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AU for The Strip. After catching Seth with the bikini clad UNLV girl, Summer immediately dumped him and stormed out, having hit her limit of his crap. Ryan follows her, and neither knows about the whole prostitute thing. They end up hanging out for a while and Ryan makes an intended confession.


Lay Bare Your Heart

Ryan knew he should probably stay in the room with Seth and Jenn, but he just shook his head at his foster brother and hurried after Summer. In the hall, he passed by a man and three skimpily clad girls, and absently figured someone was in for a fun night, but that thought left him as soon as he saw Summer by the elevator, angrily poking at the down button over and over again. "Summer," he said as he approached.

"Don't, Chino," Summer replied, turning her back on him. "Don't defend Seth, and say it's all a misunderstanding, because after everything with Anna... I just can't anymore."

"Then don't," Ryan said. "I told him that hanging out with bikini clad college girl was a bad idea, but... apparently I know nothing."

"What's there to know about bikini clad college girls except that they're skanks?" Summer asked, finally turning towards him, her face damp with tears but a slight smile playing on her lips.

"Exactly," Ryan said as the elevator arrived and they stepped inside.

"Don't you need to go back to Cohen?"

"Not while he's hanging out with a skank," Ryan replied. "I'd rather hang out with you," he said. When she smiled and nodded, he reached out and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her a little closer. "I'm sorry he's an ass."

"Thanks," Summer whispered. As the elevator neared the ground floor, she pulled away and very deliberately shook her whole body, as though literally trying to shake off the bad feelings. "Okay, so what are you going to do to cheer me up, Chino?" she asked.

"I was thinking we should start by just... getting out of this hotel."

"Good plan."

~~~

Summer hadn't really expected Ryan to cheer her up, she'd just gone along with it because she had nowhere to go and didn't want to be alone anyway. But he'd guided her out to a bridge overlooking a canal and they'd started talking.

"Seth... He's my best friend, he's like a brother to me, but... he's an idiot. He finally has the girl of his dreams, and he treats you like crap. And you don't deserve that."

"Let's be totally honest here, Chino, you deserve better than Coop's crap," Summer said. "You know I'd do just about anything for her, but..."

"I know," Ryan said. "But... can I tell you something?"

"Sure," Summer replied. "I think this is a pour your heart out kinda night."

"I don't think... don't think I'm in love with her anymore," Ryan admitted. "I mean, I love her, I care about her, but..."

"Theresa?"

"No," Ryan said. "Me and Theresa were always more about... not wanting to be alone, wanting to have someone to love us. And I do love her, but..."

"Not love love," Summer said, nodding. "I get it. It's the same with Marissa, huh?"

"That's the thing," Ryan said. "I wanted to be in love with Marissa. I wanted her to be... 'the one'... After all the crap with Theresa, and Eddie, and all the combinations of friends and lovers, I just... I thought I could have a simple, non-complicated relationship with Marissa, and... somehow it's worse than it ever was with them..."

"Non-complicated? When Coop is involved?" Summer said, scoffing. Then she realized what he had said. "Wait... 'all the combinations'?" she asked. She saw the flash of panic on Ryan's face before he looked away.

"I never really... told anyone," he admitted.

"You were... involved... with Eddie, too?" Summer asked, trying to sound like it wasn't a big deal when it was more than a little major. And a tiny bit hot.

Ryan looked over at her. "I was stupid. I thought... I don't know. But yeah, I... I was... involved... with Eddie. Couldn't exactly go public in Chino even if we'd wanted to, our asses woulda been kicked before we even finished saying it, but..."

"So you just..." Summer began, trying very hard not to picture Ryan in bed with another guy because it was very much not the time to think about that.

Ryan nodded. "I always say I lost my virginity to Theresa, but..."

"Wow."

"Yeah."

"So... you're bi?"

"I guess," Ryan said. "It's not really about gender, it's about the person. I just happen to not care what... equipment... someone has."

"You do realize, that if Cohen knew this, the whole Summer/Seth/Anna thing would have never been an issue because he would been all over the Cohen/Chino thing, right? I mean... he's halfway there anyway" Summer asked.

Ryan finally looked at her, laughing slightly. "First of all... ew, no, wrong. he's practically my brother. Second of all... he is so not my type."

"What, you like bad boys?" Summer asked, remembering the time Eddie showed up at the Man Of The Year party.

"The destructive type, regardless of gender, if they destroy either themselves or me, I'm all over it."

"Chino... Ryan... did Eddie... I mean, you wanted to help Theresa because Eddie hit her, right?"

"Yeah."

"Did he hit you?"

Ryan didn't answer for a long moment, just stared down at the water beneath them. "Yeah," he finally said. "I was just... I wanted someone to love me, so... I let him do whatever he wanted. I let him get away with a lot of shit... but I hit my wall eventually, and that's when I ended things and he started fucking Theresa, and I basically cut them both out of my life... hooked up with 'Turo a couple times, and then... I wound up here. I coulda called Theresa and asked to stay with her, and her mom woulda agreed, but... I just woulda ended up falling back into things with Eddie, and that would have been worse in the long run than either living with Dawn and her boyfriends or being homeless. So I took the chance on the lawyer with the crazy eyebrows."

They fell into a comfortable silence for a few moments before Summer stepped closer and tugged his arm back over her shoulders again. "Your secret's safe with me, Chino."

"Thanks," he told her. "I know... I know I could tell them, Sandy and Kirsten. Rationally, I know they wouldn't kick me out or anything, but... the rest of Newport?"

"It's a town of hypocrites," Summer agreed. "I'm willing to bet a lot of them aren't entirely straight themselves, but would they cut a sixteen year-old kid a break over it? Nope."

Ryan nodded. "You think Sandy and Kirsten would?"

"Absolutely," Summer said. "And just in case they wouldn't... my dad would. So you'd have a fallback, just in case."

"Thanks," Ryan repeated, pulling her a little closer. "Does this mean we're friends now?" he asked after a moment.

"Yes, it does, and I expect to be the first to know when you meet a hot guy. And I do want details."

Ryan laughed slightly. "We'll see."

"Not like you can talk about hot boys with Cohen," Summer pointed out. "And while I may wander into daydreams a bit, I will listen."

Ryan laughed again. "As long as you never try to discuss sex with Seth with me," he said.

"Like I am ever letting that cheating ass touch me again."

"Good, you deserve better."

"And if you ever let Eddie touch you again I'm kicking both your asses."

"Deal," Ryan agreed as his cellphone rang in his pocket. He pulled it out and glanced at the screen before answering. "Hey, Sandy," he greeted.

Summer couldn't quite make out what Sandy was saying, but after a few moments Ryan's eyes went wide and he glanced towards her. "Are you... seriously? Yeah, okay, we'll be right back there... yeah, Summer flew out when she found out Seth was kissing some random girl... Yeah, that's the one... She's not happy with him, to say the least."

Summer snorted at the understatement and poked Ryan in the side while he swatted her hand away.

"Okay, we're on our way," he hung up the phone and caught her hands in his before she could poke him again. "Bikini Co-ed? Is a hooker. And we apparently just missed her pimp showing up with three other girls that Seth inadvertently hired for the night. So Caleb just had to pay for Seth's hookers to make the pimp go away."

Summer bit her lip, but couldn't hold in her laughter. for long. "Thank God I dumped his ass before he got busted with hookers," she said.

Ryan chuckled. "Thank God we didn't get busted with him and the hookers," he corrected.

"Good point."

The End

There is a sequel to this. After this stuff, it mostly stays canon (but Ryan and Summer are closer as friends, and she teases him by bringing over magazines and trying to get him to play 'hot or not' with all the male celebrities...) upto and including Ryan going back to Chino with Theresa. Then it goes very radically AU, and is kinda slash-y, but also... not... I'll post it soon, but I need to clean it up a little first...

While I'm in a Ryan/Summer kinda mood, I'm not sure if this 'verse would be R/S romance, or just friendship. I kinda wanna just have them talking about cute boys and Summer wanting all the details after Ryan meets a guy he likes... and Ryan being all badass and bi with a boyfriend... and Summer teasing him that he still has no sense of style, what kinda gay boy is he, and he rolls his eyes about the stereotype of gay guys being into fashion and clothes... lol...
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