Its been such a long day, a long week, hell a long month, thought Sandy, as he stood at the kitchen window, watching Ryan sit quietly in a chair in front of the pool house, in the dark. Ryan had been right all along about Oliver Trask. He was crazy, and after holding Marissa at gunpoint, before turning the gun on himself, finally proved it. But unlike Oliver's life, and his problems, Sandy was afraid this wasn't over. Not for Ryan. Not for any of them. He knew he had to try to reach Ryan, and he knew this was probably the last time he would get the chance.

Ryan was too deep in his thoughts to notice Sandy walk up to him, which was probably a good thing. Otherwise, Ryan may have tried to retreat again. Tell Sandy he was fine, and disappear.

"Hay, what are you doing?" Sandy asked as he slowly made his way over to Ryan.

"Nothing, I'm not going any where or doing any thing. OK?" Ryan still had such an edge to his voice. He had been waiting for one of them to apologize. Tell him he was no longer grounded since he was right about Oliver the whole time.

"Yah, well, I can see that. So what are you doing?" Sandy asked.

Ryan just shrugged, "Nothing. I was just thinking."

As Sandy sat down next to Ryan, he asked, "About what - world peace? The fate of Social Security?"

Ryan just shrugged again, "Yah, something like that."

"Well," said Sandy, "Why don't you tell me about it."

Ryan just signed, "Really, it's nothing."

Ok, time to talk, Sandy thought. "Come on Ryan. I know you've got a lot to sort through. It's been a pretty miserable time for you. I would imagine part of you must feel vindicated that your suspicions about Oliver were correct. But part of you must also feel sick, sad about what happened. You can talk about it, if you want."

Ryan snorted, "Talk? I tried talking. No one would listen to me. Not Marissa or Seth or You and Kirsten. What good is talking if no one will listen!"

"Ryan, you didn't tell us one half of what went on with Oliver! But we still believed you! I told you before that we knew he was troubled." Sandy answered.

"Then why were you so pissed? If you really believed me.. Oh, never mind." Ryan was quickly getting too tired for this.

But Sandy wasn't. He knew they had to work this out. "If I really believed you, what? Come on Ryan, if I really believed you then WHAT?"

Ryan, getting angry now, shot back, "If you really believed me, then you would have understood why I did what I did!"

"Understood? Understood breaking and entering. Understood assault. Understood your possible expulsion from school. I'm sorry Ryan, I still don't understand. Yah, I knew Oliver was trouble, because you told me he was and I believed you. But I was so pissed, as you put it, because I know that you aren't trouble. Yet everything you did was wrong. Maybe you thought your reasons seemed right to you, but they weren't. They were wrong, and they were stupid." Sandy paused before leaning closer to Ryan. "Ryan, you're so quick to jump in to help someone that you never take the time to think of the consequences. You want so badly to help, but you won't take the time to help yourself, or even ask for help. You didn't tell us Oliver was troubled until after you broke into the file room. I didn't find out until today about Oliver's fake suicide attempt, the imaginary girlfriend, or any of the other crap, and I never heard it from you. I'm hearing it now, from Seth."

Ryan just snorted, "Lot of good it did telling Seth. He still sided with Oliver."

Sandy softened a little at this, "Ryan, he never sided with Oliver. All Seth knew was that he saw you saying and doing things that scared him. He was afraid of losing you as a friend, and as a brother. I know you think he didn't have your back, but right now, I kind of think he's feeling the same way. Listen, I can't speak for Seth, but I think the two of you should really talk. You're too important to each other not to."

Ryan actually nodded slightly at this before continuing. "Yah, well, what about Marissa. I was supposed to be important to her, too. She said she loved me, and yet she chose Oliver over me again and again."

"I can't speak for Marissa, either. I really don't know what she was thinking. Maybe she thought she could help Oliver. I don't know." Sandy paused, again, before continuing. "But since we're talking about Marissa, I really want to ask you a question, and I want you to be honest with me."

Ryan sat straight up, "What?"

Sandy looked directly into Ryan's eyes, and asked, "Do you really believe that you and Marissa belong together, that you're good together. I know you're both only 16, but do you really think you are made for each other."

Ryan shot back, "Why, because she's too good for me?!"

"Actually, no, Ryan, I was thinking because you're too good for her." Sandy could see the shock in Ryan's face when he said it, so he continued, "Kirsten and I have been really worried about your relationship with Marissa for some time now. All she's put you through since you've met her just doesn't seem right. We know about it all Ryan - the problems she caused between you and Luke, the overdose in Mexico, asking you to break her out of the hospital, the shop lifting, the open container of alcohol in the car. And now with everything with Oliver. All she expected, demanded from you without even considering how you felt. I'm sorry, son, but it's just not right. I know you love her, and obviously you would do anything for her, but at what cost? At what point will it be enough? You can't save Marissa until Marissa is ready to save herself. As sorry as I am to see you so hurt by the break up, I'm not sorry to see it happen. You deserve better. You deserve someone who will love you the way you love them."

This revelation from Sandy hit Ryan hard. "I just don't know anymore," Ryan whispered, "I just can't sort it all out. It's just too much. It's gotten way too complicated."

Sandy knew, but asked any way, "What? What's too complicated?"

Ryan finally admitted, "My life, Marissa, Seth, You, Kirsten. This whole Newport way of living - it's just. I don't know. Hard. Too Hard."

Sandy knew he had to approach this carefully, "Um, well, do you think it would help if you talked to someone. To help you sort everything out. Maybe help you get some perspective, some understanding."

Ryan didn't get it, though, "What do you mean. Like you or Kirsten?"

"No. I mean, yah, I want you to know that you can always talk to Kirsten and me. About anything. We will always be there for you. But well, we were also thinking that maybe talking to someone better trained. Someone impartial would be good for you." Sandy knew that Ryan understood what he meant. He could see it register in Ryan's eyes.

"You mean a shrink? You still think I'm nuts. Great, just great. Thanks but no thanks. I'm fine. I don't need some shrink. You guys may think there's something wrong with me but." Suddenly Ryan was shouting, "Terrific. I can't believe this. You come out here, telling me you want to talk. Meanwhile, the whole time you think I'm some kind of nut job. Right up there with Oliver Trask, is that it?"

Sandy answered back, hoping to calm Ryan down. "First of all, do not raise your voice at me. And secondly, no, I don't think you're crazy, or that there's something wrong with you or that you're anything remotely like Oliver Trask. But Ryan, you have been through a lot. And I don't mean just this whole Oliver mess. I mean this entire year. Everything in your life has changed. Nothing is the same in your life, and you have had to make a lot of adjustments. There is nothing wrong with speaking with a therapist to help you come to terms with your new life. You encouraged Marissa to see a therapist why is it so wrong for you, too?"

Ryan thought for a minute and then answered, "My life changed for the better, her's got worse." It wasn't much of an answer, but Ryan hoped it would be good enough. It wasn't, not for Sandy.

"But at least the people in her life stayed the same. She's still here with the same people, in the same town. Only the circumstances of her life changed. Everything in your life changed. The people, the places, everything, and you need help accepting it all." Sandy decided on another approach, "Alright, let me put it to you this way.. Ryan, tell me about your family."

That wasn't what Ryan expected. "Huh? What? I don't get it. You know about my family."

"Just do it. Tell me about your family." Sandy answered.

Ryan just shrugged, not sure where this was going. "Fine. My father is in prison for armed robbery. I haven't seen him in years. I don't even know when or if he'll get out. My mother. Well, you've had the pleasure of meeting her. She's. she's a train wreck. My brother is also in jail, and he's also kind of a train wreck. Ok? That's my loving family."

Sandy asked, "And now?"

"And now what? Now I live with my lawyer and his family." Ryan answered.

Sandy knew it, but was still hurt. "Ok, well now I'm going to tell you about my family. I have a beautiful wife. She's kind, considerate, loving, hard working, driven, and I totally adore her. I also have two boys. I have a son named Seth who is quick witted, funny, charming, but a little spoiled and a little self-absorbed. He's not very athletic, but very sweet, and well, honestly, a little nerdy. My other son is Ryan. He's also very quick-witted, but very quiet. He's thoughtful, considerate, caring, and very athletic. But he's also insecure and unsure. He doesn't trust and tends to act impulsively. He also has a quick temper, but a huge heart. And I love both my sons as much as I love my wife." Sandy paused, letting the full weight of what he said sink in. "Don't you see, Ryan? That's why we'd like you to talk to someone. Not that you're crazy, or that we think there's something wrong with you, but because to us, you're as much our son as Seth, but only if you'd let us. We want to be your family, your parents, and Seth wants to be your brother. But you won't let us in. To us, you're family. But to you, we're your lawyer and his family. And we don't know how to change that." Sandy could see that this all hit Ryan, and hit him hard. He figured it would be best to let it go at that, so he told Ryan, "Well, I'm going to bed now. I think you should, too. The disciplinary committee is meeting tomorrow right after school, and we all need a good night's sleep. Just think about what I said. OK? Good night, kid. We love you."

An hour later, Sandy found Kirsten staring out the kitchen window. Without turning away, she said to Sandy, "He's still sitting out there. Shouldn't one of us go out there?"

Sandy put his arms around Kirsten, "No. Give him some time. Maybe he finally heard what I said."

Kirsten turned to face Sandy, "Exactly what did you say to him?"

Sandy signed, "God. Hopefully, all the right things."