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12 June 2010 @ 06:20 pm
The Follow Through (Chapter Three) - Sequel to 'The Unexpected'  
Another chapter of this one...

Chapter Three

"What are you doing here?"

"Duh," Summer said, walking in and snatching up a washcloth which she got damp. Then she sat down beside him, gently wiping his mouth. "I can't count how many times I had to do that for Coop in High School."

"So you didn't always just leave her in her driveway?" Ryan quipped, sitting up straighter and leaning against the bathtub.

"I do that once and you never let me forget," Summer said, smiling slightly. "Are you okay?"

"Since I'm hallucinating I'd say no."


"You. Here. Being nice."

"I was a bitch last time, huh?" Summer said quietly. "I don't blame you for hating me now..."

"Never could hate you, Sum," Ryan mumbled, sighing. "Love you too much. Same reason I can't hate Seth now."

Summer felt her heart breaking all over again as he said that. "Seth deserves for you to hate him right now," she whispered. "What he said, what he accused you and Coop of."

"You know about that?" Ryan asked, confused. "Of course you do, you're a figment of my hungover mind, you know what I know."

"That or I threatened to jab a fork in Seth's most precious piece of anatomy if he didn't tell me what he did," Summer said. "I'm not a hallucination, Ry, I'm here. I flew back from New York when I saw on the news that you'd been missing a week. Went straight to the house and threatened Cohen into telling me what he did. And then I thought, where did Chino once tell me he always went when things got to harsh? And here I am."

"You're really here?"

"Either that or mass hallucination," Theresa said from the doorway. "You okay here?"

"Yeah," Ryan said, nodding slightly then groaning at the pain in his head. "You can go take Gabs to preschool and go to work, I'm fine."

"I'll make sure he doesn't pass out and choke or anything," Summer said.

Theresa looked between them, specifically at how Summer was sitting on the floor next to the toilet, oblivious to what could very well be getting on her expensive clothes, and that she kept edging her hand towards Ryan's hand, then yanking back before they touched. "All right," Theresa agreed. "I'll see you tonight, Ry, unless Summer here talks some sense into you and you go back to Newport."

Ryan smiled weakly as Theresa came in and kissed the top of his head affectionately, just like her mother used to. "See you tonight," he said.

Theresa frowned and looked at Summer again. "Can I talk to you in the hall for a minute?"

Summer nodded and got up, absently smoothing her skirt as they left the bathroom. "Yeah?" she said warily.

"Be stubborn," Theresa asked. "I love Ry, he's the best friend anyone could ask for and I know once he's over this drinking binge he'll be back to being the great 'Uncle Ryan' that Gaby adores. I'd be happy for him to stay. But I know that he belongs in Newport, with his family. Not here with us. Convince him to go home."

"That was the plan," Summer promised. "If I have to I'll call Kirsten and make Ryan talk to her. The second he hears her crying he'll probably want to go home and comfort her."

"Or lie," Theresa said. "Tell him one of the Cohens is sick, really sick. He'll go back then."

"It's not a lie," Summer said. "They're all sick with worry. I don't think Kirsten's slept well since he went missing."

Theresa nodded. "Make sure to tell him that."

"So suddenly you trust me?" Summer asked.

"You risked getting puke on your clothes for him," Theresa said. "You can't be that bad."

Summer smiled, then looked down at her skirt, shrugging. "I don't even like this one anyway," she said.

"Just take care of him," Theresa said before turning and leaving, pausing only to pick Gaby up.

Summer headed back into the bathroom and sat down beside Ryan again. "Since when do you drink like this, Chino?"

"Since Seth said we're not brothers," Ryan said sadly, resting his head on his knees. "And that M... Kirsten and Sandy don't love me, just took pity on me."

"That is the biggest load of crap I've ever heard," Summer said. "I saw Kirsten today, and her eyes were all puffy and red from crying and I doubt she's really slept in a week."

"Yeah, right."

"You want proof?" Summer said. She yanked out her cell and quickly dialed the long ago memorized phone number.


When the phone rang, Kirsten sighed, sure it was a reporter wanting to interview them. But she still picked up the phone, just in case it was Ryan. "Hello?"

"Kirsten? It's Summer," came the girl's voice. "I found Ryan."

"What?" Kirsten said, sitting up straighter and clutching the phone tightly against her ear. "Is he okay?"

"Besides being drunk and throwing up every 5 minutes he seems fine," Summer reported. "You want to talk to him?"

"Of course I do!" Kirsten said, walking quickly out onto the patio where everyone else was.

"What's going on?" Sandy asked, looking up from his conversation with Jimmy.

"Hello?" came Ryan's quiet voice over the line.

"Oh baby," Kirsten said, sagging into a chair with a relief. "Where are you? Are you okay, Ryan? We've been worried sick..." She ignored the looks of mixed relief and concern at Ryan's name.

"I'm fine."

"Where are you?"

"Does it matter?"

"Of course it matters!" Kirsten protested. "Ryan, we've been so scared. Seth's been convinced you were lying dead in a gutter, and Sandy's called every contact he has..."


Kirsten felt her heart sink as he called her by name instead of by 'mom' like he had for years now. "Honey, please, Seth was upset and wrong. So wrong. We love you and we want you to come home, okay? Seth knows how wrong he was, he's sorry..."

"He was right."

"He wasn't," Kirsten insisted. "Please, Ryan, just tell us where you are and Sandy and I'll come get you."


"Ryan, please!" she pleaded, almost crying. "You are our son, Seth was wrong and he knows it."

Seth jumped up and pulled the phone from his mom's hand. "Ry, I'm an idiot, okay? I know I am. I never should have thought you'd do that to me and what I said to you was completely uncalled for and I'm so sorry, man. Come on, you are my brother, and Mom and Dad are your parents. I wasn't thinking, you know how I do that all the time. Remember the infamous 'you slept with Summer' incident the summer you two ended up getting together? I see stuff, misinterpret and then don't listen to any attempts to explain it and blow my top and screw up and get people mad at me and I totally deserve it that you hate me..."

"Don't hate you," Ryan said quietly.

"You don't?" Seth asked, surprised but thrilled that Ryan was actually talking to him.

"You're my brother," Ryan continued. "I forgave Dawn when she did worse."

"I threw some of that 'worse' in your face, bro," Seth said. "And I'm so sorry."

"It's okay."

"No, it's not. I majorly screwed up."

"People have done worse."

"Will you come home? Mom keeps bursting into tears and you know she's all tough skinned when it comes to Julie but she's been bursting into tears at the slightest jab because she's so worried about you, even Julie is getting nice because it's freaking her out so bad. Just get back here and share a box of those digusting bug cookies you and Mom like so much..."

Ryan laughed slightly. "They aren't bug cookies and they aren't disgusting," he said. "Their just mint chocolate."

"Whatever, just come and split a box with Mom so she can go back to snarking at Julie and insulting her behind her back and everything."

"I don't know..." Ryan started.


Summer snatched the phone back, having guessed at the topic. "Cohen? I'll bring him back," she said. "You say one stupid thing though and I will use a fork on you."

"Right, gotcha," Seth agreed.

"See you guys soon," Summer concluded, snapping the phone shut and smirking. "Come on, Chino, let's get in you clean clothes and in my rental car."

"You mind if I take a shower first? I feel like crap."

"Really? You got pass out drunk every day for a week and you feel like crap?" Summer said. "Shocking."


"Take a shower, Chino. Where's your stuff, I'll pack it..."

"Backpack's in Theresa's room..." Ryan started.

Summer felt her heart drop into her stomach at the implication. "Oh... I didn't know you guys were..."

"What?" Ryan asked, confused. Then he realized and turned red.. "No, it's not... I needed to have someone watching me when I got so drunk and I kept freaking out emotionally... I haven't slept with her in 4 years..."

Summer's jaw dropped in realization. "Is that little girl, Gaby...is she yours?"

Ryan shook his head. "Theresa's ex-husband's. We thought she might be mine for a while, though," he admitted. "Right after you and me ended... Eddie was being an ass and I was hurting, so... but not since then. When I tried 2 years ago she slammed the door in my face for showing up drunk. I didn't see her again until last week."

"Serves you right," Summer said. "Okay, I'll get your stuff together, you take a shower."

Ryan nodded as she got up to leave him alone. "Summer?" he called out softly.

"Yeah?" Summer said, turning back to look at him.


She smiled. "You're welcome, Chino."

To Be Continued...
(Anonymous) on June 13th, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)
Thanks for the fic updates...they are great! I can't wait to see what happens next.
(Anonymous) on June 13th, 2010 03:08 am (UTC)
Perfect chapter in my opinion. Even though they haven't been together in years, you showed how much Summer still cares for Ryan and that she still knows him pretty well.
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