A/N: I had considered taking this further but there seems to be little interest so this is it for this one. Thanks again to the few who took the time to let me know that they were reading.

Epilogue

"You have got to be kidding me," Ryan exclaimed as his butt hit the ice yet again. "This is supposed to be fun?" he questioned.

"I'm having fun," Summer pointed out.

"Watching me fall on my ass," he added.

"No. Just watching your ass. Why do you think I always rode BEHIND you on my bike?"

Ryan smiled.

"Well, I have to confess, that's why I pretended sometimes that I couldn't keep up and had to follow you. You do have a particularly attractive derriere," he pointed out.

"Is that so?" Summer asked pertly.

"You know you do. I'd even bet that you were wiggling it in my direction deliberately trying to break down my resistance. And it nearly worked."

Summer raised her eyebrows but said nothing in reply, leaving him to draw his own conclusions.

"Can you please help me up? I can't even get up without falling down again," he commented, obviously frustrated.

"Poor baby," Summer replied as she reached down and helped him up to his very wobbly feet again.

"So, how come you're so good at this?"

"Well …. I may have omitted that I have done it before. But I didn't think it really counted. For a few years after my mother left, my dad didn't like to spend Christmas at home; too many memories. I guess. So we'd pack up and go to Aspen, and he got me some lessons. But that was a long time ago, so I thought I'd be starting over. But I guess it's like riding a bike. Once you can do it …"

Ryan stood shakily, trying to stay put in an attempt to keep himself from falling again.

"You know, if I could trust myself to move, then I'd make you pay for this. But I need your help me get back to terra firma."

"You are such a beach babe," Summer commented.

She took his hand and pulled him back to the edge of the ice so that he could hold onto the surrounding wall.

"Can we go home now?" he asked forlornly. But there was a twinkle in his eye that hinted that the whinge wasn't genuine. "I'm sure that I have enough bruises by now. I think I've earned a long soak in the tub."

"But I don't have any bruises. Maybe I should let you have the tub to yourself."

"Oh no, you don't. Maybe I should give you a few bruises so that you can join me or better yet, since you're responsible for my pain, you should be responsible for my pleasure."

"And how would I do that?" she asked, her walnut eyes a picture of innocence, but she was anything but, and Ryan knew that.

"You know that lovely derriere of yours we were discussing?"

"Uh huh."

Ryan's voice grew husky and dropped down a tone as he glanced around to make sure that no one was within earshot.

"I think that you should let me take a closer look at it. Somewhere with a little more privacy, like maybe our bedroom," he suggested.

'Our' bedroom, she liked the sound of that. She could feel her cheeks flush as a myriad of ideas formed in her head. Hell … she liked the sound of anything that he propositioned.

"And you just want to look at it?" she baited.

"Nooo," he said slowly, indicating that there was more.

"I want to bend you over the bed …"

Ryan spoke slowly, letting each and every word paint its own picture.

"… and take you from behind … until you scream out my name as you lose control."

Summer could feel the dampness between her legs almost immediately. It gave the word squee a whole new meaning.

"Okay. We'll go. You talked me into it. But we're not giving up. We'll keep coming back until you get the hang of it."

"All I want right now is to keep you coming. I intend to get the hang of that."

--

It was several hours later, and Ryan and Summer were entwined in the bed; the bath and Ryan's promise of keeping her coming achieved. They lay, basking in the afterglow of their lovemaking.

"It's been quite a day," Summer pointed out as she yawned and stretched. Her body was sore but in the best possible way. He'd given her quite a workout.

"Yes, it has. If this is what the New Year's gonna bring, then all I can say is 'Bring it on'."

She chuckled her agreement.

"So is this going to work? Me being here all the time? Or are you going to get tired of me?" she questioned doubtfully. Things seemed almost too good to be true.

"I can't imagine ever getting tired of you. But 'tired out by you'? Maybe."

"So you're okay with it?"

He was touched that she was still unsure, but she didn't need to be.

"I'm better than okay. I think it's great."

"But when you agreed to move in here, you didn't know this would be part of it."

"True. But maybe I hoped that it would," he admitted.

"Really?"

"Really."

Summer wasn't expecting that answer. She was curious – did he really think they might get together? Even back then?

"When did you think that maybe …" she faded off, not exactly sure how to ask.

"What?" Ryan asked, waiting for her to continue.

Summer shrugged.

"Well, I know that I was attracted to you from the first time I saw you. I just wondered when you decided that maybe you saw me as more than just Seth's long suffering partner."

"The first time I laid eyes on you, at that fashion show, I thought that you were the hottest thing that I'd ever seen," Ryan admitted.

"But you rejected me that night at Holly's party, without us even having said two words," Summer responded. "Why?"

"I had no other choice," Ryan explained. "You have to understand what things were like for me then. I'd spent Thursday night in juvie. Then on Friday my mom and her guy of the month threw me out because I pissed them off. I had nowhere to go. I called Sandy in desperation, and he said he'd put me up for the weekend."

"I'd spent a good part of Saturday hearing about you from Seth," he continued, "and I was convinced that you couldn't possibly be as beautiful as he described. But you were. You were breathtaking. But I couldn't let it matter to me. You were untouchable as far as I was concerned. If I'd pissed off Seth or the Cohen's, then I could have ended up on the streets again. I might have looked tough, but that was just a front. I was a scared kid. And that's why I couldn't afford to let myself want you. It was pure self-preservation."

"But you were into Marissa."

"Sure I was attracted to Marissa. She accepted me for who I was. She and Seth were the only two people who didn't treat me like I was some sort of lower life form. If I remember correctly, when you found out where I was from, you lost interest pretty quickly."

Summer felt guilty. She didn't like to think about how shallow she'd been back then.

"Only that first night at the party. You have to understand that I had a reputation to uphold. But I knew there was something there. I really wanted you to be my partner for cotillion. I was so angry with Marissa when she gave you to Anna. She knew how much I wanted to be with you."

"It was probably for the best. I can just imagine what Seth would have been like. You were all he talked about back then. But that doesn't mean that I didn't spend a few sleepless nights thinking about you."

"Why, Ryan Atwood, who would have thought?"

Ryan smiled. He was glad that he'd opened up to her.

Summer sighed.

"So if Seth had had a crush on Marissa instead of me, we could have started this so much sooner."

Ryan laughed.

"Yeah. But I can't imagine Seth taking on Luke to fight for Marissa."

"I can't see Seth taking on anyone. He's too much of a coward."

"Well, he's with Taylor now. Good luck to them. I'm honestly not sure who I feel sorrier for."

"It is a toughie," Summer agreed. "Maybe we should just say that they are well matched and leave it at that."

"K. Sounds good."

"I wonder what the family on the West Coast are going to think when they hear about us," Summer mused.

"If you'd asked me a few weeks ago, I would have said that they'd be shocked, but from what a little birdie tells me, we were actually being set up."

"Set up? By who?" Summer asked, surprised.

"Your dad and Julie. Caitlyn tells me that they have been hoping that we'd hook up from the very first day I moved in."

"Well, I was willing, but one of us took a while getting to it."

"Don't worry, the idea was there, front and center. It caused me more than a few sleepless nights. I just had a few 'issues' to deal with," Ryan pointed out. "And not just with Seth. I was worried about Kirsten and Sandy, too."

"I think that Kirsten is going to be okay with it. She was a little strange on the phone earlier, but I think she was trying to tell me that it would be okay with her if we got together."

"She already told me that. Right before I left Berkeley."

"Do you think that we should wait a while to tell them about the change of status of our relationship?"

Ryan thought for a moment.

"What would we be waiting for?"

"I don't know. To get to know one another. You might change your mind," Summer suggested. She felt like she was living a dream and she was scared that something would happen to spoil it.

"That's not going to happen. I mean, we've talked enough and spent enough time together over the last few months to know that there aren't going to be any surprises. I already know all your bad habits and you know mine. The only thing we didn't know was whether we were sexually compatible and I think that we've cleared that one up over the last 24 hours."

"Mmm. We have. It's been fun."

"Fun?" Ryan queried. After what had taken place since they returned from the ice rink, he thought that 'fun' was not quite the right word.

"Mind blowing fun? Is that better?" Summer asked, recalling the multiple orgasms she'd been the recipient of.

He smiled.

"Much. But you could still change your mind," he pointed out.

"Uh uh. You're stuck with me."

"Well, if we've both decided that we're not going anywhere, then we should probably tell them."

"But how? And who do we tell first?"

"What do you mean? Is there some sort of correct etiquette when revealing stuff like this?"

"I don't really know. It's a first for me too. But I'm sure that Caity will expect to be first."

"She probably deserves to be. She did get you to fly home early. That was one of the best ideas ever."

"Hmm. True. But I don't think my dad will be too happy if he finds out that I didn't tell him first."

"And I guess that Sandy and Kirsten deserve to know right from the start."

"And what are we going to say? We can't just call them and say 'things have changed - we're sleeping together now'. That doesn't seem right."

"Hmmm. I see what you mean."

Summer entwined her fingers through his.

"We have our first problem to solve together."

Ryan thought for a moment.

"I have an idea."

--

Caitlyn sat at her desk chatting to some friends on Facebook when it happened.

She quickly called out to her mother.

"Mom. Come here."

"Caitlyn. Don't yell like that. You sound like a fishwife. Plus you'll wake up Jake," Julie yelled back even louder.

"But mom, you're gonna wanna see this," Caitlyn insisted, yelling back again.

Julie sighed. She stopped cleaning up from dinner, dried her hands, then headed to Caitlyn's room, pausing in the doorway.

"What is it?"

"Look," Caitlyn said, pointing at her computer screen. Julie moved closer to see what had her daughter behaving so strangely.

--

Neil was going over some case notes for a patient that was having surgery tomorrow when it popped up.

He read the message and a smile beamed across his face.

So the old dog still had a few tricks up his sleeve.

--

Sandy was catching up with some paperwork in his office when the email arrived.

He read it with interest, then went to find Kirsten.

She was sitting on the sofa reading.

"We just got an email from New York."

"From Ryan? What does he have to say? I tried to call him earlier, but he was out at the store. Is everything okay?" Kirsten asked, instantly concerned.

Ryan wasn't big on email. Hell, he wasn't exactly a communicator on any front, so it was strange to hear from him when they'd only seen him a couple of days ago.

"Everything's okay," Sandy stated calmly, hoping to assuage Kirsten's worry. "But I think that you should go read it for yourself."

Kirsten looked askew at her husband. What could Ryan have said? She was curious now, so she got up and walked into the office and over to the computer.

She quickly read the few words on the screen. But then what had she expected, Ryan was never one to overembellish. But he got his message across just the same. Her face broke into a large grin.

The email was addressed to

The Cohens;The Coopers;Dr Neil Roberts.

It read:

Happy New Year to all our extended family. Please note the change of email address for future communications.

--

"So what does it mean?" Julie asked, turning to Caitlyn.

"It means that they are no longer Ryan AND Summer. They're now ryanandsummer – a single unit. It also means that you'd better start saving. I think I'm going to need a bridesmaid's dress before too long."

--