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14 May 2007 @ 09:10 pm
The Break [The OC; Ryan/Kirsten]  
TITLE: The Break
CHAPTER 3
FANDOM: The OC
PAIRING: Ryan/Kirsten
SPOILERS: Through "The College Try"
RATING: PG (for now *snick*)
SUMMARY:


*****

Ryan finished placing Kirsten's carefully-folded clothes into his duffel bag, zipping it up quickly and tossing it into the bathroom as he spotted Seth in his peripheral vision entering the poolhouse. "Hey," he called.

Seth nodded his greeting and stuffed his hands in his pockets. "Hey. What's goin' on?"

"Nothin'. What's up?"

"Nothing, nothing... just wondering if we could put some Seth-Ryan time on the books for today. I don't see a lot of you anymore."

Ryan arched an eyebrow. "You see me everyday at school."

"Yeah, but then after school you're always running off to do one thing or another..." Seth narrowed his eyes and raised a finger to his lips, faux-pensively. "Almost... as if you have a secret life."

Ryan rolled his eyes. "Yeah, that's me... living a double life."

Seth smiled and gestured to his friend. "Hey, Ryan Atwood cracks a joke. And a sarcastic one, to boot. I've taught you well, Grasshopper."

"Yeah, thanks." He threw a furtive glance toward the bathroom, then startled slightly when his phone began to vibrate in his pocket. He flipped it open, already knowing who it was. "Hey, can I call you back? ...Yeah, not really a good time. Okay, talk to you then." He hung up and stuffed the object back in his pocket, avoiding meeting Seth's eyes.

"Who was that?"

"Nobody. Look man, I think I gotta head out for awhile. But I'll see you later?"

Seth furrowed his eyebrows. "Yeah... okay..." He started to turn, then paused and gave Ryan a sideways glance. "Everything alright?"

"Yeah, everything's fine."

"Okay." Another turn toward the door ensued, as did another pause. "Hey, have you heard from my mom at all?"

Ryan stopped in the doorway to the bathroom. Was now the time to tell Seth? If he let the secrecy go on much longer, Sandy or Seth were liable to send out a search party; part of him was actually shocked they hadn't done so already. "Uh... briefly."

"Really? Where is she?"

Ryan drew in a breath and sat down on his mattress, draping his arms over his bent legs as he pondered just how much he could divulge without completely breaking Kirsten's trust. "Uh, she didn't say."

"Well how is she?"

"She's doing fine. She just, uh... she said she needed a break to figure some stuff out."

Seth frowned. "Well what kinda stuff? My dad's not telling me anything."

Ryan nodded -- that much was to be expected. "She just has been having a hard time lately and needs some time away. She's fine, though."

"Oh." A deep crease appeared between Seth's eyebrows then. "Well, uh... as long as she's okay. Why did she say something to you and not me?"

He shrugged. "Don't know, man."

Seth mirrored the shrug, a look of slight disappointment on his face. "Well... at least she confides in one of us, I guess." He waved and made for the door. "See ya."

"Yeah." Ryan watched his friend's path of retreat, voice dropping. "See ya."


*****

"Ryan..." Again, she dragged him inside her hotel room by the wrist, not noticing the smile he gave in response. Once inside with the door shut, she peered out the window a moment, then turned to face him wearing an expression of apology. "I'm sorry about earlier. I know I normally don't call in the middle of the afternoon, but--"

"It's okay," he smiled. "I was talking to Seth."

"You didn't tell him where I was, did you?"

"No. But... I did tell him that I'd spoken to you, and I let him know that you were alright. Nothing more."

Kirsten exhaled her own smile. "Okay. Thank you. Because I'm just not ready to--"

"I know, I know." He held her gaze. "But Kirsten... you *need* to talk to them eventually. Especially if you're still considering finding your own place."

"I actually already did."

He raised his eyebrows. "What?"

"It's this nice condo in the numbered streets. I could afford to go bigger, buy a house, and live closer to you guys, but if I were to do that..." She trailed off.

Ryan nodded, finishing the thought for her. "The rumors would start flying."

"Yeah. And I'm not willing to deal with that right now."

"Okay, but... if you're really moving out, then--"

"I have to talk to Sandy and Seth."

He nodded. "Yeah, and I'm thinkin' Sandy should be the first one you speak to."

"I know. I have to decide what I'm going to do, first."

"You mean, whether to take the house or not?" His eyes trailed her as she went to sit on the bed. He followed.

"Well that, and... what I'm going to do about Sandy."

Ryan drew in a breath and pressed his palms together in the space between his knees, leaning his elbows on his upper thighs. He glanced sidelong at Kirsten. "Do you think you'll ask for a divorce?"

And just as he had done yesterday, Kirsten repeated a line she'd uttered to him a week earlier, in the same tone of voice. "I don't know what I think."

He nodded slowly and averted his eyes to the worn-down carpeting.

Silence reigned for several moments, moments in which Ryan could feel Kirsten's eyes on him, before he heard her loud sigh. He turned to see her flop backwards on the bed, resting her hands over her stomach... so he followed suit and laid back beside her, both of them staring up at the ceiling.

Ryan sighed. "Well... whatever you wanna do, whatever you decide..." He swiveled his head to the right and smiled at her. "I'm here if you need me." He tore his eyes from hers and exhaled an almost shy, nervous chuckle. "And, even if you don't need me, I'm here."

Kirsten smiled and reached for his hand, giving it a squeeze. "I know you are. Thank you, Ryan."

"You're welcome."

They turned their eyes back to the ceiling then, and fell into companionable silence.


*****

When Ryan opened his eyes, it was to see orange light playing across the ceiling. He furrowed his brows at it. Had he fallen asleep? He could have sworn he'd just meant to blink. He sighed and pressed his head back against the mattress, his mind still quite fuzzy.

The entire right side of his body was warm. And he had his arm around someone. He craned his neck to see long blonde hair sprayed across his shoulder, where Kirsten laid asleep. Her head was pillowed on his chest and her left arm was stuffed beneath her -- the other draped across his stomach. Her left leg was stretched out, pressed completely against his right leg, and her other leg was tangled between both of his.

Ryan knew he should be alarmed at how comfortable they'd gotten... but he wasn't. He knew he should feel guilty for having his left hand resting on Kirsten's arm and the other wrapped around her waist... but he didn't. He pressed his head against the mattress again and knew he should wake her up, move her... but he didn't want to.

He checked his watch and noted it was already well past when he should have been home for dinner. Seth and Sandy were probably wondering where he was. Well, Seth would be, at least. Sandy had taken to staying at the office as long as possible. But Seth would definitely realize he was missing.

Sure enough, his cell phone began vibrating in his pocket. He pulled it out and glanced at the call screen, sighing. Seth. His thumb hovered over the 'talk' button, contemplating what he would give as an excuse for why he wasn't back yet. Finally, the call went to voicemail and Ryan closed his eyes, sticking his phone back in his pocket.

This was when Kirsten began to stir next to him. Ryan craned his neck, a selfish part of him wanting to watch her in this unguarded moment. A vertical crease appeared between her eyebrows, and she seemed to frown thoughtfully in her sleep. She stretched against him and made a slight groaning noise; then her hand, which had been across his stomach, snaked up his chest and to his shoulder. She clasped his shoulder and snuggled more firmly against him, sighing in her sleep and burying her face in his neck.

Ryan couldn't help the low rumble of laughter that escaped at watching her... and this woke Kirsten with a start.

He watched her eyes pop open and slowly focus; then, when they had, those eyes widened and she shot upwards to a sitting position. "Ryan! God, I'm sorry! I'm so, so--"

"Kirsten..."

"I didn't mean to fall asleep on you, I really didn't. I'm so sorry if that made you uncomfortable, it'll never happen again, I just--"

"Kirsten."

She stopped her rambling and met his eyes when he sat up beside her. He smiled reassuringly. "It's okay. I fell asleep too."

Kirsten sighed and covered her eyes in embarrassment. "Oh, God." She glanced around for a clock, then grabbed his wrist to check the time. "Oh, and you should've been home over two hours ago already. I'm sorry."

"It's okay, really. Don't worry about it."

Kirsten, still flustered, raked her hands continuously through her hair as she rose to her feet, sighing out, "You should probably go."

Ryan just watched her sadly from the bed. What would she say if he told her he didn't want to leave? What would she say if he asked her to come back over and lay with him a bit longer? "Kirsten..."

"Hmm?" She stopped her frenetic pacing and looked expectantly at him.

He opened his mouth to tell her... he so wanted to tell her... but at the last minute, he closed his mouth and rose to his feet, muttering toward the floor, "You're right."

He quickly put on his shoes and tied them, then headed for the door. Kirsten watched him the entire time. He turned in the doorway to face her. "I'll, uh... I'll call you later. Or tomorrow."

Kirsten nodded. "Sounds good."

"Okay..." No embrace this time, he noted sadly. No peck on the cheek goodbye. "So, I'm gonna go."

"Okay. Please be careful on the way home."

Ryan could tell, by the tone of her voice and the way she seemed to be dragging out her words, that she didn't exactly want him to leave either. Oh, hell, he decided, then swooped in and kissed her cheek, quite near to the corner of her lips. "Bye," he whispered, and smiled when he felt her eyelids flutter against his cheek.

"Bye."

"And Kirsten?" Now out on the balcony, he glanced out at the setting sun before turning back to her again.

"Yeah?" She lingered in the doorway with one hand on the doorframe and the other on the door, smiling at him.

He returned the smile, inwardly daring himself to take a chance. "You didn't make me uncomfortable. Quite the opposite, actually." Then, before he could see her reaction, he turned and headed down the stairs, where his bike was waiting for him.

He felt Kirsten's eyes, and her smile, trailing him until he pedaled around the corner and out of her sight.


TBC


{x-posted to rystenlove}
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
a.: R/K; whatever we deny or embrace;regalish on May 16th, 2007 10:25 pm (UTC)
*giggle* Aren't I shameless with the Rysten fluff? Hehehe. I can't help it; they turn me into a mushy fangirl. :D