met your mom, but where's you dad?" Niki looked up at him sadly without saying a word.
    Kari: "Last night you had us all worried sick. You even let Niki go to sleep not knowing where you were." Cerina: "You're right about that. Just because Ransik and the rest of his jewle thief family pi*sed me off, is no reason to run out on her like that." Kelly: "See. You're not a perfect parent either." Cerina: "I did a lot of things last night that I wish I hadn't done. But that would have never happened if you two hadn't drove me to it." Kari: "Guys please, can we burry the hatchet? You don't need to spend every day of your lives this way. Think of all the things you could be doing besides plotting ways to kill each other. Cerina, you could spend time with Niki." Rick: "Yeah. You know they don't stay young for very long." Kari turned to face Ransik. Kari: "And you could try to get back the relationship you and Kelly had before." Ransik thought for a moment. Ransik: "I suppose you're right." Cerina: "Fine. I'll stop." Kari smiled. Kari: "Oh thank God that's over." Cerina thought: "If she thinks I'm going to give up this easily, she doesn't know me at all. I won't rest until that entire family is out of this house and out of my life."
    Lucas: "What's wrong?" Niki: "I.... I never knew my dad." Lucas: "I'm sorry. I didn't know." Niki: "Its ok." She thought for a minute. Lucas: "Did anybody tell you what happened to him?" Niki: "No. I'm not sure if she will tell me or not. I've never brought it up." Lucas: "So has she seen anybody since him?" Niki: "You want to ask her out?" Lucas: "I don't know. I guess its possible." Niki: "I haven't seen her with anybody. But that doesn't mean she'd say no." Lucas nodded. Lucas: "What would you think if I did?" She got up and ran over to the bed. Niki: "That would be cool! Go on, do it!" Lucas: "I'm thinking about it. But I didn't promise you anything." Niki: "I know."
    Nadira went up to Kelly later that day. Kelly was trying on a gold bracelett. Kelly: "Isn't it beautiful? Your dad took it from the most expensive place in town." Nadira let out a high pitched squeal and grabbed her mother's arm. Nadira: "Its fabulas!" Kelly smiled and held it up to the window to let the sun reflect off of it. After a moment, the women came back to their senses. Kelly: "Did you need something?" Nadira: "Oh yeah. I wanted to go out with Niki, but Cerina's got her watching that guy again." Kelly: "Who is he anyway?" Nadira: "Far as I know, just some guy she found." They both heard Cerina coming down the hall towards them. Kelly: "Go ahead out. I'll talk to her." Nadira ran happily out the door. Cerina came in just as she left. She was going straight for the room Lucas was in, when Kelly stopped her. Kelly: "Hey." Cerina: "What?" Kelly: "At least look at me when I'm talking to you." Cerina turned and stared at her. Cerina: "There. Happy?" Kelly ignored her behavior. Kelly: "Who have you been keeping in that room?" Cerina: "Someone I found injured a few days ago. Not that its any of your business!" Kelly: "I really think you should let Niki go play. She is just a kid and you were the one who brought him here." Cerina pointed her finger at Kelly. Cerina: "For your information, I was about to do that! If I hadn't been interupted." Kelly: "Did you forget what Kari said earlier?" She shrugged her shoulders. Cerina: "What do you mean? Kari said we couldn't fight. But there's no reason I should be nice to you." Kelly: "Oh lord knows that's a crime." Cerina started back the hall again. Cerina: "Maybe not. But if it were, I'm sure you and Ransik would know all about it!"
    She went into Lucas's room. Cerina: "You can go play for a little while." Niki: "Thanks." Cerina gave her a five. Cerina: "I appriciate you doing this." Niki: "That's ok. Its fun." She walked out and closed the door behind her. Lucas looked over at Cerina from the bed. Lucas: "Haven't seen much of you lately." Cerina: "Feel any better?" Lucas: "Oh I'm better. Well enough to get going." Cerina: "Well all right." Lucas: "But first, can I ask you something?" Cerina: "Fine." Lucas: "What happened to your husband? That girl's father." Cerina: "Why do you care?" Lucas: "No need to get defensive. I'm just asking." She headed over and sat in the chair against the wall. Cerina: "I'm sorry. I'm just a little fed up with Ransik and the rest of 'em." She paused. Cerina: "Jim died when Niki was a baby." Lucas: "From what?" Cerina: "The doctors said it was a virus. One they had never seen. It effected millions here." Lucas sat on the edge of the bed. Cerina: "They still don't know where it came from. Or how it died off." Lucas saw her eyes began to water. Lucas: "You loved him a lot, didn't you." Cerina wiped the tears from her eyes. Cerina: "He was the only man who ever really understood me. He loved me inspite of who I am. He had reason after reason to leave me, but he never did." Lucas: "Why didn't you ever tell your daughter?" Cerina: "I wanted to. I've come close some times. But every time I tried, it hurt to much. I just couldn't do it." She let out a sigh and covered her eyes. She stood slowly. And walked out of the room.
    Kari and Rick were walking on the path that lead into the woods. Kari looked up at Rick and smiled. Kari: "Its finally over." Rick: "And all because of you." Kari: "You can't give me all the credit. You were..." Rick: "Don't even mention me. If it weren't for you, I'd of killed all three of 'em." The two of them stopped under a tree. Kari: "Why are we stopping?" He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a box. Kari looked at him, confused. Rick: "Open it." She slowly took it and opened the box. Instantly, her eyes lit up. It was a silver neckles with blue dimonds on it. She threw her arms around him. Kari: "I love it!" After a minute, she thought of something. Kari: "How did you afford this?" Rick took it and put it around her neck. Rick: "Don't worry about it. All you need to know is how much you mean to me." Kari: "No, I want you to tell me." Rick: "Its not anything you should think about." Kari: "None of us have jobs. Now where did you get it?" She crossed her arms. Rick: "None of us have jobs because the queen won't hire us. You know that." Kari: "I'm not complaining about that. Just tell me. Did you steal that money?" Rick: "No." He paused. Rick: "I found it." Kari gave him a disbelieving look. Kari: "And the load of cash I saw you with earlier?" Rick: "What are you talking about?" Kari: "Don't play dumb with me. The money you put in the cabinet last night."
    Cerina stood on the side of the cave and looked off into the distance. She looked at the ring on her finger. Her wedding ring. And began to think about the day she got it. It was raining and she had just walked in the door. Cerina: "Some dumb a*s smashed into the side of my car today!" Jim stood at the table lighting a candle. Jim: "Are you all right?" Cerina: "Yeah, but he's not. I have to go to court on monday. Something about breaking his nose." Jim: "Oh come on! He smashing into you and breaks his nose and...." She walked closer to him. Cerina: "No no, honey. His nose got broke when I punched his a*s." Jim laughed. Jim: "That's one of the things I love about you. You've got fire, Cerina." His kissed her. Jim: "I was going to wait till after dinner, but what the he*l." He took a box off the table and opened it. Jim: "The time I have spent with you has been the best year of my life. I would love it if this could last forever. Will you marry me?" Just then, something inturruped her thoughts. Lucas: "Wait!" He came running up to her and saw her staring down at the ring. Lucas: "I'm sorry. But you didn't have to run." Cerina: "I just don't like to cry in front of people. I guess I picked that up from my time with the queen of the da*ned." He took a deep breath. Lucas: "I know this may be a little fast, but are you seeing anybody?" Cerina was speachless. She just stared at him for the longest time. Cerina: "Why do you want to do this? Most men would run away from a woman like me." Lucas: "I know. But... there's just something about you I like." Cerina: "If you think you can handle this, we can give it a shot. But I don't know a da*n thing about you." Lucas smiled. Lucas: "Ask me anything you want."
    Rick: "I didn't steal that money." Kari: "How do I know that? If you refuse to tell me where you got it, what else can I think!" Rick was getting annoyed by that point. Rick: "What does it matter? If I were to steal this, we both hate the queen! You should want to take anything away from her that you can!" Kari: "I know. But you wouldn't have taken that directly from Vulca. Getting it from innocent people just because they're on her pay-role is wrong." Rick: "I told you. I didn't steal it. I'm not Ransik!" Kari: "If you can't tell me how you got this.... I'm afraid I can't except it." She reached up and took it off. She handed it back to him and headed back down the path. Rick: "Kari!" She turned back for a second. Kari: "When you're read to tell me, whatever the he*l it is you're hiding. I'll be there. But until then, I don't want to hear a word from you." Rick turned and threw the neckles. He shook his head and began to walk back as well.
    Cerina started to say something, but stopped. Lucas saw her eyes focused on something behind him. He turned and saw Vulca with Skullsara. Cerina: "How dare you show your face outside of that palace, you cold blooded bi*ch!" Vulca just laughed. Vulca: "Have you forgotten, I own this entire planet. I can go wherever I want." Lucas: "Who is that?" Cerina: "She's the one who sent Kitana after you." Vulca held her head and sighed. Vulca: "I thought you were dead." Lucas: "Sorry. Its not that easy, lady." Vulca: "Not a problem." She turned calmly to the monster. Vulca: "Skullsara, kill them both." Cerina: "Psycho Blast!" Lucas: "Time for Time Force!" Skullsara jumped and landed in front of Lucas. He threw a punch, but she blocked and flipped him to the ground. Cerina jumpkicked her, sending her stumbling back a little. But when she attempted to continue, Skullsara blasted her. Vulca: "How's life on the other side of the blade?" She tried to get up, but the monster kicked her back down. Vulca: "You could own half of the world if you had only stayed with me." Lucas blasted the monster with his gun allowing Cerina time to get up. Cerina: "That's bull sh*t! You would have killed me as soon as you were finished with the rebels!" Vulca smiled. Skullsara charged again. This time knocking both rangers back with an energy wave. Cerina looked at Lucas. Then she ran up and jumped off his shoulder. Cerina: "Tiger's Eye!" A huge blast in the form of a tiger hit the monster. Dazed, the monster stepped back next to Vulca. Cerina saw her chance. Cerina: "Lucas, now! Take 'em both down!" He jumped into the air. Lucas: "Time Strike!" He hit Skullsara, destroying her, but Vulca disappeared. Cerina stared at where she had stood before. Cerina: "She's smart. We won't be able to take her down that easily. But it was worth trying." They began to walk back to the cave. Looking at Lucas, Cerina saw a certain power. It reminded her of Jim. She took his hand and smiled at him.