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15 August 2007 @ 11:45 pm
The Second Time Around [The OC; Ryan/Kirsten]  
TITLE: The Second Time Around
PAIRING: Ryan/Kirsten
SPOILERS: None; AU fic


Kirsten cried all the way home. Kissing Ryan had felt far too right for her liking. And despite her problems with Sandy, he was still her husband, and a large part of her did still love him and didn't want to hurt him.

Upon reaching the house, she parked her car and jumped out, heading straight for the master bedroom where Sandy was fast asleep. She changed into her pajamas and climbed in beside him. He slept on his side, facing away from her, and she tentatively reached out to touch his shoulder.

This stirred him. "Kirs?"

She smiled and blinked back her tears. "I'm home, Sandy."

Sandy rolled onto his back and smiled sleepily. "Party no good?"

"Oh no, it was... interesting. My father proposed to Julie."

"What?" Sandy frowned in his sleep, confusion wrinkling his forehead.

Kirsten felt a rush of affection for him and patted his chest. "We'll talk about it tomorrow. For now, I want to sleep." She laid her head on his shoulder and draped her arm around him, closing her eyes.

"Everything alright?" he asked her.

Kirsten just nodded and kept her eyes buttoned closed, repeating over and over in her head that she loved her husband.

But as much as she loved him, she still got the strange (and completely backwards) feeling that she was cheating.

On Ryan.


When she arrived at work the next day, Kirsten went straight into her own office (whereas on any other day she would've gone into Ryan's), and set her stuff down on the desk. Just as she was taking off her blazer and hanging it on the back of her chair, she saw Ryan come in with a cup of coffee for her.

He just barely twitched a smile. "Morning," and he extended the cup to her. "Here you go."

"Thank you." She was careful not to hold his gaze for too long, instead focusing on the steaming black liquid in her cup.


Kirsten sipped her coffee tentatively, counting down the seconds until Ryan would ask her about what happened the night before. Three... two... one...

"Well, I'll talk to you later, Kirsten." Ryan shoved his hands in his pockets and started for the door.

Kirsten watched him go, surprised that he'd made no mention of their kiss from the night before. Her mouth opened and closed on unformed words until she finally spat out, "Wait!"

Ryan paused in the doorway, his back still turned to her. He turned his head to the side, eyes downcast to the downward diagonal. "What?"

"Um..." How was she supposed to broach it? There was no sense asking what last night was -- it was a kiss, plain and simple. A culmination of the attraction they'd both been feeling over the past month.

Ryan, reading her mind as he always did, just told her softly (still without meeting her eyes), "Kirsten, you don't need to explain. We both wanted it, but it was wrong. You had every right to go home to your husband."

She shook her head, though he didn't see this. No, that wasn't what was wrong. What was wrong was that she felt terrible... not for kissing him, but for running out on him. For feeling like she was cheating on him by going back to her husband. How was it possible that he made her feel like that? It should've been the other way around. "Look, I--"

"Really, it's okay." He turned to face her now, hands in his pockets again. He shrugged his shoulders. "Maybe it's best if we just pretend it never happened, okay?" He waved slightly. "I'll see you later. I've got a meeting with your dad."

"Okay." Kirsten watched him go yet again, and this time she let him leave. She blinked back the tears in her eyes and decided that now was the time to focus on fixing her marriage.


Her strategy for fixing the marriage, to her credit, actually worked... for a solid two weeks. But by the end of that second week, Sandy took a big, complicated case with Rachel. Not to mention her father's wedding was happening at the end of the week. So stress reared its ugly head.

Kirsten luckily kept herself away from alcohol, but she as well as Sandy knew that once the reception rolled around, there was no telling what would happen. Kirsten also managed to keep herself away from Ryan. Granted, they still had to work together, but there was distance between them now. Ryan had been a bit more detached, a bit more stoic with her than he used to be. And in spite of that, or perhaps maybe because of it, it left Kirsten wanting to be in his arms again. She wanted him to hold her and assure her that he wasn't upset with her.

"Ryan, what are you up to tonight?" Kirsten asked nonchalantly at the end of the day one day while gathering her things from his office.

Ryan was rolling up his blueprints, avoiding her gaze, as he told her, "I've got some plans with a friend."

Kirsten's heart immediately lurched at the thought that he might have a date. "Oh."

Ryan's stoicism disappeared for just a moment as he regarded her and asked, "You okay?"

Kirsten avoided his gaze as she blinked back the tears she felt welling. She shook her head, but didn't explain for fear that she'd burst into tears. She just barely choked out, "I have to go," before she ran out the door. She couldn't be around him anymore. Maybe she just needed to see Sandy, to put things in perspective again.

She had to stop feeling this way around Ryan. Her heart ached every time she saw him. Her lips tingled with the ghost of that kiss. She was certain that kiss would forever be emblazoned in her memory. As well as the way that he held her, the way that he smiled, the feeling she got in her stomach and her heart when she sensed he was nearby. It scared the hell out of her to think it, but... she was falling in love with him; was possibly already in love with him.

No matter how much she reminded herself that she was married, that she loved her husband, that didn't stop the breadth of her emotion toward Ryan. They had a connection... one she'd never felt before... and all the love she felt for Sandy seemed to pale in comparison when she was around Ryan.

Kirsten raced home, ready to throw herself into Sandy's arms, ready to kiss him... to make herself forget about Ryan. And then she opened the front door. And Sandy and Rachel, who had very obviously been either locked in a kiss or had been about to kiss, jumped apart. "Kirsten, you're home!"

Kirsten stood cemented in place in the doorway, jaw slack at what was taking place in front of her. Then, without another word, she turned and went back out the door, slamming it behind her. Where she went next was pure instinct; she drove almost in a trance. She got there, but she wasn't completely sure how.

She ran up the steps and knocked on the door, putzing with her fingers as she waited for it to open. When it did, Ryan stood before her in a gray tee shirt and blue jeans, eyebrows raised -- obviously surprised to see her. "Kirsten. Are you okay?"

The tenderness in his voice was too much to bear, and with everything piling up on her -- the kiss, her father's wedding, Sandy, Rachel -- Kirsten burst into tears and fell into Ryan's arms. She felt Ryan tense for only a moment before his arms went around her and he held her tight, his lips against the top of her head. "What happened?" he murmured softly.

"Sandy," she choked out. "I saw him with... with--"

"Rachel," he finished for her, his tone pregnant with barely-repressed fury. He kissed the top of her head. "I'm so sorry."

She balled his shirt in her fists, sniffling and hoping she wasn't getting too many tears on his shirt. "And I know I shouldn't be mad, after what's happened between us, but... I just never expected..."

"I know, I know."

All the stoicism from the past few weeks was gone and she allowed herself to sink fully against him, taking comfort in his warm embrace. "I can't go back there," she cried. "I'll just end up hitting him or throwing things, or... drinking if I go back there."

Ryan just rubbed her back. She could've sworn she felt him start to tense, but she ignored it.

"Can I stay here?"

"Uh, Kirsten--"

"Hey Ryan," a third voice called out, "This beer sucks! Am I going to have to go pick up the quality stuff? Who's that?"

Kirsten pulled away and wiped her eyes, which widened when she saw a blonde rummaging through his fridge in nothing but a towel. "Oh my God."

When she stepped out of his arms, Ryan gripped her hands, panic lighting his eyes. "Kirsten, it's not--"

"I'm such an idiot."

"Oh, I'm sorry," the blonde apologized. "Were you guys in the middle of something?"

Kirsten shook her head, avoiding Ryan's gaze like the plague. "Not anymore. Sorry to bother you, Ryan."

"Kirsten, wait!"

But Kirsten left before she could embarrass herself further. Perhaps she was clueless.

About all the men in her life.


{x-posted to rystenlove}
login_failed: Rysten 2login_failed on August 16th, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC)
Poor Kirsten. Now Ryan. Get rid of the bimbo and go get Kirsten. RIGHT NOW!
Also, I need a minute to kill Sandy.....
This was really good. This is setting up to be rather epic. Ryan's ability to be a man and accept that he can't always win is very true to character, as is Kirsten's tendency to lose sight of what she wants in times of vulnerability. She came off as confused, and rightly so. The natural tendency of anyone to want to make a marriage, no matter how weakened, survive added to the fresh spark found in another is enough to make anyone's head spin.
I can barely wait to see what's next.
a.: R/K; just need to get closer;regalish on August 16th, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
This fic really is getting epic, LOL. I just intended to do a few chapters of an AU, but... wow, it kinda got away from me, hahaha. Not that I'm complaining -- it's been a blast to write so far :D

And I'm so thrilled you're still enjoying this! I'm starting to worry it's getting too dramatic, hehe. But that's why I always rely on your opinion -- you'll let me know if it is, won'tcha? ;)

Chapter seven goes up tonight!
thekiller00thekiller00 on August 16th, 2007 03:49 pm (UTC)
WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That was quite the post !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am glad that Kirsten caught Sandy !!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wonder who the blonde at Ryan's was ??? Maybe a member of his family or a friend from college !?
a.regalish on August 16th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
Re: WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hehe, thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed this.

As for the blonde at Ryan's... you shall have to see when I post ch. 7 tonight :D
pipetgirl2pipetgirl2 on August 17th, 2007 01:13 am (UTC)
Wonderful chapter. You really captured the inner conflict that Kristen is dealing with.

off to read the next chapter...Yay!
a.: R/K; love burns brighter than sunshine;regalish on August 17th, 2007 01:25 am (UTC)
Why thank you! I'm happy you liked this chapter; I was wondering if the Kirsten conflict was getting too back and forth, lol, so I'm glad to hear it's working out.

Enjoy the next chapter! It's kind of a long one.