|the_water_clock (the_water_clock) wrote,|
@ 2009-05-14 11:56 am UTC
|Entry tags:||[ story: a dream that could not last ]|
Title: A Dream That Could Not Last: Epilogue
Pairing: American Idol: Ryan Seacrest/Simon Cowell, Amanda Overmyer/Carly Smithson, Kimberley Locke/Anwar Robinson
Chapter Rating: PG-13
Chapter Summary: Homecoming.
Chapter Length: 1700 words
Disclaimer: People sort of own themselves, don't they? Which means this is a work of fiction.
Notes: A Dream That Could Not Last is an AU romantic comedy set in 1939 London, when everyone knew war was on the horizon but no one was sure when or how it would arrive—which made love of all kinds that much more important. Follow a year in the life of three groups of (mostly) Americans: pilots who joined the RAF, singers and dancers in a swing music revue, and reporters for BBC Radio. As usual there will be plenty of songs along the way to set the mood, plus art by the amazing bhanesidhe.
This was a big undertaking, and needed a team. If I was the writer/director, then locumtenens was my editor, lillijulianne, musicforcylons and evil_erato my producers, dana_kujan the actually helpful studio executive; and ali_wildgoose my executive producer who kept the train on the tracks in ways so numerous I cannot list them here.
Prologue | 1: The Lady Eve | 2: Adam's Rib | 3: His Girl Friday | 4: Bringing Up Baby | 5: Stella Dallas | 6: Pursuits of Happiness | 7: Gaslight | 8: The Philadelphia Story | 9: Contesting Tears | 10: It Happened One Night | 11: The Awful Truth | 12: Now, Voyager
6 October 1945
Ryan Seacrest stood out on the deck in the early morning mist, staring out at the ocean, a breeze stirring his hair. He'd never sailed into California before—hadn't been back to the states at all in almost three years now. How different this was than all those Atlantic crossings; he wasn't even sure California was home anymore. But it sure looked pretty: the sun rising behind the mountainous coastline, the cluster of city buildings, the Golden Gate Bridge glowing red in the light.
He rubbed his chin absently. Seemed odd to be clean-shaven, since he'd been living in fatigues for more than three years, but in the six weeks since the surrender he'd been watching official ceremonies, slowly making his way back to the States. He'd even got a proper haircut while he was in Honolulu for the special Pearl Harbor broadcast a week ago. And safely in his pocket was a wire from Simon, saying he'd be there when the ship docked in San Francisco.
Blessed, blessed sabbatical. Ryan was taking three months off, and yes, some of it would be spent working up a pitch and outline for another book, and there was Kelly and David Cook's wedding in Toronto in early November, but Ryan wanted to spend as much time as humanly possible just sitting in the same room with Simon Cowell. Hell, being on the same continent as Simon would be an improvement. They'd managed a few rendezvous in the four years since Ryan left London, mostly in bits of Asia that the British had managed to hold, or north Africa, or one blissful week in Honolulu. But now it was over, and he just wanted his man back.
"That's quite a view. Coffee?" asked Joel, coming up behind him. Once Ryan took the cup Joel reached into one of the pockets of his field jacket. "Also got us some muffins."
"Thanks," Ryan said.
"Can't believe it's over," Joel said. "Almost like there's something missing."
"I'm sure we can fill the space," Ryan replied.
"Ten years, brother. I've been married for fifteen years and I've only been home for half of that."
"Wow," Ryan said—for it had been almost ten years earlier that he and Joel had set off for Spain. "I'm sorry, Joel. I've been dragging you around—"
"No, no," Joel said. "Wouldn't've missed it for the world. Besides, I would have been gone the last four years anyhow. Way I figure it, we can just skip all that young couple squabbling and get right to the baby making."
Ryan laughed and shook his head. "What would I have done without you?"
"I don't know, brother," Joel said, slinging an arm around Ryan's shoulders. "I don't know."
Ryan and Joel got two surprises once their ship docked. Ryan was looking around for Simon when he saw a different familiar face. He tapped Joel's shoulder. "I believe you know that woman."
Joel turned and broke into the biggest grin Ryan had ever seen on him, just in time for the woman to leap into his arms. "I thought you were meeting me in LA!" he said.
"I couldn't wait!"
They kissed, so passionately that Ryan averted his eyes, but then he wasn't sure where to look, as there were couples like this all around him. He couldn't help but be jealous. He still didn't see Simon, but even if he did, Simon couldn't welcome him like this. Not in a public place.
"Sorry," she said as Joel set her down.
"Please," Ryan said, gesturing around them. "Seems to be the done thing."
"We can help you look for him," Joel said. "I am a lot taller." He craned his head around.
"No, you should go. Enjoy this. I'll be fine. I'll see you at the wedding anyhow." He smiled, though he knew it was just a bit forced.
She cocked her head, then gave him a hug that he happily returned. Pulling back, she said, "Thanks for taking care of him, Mr. Seacrest."
Ryan smiled, genuinely now, at the name she used for him, which had been inspired by the southern manners he'd displayed when he first arrived in Los Angeles, which the western and more informal McHales made much fun of. "It would have been my pleasure, Mrs. McHale," he replied, "but I assure you, he took care of me."
She smiled up at Joel. "That sounds like him. Well, see you in a few weeks!
"You bet," Ryan said, and waved after them as they walked away. He walked toward the fleet of waiting taxicabs, still looking for his own welcoming party, when two young men in British Army uniforms appeared.
"Mr. Seacrest?" the first one asked, McPartlin by his nametag though Ryan didn't know British Army insignia well enough to guess the rank.
The other, Donnelly, replied, "Major Cowell sent us."
Ryan nodded, smiling, though his heart sank. So, no dockside reunion after all.
"This all you have?" asked McPartlin, indicating Ryan's case.
"Yes, and I'll carry it," Ryan said.
"The car is this way," said Donnelly with a sweep of his hand.
Ryan sat in the back of a sedan and watched the city go by, wondering why it took two men to pick him up when clearly one would have done. "So, how are you connected with Major Cowell?" Ryan asked, wanting to fill the silence with something other than his thoughts.
"We've been touring with his revue," answered McPartlin.
"We're a comedy team," said Donnelly.
"Came to America to try our luck."
"Major Cowell thinks we have a real chance."
"I see," replied Ryan. "Been working together long?"
"Since we were kids."
"Used to host at a music hall."
"Major Cowell was impressed with our work."
Ryan's face must have given him away in that moment, as McPartlin quickly added, "Not that impressed, Mr. Seacrest."
"No need to worry," said Donnelly.
Ryan wondered what Simon had said to them, though listening to them talk he could sense why Simon might have felt safe in confiding in them. But he didn't have time to react to that tidbit, as the sedan came to a stop. He looked up and saw they were not at the train station, as Ryan was vaguely expecting, but at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel.
"Your case, sir," said McPartlin, lifting it out of the trunk.
"The key to your room," said Donnelly, pressing it into his palm.
"You can go right up."
They smiled, got back into the sedan, and drove away, leaving Ryan vaguely dazed on the sidewalk. He stared at the key in his hand until a red cap tried to take his case for him, startling him into action, and he went directly up to the room.
Simon Cowell stood in the front bedroom of the corner suite, smoking and trying not to pace. It had all been over for almost two months now, but he still couldn't quite believe it, and it wouldn't be true until Ryan was standing in front of him again. He'd done very little since the end of the war himself—programmed a special broadcast for the BBC in London, organized a few concerts for widows and orphans, the expected things. But other than seeing his mother, it had been a bit lacking. He'd lived in London for almost thirty years, and Ryan had been there for only one of them, yet it all felt rather flat and lifeless without him. It certainly didn't feel like home.
Then Ryan said he was taking three months off, and Simon immediately arranged to do the same. Post-war London was a bit much anyway, crumbling and grey; he needed some of that ridiculous American sunshine Ryan was always on about. He'd bought a car and a pile of maps, and wondered if Ryan would be interested in touring around the country a bit after Cook's wedding, or before, or both. He was very sure that in a nation as vast and varied as America there was plenty of untapped talent just waiting to be discovered and developed by Simon Cowell. And even though he'd often made fun of Ryan's knowledge of inessentials, who could be a better guide to the workings of Hollywood than he?
The boys he'd sent after Ryan had called when the ship came in, and Simon had ordered lunch for he and Ryan then, as well as setting up a few other things. And just as he was beginning to wonder where Ryan was, the door opened. Simon stubbed out his cigarette and quickly checked himself in the mirror before walking into the sitting room.
Ryan was standing at the table about ten feet away, his back to Simon, and Simon almost stopped breathing. He closed his eyes for a moment, willing himself to calm down, and when he opened them again he knew just what to say. "Looks like you still need that new case."
Ryan turned around slowly, and cleared his throat. "Oh, this? Got me through the war all right," he replied.
"Thank God for that," Simon said, his voice cracking just slightly.
Simon wasn't sure who moved first—probably they both did—but suddenly they were in each other's arms, kissing like mad. Simon could feel wetness on his cheeks but wasn't sure if they were his tears or Ryan's, or if it even mattered.
"Sorry about the escort," Simon was muttering between kisses. "Didn't trust myself not to do something rash when I saw you."
"S'ok," Ryan said. "Dunno if I could've held it together either."
After some minutes they pulled apart reluctantly, needing air, and while Simon's hands sat firmly at the small of Ryan's back, Ryan put his on Simon's face, brushing away tears with his thumbs, and Simon let himself just stare into those green eyes.
"So how would a week or so in San Francisco suit you?" Simon asked.
"Very well," Ryan replied.
He smiled. "The old gang are waiting for us in Chicago—everyone's mustered out except Cook, of course. But we can take our time getting there. I've bought a car and everything."
"I like the sound of that," Ryan said. Then he pulled back a bit. "I have to call—"
"Your mother, yes," Simon said, slipping out of Ryan's arms. "I put in a trunk call as soon as your ship landed. She's waiting for you." There was a knock at the door. "Ah, and here's lunch."
Ryan walked over to the phone, smiling at Simon. "You've thought of everything," he said.
"I've tried," Simon replied, walking to the door of the suite. "But I'm sure you'll let me know what's missing."
Simon took the tray and tipped the waiter, then brought it back over to Ryan, who was sitting on the couch staring at the phone as though he didn't remember how to use it. Simon set the tray down on the coffee table—a hamburger for Ryan, fish and chips for himself, coffee for both, and a slice of apple pie. "I know, bit typical," Simon said as he sat down next to Ryan. "But who cares?"
Ryan sneaked a chip from Simon's plate. "I love you," he said.
"I love you too," Simon said, kissing him on the temple. "Now call your mother."
Ryan picked up the receiver—he didn't need to say anything, as the hotel operator was standing by—and there was a pause while the call went through. Suddenly he grabbed hold of Simon's hand, and Simon squeezed back.
"Hi Mom," Ryan said. "I'm home."
End of the war, end of the story. Thank you so very much to everyone who commented as this story was being posted, and thanks in advance to everyone who might in the future. Thanks also to all of you who read and didn't comment; I hope that you liked the story as well!