A.N. So I thought I was done with this story. Halfway through the story the plotline I thought I had...one that consisted of Summer getting pregnant over the summer after just a fling with Ryan (the plot changed a lot huh)...anyway halfway through I decided to end this story on the note that I ended it on because I believe that sometimes people come into your life just to change it and I was going to leave it off with Summer and Ryan going there separate ways...even the wedding invitation at the end was something I hadn't intended upon but I figure you guys could make of it what you wanted and it was kind of a fitting ending, it started with a note from Seth to Summer and ended with a note from Seth to Summer. But then every time I checked my mail while I was in London I got notes saying please, please write one more chapter so...So I caved...
"Marissa?" Ryan pushes open the door of the apartment that Marissa stayed in when she wasn't in Paris.
"Hey," Marissa walks out of the kitchen and toward Ryan kissing him on both cheeks. "I can't believe we're going to Seth and Anna's wedding."
Ryan just grins in return, "how was your flight? I would have picked you up from the airport you know."
Marissa shakes her head, "the flight was great and you don't have to pick me up every I fly home."
"I don't mind, really. So are we ready to watch Seth get married, actually commit to one person for the rest of his life?"
Marissa nods, "let me grab my dress." Marissa disappears into her room and returns with a pale yellow colored dress and a cardboard tube in hand. "You left this here last weekend."
"Thanks, I've got that presentation Monday," Ryan responds grabbing both from Marissa and heading in the direction of the door.
"I get to wear the pretty dress today!" four-year-old Lily bounds into Summer's room and onto her bed.
"Hey sweetie," Summer pulls back her covers and Lily snuggles in with her mother.
"I get to wear my pretty dress!" Lily states again.
"Yes, sweetie, you get to wear your pretty dress."
"I miss Daddy," Lily moves closer to her mother when she sniffles.
Summer glances down at her little girl, gently brushing her hair off of her forehead, "baby, we talked about it. Daddy had to work and he couldn't come with us."
"But I miss him," tears slip down Lily's cheeks.
Summer pulls Lily closer, "it's okay to cry baby. I know you miss daddy but we're going to see him in three days, that's not very long. And we'll call him as soon as we get back from the wedding, so that you can sing you goodnight song with him."
"Really?" Lily lifts her head up.
"Of course we can," Summer kisses Lily lightly. "Let's get up and get you a bath so we can get dressed."
"And wear my pretty dress!" Lily perks up at this thought.
"And your pretty dress," Summer smiles and kisses Lily again as they slip out of the bed.
"Damn tie!" Seth lets out an oath of frustration as he fumbles with his tie.
"Nervous?" Ryan asks with a laugh as he helps Seth with his tie.
"Yeah...it's just...it's Anna..."
Ryan nods again, "I know. I remember we had this conversation the day you proposed to her."
"Right," Seth nods straightening his collar, "I never thought we'd end up here. After Anna left I thought that I was...that...I was supposed to be with Summer and then she left."
"I remember you leaving first," Ryan points out while his thoughts, as they always did, returned to the summer Seth had been gone.
"Yeah, right," Seth nods absent-mindedly. "She's coming you know."
"You never said anything," Ryan tries to keep his voice level, uninterested. He avoided all conversation about Summer, in fact, Ryan avoided any topic that could lead to conversation about Summer. Everyone, except Sandy and Kirsten, figured he'd forgotten about her but that wasn't true. There were times, especially in the summer, when he couldn't get her out of his head.
"You listening?" Seth asks.
"Yeah, sorry. What?"
"I said, she's coming. She's in Newport, she's staying with her parents and she brought her daughter, Lily or something, with her."
"She has a daughter?"
Seth nods, "apparently." Seth pauses before continuing the conversation, "I loved her more than anything."
"I know," Ryan sighs, not liking where this conversation is headed, "are you sure you're not having second thoughts?"
"What? Do you think I'm going to take off with Summer and leave Anna at the alter?" At the serious look on Ryan's face he shakes his head, "come on, man, I wouldn't do that to Anna."
"Seth if you're having doubts..."
"No doubts," Ryan lets out a sigh of relief at this confession. "Now, if you'd let me finish."
"Yeah, sorry, go ahead."
"I loved Summer, but we never really fit. She could never open up to me and Anna...Anna...she's just...she completes me. I couldn't leave her like I did Summer, when you find true love you've got to hold onto that person and never let go."
"What about the time Anna left?" Ryan didn't mean to cynical on Seth's wedding day but when conversation about Summer came up Ryan was always cynical.
"That was different, we weren't ready for each other then. Ryan," Seth places a hand on Ryan's shoulder, "sometimes you can be with a person and not realize they're the one until you're both ready to be in the relationship. When Anna left I still thought I loved Summer, I had to get over that to realize that Summer and I just weren't a perfect fit. But Anna and I...match made in Heaven."
"I'm happy for you Seth."
"How's Seth?" Marissa asks, her arm looped through Ryan as the procession begins. "No second thoughts?"
"None," Ryan responds, "how's Anna?"
"Excited, they're the real deal."
"The perfect fit?" Ryan suggests.
"Exactly. This wedding's got you all mushy, huh?" Marissa asks with a smile.
"Seth's words, not mind." Ryan retorts as they begin down the aisle, the last couple before Anna.
Anna begins down the aisle once Ryan and Marissa split up and Ryan knows he should be watching Anna but his eyes rove over the mass of people, his eyes eventually landing on a little girl in a pale pink dress, her dark hair curled loosely around her shoulders. Ryan knows, without even glancing next to her that this is Summer's daughter, and while he doesn't need to look he does and moving his gaze over from the little girl he finds that Summer's eyes locked on him already.
She's changed, he can tell just by looking at her. She wears a simple floor length pink dress and her hair is pulled away from her face and Chinese chopsticks are crossed in her hair. Finally, reluctantly they're eyes shift to and Anna and Seth for the rest of the ceremony.
Summer watches as the wedding party comes into the ballroom after pictures, while Seth and Anna are announced Summer tries to sort out her thoughts. The way she saw it she had two options: Option one was the brave of the two, walk up to the two couples and get it over with or option two, she could attempt to avoid them all night.
"Mommy, I want to meet the princess," Lily tugs on Summer's arm, option one it was then.
"Okay, sweetie, we'll go meet the princess," Lily had been calling Anna the princess since she'd walked down the aisle. "But you know what sweetie, she'd love it if you called her Mrs. Cohen, you'd probably be the first person to call her that today."
Summer and Lily reach the group before they're noticed, something Lily ruins by asking, "Mrs. Cohen are you a princess?"
The entire group turns quickly and focuses on Lily, Anna laughs, "I'm n..."
Seth cuts his new wife off, "she is indeed a princess. And who might you be?"
"Lily Denae Kingsly," Lily states proudly, she loved to introduce her full name. "And that's my mom." Lily points to Summer who hadn't been noticed by anyone but Ryan.
"Sum!" Marissa exclaims hugging her friend tightly leading to rounds of hugs from anyone, the hug between Ryan and Summer is almost non-existent and they pull apart quickly.
"I'm so glad you could come Summer," Anna responds with a bright smile.
"What about me?" Lily pipes up.
"Lily..." Summer finishes the sentence in rapid fire Chinese.
Lily shrugs and faces Anna, "I'm sorry, that was rude."
"That's okay, Lily, I'm glad you could come too."
"My daddy was going to come but he had to stay at home and cover for Mommy so she could come here," Lily explains.
"What are you doing now, Sum?" Marissa asks curiously.
"I'm an English/Mandarin translator in New York City," Summer explains, "but it takes me all over the world."
"That's how Mommy and Daddy met, they both are translators. They met in China, we just moved to New York, I was borned in China. I speak three languages."
"Three?" Seth asks, "how's that possible?"
"Ken and I were both American's living in China as translators for the same company, Ken speaks Cantonese and Mandarin, I speak a little Cantonese and am fluent in Mandarin so Lily just grew up around all three."
"You're a smart girl, huh, Lily?" Marissa asks and Lily nods launching into a chatter that keeps three of the four adults entertained.
Summer can feel the fourth's gaze on her, she's felt it since they'd started talking, but now she returns the look and a thousand different emotions flood her at once. "Hey, Co..." Summer stops herself, "Marissa, do you mind watching her for a second so I can use the restroom?"
"Not a problem Sum," Marissa responds.
Summer addresses Lily in Chinese again and Lily nods and responds in English, "I'll be good, Mommy, I promise."
In the bathroom Summer stares in the mirror, she thought she'd be able to handle this, figuring since ten years had passed. That she wasn't in love with Ryan anymore. But it was apparent that she was still in love with Ryan and she couldn't handle seeing him. Taking several long, deep, breaths she decided that they'll leave the wedding early, she looks pale enough to play the sick card and with that in mind turns to walk out of the bathroom.
"You know this is a woman's bathroom in one of the nicest hotels in Newport, right?" The instant Summer sees Ryan's figure in the doorway her wall goes up as she's flooded with memories.
"Yeah?" Ryan asks.
"I hope you still aren't in the habit of walking into women's bathrooms, I know you used to."
"You know, I haven't been in one in over a decade."
"Good to know you don't make a habit of it," Summer comments lightly as she slips out of the bathroom, passed him. "I think Lily and I are..."
"I missed you," Ryan's voice is low when he cuts Summer off and grabs her arm. "I miss you."
"Ryan," with just those words Summer's wall, as it always has done in Ryan's presence, disappears, "nothing's changed. The reason I left, it's still there. You're still with Marissa."
"And you're married," Ryan responds.
"Wait, what?" They ask together.
"Marissa and I are not together."
"Ken and I are not married."
Ryan grabs Summer's hand and pulls her out onto a balcony, "what?"
"Ken and I are not married," Summer repeats.
"Ken and I dated for awhile and when I got pregnant he proposed. I almost married him...but..." Summer takes a deep supposedly calming, but pointless, breath as a tear slips down her cheek, "I couldn't do it. It nearly killed me every time I thought about marrying him..." Summer stops herself, "I didn't love him."
"Marissa I...we're friends, we've never been anything more than friends, not since you left at least."
"So what does this mean?" Summer whispers.
"Surprise!" A woman bursts onto the balcony.
"Jodie," Ryan's voice is clearly surprised now, had he really forgotten about Jodie? His girlfriend of nine months, Jodie? Yes, from the instant Summer's name had left Seth's mouth hours earlier all thoughts of Jodie had left his mind.
"I surprised you, good!" Jodie smiles before she kisses Ryan. "I got an earlier flight out of Seattle."
Summer stares stunned at the bubbly blonde in front of her, Ryan's girlfriend obviously. With a shake of her head she brushes past the couple and back inside, she's almost to the group before Ryan grabs her hand and pulls her into a secluded corner.
"A girlfriend Ryan?" Summer hisses, "you led me to believe that you were single."
"You forgot? That you had a girlfriend? Come on Ryan get real." Summer sighs, "it's just never going to be the right time for us."
"I'm breaking up with her," Ryan states quickly.
"Ryan, no," Summer shakes her head. "No, I'm not here to disrupt your life. You wouldn't have broken up with her if I hadn't shown up."
"No," Ryan admits. "Maybe I wouldn't have but there's because I thought I'd never see you again."
"I don't love her, and if I let you leave then I won't ever see you again. I let you leave once and I'm not letting it happen again."
"Ryan," Summer's lower lip trembles.
"I told you once in a foreign language in front of everyone that I love you. That hasn't changed, I still love you and I'm going to tell everyone."
Summer takes a step closer to Ryan and moves into his arms, reveling in the safety that Summer only ever felt in his arms. "I love you," Summer whispers into the folds of Ryan's tux.
"I love you too," Ryan responds, "I'll come by your house tomorrow, after I talk to Jodie, okay?"
Summer nods, "I should rescue Marissa from my daughter."
"I should find Jodie," Ryan nods, resisting the urge to pull Summer back to him and kiss her senseless, but he wasn't a cheater and the two painfully separate
"You and Summer?" Seth asks staring at Ryan, "that's a little random. Not to mention, you know, sudden. She's been here like a day." Anna had been pulled into a conversation with relatives and Ryan had taken the opportunity to pull Seth away and talk to his brother.
"It's not that sudden," Ryan sighs, his ten year secret was about to be spilt.
"What are you saying, that you and Summer had some sort of fling the summer I was sailing," Seth laughs this off.
"Well, actually..." Ryan trails, unsure if Seth could handle this news.
Seth takes a step back, "are you kidding me?"
Ryan shakes his head, "that's why she left. We couldn't be together and betray you that way."
"You seriously gave her up for me?"
Ryan shakes his head, "Summer walked away so I wouldn't have to."
Seth lets out a long breath, "wow."
"So we're cool?" Ryan asks.
"Cool? Hell, Ryan of course we're cool, I wish you would have told me sooner."
"Like I said, I never thought I'd see her again, that whole "if you love someone let them go" thing."
"This wedding's got you all mushy huh?" Seth echoes Marissa's previous words.
Ryan shakes his head, "Summer changes me, makes me a better person."
"That's it," Seth exclaims.
"What's it?" Ryan asks slightly startled by Seth's louder tone.
"That's what's different about my relationship with Summer and Anna. Anna makes me a better person, Summer had a slightly opposite effect and that's the sign of the real deal."
"Are you and Marissa telepathically connected or something."
"What?" Seth asks.
Ryan shakes his head, "never mind."
Summer stares in the mirror in her old bedroom, utterly frustrated at her reflection. Lei Mei and Jason had taken Lily and their two children to the park and then for ice cream, so as to give Summer and Ryan some time alone. Glancing at the clock Summer realizes she doesn't have time to change for the 11th time that afternoon. She had to settle for a simple denim skirt and a blue tank, her hair falling about her shoulders and minimal make up...just enough to hide the fact that she'd totally not slept the night before.
She couldn't calm down enough to sleep, her mind jumping from stressful topics like how they would manage a relationship when their careers kept them on opposite sides of the country. To more cheerful thoughts like daydreams of weddings, much like Seth and Anna's, but her thoughts always turned back to how they were going to work this.
But Summer's heart leaps at the sound of the doorbell, hurrying down the stairs she pulls the door open, "hey."
"Hey," Ryan offers a small smile, "why don't we head to the beach."
Summer was slightly disappointed, part of her wanted to pull them into her bedroom and make love to him all afternoon, but the other part of her thought that this was right. They're relationship has started and ended on this beach a lifetime ago.
As they settle on the beach Ryan doesn't know what to say, they'd both waited for this moment since they'd left this beach years ago. "I love you Summer, I think I'll spend my entire life loving you."
"I love you too," Summer responds, her eyes never leaving Ryan.
"We have to talk," Ryan hated those words more than any other words in the English language.
"I know, we'll have to figure this out, long distance is hard to deal with but I think..."
"Summer, wait," Ryan interrupts.
"Ryan," Summer's eyes turn sad, "what's wrong?"
"Jodie we have to talk."
Jodie nods, "we do. You go first."
"Okay," Ryan nods, "I think we should break up."
Jodie looks stricken, before she blurts out, "I'm pregnant. That's why I flew back early."
"Jodie's pregnant," Ryan sighs, "we're going to have a baby."
Summer nods, leans towards him and kisses Ryan lightly before standing, "good-bye Ryan."
As Ryan watches her walk away he knows she won't come back to California, that Summer had brought the pieces of her heart here. She had brought them to this stretch of beach for Ryan to put back together and instead she'd walked away leaving all the pieces to scatter to the wind. As he sat alone on the beach he knew that was that, he'd be with Jodie because it was his responsibility and Summer would never be the person to ask anyone to go against what they believed was right. She hadn't been able to do it ten years ago, and she wasn't able to do it now. In so short of a time they had found each other again, only to loose each other a matter of hours later.
"Daddy!" Lily's yell across baggage claim grabs her father's attention.
Ken jogs toward his daughter and her mother and scoops Lily into his arms. Ken Kingsly was half-Chinese but you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at him, he stood over six feet tall and had his mother's clear blue eyes and the only thing he had gained from his father was his jet black hair. "How's my little girl?"
"Good, Mrs. Cohen's a princess," Lily states.
"Is she now?" Ken asks grinning at his daughter.
Lily nods, "Mr. Cohen said so."
Ken laughs, "sounds like you had a good time. How about your mother?"
"It was fine," Summer offers her ex-boyfriend, and best friend, a weak smile, she had been holding herself together for Lily, but she was glad to be home so Ken could take over for a while and she could finally give into the tears that had been threatening to fall for days now.
"Mommy doesn't feel very good," Lily states, a serious look crossing her features.
Ken's eyes flick across Summer's face, he loved her as a best friend and he immediately sees a pain he recognizes there. It was a haunted look he didn't know an explanation for. All he really knew about it was that it would appear once in awhile and stay for a couple days - sometimes longer. The look had been there constantly when he had met Summer, but the look had been nearly nonexistent since Lily had been born until the wedding invitation had come. It had been six years since Ken had pressured Summer for an explanation, but he would press again tonight after Lily went to bed
"Ken, for God's sake, will you stop pushing?" Summer snaps, "I don't want to talk about it. Being home stressed me out, can't we leave it at that?"
"No, for years I've left it at that. What's at home that's kept you away for all these years? That has you scared to go back?"
"Ryan, okay?" Summer sighs, all of her reserved energy draining out of her body.
Everything makes sense now to Ken, he doesn't know who Ryan is but he does know what it means. "You've been in love the whole time I've known you."
Summer nods, making a soft noise that's meant to be a yes, from across the living room where she's collapsed into a chair, her head bent backwards, her eyes closed. "We were finally supposed to be in the same place at the same time. But his girlfriend is having a baby." Summer lifts her head and opens her eyes, focusing on Ken, "I don't want to talk about it anymore. I just want to forget about it."
Ken nods, "you up for a trip?"
"Barry called this morning, wondering if one of us could fly to china with the vice-president of his company. I told him I'd talk to you about it, but one of us would go for sure."
"China?" Summer asks, China was her shelter, she'd gone there when she couldn't stand to think about Ryan anymore after college and she hadn't returned to the states until she was certain she had moved on. A trip would be perfect. "I'll go. When?"
"Hello Mrs. Roberts, how was your trip?" Summer smiles at the doorman, "excellent. But I'm exhausted. I'm going to kiss my daughter and sleep for a full 24 hours."
The man nods, "see you in a couple days then."
As Summer takes the elevator up to her apartment she leans against the handle of her luggage. The trip had taken her mind off of everything, just what she'd needed and now she was ready to get on her life. China had that effect on her, it cleansed her and prepared her for a new part in her life. Pushing her door open she finds Ken asleep on the couch, the television on and remote in hand. If Ken was asleep in the middle of the day it only meant Lily was taking a rare nap. With a soft smile Summer makes her way past Ken's room, passes her room and gently pushes Lily's door open.
The picture of Ryan sitting on Lily's pink frilly bed would have been funny if Summer hadn't been so completely, and utterly, shocked. With a shake of her head Summer walks out of the room closing the door just a softly as she'd opened it. "Summer," Ryan pulls the door open when Summer reaches the living room, where Lily and Ken are watching her intently. "Summer," Ryan grabs her hand.
"No Ryan, I'm sorry, but no. I'm not putting myself through this again. It hasn't worked and it won't work. We're always in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Ryan places both of his hands on Summer's shoulders, "I love you and it will work."
"It won't, Ryan," tears flow down Summer's cheeks. "You have a girlfriend, a girlfriend who's having a baby."
"She's not having a baby," Ryan steps closer to Summer cupping her face with his hands and gently wiping away her tears. "She lied, she saw us at the wedding."
"Ryan, there will always be something in there way. There always has been and I don't have faith in it anymore. I don't have faith in us..."
"Summer, I'm right here and you're right here. There's nothing between us anymore."
"My life is here Ryan, and your life is in California. That's an entire country between us."
"Mommy, we're moving to California," Lily speaks for the first time since seeing her mother.
"What?" Summer takes a step away from the three of them.
"I talked to Barry, he can transfer us to California, just say the word," Ken offers summer an encouraging smile.
"You and Lily have lives here...I have a life here..."
"Mr. Ryan says he lives near the princess, I love the princess." Lily states matter-of-factly.
Ken nods, "my life is with you and Lily. Where I live isn't important. Besides, I pulled you out of China, I owe you."
"Summer," Ryan turns her to face him again and in one swift motion he is on one knee, "I've love you since I was 17. I was ready to spend the rest of my life with you then. The only thing that's standing in the way of us now is you. If you still love me, will you put faith in us again and marry me?"
"Summer," Ryan is on his feet again, "it's a simple question. Do you love me?"
"Yes," Summer nods, still in a state of shock, part of her felt like she should pinch herself to make sure she hadn't fallen asleep in the elevator.
"Will you marry me?" Ryan's eyes are locked on Summer's.
"Yes," Summer whispers.
"I don't understand exactly what happened," Summer and Ryan lay in each other's arms that night exhausted but to happy to sleep. "About Jodie, I mean."
"Well," Ryan thinks for a minute and the begins again. "I told Seth about us at the wedding so both he and Anna were expecting to find us happily together when they got back from their honeymoon. When I told them Jodie was pregnant they got Marissa in on the action, who by the way figured out about us when you left and has known all these years. They did some sleuthing and found out she wasn't pregnant but knew me well enough to know how to keep me around. So the next thing anyone knows I'm on a plane here, I left Seth, Anna and Marissa to deal with Jodie."
Summer moves closer to Ryan, "I never thought this would happen. As soon as I walked away from you on that beach I gave up all hope of there ever being an us."
"I know, I did too, that's why..." Ryan pauses.
"What?" Summer lifts herself onto her elbows staring down at him.
"They just finished building a house I designed, that I love, and Marissa offered you anyone of the dresses in her collection or to design one just for you and Kirsten offered to help with..." Ryan's babbling and Summer can't help but think that it's cute.
"What exactly are you saying Ryan?" Summer asks grinning down at him.
"I guess I'm asking if you minded if we got married as soon as possible."
"You mean no waiting?" Summer asks quickly.
"You think two Saturday's from now is to soon?" Summer asks biting her lower lip.
"For our family? I doubt it. We'll call them in the morning and tell them."
Summer falls back into silence for so long that Ryan figures she's fallen asleep, until she breaks the silence, "Ken."
Ryan is left in a puzzled silence and Summer figures he's fallen asleep, "huh?"
"He's always going to be a part of my life."
"Of course, I know that."
"He's the father of Lily and my best friend."
"Summer, we're moving two houses down from Seth, your ex, a block away from Marissa, my ex, if Ken wasn't there it just wouldn't be complete."
Summer smiles, "thank you."
"Besides I've spent the last three days here and Ken's made it very clear that he's not going anywhere."
Summer laughs, "we went from almost married to brother and sister almost overnight."
"Summer, I love you." Ryan wraps his arms tightly around Summer. "I know it's been hard getting here but I don't want you to second guess us."
"I'm not," Summer whispers in return, "I'm not. And I'm not going anywhere again, I'm going to be right here, beside you forever."