This is for Dulcey.
And I don't own any of the O.C. or its characters, but today their shenanigans are mine!
PAIRING/CHARACTERS: Ryan, Seth, Julie, Caleb, and whoever else you want to add. As for pairings, um, non-slash, and preferably not Ryan/Marissa. Anything else goes.
PREFERRED LENGTH: how long do you want the story to be? At least a decent-sized one-shot (1,000+ words).
SCENARIO and PLOT: Kirsten and Sandy are going away for the weekend, but the boys have gotten into some sort of trouble recently, and they don't want to leave them home alone so they send Seth and Ryan to stay with Julie and Caleb.
RATING: G - R
SMUT: Not necessary, although if you want to add some DHR I won't complain a bit!
SPECIFICS: I'd like to see the boys trying to sneak out of the house, to meet their girlfriends or go to some party, anything that will result in them getting caught and trying to explain their way out of trouble. Caleb doesn't hate Ryan as much as in the past several episodes, and his giving the boys a talk about girls and sex is optional, but would be wonderful if you're so inclined.
To read Previous Chapters Click Here
Julie had dreaded Kirsten’s call. Now here she was with the phone in her hand and her husband’s daughter was on the other end. She knew Kirsten would inevitably ask how the boys were behaving and she didn’t know what she should answer. The boys deserved any trouble they got into. How stupid did they think she was? But she didn’t want Kirsten to think she was an ineffective caregiver
“Hi Julie. How are my boys doing?”
Julie decided that Kirsten didn’t have to know the whole truth. “They’re doing great. They’ve been studying all day.”
On her end, Kirsten raised a brow at Sandy. Ryan maybe, but Seth studying all day? She was certain her son had undiagnosed ADHD. He couldn’t sit for that long with an open book.
“Can I talk to them?”
Suddenly, Julie was grateful all over again that she had caught Ryan and Seth before they had made it out of the house. She could imagine her mortification as she tried to explain why she couldn’t find them. She was also glad that she had kept popping in to check up on them, under the guise of offering the boys snacks and drinks and seeing if they needed anything. They had seen through her pretext, but it didn’t matter as long as everyone played along.
“Of course.” Julie laughed. Kirsten could tell it was forced. “Let me get them.” She walked down the hall with the phone in hand. “Seth, Ryan. It’s Kirsten.” She held out the phone and waited for one of them to take it. The boys turned to each other, communicating silently. Trying to figure out what she had told their mother, no doubt. “She wants to talk to you.”
Finally, Seth took the phone from Julie. “Hi Mom.”
“Hi Seth. How are you doing?”
“I’ve been be—“ He felt Ryan kick his ankle. “Owe. That hurt, man,” he hissed, covering the mouthpiece. But he caught Ryan’s drift. “Things are great. How was your flight up?”
“Uneventful. Dad and I are getting ready to meet for a business dinner. So what did you do all day?”
“Ryan and I studied and did our homework.”
So they were all sticking to the same story, Kirsten thought. Something was definitely up. “All day?”
“Seth Ezekiel, when was the last time you studied for six hours straight?”
He ran a hand through his tangled curls. His mom knew. He looked at Julie through his thick lashes, wondering what she had told his mother. But he knew Julie’s number one goal, after milking his grandfather for every penny he had, was self-preservation. She would want to save face in front of his mother and appear to be Super Mom II.
“Okay, so I stopped to read some comics and I surfed the web too. Ryan really did study all day.”
“Mom, would I lie to you?”
“You don’t want me to answer that.”
“Probably not. You want to talk to Ryan?” He didn’t wait for Kirsten to answer and shoved the receiver into Ryan’s hands.
“Hello,” he said tentatively. Ryan could tell that Kirsten was looking for information, wondering if they were behaving. He didn’t think Julie had mentioned anything. He just couldn’t be sure. Maybe Kirsten was waiting for them to dig their own graves and then call them on it. No, Sandy and Kirsten weren’t like that. They didn’t play games.
“Hi Ryan. How was your day? Julie and Seth said you were studying all day.”
“I had a lot to catch up on. Mr. Greenberg hasn’t assigned me a new lab partner yet and it’s a lot of work for one person.”
“I didn’t realize. I can call him on Monday and ask him to pair you up with someone.”
He smiled, feeling the warmth of Kirsten’s mothering spread through his insides. “Nah. I’ll remind him again before class. But thanks. How was your trip in?”
“It was good. Sandy and I are going for that business dinner in a little while. He’s insisting I finish getting ready. Everything is okay there?”
“Good. Well, Sandy and I will call tomorrow to check in.”
“Tell Sandy I said hi.”
“I will, honey. Good night.”
Ryan pushed the talk button on the receiver and handed it back to Julie. No one said anything for a minute. It was as if they were all silently making a pact. Kirsten and Sandy would never have to know that they tried to sneak out.
“Caleb will be home in a little while. Why don’t you wash up for dinner? I’m going to make sure everything is ready.”
Julie left and Ryan groaned. “Seth, I can’t have dinner with your Grandpa. Last time I ate with him, I gave him a heart attack.”
He grabbed his multi-colored soft ball off the floor. He wasn’t sure why he had packed it in, but he was glad he had. It helped him brood. Ryan fell back on the bed and threw the ball from hand to hand.
“You think they’ll let me stay in here? Would it work if I said I wasn’t hungry?”
“I’m not eating with the gruesome twosome by myself!”
“Seth! It’s your fault we’re here in the first place.” Ryan sat up and threw the ball against the wall. It was soft and had no bounce so it dropped to the floor.
“My fault?” Seth scooped up the ball and sat down on the downy carpet, across from Ryan.
“Yes. Your fault,” They volleyed the ball back and forth. “You’re the one always getting us into trouble,” He threw the ball with a big oomph. “You’re the one who insisted on planning a party while your parents were out of town. You didn’t even have the sense to make sure your door was closed!”
“Hey, buddy. You were the one who walked into my room and didn’t shut the door behind you,” Seth argued, putting all his effort in throwing the ball back to Ryan as hard as he could. “Don’t put it on me. You’re going to eat dinner with Grandpa and Julie and consider this atonement for some terrible sin you’ve committed that no one knows about.”
“You were in the bathroom an awfully long time the other day. What were you doing in there? Huh? I’m sure The One Above wouldn’t look kindly on your behind the closed door active—“ Seth didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence. Ryan stood above him and punched him soundly in the arm.
Ryan punched him again. Seth held up his hands to protect himself, laughing at Ryan’s ire.
“Ryan, Seth. Is everything all right?” Julie knocked on the door and walked in. Apparently, she believed in the same level of privacy as Sandy and Kirsten.
They broke apart and stood sheepishly. “Everything’s copasetic Grandma Julie.” Seth grinned.
“Don’t. You. Ever. Call. Me. That. Again.”
Ryan bit the inside of his cheek as Seth cowered on the floor.
Julie took a deep breath, controlling her anger no doubt. “Caleb is home. You should come down and say hello. We’ll eat dinner in a few minutes.”
Ryan went into the bathroom attached to their room and turned on the tap. He ran his hands under the stream of water. “Seth, you have a death wish.”
“It just slipped out.”
Ryan started to lecture Seth on keeping his brain one step ahead of his mouth, but when he turned Seth was gone. The thought of dining with Caleb again caused Ryan’s bowels to drop to the bottom of his feet, but he was hungry and his stomach was insisting on being fed.
When Ryan reached the bottom of the steps he saw Caleb embracing Seth and Julie standing off to the side with her mask glued in place. Didn’t she know how obvious she looked with her false smile, he thought. His eyes flitted back to Caleb and Seth. Caleb was lightly pounding his grandson’s chest, making another joke about him not being a football player. Seth grinned broadly, showing all his teeth.
“Ms. Cooper-Nichol, dinner is ready to be served.” A middle-aged woman, dressed in a traditional maid’s uniform entered the room. Julie said thank you and the woman nodded her head and backed out of the room. Julie had her staff whipped. Ryan was glad he didn’t work for her.
“Shall we go into the dining room?” She looked up at Ryan who was standing uncertainly at the bottom step, gripping the hand railing so tight that his knuckles were turning white. He didn’t have a choice; he would have to face dinner with the gruesome twosome. He would just focus on the food and nothing else.
He sat where Julie pointed, across from Seth with Julie and Caleb at the ends. Julie had brought out her finest China. The Cohens just used regular ceramic dishes save for a few special occasions. He wondered why dinner with him and Seth would be considered special. Different, unusual, not the norm, that was a better fit, but definitely not special.
As soon as Gilda started bringing in the food, Ryan bent his head low over his plate and began cutting his chicken furiously. The food smelled delicious, but Julie could have served horse meat and Brussel Sprouts and he would have chowed down. He was that hungry.
“Ryan, Seth tells me you aren’t playing soccer this year.”
Ryan’s head jerked up and he stared at Caleb like a deer caught in headlights. Caleb was initiating a conversation with him and there wasn’t an insult attached to it? He swallowed, feeling the large pieces of unchewed chicken bobbing down his food pipe.
“Um, yes. That’s true.”
“Why did you give it up?”
“I’m taking a pretty heavy load with AP Physics and Calculus.”
Caleb nodded solemnly. “Colleges look for extra curricular activities and if you hope for a scholarship, they’ll be wondering about that.”
“There’s the comic book club. Seth made me join.”
Caleb arched his brow.
“What do you do in a comic book club?” Julie asked slowly.
“Discuss the latest X-Men or different secret identities of various super heroes.” Thankfully, Seth’s phone rang before he could finish. He pulled it out before anyone could comment. “It’s Summer. I’ll be a minute.” He pushed back his chair and stood up.
“Seth,” Julie’s voice stopped him. “This is dinner. Put the phone away and let it go to voicemail.”
“But it’s Summer.” Seth was standing behind his chair phone in hand.
“Would your parents let you take the phone call during dinner?”
“Well, yes,” he lied, trying not to think of Sandy running to the phone and declaring to whoever was at the other end that they were interrupting their dinner.
Ryan carefully chewed another bite of chicken, keeping his head down. He was grateful for Seth’s interruption. Caleb’s polite interrogation had thrown him off balance. The phone’s insistent ringing and Julie and Seth’s standoff deflected attention from him.
Seth defiantly flipped open his phone and said, “One minute Summer. I’ll be right there.”
“Caleb.” Julie’s voice was between a screech and a whine. “Tell him he should call her back.”
“What’s the harm, Julie? Let him take the call.”
Seth acknowledged his grandfather by putting the phone back up to his ear and walking into the next room for some privacy. Ryan wished he could sink into the floor. He’d been alone with Caleb. He’d been alone with Julie, but he’d never been alone with the gruesome twosome at the same time. He bowed his head and feverishly cut at his chicken, cringing when the silverware screeched loudly against the China.
“You should not have let him get away from that. This is supposed to be a family dinner.”
“He’s my grandson Julie, not my child. If he wants to talk to his girlfriend during dinner I don’t care. Let his parents worry about manners and etiquette.”
“We told Sandy and Kirsten we’d take care of them,” she hissed across from the table.
Ryan wondered if she’d notice if he stood up and left. He’d polished off half his plate and suddenly, he wasn’t so hungry anymore.
“I promised Kirsten that I would make sure the boys stayed out of trouble. Talking to your girlfriend on the phone during dinner does not constitute trouble. You’ve taken lots more crap from Marissa. Why are you harassing Seth about something so mundane?”
With a huff, Julie threw down her linen napkin onto her untouched plate of food, and stormed out, leaving just Caleb and Ryan at the table.
“Don’t get married Ryan. It’s not worth the trouble.”
Not if your wife is Julie Cooper-Nichol, thought Ryan.
Seth returned two-minutes later. “You done eating, Ryan?”
Ryan pushed his plate back. “Yes.”
“Good. Let’s go.”
Caleb was holding a glass of red wine in his hand and leaning back in his chair. But he sat up, alert and demanded, “Where do you think you’re going, young man?”
“Out. With Summer. And she set Ryan up on a blind date.”
“You’re not going anywhere. Did you forget you were grounded?” Caleb sipped his wine. “You’re to stay in the house.” He peered over his glass. “Both of you.”
“Grandpa, come on, mom and dad will never know.”
“Seth, the answer is no. You can watch T.V., hook up the playstation I bought this afternoon, play a game of pool or read a book. But whatever you choose to do tonight it will be in this house.”
Seth stalked out of the room and Ryan excused himself and followed Seth up to the guest room.
“I don’t care what Grandpa says, Ryan. We’re going.”