“Nice going, Zack. Really, just perfect.”
“How come I’m the only one that’s getting blamed? It’s Jason’s fault, too!”
“Because it was your idea.”
“And if you hadn’t surprised me by kissing me this wouldn’t have happened!” Jason says, interrupting Trini and Zack’s argument. His skin still looks slightly flushed.
Kimberly rolls her eyes, “It’s both your fault. How can either of you think it’s a good idea to arm wrestle on a wooden table? Hello, super strength.”
They all turn to Billy then. “I think my mom is going to notice that.”
Jason steps forward, “Billy, we’re so sorry.”
“Now he takes some responsibility,” Zack snorts, but then stops when Trini turns to glare at him. “Sorry, Billy,” he says instead.
“She’s definitely going to notice that,” Billy repeats, looking down at the remains of the dining room table. It looks caved in and splintered where Zack’s hand slammed down in victory when he caught Jason off guard.
“They’re going to fix it, don’t worry, Billy,” Trini says then, arms crossed.
“Yeah they are,” Kim agrees, glaring at both Jason and Zack.
“Wow, Trini’s glare has really rubbed off on you, Kim. Guess it’s true what they say about people picking up their partner’s habits, huh?” Zack tries to joke, but when Jason joins in on the glares, he clears his throat, “Um. Yeah, right. What I meant to say is: Billy, they’re right, we’re going to stick it back together and she won’t even know anything happened. It’ll be good as new.”
“You suddenly turn into a carpenter or what because I don’t think all the glue and duck tape in the world is going to cover up the fact that you literally split the table in two.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Trini.”
“Billy, do you know where your mom got this table or maybe where we can get one like it?”
Billy tears his eyes away from the table, tilts his head towards Jason’s “Uh, that’s a no.” he looks up then, pensive, “Maybe I can call her to ask. I think she’s going to go on her lunch soon and I can tell her that you two were arm wrestling and then Zack kissed you and you turned bright red and froze so then Zack won,” he glances up at everyone, “he won, right? Or did they both win? Did you guys know that there are actual arm wrestling competitions? I’m not sure if I’d ever join one myself…Zack maybe you could, but I don’t know about kissing everyone you play against. Not sure Jason would be too happy about that unless he was the one—“
“Yeah?” he looks at Jason then, “Hey, you look sort of red again. Did Zack kiss you again? Or wait, are you morphing?”
Zack snorts, once, and covers his mouth even as he hears Trini and Kim trying and failing to contain their snickering.
“No, Billy,” Jason mumbles. He takes a deep breath, ignoring the rest of the rangers, “I’m not sure it’d be a good idea to call your mom and uh…definitely not to tell her how this happened.”
Zack sighs then, “What if we all just get together and buy a new different table?”
“How did me, Kim, and Billy get involved in this we now?”
“No, he’s right,” Kim says then, “I mean, we all always eat here anyway and honestly, it was a little cramped trying to fit in together since this table really wasn’t meant for more than four people. We could all pitch in to get a bigger table.”
“Except Billy,” Jason adds, “this is his and his mom’s place so the rest of us will buy it.”
“Yeah, fine. You’re right,” Trini shrugs.
Zack rubs his hands together and beams, “Awesome! Let’s go before she gets home and never invites us over to dinner again.”
They shuffle out of the house quickly then.
“But why here?”
Jason parks his dad’s new double cab truck that Jason was, in no uncertain terms, forbidden from using while he was out for the weekend on a fishing trip for work, “Because between detention and training, none of us has really had the time to make money for anything more expensive.”
Trini rests her chin on Kim’s shoulder in front of her, “I hate this place.”
“I love this place!” Zack says, throwing his door open to leap out.
“I hate him.”
“No you don’t,” Billy says matter-of-factly, stepping out from the back seat after Zack.
“No, I don’t,” Trini agrees begrudgingly and follows Billy out the back.
“Straight to the tables,” Jason says, staring up at the escalators in front of them. “We don’t have time to look at anything else.”
Zack frowns, but jumps onto a step on the escalator, “Fine but we’re getting ice cream when we’re done.”
“Seconded,” Kim says, taking the next step, hand clasped around Trini’s as she pulls her in behind her.
Jason sighs and turns to Billy who is staring at the entrance and giant advertisements along the glass windows, “Billy?”
Billy turns to Jason and then away, eyes caught by the automatic doors opening as a couple walks in. “Hey, Billy, if you want to leave at any point just let me know and we’ll go, okay? It gets pretty packed here like the hallways in school.”
“Sure, Jason, but we should really make sure we get that ice cream. Do you think they have cones?”
“We’ll find out,” Jason promises and waves towards the escalators, letting Billy get on ahead of him.
Before they’ve reached the top, Jason nearly falls back from his step when Billy turns around, “Jason! They have cones!”
Jason looks over his shoulder at a family walking by, ice cream in their hands.
“Awesome. Watch your step, Billy.”
“Oh, should we get one of those bags like they got?”
“I really don’t think we’ll be needing one, but if you want to carry it, sure.”
They enter into the store’s showroom then and Jason grabs a pamphlet from the entrance showing a map of the store.
“Okay guys, kitchen and dining are fourth and fifth in line down from here, so let’s go—“ he looks up then and groans in frustration when he sees Kim and Trini throwing themselves on a display room couch together while Zack and Billy are competing on who can sit on the most amount of couches across the way.
Jason checks the time on his phone and closes his eyes in exasperation.
“The kitchens and dining area are literally right there.” Jason points after having just managed to get the rest of them to follow him through into the media storage area.
“Hey, that’s my name!” Billy says, ignoring him, “I’m a bookshelf?”
Zack follows Billy to the bookshelves, “Aw, we can all have our own personal Billy at home.”
Trini joins them, “Nothing replaces the real thing.”
They collectively turn to look at Jason then, Kim pausing from peeking into a cabinet drawer.
“New table. To replace the broken one sitting in Billy’s dining room. We need to get it before Billy’s mom comes home, remember?”
“Wait, so these don’t come with chairs?”
Kim looks down at the tag in Zack’s hand, describing the table only and then looks over at the tag hanging from the display chairs, “Guess not.”
“Do we even need chairs?” Trini asks, “Zack only broke the table, not the chairs.”
“Again, I want to point out that it was Jason’s fault too, not just mine.”
“But you’re the one who kissed him.”
“Can we please stop bringing this up?” Jason begs.
“Aww, what’s wrong Jason, sad your first kiss with Zack wasn’t as romantic as you wanted it to be?” Kim teases, patting Jason’s shoulder.
“It probably could have been better,” Billy agrees.
“I’ll let you carry my books to class for me while I wear your varsity jacket next time to make up for it. Or I’ll sneak in through your window like Trini did with Kim for their first kiss,” Zack adds with a grin.
Trini’s eyes widen as she looks at Kim, “You told him?”
Kim holds her hands up, “It just slipped!”
“Just like you slipped her the tongue, huh Trini?” Zack raises his hand for a high-five and then winces a groan when she punches him in the shoulder.
“Guys,” Jason says, voice slightly muffled by the hands over his face in a gesture of exhaustion, “can we get back to the table?”
“We have to get the chairs too,” Zack says then, rubbing his shoulder, “I always end up being left with having to use the patio chair or Mrs. Cranston’s office chair.”
“Fine, we’ll get chairs too. But can we please just hurry up now?”
They hear the sound of a photo shutter going off twice and then Trini is lifting her phone, “Got the location codes, let’s go.” She walks by, taking Kim’s hand along the way.
The rest of them follow behind.
Once they’ve grabbed a cart to stack the boxes for the dining table and chairs, Jason pushes them towards the registers, shaking his head and thanking an employee when they ask if he needs help pushing the cart.
They eye the boxes, seemingly skeptical that Jason isn’t straining to maneuver the cart with that full weight, but they let it go at the sight of Jason weaving through down the crowds of people easily.
“Ice cream!” Zack gasps once they’ve reached the registers, eyes staring at the bistro and market just beyond the check out stands.
“With cones?” Billy asks.
“Hell yeah with cones!”
“How about you all go get the ice cream while I pay here?” Jason says.
Trini turns to him then, “You sure?”
“Yeah, it’ll save some time. Go, I got this.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll get you one too!” Zack yells over his shoulder as he sprints across to the bistro with Billy.
“And we’ll make sure he doesn’t use his mouth under the dispenser instead of a cone,” Kim snorts before she and Trini follow behind them.
The walk to the parking lot is quiet as they eat.
Zack and Kim have the others hold their cones while they load the boxes on and by the time they’re in the car, Kim and Jason let out a joint sigh of relief.
“Billy, what time is your mom getting home, exactly?” she asks.
He thinks for moment, “She’ll be home in exactly two hours, 26 minutes, and 38 seconds.” He licks his ice cream, “Oh wait, 37 seconds, now.”
“Step on it, Red,” Trini says then.
After unloading all the boxes, they throw the remains of the old table in the bed of the truck and then throw on the old chairs.
“All right everyone, we have just under two hours to get all of these done and set up. We’ll each start with the chairs first and then work together on the table.”
“Piece of cake,” Trini says, hauling one of the chair boxes to an empty spot on the floor.
Kim takes another box and sets up beside her. Zack goes next, then Billy, and Jason.
They open the boxes and begin spreading out the pieces.
And then Zack makes a noise of distress, “Why are there so many pieces?! Did we get the right things?”
“My instructions are in Swedish,” Billy says, confused. Jason reaches over and turns the paper in his hand. “Oh, right. False alarm, everyone.”
“This was a mistake,” Trini says.
Kim looks over her instructions paper, hesitantly, “Uh, Billy, you wouldn’t happen to have five screwdrivers lying around that we could use, do you?”
“And five hammers,” Jason adds, skimming down his own.
Billy sets his instructions down, “Screwdrivers, yes. I have exactly five downstairs in the basement. Two of them are a little shorter than the others, one of them green, blue, two yellows, and a black one. But I only have two hammers and both of those are orange.”
“We’ll share the hammers, don’t worry, Billy,” Jason replies.
“Okay, be right back.”
They watch Billy sprint down to the basement and Kim looks over to Jason and the others, “You think we’ll be able to finish this in time?”
“I’ll bet all of you I’ll finish my chair before you,” Zack says.
Trini lifts her eyebrow at the challenge, “Oh yeah? What does the winner get?”
“Winner gets to sit out training practice while the rest of you have to listen to Zordon tell one of his old battle stories.”
“You’re on,” Trini snorts just as Billy comes fumbling back in with the tools. “Billy, whoever finishes making their chair before everyone else gets to sit out next training practice.”
“Hammer!” Zack yells, looking down at his half-formed chair, arm outstretched.
Kim grips the hammer in hand more tightly, “No way, you look like you’re going to break your chair and we didn’t buy any extras.”
“If you break your chair, I’m throwing you off the cliff next time,” Trini threatens.
“Hey, I’m not the one who shredded her instructions out of frustration earlier.”
Trini glares from where she’s looking at the instructions Kim is sharing with her between them, “Ask your boyfriend for the other hammer.”
“Jason,” Zack whines.
“You haven’t even put one leg together!” Zack points out.
“I’m taking my time to make sure it’s done right and you can’t do it right if you don’t take your time,” he replies defensively at the same time that Billy stands up in satisfaction, “Done.”
They stop and stare.
“Oh my god, it’s beautiful,” Zack says in awe.
Billy grins as he makes a show of taking a seat on his fully formed chair.
“We should have known Billy would win the bet,” Kim mumbles, as she looks down at all the pieces she has left in mourning.
“Great job, Billy.”
“Thanks, Jason! So uh…should I just get started on the sixth chair?”
“Yes,” comes the somber and unanimous reply.
“Okay,” Jason says, dropping his screwdriver.
“Took you long enough,” Trini teases.
“You literally finished a minute ahead of me.”
“It was a long minute,” Kim smiles.
Billy arranges both his finished chairs behind him, “Should we start on the table now?” and then he looks around the room in concern when Trini and Zack swallow a sob, Kim’s eye twitches, and Jason stares off in the distance, eyes void of emotion.
“Forty-nine minutes,” Kim announces, “We have forty-nine minutes to get this table done.”
“And clear out this mess we left,” Zack adds.
Jason takes what sounds like a shuddering breath, “Okay, here’s what we’re going to do: Billy, you take the lead. The rest of us, do what Billy instructs you to do, nothing more, nothing less.”
“Good plan,” Trini nods, screwdriver held to her chest like a weapon.
“Fifteen minutes!” Kim stands back from the table, her part done as she watches Zack, Trini, and Jason frantically screwing their remaining bolts while Billy surveys the instructions one last time.
“I’m so sorry, this is all my fault!” Zack cries, hands shaking.
“No, Zack, it’s partly mine too,” Jason says, choking back a sob of his own when his screw falls out, loose.
“And it’s my fault for not telling you what a bad idea it was for you two to arm wrestle in the first place.”
Zack shakes his head and reaches across the table to lie his hand on top of Trini’s free one, “No, Trini. You couldn’t have known.”
“Yes I could have, I know how reckless you are.”
“I love you, Trini. I want you to know that before this is all over.”
“I love you, too, but I also hate you right now so hurry up.”
Jason steps back a few seconds after that with his own screwdriver, unshed tears in his eyes.
Trini follows and then Zack turns his hand one last time before he drops to his knees in exhaustion, “Billy,” he slurs, “Please tell me that’s it.”
“Yup!” Billy replies happily as he folds the instructions back neatly.
He hears collective shudders of breath around him.
“Billy! Why are there pieces of my dining table, chairs, and cardboard boxes in the back of Jason’s dad’s truck?!”
Jason’s eyes widen and glance around the other wide eyes around him.
“I can’t believe we forgot to get rid of the body,” Trini whispers.
Mrs. Cranston walks in through the front door then, hands on her hips in expectation before she pauses at the sight of all five of them sitting at the newly finished and set up dining table.
“Good afternoon, Mrs. Cranston,” Jason says hesitantly.
“What is this?” she asks.
“Surprise!” Billy says, hands in the air.
The rest of them briefly glance at him before raising their own hands, forced and hesitant smiles on their faces, “Surprise?”
They let them fall back down when she lifts her eyebrow, unamused.
“We ordered pizza,” Zack adds quickly.
“And we’re cutting your yard for you tomorrow,” Jason replies.
“Front and back,” Trini clarifies.
Mrs. Cranston opens her mouth, closes it. Opens it again, and sighs as she crosses her arms and shakes her head, “Well, get some plates on the table, I’m going to go change. I need to get comfortable before I hear this story. It’s gotta be a good one, that’s for sure.”
Kim jumps from her seat, “On it!”
“I’ll get the napkins!” Billy says, standing up next.
Zack, Trini, and Jason let out a slow breath, their shoulders relaxing. Trini discretely crosses herself in thanks.
Zack looks up then, smirks, and turns to Jason as he sets his elbow up on the table and waggles his eyebrows, “Best two out of three?”
“Moron,” Trini says, smacking the back of his head.
“Ow, I was just kidding!” He covers his head with his arms, when she hits him again, “Jason, help me.”
“Sorry, I have to grab some cups.”
“Trini! I said I was kidding, I thought you loved me!”
“I take it back!”