Summary: How does Ryan's confession about the strip club go with Sandy?
This came from a comment dulcineah1 made on my lj about S3E09.
This ficlet dedicated to emrose33 whose birthday I missed and cheekymice who needs a cyber hug.
“Anything you’d care to tell me?” Sandy turns to Ryan and puts his hands on his hips.
Ryan’s eyes grow wide and round and for a second he glances toward the door where Matt has just fled. Why was he always left to clean up everyone’s messes? He looks back at Sandy and immediately casts his eyes to the floor, dragging his toe back and forth across the carpet.
“Were you and Matt working all night?” Sandy persists.
Ryan swallows hard, trying to dislodge the lump in his throat. “Well, there was a break.” He continues to stare at his feet and trace circles in the carpet with his large toe. Matt is the one who screwed up and let Sandy down, a place where Ryan had often been in the years since moving in with the Cohens. He shoves his hands deep down in his pockets and shrugs his shoulders.
“What else Ryan?” Sandy was using his no nonsense tone. The one where he means business and isn’t in the mood for anymore playing around.
Ryan sighs. “TherewasabreakatastripjointandMattbough
“He took you to a strip joint? You had a lap dance?”
Ryan shrinks back. “I didn’t wait for Matt to finish. As soon as I saw he was going to be long I left and went straight home.”
He hopes that would win him some brownie points. He knows that Sandy is upset. Mad even. He’s pretty sure that most of the anger is not towards him. Sandy realizes that he was just a high school student interning at the Newport group. He isn’t assigning the blame for the day’s business disaster at him. But Sandy is also like a father to him. He knows going to a strip club, while never explicitly on the Cohens’ not to do list, was probably on that need not be said list that parents had.
Ryan scratches his head with his index finger and finally lifts his eyes to meet Sandy’s gaze. “I know I probably should have gotten up right away –“
Sandy cuts him off. “Probably?” His blue eyes pierce through Ryan and pin him to the wall. “You think Matt went back there?”
“He seemed to know the place well.”
“Can you take me there? I need to talk to Matt.”
Ryan doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Sandy still looks royally pissed, but he isn’t in any position to argue or negotiate. So Ryan simply nods his head and follows Sandy out the door and into the car.
Sandy doesn’t say anything else to him the rest of the night. Except for snapping at him at the club, when he tries to defend Matt and prevent Sandy from firing the man.
“No, not another word out of you kid. Don’t think you don’t have anything to be sorry about.”
Ryan isn’t sure if Sandy’s said anything to Kirsten. Kirsten hasn’t said anything to him. No one has mentioned grounding him or any other punishment. He’s glad for that, because he doesn’t want to share his outing with Seth, because he knows Seth will pester to death with questions. He gives Seth the bare bones details as they drive to the Newport Group, and explains why he has to apologize. Seth seems satisfied with the explanation and Ryan is grateful for small miracles.
When they’re alone, Ryan apologizes to Sandy. The stripper girl has just left and Sandy seems to be in a more sympathetic mood. The anger seems to have evaporated from the room.
“I know I screwed up.”
“This wasn’t your fault kid. I’m sorry if I made you feel like it was.”
“I should have called you right when I realized…” Ryan waves his hand in the air. “Well, you know.”
“I can see why you didn’t.”
“Did you tell Kirsten? About my – um –“ Ryan stares down at his hands. “My evening out?”
A smile tugs at Sandy’s lips and a twinkle enters his eyes. Ryan realizes his guardian is amused by his discomfort.
“I don’t keep secrets from Kirsten. You know that by now.”
“That’s what I was afraid of.” He didn’t think he’d ever be able to look at Kirsten in the eyes anymore.
“You know Ryan, you don’t belong in that sort of place. It’s demeaning to women and real lasting relationships.”
He opens his mouth to try and defend himself, but Sandy puts up a hand to stop him.
“And Kirsten practically has me in the doghouse for taking you there a second time, even if it wasn’t to play. I think it’s safe to say we can put this behind us.”
Ryan closes his eyes, quickly opens them again and smiles gratefully at Sandy.
“We should go home.”