A/N: I wrote it this thanksgiving but never had the guts to post it coz I thought it was crappy until finally a friend convinced me to.

This is going to be insanely confusing, and terribly long. All I can say is that it will all become clear by the end. Its like, two completely different stories are running together with no connection between them. There are parallels drawn here, but the finding of those parallels and the drawing of those conclusions is all left to you. I have never written anything like it. So, please, please, please review even if it is to tell me how crappy it is. all you have to really know to read this story is that R/M are married with two twin daughters and S/S have a girl named Zoë. It is sort of a continuation of 'the end is just the beginning'

Now that I have rambled on enough, on with the story…)

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"You have some of 'those' days, And then you have some of 'THOSE' days.

But, you never understand how thankful you are of 'THOSE' days, unless you know what its like to have some of 'those' days.

That's what life is all about…"

Confused? I was too… until I read the following story…

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No work, no responsibilities, no annoying phone calls in the middle of the night, no stupid parties to attend to, no… Seth. Even the girls were going on that school trip to Lake Tahoe. As soon as they finished with their annual thanksgiving dinner tonight, it was just him, Marissa, and an entire empty house for two whole days…

Ah! Could life get any better???

Not willing to open his eyes just yet, that dizzy yet euphoric thought still zooming through his sleep filled mind, an extremely contented, lazy, Cheshire cat smile gracing his face, he snuggled even deeper into the soft covers, his hands automatically searching for her on their vast bed intending to pull her close. Realizing she wasn't there, he blinked his eyes open in confusion. Peering at their bedside clock, which read 7.00 A.M, his confusion soon turned into a frown. Normally, getting her to wake up anytime before eight was like trying to get the samurai wrestlers to do a ballet! They always bickered over whose turn it was to be up and who got to sleep for those few more inconsequential minutes. So the fact that she was already up, apparently showered, and dressed and that too on a weekend was just incomprehensible. Groaning aloud, his hands trying to get the kinks out of his neck, and figuring he might as well see where she was, he got out of the bed.

For a moment, as he made his way downstairs, he chuckled sheepishly. Was it normal for a person married for ten years to still fantasize about his wife just because they hadn't had sex for a week?

He guessed not…

Would he change it if he could?

Hell, no!

Smiling to himself, at how whipped he actually sounded, he walked into their kitchen… …and came to an abrupt halt!

It looked like a tornado had passed through it. The chairs were all lying in a haphazard mess; one of them was even upturned, there were pots and pans in every direction that his eyes could see, a huge quantity of vegetables of all shapes and sizes lay on the floor, hundreds of cranberry's were scattered every which way, a full complete real turkey sat neatly amongst it all as if mocking the mess, and there in the midst of all the chaos, her hair arranged in a haphazard ponytail with what looked like a pencil tucked in between the strands, a coffee cup lying in one hand and the other hand restlessly gathering the papers that had fallen on the floor, lay his very adorable and beautiful… wife!

He couldn't help it. He burst off laughing!

"Did we just invite all the burglars in the state of California for thanksgiving?"

"You are going to wish that was the case, when you hear what's happened," she snapped from the floor.

Immediately his eyebrows drew together in a frown and his laughter stopped. His wife never snapped. She became frigid, she became icy cold, she became so graceful that she made you feel about two feet tall in comparison but she never snapped. Approaching her cautiously, his hands in is pockets, he asked her apprehensively, "What's wrong? What's happened?"

"Where do you want me to start?" she huffed, her eyes flashing angrily. Ticking of, off her fingers one by one, she said, "first of all, my mom calls me up today morning. And guess what she tells me? The caterers have gone on a strike, which just means that she's coming here for thanksgiving today"

"What?" he exclaimed, shocked. That was enough to put anyone in a bad mood. No wonder Marissa was so upset. Hell, he was already feeling a bit peachy himself just thinking about it.

"And get this" she continued, her voice rising in panic "She is bringing someone along with her. SOMEONE like as in a date! He could be a new boyfriend or he could be a hooker. Remember the last time, Ryan? Remember?"

He definitely remembered... although he would really like it if it were permanently erased from his mind. Julie cooper had reached an all time low when she had brought a male escort to their party as a date. But, the real clincher had been when that escort had taken a fancy towards Neil and had given him a lap dance in front of 200 other guests. That in and off itself wouldn't have been too bad if Neil hadn't accidentally, hmmm… 'reacted' to it. Embarrassed beyond extreme at finding everyone laughing at him, he had stormed off, which had justifiably caused Summer to rage blackout on Julie for almost a month and for Julie to snicker gleefully every time Neil's name was mentioned. He wouldn't be surprised if all of it was purposely planned to embarrass Neil. Putting Neil and Julie together within even a hundred yards of each other, ever since their divorce, spelled disaster! So yeah, he could definitely understand why Marissa was reacting the way she was.

"Well, maybe it wouldn't be so bad this time. Who knows, Julie might even behave herself" he said optimistically.

"Ryan, do you even know my mom? I am quaking with fear here, just imagining what my mom has up her sleeve this time" Marissa shuddered in apprehension.

"Oh, I don't know… a little porn film she made of Neil back when they were married or a little gay action that she wants to give him or let's say… some kind of kinky stuff that only she knows about?"

"Ryan! You're not helping!"

"Aw honey… its Julie we are talking about…" when he saw the look on her face he instantly shut up. "Sorry, you were saying?" he shrugged apologetically.

"I wasn't saying, I was screaming! To avoid a dangerous, potentially disastrous situation, I told her that it would be difficult to accommodate everyone last minute, so if she could just NOT bring any one and come by herself, and guess what she told me." Her blue eyes flashed at him turning a deeper indigo shade "She told me that I wasn't being a very supportive daughter and that she at least thought that I was better than that! Can you believe her? When all her life she has spent not being supportive of my love life!"

"Okay, okay, calm down. It's not that bad," he said trying to pacify her, although the last part made him wince. Julie still sometimes called him 'that boy'.

"Don't tell me to calm down, Ryan!" she said furiously, her hands wringing as she burned a hole in their carpet, moving in dizzying circles around the room, "That is not even the half of it. I was just wrapping my head around it all, and attempting to get the turkey and the vegetables out of the fridge, when Seth called. He told me, and these are your brother's explicit words by the way, that he has been dreaming about our last thanksgiving dessert for approximately a year, so I would be entirely to blame if I could not top it this time and he would never forgive me if that happened. How he even came up with such a weird logic, I would never know… don't get me wrong, I love Seth… and I love that he loves my cooking so much, but sometimes he is just so…"

"Seth?" Ryan provided helpfully, biting his cheeks, to keep from laughing. He could almost picture Marissa's face when Seth must have said that.

"Yeah…" Marissa acknowledged, "So I was just in the midst of giving him a piece of my mind when I twisted my ankle and my shoe slipped".

"Are you alright?" he asked, concerned "do you need something? Maybe we should go to the hospital and have it checked"

"No, no, I am fine" she muttered, giving him a distracted look, "but everything…" she motioned with her hands towards the entire 'tornado-passing-through-their-kitchen-esque' mess at this point "and I mean everything fell down and now we have nothing! Thanksgiving is officially ruined."

That did it! He burst off laughing.

Jabbing her fingers at him, her eyes flashing, she screamed, "Ryan Atwood, don't you dare laugh at me!"

He tried to control his laughter… somewhat, "Okay, okay, okay…" he said as he moved back a step, and raised his arms in surrender. Sitting down on one of the chairs, he drew her down on his lap, rubbing up and down her arms trying to calm her. "Look, it's not that bad" he said soothingly. "We can always order in. Come to think of it, Seth is really partial to his mu- shu-pai."

"I don't want to order take-out." she murmured against his chest in that sweet, lost little innocent girl voice that always made his insides clench, "this was supposed to be the best thanks giving ever. Kirsten and sandy are coming over from their trip to Jamaican islands after so long, Summer is pregnant again, and… and the girls are going on their first ever school trip tomorrow. You know how nostalgic I am feeling about that."

He did know. Ever since they had given them permission to go, Marissa had been feeling blue. In her mind, she was already seeing them moving away, going to college, and no longer being their little girls anymore and although he would not admit it, he was feeling the same way.

Placing the tip of his finger under her chin, he raised her face so that he could look into her eyes, "is that what this is all about?" he asked her gently "that you are worried about them?"

Wrapping her arms around his neck, her blue eyes showing the fear that she had been trying to hide earlier, she slowly nodded. "Are we… are we okay with the girls going on that school trip? I mean, maybe we should wait a while, maybe they are not ready yet. What if something happens and we are not there?"

"Hey, everything's going to be fine," he said, delicately tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear "nothing is going to happen. We already have their class teacher Sam's number and we made sure that they know to call hourly. They are big girls now. We'll just have to get used to it, I guess"

She sniffled as she let out a long drawn out sigh. "You are right. You are absolutely right. I am just being stupid"

"No, you are not being stupid. You are being a mother, something neither my mom nor your mom ever were." he said gently, linking his hand through hers "Common, I'll run down to the grocery store and get stuff while you clean this up and then we'll do the dinner together. And we'll deal with your mom, the way we always do. We will take the high road, and we will be done with this before you know it. Then we could have our own form of celebration with the girls. Anything you want. Okay?"

She looked up at him through her soulful blue eyes; her eyes shining gratefully back, as she slowly nodded, "did I ever tell you how much I love you?"

"Yeah, maybe once or twice or a hundred times" he replied cockily.

"You are so full of it"

He gave her a cheeky grin. "Yeah, but you love me anyway!"

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He had never even heard of the word love...

Neither did he remember the time when someone had worried about him…

He was always needed though.

He was needed to clean the house, he was needed to wash the dishes, he was needed to clear the tables, he was needed to take out the trashcan, he was needed to earn some extra cash so they could stay afloat and, he was needed to get beaten up just so someone else could be spared this time.

Not wanting to get up out of his bed just yet, this tired, defeated thought zooming through his sleep numbed state, he buried his head deeper into the pillows hoping that the semi soft mattress could diminish his various aches and pains. He wasn't afraid of physical injuries. He had long since learnt to just deal with them. It was the emotional scars he was trying to forget with those few extra moments of sleep.

Life would suck soon enough.

"Get up". His brother ordered kicking him on the shin. "I am going out and mom needs you".

This wasn't something new. His mom always needed him. Groaning to get the kinks out of his neck, he frowned, wondering what might have occurred this time. Mentally running through all the things that might be needed so that he could deal with whatever had happened, the pain in his body increasing with each step he took to a degree where his eyes were beginning to black out,( Why was it that the pain of the thrashing that you got last night always seemed much worse in the morning?), he tiredly ambled out of his room …and came to an abrupt halt!

"Mom!" he gasped as he rushed towards the woman lying unconscious on the floor. He could see the bruises on her chest, the blood seeping through the cuts on her face, the blackish, bluish mark that highlighted her eye. Her hair was matted and she smelled of alcohol and cheap sex. His movements economical, he carried his mother and lay her down upon his bed. Getting some towels he wiped her dry before tucking her gently under the covers. These movements had become robotic for him now and it worried him that he didn't get worried anymore. Too many times, too much. Coming back into the room, his eyes roved the familiar surroundings as he took in the broken furniture, the thrashed plates and glasses, the upturned chair, the torn sofa and the empty fridge that was visible through the open door. Wondering what they would do for dinner tonight, he went in search of the money that he had hidden away just last week so that he could get some food. When he looked, it was gone. Shit! Freaking shit! Another hungry night…What was he going to do now? Angry at the jackass that had done this, angry at his mom for allowing it, angry at the world for… well, everything, but most of all angry at himself, he strode out of the door, slamming the door shut.

It wasn't until he heard Teresa's mom scream at her to wash the turkey from the flimsy walls that separated both their homes, that he realized it was the 'thanksgiving weekend'.

Great! Fucking great 'thanksgiving' it was going to be.

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Ryan Atwood was humming.

He could not remember the last time he had hummed. But as he was putting the newly brought turkey back into the fridge and washing the potatoes so he could peel them later as he waited for Marissa to arrive (she had been called to the hospital on an emergency), he suddenly felt like humming. Even with the prospect of Julie coming over and the potential disaster it spelt, the very fact that finally they would have an entire weekend alone together, was putting him in a damn good mood.

"My God dad, you are almost finding a tune there!", heels tapping, music blaring through her ear phones, a vogue magazine clutched in her hands, her short skirt swirling around her mid thigh, nine year old, (well, almost ten this December, as she liked to remind anyone who would listen) Nealy Atwood sassed as she sashayed into their kitchen and flopped down on one of the chairs haphazardly.

"And good morning to you too!" Ryan quipped, turning around and giving his youngest daughter a grin. Ruffling her hair, and giving her a kiss on her forehead, he asked, "So what's the plan for today? Any new stores that you want to vandalize with my credit card?"

"Oh you wouldn't believe what, dad, Aunt Summer is taking me, Anne and Zoë shopping today," she said brightly, her blue eyes flashing in excitement as her blonde curls danced. "Actually, mom was going to take us shopping for the trip tomorrow, but she couldn't, so she called Aunt Summer and now she is taking us. Aunt Summer says it's important that a girl always looks her best, coz no one knows when she'll meet 'the one'"

"Okkaay… I am going to have a word with your aunt summer about the last part. Nobody is meeting any 'the one's' just yet" he said laughing. "But I am sure that you will have fun shopping just the same",

Nealy nodded brightly, her dimples flashing as she gave him a grin. She was charming, bright, fun, and extremely social, if a little shallow. Up until now, she had never shown any interest in anything except shopping, tanning and talking long hours on the phone with her friends. Somewhat ironically, Ryan found comfort in that fact. Neither his nor Marissa's childhood was exactly perfect or this simple, and if he could give his daughter the somewhat simple, innocent childhood that she was enjoying just now, he would make sure it lasted as long as it could.

He was just about to ask her where her sister was, when Anne entered. Dressed in simple white jeans and plain polo necked striped blue shirt she was the complete antithesis of her sister. Getting her own bowl, she carefully drew out a chair before crossing her legs delicately, as she sat down on it. "Good morning, dad" she said simply, giving him a shy smile.

"Good morning, munchkin. You had a good night?" he asked, before ruffling her hair and giving her a kiss the same way he had done with Nealy.

"Yeah, Zoë's going to run for class president this year and she asked me to be her campaign manager" she said proudly as she meticulously fixed the strands that her dads roving hands had just messed up and added an exact quantity of milk to those cereals. She was all about order and rules and she was so shy she hardly ever spoke unless directly spoken to.

"OMG whoever would want to be a class president? Its way too much work" Nealy piped, giving Anne a dirty look "but to be a campaign manager…like EW!"

"Nealy!" Ryan warned, his eyes taking in the hurt look on Anne's face. He was just about to ask her to apologize to her sis when Marissa entered.

"Hey, I was the class president!" she exclaimed as she walked over, before giving both the girls a kiss. Walking over to where Ryan was standing, she leaned against him as she felt his arms wrap around her "so you…" she wagged her finger in Nealy's direction mischievously "you better have some respect for your old mom here or its going to be 'tickle trouble' for you"

"Mom, I am 9 not 2!" Nealy said exasperatedly, rolling her eyes at her mom.

"Oh really? You think you are too old for this, huh?" Ryan and Marissa both said simultaneously, tickling her mercilessly, until Nealy was both screaming and laughing at the same time. "Huh? Huh?"

"Mom, dad, mom, okay sorry, dad, dad, mom, please tell dad to stop, please" her screams echoed through their kitchen and they were so infectious that before they knew it all four of them had joined in the fun. Gasping and laughing, they came up for air, Nealy on Ryan's shoulders as he carried her like a sack of potatoes and Anne on Marissa's neck, piggy back style. Nealy was the first to scramble down as she heard Summer's car honk. Linking her arms through Anne she practically pulled Anne towards the door, their screams of 'bye, mom, dad, love you, we'll be good', echoing through their hallway as they both ran out the door.

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He never hummed.

It always felt a little fake to him, like when he tried to laugh. That felt fake too. It was just not… him. He remembered Edie humming once though, and he remembered that his instinctive gut reaction was to slap him. There was something about that noise that just got on his nerves. As if, the noise was trying to mock him in its own way.

Humming always felt too cheerful, too casual, too… light. There was nothing casual or light about his life. Come to think of it, there was nothing cheerful either.

He had never heard of music or songs. But even if he would have he was sure he wouldn't have liked it. So, when he was sitting on the swing along with Teresa later on in the day as she hummed, he wanted to scream at her to shut up. Of course, he didn't scream at her. Living with Trey, the one thing he had learned was to never show emotion. That was a sign of weakness and weak people got killed. Instead, he just politely asked her if she could please leave him alone and watched her walk away!

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As the girls walked away, Marissa turned, intending to say something to Ryan, but her voice trailed off as she saw a devilish gleam enter his azure eyes. Leaning casually against a chair, he eyed her from head to foot.

"No way!" Marissa said, as her eyes narrowed and she backed away until she hit the kitchen counter. "Ryan, you better not come anywhere near me with those wriggly fingers of yours." She warned.

"Uh huh" he said, grinning at her as he moved towards her. Before she knew it, he was tickling her. Laughing and spluttering she tried to move away, his hands trapping her until she fell down on him begging him to stop. Before either of them knew what had happened, the innocent and entirely too fun loving moment became charged; Ryan's hands stopped their tickling motion. Instead, of their own accord, they softly began tracing gentle circles around her stomach. There eyes clashed, and it was like a charge of electricity had just shot through them. They both moved towards each other at the same time as his mouth took hers in hungry, violent, passionate kiss. Her hands tangled in his hair as she pulled him towards her desperately, her tongue matching him stroke for stroke, desire for desire. Suddenly they couldn't get enough of each other. They were violent almost bruising each other with bites and scratches, but neither cared. There was nothing gentle about it. Picking her up in one swift motion, his hands supported her butts as her leg wrapped around his waist grinding into him. He sucked on her exposed neck as her back arched, the movement pushing her even closer to him as her legs tightened. He almost stumbled in his haste as he settled her against the counter, his strong arm flicking every, single thing on the counter away in one swift motion. Somewhere at the back his mind he could hear the sound of things breaking and he knew he was going to have multiple bruises from the number of objects he had hit as well as from Marissa's teeth and tongue and nails, but he couldn't care less. Her hands found their way inside his wife beater ripping it away hastily. His hands removed her office jacket with just as much haste and his tongue took hers repeatedly, hungrily tasting her again and again. The only sound permeating their combined moans was the sound of the buttons ripping apart.

"Wait, what if someone walks in?" Marissa gasped out with the last thread of sanity that she could muster.

"Who's going to walk in?" he countered. Pulling her closer still, he buried his lips in her neck, kissing a hot trail towards her breast as at the same moment, his hands unclasped her bra expertly. "It's been too long since we've had each other like this"

Marissa completely agreed.

There lovemaking was hard, fast and completely satisfying for both of them. Long after they came back from the high, they were still on the kitchen counter lying naked in each other's arms, exchanging soft kisses.

"I guess we will have to order that take-out after all, huh?" Ryan sighed causing Marissa to choke back a laugh.

'For the second time since morning, their thanks-giving dinner was ruined'.

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Her screams filled the air and broke the silence that he had been enjoying as he sat on that swing.

"Mike, please stop, please you are hurting me"

"Shut the fuck up bitch! You'll do this if you want your next fix"

Flesh slapping against flesh. A resounding slap echoing through the air. A violent sob that got strangled mid way. Broken moans and grunts that got cut off. Someone grunting in satisfaction. Someone moaning in pain. A cruel laugh. A violent hand. The only kind of passion he had ever known. Then the sound of a zipper being closed and then the door being slammed.

"Mom!" he ran inside the house.

Silence. A person dousing herself in fake ecstasy with the help of a needle as her son watched helplessly.

He really shouldn't have walked in.

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"Wow Coop, you really went all the way with the thanksgiving dinner, huh?" Summer, Marissa's best friend since high school, a short, spunky, diminutive and very pregnant brunette, said. They were sitting in the kitchen, talking as she waited for Marissa to bring out the wine. The guys were all sitting in their living room watching football while Kirsten was showing the girls all the stuff that she had bought for them from Jamaica.

"Oh it's catered, but don't mention it to anyone" Marissa whispered.

"Wait, but how come? I thought you wanted me to take the girls out so that you could finish the dinner". Not willing to let the subject drop, her ever-inquisitive friend asked.

"We… err got a bit distracted". Marissa said giving her a sheepish grin. They had been friends for so long that they could practically read each other's thoughts. So the fact that Summer raised her eyebrows at that remark and looked at her suspiciously as she correctly caught on to her insinuation didn't surprise her at all.

"Seriously Coop, sometimes you guys behave just like teenagers. And that is so hot!".

Marissa blushed. "Tell me about it. Right now I kind of wish I was a teenager". She said wryly..

Summer sympathetically nodded. "Work giving you trouble?"

"No, not really…" she said, as she checked if the wine was chilled enough "its just today's been one of those days. I mean, the girls are going away tomorrow and I guess I was feeling a little blue"

"Oh girlie, I have so been there" Summer exclaimed, "Wait till they start dating!"

"I don't know whom I'd be more worried about then, Ryan or the girls?" Marissa said pretending to think "I don't think Ryan's going to be ready for that… like ever!"

"Yeah… I can just picture Chino punching every single guy who even looks at them".

"At least he wouldn't bribe them with food…" Marissa smirked. The first time Zoë had tried to date; Seth had given a hundred candy bars and a few comic books to the guy and warned him to stay away. Needless to say, the guy had been so horrified by that, that he had run away literally, as fast as his short legs to carry. That had been one hilarious situation and they had laughed about it for weeks later on.

"Hey, I just heard someone say 'food'" Seth Cohen walked in, grinning.

"Yeah, yeah…" Ryan said walking right behind him, "it's lucky he heard food, he was just about to apply the rules of basketball to football in front of Dr. Roberts and get you guys divorced."

"Well, at least he didn't apply the rules of his ninja games to it. That would surely get us divorced" summer said sarcastically.

"Hey, my little dim sum. You underestimate me again and again. Pretty soon, all you'll be eating are your words…" Seth said, pinching summers cheek.

"Wow, Seth…" Marissa said rolling her eyes at that "do you think of anything except food?"

"Yes, I think of my dim sum, my pumpkin, my honey, my sugar, my honey buns…"

"I think Kirsten was on a diet, during his birth…" Sandy laughed as he walked in, "he was born starved and perpetually hungry!"

"Nice dad, I can feel the family support here!" Seth exclaimed, pretending to be offended. "Its you and me against the gentiles, remember?"

"Hey watch it!" both Marissa and Summer warned causing everyone to laugh…

At that moment, Kirsten walked in. "So, what is everyone talking about?" she asked looking around as she sat down next to Sandy.

"About how much fun it is to pull Seth's leg" Marissa said smirking.

"Oooh, nice. Can I can help?" she said gleefully.

"Mom, mom, its painful to watch the glee on your face". Seth said, his hands mimicking the motion of throttling his neck. "What is this? 'Pick on Seth' day?"

"It normally is…" Ryan said laughing.

"Oh but Seth, we love you anyway" Marissa said joining in.

Everyone was laughing by this time. The evening was progressing in a way that was too good to be true. Soon after Seth, everyone started picking on Kirsten. Sandy started, but both the boys joined in. Every person had their turn getting picked and they were just having some good, old fashioned fun as a family when the doorbell rang.

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He was sitting down with Arturo, trey, and Eddie in one of the many bars that lined Chino neighborhood as the evening turned into the night.

"Look, my little brother is having soft drinks…" Trey jeered, laughing hysterically with his friends. He was already high. "Hey little brother, maybe you'd like some milk…"

Ryan rolled his eyes at that and merely shook his head softly, pretending he could not hear the laughing, jeering voices of his so called friends. It wasn't until teresa gave him a sympathetic glance that he felt the first simmering of anger in his body.

"I am leaving…" he clipped, getting up.

Trey looked at him through beady eyes. "stay." The word was said softly, warningly.

He had had a bad day, hell a bad week. He was exhausted, tired and his mind was numb from what he had seen this afternoon. All he wanted to do was curl up in bed and forget… escape. It was maybe because of that, or maybe it was some weird instinctual reaction to finally break this pattern, that caused him to not heed that warning.

It was a grave mistake.

Immediately trey got up and slammed him against one of the walls. He tried to fight back, but his 12 year old body was no match to his much older, much heavier brothers.

"You need to be taught a little respect, huh, little brother". Trey said, slamming into his gut repeatedly. He could taste his own blood on his tongue. He felt his eyes close.

"Trey, stop, you'll kill him…" Teresa shouted hysterically.

"And what do you care, little bitch". Trey shouted back. He was on a high and he had no idea what he was doing. "You want me to come to you too?"

Teresa cowered behind the table and shut her mouth. No one else came forward after that. He knew no one else would.

'These were supposed to be his friends?' this final thought ran through his mind before he completely blacked out.

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Ryan couldn't pinpoint the exact moment when this party realized the potential disaster that it had threatened to be. Maybe it was when Julie arrived with a guy who was ten years younger to Marissa. Or maybe it was when Caitlyn dropped in from God knows where. On the other hand, probably it could have been when Neil and Julie started shouting at the top of their lungs or when Caitlyn started hitting on Julie's apparent boyfriend or when summer started rage blackouting on Seth after finding Seth's head in the fridge attached to a dessert bowl. Regardless, it was an unparalleled disaster.

"So tonight was…"

"…a disaster?"

They both said at the same time, laughing together. After they had waved everyone good night and had tucked both the girls in bed, they were right now cleaning up the mess in their kitchen.Working together, they finished most of their stuff quickly. Ryan moved to just dump the dishes in the dish washer as Marissa sat on the chair waiting for him to finish up..

Watching Marissa out of the corner of his eyes, he saw her stifle a yawn. "Hey, maybe you should go to bed. I'll finish up here".

"no, no… I'll wait up" she mumbled, although she sounded exhausted.

For a moment the only sound pervading the silence of the kitchen was the low grumble of the dishwasher.

"Happy thanksgiving, Ry" she softly whispered.

"Happy thanksgiving, Riss" he said smiling back.

"Riss?" he called over his shoulder as he put the last dish in the dish washer.

"Riss?"

Her blonde hair covering her delicate face, she was sleeping as soundly as a newborn babe, with her head on the table. She was looking so beautiful and so peaceful that for a moment he just stared at her as he wondered how even after ten years of marriage she sill managed to make his breath catch in his throat. Sometimes he still got that feeling that he was the boy from Chino and she was the unattainable princess. Gently picking her up, his strong arms comfortingly cradling her so that she wouldn't wake, he walked up the stairs to their bedroom.

He found her in an alleyway as he was walking back. Every part of his body was aching. Teresa had tried to apply some liniments but he had shrugged it off. He didn't need any favors. She was drunk as usual and passed out, mumbling incomprehensibly. Even though he was in terrible pain and hardly had any energy left from his earlier beatings, he picked her up and carried her in his arms. He couldn't leave her there…

He laid her on the bed and watched her sleep peacefully. Her hands were curled into him. Her head was on his shoulder. As he stroked her cheek, she literally curled into his touch.

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The darkness of the night cloaked him. He had no idea how far into the night it really was as he gently laid her down on the sofa and pulled a blanket over her.

"happy thanks giving mom…"

"Leave me. Go!" she shouted incomprehensibly.

"Mom, its Ryan…"

"Ryan who?" the words cut his heart out, as he watched her drifting in and out of her alchohol induced haze.

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"I love you." he whispered knowing she couldn't even hear as he softly kissed her mouth.

He could see her fight her exhaustion as she blinked her drowsy eyes open and linked her fingers with his. "I love you too".

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"I love you, mom"

There was nothing but the sound of Silence…

There are 'those' days and then there are 'THOSE'days.

Ryan Atwood knew how lucky he was to have 'THOSE' days,

Because he had been through 'those' days.

He knew the true meaning of 'thanks giving' and he thanked God every single day.

Happy thanks giving !!!