Disclaimer: I don't own Life Unexpected or their characters.

Author's Note: So these will be a series of one-shots, some may be inter-related or follow on from each other, others may not. The challenge is to use the Word of the Day from to write these one-shots and these have to be 500 words exactly. I didn't like the ending to Life Unexpected (the 2 years later bit onwards) so it'll be canon before that bit but not beyond. Anyway, I hope you like it and I hope I got the characterisation right on this one.

Surprises Unexpected


Ryan's got a headache, the kind that's been brewing for a while, bubbling under the surface, waiting for the right opportunity to erupt in the form of a pounding pain. And frankly, it's making him pissy and far less tolerant of Baze and Cate than he normally is.

Because, surprise surprise, Baze is at their place. Again. Arguing with Cate. Again. And guess who's a forgotten observer? Him. Again.

He gets it. And he really doesn't think he's being unfair or misunderstanding the situation. Baze is the first guy that Cate fell for, the first guy that made her feel like she wasn't enough, and the allure of proving him wrong is huge. And for Baze, Cate is the girl he should have fallen for in the past, the girl he should have appreciated when he had the chance, the girl that makes him feel better about himself (makes him want to be better, according to his words). And he can understand the attraction they have for each other.

What he doesn't get is WHY the hell can't they just GROW UP? Because Ryan is mature enough, observant enough to realise that Baze has set Cate on a sort of pedestal, partially because she's unavailable and partially because she puts him down all the time, which makes him want to prove her wrong all the more. And if they tried a real relationship, Baze wouldn't like the fact that she needs reassurance as much as he does, that she's just as insecure as he is.

And as for Cate, if she finally managed to catch Baze, be with him, it would make her feel better in the short-term. Until she realised that she would have to constantly support him, push him to be supportive and understanding, caring and patient, things she takes for granted in Ryan. And they would pretty much combust. Because attraction is great but it isn't love, doesn't even come close to it. And this is the real world, not some cheesy television show or movie; happy endings are hard work and he doesn't think they really appreciate that.

It doesn't really matter, though. He knows them both, knows how inconsiderate one of them can be, and how self-absorbed the other often is. He knows that whatever insight he may have, they would never listen to him or accept what he'd tell them. Instead, they would do whatever they want. He just hopes that his marriage means something to one of them, whichever one it may be. (He hopes it's Cate, but sometimes he has doubts.)

Either way, whilst Baze is vociferating his opinions and Cate is shouting back at him, he slips out of their home and into his car, hoping that at least his head would stop hurting out here. He doesn't expect his heart to stop hurting for quite some time, until the two people screaming at each other grow up and realise that attraction is different to love and relationships are hard work.