A/N: Alternate ending to the wedding expo. Can Cate help Ryan to see what she needs to do, that's best for everyone?

"If we can pretend...for the station, I mean," Cate looked at Ryan. "Can we pretend for ourselves? Pretend that everything's okay?"

"No." Ryan shook his head slowly. "I can't pretend anymore. Maybe you can, but I can't."

"Ryan, please. I don't want to lose you."

"You already did, Cate."

"No!" Cate shook her head, and the wedding dress she wore rustled. "We can pretend."

"Pretending doesn't work." Ryan couldn't believe that he couldn't get Cate to listen to him. Actually, he thought for a moment, he could believe it. She never listened to him anyway. "We tried, Cate. And the only thing I don't want to do is to pretend. I want it to be real. I want us to be real."


"Please marry me, Cate." Ryan knew that this was the only course of action. He loved Cate, issues and control-freak ways and all. "We can work everything out. We can, but we can't pretend, or lie, or whatever it is that keeps breaking us apart."

"Ryan, it's not that easy."

"And lying is?"

"I have Lux to think about!" Cate burst out.

"Is that what this is all about?" Ryan asked. "Because the last time I checked, Lux loved the idea of us together, being her family."

"She already has a family, Ryan." Cate said, quietly.

"What, you and him?"

"His name is Baz."

"I thought you loved me."

"I did. But Lux needs me, and I need to see if Baz and I can work things out. He and I are Lux's parents. We have to at least give it a shot."

"So you wanted to keep pretending for the sake of your job while you tried to figure out some way to get your Neanderthal high school quarterback boyfriend back?" Ryan spat out. "That's really sick, Cate."

"I wanted to keep pretending..." Cate took a deep breath. "Because I still love you. I want to be with you. But life doesn't always work out the way we want it to. It didn't sixteen years ago, and it certainly hasn't now. I made a decision sixteen years ago to give Lux away. It wasn't her fault that we had her in high school. And it shouldn't be her fault now that I can't marry you. So it isn't her fault. It's my decision, and I know that as painful as it is, it's a much better choice than the one I made in high school."

Ryan nodded as he realized the truth to what Cate was saying. "Please be sure that this is what you want." he told Cate. "Because he's getting two really great women in his family."

"I don't even know if I have a shot with him." Cate said, honestly. "But I have to at least try."

"Go." he told her. "I'll make excuses to the station and expo director. Go now. This is too important to wait."

"Thank you." she smiled, and his heart ached when he remembered that her smile wasn't for him. But he realized that it was for the person who needed to see it the most. It wasn't even for Baz. It was for Lux, and giving back to her the family she always had.