Fandom: The OC
Word Count: 1451
Summary: Ryan has a hard time letting Lindsay leave.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters and I'm making no money off of this.
A/N: The Rainy Day Women. For smittie681. Betaed by _sybillium.
Lindsay leaves tomorrow and Ryan doesn’t know what to do with himself. She is leaving, and he can’t make her stay.
A girl like Lindsay doesn’t stick around for a guy like Ryan. It’s one of the world’s accepted truths. So that’s that, there's absolutely nothing he can do about it but stand outside her window looking like a drowned puppy.
Marissa comes over and Ryan wants to tell her to go away, but he doesn’t have the heart. He can’t take in whatever it is she says, and somehow her proximity makes everything worse, like she’s staining whatever it is he had with Lindsay. He’s probably being unfair to Marissa, but right now he doesn’t care. Lindsay leaves tomorrow and a part of him leaves with her.
But Ryan decides he has to see her again, spend the night, even if it makes saying goodbye so much harder. He shrugs Marissa off and runs the whole way to Lindsay’s house, climbing up to her window sopping wet for a second time, but he barely notices.
Lindsay opens her window instantly this time and again Ryan tumbles in. “What are you doing here?” she asks, flustered. “I thought we agreed that it would be easier to save goodbye for this morning?"
“I know… we did,” Ryan pants, “but I couldn’t let you leave without seeing you one more time.”
Lindsay’s eyes soften as she pulls his face gently towards her. “This is just going to make things harder, you know.”
“I know. I don’t care. Can I stay tonight? We don’t have to do anything… we’ll just sleep. Please. Lindsay…” His eyes beg her, Say yes, say yes… but Lindsay is unsure. This really isn’t a good idea; what if he wants to have sex with her, even though he says he doesn’t? Won’t it make her leaving so much harder on both of them? At the same time, a big piece of her really wants to give in to him.
“I don’t know.” She furrows her brow, thinking of a way to prolong seeing him without letting him spend the night. Ryan says, “We could fall asleep studying physics.” She laughs, still doubtful.
He bends down to kiss her, saying, “Lindsay, I respect you. You know that, right? When I say we don’t have to do anything, I mean it. I just want to stay with you. That’s all.”
Lindsay sighs. She knows Ryan won’t easily give up, and she’s not so sure she wants him to. “Fine. I’ll be right back.”
Theresa is the only other girl who’s ever had this kind of hold on him. Ryan’s been with a lot of girls, but only really loved two. He thought he loved Marissa, last year, but as the months passed, after all that happened with her shoplifting, Oliver, her drinking problem, he couldn't remember why she was worth fighting for.
The other girls were just fucks. They didn’t mean anything and he didn’t mean anything, and he’d liked it that way.
But Theresa and Lindsay – there’s something about the two of them that made him want to protect them. He had never thought of what it was about them that made them different, but now he realizes just what it was. They didn't need the protection he offered them.
Ryan knows that for a long time after Lindsay leaves, when he pictures his ideal girl, he’ll see her in his mind’s eye.
She comes back with a towel and starts toweling off Ryan’s hair, much to his objection. “Hey! Ow!”
“You’re a big baby,” Lindsay teases. “This doesn’t hurt.”
“I know. I just wanted to see if you’d try to make it up to me.” This earns him a smack in the ribs. “Okay, that’s it. You’re going down!”
Lindsay shrieks in delight as she is tackled onto the bed. All of a sudden, they hear a cough from the doorway. Ryan looks up.
“Oh… um… Mrs. Wheeler… this isn’t what it looks like. We were just hanging out, and… uh, I’ll leave,” he stutters. Renee smiles slightly through her anguished pallor.
“It’s fine, Ryan. Stay. I understand. Just… no sex, okay, guys? I’ll be down the hall.” And she leaves.
Ryan and Lindsay look at each other as he gets off of her awkwardly. “So. Um. Should I sleep… on the floor?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. You’re sleeping with me, of course.” Lindsay blushes bright red as soon as she realizes how this sounds. “I meant-“
“I know what you meant. Don’t worry about it,” Ryan says gently.
“Okay, well, I’m kind of tired, so I’ll go change. Just… stay here. Don’t go anywhere.”
“I won’t,” Ryan promises, smiling. He looks around the room, noticing a tasteful art poster on one wall and her music stand up against the corner. Lindsay’s room is an olive color with beige carpeting and doesn’t have much of a lived-in feel. Ryan wonders if she actually decorated it herself or if the Degas reproduction is Renee’s doing. Even though the room doesn’t feel much like Lindsay, when Ryan suddenly realizes that this is the last time he’ll be in it, he has the strange feeling that he’ll miss it. Not that he’s been to Lindsay’s house very much, but her room is where he has the best memories of the times he has been here. Here, she enthusiastically showed him the Yamaclaus she’d made; here, he walked in her playing her clarinet; here, they’ll spend their first and last night together. He doesn’t know what to think of that.
She gets back a few minutes later, wearing green plaid flannel pajamas. “You’re still here,” she says, relieved.
“Where would I have gone?” Ryan asks.
She kisses him gently and they tumble back onto the bed, frantic in their touches. Ryan worries that he’s pushing her, but she doesn’t protest, at least not at first.
But before long, Lindsay is pushing him off, a concerned look on her face. “We said no sex.”
“I know, and I’d never try to force you into it, but we weren’t -” Ryan starts to protest.
“I know, but if we continue like this, we will be, and we promised Mom. Besides,” she kisses him softly, “I don’t want it to be like this, the night before I leave, because we’re pressed for time. If we were going to, I’d want it to be because we wanted to, not because we need to fit it in before I go.”
As much as the teenage guy part of him doesn’t want to admit it, Ryan completely understands what she’s saying. “Okay. That's fine, I get it. We should go to sleep then.”
“You’re not going to change?”
“Lindsay. This was a spur-of-the-moment thing. Do I look like I have extra clothes on me?”
“So, I’m sleeping in this.”
“At least let me get you a toothbrush.” She runs out and returns a minute later with said toothbrush, and Ryan heads off to the bathroom.
When he gets back, Lindsay is stretched across her bed, lightly snoring. Ryan slowly lowers himself onto the mattress, curling up around her and falls asleep to the smell of her shampoo splayed across his nose.
In the morning, everyone is in a hurry and Ryan is in the way; his presence makes it harder for Lindsay and her mother to get everything together because he can’t figure out what to do with himself. “I’m sorry,” Lindsay says. “Mom said we had to get ready fast. Our flight’s in an hour.”
“Can I drive you to the airport?”
She shakes her head sadly. “No. I’m sorry, Ryan, but I need to just leave. We’ve put this off long enough.”
He smiles sadly down at her and kisses the top of her head. “I should be going, then.”
Her arms fall around him and he stifles the urge to ask her to stay. It'd be too cruel to do that to her as she’s about to leave, especially since she’s already having misgivings.
Lindsay kisses him lightly on the lips before pushing him away. “Go, Ryan. I’ll be fine. You need to leave, though, or I won’t. Please.” Tears are streaming down her cheeks as he walks out the door, swearing to himself that he won’t look back.
He doesn’t. He bikes straight to the pool house, plops down on the bed and pulls the covers over his head. And that’s how Seth finds him three hours later.
Ryan has always been the type to make sure everything goes according to plan. But as he lies there, between the fake comfort of the sheets, he comes to realize that it never does.