This is the first time I'm posting an RM story, so let me know what you think. This takes place sometime shortly after The Brother's Grim. Probably a one-shot.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.


Ryan heard Summer's voice from where he was positioned in the vent. "Do you ever think about getting back together with him...I mean Lindsay's gone now..."

He scooched forward, eagerly anticipating Marissa's answer. "Yeah, Lindsay's gone. And he's heart broken."

"Do you miss him?" Ryan's breathing quickened and he listened intently.

"Everyday."

Ryan had to give Seth, Summer, and Marissa credit. They'd refused to let him stay down. Leave no man behind! Summer had insisted. They'd provided distractions so he missed her less and Seth had reminded Ryan that he was there if he ever wanted to talk so many times that Ryan had lost count. Ryan, look at me. This is me here, okay? Amigo. Now I know you're hurting and I think you need to unburden your soul. Each time he had assured Seth that he and his soul were fine. Unfortunately, Ryan was a terrible liar. Finally he gave in.

"I just...had a lot of people in my life who just left. I thought those days were gone, but I...guess they aren't."

He understood Lindsay's reason for leaving. If he had a mother who hadn't abandoned him, he'd do anything to stay with her too. But the fact that he knew and understood why didn't make him any less perturbed by it. He found himself wondering if there was anything in life that he could count on.

When he stopped to really think about it, he knew there was. He could always count on Seth to burst into the pool house unannounced, wanting some Seth/Ryan time. He could always count on Sandy to help him through whatever problems he was having. He could always count on Kirsten to look at him proudly and lovingly, like he'd always wished Dawn would. And he could always count on Marissa to love him.

Aside from the whole Oliver fiasco, he'd never doubted it. From her awkward attempts to be his friend, to saying good-bye to him before he went back to Chino, to her attempts at consoling him after Lindsay's departure, he knew she loved him. Now that Lindsay was gone, he ventured to question if he felt the same way.

He saw their relationship like snapshots in a photo album. The parts where Luke, Oliver, Julie, or alcohol came into the picture were conveniently left out. He couldn't really blame her for her problems with Luke or Julie, although he couldn't resist the thought that had she just left Luke for him right away she never would have gone through what she did in Mexico. As for the Oliver thing, he decided that Summer had said it best. You can't always trust her judgement, but she has a good heart.

Now, here he was, sitting in the living room playing video games with her. Seth and Summer were up in Seth's room and during a pause in the game, they heard Seth making neighing sounds followed by Summer's giggle. Good thing Sandy and Kirsten were gone for the night. Ryan and Marissa only looked at each other and smiled. They were getting used to this and it was only slightly awkward now.

In the last month, they'd grown closer and closer. He'd helped her with the bonfire, she'd gone shopping with him and Trey, and he'd even fought a guy in a bar who wouldn't leave her alone. He would have done that for any girl, but with most girls, he wouldn't have felt like the jerk was moving in on his territory. There's nothing going on with me and Marissa, he'd insisted to Seth. But who was he fooling?

They heard what sounded like a chair sliding from upstairs and Marissa looked as uncomfortable as he felt. "Pool house?" she asked.

He smiled. "My thoughts exactly." He was glad that Trey had moved in with one of his co-workers and he now had the pool house again. He sat on the bed and Marissa walked over to his stereo. She looked through his CD's until she found what she was looking for. Ryan couldn't help but smile. The Model Home Mix. After the house had burned down, she'd made him another copy. "Shouldn't this one be called the Pool House Mix?" he'd asked and she'd simply smiled and shook her head no.

She collapsed onto her back on the bed and when Ryan looked over at her, he was flooded with memories. She must have felt it too because he could see her eyes wandering to his lips. He lied down beside her without saying a word and she turned to face him, propping herself up with her arm. "Ryan?"

"Hmm?" He turned to look at her.

She tried to speak, but she couldn't seem to find the right words. Ryan sat up and leaned close to her. When she didn't pull away, he pressed his lips lightly against hers. Her hand came up to rest on his cheek and he pulled back a little.

"How about we take it slow?"

She grinned widely and curled up beside him. "Sounds good to me."


The next day, Seth joined Ryan in the pool house for some Playstation. "You know what's awesome?"

Ryan was afraid to ask, but he knew Seth would tell him anyway. "What?"

"Make up sex."

"Hmm."

"But being the slut you are, I'm sure you already knew that."

Against his better judgement, Ryan actually replied. "Actually..."

Seth paused the game and turned to look at him. "You mean you and Marissa never reconsumated your love after a fight with some time between the sheets? The way you guys fought, I would have guessed all your sex was make up sex."

"Marissa and I...we never..." Ryan turned back to the screen, knowing it was too late to avoid the conversation, but still trying.

Seth's jaw dropped. "Well, they're coming over tonight."

Ryan gave Seth a stern look. "Marissa and I are taking it slow."


Ryan and Marissa stood on the balcony outside her bedroom. The sound of the waves crashing on the shore filled the comfortable silence between them.

As the sun began to disappear beyond the horizon, Ryan decided that this moment was just about perfect, like something out of a movie. As he looked over at Marissa, bathed in the light of the setting sun with a light breeze blowing her hair, he knew it had to be a dream, but he was going to enjoy it.

He kissed her with two years of restraint gone. That one kiss made up for all the nights he had laid beside Theresa, listening to Marissa breathe into the phone, praying she would say something -anything- just so he could hear her voice. It made up for when she chose Luke, Oliver, and DJ. As she pulled back to look at him, he saw an alarming look of trust and innocence. She didn't say it, but she didn't have to. I love you.

The light breeze grew stronger and he firmly held her to him, afraid that life would come between them once again. She burrowed her face in his neck. "Don't let me go." His warm hands firmly held onto her as she turned her head to lightly kiss his neck.

After a few moments, she pulled away and took his hand, leading him back into her bedroom. She pushed his jacket over his shoulders and loosened his tie, then pulled it over his head. She turned around so he could unzip her dress and he was taken back to when he first came to Newport. As he'd fastened her white Cotillion dress, his eyes had studied the smooth skin beneath his hands, longing to touch it freely. He'd felt his cheeks flush and his body tingle. Back then he'd only fantasized about what she wanted him to do now.

The dress fell to the floor, revealing a light pink slip with small beads and lace lining her bust. His eyes widened and she took his hands, pulling him towards her bed. She whispered, "We've waited a long time for this."

He tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. "It'll be worth it." She smiled, softly kissing his lips.

A voice from the other side of the door broke the moment. "Ryan?" Seth. He tried to ignore it, but Seth was persistent. "Ryan!" He opened his eyes and found himself in the pool house with Seth sitting at the foot of the bed. Ryan wanted to just close his eyes and return to his dream, but Seth would have none of it. "You gotta get up!"

Ryan's only response was a groan and he pulled the covers back over his head. "Dude, Marissa and Summer will be here any minute!"

The Cohens wouldn't be back for another day, and Seth had decided that it was the perfect opportunity for the fab four to once again be the fab four. After recently learning that Ryan and Marissa had never "done the deed" he insisted to Ryan that this was the perfect time.

"You need to get ready. You can borrow some of my cologne if you want. Oh, and you do have a...you know...right?" Ryan glared at him. "Okay, just wanted to make sure."

"Make sure of what?" Marissa asked as she appeared in the doorway. Ryan immediately jumped out of bed and crossed the room to greet her with a kiss.

"That, um...Ryan had plenty of wifebeaters. Which of course he does, so I'll just be leaving now." Seth quickly exited the room, meeting Summer on the patio. They disappeared into the house together.

Marissa looked at Ryan with an amused expression as she waited for an explanation. "He didn't want to borrow one again, did he?"

Thinking back to when Seth had tried being a "bad boy," Ryan laughed. "No, he just...he's crazy." He leaned in and kissed her, running a hand through her hair while the other rested on the small of her back. She pressed her body against his, and when he pressed back, she collapsed onto the bed beneath him.

He pulled his lips away from hers to kiss her neck, then abruptly stopped, remembering that she was ticklish. "Sorry."

"I'm not ticklish anymore," she replied with a smile. He happily resumed his torturously slow kisses. "I missed you so much."

He stopped and looked into her eyes. "I missed you too...everyday." He gazed down at her, taking in all the feelings that flowed between them. Marissa was truly unlike anyone he'd ever met before. She was familiar and dangerous, sweet and passionate, unpredictable and certain, and in that he found a sense of security. As she looked up at him, he saw the trust he'd always wanted from her and innocence that surprised him. She didn't say it, but she didn't have to. I love you.


Fin. Please review!