Title: All About Family
Rating: PG 13 Maybe even R
Summary: Ryan's Dad comes to Newport.
S4 with spoilers up to My Two Dads
Thank you to chazper for beta duties.
A reminder that I give credit to brandywine421's hurting Ryan fic: http://brandywine421.livejournal.com/369537.html for kick starting my muse.
Ryan was grateful for an excuse to escape from the awful dinner and into his pool house. The tension had been so thick he could have sliced it with a butter knife. He hoped Julie’s arrival would serve as a much needed distraction and that the Cohens would soon be ensnared in one of her devious or ludicrous schemes. He wasn’t expecting to find Taylor sprawled out on his bed.
He skidded to a halt as soon as he spotted her stretched out on top of the comforter with her dirty blond hair fanned out on the pillow. His heart started to beat wildly and his pants tightened as his eyes skimmed over her scantily clad body. Even from the door she looked succulent and he wanted to sidle up next to her and run his finger over her downy skin.
Kirsten would kill him if she saw this and possibly Sandy would too.
A sly smile spread on Ryan’s face as he realized Taylor had come to make good on her promise to show him her displeasure for getting grounded. He guessed she was doing it by wearing pink lingerie — a tiny lace pink bra with little green flowers and matching lace underwear. He repeatedly told her that pink reminded him of little girls, but staring at his girlfriend lying on his bed, Ryan was one hundred percent certain that Taylor was no little girl.
He ran a tongue over his lips and blurted out, “If this is my punishment, I’m going to be bad more often.”
Taylor giggled. “Come here, naughty boy.” She crooked her finger and beckoned Ryan to come closer.
He obliged, climbing onto the edge of his bed, sliding his knees between her her open legs, only stopping to kick off his boots and drag off his socks. He slowly inched closer to Taylor, trying not to let on how eager he was. But Taylor made a grab for his crotch and slyly smiled as his body gave him away.
Ryan started when he heard Sandy lightly knock on the pool house door and rattle it as he tried to get in before Ryan answered. Sunlight was pouring in through the window shades and Ryan blinked rapidly as he realized his predicament.
Taylor had already rolled off the bed, gathering her clothes in a bundle and shoving a wife beater and jeans at him.
“Can I come in?” Sandy called through the locked door. He sounded slightly off put to find himself locked out of Ryan’s room.
Ryan blew Taylor a kiss as she hurried into the bathroom and closed the door.
“I’m coming,” Ryan said, stuffing his feet into the legs of the jeans and getting uncharacteristically tangled as he hurried to let Sandy in.
A minute later, Ryan yanked the door open as he closed the top button of his jeans.
“’Morning,” he mumbled.
Sandy entered the room and sat down in one of the chairs across from Ryan’s bed. His eyes flitted around the room and finally landed on the young man in front of him. “Are you doing anything special today?” Sandy fished, wondering if Ryan was going to meet Frank at the hotel. “Aside from work.”
“I’m grounded, remember?” Ryan used the snottiest tone he could muster. From the corner of his eye, he noticed Taylor’s little pink panty. He quickly shoved it under his bed with his big toe.
“Don’t talk to me like that.” Sandy’s sharp tone made Ryan’s head snap up.
If it had been Seth, Sandy knew he would have worded that just slightly different. It would have gone something like, don’t talk to your father like that. Some other time, Sandy might have been able to get away with referring to himself as Ryan’s father, but not with Frank trying to mend fences with his son.
If that’s what he was here for.
Having Frank around would change the entire dynamic of his relationship with Ryan.
“I guess,” Sandy said, scratching the back of his neck, “I was asking if you were planning to see your father.” He used a conciliatory tone, not wanting to alienate Ryan any further than this situation already had.
Ryan swallowed, so that his Adam’s apple was bobbed up and down his throat. “Eventually.”
Sandy measured his next words carefully. “I just want you to know that I’m here for you. No matter what.”
“Why?” Ryan’s nostrils flared. “You think Frank is going to try and hurt me like Trey?” He stood up huffily, roughly grabbing some of his scattered clothes and jamming it into the basket he used as a hamper. “You think that Frank is going to leave again? Like my mom?” He was breathing heavily, looking like an animal caught in a trap. “It doesn’t matter what he does. He’s family.”
Sandy inhaled sharply, knowing he had to tread carefully. He felt like he was on thin ice. A native of Southern California forced to face an East Coast winter for the first time. How many of Ryan’s issues they had just let lie dormant because it appeared that Ryan had adjusted so well to Newport? After Dawn had abandoned him and after Marissa shot Trey they just went back to normal, burying what happened and letting Ryan’s hurt and insecurities fester instead of helping him.
In the four years that Ryan lived with them, barely a mention of Frank had been made. All these years, Ryan’s father had been safely tucked away in Chino’s maximum security penitentiary. Ryan had never asked to go visit Frank, and Sandy had seen no reason to suggest or encourage it. Frank had never once tried to make contact.
It made Sandy wonder, once again, about Frank’s motivation. But that wasn’t his primary concern. At the moment, the most important thing was Ryan, the young man standing before him. He knew Ryan well. Not as well as he wanted, but well enough to know that right now, Ryan’s different emotions were twisting inside of him in a knot so tight, even a sailor would have trouble unraveling it.
Sandy jumped at the sound of a loud thud. He quickly scanned the room when the thud happened a second time and realized it was Ryan’s fist banging against the punching bag. There was a third thud, but this time Sandy was able to discern the flesh against the heavy canvas. The kid was punching hard enough to draw blood. He got up to search the room, hoping to find gloves lying around in plain sight.
The thuds, more like sharp smacks now, were coming like rapid fire bullets out of a machine gun. One two. One two. One two. Sandy stood behind Ryan and talked just loud enough to be heard over the noise of the punching.
“Kid, I know things didn’t work out with your brother, but there’s no reason to think the same thing will happen with your father.” He said the words, but he didn’t believe them. “Kirsten and I are right here behind you, no matter what happens. We love you. Remember that. We’ll always be here, whether it’s to pick up the pieces or to share in your joy.”
The punches slowed down and finally, Ryan caught the bag between his hands and he leaned his head against the canvas.
“I need to be alone now.”
“That’s fine. I’ll leave. But Ryan, we love you. Don’t forget that.”
Sandy left the room, pausing slightly at the door, wondering how he could make it better for his son.
When he was sure Sandy was gone, Ryan jammed his scraped and bruised hand into his pocket, feeling for the business card his father had given him the night before. His body was stiff and still, except for the slight sway that went along with the momentum of the heavy bag. Drawing in his breath, he filled his lungs to capacity and slowly let it out.
He jumped when he felt Taylor’s hand on his shoulder, but was immediately relaxed by her touch.
“I didn’t know your dad was in town.”
“I didn’t have a chance to tell you.” She was standing on the other side of the bag, leaning on it, pushing against the bag when he pushed towards her. He took her hand and held it in his. “I had other things on my mind yesterday.”
Taylor giggled but quickly grew serious before asking, “Do you want to see your dad?”
Ryan shrugged. “Yeah. I do. But Sandy doesn’t want me to.”
“He said that?”
He shook his head. “I can just tell.” He sighed.
“What are you going to do?” Taylor asked.
Biting his lower lip, Ryan pondered the question before answering. “Call him,” he said, grabbing the phone.