Stopping Summer

Summary: Missing scene from "The Strip": Ryan tries to stop Summer from going up to the penthouse. Unsuccessfully.

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Josh and co. I am a lowly fan. Let it go.

Notes: Just a little plot bunny that wouldn't go away. I'm a big fan of Ryan/Summer friendship, which is kinda what this is. There's no meaning, there's no romantic undertones (although, now that I'm reading over it, there totally are. Whatever, they weren't intentional), it's just a light little fun thing that'll take all of three minutes to read.

Have fun!

****

Mr. Cooper is distraught.

Okay, it's not like Ryan expected that learning of Caleb's blackmail would make Marissa's dad break into song or anything, but he for whatever reason he didn't expect Mr. Cooper to stalk off, muttering to himself about the availability of gun licenses in Las Vegas.

Ryan sighs and runs a hand through his hair. He knows Marissa will be upset with him for telling her dad, since she had been in the middle of fabricating what she thought was a perfect excuse about being allergic to the fibers of the carpet in her father's apartment to explain away her sudden decision to move in with her mom when he'd left. But he sort of had to tell Mr. Cooper, because, like his daughter, he has this kinda…probing, he guesses is the word, expression that makes you want to tell him whatever he wants to know.

Besides, Mr. Cooper is, like, the only member of Marissa's family who seems to like him. He isn't about to ruin that now.

Ryan shoves his hands in the pockets of his jeans. He's tired now, and he just wants to go to bed, but then he remembers that Seth has invited Jen and her friends up to the room.

And, okay, the penthouse has, like, nine different rooms, but he has a feeling that Seth will find a way to utilize all of them, fully preventing Ryan from getting any sleep.

He sighs again and reaches into his back pocket, pulling out his wallet. There's a twenty in there, enough to grab some McDonald's or something.

"The name is Cohen," he hears all of a sudden, and he drops the bill. "That's C-O-H-E-N. I think that's how you spell it."

What is Summer Roberts doing in Las Vegas?

Summer Roberts is supposed to be back in Newport, watching The Valley and painting her nails and, like, stocking up on multicolored bikinis for the coming summer. She has no business being here, looking for Seth…

Who is currently entertaining another girl in his hotel room.

Ryan quickly stoops to pick up his fallen twenty and spots Summer about ten feet away at the desk, arguing with the receptionist, who apparently will not give her Seth's room number.

"Look," Summer is saying crossly, setting her purse on the counter, "I'm looking for my boyfriend, okay? It's really important that I find him, and I know he's here, so just give me his room number!"

Ryan is at her side now, and he puts a hand on her shoulder. Summer swats at him before she turns and realizes who it is.

"Ryan!" she says. "Well, it's good to see someone's boyfriend isn't off macking on random whores."

"Thanks," Ryan tells the surprised clerk. "I can take her from here." He leads Summer away from the desk. "What are you doing here?" he asks her in a low tone, so as not to attract attention.

Summer puts her hands on her hips and tosses her hair. "What do you think I'm doing here?"

Ryan bites his lip and glances around, placing one hand on Summer's shoulder. "Look, Summer, I understand why you're upset—"

"Snaps for you," she mumbles furiously.

"—but Seth isn't your boyfriend anymore."

Summer looks up from the floor, her dark eyes flashing with what looks like anger and annoyance. "Shut up, Chino."

Ryan fully realizes he's well on his way to being on the receiving end of a rage blackout, but he likes to think he's saying everything Seth wants to say but is too spineless to actually voice to her. And he hasn't fought with someone in a good while. He's almost forgotten how fun it is. "You broke up. I'm sure you remember that."

She tosses her hair again. "Ryan, this is between me and Cohen."

"Not really. He's been talking about nothing but you since Friday, and it's really annoying me."

Summer pretends not to hear him and snaps, "Listen, I need to talk to Cohen. Where is he?"

Ryan takes his hand off her shoulder and steps away from her. "I don't think I can tell you that," he says, his voice so light and casual that she could kill him, she could seriously kill him right in the middle of the Hard Rock. "You haven't told me why you need to talk to him."

"You can't tell me when I can talk to him! He's my boyfriend!"

"No, he's really not!" Ryan shoots back. "For someone who was so anxious to get rid of him, it really isn't getting through your head, is it?"

Summer glares at him. "I called him," she intoned, her voice remarkably low and even, "to tell him that I realized he was right about my dad. I called him to tell him that I didn't really want to break up, and when he picked up the phone, all I heard was 'I have to kiss you again'. Now, tell me, Ryan, if you called Coop and heard that, would you not be stealing someone's car and driving home to beat someone into the ground?"

Ryan pauses. "You stole a car?"

Summer makes a face. "Um, ew. I was talking about you."

"How did you get here so fast?"

"'So fast'?!" Summer repeats. "I've been driving, like, all day! There's an imprint of the seat of my car on my ass!"

Ryan's turn to make a face. "Wow, that's way too much information."

"Where are you guys staying, Atwood?" Summer asks.

Ryan stares at her for a good while, trying to decide whether or not to tell her. It is likely that even if he doesn't, Summer will figure it out anyway. It is also likely that if he doesn't, Summer will kill him.

But if he does, Seth will get caught entertaining a pretty blonde college student by the girl he's been in love with since, like, forever.

And Ryan is pretty sure they're not playing Go Fish up there.

Well, maybe they are. That's the only card game Seth knows how to play.

And it's not like it's up to Ryan to fix Seth's mistakes. Seth completely knows that what he's doing is ruining his chances of getting Summer back.

"We're in the penthouse," he says finally.

"Thank you," Summer says softly. But then any signs of softness quickly disappear as she pushes him away and storms towards the elevator.

"What are you going to do?" Ryan asks, running to catch up.

"I'm going to kill him," she explains, reaching an elevator and pressing the 'up' button with a French-manicured fingernail. "He cheated on me, I have to kill him."

"He didn't—"

"Shut up, Chino."

Ryan follows Summer into the elevator. "Listen," he says quickly, "whatever you heard, I'm sure it wasn't what it sounded like."

"And I am equally sure that it was exactly what it sounded like," Summer replies flatly. "Let it go, Ryan. You served your purpose. Leave me alone." She paused. "Unless you have, like, a knife or something?"

He makes a face. "I don't have a knife."

She sighs. "Damn. Leave me alone, then."

"I don't think I can do that."

There is a 'ding' and the doors open to reveal the first room of the penthouse suite. "Swanky," Summer mutters to herself, tossing her purse onto a chair. "Cohen's a big boy, Ryan," she adds to him. "He got himself into this, he can find a way to get himself out." She walks purposefully across the room and starts opening doors, looking for Seth.

Ryan sighs.

Oh, well.

He tried to stop her.

****