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27 July 2007 @ 09:15 pm
The Span of a Week [The OC; Ryan/Kirsten]  
TITLE: The Span of a Week
PART 4/5: The Dylan Song
PAIRING: Ryan/Kirsten
SPOILERS: Season three
RATING: PG this chapter


04. Another Newport formal(-ish) event had rolled around the next evening. Kirsten had sprung it on them; an event for her new dating service business, held on a yacht. Seth complained all afternoon and evening, threatening Kirsten that it would be her fault if he got seasick. But Kirsten just rolled her eyes every time and insisted that he would go.

Ryan didn't put up any complaint, though the idea of spending the evening on a yacht with Newport's needy, superficial bachelorettes didn't exactly appeal to him. He resigned himself to the fact that he would do it for Kirsten. He'd do anything for Kirsten. Hell, practically everything he did was all for Kirsten. She needed him right now. Sandy had all but abandoned her for his hospital plans; he'd taken to spending nights at the office now, which Ryan could tell was taking its toll on Kirsten.

"Where's Dad?" Seth asked on their way out, and Ryan felt a brief, dim urge to punch him in the face. Had he no intuition whatsoever?

Instinctively, Ryan placed a hand on the small of Kirsten's back when he saw her hands clench at the mention of Sandy. Her long blonde hair flicked over her shoulder as she turned to look at him. She just barely managed a weak smile before responding to her son, "He's busy, Seth."

"He's always busy. If we have to go, why doesn't he?"

Ryan clenched his jaw and muttered, "Shut up, Seth."

He felt his hand being removed from Kirsten's back. She squeezed his hand supportively and sent him a secret smile behind Seth's back, mouthing, "It's okay."

Ryan nodded his acknowledgement and squeezed her hand back just as they reached the Range Rover. He opened the passenger side door for her as she wordlessly slipped him the keys, and Ryan smiled at how seamlessly they worked together. He hung on to her hand gentlemanly until she had stepped up into the passenger seat and resituated her dress, then he gently shut the door.

He was aware of Seth watching them but tonight, he didn't care. He went around to the driver's side then and climbed in, letting his eyes briefly flit to his friend, buckling into the backseat.

Seth almost seemed to pout as he complained, "Why do you get to drive?"

Ryan just sighed and exchanged a look with Kirsten before pulling out of the driveway.

Once all three of them had boarded the yacht, Seth took off to find Summer and Marissa (who'd also been dragged along against their will) while Ryan hung back with Kirsten. "Look," he said, "I'm sorry about Seth. You know how he has a tendency to speak before he--"

"I know," Kirsten murmured, her eyes cast on the floor almost bashfully as she smiled. She looked up at him then and blinked slowly in that purely Kirsten way, voice soft as she observed, "You're always apologizing."

"Huh?" This caught him off-guard as he was half-listening to the song playing over the yacht's sound system -- Elton John's "Something About The Way You Look Tonight." Ironic, he thought.

"You're always apologizing. For yourself, for everyone else, when there's really no need."

"I guess I just..." He shoved his hands in the pockets of his dress pants and shrugged. "I guess I feel like someone should apologize to you. Seth doesn't treat you well."

"Well, he's... Seth," Kirsten explained, and then chuckled at her own explanation.

It was enough. Ryan chuckled back. "Well, yeah." He tilted his head and gave her a sidelong glance as she positioned herself beside him, their shoulders touching. "Sandy doesn't treat you well, either."

He watched her eyebrows fly up. "That's a pretty bold statement coming from you."

Ryan was instantly remorseful, concerned that he'd crossed the line. "Oh, um, I'm--"

"Sorry?" Kirsten finished with an upward lilt in her tone, inclining her head and smirking at him. Another slow blink and all was forgiven. "How about you get me a club soda and all will be right with the world."

Ryan laughed, relieved that he hadn't offended her, and patted her hand gently. "You got it."

When he returned with her drink and handed it over, he heard the opening strains of a new song come on and he immediately groaned. Kirsten, after taking a sip of her club soda, looked up at him in surprise. "What is it?"

"Manilow," he groaned by way of explanation.

Kirsten giggled, probably at the pained expression on his face. "You're not a fan, I take it?"

He shook his head slowly. "My mom used to play Manilow all the time. She was obsessed. Especially with this song." He gestured to the nearby speaker.

Kirsten raised an eyebrow. "Mandy?"


"Aww, I used to love this song. I don't see anything wrong with a little Manilow from time to time."

Again, the ease of their conversations struck Ryan, and he found himself smiling warmly at Kirsten. "Well, I think just his claim of writing the songs that make the whole world sing always got to me." He shrugged. "It's... kinda pompous."

Kirsten laughed -- she full-out laughed -- and her head tilted back with her laughter. Ryan grinned brightly, heart soaring that he was the cause of such a musical sound. Her hand touched his arm and shot tingles through him. "I'm so glad I brought you," she giggled.

"Me too." He was still grinning. God, she was stunning. Especially tonight, for this event. She wore a simple, but effective black dress. It hugged her slight curves in all the right places and draped off of her in all the right places. The spaghetti straps left her shoulders enticingly bare, and the dress dipped low enough to show a hint of cleavage, but nothing overt. Subtly sexy -- much like Kirsten herself.

Her hair was very lightly curled and dangled halfway down her back, nearly waist-length. Ryan decided long ago that he loved her with long hair. He loved any Kirsten with any length of hair, but for some reason when it was longer it just enhanced her delicate features. He snapped out of his reverie when he noticed her head tilting at him; when he noticed the slow, almost knowing, smile curving her lips.

"What?" she asked gently.

"Oh, uh... nothing." He cleared his throat and looked away, feeling his face grow warm. He didn't meet her eyes again until he felt he had fully composed himself. "Don't you have to go make the rounds?"

Kirsten smiled, the look on her face telling him she caught his admiration but that she didn't really have a problem with it. She glanced around the crowd and took another sip of club soda. "That's Julie's job. She's the socializer." She looked to him with a smirk again. "I'm just here to make sure she doesn't do too much of the patented Julie Cooper ass-grazing with our bachelors."

Ryan chuckled. And 'Mandy' was still playing, and it was still grating on his nerves. After a moment, he sighed disgustedly. "Ugh, I'm going to go see if the DJ will take requests, because... this has got to stop."

Kirsten giggled and her hand slid down his arm slightly, affectionately. "How about you go request something for me, and then meet me up on the top deck. I feel like watching the water."

He raised his eyebrows at the nearly-flirtatious invitation, but didn't hesitate to accept. "Sure."

Ryan made a quick request with the DJ, and by the time he reached the top deck, a Billy Joel song was playing. Kirsten was standing against the rail, looking out at the water, but turned over her shoulder as he reached the top step, as if sensing him. She smiled a greeting and quirked an eyebrow. "'The Longest Time?'"

Ryan smiled. "Don't worry, I didn't pick this one. Mine's up next."


He joined her at the rail and placed both hands against it, the cold metal cooling his overheated skin. His stomach was somersaulting for reasons unknown, and he almost wished there were other people on the top deck with them. There were too many possibilities when they were alone. There always were.

After a long moment, he spoke. "What I said about Sandy and the way he treats you--"

Kirsten shook her head immediately, knowing what he was going to say. "Ryan, don't--"

"No. I was out of line, and for that I should apologize."

"Out of line? Maybe a little. You were right on the mark, though." She sighed, and he looked over at her.

"You okay?"

"This thing with me and Sandy, Ryan, it's... it's getting out of control. I don't know what to do anymore."

Ryan took a moment to let that statement sink in, not wanting to fall prey to Seth's affliction of speaking before thinking. "Well... you still love him. Right?"

Kirsten stared out at the water, her hands braced on the rail and golden hair whipping all around her, and for a split-second Ryan considered the possibility she hadn't heard him. Then, he heard her soft -- barely audible -- reply. "I don't know."

Ryan was caught flat-footed by the admission, by the realization that the once-impenetrable marriage of Sandy and Kirsten Cohen might be on its last thread. He had no idea how to respond.

Kirsten went on without him. "He's gotta make a choice now. Me or the hospital. I'm tired of this. But I'm... I'm afraid of what he's going to choose."

Ryan wanted to tell her that if Sandy had a brain in his skull, he would choose her. He wanted to tell Kirsten that he would choose her. In a heartbeat. But he stumbled around his words. He didn't want to cross the line again.

A new song -- the song he'd requested -- came on over the sound system then and Ryan didn't have to say anything. Kirsten looked up at him as the slow, almost Hawaiian-sounding music floated around them, and a soft smile curled her lips. "How did you know I love this song?"

"I didn't," he shrugged, and meant it. He chose 'Lay, Lady, Lay' because he loved it. Because it reminded him of her.

Kirsten searched his eyes a moment and smiled again, asking him almost timidly, "Dance with me?"

He'd never refuse her. He took her into his arms with his hands on her waist, and made sure to keep her at arm's length. Not only was that more appropriate, but... it was much safer for him; for his self-control.

But Kirsten would have none of that. She slid her arms around his neck and clung to him like he was her last saving grace as they began to sway. Ryan could do nothing but hold her tight in return and pray that his willpower would hold strong.

"You'll be alright," Ryan felt the need to assure her after they had danced in comfortable silence for a few moments.

"I know," she sighed, and her fingertips ran lightly through the hair at the nape of his neck. Her cheek rested against his. "I just... have a feeling that in the next day or two, everything's going to change."

He slid his hand up and down her back in a comforting gesture. "Well, I'm here if you need me."

"I know, honey. You always are." She pulled back to kiss his cheek briefly and then she framed his face with her hands, smiling a darling smile at him. She tilted her head, and what she said next shot an arrow straight through his heart. "If only Sandy loved me the way you seem to."

She kissed his cheek again and something in the air changed. Ryan closed his eyes and drew in a shuddering breath. His heart was pounding in his ears. "Kirsten, can I be brutally honest with you?"

He felt her tense against him, her lips still against his cheek. Her voice rasped against his skin. "Of course."

"And if this crosses the line, I'm really sorry in advance--"

"Ryan." One slim finger rested against his lips, silencing the rest of his apology. She pulled back just enough to meet his eyes, her own drifting toward his lips. Her hands slid down to grasp the lapels of the suit jacket he wore as she murmured, "Stop apologizing to me and just tell me."

"I don't know that anybody loves you like I do."

Surprise lit her eyes and her lips parted in shock, but she made no sound in response. She just stared at him -- between his eyes and his lips. It was that look that made the decision for Ryan; that snapped his willpower. He had to kiss Kirsten, if only once -- if only for a fleeting moment, he had to kiss her.

He gripped her waist a little tighter as Bob Dylan continued to croon, and he heard her suck in her breath. But she made no attempt to pull away. He pulled her closer until she rested completely against him, until he felt her soft, pliant curves against the plane of his body. Her grip on his lapels tightened and her eyes still hadn't moved from his lips.

One of his hands slid quickly up her back and he heard her gasp as it dove underneath her hair, to the back of her neck. He cradled her head and tilted his own, his other hand pressing her closer by the small of her back. Kirsten's hands slid up his chest, torturously slow, until she was framing his face again, more aggressively this time, elbows parallel to her shoulders as she pulled him up to look at her.

He met her eyes and was worried he really had crossed the line this time. Until he saw the fire in her eyes. He quirked one eyebrow. "Just once?"

Kirsten, bless her, was always right there with him every step of the way, tuned in to him like no other. "Think we can manage that?"

"No," he breathed his chuckle against her, breath puffing against her lips. "But I don't think we can manage... not doing this, either."

She nodded slowly, still gripping his face, and their noses brushed with the motion. "I think you're right."

Then their heads tilted to accommodate each other and both sets of eyes slipped closed. Ryan could feel her breath on his face and thought he would faint from the sheer perfection of it all.

When their lips were just mere millimeters from finally touching, the sound of Kirsten's name jolted them apart.


They jumped back from each other to see Julie on the top step, eyebrows practically hovering up near her hairline. Ryan's eyes flitted to Kirsten, whose face was turning red. "Uh, uh, Julie," she stammered, breathlessly. "This, uh, this isn't--"

"What it looks like?" Julie nodded slowly, the look on her face screaming of her not buying it for a second. "Yeah, definitely. Hey listen, I need to borrow you for a second to talk business -- new possible client. Unless you're..." her tone took on a teasing cadence, "too busy?"

"No, uh... let's go." She quickly moved to join her friend at the stairs, and turned over her shoulder to give Ryan a look as she walked away.

On their way down, Ryan heard Julie hiss to Kirsten, "What the hell is going on with you two?"

But Ryan was then too lost in his thoughts to hear Kirsten's response.

TBC in Part 5/5: The Breaking Point

{x-posted to rystenlove}
thekiller00thekiller00 on July 28th, 2007 03:01 am (UTC)
WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DAMN JULIE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to see what happens in the final post !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
a.: R/K; i wanna give you something betterregalish on August 1st, 2007 06:53 pm (UTC)
Re: WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hehehe, thank you so much! I'm hoping to have that final part done soon! *crosses fingers*
login_failed: Rysten 3login_failed on July 28th, 2007 05:19 pm (UTC)
An unofficial Rysten date!
This could have been Rysten's test run at dating. And I'm beginning to think that Sandy is on his way out.
I think Julie would totally support a Rysten hookup. (or maybe try to get in on the action by way of threesome.)
Now awaiting the Breaking Point.
a.: R/K; i'll never let this love fallregalish on August 1st, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
Re: An unofficial Rysten date!
Oooh, I never thought of it like that -- an unofficial date -- as I was writing! Very astute observation, hehehe.

And I agree -- I think Julie would totally support the Rysten, and/or ask to be part of a threesome, HAHAHAHA. Because early on, there *was* a bit of angry heat between Ryan and Julie. And I have to admit, I kinda squeed a little at the season four opener when he went to that hotel and Julie opened the door. HAHA. "OMGAFFAIR?!" It was great. But then they bonded and that was even better. Because Ryan is property of Kirsten ;)

What was I trying to say? ...Ah, yes. THANK YOU! Glad you liked this epic chapter. Hopefully "The Breaking Point" will be finished soon!
(Deleted comment)
a.: R/K; i hope i love you all my life;regalish on August 1st, 2007 06:57 pm (UTC)
*giggle* Glad you liked this! I love when they get caught too. And Julie, in my mind, is the perfect person to catch them, because she's right on the fence with morals (and because of the whole Luke thing).

I'm still trying to work up to a Seth-catches-Ryan-and-Kirsten fic, but eeeeek. That's still a scary concept for me, hehe.

Glad you liked this! Hopefully the final part will be ready soon!