Disclaimer: I don't own anything OC related. Seriously. Nothing.
AN: This was an abandoned sentence from the OC sentence challenge a long time ago that miss suga reminded me of. Thanks for the reminder! Hope it's satisfactory!
1) Grace Thompson, a 58 year old, well to do VP of a major corporation back East, finds out that the daughter she lost contact with when she ran away at age 15, has two sons, Trey and Ryan.
"Yeah?" Ryan glanced at Seth, giving him attention.
"That old lady keeps checking you out," Seth said. He nodded across the room.
They were both in tuxes, attending a function that Kirsten was putting on for the Newport Group to honor their out of state contributors.
"Yeah, I noticed that…who is she?" Ryan nodded.
"No idea. The only people I know here are Mom, Dad, Grandpa and you," Seth sighed.
The lady was dressed professionally in a navy blue pantsuit. She had cropped sandy blonde hair and was drinking white wine. Her blue eyes were locked on Ryan.
"It's creepy," Ryan muttered.
"She looks like…never mind…" Ryan turned his back on her stares. "How long should we wait before we bounce?"
"She's coming over here," Seth whispered.
"Excuse me," A woman's voice said immediately.
Ryan turned and regarded the woman. "Can I help you?" He was tense. What did she want?
"Grace. I see you've met my boys," Kirsten smiled, appearing beside Ryan and Seth.
"Kirsten. These are your children?" Grace smiled pleasantly.
"This is my son, Seth, and this is Ryan." Kirsten said evenly.
"Ah. Such healthy boys you have."
"Do you have children, Grace?"
Ryan was uncomfortable under the woman's stare. Kirsten even noticed Grace's strange rapt attention to him.
"I have two sons and a daughter. I haven't seen her in nineteen years," Grace replied, still staring at Ryan. He kept his gaze lowered, respectfully.
"I'm so sorry, Mrs. Thompson," Kirsten said sympathetically. She put a hand on Ryan's shoulder. She turned as Sandy approached. "This is my husband, Sandy."
"Grace Thompson. I'm V.P. of the East Coast branch of the Harris Corporation. We do a lot of business with Kirsten," Grace shook his hand. Her gaze went immediately back to Ryan.
"I see you admiring my beautiful family," Sandy said, giving Kirsten a concerned look.
"It's just extraordinary…" Grace murmured. She gently put her hands on Ryan's shoulders and he flinched instinctively. "He looks just like her…"
"Excuse me?" Ryan asked quietly.
"I'm sorry. You have a very nice family." She released Ryan and walked away.
"Ryan, do you know her?" Sandy asked.
"I've never seen her before," Ryan replied.
"That was just strange," Kirsten muttered.
"So, does that mean we can go now?" Seth asked.
Grace called her son as soon as she got to her hotel room. She wasn't coming home immediately. She needed to stay an extra few days.
"What are you doing up?" Sandy kissed his wife on the cheek. It was 4 am and she was in the kitchen eating ice cream.
"It's that woman from the party…the way she was looking at Ryan…"
"He's an attractive kid," Sandy shrugged.
"She had his eyes…" Kirsten whispered.
"Kirsten? What are you thinking?"
"I don't know…I just have this feeling…"
"He doesn't know that woman, Kirsten," Sandy said, honestly confused about his wife's mood.
"We don't know anything about his family, Sandy. What if she's related to him and she…"
"Honey, he doesn't have anyone except for his mother that could ever contest our custody of him. "And she'd never win."
"I know," She sighed. "I'm being stupid."
"It's cute on you. You're cute when you're protective."
Kirsten's secretary buzzed her the next afternoon. "Grace Thompson would like to see you."
"Send her in." Kirsten was immediately on her feet to greet the woman.
"Kirsten. Thank you for seeing me."
"Of course. I thought you'd be back in Boston by now."
"I had a change of plans," Grace replied evenly.
"Is everything okay?" Kirsten asked. They sat down across from each other in the spacious office.
"Is Ryan your real son, Kirsten?"
"Excuse me?" Kirsten flinched. She knew that her coloring was close enough that most people assumed he was her son but this woman clearly knew better.
"I'm sorry." Grace had dark circles under her eyes. "But your son looks exactly like my daughter and…and I have to know."
"You think Ryan…is your grandson? Grace, I thought you were from Boston…"
Grace reached into her briefcase and pulled out a photograph. She handed it to Kirsten. "This is my daughter."
"Dawn…" Kirsten sighed, recognizing the woman immediately.
"You know my daughter?" Grace gasped.
"I need to call my husband…"
"Kirsten, do you know my daughter?" Grace asked urgently.
"We've met. Once."
"So she's alive?"
"Last I heard. My husband has to be here for this," Kirsten replied, trying not to panic. She opened her phone. "Sandy? It's an emergency. Can you come to my office? And bring Ryan's file? Now, yes. Thanks."
Grace has started to cry softly. "I have a grandson…"
"You have two. Ryan's older brother, Trey, is in jail upstate."
"Dawn wasn't the best mother."
"How do you know my daughter? Why is my grandson living with you?" Grace asked.
"I don't know your daughter, I know Ryan."
"How? Please tell me…"
"Why don't you tell me what happened between you and your daughter?" Kirsten replied.
"Ryan is a child. I need to know your story, too." Kirsten needed Sandy to be here.
"Dawn's father and I divorced. We shared custody of her…but I was always so busy that…that I didn't see what was happening. She was 15 when she ran away and my ex didn't report her missing for over a month, he'd lied to me about why she didn't show up at my house. I had no idea she'd get this far…I've never stopped looking for her…"
"I'm sorry, Grace," Kirsten said honestly.
"I never stopped searching or hoping…and when I saw Ryan…"
"Kirsten?" Sandy rushed in, breathless. He was startled to see Grace.
"Sandy. This is Grace's daughter." Kirsten handed him the picture.
"Oh my God." Sandy sat down beside his wife, stricken.
"She hasn't seen Dawn since she was 15," Kirsten added quietly.
"Kirsten…you said you didn't know Dawn," Grace said, composing herself.
"I'm a lawyer, Mrs. Thompson. I met Ryan when he was arrested. He impressed the hell out of me and…we took him in after his mother kicked him out…" Sandy said slowly.
"Ryan rarely speaks about his mother or his life before he came to live with us but we know that he has had a rough life. His father's in jail for armed robbery and his file reads like a war novel," Sandy added.
"He was abused? Not my Dawnie…"
"Ryan has become very well-adjusted. We don't pry into his past…he doesn't know you exist, Grace," Kirsten said evenly. If Sandy hadn't been holding her hand, she didn't think she'd be able to speak.
"I'll get you in touch with the private investigators that helped us find Dawn last time," Sandy said.
"And Ryan? Can I see him?"
"That will be entirely up to Ryan," Sandy said quietly. "I'll make a call to Trey as well."
"I want to see my grandson."
"If he's not comfortable, Grace, we won't force him. We'll talk to him," Kirsten said.
When Kirsten and Sandy walked into the house, they thought it was empty.
"Your ninja sucks," Seth said quietly. They found Ryan and Seth playing muted PS2 in the living room.
"They why did my ninja just decapitate your ninja?" Ryan murmured.
"I hate your ninja," Seth muttered.
"I hate your ninja more."
"Boys?" Sandy said and they both jumped, startled.
"Damn," Seth remarked. "We were totally zenned out on PS2."
"'Zenned out'?" Kirsten smiled.
"Yeah, see, Ryan says I talk too much so we've created zen gaming..." Seth said enthusiastically. Ryan simply shook his head, amused.
"I had finally got him wound down," Ryan sighed.
"We need to talk to Ryan, Seth. Can you give us a few minutes?" Sandy asked.
"What did you do?" Seth grinned at Ryan as he stood up. Ryan shrugged, clearly confused as well.
"No eavesdropping. I'm serious," Kirsten told him. Seth sensed the tension and Ryan immediately tensed up as well.
"You're not in trouble, Ryan, relax," Sandy said once Seth was gone.
"What's up?" Ryan asked, not relaxing.
"Ryan…can we ask you some questions? About your family?" Sandy asked. He had spent most of the afternoon with Kirsten discussing the best way to have this conversation.
Ryan's face flashed with confusion. "What's going on? Is my mom okay? Is it Trey?"
"No, honey," Kirsten said quietly. Her soft words only upset him more.
"Did you ever meet your grandparents?"
"Grandparents? No, I mean, my father's dad died when I was, like, 10, and Dawn's parents…she never mentioned them."
"She never mentioned them? You never asked?"
"No," Ryan replied honestly. "I learned not to ask questions."
"Ryan…" Kirsten started.
His blue eyes were dark and thoughtful. "That lady last night. She's Dawn's family?"
Sandy and Kirsten glanced at each other. "She's your grandmother," Sandy said.
Ryan didn't respond. He didn't look up.
"What does she want?"
"Your mother never mentioned her?" Sandy asked. Kirsten was watching Ryan, worriedly.
"Never. She never mentioned her mother."
"What about her father?" Kirsten probed.
Something flashed in Ryan's eyes. "No."
"Ryan…" Kirsten whispered, frustrated.
He shook his head. "She never said anything…not definitely…she'd say…that we didn't know how good we had it, that her father was…that he was much worse than our dad…but…"
"Grace would like to get to know you," Sandy stated.
Ryan didn't reply.
"Ryan…if you want to go and talk to Trey…"
"Trey and I have nothing to say to each other," Ryan muttered.
Sandy glanced at Kirsten. There was obviously a lot that they didn't know.
"What do you want to do?" Kirsten asked.
"I want to go start on my homework." Ryan got up and walked out through the kitchen.
"I think he took that reasonably well," Sandy sighed.
"What are we going to tell Grace?" Kirsten asked.
"We'll give him some time before bringing it up again. It's a lot for him to take in…" Sandy sighed.
The next morning, Ryan didn't come in for breakfast. Kirsten, for one, was grateful because Grace had called at seven am, asking when she could see him.
"Grace, he's got a lot to deal with…"
"Will he see me?"
"Why don't you concentrate on finding Dawn…"
"I'm meeting her at lunch, Kirsten and I'd like to talk to Ryan before I see her…"
"I'm sorry, Grace. It's his decision and he wants to think about it," Kirsten replied. "It's taken long enough for him to settle in here, I won't let this upset him…"
"He's my family, Kirsten, I have the right to see him…" Grace replied.
Kirsten got a chill. "Grace…"
"He's my family. He shouldn't be with strangers, he should be with his family…"
"I'm sorry, Grace. I guess you'll be hearing from our attorney," Kirsten said, hanging up.
"What's up, Mom?" Seth asked, walking in.
"Can you go check on your brother?"
Seth glanced at her, curiously. "Ryan? Why, did you ground him or something?"
"No. He just hasn't come in yet," Kirsten replied.
Seth shrugged and walked out of the house. Sandy entered, his hair wet from surfing.
"She's going to try and take him from us…I can feel it…" Kirsten murmured as she embraced him. The phone rang.
"What did she say?"
"She said he belonged with his family, that we were strangers…" She let a couple of tears escape. They'd been through too much to lose him now.
"Kirsten. That woman is a stranger to him," Sandy said gently. "We're his family. He knows that we'll fight for him…he's seventeen, there's no way the courts will give her custody…"
"Trust me. Answer the phone." Sandy kissed her cheek. "I'll go check on the kids."
Kirsten answered the phone again as Seth returned through the kitchen doors.
"Where's Ryan?" Sandy asked.
"Says he's not hungry," Seth shrugged. "But something's bothering him."
Kirsten focused her attention on the phone call. "Hello?"
"I'm sorry, Kirsten. I was out of line. This is just…"
"Complicated. I'll call you later, Grace. Good luck with Dawn." Kirsten hung up.
"What?" Seth's attention was rapt on his mother. "Who's meeting Dawn?"
"The lady from the party the other night is Dawn's mother," Sandy said quietly.
"Whoa. Are you serious? Ryan has a grandma? Wow…" Seth muttered.
"Seth," Sandy sighed.
"What? I mean, It's got to be pretty weird to have grandparents materialize out of midair. Or Boston, whatever," Seth replied.
"I'm going to go talk to him," Sandy said.
"You might want to wait on that. He's pretty grumpy today and I just woke him up," Seth warned.
"I'll take my chances," Sandy grinned.
"Don't say I didn't warn you!" Seth called after him.
Sandy knocked quietly on the poolhouse door. Sure enough, Ryan was still in bed, his hair disheveled.
"'Morning, kid," Sandy said.
"I'm already late, can this wait?" Ryan grumbled, slowly getting to his feet.
"Get ready while we talk," Sandy said, sitting down.
Ryan glared at him.
"The glare doesn't work on me, I was vaccinated months ago. What's on your mind?" Sandy asked.
"Sleep. And how I can't get enough of it," He muttered as he went to the shelves where he kept his clothes.
Ryan turned to face him with an annoyed look on his face. "Look. I don't care. If you want me to see her, I'll see her. It doesn't make any difference to me."
"No. I'm serious. I don't care, Sandy. Whatever happened between her and Dawn is their business. Not mine. I don't care. If you think that she deserves a chance, fine, I trust you. But I don't care and it's too early for you to lecture me."
"Why are you so angry?" Sandy asked as Ryan opened the door to the bathroom.
"It's like whenever I get the complications down to a manageable level, something like this happens. Long-lost grandma wants a piece of me, now? Let her try and find something left," Ryan mumbled, slamming the door behind him.
"Wow. He is grumpy," Sandy sighed.
Sandy returned to the kitchen and found Kirsten sitting with Seth at the counter.
"What did he say?" Kirsten asked.
"That he'd do whatever we want," Sandy sighed.
"What does that mean?" Kirsten asked immediately.
"That he doesn't want to talk about it," Seth answered. Kirsten and Sandy could always depend on Seth to interpret 'Ryan-speak'.
"He says he doesn't care either way," Sandy added. Kirsten sighed.
"You just sprung this on him last night, he's probably still thinking about it. I mean, you just threw a Grandma at him," Seth replied.
"Don't push him, Seth. But if you could talk to him, we'd be grateful. Find out what he wants to do," Sandy suggested.
"So this lady wants to see him? Why?" Seth asked.
"He's part of her family. She didn't even know he existed…"
"You believe her? I mean, what kind of story did she spin to you guys?"
"I mean, if some stranger walked up and said she was my long lost aunt or something, you guys would have P.I.'s out the wazoo checking on her. But you just believe this woman?" Seth asked.
"That's a good idea. We should definitely get some more information about this woman before we even consider letting her see him," Sandy said.
"Grace has been a colleague of mine for years. She's an upstanding citizen," Kirsten said quietly.
"You're sure? Like, sure enough to send Ryan to her for 'bonding' time?" Seth asked. "Because let me tell you what, Ryan and bonding don't really mix. Not even with upstanding citizens." He lowered his voice. "Is she going to…take him?"
"No. There's no way we would let her take him," Kirsten answered immediately, glancing at Sandy.
"Did you tell him that? Like, does he know?"
"He knows that we'd fight for him," Sandy replied.
"Well, I don't know what you want me to do. Judging from what I know about Ryan's other family, I wouldn't let anyone related to Dawn anywhere near him," Seth stated.