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21 August 2007 @ 08:27 pm
The Second Time Around [The OC; Ryan/Kirsten]  
TITLE: The Second Time Around
PAIRING: Ryan/Kirsten
SPOILERS: None; AU fic


The next six months flew by in a blur for Kirsten. At the end of the first month, Caleb and Julie returned from their (as they called it) 'extended' honeymoon. Her first day back, Julie had in seconds picked up on the status of Kirsten's relationship with Ryan. After seeing them so much as say good morning to each other, Julie had later pulled Kirsten aside to excitedly hiss, "You guys had sex!"

Kirsten had never been happier than she was with Ryan, and she knew that showed through on her face every time they were in the same room together. They worked together more seamlessly now than ever, their minds constantly working in tandem. Her father had been very excited by the progress they'd made on the new developments.

And, though he never said anything, she could tell he was also thrilled with her new relationship. He was always jovial around Ryan, boisterously greeted him every time they passed each other in the halls. Kirsten adored the way it almost freaked Ryan out. "I'm not used to having dads approve of me," he had told her one afternoon. She'd kissed him in response.

At the end of the third month, her divorce from Sandy had been finalized. Sandy had stopped in to the Newport Group a few days after that to say goodbye -- to tell her he would be moving out to the east coast to join Seth. "I belong out there," he had told her, in a surprisingly good mood that day. He had almost looked a little sad. "The only good thing that came out of living here was you. And Seth. So, it's time to go back."

They had hugged goodbye and Kirsten had watched him go, feeling a twinge of sadness. There would always be a large part of her that loved Sandy; but she knew that now it was best for them to go their separate ways.

By the time the end of the fourth month rolled around, Ryan had pulled Kirsten aside at work with some news. "There's a secret I've kind of been keeping from you for a few months."

Kirsten's eyebrows had flown up, but she let him explain himself. Secretly, he had been having his new house built -- the house that they'd finished the plans on just shortly before her divorce had been finalized. She knew Ryan had made some last minute changes to the plans, but he refused to tell her what they were. For the next two months she asked excitedly time and time again when the house would be finished, but every time, Ryan would just smile enigmatically and tell her, "Soon."

On the last day of the sixth month, while meeting with Julie in her office, she posed a rather random question to Kirsten. "What if Ryan proposed to you?"

It had been more than enough to lift Kirsten's eyes from the fabric samples she had been studying. "What?"

Julie leaned across her desk slightly. "Well, I mean... you guys have been together for like six months now, right?"


"Well?" Julie shrugged. "It's getting to be that time when a guy might start thinking about the future..."

"Oh Julie, come on! It's only been six months! Do you really think that Ryan is thinking about stuff like that?"

Julie raised her eyebrows. "If I had to go off of how he looks at you, then yeah. He's thinking real hard about it."

Kirsten pondered that for a moment. "Hmm."

"So, to go back to my original question--"

"Did he say something to you?" Kirsten wondered, narrowing her eyes warily at her friend.

"No!" Julie blew a raspberry through her pursed lips. "Are you kidding? He barely says a word unless you're around."

"Okay..." Kirsten still wasn't completely convinced.

"I was just wondering what you'd do."

Kirsten frowned thoughtfully. "I guess I... I don't know." She slowly rose to her feet and began pacing in front of Julie's desk. "I mean, I guess I never thought about it before."

Julie balked at this. "How could you not? You've seen the way he looks at you, right?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I just... I don't know. I guess I figured since he's so young--"

"Weren't you the one that said Ryan has an 'old soul' or something? Sure he's young, but you know that he's mature enough where he'd be able to think about something like that and not start hyperventilating."


"Look, bottom line is... if he was ever to ask, you need to follow your instincts. You know that, right?"


"So?" Julie got up and went around the desk to stand in front of her best friend, gripping her hands to gain her attention. "Let's role play for a sec. I'll be Ryan." Julie cleared her throat and seemed to be getting into character. "Kirsten..."

Kirsten rolled her eyes. "Yes?"

Julie gripped her hands a little tighter and dramatically declared, "I'll never love another woman as much as I love you, and I want you to be my wife! What do you say?"

"Do... you two want to be alone?"

Both women jumped, turning to see Ryan in the doorway, knuckles against the doorframe as if he'd been ready to knock. His eyebrows were raised and his eyes were wide. Kirsten immediately started to laugh and shoved Julie away.

"Sorry, Ryan." Julie turned red and Kirsten rather enjoyed the rare sight. "We were just... we were..."

He held up his hand. "Don't explain. Please." He looked to Kirsten next. "Can I borrow you for a second?"

Kirsten, her stomach somersaulting from the ideas Julie had planted in her head, mutely followed Ryan out with a nod.

Once out in the hallway, he pulled her aside to tell her, "It's done."

Kirsten, always right there tuned into him, knew insantly what he meant -- the house. "It is? What does it look like?"

"I'd rather show you, if you've got some free time," he grinned. Kirsten was unable to resist.


The entire ride to Ryan's new house, Kirsten felt like an anxious little girl. She was practically bouncing in her seat. Ryan laughed at her from the driver's seat. "Is it possible that you're more excited about this than I am?"

"Possibly!" She whacked his arm joyously. "I'm just excited to see how it turned out, and I wanna see what those last minute changes of yours were since you wouldn't tell me." She was only halfway irritated.

Ryan chuckled and shook his head. "Yeah, I know, I'm such a bastard."

The new house had been built just six blocks away from where she used to live with Sandy. It wasn't as large as that house had been, but it was by no means small, either. She was in awe right from the first moment she stepped out of the truck. "Ryan, it's beautiful!"

The house had a distinctly California style, with stucco walls and Mexican tile on the roof. Ryan took her hand and led her inside. "Ready to see those last-minute changes?"

"Am I ever!"

With a laugh, Ryan unlocked the front door and swung it open -- then, before Kirsten could take so much as a step, he darted behind her and covered her eyes with one hand, taking her free hand with the other. "I'll tell you when you can look."

Kirsten giggled. "I love that you're such a geek sometimes."

Ryan kissed her cheek. "I'm a geek? Who was bouncing in their seat all the way here?"

She rolled her eyes from behind his hand. "Fine, fine, we're both a little geeky."

She felt his grin without seeing it. "A perfect match. Come on." Carefully, he led her inside, telling her when to step down, step up, turn to the right or left. All around her, Kirsten smelled the scents of a brand new home. New carpet, new tile -- even the woodwork still smelled new. "God, I love this place already and I can't even see it."

"Well here." His hand lifted off her eyes. "Have a look."

Kirsten gasped at the beauty before her -- cherry-finished woodwork and high-arched doorways met her eyes. When Ryan whispered, "Look up," in her ear, she trailed her eyes up to the--

"Vaulted ceilings!" she gasped. She threw her arms around Ryan. "You did vaulted ceilings! That was the secret last-minute change?"

Ryan laughed and caught her in his arms, holding her tight. "Yeah. What can I say? You turned me into a vaulted-ceiling lover."

"It's gorgeous, Ryan! Is this the living room that we're standing in?" She pulled away but hung on to his hand.

He swung their clasped hands lightly. "It definitely can be, yes. And this way to the kitchen..." He led her by the hand to the kitchen and told her, "there was another last-minute change I thought you'd like, but it's not nearly as exciting as the ceilings."

Kirsten laughed and glanced around. The sink, dishwasher and refrigerator were a gorgeous stainless steel; the countertops were a lovely grey-and-black-speckled granite. And then she saw the stove. She grinned. "Spider burners!"

"Yeah. I heard you mention a few times how classy they always look, so I thought -- why not?"

"Oh, I love this. It's gorgeous." She laughed. "Jeez, you're making me jealous. I want to live here, now."

She turned to smile at Ryan and found his eyes centered on her, expression serious. He searched her eyes. "Good, because... I was actually kind of hoping you'd move here with me."

"What?" Kirsten searched his eyes right back as he led her down the hall, toward what was most likely the bedroom. She wasn't even completely aware of what was going on around her -- her mind was still focused on what he'd said to her. "As, like, your live-in girlfriend?"

"Well, I'm going to leave that up to you, Kirsten." He turned off the fan which was gently spinning above them, and Kirsten noticed the long string dangling from it.

She watched it go round and round until the fan finally slowed to a stop. Ryan remained in the doorway and watched her walk over to it as he told her, "You could either move in with me as my live-in girlfriend... or as my fiancee."

When Kirsten saw what was tied to the end of the string, she gasped. "Ryan..."

A princess-cut diamond engagement ring on a platinum band, dangled enticingly in front of her. She reached out toward it carefully, as if touching it would make it disappear, and she untied it, letting it fall into her open palm.

She felt Ryan step up to her, and she looked up at him in a mix of wonder and confusion as he gently plucked the ring out of her palm and held it up between his thumb and forefinger. "I told you six months ago that we could move as slowly or as quickly as you'd like. And that decision is still all yours, but I wanted you to see this ring so you know..." He met her eyes. "I want to marry you, Kirsten. I'm completely in love with you -- I was shortly after we met, and I've known without a doubt for some time now that we're going to end up together no matter what."

Tears filled Kirsten's eyes without her conscious consent and she stepped closer to Ryan. As if reading her thoughts, reading her need for closeness, he placed one arm around her waist while still holding the ring in his other hand. "Kirsten, if you say no to me today," he shook his head, "that's not the end of us. Not by a long shot. If you say no, I'll hang on to the ring and ask you again sometime... and I'll keep asking until the time is right for you."

Her tears were streaming down her cheeks now and when Ryan released her to drop to one knee, her heart almost burst.

"So Kirsten... will you marry me?"

Her mouth moved instinctively, "Yes." Then, that tiny little word sunk in, and she watched Ryan beaming up at her. She grinned tearfully. "Yes." When she felt that ring sliding up her finger, a perfect fit, and when Ryan wrapped his arms around her joyously, she couldn't help but exclaim, "Yes!"

Ryan laughed and spun her around, then set her down on her feet again only to swoop in and kiss her. Kirsten clung tight to him and threaded her fingers through his hair, smiling against his lips. When they pulled back, Kirsten held her left hand away from herself, fingers flexed toward the ceiling as she watched the ring sparkle. Her other arm was still around Ryan's shoulders, and Ryan's arms were around her waist. She felt him watching her and she turned to see his eyes dancing with mirth, though his mouth was still set in solemn expression.

Blue searched blue as he softly murmured, "I didn't think you'd ever want to get married again."

Kirsten turned her eyes to the ring, one corner of her lips twitching upward slightly. "Neither did I."

"What changed your mind?"

She searched his eyes in return, smiling slowly. "Your eyes."

His eyebrow arched, and she giggled. "My eyes?"

"That look in your eyes, when you look at me. I've always kind of known in the back of my mind that I want to spend the rest of my life seeing that look in your eyes."

Kirsten watched in adoration as a slow, brilliant smile spread across his face; she'd never seen him so happy. She couldn't help but laugh and kiss him again, in the bedroom of their brand new house.


{x-posted to rystenlove}
thekiller00thekiller00 on August 22nd, 2007 04:25 am (UTC)
That was a great post !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am glad that they are living together and getting married !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to see what happens in the epilogue !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
a.: R/K; others strayregalish on August 23rd, 2007 01:52 am (UTC)
Re: That was a great post !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Heee, thanks much! Epilogue is being posted in a few minutes :D
login_failed: Rystenlogin_failed on August 22nd, 2007 01:37 pm (UTC)
That was a perfect final chapter, capping off Sandy and beginning the golden years of Rysten. I particularly liked your use of imagery such as eyes and smiles. With both Ryan and Kirsten, their eyes are the most expressive. And genuine smiles from them, rare as they may be, are quite captivating.
You have officially outdone yourself on this story, and I'm looking forward to the epilogue.
a.: R/K; i'll never let this love fallregalish on August 23rd, 2007 02:09 am (UTC)
Awww, thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed this final(-ish) chapter! I had to redeem Sandy, if only a little bit, hehehe.

And omg I'm so obsessed with the way Ryan and Kirsten can make each other really, truly smile. The only times we've seen Ryan really smile have been because of Kirsten. And I absolutely love that; it, to me, completely speaks of how infatuated he is with her. And the same goes for the way Kirsten smiles around Ryan. It's gorgeous.

That's so sweet of you to say that I've outdone myself! This was definitely the most fun I've ever had writing Rysten -- I loved not having the restrictions of the show's plotlines.

The (super super saptastic) epilogue will be posted in just a few minutes!
pipetgirl2pipetgirl2 on August 22nd, 2007 11:13 pm (UTC)
She said yes! Yay!

That was a beautiful story. I am looking forward to the epilogue.

Thanks so much for sharing.
a.: R/K; and i'll look after you;regalish on August 23rd, 2007 02:41 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, Julie! I'm so glad you found your way to this fic and to the Rysten community; I've loved getting your reactions on all the chapters.

This was such a fun fic for me to write, so I'm happy to hear I was able to entertain you all the way through ;D

The epilogue goes up tonight!
Jessica28andoccrazy on September 7th, 2007 01:30 am (UTC)
OMG........that was soooooo great!! I heart this story so much. He did vaulted ceilings!!! *hugs Ryan*

Good job on this, hun!

*runs off to read epilogue*
a.: K; and i've never known a girlregalish on September 8th, 2007 01:52 am (UTC)
Re: ...............
(Anonymous) on September 20th, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
OMG..very amazing ending so much!im so happy that they're getting married..it makes life seem so perfect!
by the way,im Ella from the fanfic.net..
when u told me that this is a completed fic..i lyk went to this journal and read it cuz i couldnt wait any more!
it's very awesome!!!!
please write more!
a.: BMc; i will make you forgetregalish on September 22nd, 2007 04:13 am (UTC)
Re: WOW!
Awww yay, thanks so much sweetie! I'm glad you found your way over here.

You should totally get your own LJ, because then you can join my Rysten comm! ;D