A/N: Before we get to the story, this piece comes with several warnings. First of all, a very delicate subject is dealt with in this one shot. Although opinions might be expressed by the characters, they are not necessarily mine one way or another. I think by now you all know me well enough to know that I'm a pretty open minded person, so, please, do not start a theoretical debate because of this little drabble. Secondly, you die hard Ryan fans probably won't like the way your favorite character is portrayed in this story. It was nothing against him; instead, he was simply a tool I used to tell the tale that I wanted to with this prompt. Finally, yes, this is a one shot... just like the last flash fic post. My plan is to offer you quite a few one shots, and, then, either once I'm sick of writing them or Will to Leave is finished, you'll be able to vote in order to tell me which one shot you want to see continued into a longer, expanded ficlet. So, while you're reading these small pieces, remember that in the upcoming weeks. Alright, without further ado, enjoy!

Charlynn

Gone
A One Shot

OCFF#14: "And I'll sit and wonder of all the love that could have been if I'd only thought of something more charming to say." - Death Cab for Cutie

Oh, she was a very bad girl - stop, don't past go, don't collect two hundred dollars, and run straight to a nunnery kind of bad girl.

But she didn't care.

Pressed up against the grungy door of her one bedroom apartment, Marissa Cooper was having the best sex of her life. Although not entirely loose, she also had some experience, but, for some reason, sweet, pleasant sex with a man you were in a relationship with couldn't hold a candle to raunchy, drunken, make me forget my name let alone my crappy life sex. And that's exactly what... the guy named...? was giving her.

Talk about a pretty generous birthday present from a stranger.

Most years, on her birthday, all she did was attempt to forget. After growing out of the party stage, she had left behind late nights of binge drinking and experimental drug use; she had matured, kicked most if not all of her bad habits, and had gotten a job so she could take care of herself. There was no college after high school for her, no four years of classes and sororities, frat parties and dorm room life; instead, her parents had kicked her out of the house at eighteen and told her to figure out her own life. They had said that they were done taking care of her.

So, that's what she did. With no skills and even less work experience, she had ended up becoming a bartender. She learned which establishments to avoid and which ones would give her the best tips, and she made her own way through life, not asking for favors and surviving without help from anyone else. Was it fun, was it what she had imagined her life would be growing up, was it even fair, probably not, but, long ago, she had accepted the fact that things that were supposed to happen to her rarely did, and she dealt with it. It was either that or crawl up and give in, and, if nothing else, Marissa was not a quitter.

However, on one night a year, she allowed herself to feel a little depressed, to wallow, to splurge. Instead of working at the best bar in town, she went there as a paying customer, drinking shot after shot of whatever they had most in stock until the point where she was one ounce of Jose or Jack away from passing out. Normally, the alcohol helped her forget that no one else but her car insurance company had remembered her birthday that year, that her parents had changed their telephone number and had not bothered to give her the new one, and that she was alone at twenty-two with no prospects for a relationship and few to no friends. Sure, she could talk to her coworkers, the employees she managed, but they were more her acquaintances than her friends. They listened to her because they had, because it was her who made out their checks every two weeks, and because there was nothing else better to do during a lull at a bar. But, for some reason that night, the liquor had not managed to curb her self-pity, so she had been forced to find a better distraction, and boy had she ever.

For what the man before her was missing in height, he sure as hell made up for it with all his other qualities. She knew nothing about his personal life, nothing about who he was or what he did; all she knew about him was that he was blonde, blue eyed, and gorgeous, that he looked good in a pair of jeans, a button down shirt, and a wife beater, and that when he smiled at her, for the first time in months, she actually felt alive and wanted. He made her feel both sexy and beautiful, two things that were rare commodities in her lonely existence. To Marissa, he was her birthday present to herself, the prize at the end of a year long rope for doing the best she could under less than stellar conditions, and, like a little girl in a candy store, she was going to enjoy every single minute she had with him.

Suddenly, breaking through the haze that had formed around her mind, his drugging, almost hypnotic kisses lulling her into a false sense of security and bliss, he flipped their positions, holding her to him, her legs wrapped around his waist, bent at the knees, and pressed into the door his back was arched against and leaning on. Apparently, the stranger she had taken home that night had reached the fraying knot of his restraint, his control unraveling as he surged them forward, forgetting pleasantries, forgetting foreplay, and forgetting that they still had not moved away from her front door.

Loosening one hand from where his fingers had a firm grip on her jean covered ass, he moved it towards the front of her pants, quickly unbuttoning and then unzipping the offending garment. Working together, she released her legs so they could push the pants down, only to reattach herself to his straining and pulsating form. Returning the favor, Marissa removed his jeans as well, pushing them down as far as they would go before they stopped and pooled at his knees. But that was enough. Then, he ripped off her underwear, tossing her best pair of lingerie aside where neither of them knew where they landed. And, finally, her wait was over.

Still partially dressed, he readied himself with his hand before punching into her. It was rough, it was sweaty, and it was fast. As he held onto her hips, plunging into her the entire time, she allowed gravity to pull the top of her body downward, leaning back, her hair cascading towards the floor in a twisted, silken ribbon of sin. Their rhythm was perfectly timed, as if their bodies, despite their minds and hearts disagreement, already knew each other. By the time they both climaxed, her orgasm triggering his own, the newly minted twenty-two year old wasn't sure how long they had been having sex. Her head was completely cleared of all rational thought, just as she had wanted it, and time, suddenly, wasn't relative. All that mattered was that she was now laying half naked on the cold, tile floor of her apartment's living room with a still dressed stranger collapsed over top of her, his throbbing body humming with the after effects of their mutual completion from inside of her.

Sometime later, she was aware of him pulling out, of him standing up and righting his clothes as he prepared to leave, but still she did and said nothing. After all, what was she supposed to say? Thanks? Job well done, sailor! Hope to accidentally run into you again one night. Call me? None of those things were options. She didn't know him; he didn't know her, and, in all likelihood, that's exactly how things would remain between them. She wasn't naive. She knew that what they had just shared was mindless, nameless sex, a one night stand, but there was a nagging thought in the back of her mind. Call it her conscious, call it idiocy, call it whatever you want, but it made her yell out to him before he could open her front door and leave.

"Wait!"

Turning around, a pleased smirk playing on his handsome features, the man asked, "what?"

Returning his grin, she complimented him. "That was quite the birthday present you just gave me there."

The praise seemed to stroke his ego even more. "Anytime."

"And I was just wondering who exactly I could attribute those skills to."

"So, basically," the stranger teased her. "You want to know my name." The only response she gave him was a shrug of her shoulders, her t-shirt sticking to the sweaty skin. "What the hell," he consented, agreeing to her wishes. "It's Ryan, Ryan Atwood."

With that, he walked out of her apartment and her life, without a second glance behind him and without inquiring about her name in return.

"Miss, Miss," someone tried to rouse her, gently shaking her sleeping form. "You're dreaming again, and we don't want you moving around too much."

It took her several minutes to comply to the nurses' requests, finally waking up. Her entire form seemed drugged, lax to listen to her mind's commands. Slowly, though, realization set in. She wasn't in her own bed; instead, she was in a hospital, the scratchy, unwelcoming sheets rubbing against her bare legs and arms. Her hair was down, free, but it felt dirty, as if it hadn't been washed in a few days. Generally, she was miserable, and all she wanted to do was go back to sleep. But there were questions that she needed answered.

Why was she in the hospital?

Did anyone call her off of work? Who was covering her shift? Would her medical insurance pay for her treatment?

How did she get there? She didn't remember getting sick enough to drive herself to the emergency room, and she certainly didn't remember riding there in an ambulance.

Jack hammering up out of bed, eyes open wide from fear and uncertainly, she sought out the nurse's concerned gaze, one very important question spilling forth from her parched and cracked lips. "Where's my baby?"

Pleasantly sedated, her cries subsiding into silent tears, a nervous Marissa laid back in her hospital bed as her doctor explained to her why she was in the hospital, what had happened to her, and why she didn't feel as if she was pregnant any longer.

"From what your coworkers told us, you thought that you were suffering from the flu?"

"Yeah," the twenty-two year old said almost hesitantly. "My stomach hurt, I had a fever, and I just felt really tired, almost weak."

"Those weren't flu symptoms, Marissa," the ob-gyn stated sympathetically. "Those were signs of a miscarriage. I'm sorry, but, by the time you got here, it was too late for us to do anything. You collapsed at work, and they called 911, but the baby was already too far gone for us to save it."

Whispering, she begged for more information. "Gone?"

"We had to perform a D&C, a dilation and curettage. You weren't conscious to make the decision, but it needed to be done. If we had waited, it just would have put your life on the line, and nothing, no amount of waiting or care, was going to stop you from miscarrying."

"So, there's no more baby? I'm not going to be a mother anymore?"

"I'm so sorry, but you're young, and this shouldn't cause any permanent damage. When you're ready to have a child someday, when it's a planned decision next time, your body will support a baby full term. Right now, though, I want you to rest. You need to recuperate. I'll be back to check on you later, so, if you have any questions, you can ask me then. But, for now, Marissa, please, just get some sleep."

She didn't know what she was doing there, why she was doing this. It wasn't like he owed her any explanations. They had a one night stand, no strings attached. She hadn't even bothered to tell him about the baby, deciding that, just like everything else in her life, she would take care of it on her own, but, now, the baby was gone, and she was hurting, and, irrationally, she wanted the stranger to hurt as well.

Forgoing the doorbell, she knocked incessantly on his front door, determined to face and confront him with her pain. When no one answered, she knocked again. Sure, it was early. She had to be at work by seven, but, before going in to the bar to face her fellow coworkers and daily acquaintances with their concerned expressions and questioning gazes, she needed to tell the father of her child that he wasn't going to be a daddy after all. The sun was still hidden behind the horizon, which meant that Ryan and whoever else lived in his pretty, rich boy house were still asleep, but she didn't care.

Finally, the entrance was whipped open, and she was confronted with a sleepy looking Ryan. With burrowed brow, he regarded her closely as if trying to place her face in his memory. When realization dawned, she could see it written clearly across his otherwise tired features. "You're the drunk girl from the bar, right?"

"The one that you slept with on her birthday without a condom? Yes."

"Yeah, about that..."

"You got me pregnant."

All the color from his face drained away, and Marissa relished in the fact that she was causing him discomfort. "Shit," the blonde across from her swore, distractedly rubbing the side of his face. "You weren't..."

"On the pill," the bartender supplied for him, glaring at the thought. "No, sorry to disappoint, but I wasn't. You see, what happened between us that night isn't something I normally do. I don't go out and pick up random guys in bars."

"But it was your birthday, and you were lonely," Ryan mockingly excused, returning her irritated looks. "Look, just tell me what you want. It's only been, what, a month or two since we slept together, right?"

"Actually, it was two months, twenty seven days, and about three hours. Almost my entire first trimester has gone past."

"Okay, well that still gives you time to take care of it - to get rid of it? What, do you need me to pay for the procedure?"

"I'm not having an abortion," Marissa yelled, seething with blind fury. She could feel her hands tightening into fists as if she was actually going to punch the man before her, her body shaking with uncontrollable rage. Never before, not even when her parents threw her out of the house the very day she graduated from high school, had she felt so angry.

"Well, I don't really want to be a Dad, so..."

"And who asked you to," she interrupted, silencing his outburst. "I was planning on taking care of my child all on my own. I didn't want you to have any part in her life."

"Her?"

"Yeah, I was having a girl."

"Why all the past tense," the stranger wanted to know, nailing her down with a confused stare. "I thought you said you were pregnant?"

"I did... I was." Breaking down finally in tears, the first sign of emotion other than fury she had allowed herself to feel since being told about the miscarriage, the bartender confessed all. "You don't have to worry about being a father, Ryan, because there is no baby now. You got your wish. The child that had me freaking out and scared out of my mind but that I was willing to have and to take care of anyway, is gone. I lost her."

"Oh," he breathed out.

Despite the fact that he was trying to not be too insensitive, she could tell that he was relieved, but, all of a sudden, the anger melted away, and all she was left with was a sense of grief. It took losing the baby to realize just how much she actually wanted it, and, now that she was gone, Marissa was, once again, back to being lonely, living life and barely scraping by all on her own with no one to love, no one to love her in return, and no one to go home to.

Dropping her gaze away from the man before her, she murmured in a voice so low she wondered if he could even hear her. "I've got to get to work, but I just thought you should know. Goodbye, Ryan Atwood."

If she hadn't of walked away in that moment, if she hadn't of turned her back on him and ignored him blindly calling out for her to stop despite not knowing her name or anything else, for that matter, about her, she would have seen the one, solitary tear that fell down the blonde's face, but she didn't, so she left, not realizing that she had accomplished her goal. When she had set out to see him, Marissa had wanted Ryan to feel just a fraction of the hurt she did, just a little of the loss, but, by the time she had shared her news with him, making the stranger feel pain meant absolutely nothing to her. Instead, all she wanted was the impossible; all she wanted was her baby back. Again, life disappointed her, but, at that point, unfortunately, it was something she was quite used to, and maybe that was the saddest thing of all.