NOTE: I do not own any of 'The O.C' characters… you can thank FOX. If you have any questions or comments you can e-mail me at liverbrain22hotmail.com
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A/N: Okay, so I wrote an epilogue. I know it's a long one…but I couldn't stop writing. I'm working on a sequel. I've already written three different versions of it and I REALLY don't know what I should write about. If anyone has MSN feel free to add me and throw me your thoughts. It's hard to please everyone. Anywho, I'd like to thank everyone again for reading this story and reviewing all my chapters. I hope you all stick with me on the sequel. I'm thinking of writing more into Seth and Summer's relationship and family. I promise one thing; a lot of Seth. I hope you guys will like that. Crosses fingers I've decided on a few plot lines but I'm still not sure where I want to go with the story. Also, I desperately need a beta reader. So, again, if you're interested don't be afraid to add me to MSN. Thanks a million. …. Now on with the Epilogue!
Ryan brought up the last box of Ben's belongings into his apartment and sat down on the sofa in the middle of the small living room. Ben walked in with Connor and they both sat down next to him.
"You okay, Dad?" The fourteen-year-old asked his dad. "You look like you've just ran a marathon."
"Yeah, Connor. I'm fine." He replied, wiping the sweat off his forehead.
"Whoa, this place is snazzy." Seth said, walking into the small apartment. "Nice and cozy."
Ben chuckled. "Yeah, it's small, but I'm a starving student, remember?" He asked his uncle.
"Hey, not that starving." Ryan shoved Ben. "You worked at the Crab Shack for two years and don't forget that I'm paying for your education. All you need to do is pay for rent."
"And food." Connor added. "Which reminds me, I'm hungry."
"Okay." Ryan stood up. "We better get back home."
"Yeah, we don't want to miss any of the Newport gossip. I just heard that Mrs. Tanner got breast implants." Connor joked with a wide smile. "Okay, I'll be out in the car." Connor said and left. Seth followed him outside.
"So, tonight, are you coming? It's just a dinner with your aunt and uncle. You don't have to come if you don't want to but…I think you should." Ryan said to his eldest son. "For your mother's sake." He added.
"Yeah." Ben looked around his apartment. "For sure I'll be there. I'm just going to start unpacking a bit. I'll see you tonight." Ben said, walking his dad over to the door. "Thanks…for the help and everything."
"Yeah." Ryan scratched his eyebrow. "So, I'll see you tonight." He said and then left.
Ben closed the door behind him and sighed. "Finally." He mumbled as he walked back over to the couch and sat down. His life was starting to pick up. Senior year had just ended and he had convinced his parents to allow him to move out to go to school. His parents had wanted him to stay home for the summer but he thought it would be a better idea to move in at the starting of the summer to get settled in. Plus, he had a girlfriend now and he was sick and tired of Connor and Emily eavesdropping on him. He needed to get out. He was now free.
Ben's cellphone vibrated in his pocket and he jumped. He snagged the cell out of his pocket and answered it. "Hello?"
"Hey, sweetie, how's everything going?"
"Hey, Mom. Things are great. Dad just left, so he should be home soon."
"Do you need anything?" Marissa asked.
"No, I'm fine." He replied. There was an awkward silence over the phone and Ben could tell that his mom was almost on the verge of tears. "Mom, I'm fine, seriously."
"I know." Marissa sniffed.
"Okay, good. Well, I'll see you in a few hours, okay?"
"Okay, bye Mom. I love you."
"Love you too, Ben. Bye."
Ben shut his cellphone off and sank back into the couch.
"Elijah, would you please go and see if your father is ready yet?" Summer asked her one and only son. "His priorities seemed to have been misplaced."
Elijah got off the couch and ran upstairs. "Dad?" He knocked on the bathroom door. "Mom wants to know if you're ready or not."
Seth opened the bathroom door and glanced at himself in the mirror. "Eli, am I going gray? Or is just me? 'Cause look here…" He bent down to the eight-year-old's view and showed him his gray patch. "Do you see it?"
"No." Elijah lied. "I don't see anything. Maybe you're going color blind."
"I doubt that." Seth looked at himself in the mirror again. "Okay, well we better get going." He said and went downstairs. Elijah followed right behind him.
"Finally! We're going to be late!"
"Summer, we live three doors down from them. It's not like we have to travel far distances to Ryan and Marissa's house." He replied, walking outside.
Elijah ran ahead of his parents and went inside his aunt and uncle's house.
"Hey, Aunt Marissa. Hey, Uncle Ryan." Elijah acknowledged them.
"Eli!" Emily grabbed her cousin's hand. "I have to show you something!" She dragged him upstairs to her room.
Seth and Summer walked into the Atwood's house and greeted Ryan and Marissa. Even though they lived three doors away, they still got together now and then and had a big family dinner. Over the years they had become a tightly knitted family – not that they weren't from the starting.
All the adults sat around the table after dinner and talked, while Ben and Connor were in the living room watching television and Emily and Elijah were upstairs playing.
"So, what are you guys doing this summer?" Ryan asked Seth and Summer.
"Working," Seth replied.
"What?" Summer slapped him playfully on the arm. "You told me you were going to take time off. All you ever do now is work, Cohen!"
"Uh-oh." Marissa laughed.
"Well, what can I say? I love my work. It's definitely a very, uh, what's the word? Satisfying?" Seth questioned and then added, "Exactly where do you think we get our money from? If I don't work this summer then I'm afraid I will not be able to support your fall fashion wear." He joked.
"Fine," Summer groaned. "But all I'm going to say is this…Elijah better not be staying inside all summer like he did last year." She told him.
"No worries." Seth replied. "He's got some new friends this year."
Summer shook her head. "Then why didn't anyone show up for his birthday party this year?" She questioned.
"Hey, Sum, he has Emily." Marissa interrupted them.
"Hey, the kid has comic books and video games as well. What more does he need?" Seth asked. "That's how I was raised, until, of course, when Ryan came to live with us…But look how I turned out."
"Charming, Cohen. Real charming." Summer pinched his cheek.
Emily ran downstairs into the dinning room with her ballerina outfit on. "Mom, Dad…You've got to see this!" She said cheerfully. "Come on, Eli!" She shouted at the bottom of the staircase.
Elijah slowly walked down the stairs carefully and entered the dinning room.
"Dear…God." Seth swallowed hard. "What are you wearing?" He asked his son.
"It's a ballerina outfit!" Emily replied. "Oh, and we made a routine!" She grabbed Elijah's hand and pulled him into the living room. All the adults got up from their chairs and followed them
Emily and Elijah performed their routine without any mistakes. Connor and Ben were sitting on the couch trying hard not to laugh at the display before them.
Everyone clapped their hands when they were finished.
"That was…that was real…Nice." Seth hesitated with his words.
Connor and Ben started laughing hysterically and Elijah turned beet red.
"Oh, sweetie, that was great." Summer clapped again. "Bravo!"
"Okay, can I take this off now?" Elijah asked Emily.
"Okay." Emily groaned and followed Elijah upstairs to her room.
Ryan, Marissa, Seth and Summer returned to the dinning room table.
"Okay, so maybe comic books and video games aren't enough for Elijah." Seth said, scratching his Jew-Fro.
"I thought he did great." Marissa laughed.
"Yeah, me too. Maybe next time Emily can show him how to kick a soccer ball." Ryan joked.
"Hey." Seth warned Ryan. "My kid can so kick a soccer ball."
"Yeah, much like his father."
"I resent that!"
Ryan laughed hard. "Just telling you the truth, man."
Ben walked into the dinning room and sat down next to Marissa. "Hey, Ben." Marissa smiled at him. He was starting to look so much like Ryan now. Connor, as well, was looking a lot like Ryan too, but not as much as Ben. "So, are you excited to go home to your new apartment?" She asked him.
Ben nodded. "Yeah. It'll be like the time that you sent me away to Camp Tokaho. Hopefully you won't bug me too much like you did back then." He added.
"I'll try not to, but I can't guarantee anything." Marissa warned him.
Ben checked his watch. "I think I'm going to head out now. It's getting late and I promised Fiona that I'd call her." He said. Ben had been dating Fiona since his freshmen year at Harbor. They were already talking about getting married.
"Okay." Marissa replied, getting up. Ryan, Seth and Summer followed them to the door. "Call me tomorrow morning, okay? I want to hear all about your night alone in your new apartment."
"Sure." Ben laughed. "I'll, uh, I'll call you later. 'Night Mom, 'night Dad." He waved at them. "See you later Aunt Summer, Uncle Seth."
Ryan, Marissa, Summer and Seth watched Ben drive off in his car.
Marissa closed the front door and let a stray tear run down her cheek. Ryan took her hand and kissed it. "And I thought letting our eldest chick fly away to a new world would be easy." He laughed. "I guess not." He wrapped his arms around Marissa's waist and kissed the top of her forehead. "You okay?" He asked.
Marissa wiped the stray tear. "These are tears of joy." She smiled at him and kissed him.
"Okay, well as much as I want to see you two lovebirds play, we've got to jet." Seth interrupted. "I promised Elijah I'd take him to this super hero comic convention in San Diego tomorrow."
Summer rolled her eyes and called for Elijah. Elijah came running downstairs. "Thanks for dinner." He mumbled to his aunt and uncle and then left.
"'Night guys." Summer said and then left with Seth.
Ryan pulled Marissa closer to him and kissed her lips. "What do you say we go and play upstairs?" He said, looking into her eyes.
Marissa giggled. "Okay."
"Aw come on, guys. I'm right here!" Connor said from the living room. "I'm going to bed now and I do not want to know what you guys are doing." Connor left to his bedroom.
Ryan and Marissa laughed. "Race you upstairs?" Ryan suggested and then bolted.
Marissa ran after him and tackled him on the last step. She roughed up his dirty blonde hair and ran into the bedroom.
Ryan got up slowly from the last step and stood, holding the banister.
"You coming?" Marissa shouted from their bedroom.
"Yeah…One minute." Ryan said, walking over to Ben's old room. He opened the door and looked around. It still looked the same. He walked over to his old desk and picked up a picture frame. It was a photo that was taken of his family over 10 years ago. Aden and Ben were standing side by side with their arms wrapped around each other's shoulder. Connor stood directly in front of Ryan, with his hands on the little boy's shoulders. Marissa stood next to him, with a twinkle in her eye.
"Ryan?" Marissa called. "Where are you?"
"Yeah, I – I'm coming!" Ryan yelled. Ryan put the picture frame back down on Ben's old desk and looked around the room once more before closing the door.
Okay, so there it is…It's done. My sequel will take place somewhere after this but will focus more on Seth. I'm warning you though…There will be lots of drama…I'll be making you cry, yell and laugh. Stay tuned for the sequel!