Beta: None - Forgive the errors
Disclaimer: I still don't own anything relating to The OC.
Notes: Written for brandywine421
Sentence: Ryan watches as Volchek's car bursts into flame at the bottom of the hill and tries to think over Marissa's screams.
Ryan watche as Volchek's car bursts into flame at the bottom of the hill and tries to think over Marissa's screams. He doesn’t want to panic, but he knows that despite everything that he’s been through, that there is no coming back from this disaster. This is the end of the line for him. This is the one time Sandy won’t be able to pull him out of the rubble he’s made of his life, dust off his pants, and help him glue the pieces of his life back together. This time, Ryan thought, he was going to jail. And not Juvie. This time, it probably meant a family reunion with his dad and brother at Chino Hills Correctional Facility. He could kiss his dream of college and a better life good-bye.
There’s no sign of life coming from the debris of Volchek’s van. Yet the screaming won’t fade from his ears. Ryan pulls out his phone and shakily dials 911. He gives as many details as he can manage, and the operator on the other end assures him that police and EMS are on the way. Ryan’s stomach plummets down to his ankles. He considers running, but knows that it would be worse. There doesn’t seem to be anyone else on the road. But he’s already called 911 and while he didn’t give his name to the operator, they certainly had his cell phone number. It wouldn’t take much for the police to track him down. Leaving the scene of the accident would just make him look guiltier.
Why did he have to go after Volchek the night of prom? Why had he given in to Volchek’s blackmail? Why hadn’t he gone straight to Sandy? Just because he was eighteen didn’t mean he could handle these things on his own. Why did everyone think that at eighteen you magically turned into an adult? And now there were two people dead at his hands.
“Sandy. It’s Ryan.” He tries to mask the tears already in the back of his throat, but he can’t.
“Hey, Kid. What’s the matter? You don’t sound right.”
Leave it to Sandy to know that something was off. “I’m in trouble Sandy. There was an accident. Can you come? I – I….” His voice trails off. He doesn’t know how to explain. He doesn’t know where to start.
“Just tell me where you are. I’ll come and get you.”
“Sandy, I need my lawyer and my dad.”
“I’ll be there as soon as I can. And I’ll be wearing both hats, kid. Just tell me where to go.”
So Ryan tells him where he is, hoping it won’t take long for Sandy to get there. Sirens are already blaring in the distance, and the screams seem to be getting louder. Ryan can’t think straight.
“What do I say until you get here?” He doesn’t want to hang up. He doesn’t want to let go of the tenuous connection he has with Sandy at the moment.
“Nothing kid. Or as little as possible.”
Ryan can hear the beep beep of Sandy’s car alarm. The door opens and quickly slams closed. From his end, Ryan can even make out as the engine starts up with a silent purr.
“The police are almost here,” Ryan says, hearing the sirens grow louder.
“Tell me what happened, kid. Are you hurt? Do you need medical attention?”
Ryan touches his forehead and for the first time notices a trickle of blood coming from somewhere on his scalp. “I’m okay. It’s no big deal.” Though he’s first noticing the pain in his torso. It’s his ribcage, he thinks. He’d probably knocked his ribs into the steering wheel when his car had made the final impact with Volchek’s van.
“That’s the first thing you ask for. You ask for medical attention, and tell them as little as possible, until I get there. If you’re hurt, the police won’t press you right away. They’ll ask for the most minimum of details, okay? I think I can be there in fifteen minutes or so.”
Fifteen minutes feels like ages, but he knows that Sandy can’t make it that much faster. Fifteen minutes would mean Sandy was driving at a breakneck speed.
“Ryan, I’m going to stay on the phone with you until I get there. Okay? Just hang on while I ask you a few questions.”
Ryan blinks rapidly, focusing his attention back to Sandy on the other end. For a moment, the flames of the van below had hypnotized him.
“Ryan. Ryan? Are you there?”
“Are you losing consciousness? Talk to me, kid.”
“No, Sandy. I don’t think I hit my head“
“Ryan, I have to ask. Where’s Marissa? She was supposed to be in the car with you.”
That’s when Ryan realizes that it wasn’t the wail of sirens he’d been hearing. It was Marissa’s screeching. She was t the edge of the cliff looking down at Volchek’s van.
“Is she hurt?”
“I – I don’t think so. She walked out of the jeep.” The impact had been on his side of the car. Not hers.
“That’s good. You make sure that the first thing either of you ask for is medical attention. I don’t want either of you talking to the police until you get the necessary medical attention.”
“I did this, Sandy. And now Volchek and his girl are dead.”
He hears the sharp intake of breathe on the other end of the line. Then Sandy asks, “Start from the beginning, Ryan. Tell me everything you can before EMS gets there.”
So Ryan tells him the whole story. He tells him how he, Seth, Summer, and Marissa went to the old Model home, the one he had burned down when he first came to Newport, for their own private graduation party. He told him about how Marissa had hugged everyone good-bye and then how they had gotten into his new jeep to head for the airport.
Ryan rubbed his eyes, wiping a thin stream of blood away from his eyelid. “We were talking, Marissa and I, we were enjoying being friends, when someone hit us from behind.” It hadn’t been too hard a thump. Ryan had still managed to retain control of the car. But there was another thump, and then Marissa recognized Volchek’s van as she turned in her seat to see what was going on.
“I didn’t know what to do, Sandy.” Ryan could hear the heavy controlled breathing on the other end. “I tried accelerating, but Volchek drove up alongside us and started to swerve into us, hitting us on the driver’s side. He was trying to run us off the road, and it was getting harder and harder to keep control of the jeep.” His voice choked. “So I sped up again, and then suddenly hit the brakes, while turning the wheel to cut Volchek off. My car swerved in front of his and there was no way he could stop in time. I guess he tried to swerve too, and his car went off the side of the road. It went down a cliff and then burst into flames.
“I killed them Sandy. I killed them both.”
“It was self defense, kid.” Ryan could tell Sandy was crying on the other end. “You did the only thing you could to preserve your own lives. It wasn’t your fault.”
“The police won’t see it that way. Volchek and I had a history. Everyone knew it.”
“Maybe so. But it wasn’t your fault.”
This time the sirens were real and they stopped inches from Ryan’s car. Two uniformed men jumped out of their van, one running to Ryan and the other to Marissa.
“Are you kids okay?” shouted one of the men.
“Sandy, EMS is here.”
“Good. I want them to take a good look at you. I’m almost there. I’m not hanging up; I’m keeping the line open, but go to them. Let them make sure you’re both all right.”
“Hey, are you okay?”
Ryan nodded. “I think so.” But the EMS attendant zeroed in on the cut on his head.
“Let’s get you cleaned up. Can you walk?”
“Yeah. Yes.” Ryan blinked rapidly, trying to focus his attention on the balding EMT.
“Good. Come, let’s get you to the back of the van and have you checked out.”
Ryan followed him back to the ambulance. Marissa was already sitting on the edge of the truck and the other EMT was looking at her cuts and abrasions.
“Who’s on the phone with you?”
“My dad. He’s on the way.” Ryan sat down next to Marissa and squeezed her hand with his free one. “What about the people below? The ones in the van that blew up?”
The EMS attendant peered down over the cliff. “I’m sorry. I don’t think they made it. We’ll have to wait for the fire engines to clear the scene before we try and help them.”
“The police and fire will be here soon.” They could all hear the additional sirens in the background. “You can tell them everything then. We just need to make sure you’re okay. Do you hurt anywhere?”
Ryan nodded and pointed to his rib cage. The EMT gently pressed and tried to assess his injuries.
It took him a moment to realize where the voice was coming from. Marissa pointed to the open phone that was still clutched in his other hand.
“Ryan,” he heard again. “I see the ambulance up ahead. I’m almost there.”
And suddenly, Ryan felt a sense of relief. Maybe Sandy could make it okay again.
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