Author's Note: This story takes place during the episode 'The Risky Business'. Thank you to all the people who emailed me and told me that they liked the last OC story I wrote. And a special thank you to Kristen who not only gave me the idea for this story, but also gave me the suggestion that it would tie in well with my Thanksgiving OC story. So this is kind of like a part two to that story.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, and I am not making any money from these stories.
Warning: Non consensual disciplinary spanking of teens by a parental figure.



The Infamous Egg


Ryan woke up and looked at the clock. It read 6:30am. He looked around and realized he still wasn't quite used to waking up in the guestroom instead of the pool house, but he didn't mind. In fact, Ryan was happy about it, because his brother Trey was in the pool house. It kind of felt like most of the loose ends of his life were finally coming together. He had a home with the Cohens, and a chance for a better life then he had ever thought possible. He was starting to reconnect with his old girlfriend, Marissa. He hated to admit it to himself, but he was glad that his ex-girlfriend Teresa had lost her baby, because the thought of being a father at seventeen terrified him. And now his brother was finally out of jail, and the Cohens had been not only willing, but eager to help Trey get back on his feet. The only loose end that wasn't together was Ryan's mother, but even with that unresolved, Ryan thought life was pretty good.

Ryan got up and walked down to the kitchen, and ten minutes later, Trey, Seth, Ryan, and Sandy were all engaged in lighthearted arguing about who the best action hero was. Eventually the conversation turned to Marissa, even though Ryan didn't really want it to. Seth and Trey were teasing him about his relationship with her, and he was denying there was a relationship, while Sandy was wondering why he was always the last to know about these things. Eventually Ryan caved and admitted to the relationship by saying, "We're taking it slow."

The rest of the men in the kitchen cheered because they had gotten Ryan to admit it. Then Seth said, "It's a good thing she's not your neighbor anymore. It's hard to go slow when you see her all the time."

Ryan nodded in agreement. Then, as if on cue, Kirsten walked into the room and said, "I just got a call from Julie Cooper. She and Dad are leaving tonight for their trip, and there isn't anyone to stay with Marissa, so I said she could stay here. She'll be here after school tonight."

Kirsten walked over to the coffeepot and all three guys stared at Ryan, who stared off into the distance taking this new information in. Seth mumbled to his coffee, "I think slow has been upgraded."


An hour later everyone was ready for the day when Kirsten got another call. Sandy had just come out of the shower and was finishing up getting dressed. Kirsten smiled at him and said, "Hi honey, what are you up to today?"

Sandy said, "Nothing special. Just going to the office like usual why?"

"Well, Do you remember the O.C. charity yard sale that I was supposed to chair but can't because I'm working?"

"The O.C. has a yard sale?"

"Well the donors get to keep half the money so it's not just for charity."

Sandy looked doubtful. "I thought all the yards around here were gated."

"It's in a ballroom at a country club."

Sandy smiled and said, "So a charity event where the donors keep half the profits, and a yard sale with no yard. So that's how they do it in the O.C."

Kirsten got up to kiss him and said in a pleading voice, "Could you do me a favor?"

Sandy gave a chuckle and said, "No. No way."

Kirsten got whiny and followed him, as Sandy started walking towards the door to get his brief case. She said, "It's an honorary chair, a figurehead position. You'd be the master of ceremonies. Like an auctioneer. And you know what a M.C. has."

"An unfair advantage?"

Kirsten ignored that and went on, "That's right, a microphone and an audience. A captive audience! You just have to go by the club today and say hello."

Sandy looked at Kirsten. She did look kind of desperate, and Sandy did have a hard time saying no to his wife when she wanted something. He said, "Just a figurehead?"

Kirsten smiled knowing he had just agreed. She kissed him again and said, "With a mike."

Sandy watched his wife head out the door to work, and he made a detour into the kitchen. All three guys were still there, so Sandy said, "Hey men. I'm chairing the O.C. pseudo charity non yard sale."

Seth started walking towards the door and said, "Gee. That's great Dad."

Ryan made a show of looking at his watch as he followed Seth and said, "Good luck with that."

Sandy stopped them with, "I'm gonna need help."

Seth said, "I never thought I'd be so happy to say this, but Ryan and I have school."

"That's your excuse today. Tomorrow is Saturday, so you're mine."

Both boys gave him an unhappy look before heading out the door. Sandy turned to Trey and said, "How about you?"

"I'm gonna be looking for a job."

Sandy smiled, "I've got one for you. You, me, and the Newpsies."

Trey looked a little worried. "What's a Newpsie?"


Sandy explained the Newport high society women that he liked to call 'the Newpsies' on the way to the country club. Soon Sandy found out that it wasn't just a figurehead position, and was stuck helping out. One of the Newpsies pulled Trey away and put him to work lifting and moving items she was cataloging for the sale. Trey mostly kept his mouth shut, and did what she asked him to do. But when she asked him to move a large crystal egg, Trey thought it looked familiar. He asked, "Is this a decoration or something?"

The Newpsie said, "Rachel's father in law was the prop manager at Warner Brothers. It's from some Tom Cruise movie."

Trey looked at the egg again and said with awe, "This is the crystal egg from Risky Business. That is so cool! It must be worth a fortune."

The Newpsie looked at the tag and said, "It's valued at ten thousand dollars."

Trey just stared at the egg and said quietly, "That's a fortune."

The Newpsie stopped and considered this. She absently said, "I guess." And then moved Trey along to the next item.


Ryan and Seth got to school a little early and they both got a coffee and sat on one of the couches waiting for the bell to ring. Seth decided more teasing was in order, and said, "So Marissa's moving in tonight."

"Yeah."

"Hmmm… I'm picturing an accidental meeting in the middle of the night. You both can't sleep and get to the kitchen at the same time."

Ryan rolled his eyes and said, "Just stop."

Seth smiled and said, "No, stick with me here. She's thirsty; you both reach for the milk. Your hands accidentally touch, but instead of jerking away, you both let the touch linger. Then Marissa would say…."

Ryan said in a warning tone, "Seth."

Seth was on a role and not about to stop. In a higher voice to imitate Marissa he said, "Oh, I was thirsty, but maybe you can take care of that with your tongue down my throat."

Seth started making kissing noises as Marissa showed up behind him. Ryan quickly cleared his throat and said, "Marissa, Hi."

Marissa smiled at him and said, "Hi guys."

Seth immediately stopped what he was doing and gathered up his stuff. He said, "Hi. Gotta get to class." As he walked towards the door.

Marissa asked Ryan, "Were you guys talking about me?"

Ryan gave her an unconvincing scoff and said, "No."

"Cause I thought maybe he was talking about how me moving in might be a little awkward."

Ryan tried to look surprised and said, "You're moving in?"

"Yeah, didn't Kirsten tell you? I'll be there tonight, and I'm staying for a week while my mom and Caleb are out of town."

"Oh. Well that's great."

Marissa tried not to look nervous when she smiled and said, "It won't be awkward will it?"

Ryan shook his head and said, "No. I mean this isn't awkward is it?"

Marissa gave a fake smile and said, "No. Not at all."

Ryan needed to get out of there. He mumbled, "Great. See you at home then." and walked out.

In the hallway on his way to class Ryan saw Seth standing at his locker. Seth saw Ryan too and said, "Hey, so how did……"

Ryan didn't even look at Seth, but as he passed, he shoved Seth, shoulder first, into the lockers he was standing next to. Ryan kept walking and didn't look back. Seth recovered his footing quickly, rubbed his shoulder, and yelled after Ryan's retreating form, "Don't blame me for your sexual tension!"

Seth realized he shouldn't have said that so loudly, when everyone around him started staring at him.


That night at the Cohen house, Ryan and Seth were both up in Seth's room looking at Seth's collection of comics. The room had been quiet for a while, and Seth finally couldn't stand it. He said, "So, when does Marissa get here?"

Ryan turned a page and said conversationally, "I don't know. Did you want another dead arm?"

Seth was petulant when he said, "No thank you."

Ryan, not overly interested in the comics, put his down and stood up with a sigh. "I wonder if Trey's back yet. I'm gonna go see how it went."

"I didn't hear about any Newpsie knifings in the news."

Ryan ignored this comment, and decided to bring up video games instead. "Hey, you wanna go for a little living room rematch?"

"Yeah, if Trey's here, let's make it a three way." Seth realized what that sounded like and then gave a little laugh and said to himself, "What? That came out weird. I'll meet you downstairs in just a second."

Ryan went downstairs and looked around for someone. No one was in the living room or in the kitchen, so he headed out to the pool house to see if Trey was back yet. He opened the door and stopped short. There in front of him was Marissa with no top on. She had her back to him, and she was holding the shirt she had just taken off. She heard the door open, and held the shirt to her front as she turned to see who had come in. Ryan said the first thing that came to mind. "You're not Trey."

"Kirsten said she was going to move him to the guest room with you."

Ryan nodded and wondered why he hadn't thought of that. He muttered, "I should know better then anyone to knock before entering the pool house."

Marissa tried to make it seem like it wasn't a big deal. "It's nothing you haven't seen before."

Ryan heard a noise behind him and turned to see Seth standing there. Seth took a look at Marissa and then turned around to look back at the house. Ryan took one more look at Marissa and then shut the door to the pool house. Ryan walked over to Seth, and they both headed for the house. Seth said, "That didn't take long. Dad and Trey just got home. Trey's in the living room….. with a shirt."


The next morning Ryan woke early to the sound of his brother snoring. He looked over at his clock. It said 6am. He lay there for a few seconds, but knew he wasn't going to be able to fall back to sleep. He got up and decided to get himself a snack.

Marissa lay in the pool house looking at her clock. It said 6am. She hadn't slept very well. She couldn't stop thinking about the fact that Ryan was so close. Eventually she got up to get a snack.

In the kitchen Ryan and Marissa both were slightly startled to see the other. Ryan mumbled, "I couldn't sleep."

"Me either."

Ryan looked at Marissa's flannel pajamas and said with a little smile, "You sleep in that?"

Marissa said defensively, "I get cold."

Ryan's first thought was, 'I could keep you warm'. He nodded and headed to the fridge. She walked over with him, and they both looked in it together. Ryan couldn't help by think about what Seth had said yesterday. He said, "I was going to have a snack. Do you want some cereal?"

Marissa nodded and went to go sit on a stool at the kitchen counter. Ryan got out the milk and cereal. He poured two bowls and handed one to her. She said, "Thanks."

Their hands touched as she took the bowl from him, and the touch lingered. Then the lights went on, and Ryan jerked his hand away. Trey said, "I'm not interrupting anything am I?"

Ryan and Marissa both said 'no' at the same time. Trey started making some coffee, and he said to Ryan, "I'm gonna be looking for an apartment today. You wanna come help?"

Ryan shook his head; "I have to help Sandy today."

Trey shuddered and said, "Sorry man."

Marissa said, "I'm free today, I could go."

Trey nodded and said, "Okay."

Marissa said, "And I know a place that's recently vacant if you want to check it out."

"Sure."

Ryan said to Trey, "It's cool you know. I mean you don't have to find a place. You could stay here for a while."

Trey shook his head. "I love you like a brother, brother, but we're too old to be sleeping in the same room. And I'm too old not to be out on my own."

Trey looked over at Marissa and leaned down to Ryan and said, "Besides, I think I'm getting in the way."


Later that day Marissa and Trey were looking at Alex's old apartment. The owner was showing them around the place and Trey finally said, "Okay, I'll take it."

The owner handed him some forms to fill out and said, "Great. I'll need first and last month's rent, and the security deposit."

Trey didn't take the papers and said, "But that's almost three thousand dollars."

The owner nodded and said, "Look, do we have a deal or not, because I've got to go down to D3. Their pipes just burst, and I need to get it fixed before there's water damage."

Trey was thinking about how to come up with the money, and Marissa said, "Trey here is pretty handy. I bet if you made him a deal, he could take care of those kinds of calls for you."

The owner thought about it for a second and Trey said, "Yeah. I could be your go to guy."

The owner finally nodded and said, "I'll call you tonight with my answer."

The owner handed Trey the papers and said, "Leave those in here and lock the door on your way out. I've got to go deal with those pipes."

Trey smiled at Marissa in appreciation and started filling out his paperwork.


Ryan and Seth were dutifully helping Sandy at the country club. They got the job of taking snap shots of all the items that had been cataloged the day before. Ryan got the job of lifting and moving things, while Seth took the pictures. As usual, Seth was trying to make the job less dull for both himself and Ryan, by goofing off and making jokes about the things they were taking pictures of. At one point Seth had the camera to his eye, and was backing up to get a better shot, when his hip bumped the table behind him. It was a small table, and the only thing on it was a large crystal egg. Ryan had been standing on the other side of the table, and saw the egg start to fall when Seth bumped it. Ryan reached down and grabbed the egg just as it was about to hit the floor. Ryan said, "Jeez man, watch what you're doing!"

Seth seemed unconcerned. "Good catch. What's that thing doing on such a little unstable table all by itself anyway? That's just asking for an accident."

"Not for people who have their eyes open."

Ryan set the egg back in it's little stand and looked at the tag. He said, "Hmm"

"What?"

"It says this is the egg from Risky Business."

"Really?"

"Yeah. And actually I think this is Trey's writing. He said he helped catalogue things yesterday. He really liked that movie."

"What's not to like? Teenage boy whose parents are gone decides to become a pimp and then falls for his hooker. Good stuff."

Ryan couldn't help but smile at Seth. Ryan looked at the tag one more time and said, "Whoa, it says it's worth ten thousand dollars."

"I guess it was a better catch then I thought. I don't want to have to explain breaking a ten thousand dollar egg."

"And I don't want to have to listen to you explain. Try not to move around so much."


A few hours later Sandy took pity on the boys and let them go home. Ryan and Seth were in the living room playing video games when Marissa and Trey came home. Ryan said, "Hey, how'd it go?"

Trey sat down next to him and said, "You are looking at a new renter."

Ryan gave Trey a genuine smile. "That's great."

"Yeah, we'll you'll have to thank Marissa. She got the landlord to cut a deal with me so I can pay a little less but help out around the apartments."

Ryan said with sincerity, "I'm really proud of you Trey for turning your life around like this."

Trey wasn't sure where his brother had gotten a line like that, but he found it made him feel good. He smiled and messed up Ryan's hair when he said, "I told you that you didn't have to worry about me. I'm gonna be okay."

Ryan smiled and pushed his brother's hand away feeling good about things too.

Marissa was in the kitchen getting a drink of water when she heard the phone and picked it up. "Cohen residence."

"May I speak with Trey Atwood please."

"Hold on."

Marissa took the phone away from her ear and yelled into the living room, "Trey, phone!"

Trey stood up, and Ryan pointed to the phone beside the couch. Trey picked it up and said, "Hello, this is Trey."

Marissa heard Trey on the other end and was about to hang up, but when she overheard the owner's voice she kept listening.

"Hi kid. I'm sorry, but you didn't pass the background check, and I just can't risk making you the manager. But you seemed like a nice guy, so if you still want it, I'll hold the apartment for you for twenty four hours."

Trey was glad the video game was loud because he didn't think Ryan could hear him when he whispered, "I'll come up with the money."

Trey hung up, and Ryan tried not to look worried when he said, "Anything wrong?"

"Nope. Just the owner checking to see when I'm moving in."


The next morning Ryan woke up at 6am again. He looked over at Trey's bed only to find it empty. Ryan thought about trying to fall back to sleep, but decided to go find his brother instead. A few minutes later, he had gone to the bathroom, and then checked the living room and kitchen. Trey was nowhere to be found. Ryan sat down on the top of the stairs and thought about things. Ryan's first thought was that Trey was up to no good. But then Ryan berated himself for thinking that. He tried to think of some other reason that Trey would be gone. But before he could come up with any other ideas, Trey came quietly through the front door. Ryan sat and watched Trey try to sneak up the stairs. Trey saw Ryan once he was on the first step. The two looked at each other trying to decide what the other was thinking. Ryan said, "Where you been?"

Trey said with sarcasm, "Don't worry about me Mommy."

Ryan just gave Trey a look of distrust. Trey sighed and said, "I was over at the new place."

Ryan just keep looking at Trey. Trey eventually continued, "The landlord wanted me to tape down some drywall and do a little plastering."

"At six in the morning?"

"Plaster has to dry before you paint bro."

Ryan looked at Trey wanting to believe it, but not sure if he should. In the end he just said, "Okay." and got up to go take a shower.

Trey sighed with relief once Ryan was out of sight. Trey trudged up the stairs kind of regretting what he had done, but he hadn't seen any other options. And he knew there was no way out of it now that it was done. He sat on his bed thinking about it, and eventually decided the only thing to do now was lie his ass off. He went to the kitchen and started making enough breakfast for everyone.


Ryan was the first one down to the kitchen. Trey cooked and Ryan sipped coffee. Neither one talked. Next up was Sandy. He smiled at them and said, "Morning."

Both mumbled their mornings. Sandy said, "Another meal Trey? I hope you don't think you have to cook for us or anything."

"I just want to keep busy."

"Well, if you cook it, we'll eat it." Sandy turned to Ryan and said, "But you better not get used to it, cause once Trey moves out, its back to bagels."

Ryan was able to muster up a slight smile. Kirsten and Seth both walked into the room at the same time. Seth said, "Man, you should think about trying to get a job as a chef. I'd hire you."

Trey got some plates ready, and handed them to people. He got a plate ready for Marissa and said, "I'll go see if Marissa want's some."

Trey knocked on the pool house door, and soon Marissa answered it. She stepped back and let him in. He said, "Everyone's having some breakfast, and I thought you might like some."

Marissa smiled and said, "No thanks, it's too early for me."

Trey nodded and then said, "Okay. Hey thanks again for helping me get that place."

Marissa looked away and said, "I overheard the call."

Trey felt his adrenaline start pumping. He said nervously, "When are you gonna tell Ryan."

"I'm not. He really wants to believe in you Trey."

Trey got defensive, "And why shouldn't he?"

"Because you lied to him!"

"It's not a lie. I got friends. I'll come up with the money."

Marissa sighed and said, "I'll help you."

Trey shook his head. He already had the money, but he couldn't tell her that. He said, "No, you've done enough. I don't need anyone else worrying about me."

"All right. But you should know that if you do anything stupid….. it's really gonna hurt Ryan."

Trey felt like telling her off, but he had done something stupid, and Ryan would be hurt if he found out. So Trey just turned and walked back into the kitchen. Marissa watched him go, and decided to help him anyway. She finished getting ready for the day, and then went to tell the Cohens she was going to go see Summer, and that she would meet them at the yard sale.

Marissa took Summer with her to her house, and went through the basement looking for something to donate that would bring in a few thousand dollars, but that wouldn't be missed. They found a silver tea set, cleaned it up, and got ready for the yard sale.


Back at the Cohen's house, Kirsten had headed off to work even though Sandy had protested that it was a Sunday. She said she would meet him at the sale. Ryan and Seth were cleaning up the breakfast dishes, and Sandy was still sitting at the table with Trey. Trey said, "Did Ryan tell you I found a place?"

"No, but that's great. You found a place fast."

"I'll be moving in tomorrow."

"Wow. Well, I'll take the morning off and help you move. Do you need some money for moving in costs?"

Trey couldn't believe how nice these people were. It made him not trust them, thinking they must have some ulterior motive. He shook his head. "That's really nice of you to offer, but I don't have that much stuff to move, so I got it covered."

"Are you sure?"

Trey decided to change the subject. "I'm sure. So when are you guys headed out to the country club?"

Sandy smiled at him and said, "What do you mean you guys? You're coming too."

Trey started to shake his head. Sandy knew Trey would probably feel out of place there, but he wanted him to come. He knew that Ryan was happy about Trey being back in town, and about Trey having his life together. He wanted to make Trey feel like part of the family too, so that Ryan would continue to be happy, and because Trey seemed to be trying to turn his life around. But that meant he would have to start showing up to the functions they seemed to have at least once a month. Before Trey could say anything Sandy said, "There's a lot of stuff to move on and off the stage, and to get to people's vehicles. I don't know if Seth and Ryan will be able to handle it by themselves. It would be really nice if you could help out too."

Trey already felt guilty, and this was just too much to refuse to the person who had done so much for him. He looked down ready to accept, but then had a thought that would get him out of it. He said, "I don't have anything to wear."

Ryan and Seth were done with the dishes, and Ryan said, "You can wear one of my suits. You're not that much taller then me."

Trey shot his brother a glare, but then nodded and said, "Okay."


Later that afternoon Trey and Ryan were looking in the pool house closet for Ryan's suits. Trey couldn't believe that his brother even had one suit. He said with disbelief, "You have three suits?"

Ryan looked a little embarrassed and said, "Kirsten made me. It's not like I wanted them. I told her not to buy them for me, and that they were too expensive. She just gave me this kind of hurt look and said, 'Don't be silly. I want you to have them'. After that I just kind of shut up and let her do what she wanted."

Trey felt a flash of jealousy. He sounded a little angry as he said, "You've really become a part of this other family haven't you?"

Ryan thought about it. He knew it was true. He also remembered the turning point for him. The point when he stopped being a guest, and really did feel like a part of the family. It had been right after his first Thanksgiving with the Cohens, when Sandy had spanked him for doing something illegal and dangerous. Something illegal and dangerous that Trey had asked him to do. Ryan looked down and nodded. "I guess."

Trey tried not to be mad. He had to tell himself that he wouldn't want what Ryan had anyway. And that It would be much to constricting to live with the Cohens. He put a hand on Ryan's shoulder and said, "I think that's a good thing."

Ryan was surprised, but it seemed like his brother actually understood. He said quietly, "Thanks."

Trey told himself that it was a really good thing he was moving out tomorrow, and then tried on all three suits. He picked a light gray one. Ryan said, "The tie that goes with that one is in Seth's room I think."

They both went into the house and found the tie in Seth's room. Ryan went to the guestroom to get his suit on, and Trey followed him. Soon Ryan was all dressed and then looked over to see that Trey was still struggling with his tie. Ryan smiled, because he remembered doing the same thing. He walked over and said, "Here, you're going to hang yourself. Let me."

Trey pushed Ryan's hands away irritated and said, "I've got it."

Ryan reached up again and said, "I couldn't do it when I first moved in either. Let me help."

Trey rolled his eyes and put his hands down. Ryan said, "You know these things sound really boring, but usually something crazy happens once it gets going, and it ends up being kind of fun."

"Yeah?"

Ryan finished up and said, "Yeah. There. You look good."

Trey and Ryan both looked in the full-length mirror that was against the wall. They looked at themselves and then at each other. Trey thought they both looked kind of good, but at the same time, he thought they looked out of place. Ryan would have thought that a year and a half ago, but now he just thought they looked good.

Sandy came in and saw them both. He said, "I'm impressed. Ready to go rip off some Newpsies?"

They all headed out and met Seth who was waiting by the door. Once they got to the yard sale, Sandy was soon busy talking with people. Ryan, Seth, and Trey hung out by the back waiting for things to start. Soon Kirsten arrived and said hi to everyone. Next Marissa arrived with her tea set. She went to Ryan and said, "Hey, I have a last minute entry."

He took it from her and said, "Okay, I'll tag it and put it in the back."

Kirsten saw their exchange, and then walked over to Marissa. She said, "What was that you just brought in?"

"Oh it was just something my mom was going to get rid of. I thought I'd donate it here."

Kirsten nodded and went over to her table where her business partner Carter was sitting.

Ryan put the tea set in the back and went to get a tag for it. He wrote the information down on the list and put a tag on the set. Then as he turned to leave he saw the little table that Seth had bumped into the day before, but noticed it was empty. He walked over to it and saw the picture of the egg, and the tag for the egg, but the crystal egg itself was not there. Ryan looked around on the floor for pieces, but didn't see any. He looked around on the shelves with all the other things and didn't see the egg anywhere. Then he had a thought and got very still. He whispered to himself, "Trey."

Ryan didn't want to believe it. He almost hated himself for thinking it. But the longer he stood there looking at the empty table, the more he thought he was probably right. He knew Trey could do it. He had access to the egg, and knew where it was. The guards at the country club would know Trey from helping out the day before, and Trey was slick enough to make up a convincing story for them to let him in. And Trey knew plenty of people in Chino who would take stolen goods and resell them.

Ryan shook his head and thought, 'Why? Why would Trey do it? Should I ask him about it? No, he would deny it whether he had done it or not. Should I tell Sandy? What would he do? Call the cops. But then Trey goes back to jail. Maybe Sandy would help me cover it up. No, that would be wrong. Shit, why would he do it? Marissa went with him to find the apartment. Maybe she knows something. It wouldn't be the first time she kept something from me.'

Ryan went in search of Marissa, and found her outside getting some sun because she had been cold in the air conditioning. He said, "Hey."

"Hey, what's up?"

Ryan dove right in; "There's this glass egg from Risky Business. It's probably the most valuable thing here, and now it's gone."

Marissa just stared at him for a second wondering why he was telling her. Then realized where he was going, "You don't think Trey…."

"Yeah. I think he did. But why would he steal something now? I mean everything's going great right?"

Marissa hated to see Ryan so upset, but if it were true, then she thought he deserved to know why his brother had done it. She said, "No. No he lied. He didn't clear the background check for the apartment, so he needed to come up with three thousand dollars to move in."

Ryan was pissed. He glared at her and said, "Why didn't you tell me?"

Marissa stammered, "I…. I…."

Ryan heard a voice behind him say, "Because I told her not to."

Ryan turned to see Trey. Trey had gone out to look for Ryan to tell him the sale was about to start. He over heard Marissa tell Ryan what she knew. Trey also knew that Marissa had tried to help him, and he figured lying about why she hadn't told Ryan would help her out, and make them even.

Ryan turned his anger on Trey, "So you stole it?!"

Trey wasn't sure how Ryan even knew the egg was gone yet. But he was pretty sure Ryan didn't have proof. Trey said with conviction, "I didn't steal anything."

Ryan took a step towards his brother and said, "Don't lie to me Trey."

Trey knew Ryan wasn't stupid, and he could tell that Ryan already knew he had done it. Trey said, "What does it matter bro? These people think this stuff is junk."

Ryan couldn't believe Trey was trying to use that as an excuse to make what he had done okay. "How could you do this man? After everything the Cohens have done for you. Everything Marissa's done for you. Can't you think of anyone besides yourself for five minutes?"

Ryan was getting loud, so Trey took a step closer and said fiercely, "I wasn't thinking about myself, I was thinking about you. That's why I wanted to get the money, so I could get out of everybody's way."

Ryan shook his head at Trey's logic. He said with calm, "Well now you're gonna be, because you're going back to jail."

Ryan turned to go find Sandy. Trey grabbed Ryan's arm and said in a pleading voice, "Wait! Just stop. We can still get it back." Trey pulled out a wad of cash. "I've still got the money. Come on, Please?"

Ryan couldn't remember Trey saying please much, if ever. And he could tell from Trey's voice that he really was starting to panic at the thought of going back to jail. Ryan closed his eyes for a second thinking. He said, "Where's the egg?"

"Chino."

Trey let go of Ryan knowing he was thinking about it. Trey looked over at Marissa, who was watching Ryan, and he figured she would agree with whatever Ryan said. Ryan thought, 'The sale should take about three hours, and that would be just enough time to drive to Chino and back.'

He slowly nodded and said, "Are these guys you sold it to gonna want to sell it back?"

Trey looked away. "No."

"Great."

Ryan knew this meant things could get ugly. He also knew Sandy and Kirsten wouldn't approve. If the guys were mean enough, and if Ryan wasn't quick enough, he knew he could get beat up or killed, and end up without the money or the egg. But he also didn't want Sandy or Kirsten to find out what his brother had done, because he was ashamed of him. He wanted to cover it all up before the egg was found missing. He turned to Marissa and said, "Stall the sale as much as you can. I'm going to need all the time you can get for me to get the egg back."

Marissa nodded. Ryan snatched the money from Trey and said, "Give me the address."

Trey said, "I'm coming too. You can't expect to do this on your own."

Ryan glared at Trey and said, "You've done enough already. You stay here, help Sandy move the stuff, and help Marissa stall."

"I'm not going to let my little brother go off and get himself hurt to fix my mistakes!"

Ryan laughed with anger and shook his head. "You know what Trey? I've been doing it my whole life. I would think you'd be used to it by now. Go to jail, or get in there and help Marissa. Your choice bro."

Trey looked down defeated and said, "Give me some paper and I'll give you the address."

Marissa pulled some paper out of her purse, and Ryan pulled a pen out of his pocket. Trey wrote the address down and handed it to Ryan. He said, "Be careful."

Ryan just turned and walked away. He had to walk back through the ballroom where everyone was gathered to get to the parking lot. He walked into the room and saw Sandy up on stage auctioning the first of many items. Ryan looked behind him and made sure Marissa and Trey were headed to the back to help stall things. Marissa nodded to him and he nodded back. Ryan kept going and was thankful to the Cohens once again for not thinking twice about it before giving him a set of keys to both the cars and to the house. He hoped to be back before anyone noticed he had used the SUV.

Sandy noticed Ryan walking out towards the parking lot, and wondered why he wasn't in the back helping like he was supposed to. Seth also saw Ryan when he came back in the door. He saw the look pass between Ryan and Marissa and knew something was up. He wasn't really looking forward to helping out, so he followed Ryan to see what he was going to do.

Ryan walked purposefully towards the car, and then he heard Seth behind him. Seth said, "Hey, where you going?"

"I'll tell you later."

Seth kept following, "Tell me now. Marissa gets to be part of the plan."

Ryan was irritated and loosing precious time. "There's no plan. I just gotta go do something."

Seth never liked to be in the dark, and he knew Ryan was up to something. He said, "Okay well you're gonna need a wingman, and Marissa and my dad are both busy, so…."

Ryan kept walking. Seth started to get a little whiny, "Come on…. I never get to go."

Ryan nodded. "Yeah, there's a reason."

Seth put a hand on Ryan's arm to stop him for a second. He said with enthusiasm, "Yeah, but if I go with you, no one's gonna suspect anything, 'cause we all know if you were doing something dangerous, I wouldn't get to go. I'm the perfect cover."

Seth nodded at his own logic. Ryan couldn't help but like Seth. Ryan had often wondered while growing up what it would be like to have a younger brother instead of an older one, and while he and Seth were technically the same age, he thought of Seth as younger. He didn't really want to go do this thing at all, but if he had to, he thought Seth's company would be nice. While Seth might annoy him sometimes, he never had to question Seth's loyalty or honesty. In fact Seth was often too honest. Ryan had already decided to take Seth but just for good measure he said, "No more comments about Marissa and me?"

Seth picked up on it quickly and said, "You and who?"

Ryan gave Seth a smile and tossed him the keys to the car. Seth stood there while the keys hit him in the chest, and fell to the ground. Ryan gave Seth a look of disbelief. Seth immediately reached down to pick up the keys, and said quickly and apologetically, "I didn't know you were gonna throw them. I'll catch them next time. I just need a heads up."

Seth started towards the car, and Ryan said, "If you're gonna be my wingman you need to catch the keys."

Ryan headed for the other side of the car and Seth reiterated, "I'll catch them the next time."

Once they were in the car and on the road Seth said, "So where are we going."

"Chino."

"Of course. Um…. Why?"

Ryan didn't really want to tell anyone about it, but he knew Seth told him everything, and he also knew Seth would probably figure it out anyway. "You remember the Risky Business egg you almost broke?"

Seth nodded. "Trey stole it sometime last night, and sold it to some guys for nine thousand dollars. Now I'm going to go get it back."

"Stole it? But how? Why? How are you gonna get it back? I mean do you have the money to buy it back, or are you planning to beat these guys up?"

Ryan went into a short explanation of how and why Trey did it, and what he planned to do. When he was done, Seth was quiet for a while. Ryan started to regret taking Seth. Ryan thought, 'I just didn't want to do it alone. I'm putting him in danger too, and I don't even think he understands how serious it could get.'

Ryan's thoughts were interrupted when Seth said, "I don't think we should tell Dad about this. He wouldn't like it. We'd probably get grounded for like a month or something."

Ryan didn't think that was all that would happen, and he had a hard time understanding why Seth would even consider telling his father what they were planning to do. He knew he never would have told his family members about it if he had done something wrong. But then he wouldn't have told his family members about it if he had done something good either. He nodded and said, "I think you're right."


An hour and a half later they pulled up to the address. It was a small house in the Chino slums. Ryan said, "Stay here." And started to get out of the car.

Seth said, "Wait. What are you gonna do?"

"I'm not sure."

Seth smiled at him and said, "I've got a plan. And it's a good one too."

Ryan closed his door and sat back to hear it.

A few minutes later Seth knocked on the front door. A really big guy answered it and said, "Yeah?"

Seth gave him a nervous smile as he said, "Hello, I'm Pippins McGee, and I'm from the film preservation society. We're putting together a Tom Cruise retrospective for his film career, and we're gathering all of the props that we can. So far we have about twenty of them including the kid with the big head from Jerry Maguire. And I've heard that you have the crystal egg from Risky Business for sale."

While Seth was talking, he noticed the crystal egg was sitting on the coffee table. By the time he was done talking, the second guy, who had been sitting on the couch, was headed for the door to see what was going on. Seth noticed the second guy was even bigger then the first. The first guy tried closing the door and said, "Get out of here."

But the second guy said, "No wait. How did he find out about the egg?"

While Seth was talking fast, Ryan slipped in through the sliding glass door in the back of the house, which was miraculously unlocked. He quietly walked in and took the egg off the table. He could see Seth, and Seth could see him, but the two thugs were looking at Seth. Then just as Ryan got to the sliding glass door, the guys at the door had had enough of Seth, and decided to beat the truth out of him. One of the guys had grabbed Seth's arm and was dragging him into the house. An image of Seth beat up went through Ryan's head, and berated himself for brining Seth and putting him in danger. Ryan yelled from the door. "HEY!"

The guys were startled and turned around. The guy who was holding Seth was startled enough to let go. Seth took the opportunity to run. Ryan gave the guys at the door a small smile and said, "Hi." and then turned to run also.

The bigger thug followed Ryan, and the smaller one followed Seth. As Ryan ran towards the front of the house he purposely knocked down some garbage cans, which made the thug trip and fall. Soon Ryan could see Seth and the guy following him. Again Ryan called out, "Hey!"

The thug and Seth turned to see Ryan. The thug, not seeing his partner, went towards Ryan instead, since he had the egg. Ryan yelled to Seth, "Go long!" and tossed the egg, football style, towards Seth.

Seth couldn't believe Ryan had done that, and said to himself, "This never works in P.E.!"

Seth looked up and ran a few steps in the direction the egg was headed. He jumped and reached out, and was more shocked then anyone, when the egg landed in his hands as he landed on the grass. The thug had turned to watch the egg, and while he was distracted Ryan punched him in the jaw. The thug went down, but then Ryan heard the other thug behind him getting up to chase them again after recovering from his fall.

Ryan tossed the wad of cash onto the chest of the downed thug, and ran towards Seth. Seth had gotten up, and was just standing there with the egg staring at it. Seth heard Ryan's footsteps getting closer, and turned to him with a huge grin and said, "Ryan, I caught it!"

As Ryan ran past him he said in a calm voice, "That's great." Then he yelled, "Now RUN!"

Seth snapped out of his shock, and looked back to see one of the thugs getting closer. Seth turned and ran for the car. Ryan got there first, and got in the driver's seat. They had purposely left the car unlocked, and Ryan, expecting to get back first, had taken the keys. As soon as Seth's butt hit the chair, Ryan started driving. The car started moving, and they heard the thug slap the back of the car as it pulled away. They both sat there breathing hard for a few minutes. Then Ryan said, "That was too close."

Seth smiled at him and said, "But it was so cool! And I caught the egg!"

Ryan looked over at the egg, and decided he hated it. Ryan said, "Those guys really could have beat the crap out of us Seth."

Seth didn't loose his smile, "Yeah, but they didn't, and I caught the egg. Me Ryan, I caught the egg!"

Ryan smiled in spite of himself and said, "Yeah, I saw."

Seth sat back content in their victory. Ryan looked at the time and hoped Marissa was doing a good job of stalling.


Back in Newport the sale was going fine, and Kirsten surprised both her husband and Marissa by buying Marissa's tea set for five thousand dollars. Soon there were only a couple of items left, and Marissa hadn't seen or heard from Ryan yet. Marissa talked to Summer, Trey, and their friend Zach, and they all came up with a plan to make the sale take longer. Soon Sandy was auctioning off Trey and Zach to do labor for a day. They were quickly bought for eight hundred dollars.

Finally it was time for the egg, and Sandy knew without a doubt that there was a problem. When he asked for the egg to be brought out, the girls took the mike and told the audience it was going to be a 'blind' auction, and the bidding started without the egg in sight. Sandy had a sinking feeling that the egg wasn't actually back there, and he had an even worse feeling when he realized Seth and Ryan had left a while ago and weren't back. The bidding started, and even Sandy tried to drag it out, not wanting to see what would happen once the egg was sold. Then just as he was about to call it sold, Ryan and Seth walked in the side door holding the egg. Sandy slammed the gavel down and said, "Sold!"

Ryan who was holding the egg looked up at Sandy. Sandy looked back and used his gavel to point to a woman in the crowd and said, "To the lovely lady in the red dress. Ryan, if you wouldn't mind."

Ryan gave a fake smile, but felt his stomach filling with acid, because he could tell that Sandy knew there was some kind of foul play. He handed the egg to the woman who smiled and seemed happy with her purchase.

The auction/ yard sale was finally over, and Sandy declared it a success and thanked everyone for coming out and being generous with their money before turning off the mike and walking over to his wife. For the next half an hour Ryan, Seth, and Trey helped people get their purchases into their cars, while Sandy and Kirsten visited with people. Soon Kirsten and Carter said they needed to go back to the office for a while. Sandy looked at his watch and said, "It's Sunday, and it's dinner time."

Kirsten gave him an apologetic look and said, "I'm sorry honey. Carter and I will order some take out. I'll be home by ten."

Sandy sighed, gave her a kiss and said, "See you then."

Marissa saw Kirsten leaving and caught up with her first. She said, "If you had said you wanted the tea set, I would have just given it to you."

Kirsten smiled at her and said, "I think my mom would have been happy to know her tea set helped with charity. Really I should be thanking you. I thought it was lost, and now I have it back. My dad never cared much for tea, so he won't even notice it's gone."

Marissa stood there stunned. Kirsten walked off, and Marissa went to go collect the money from her sale. Soon she had two thousand five hundred dollars in her purse. She hadn't been able to talk to Ryan since he had gotten back, and now that things were starting to wind down she went to find him.

Ryan was putting a large statue in the back of someone's SUV. Once the person had driven off, Marissa went up to Ryan and said, "Looks like you got it back."

Ryan nodded, still nervous about any confrontation with Sandy, and still too angry at Trey to even look at him. Marissa said, "It was really brave of you."

Ryan shook his head and said, "No, it was stupid, but thanks anyway."

"What about Trey?"

Ryan shrugged. "He's moving out tomorrow, and I don't care where he goes or what he does as long as he's out of my life."

Marissa knew Ryan was angry and didn't really think he felt that way. She said, "Maybe knowing what you did for him will help him stay on the right path. I think he really is trying to change."

Ryan didn't respond. She said, "What are you gonna tell the Cohens?"

Ryan cringed at the thought, "As little as possible."

Marissa said, "Summer was talking about hanging out at her house after this. Do you and Seth want to come over and avoid it?"

Ryan did want to but shook his head no. He said, "You go ahead though. I'll see you later tonight when you get in."

Marissa nodded and said, "Okay." She went to find Trey.

Trey had tried a couple of times to talk to Ryan and say thank you, but Ryan refused to acknowledge his presence. Trey had collected his four hundred dollars for auctioning himself off, and was looking around to see if there was anything left for him to do, when Marissa came up to him. She said, "Hi."

Trey said, "Hey."

Marissa handed him an envelope. He said, "What's this?"

"I told you I'd help you. I just wish you'd listened to me."

Trey opened the envelope and saw the cash. She said, "That plus your money, should be enough to get you into the apartment."

Trey just looked at her not understanding. He said, "I'll pay you back."

Marissa didn't really care. The money meant nothing to her. She just shrugged. Trey said, "I guess Ryan will be glad to see me gone."

Marissa shook her head. "Not really."

"He won't even look at me now."

"He'll forgive you. I'll talk to him over the next few days, and he'll forgive you."

She turned and walked away. Trey didn't know what to say. He looked around for Ryan, but didn't see him. He went out to the front, and saw Sandy socializing with some Newpsies. He went over and said, "If you don't need anything else, I'm going to head to my new apartment and make the down payment. I'll be back to pack my stuff later tonight, and then move in tomorrow."

Sandy excused himself from the others and took Trey aside. He said, "I don't know what was going on today, between you and your brother, but I don't like what I saw."

Trey said, "I don't know what you're talking about Mr. Cohen."

Sandy knew for a fact Trey was lying. He said, "If you've gotten Ryan involved in something, I won't help you out again, and neither will he."

Trey glared and said, "Like I said, I don't know what you're talking about. I'll get a room for the night, and be back to pack up my stuff tomorrow morning."

Sandy said, "Good idea."

Trey walked out. Sandy looked around and saw that everything was just about done. He went to find Seth, Ryan, and Marissa. He found Seth, who was sitting on a chair relaxing with his eyes closed after all the lifting he had done helping people get stuff to their cars. Sandy said, "Did you have a nice time at the sale today?"

Seth jerked up to a sitting position and said, "Um… Hi."

Sandy said, "Where's your partner in crime?"

Seth gave a fake laugh and said, "Crime? Crime is such an over used term Dad. Do any of us really have a clear picture of what it means?"

Sandy said, "I know I do."

Seth lost his smile and looked around for Ryan. Ryan came out of the bathroom, and saw Sandy standing next to Seth. Sandy beckoned him to come over to them by holding up his index finger and crooking it towards him a few times. Ryan swallowed hard and wished he had stayed in the bathroom. He slowly walked over to them. Sandy said, "Have either of you seen Marissa?"

Ryan said, "She left with Summer. They're going to hang out at Summer's house for a while. She should be home later."

Sandy looked at Ryan and then at Seth, and then back again. He said, "Well then I guess we have the house to ourselves for a few hours. Come on."

Sandy started towards the door. Ryan and Seth looked at each other. Ryan whispered, "How bad is it?"

"He mentioned crime."

"Not good."

They both started following Sandy. Ryan stopped Seth with a hand on his arm and said seriously, "Let me do the talking Seth. You got it?"

Seth nodded and they both kept going.

Once they were in the car, and Sandy was headed for home, he looked over at Ryan who had taken the front seat. Sandy said, "Where did the two of you go?"

Ryan looked out the window and said, "I had something I needed to take care of."

"Something having to do with that egg?"

Ryan gave a slight nod. Sandy said, "I'm not sure exactly what you kids were up to today, but I'm betting it had something to do with Trey. And still it's not enough for you to come to me."

Ryan and Seth could both hear the disappointment in Sandy's voice. Sandy said, "Is there something I've done to make you not trust me?"

Ryan said with surprise, "No, not at all."

"Then why won't you come to me with your problems?"

"I…. I don't know."

The car was quiet for a few minutes. Sandy looked up in his rear view mirror, and tilted it down to see Seth. He said, "And what about you? You have anything to say about today?"

Seth wanted to burst into the story, but instead shook his head no. Sandy tilted the mirror back up and looked over to Ryan again. He said, "I want the whole story Ryan. You say you trust me, so prove it and tell me what you guys did."

Ryan really didn't want to lie, and he couldn't really come up with anything convincing anyway. He did trust Sandy, and even though he knew it would probably get him grounded or even spanked again, he decided to be honest. He said, "I found out that Trey stole that egg and sold it to some guys in Chino. Trey still had the money, so I took it and went to get the egg back."

The car was quiet for a while. Sandy said, "Your story telling is somewhat lacking. How did Seth get involved."

Ryan said, "Seth didn't even know what I was doing before we left. I talked him into coming with me, because I was worried that I might need some help. He tried to stop me when he found out what I was going to do, and he waited in the car while I got the egg."

Seth couldn't take it. He popped like a balloon. "No way are we going with that story Ryan. You should have seen it Dad! It was so cool! Ryan didn't really have a plan when we got there, so we used this plan that I read about in an issue of Marvel Team Up where….."

Ryan in the front seat turned around and said, "Seth!"

Seth looked over at Ryan. Ryan said, "Shut up."

Seth looked hurt. He crossed his arms and said, "You said I could be your wingman. I'm not going to let you take all the credit for my plan, and if we're going down, then we're going down together."

Ryan turned back around and closed his eyes. He had wanted to save Seth from any punishment. Especially since Ryan felt responsible for his brother's actions as well as his own. Sandy said, "Go on son."

"So in this issue of Marvel….."

Sandy interrupted, "Just what the two of you did. Not the team up."

Seth said, "Well it could be said that the two of us were the team up today."

Both Sandy and Ryan said, "Seth!"

"Okay. Jeez."

Seth went on to tell Sandy in great detail and with many embellishments how they had gotten the egg away from two huge dimwitted guys who were on the verge of killing them. As Seth talked, Ryan slouched lower, and lower, in his seat. When Seth was done he let out a satisfied sigh and said, "So you see, catching the egg was like…. Like making the touchdown and winning the game."

Sandy was quiet for a while trying not to yell. He looked over at Ryan, and could tell that Ryan was also unhappy with Seth's description of events. A few silent minutes later they arrived at home. Sandy parked and said, "Living room. Both of you."

Ryan and Seth both got out and went into the house while Sandy sat in the car for a few minutes thinking and calming down. The second they were in the house Ryan said through clenched teeth, "Are you insane?"

Seth considered this. "I don't think so."

They walked into the living room and sat on the couch. Ryan hissed, "I was trying to protect you, you idiot! You should have stuck to the story. Then even if I was in trouble, you wouldn't be."

Seth got defensive. "I'm not gonna let you take all the blame for something we did together. Remember when I told you that from now on I was always gonna have your back, the same way you've always had mine. I meant what I said. If you go down, so do I."

Ryan sat back and thought about it. He knew that if it were he and Trey in trouble instead of him and Seth, Trey would be happy to let Ryan take the fall. In fact he probably would have denied involvement even if Ryan confessed. Ryan sighed and said, "Seth, you are my best friend. I trust you more then I trust my brother, and I appreciate that you want to have my back. But I don't think you understand what's gonna happen."

Seth said, "How could I walk around all happy while you got grounded for something we both did. It wouldn't be right."

Ryan shook his head. "I don't think he's gonna ground us. Well, maybe he'll ground you."

Seth was confused. "What do you think he's gonna do?"

Ryan opened his mouth, but then they heard the front door open. Sandy came in and stood looking at the two of them. He said, "Okay, I got the play by play on how you got the egg back, now I want to know why you didn't come to me when you first found out about it Ryan."

Ryan sighed. "I thought about it, but…. I was ashamed of my brother, and what he had done. I didn't want you to know."

Sandy said, "We've talked about your trust issues before."

Ryan got red. "I know."

"Did you think I would blame you for what your brother had done? Did you think I would think less of you for what he had done?"

"No…. yes….. I don't know. It's just that you have all been so good to him, and to me, and then he goes and betrays you. I guess I… I didn't want you to see what my family is really like, because I don't want you to think I'm like that."

Seth said, "And you think I'm the idiot?"

Sandy said, "Hush." Then he turned to Ryan and said, "You are a part of this family now, and I expect you to act like it. When you have a problem, you come to me and talk to me about it whether you want to or not."

Ryan quietly said, "Okay. I'm sorry."

Sandy went to sit down on the large chair beside the couch. He said, "Now I can understand you wanting to protect Seth, but lying to me is not okay. We went over lying for Seth when it was my anniversary and you were grounded for a week because of it."

Ryan couldn't keep eye contact and nodded in agreement. Sandy looked over at Seth and said, "And you."

"Me?"

"You don't even seem to understand that what you did was dangerous."

"No, I know it was. I just…. Thought we'd win."

"It's not a game Seth. I have seen people killed over two hundred dollars. The egg was worth a lot more. Those guys could have shot you. I could be looking at your body in the morgue."

Seth shook his head not really believing it. He said, "They didn't have guns. Don't over react Dad. It all worked out okay."

Ryan didn't really want to get Seth or himself into more trouble, but he found it disturbing that Seth really didn't understand the danger. He said, "Didn't you see the gun on the coffee table Seth? When I grabbed the egg I saw it. We were lucky they were too stupid to pick it up. Sandy's right. You could be dead right now because of what we did."

Seth shook his head no again. He believed Ryan, but that kind of danger was so far out of his realm of understanding he couldn't buy it. He said, "But we got away, and they didn't hurt us. We didn't even get punched."

Ryan looked at Sandy and said, "I'm really sorry I got Seth involved in this. It won't happen again."

Seth said, "Dude, I got myself involved. Don't you remember me begging you to go? Stop trying to take the blame. I'm just as responsible for what we did as you are."

Ryan said, "You stop trying to take the blame!"

Sandy held his hand up. "Both of you stop and listen to me."

They both looked at him. Sandy said, "Both of you are grounded for two weeks. What you did was very dangerous and deceitful. You both could have gotten killed. And this all could have been avoided if either one of you had come to me. Ryan if you were worried about your brother going back to jail, we could have made excuses. We could have said the egg broke."

Ryan just sat there wondering why he hadn't thought about that. It would have been easy enough to fake. Sandy looked down and said, "Ryan I need to talk to you about Trey."

Ryan waited. Sandy said, "I asked him about this, and he denied knowing anything."

Ryan said, "Typical."

"He's moving out tomorrow, and I don't want you to see him unless you tell me about it and get my approval first."

Ryan shook his head; "I don't want to see him ever again."

Sandy nodded slowly. "I'll respect that if that's what you want, but if you change your mind, you need to talk to me about it first. And if you accidentally run into each other, I want you to tell me about it the first chance you get. I'm very serious about this."

Ryan nodded in understanding. Sandy looked at Seth and said, "I expect the same of you."

Seth nodded too. Sandy didn't really want to bring up this next part, but he had made a promise to Ryan and he intended to keep it. Sandy turned to Ryan and said, "Was what you did today illegal?"

Ryan got bright red again and said, "Well…. Technically maybe, but they stole it first."

Sandy said, "From what you've both told me, I count breaking and entering, and stealing."

Seth said, "We gave them the money back. It wasn't stealing."

Sandy said, "That argument won't hold up in court son. If they didn't want to sell, it's stealing."

Sandy looked at Ryan again and said, "Do you remember what I said I would do if you did something illegal again?"

Ryan barely got out a quiet, "Yes."

Seth said, "What do you mean again?"

Sandy looked at Seth and said, "I know that this was Ryan's idea, and you just went along for the ride. But I also know that you were a willing participant, and would do it again if given the chance. And I want you to understand that what you did was unacceptable, and will not happen again."

Seth said, "I know, I'm grounded. You said."

Sandy shook his head. He had thought about just grounding Seth, but after hearing the whole story he didn't think that would be fair to either boy. He said, "Yes you are, but that's not all. You're about to find out why Ryan was trying to protect you. Come over here."

Seth looked at his father and then back over to Ryan. Ryan was looking at Sandy and said, "No. It was my fault. You shouldn't."

"It's not you're decision Ryan."

Seth said, "What's going on? I don't get it."

Sandy stood up and took Seth's hand and gave it a small pull. Seth stood up automatically when he felt the pull. Sandy put a hand on Seth's face and looked into his eyes when he said, "I'm going to spank you."

Seth looked confused for a second and then started to laugh. He looked over at Ryan and saw that Ryan was looking scared and pale instead of laughing too. Seth stopped laughing and said, "I think you're scaring Ryan Dad. You should tell him you're not serious."

"But I am."

Seth just looked confused and shook his head a little. Sandy took two steps backwards to his chair and dragged Seth along with him. He sat and pulled Seth down over his lap. As Seth was going he said, "You are? What do you mean you are? You are what?"

Once Seth was over Sandy's lap Sandy said, "Serious."

Seth absolutely couldn't believe it. He struggled to get up, only to have Sandy wrap an arm around his waist. Seth yelled, "What are you, a pod person or something?! You don't spank me. You don't spank anyone! In fact you're against it! You told me more then once how awful you thought it was!"

Sandy said, "I've changed my mind."

Sandy brought his hand down as Seth yelled, "What!!! Oww! You can't change your mind!!!"

Sandy brought his hand down again and again, and soon set up a rhythm. Seth set up a constant stream of yelling with many owes and grunts interspersed. "Who are you…. OW and what did you… OW do with my… OW father? Don't you… AH put people…. OW in jail for…. MMF this kind of thing? AH… You said what we did…. OW was unacceptable? OW… THIS is unacceptable! AAH."

Ryan wasn't exactly surprised at Seth's reaction, or at what Sandy had decided to do. But he was sure he didn't want to see it or hear it. Every smack made him feel more guilt. He shouldn't have taken Seth, and if he hadn't, this wouldn't be happening to him. Ryan was dreading his own spanking which he knew would be next, but he was pretty sure nothing could be worse then having to listen to this.

Seth, with many owes, kept talking and yelling. "This is so not right Dad! No one spanks their kids anymore, and I'm way too old! You were living on your own at my age! You said I could live in Portland and leave home, so why would you be doing this now?!"

Seth was never one to be stoic, and the pain was starting to get to him even through his slacks. He yelled, "Dad! Dad, stop!"

Sandy didn't. Seth yelled, "I'm telling MOM!"

Sandy paused and said, "Seth."

Seth took a few deep breaths and was glad it was over. He said, "Yeah?"

"I want you to think about what you and Ryan did. I want you to realize that it was wrong, and I want you to promise me it won't happen again."

Seth nodded and said, "Okay, I promise."

Sandy said, "Good. Thank you. Now we'll just finish this up, and you will be done, and forgiven."

Sandy brought his hand down again, and Seth yelled as loud as he could, "What do you mean finish up?!!!"

Sandy kept spanking and Seth said, "Dad! OW! Dad Please! AHH! I really want… OW! you to stop! OWW! DAD! AHH! Dad come on! OWW! I'm sorry, Okay?! MMF! REALLY! OW! Really, really SORRYYYY…."

Sandy and Ryan both heard Seth's voice break, and he couldn't talk anymore, because he was busy crying. Sandy thought it was one of the most heart wrenching sounds he had ever heard and stopped. He let go and Seth just lay there. Sandy rubbed his back and said quietly, "All done."

Seth slowly pushed himself up and wiped at his face. He put both hands on his butt and rubbed it while giving his father a look of hurt and distrust. Sandy stood up and pulled Seth into a hug. Seth put his arms around his father after a few seconds. As soon as he could talk again Seth said, "I can't believe you just did that to me."

Sandy hugged him tighter and said, "I won't loose you Seth. You can't do dangerous things. I won't let you."

They stayed that way until Seth calmed down enough to say, "This really sucks Dad. You're supposed to be the cool dad. You're supposed to be the dad everyone else wishes they had. Now…. Now I don't know what kind of dad you are."

Sandy let go of Seth and put his hands on his shoulders. Seth looked at him, and Sandy said, "I'm still the same dad."

"No you're not. Because now when I'm about to do something that I know you're not gonna like, I'm not gonna be thinking about getting grounded."

"Well then I guess it worked."

Sandy patted Seth's shoulder while Seth closed his eyes and wished he had kept his big mouth shut. Sandy said, "Why don't you have a seat on the couch. It's Ryan's turn."

Seth's eyes jerked open and his brain worked overtime. He turned to Ryan and said accusingly, "You knew this was gonna happen! How did you know?"

Ryan was feeling so guilty now he almost wanted the spanking that was coming. He looked at Seth and said, "I'm so sorry Seth."

"How did you know?!"

Ryan looked away. "It happened once before."

"WHAT?! When? Why? How could you not tell me?!"

Ryan gave a slight shrug. "I didn't want anyone to know."

"Well yeah, I wouldn't want anyone to know either, but I'd still tell you."

Sandy interrupted with, "Ryan."

Ryan stood up. Sandy went back and sat in his chair again. Seth backed away to the other side of the coffee table. Ryan walked over to Sandy's side and looked at the floor. Sandy said, "Look at me."

Ryan did. Sandy said, "I know that you feel responsible for this whole thing, and I know that you were trying to protect both your brother, and us at the same time. But you have to trust me to protect you, not the other way around."

Sandy paused and Ryan nodded to show he was listening. Sandy said, "You know that I love you right?"

Ryan looked away and nodded again. Sandy said, "Pants down."

Ryan was expecting this, because it had happened the last time, and because Ryan believed that what he had done was worse then what Seth had done. Across the room Seth said loudly, "What?!"

Sandy looked over at him and said, "If you can't be quiet, go wait in the kitchen."

Seth closed his mouth, unable to believe what was going on in front of him. Ryan had undone his slacks, and they fell to the floor. Sandy took Ryan's wrist, and helped guide him over his lap. Once he was in place Sandy took the underwear down too. Sandy brought his hand down with a loud 'Smack'. Across the room, Seth jumped at the sound. Ryan jerked a little bit at the impact, but didn't make a sound.

For the next full minute the only sounds in the room were the sharp slapping sounds of flesh hitting flesh.

Ryan put all of his energy and concentration into not making any noise, and trying to be still, knowing that he deserved what was happening. But soon his body betrayed him and started to move to avoid the swats.

Seth just shook his head. He didn't understand why Ryan wasn't screaming and yelling. Seth thought his spanking was truly awful, but he was pretty sure Ryan had already gotten double what he had, and with no clothing for protection.

Sandy stopped for a second. Sandy wanted more then anything to be done, but Ryan had been so silent, he wasn't sure if he was getting through to him. Sandy said, "I know that you feel guilty about today."

Ryan was breathing hard and trying to keep himself together, but he listened to what Sandy was saying too. Sandy continued, "But nothing that you did was unforgivable. You are still very much a part of this family, and always will be. Part of being in this family means that you don't have to clean up after your brother's mistakes anymore. You're not alone anymore. You can always count on us to be here to help you and support you, and we expect you to let us. Do you understand me?"

Ryan felt his eyes filling and his throat constricting. He nodded his head. Sandy didn't think that was good enough. He gave Ryan a hard swat. Ryan kept his mouth closed, but made an audible grunting sound at the swat. Sandy said again, "Do you understand me Ryan."

Ryan whispered, "Yes."

Sandy gave Ryan six more hard spanks, and Ryan couldn't be quiet through them even though he tried. Ryan could feel the tears start down his face. Sandy stopped and pulled Ryan's underwear back up. He helped Ryan stand. Ryan immediately reached down and put his slacks back on, and wiped at the tears that were still falling down his face. Sandy stood up and put both hands on the sides of Ryan's face. He tilted Ryan's face up to look at him. Once they had eye contact Sandy said, "No more guilt now. I forgive you, and you need to forgive yourself."

Ryan gave a barely perceptible nod and cried harder. Sandy kissed his forehead and pulled him into a hug. Ryan hugged him back tightly. Sandy rubbed Ryan's back while Ryan tried to stop crying. Sandy looked over at Seth who was still standing in the same spot. Seth was lost in his own thoughts and didn't notice.

Ryan was able to force himself to stop crying pretty soon, and let go of Sandy. Sandy looked back and forth between the boys. After a few seconds he said, "Okay, both of you know the grounded routine, so go to your rooms."

Ryan started to head to the stairs. Seth just looked at his dad for a few seconds. Then he stated, "You really spanked us."

Sandy nodded. Seth shook his head and started up the stairs muttering to himself, "Unbelievable. This is really gonna put a crimp in my plans for senior year."

Once the boys were out of sight, Sandy sat down on the couch, leaned back, and closed his eyes hoping he had done the right thing.


Ryan got to his room first. He went in and took his suit jacket off. He hung it on the back of a chair, and loosened his tie. He took off his shoes, and flopped face down on his bed. A few seconds later he heard Seth say, "So tell me about it now."

Ryan turned his head and opened his eyes. Seth was standing in the doorway of the guestroom with his arms crossed. Ryan said, "Aren't you supposed to be in your room?"

"Yeah. Now tell me about it."

Ryan sighed and rolled to his side. He propped his head up on his hand with an elbow on the bed. He said, "What do you want to know?"

"The part where my easy going father turned into that guy downstairs, and you didn't tell me about it."

"It was the first Thanksgiving I spent with you."

Seth thought about it for a few minutes. He said, "The time you went to see your brother in jail?"

Ryan nodded. "When I was in Chino, I drove a stolen car to a chop shop to repay some of Trey's debts. Sandy found out about it and was less then happy with me."

Seth didn't know what to say. He looked at Ryan with hurt and said, "Don't you trust me?"

"Of course I do."

"Then how could you keep all this stuff to yourself?"

Ryan looked down and said, "I don't know. Years of practice I guess. You can't exactly go to school in the second grade and say you were late to school because your mom was passed out on the kitchen floor when you woke up, and her boyfriend backhanded you when you asked for a ride. I just would rather keep those things to myself you know?"

Seth walked over and sat on the foot of Ryan's bed with a wince. He said, "Is that why you were so quiet through the whole thing? Years of practice?"

Ryan shook his head. "No. I never got spanked when I lived in Chino. Slapped, and punched often enough, but not spanked. It's a very different feeling. I was quiet because…. I guess because I deserved it."

Seth was quiet for a few minutes. Then he said, "I guess you think I deserved it too."

Ryan thought about it and said, "Maybe, but I wish I hadn't let you come. Having to listen to you get spanked was worse then me getting spanked."

Seth shook his head. "No way man. You got it twice as bad as me. I can't believe he made you take your pants off!"

Ryan closed his eyes and said with exasperation, "I really don't want to go back over it Seth."

Seth nodded. "Right."

A few seconds went by and then Seth said, "So did he make you take your pants off the last time? Where did he get that idea anyway? I'll have to ask him if his mom ever spanked him. Do you think that's were he got it?"

Ryan lay down all the way and closed his eyes. He realized Seth wouldn't stop until he had heard the whole story. He kept his eyes shut and told Seth the whole thing, leaving out the fact that he himself had spanked Marissa. When he was done Seth said, "Who would have thought my dad was such a hard ass?"

Ryan looked at Seth and said, "Out of all the men I've met in my life, your father is the only one I can say I really respect. I just can't believe he took me in. I mean I was this white trash delinquent, and he just opened his doors to me, even though Kirsten didn't want him to. What kind of guy does that?"

The room was quiet for a few minutes. Then Sandy appeared in the doorway. He looked at Seth and thought about pointing out that he was supposed to be in his room. But instead he said, "Either of you guys hungry?"

Seth said, "I could eat." He looked at Ryan, "How about you?"

Ryan nodded. Sandy said, "Pizza or Chinese?"

Ryan said, "Pizza."

And at the same time Seth said, "Chinese."

Sandy gave them a smile and said, "Both sound good to me. Come on down to the kitchen and help me order. "

Sandy left and Seth stood up. Ryan stood up too. As they started for the door Ryan said, "Hey Seth."

"Yeah?"

"You aren't gonna tell anyone else about this are you?"

"No. No of course not. I mean….. Well, maybe just Summer…. And well probably Mom….and…"

Ryan groaned and muttered, "Just shoot me now."


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