Disclaimer: I don't own The O.C.
A/N-This idea has been nagging at me for the past week and I finally got it written. It's kind of a companion piece to Your Love is Going to Drown that I wrote a while back, but you don't necessarily have to read that to understand this, I'm pretty sure I explained everything that would need to be explained. As much as I loved how I ended that, I felt like there was more I could do with it, so that's what I did. This is the first time I've written something this long in Ryan's point of view, so if it's a little out of character for him, I'm sorry about that. Feedback is always appreciated!
People make mistakes. They make choices that are huge mistakes and these choices that affect their whole lives.
Ryan was one of those people. He hated to admit it, but for the past seven years, he had been involved in the biggest mistake of his life.
He rolled out of bed, no longer able to pretend that he was sleeping. He could lie next her anymore. Not when he was thinking about her.
He walked down the hall, letting himself into one of the rooms. By the small nightlight in the corner, he was able to see the sleeping girl in the room. Even by the small light, he knew what he had known for the past two years, since the moment he had found out his wife was pregnant.
She wasn't his. The two year old girl, Abigail Elizabeth, wasn't his. He could pretend all he wanted, but the dark hair and dark eyes showed that she wasn't his. She didn't resemble him at all; she resembled someone who he didn't know.
He should be upset by this fact. He should want to divorce her, leave her and the baby girl who isn't his. He doesn't though.
He made a mistake of leaving her in the first place and he had to live with it.
He sighed, leaving the room so as to not disturb Abigail and walked downstairs to the living room. He sat down on the couch and flipped the TV to some mindless station.
Everyday since the moment Marissa Cooper had woken up, he wished that he had made a different choice. That was the day that he made his biggest mistake—leaving Taylor Townsend behind. As far as decisions in his life had gone, he was pretty sure that one was the stupidest one he had made.
Those six months they were together were better than the past years he had been spending with Marissa. Hell, they were better than the years that he had before with Marissa.
He was stupid. He should have never gone with Julie to the hospital that night. He should have stayed with Taylor, who loved him. Marissa couldn't give a shit about him and it was the same way for him.
Their life together had become a life of convenience. The day that she woke up, the day that he left Taylor to go to her, was the day their future was cemented. She thought that he had waited for her and he had never told her otherwise. From that moment onward, they were together, no questions asked.
They had gotten married after they found out she was pregnant. He had known from them that the baby wasn't his, considering he hadn't had sex with her in a while. She was cheating on him and he knew it. It didn't bother him like it should, because he didn't truly love her. He had slipped up once or twice, sleeping with a few interns from the office once in a while. He hated that he had become 'that guy' the one who's in an unhappy marriage, sleeping with young interns, trying to find the love that he gave up.
The love that he gave up twice, he remind himself. He had been given a second chance with her, the girl that he could have loved forever.
He thought of that night, the night that he had given up his second chance with her.
He watched her walk down the aisle, unable to keep the awestruck look out of his eyes. He knew he shouldn't be looking at her like that, when his pregnant wife was sitting right there.
He couldn't help it though. The memories of the six months with her were coming back to him. She looked beautiful in her dress—but then again she looked beautiful in anything. She especially looked beautiful in nothing…
He shook his head. Those are not the type of thoughts he should be having at that moment.
He tried to catch her eye, wanting her to look at him. He finally did, flashing her a smile. She gave him a weak one in return. Just by that look, he knew that she hadn't forgotten about all that had happened between them. He hadn't really expected her to in the first place though.
The wedding went on, everyone cheering and clapping for Seth and Summer finally getting married. He walked into the reception hall with Marissa on his arm, Taylor long since disappeared. He had no clue where she had gotten to and he really wanted to know where she was.
They sat inside the building, watching all the activity that was going on around them. Marissa was complaining once again that she couldn't dance at the wedding, something she wanted desperately to do. Ryan just looked at her and smiled, tolerating what she was saying. She was his wife and she was pregnant. And then there were the moments that she forgot what was going on, something that happened once in a while, an affect of the accident. He couldn't hold anything against her.
"Look, there's Taylor," Marissa said, pointing to the girl sitting alone outside. "We should have her come inside. She looks so alone and sad out there."
That was one thing that Marissa had definitely forgotten, how much she disliked Taylor. She was someone who Marissa brought up a lot, stating she wished she lived nearby so that she could hang out with her and Summer more often. He hadn't bothered to explain why Taylor was in France. He let her think whatever she wanted to.
Marissa started waving her inside, not giving Ryan a chance to protest. He sighed and started waving to her too. She made eye contact with him but didn't make a move to walk towards them. She then turned the other way and started walking in the opposite direction.
Marissa frowned. "Is she leaving all ready?"
"Maybe she has to catch her flight back to France."
"I thought she got a hotel room?"
Ryan shrugged. "I don't know what she's doing. I'm not in charge of watching her."
"Well, you could be a little nicer about it. Why don't you go talk to her? She always seemed so distant when I would see her at the fittings."
"Why don't you go talk to her?" Ryan knew this was a rather immature response, but he couldn't go see her. It wasn't in his plans of the night. He couldn't be alone with her.
Truthfully, he didn't trust himself to be alone with her. He was almost positive that she was going to make him do something that would make him go against his wedding vows.
"I don't know. Once Taylor gets talking, she doesn't stop. I could be with her all night or something."
Marissa waved her arm at him. "Go ahead. I'm going to go up to the hotel room soon. I'm tired."
"Are you sure?"
"It's not like I'm going to see Seth and Summer for a while. They went into the coatroom a half hour ago and still haven't appeared."
They seriously couldn't make it up to their room?"
"They're happy. It's how things are supposed to be."
He could hear the underlying tones in her voice. She was unhappy; this marriage wasn't what she wanted.
"I'll see you later then?" he questioned.
He leaned down to kiss her on the lips, but she moved her face at the last minute. He walked away from her, hoping no one noticed their rigid actions with one another.
He hadn't told anyone that he didn't want to be in this marriage. Everyone though that he had gotten everything he had ever wanted in his life; no one suspected anything different from either of them.
Ryan exited the hotel, starting to look for Taylor. He didn't have to look far, as he saw her sitting next to a small garden, staring up at the night sky.
"You're going to get your dress dirty."
That was his great idea of saying hello. Those were the first words he said to her in five years.
This was all ready going horribly.
She jumped, changing her focus from the sky to him. "I paid a lot of money for this dress; I can do whatever I want with it."
You didn't have to be him to recognize the hostility in her voice. She was obviously still pissed with him—which of course he didn't blame her for.
"What do you want Ryan?"
He didn't respond for a few minutes. Instead, he looked at her, noticing the changes in her.
Her hair was darker and her eyes weren't as bright as they once were, instead dulled. He wondered if he was responsible for this.
Really though, it didn't matter how she had changed. She was still as beautiful as she always was. He wasn't going to deny that seeing her there, her sitting only a few feet away from him made him realize that he had always been in love with her. He had never stopped.
He didn't know what came over him, but the next thing he knew, he was pulling Taylor to her feet, and pressing his lips against hers. At first, she kissed him back and for a brief moment he was able to pretend like nothing had ever happened.
She pushed him away finally and he could tell from the look in her eyes that she was resisting the urge to slap him.
"What the hell are you doing?" she hissed.
"You're married. Your wife is pregnant," she paused for a moment, taking a breath. "You left me. For her. And now you're here, kissing me? That's not right, Ryan, and you know it."
He sighed, running his fingers through his hair. He shouldn't have kissed her.
But he definitely would do it again.
He wished he would be able to kiss her forever.
"It's not mine," he muttered after a few minutes of silence.
"What are you talking about?"
"The baby. It…it's not mine. The times don't add up. Marissa knows it and she knows I know it."
"But that doesn't change the fact that you two are married."
"We're just married because…because that's how it's been since the day she woke up. She thought I waited for her and after that…we've been together."
"I hope you two have a great life together. Really and truly I do, with your babies even if they aren't yours. I really don't want anything to do with you anymore."
"Taylor," he called out to her as she started to walk away. He didn't want her to leave. He wanted to her to stay, to stay by his side.
She hesitated but seemed to decide to turn around. She didn't say anything, just looked at him, waiting to hear his words.
"You're the one."
He took a few steps towards her, hoping that she wouldn't turn and run away before he got a chance to explain to her everything he was feeling. She didn't move from her spot, letting Ryan take her hand in his.
"Taylor, you're the one I've always wanted to be with. Ever since that day I stupidly left you, I've wanted you back. You're the one I'm supposed to be with."
"Don't say that ," she said quietly.
"Because you're not with me. You're with her and nothing is going to change that."
"What if we could change that?"
Taylor looked like she was resisting the urge to laugh at his statement. "You'll never leave Marissa Cooper, Ryan. You didn't leave her in all that time she was in a coma and you wouldn't leave her now."
"What if I said I would? What if I went upstairs to her right now and told her that I'm not going home with her tomorrow?"
She shook her head sadly. "You won't. This is where we end, right here, right now. We'll never see each other again and never be together again."
He didn't let go of her hand, even though she wanted him to and he knew it. "I want to be able to kiss you forever Taylor." He moved his head closer to hers. "Not Marissa. You're the one I want lying next to me every night."
He kissed her again and she didn't pull away. She kissed him with more force than she had before but he definitely wasn't complaining.
"I missed you," she mumbled quietly, resting her forehead against his. "I missed this. I didn't want to come today because I didn't want to see you with her. All happy and excited to be in love and together when I don't even have that."
"I thought you were with Henri-Michel."
"Doesn't mean that I'm happy and in love."
"I'm not either," he whispered in her ear.
"Will you really leaver her for me?" Taylor pulled away from, looking him in the eye.
He nodded. He was ready to right what he had screwed up five years ago.
She kissed him and it felt so right to him. This was how it was meant to be.
Ryan rolled over in her bed, expecting to see Taylor still fast asleep next to him. Last night had been amazing.
Ryan rolled over in her bed, expecting to see Taylor still fast asleep next to him. Last night had been amazing.
He definitely knew he was making the right decision.
Much to his surprise though, she wasn't there next to him. A small note was left in her place. He sighed, picking up the note.
I realized last night was amazing but I can't do this. You belong with her. I can't take you away from her. Go be with your wife.
He crumpled the note in his hand. Those were not the words he wanted to read. He wanted to be with her.
But he couldn't. She was gone.
Maybe that's the way it should be.
He rubbed his forehead, trying to make the memory go away. He should have never gone back to Marissa after that. He should have gone to the airport and gotten on the next plane to France.
Every day, he wished he had done that. He was unhappy with his life—with the wife who cheated on him, with the little girl who wasn't his, with him not caring about any of this.
He wished it could all change.
This was a mistake.
He didn't really know why he had decided to leave work early. He never did that. He tried to stay as late as possible.
Maybe it was because he was picking up Abigail from daycare and he wanted to spend some extra time with her. Sure, she wasn't biologically his daughter, but she still called him dad. He had been there for the first two years of her life and he wasn't about to change his role in her life.
He wasn't sure why he left early, but it was definitely a decision that changed his whole life.
He walked into the daycare center and was greeted with the biggest surprise of his life.
Taylor was standing right in front of him.
Holding a little boy in her arms.
A blond hair, blue eyed boy.
She stopped speaking as soon as she saw Ryan. Neither moved, both unsure of what to do.
"Mr. Atwood," the woman who ran the daycare called out to him, "Abigail's right over here."
He shook his head, trying to get out of his trance. He walked past Taylor and he couldn't help but whisper to her quietly.
He walked over to the little girl, her eyes shining brightly. "Daddy!"
He scooped the little girl up in his arms, hugging her tightly. He grabbed her things, saying a quick word to the woman and then turned back around.
He hadn't expected Taylor to listen to him. He had expected her to dart as soon as she could.
She was still standing there, waiting for him.
"Abigail, we have to talk to someone before we go home to Mommy all right?" he told her, not that it made a difference to her.
The two went over to Taylor, who looked apprehensive at the sight of being so close to Ryan again. She almost looked too frightened to move from her spot.
"Where do you want to talk?" he questioned.
"Let's go outside. Please." She headed outside before he could agree or disagree and it took him a second to recover from how she was actually agreeing to talk to him.
He searched for her and found her opening up the door to what he was assuming was her car. He followed her over there, his heart beating faster than it had in two years.
Two years had gone by and he still felt like she was the one.
The two stood facing one another awkwardly. They didn't know where to start, if there was even a good place to start.
"Wh-what?" Ryan blinked, unsure of what she meant by this sentence.
She moved to the side slightly, revealing the baby she had been holding in her arms, sitting in a car seat. "Ryan, this is your son."
He leaned against the car, processing the words he had just heard.
He had a son.
"How long have you been back in Newport?" That was quite possibly the stupidest question he could have asked her. There were so many other ones he could have asked her first and he picked that one.
"A couple of months. I couldn't stay in France anymore. That wasn't that place I wanted to raise my son."
"What about Henri-Michel?" Stupid question number two.
"I left him as soon as I got back to France."
The awkward silence returned. He wasn't sure what to say or to do. He wasn't even sure how he should be reacting.
"Why didn't you tell me?" He finally had to ask this question. He couldn't stand there with her and not know why he hadn't known he had a son until now.
"I didn't want to ruin your life."
"You wouldn't have. I would have wanted to know. I would have come to you."
She shook her head sadly. "You have your own family." She gestured to Abigail. "They're your family."
"But I would have wanted to be your family."
"Ryan, can we not do this? You know now and that's great. It doesn't matter. We're doing fine on our own."
"That's not right Taylor and you know it. You can't be alone."
"I've been alone for long enough, I can do it. We're fine. We'll see each other when you pick up your daughter from daycare and that's about it. That's the only time we need to see each other."
He couldn't help how angry she was making him. He couldn't just let her be alone when he knew that she was there, with his son.
"I have to go now. Bye."
She turned back around, looking at him. He saw the look in her eyes and it almost seemed like she was waiting for him to say something more. "What?"
"What's his name?"
She smiled. "Pilot Inspektor."
His eyes pretty much bugged out of his head when she told him that. He was going to ask her if she was kidding or not but she was already in the car, driving away.
He would have liked to pretend that there wasn't a car that didn't belong to him or Marissa in the driveway. He would have liked to pretend that there weren't clothes strewn across the front room.
But it was all there.
He put Abigail in her bedroom, closing her door quietly. He didn't want her to hear that he was there.
He opened up their bedroom door, standing in the doorway for a few minutes.
Marissa looked up at him and the man next to her in bed did the same. The man had a bit of a deer in the headlights look while Marissa's expression was her normal one. While the man scurried out of the room, picking up his clothes, she slowly got out of the bed, pulling her robe on.
The one, two letter word made him realize that she wanted to get caught. If this had just been an accident, she would have been freaking out, begging for his forgiveness.
She wasn't though. She was now running a brush through her hair, sitting at her vanity.
"You wanted me to catch you."
She turned around to look at him, bringing her eyes up to meet his. She didn't say anything right away.
"That was real nice Marissa. What if Abigail had been home with you? Would you have brought him in here?"
She sighed, standing up. "Fine, Ryan. Yes, I did want you to catch me. I'm sick and tired of us playing this game, this stupid little game. Neither of us has been happy in the last seven years and yet we're still together. You've cheated on me, I've cheated on you. Why are we even still together?"
"Because…" He didn't know why they were still together. He had gone over this time and time again and yet now that he was actually being asked this question, he couldn't come up with an answer.
"Exactly. You won't leave me though, no matter how much I want you too. This was the only way I could finally get something to happen. I don't want this life anymore Ryan. I don't want to be married to you; I don't want to be a mother." She bit her lip. "And I know you want to be with Taylor Townsend."
"I know Ryan. I've known since Seth and Summer's wedding. You might not have told me that you were with Taylor while I was in a coma, but Summer told me. I knew where you were that night; I was waiting for you to come tell me you were leaving me."
He sat down on the edge of the bed. She had known. He had been in this relationship for two years, for no reason at all.
He needed to stop making mistakes.
"I want a divorce, Ryan. I want to start over."
"What about Abigail? She's not mine; she's yours."
She looked at him sadly. "I'm not a good mother. I don't want to be a mother. I never did. Having her was a mistake. She loves and adores you. She should be yours."
"You're a good mother. She's yours Marissa."
"I'm leaving tonight. Even if you hadn't caught me tonight, I was going to leave. It will be better for everyone. You can be with Taylor and I can be happy."
She didn't give him a chance to say anything, walking into her closet. She was obviously packing her bags.
It only took her one hour.
She packed all of her bags, said goodbye to her daughter.
Then she was gone.
Ryan had thought that he should be feeling some sort of regret or anger about this all.
He wasn't feeling any of that.
All he was feeling was relief.
It had been five months since Marissa had left him.
It had been the happiest five months of his life.
He knew that it was the same for Marissa, due to the postcards she sent for Abigail.
She had finally gotten what she had wanted in her life.
Now, it was Ryan's turn.
He hadn't seen Taylor again since that day. She had changed the time that she picked up herE2their—son from the daycare center. He wanted to see her, to talk to her, but he couldn't because she was apparently avoiding him.
There was no doubt that she knew about his breakup with Marissa. Newport always was good for gossip and this piece of news had spread like wildfire.
He finally was reaching the last straw. He needed to talk to her.
So he took the day off of work and decided to hang out right around the daycare center in the hopes of seeing her.
Yes, it was a little creepy, but he needed to do it. The daycare wouldn't release any information about her or their son, so this was the only thing he could think of doing.
After sitting in the coffee shop across the street for the whole morning and afternoon, definitely creeping some of the people at the coffee ship out, she finally arrived. He waited until she exited the building and then ran across the street to her car.
She turned around, her surprise definitely shown on her face. "What are you doing here? You pick Abigail up an hour before me."
"And people were thinking I was a stalker."
"Have you been sitting there all day?"
"Yes. I needed to see you."
"So you sat in a coffee shop, waiting for me all day."
"When you say it like that, it makes me sound weird."
"No, I was just thinking that it's something that I would do."
"Well, I did learn from the best."
"I'm sorry about Marissa."
"She shouldn't have left you and Abigail like that."
"It's better this way."
He took a step closer to her and before she could even anticipate what he was doing, he grabbed her hand.
"What are you doing?" she looked at his eyes, trying to read them.
"You're still the one. It hasn't changed in two and a half years
She looked like she wanted to bolt. "Ryan…"
"No. I made this mistake twice before. I let you go. I'm not going to let it happen again."
"Even if I have to stand out here every day to do it."
"Things are different than they were two years ago. They're different than they were seven years ago. You have a daughter to take care of, I have a son."
"Our son. I want to raise him with you Taylor. I want you to help me raise Abigail. Why can't we do this?"
"Because Ryan, you broke my heart. You left me for her. How do I know that she isn't going to come back and want you and Abigail back? How do I know that things are going to be different?"
"Because you're the one."
He kissed her then, hoping that this would convince her. He wanted her to know that this is what he really wanted and that nothing was going to change that.
"Wow." She backed a few steps away from him. "I…I need to think and if you are doing that, I can't think."
"How much time do you need to think?"
"Go and get your daughter."
He listened to what she had said, walking inside to get Abigail. When he got back outside, Taylor hadn't moved, still leaning against the car, the back door opened.
He walked over to her and was about to say something when she kissed him. He was taken aback by that but definitely wasn't disappointed.
"Ew!" Abigail squealed, pulling the two adults away from one another.
"I want to do this. I want it to be different this time."
"It will be."
She took a deep breath. "That better be a promise Ryan Atwood."
He kissed her again. He hoped that she knew this was meant to show her that he was all in, that everything would definitely be different.
"So, Taylor would you like to go on a date with me?"
"As long as you don't mind Chuck E. Cheese." He grinned at Abigail, who he had promised he was going to take there tonight.
She smiled at the two. "Chuck E. Cheese sounds great actually."
"I just have one question."
"Did you really name our son Pilot Inspektor?"
She grinned at him. "That's for me to know and you to find out."
He returned her smile. Sure, there was going to be a lot of them to work through and their relationship was going to be different.
But it didn't matter.
He was finally fixing his mistakes.