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10 August 2007 @ 12:34 pm
The Second Time Around [The OC; Ryan/Kirsten]  
TITLE: The Second Time Around
CHAPTER 2
FANDOM: The OC
PAIRING: Ryan/Kirsten
SPOILERS: None; this is an AU fic.
RATING: PG
SUMMARY:


*****

"So Mom, I was thinking it'd be cool to have a little extra funding to go to Rhode Island to see Summer," Seth commented around a mouthful of food.

Kirsten sighed, her thoughts elsewhere, and she pushed her food around on her plate. "That's what jobs are for, Seth. Extra funding."

"Yeah, but... jobs are kind of overrated, don't you think?"

She rolled her eyes and looked to her husband helplessly, only to find him buried in a case file. "Sandy!"

"Hmm?" He speared another piece of chicken and popped it in his mouth, glancing up slowly.

Kirsten tilted her head. "No work at the dinner table."

"I'm sorry." Immediately, he closed the file and set it on the chair beside him. "I was waiting for the illuminating conversation to begin. Everybody seemed a little lost in their thoughts." He regarded her for a moment. "Everything okay with you? At work and stuff?"

She nodded reflexively... maybe a bit too emphatically. "Things are great at work. Great. We, uh, we actually hired a new architect to start on the new development."

"Oh great! Have you met him yet?"

Kirsten nodded once more, feeling her face growing warm and hoping that she wasn't blushing. "Yes, we've met. He seems like a smart guy. I think he'll be a nice addition. He's young." She wasn't entirely sure why she felt the need to mention that.

"Well, sometimes those younger guys are the best guys for the job. They can keep everything modern, whereas someone like your dad I'm sure wants to go back to the days of those charming, homey dungeons."

Kirsten rolled her eyes and went back to her food, chuckling, "Read your case file again, Sandy."

Sandy laughed and kissed her cheek. Seth once again started up with a discussion about his relationship with Summer, and Ryan was forgotten. Temporarily.


*****

"Good morning, Kirsten!" Julie sang on her way into the office, holding out a cup of coffee.

Kirsten smiled and took it gratefully, sipping at it and thanking Julie silently for not putting cream or sugar in it. She needed the jolt of black coffee today. "Morning."

Julie wasted no time. "So! How about that new architect guy, huh? He's hot!"

"Julie..." She knew where this was headed and was unfortunately powerless to stop it.

"I saw quite the spark between you two yesterday! What was up with that?"
Kirsten had an urge to deny it -- had opened her mouth to deny it -- but somehow... she couldn't. "My dad didn't notice anything, did he?"

Julie spluttered a laugh. "Are you kidding? Your dad's practically in love with the kid. Can't stop talking about what a genius he is." Julie shrugged. "He just graduated a year or two early, what's the big deal about that?"

"Nothing," a voice from the doorway joined in, and Julie and Kirsten both spun to see Ryan leaning against the doorframe.

Julie smiled sheepishly while Kirsten's brows raised in surprise. Julie blinked and tilted her head apologetically. "Sorry about that. I just meant--"

He shook his head and shrugged facially. "No, don't worry about it. I don't really think it's a big deal, either." He looked over at Kirsten and smiled, nodding cordially. "Kirsten."

"Ryan!" Kirsten plastered on a smile, heart fluttering without her conscious consent. Maybe she needed to go to the doctor. Something was wrong with her. "Good morning."

"Morning. Here, I uh..." He held out a Starbucks cup to her with a smile. "I made a coffee run on my way in and wasn't sure what you liked, so I got you a latté."

"Wow." Kirsten took the cup from him with an almost shy smile, setting it on her desk while she tucked her hair behind her ear, a nervous habit. "That's... that's very sweet of you, thank you."

Ryan's eyes caught on the cup of black coffee, already sitting on her desk. Then it was his turn to look sheepish. "And, you already have some. Sorry."

"No, no!" Kirsten smiled reassuringly and took a sip of the latte, glimpsing quick at Julie to note that she was watching them avidly, like how one might watch a soap opera. "That's okay, I mean... you can never have enough coffee, right?" She chuckled nervously.

Ryan nodded and gave a fleeting smile. "Right." He looked over at Julie as an awkward silence fell, which he broke by raising his eyebrows and saying, "Well! Okay, I'm going to go to my office and set my stuff down." He headed for the door and waved. "Julie, nice to see you again. Kirsten, come and find me when you're ready to go."

That caught her attention. "Go?"

He stopped in the doorway and turned to her, slipping one hand into the pocket of his pleated dress pants. "Yeah. We have to go look at the land where the new development's going to go, to get ideas." He raised his eyebrows. "Your dad didn't tell you?"

She smiled tightly. "Must've slipped his mind." After tucking more hair behind her ear and realizing she was going to be around this guy all day, she told him, "I'll be ready shortly. Just give me like five minutes."

Ryan nodded his acknowledgement and smiled again before disappearing around the corner.

"Well, well, well..." Julie intoned slowly, and Kirsten was already set to smack her. "I think somebody's got a crush."

Kirsten rolled her eyes and hissed, "I do not have a crush on him. Will you stop it?"

Julie laughed. "Honey, not you. I mean he's got a crush on you."

"What?" Kirsten balked. "No. That's not possible."

"Oh come on!" Julie dropped her voice low in case Ryan appeared in the doorway again. "He brings you a latté? That just screams 'I've got it bad for you.' And you can't tell me you haven't noticed how he looks at you."

"What are you talking about?"

"Ugh, Kirsten. You are hopeless."

"Thanks, Julie, I'm fond of you too."

"You can't tell me you're not feeling a spark."

"I'm married."

"So?" She raised her eyebrows. "Married women have hormones, too. And you and Sandy have been together for what, like twenty years? Maybe it's time for an upgrade."

Kirsten groaned at her friend's lack of ethics. "You're terrible."

"That's why you love me though, right? Right?" Julie grinned brightly and batted her eyelashes.

Kirsten just rolled her eyes, smirked, grabbed her latté off her desk and went to meet Ryan.


*****

"So how old are you?" Kirsten heard herself blurting out as soon as they were on the highway. She shut her eyes and instantly damned herself.

Judging by the smile on Ryan's face as he drove, he didn't mind the abrupt question. "Twenty," he replied. "I'll turn twenty-one in a couple of weeks."

"Ahh." She nodded and pursed her lips, looking out the window. When she felt his eyes on her, she turned to look, and smiled as he quickly looked away. She was unable to help the giggle that bubbled up and enjoyed the slow-spreading smile she got from him in return.

He peeked at her in his peripheral vision and teased, "I'm not gonna ask."

Kirsten laughed. "That's sweet of you. But I don't mind. I just turned forty a couple months ago."

"Oh, okay."

She raised an eyebrow and folded her arms across her chest. "That's it?"

"Yeah," he chuckled. "Why?"

"Well usually when I mention that I'm forty, it's normally followed by an 'ouch' or an, 'ew, really?'"

Ryan chuckled again. "Nah, you won't get that from me." He kept his eyes on the road and glanced in his rearview mirror as he changed lanes, adding, "I've always believed you're as old as you feel."

"Oh, well that's good." Kirsten smiled to herself and relaxed her position, leaning an elbow on the windowsill of the company Range Rover. "I certainly don't feel forty."

"Well there you go. I don't feel twenty, either."

"No?" This piqued her interest.

"No. I...." He trailed off for a moment and seemed to hesitate.

Kirsten leaned forward in her seat slightly, trying to gain his attention. "What?" she coaxed gently.

He looked over at her briefly. "Okay, don't repeat this, because it probably sounds... y'know, whatever, but... I've been told I kind of have an 'old soul.' Like mentally I'm older than I am physically or something."

Kirsten nodded slowly; the explanation seemed fitting. "Yeah, I can see that. You're very mature."

"Thank you," he replied quietly. "I kind of pride myself on not being the typical twenty-year-old male."

Her brows flicked upward in silent appreciation. "That is a good thing, definitely. I don't know a lot of twenty-year-old guys that would buckle down enough to finish school early and start in with a well-paying job." She chuckled to herself. "My son still balks at the idea of even having a part-time job."

"You have a son?"

"Yeah, he's about your age."

"Ouch," he laughed. "Way to wedge the age difference in there. Here I was thinking we were equals."

Kirsten reached out and batted at his arm without even really thinking about it. It was just a natural reaction. "Oh, I was merely making a comment."

"Yeah, I know. But you saying that just makes it..." He trailed off and shook his head.

Kirsten, somehow, was able to mentally fill in the rest of the sentence. "Yeah. I know."

A moment of silence fell; one in which Kirsten wondered what Ryan was thinking; whether he was feeling the same kind of spark she'd been feeling since they met.

"So you're married, then?" he asked a few minutes later.

Kirsten nodded. "Yeah. For about twenty years, I guess."

"Oh."

They were silent for the rest of the trip to their destination, and Kirsten had the distinct feeling that another barricade had been thrust between them.



TBC



{x-posted to rystenlove}
 
 
 
thekiller00thekiller00 on August 10th, 2007 10:25 pm (UTC)
That was a great post !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I like how you have them slowly getting to know each other and how they feel comfortable around each other reguardless of how they originally met !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to see what happens next !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
a.: R/K; i won't blow your cover;regalish on August 13th, 2007 04:26 am (UTC)
Re: That was a great post !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you so much! I'm so glad you're enjoying the route this is taking, with them getting familiar with each other.

Chapter three will be up tonight :)
login_failed: Rystenlogin_failed on August 11th, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC)
I'm still lovin it. Julie was hilarious. And Rysten will break down those barricades...
a.: R/K; hard to ignore and undeniable too;regalish on August 13th, 2007 04:27 am (UTC)
Aww, thanks! Hehehe, glad you're enjoying this. And omg I love writing Julie way too much, hahaha. She's so much fun.

I'm posting chapter three right now! (Well okay, not right now because I'm replying to your comment, but... in like a minute!)

:D