Okay so this is my contribution to the OCSFC4.
Word Count: 3,465
This is written for Themus. She will probably think it is awful because she is an amazing writer and I am really not. But I tried my best. I really hope you like it.
My sentence was... "Caleb and Ryan are forced to work together for their survival (for
whatever reason), and Caleb develops a grudging respect for the boy"
Ryan squinted up at the sky, a hand shielding his blue eyes. It was a radiant blue, no cloud in sight. The summer’s heat enveloped him in a warm hug. Another boiling hot day in Newport Beach.
He yawned lazily as he pushed down on the door handle and opened the kitchen door. He nodded vaguely at Seth who sat clad still in his boxers and t-shirt, hair mussed with sleep.
Ryan took a fleeting glance at the newspaper on the counter. Seth was pouring over the ‘arts and leisure’ section and the rest lay open where obviously Sandy had left it before going to work.
The words ‘Earthquake Warning’ didn’t really do very much for him. The same warning had been issued for weeks. At first, Kirsten had panicked and had gathered supplies that would last the four of them weeks.
She’d gone through the earthquake plan with them, checked the credit balance on their cell phones and made them promise to always take their cell phones with them wherever they went. No matter how short the distance.
She’d held fast for the first couple of weeks but when there was no sign of earth movement, even she had began to ignore the warning signs.
He spotted a pile of papers on the edge of the counter, a bright yellow post-it note placed on top. He moved over to read it.
Could one of you drop these off at the Newport group. Kirsten left these behind and she needs them for an important meeting.
Seth noticed him looking at it.
“Have fun Ryan,” He said sarcastically causing Ryan to roll his eyes.
“Fine, but next time you’re doing it.”
“Oh yeah, of course.” He nodded dramatically, getting up and placing his bowl in the sink before scampering out of the room. Ryan listened as he thumped up the stairs.
He sighed and looked at his watch. If he left now, he would make it to the Newport group by around lunch time. He really should have woken up earlier. Both adults had taken a car each so he would have to use his bike.
He returned to the pool house in order to pick up his back pack and slotted the papers inside, careful not to bend the corners.
He slung his back pack onto his shoulder and left the pool house. His bike was stored in the garage so by the time he’d grabbed the key to the garage, retrieved his bike and returned the key to its hook, it was at least ten minutes after the time he’d first left the kitchen.
He set off, speeding along the road. He’d missed riding his bike. He hadn’t really been on it since he and Seth had stopped going to the pier together without the car the previous summer.
He took the long route to the Newport group enjoying the exercise and he marvelled at the impressive view on his right side. He’d been living in Newport for almost a year and still could not get over how beautiful it was. It was a far cry from the polluted, gang filled streets of Chino.
It took an hour for him to reach the Newport group and he pulled up to the front entrance, stashing his bike behind a bush in case Mr Nichol came out. He wanted to stay as far away from his as possible.
He entered the building and tried to regain his composure before going over to talk with the receptionist. He ran a hand through his hair, the woman at the desk was hot and he wanted to make a good impression.
He rounded the corner, expecting to see the said blonde receptionist and was shocked not to see her, but Caleb instead.
“Mr Nichol,” he acknowledged.
He barely got a response but Caleb just gave him a speculating glance, his eyes travelling up and down Ryan’s body. His face showed his dismay to see him.
“I’ll speak to you later Marshall.” He put down the phone and Ryan awkwardly looked down at the floor.
“Ryan, to what do I owe the pleasure?” He said sarcastically, his eyes cold and grey.
“I just need to drop something off for Kirsten,” Ryan said quietly, swallowing the lump growing in his throat. “Is she here?”
“No, she’s gone to pick something up from home and then is meeting that secretary for lunch.”
It was clear by the way he said ‘secretary’ how little he valued the woman.
Ryan fought back the glare beginning to form behind his eyes.
I’ll just go and put these on her desk then,” he plucked the papers out from his bag and began walking towards Kirsten’s office.
“Actually Ryan, I’ve been meaning to talk to you for a while. I never get to see you when Kirsten isn’t there and I think you and I need a private chat.” he waited for Ryan to pause and smiled at the nervousness etched into his face.
“Now I have your attention, what are you doing with my daughter and grandson? Huh? What are you trying to get out of this? Let me tell you this, since you’ve arrived? You’ve driven Marissa Cooper to an institution. You’ve created a barrier between my daughter and I and yet I’m the only one who can see what trouble you are.”
His words stung and Ryan fought to keep his composure.
“Oh, are you going to put on the poor little victim act now?” Know this, no one messes with my family. I have connections and I’ve already received one request to send you back to juvy. With one phone call I can do just that.”
Ryan didn’t have to think too hard to guess who that request had come from. The one person, who happened to dislike him almost as much as Mr Nichol did- Julie Cooper.
“You know? I have half a mind to just send you back to Chino. Sandy and Kirsten would soon forget you. You’d be left just as a statistic, the percentage of homeless people on the streets of Chino. After all that is where you belong. Sounds fa…”
He broke off by a sudden movement that caused the desks to rattle and the papers on the secretary’s desk to fall to the ground.
The movement didn’t seize and Ryan could feel his heart begin to hammer against his chest.
“It’s an earthquake!” He shouted.
“I know it’s an earthquake, I’m not stupid boy!” Ryan gave a sideways glare as he got down to the floor, trying to find somewhere for cover.
In the corner of his eye, he saw Caleb doing the same. For a brief second he almost laughed at the sight of the suit clad man crouching down, plaster clinging to his iron pressed jacket. Then the seriousness of the situation set in.
He withdrew himself as far into the wall as possible. He was facing Kirsten’s office and winced as a framed picture of Seth fell to the floor and smashed.
He thought frantically of the earthquake plan, Kirsten had set up. As soon as the movement stopped, his main priority was to get a hold of Sandy. He knew Seth was supposed to try to get a hold of Kirsten.
Then they would all make their way back to the house if they could. That was where the supplies were.
He wondered how the others were.
Were they okay?
Were they as scared as he was?
He hoped Seth had listened carefully to the earthquake plan and was taking cover. Why was it that the day the four of them were least prepared, was the day the earthquake happened?
He covered his face with his hands and squeezed his eyes closed, just waiting for it all to stop.
As his eyes were closed, he didn’t see the building collapsing around him. He didn’t see the rubble piling up by the entrance. He didn’t see the sunlight being choked up by a tree falling in front of the window outside.
He could hear the deafening sounds but the little boy in him kept his eyes closed and his face in his hands, resting on his knees.
He whimpered softly as a stray bulk of wood hit him hard.
By the time the nightmare stopped and Ryan gathered enough courage to open his eyes, he could hardly see anything. There were a few cracks where the sunlight still shone through the plaster and concrete but other than that, the room was ominously dark.
Ryan carefully felt his way through all the rubble “Mr Nichol!” He called out.
“I’m over here!” The voice was still cold but Ryan didn’t care about that. Through the dim light he could tell that they were trapped.
“Are you alright?” He asked, trying to keep himself from panicking.
“I’m stuck,” Ryan swore he could hear a hint of panic in his voice.
“Hang on, it’s okay. I’m gonna try and call Sandy,” He reached into his pocket.
“That do gooder? What good will he be?” Mr Nichol retorted.
Ryan’s eyes grew with panic as he realised that his phone wasn’t in his pocket. He swore under his breath at the memory that he’d left it on the table beside his bed.
He hurriedly searched his bag just in case but knew deep down it was no use. He worriedly ran his fingers through his hair.
“Mr Nichol? Where are you?” He asked into the darkness.
“Over here. Just come and help me boy.” He scrambled through the rubble to the source of the voice.
He felt the rubble around Mr Nichol and began to try and move the stones away.
“Move faster,” Caleb ordered and Ryan frowned. He moved back slightly and tugged on a larger piece. It finally gave way and he kept going.
Inside, he wondered why he was helping him. He obviously hated him and if he left him then he wouldn’t have to worry about being sent back to Chino or juvy.
But no, he couldn’t do that, this was Kirsten’s father. She may complain about him a lot but she loved him ad he couldn’t do that to her.
When Mr Nichol was finally free, he pulled himself up. He didn’t thank Ryan and Ryan rolled his eyes, sighing softly.
“We’re trapped,” he offered as he noticed the older man looking around, scrutinising everything.
Mr Nichol said nothing but Ryan had given up listening to him anyway. He began to work out where the entrance was supposed to be. He knew that they were trapped, had no food, he didn’t know how stable the remainder of the building was. He didn’t want to even think about aftershocks.
He began to clear the mess blocking their way out. He felt the old man burning holes into the back of his head, but he didn’t turn around to look at him.
He could feel the fear bubbling through him, the feeling of being trapped building. He didn’t register his fingers being scratched and the blood seeping from the cuts.
Time felt like it was a standstill. He could hear Mr Nichol finally start to help. They began subtly helping each other with the larger pieces.
Ryan breathed a sigh of relief when a hole in the mass before them became visible. He turned to Mr Nichol and they shared a relieved smile before they both realised what they were doing and turned away quickly.
Ryan hadn’t missed the look in his eyes though and if he didn’t know better, he would have thought it one of admiration.
They began to make the hole bigger, they were so close.
The sudden jolting sensation caught them both by surprise.
“Aftershocks,” Ryan whispered to himself. He began to return to where he had managed to stay safe before.
Suddenly, he felt a quick sharp jab in the head and the ground sped towards him before everything went dark.
He felt nauseous, that’s all he knew. He knew his eye lids were closed but didn’t want to risk opening them in case he threw up.
He wanted to drift back into the dark sleep that he’d just left. His head ached and he wondered who he’d picked the fight with this time.
If it was AJ he needed to open his eyes to see if his mom was alright. The ground felt hard and something was poking into his back.
He wanted to move but the pain in his head kept him planted and he was just too exhausted. He’d just go back to sleep for a little while, everything would be alright.
He was awoken by someone tugging on his arm. Why couldn’t they just leave him alone? A muffled voice sounded in his ears and all he wanted was for them to go away so he could go back to sleep.
The person wasn’t having any of that though. A bright light shone in his eye and pain shot through his head. He tried to move away instinctively but he couldn’t move anything.
The light shone in his other eye and he felt like there was a little man in his brain bashing away at his skull from the inside.
The muffled voice returned and he whimpered softly trying to turn his head away from the intrusion.
The nausea was still present and the feeling of being lifted up brought it right to the surface.
He felt himself being turned to the side and he gagged and coughed. A light hand rubbed his back and he concentrated on that to take his mind off the fact that the little man was now using sharper instruments to bash at his skull with.
He felt the darkness finally take over and he let himself sink into it.
The next time he woke up, everything was silent. The pain in his head had receded slightly and he felt something soft underneath him.
He moved his hand slightly and it felt bigger somehow and heavier. Confused, he peeled open his eyes slowly and squinted up at the ceiling. It was so white and well… clean? Well, he definitely wasn’t in Chino anymore.
He gave a little laugh at his ‘Wizard of OZ’ reference. Seth would be very proud. Talking or thinking , he guessed, of Seth- where was he?
He moved his head to the side and was surprised to see a not so friendly face next to him.
The dopey smile left his face and he stared at Mr Nichol with his mouth open.
“Huh?” he managed.
His confusion grew when Mr Nichol chuckled softly.
“It’s the morphine,” he offered as an explanation.
Ryan still watched him carefully, trying to figure out whether the old man was really there or whether he was just a figment of his imagination.
He raised a hand and gave the man’s arm a tentative poke just to check. His head felt like it was made of cotton wool. The little man had obviously been removed. He hoped that he’d been arrested for his annoyingness.
Mr Nichol gave a little laugh. Was this a dream? He decided this was in fact a dream. He’d never seen Caleb laugh before or smile even.
He closed his eyes to try and wake himself up. He heard movement beside him and cracked an eye open, peering to the side. He was surprised to see Mr Nichol again.
“You don’t like me.” Ryan stated. The slur in his voice surprised him but Mr Nichol seemed unfazed by it.
“That’s not true, Ryan.”
Ryan could feel his eyebrows rising and he was reminded of Sandy. He smiled at the memory of whenever Sandy talked, his eyebrows would wiggle away.
“Playful eyebrows,” he murmured. “Don’t you think?” He asked him dreamily.
“Eyebrows?” Mr Nichol questioned.
“Okay… I’m just going to call a nurse.”
Ryan watched as he left the room and he smiled. He rubbed a hand over his forehead.
He closed his eyes and tried to get back to sleep. Sleep was nice. He vaguely wondered where the Cohens were and why they had left Mr Nichol alone with him but he was too tired right now to work the answers out.
He heard the door open again and he opened his eyes to see Mr Nichol return.
“The doctor is on his way,” he returned back to his chair.
“Mr Nichol…” Ryan began.
“Call me Caleb,”
“Oh, Caleb… Where’s Sandy and Kirsten?”
“They’re on their way.” Caleb explained.
“Why don’t you like me?” Ryan drawled, watching Caleb with big blue eyes.
Caleb shifted slightly under his gaze and coughed into his hand. He’d been warned that Ryan would act a little differently but hadn’t expected this.
“I don’t hate you Ryan,” He said guiltily.
“Oh, ‘cos I thought you did,”
“I used to be a little wary of you but today, you were so brave…” he broke away.
God, he hadn’t been this mushy since before his wife had died.
“What’d I do?” Ryan asked trying to think back.
“Get some sleep Ryan. You look exhausted.”
Caleb grabbed the newspaper by Ryan’s bedside and promptly began to read it.
Ryan groaned as the little man began to play around again. Something grabbed his hand and he squeezed it instinctively.
Memories of the earthquake surged through him and he forced himself to crack his eyes open.
“Hey Ryan,” the soft familiar female voice made him turn his head a little and he smiled at the sight of Kirsten sitting next to him.
“How are you feeling, sweetie? Is your head sore?” Her voice wasn’t too loud and sounded gentle to his ears.
“A little,” he admitted and she gave him a sympathetic smile.
“Sandy and Seth are downstairs in the canteen with my father. You seem to have really impressed dad today actually. He didn’t want to leave when we arrived.” Her voice was soothing and gave him something to focus on, to keep his mind off his aching head.
She helped him take a sip of water and it was nice having someone looking after him for a change. His mom had never sat with him during his hospital stays. She would drop him off and pick him up but that was it. No matter how long he’d stay in for.
He felt her fingers begin to carefully lace through his hair. He felt exhaustion begin to call him and all he wanted was to close his eyes and return once again to the slumbers of sleep.
His eye lids began to close and he could hear Kirsten telling him to sleep.
Briefly, the sound of Sandy and Seth’s voices entered his consciousness but he let himself sink into the darkness.
“You think he’s supposed to be sleeping this long?”
“Well, the nurses say he’s doing okay,”
Ryan listened to what they were saying but didn’t have the energy to open his eyes. It was nicer in the dark. His head hurt less when he didn’t move.
He heard Sandy talk about getting a nurse to check if he was okay and he really didn’t feel like that stupid bright light being shone into his eyes again.
He peeled his eyelids open.
“Well hello sleepy head,” Kirsten smiled at him.
A nurse came in and seemed happy he was awake.
“Hi Ryan, can you try and stay awake with us for a while?”
He nodded slightly and turned towards Seth who was tapping the tune of something on his bed.
“Sorry,” he apologised moving back a little in his chair. The nurse disappeared and Seth grinned down at him.
“See Ryan, the nurses here are hot and you’ve been asleep and missed all the good ones.”
Sandy rolled his eyes. “Caleb finally went home, he needed to check on Julie and Marissa.
Ryan gave a little nod.
“Now you’ve woken up more, you should be able to come home soon.” Kirsten added.
“Cool,” he said quietly.
“So Ryan, you made it! You survived being trapped in the same room with Caleb! You even saved him from being squashed by freeing him. So tell us, were you tempted at all just to leave him pinned?”
Ryan snorted. “Well I thought Kirsten would be a little pi… annoyed with me if I left him.” He joked.
“I knew it!” Sandy shouted, grinning. He apologised quickly when Ryan winced at the sound.
“Hey,” Kirsten admonished at the comments against her father but her face was smiling.
Ryan listened to the Cohens joking about he and Caleb’s new found relationship.
Who would have thought, rich Caleb Nichol finding respect for a street urchin from Chino!