|the_water_clock (the_water_clock) wrote,|
@ 2008-02-22 07:03 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||[ canon: american idol au ], [ pairing: ryan/simon ], [ story: goodbye mr. seacrest ]|
Title: Goodbye Mr. Seacrest, or, To Simon, with Love: Rymon Missing Scenes from the Fast Times at Idol High 80s AU
Pairing: American Idol: Ryan Seacrest/Simon Cowell
Summary: Ryan Seacrest knew when he took the job at John Hughes High that his romantic prospects would be limited. But he wasn't counting on the arrival of Simon Cowell.
Length: 1800 words
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction, clearly, as Ryan turned 7 in 1981, and Simon was 22, and that would be gross.
Notes: For this to make much sense, you have to read Fast Times at Idol High, lillijulianne's 80s high school AU. But you really should be reading that anyway! Go join stepintomyocean, read the fic, then come back here.
Special thanks to Juli for writing this awesome AU, letting me be a part of it, and encouraging me get my teacher kink on. Oh, and for writing Ryan and Simon into her story in the first place.
Prologue: September 1981 | 1: September 1984 | 2: October 1984 | 3: November 1984 | 4: December 1984 | 5: January 1985 | 6: February 1985 | 7: March 1985 | 8: April 1985 | 9: May 1985 | 10: June 1985 | 11: July 1985 | 12: August 1985 | 13: September 1985
prologue: september, 1981
Ryan Seacrest has been teaching English at Hughes High for four years, and now, because of a retirement, he's been assigned the AP classes. He's spent the summer looking through years of AP exams and the state requirements, trying to develop a more modern curriculum that would really challenge the students, get them mentally prepared for college. He even steps up his wardrobe, buying three new suits when he visits his parents in Atlanta.
He claimed too much work when he begged off on the usual trip to Pennsylvania for the family reunion over Labor Day weekend. Not that this is the only reason; while his sister was immediately accepting of his sexuality, his parents needed a few years, and things still aren't quite as they were. With the extended family it's even worse—lots of weird looks from cousins and aunts. This is going to be a great year, he can just feel it, and he doesn't need them bringing him down or questioning his choice to teach at a small town school.
The Saturday night of the long weekend, though, he definitely needs to get out of the house. His friend Ben Lyons, a writer for the local paper, calls suggesting the gay bar in Springfield, and while it isn't a place Ryan frequents, a night out with friends will do him good. So there they are, a Gang of Four complete with their own Madame Mao, a hilarious and gorgeous girl named Giuliana DiPandi who likes being able to get a drink or do a little dancing without getting hassled; she works as a fashion buyer for the local department store with Ben's boyfriend, Jason Kennedy, who completes their little party.
"We need to get you a boyfriend, Ryan," Giuliana is saying.
"Shouldn't you get yourself one first?" Ryan asks.
"Well, not here," she replies. "And I go on more dates than you do."
Ryan shrugs. He has friends, a job he loves, sex often enough to remember how it feels, and a house full of books. He knew when he came to Hughes that romantic prospects would be limited.
"Too bad it's too early for the new college kids," Ben says.
"Too early? They started a week ago," Giuliana says.
"Yeah," Jason replies, "but it always takes them a few weeks to get up the nerve to come here."
"I don't want a college kid," Ryan says. "They're like the same age as my students. No."
"Besides, Ryan needs to be the young cute one," Giuliana says. "He should have an older man."
"Like that one?" Ben asks, nodding toward the bar.
Standing there is a dark-haired man who looks to be in his mid 40s. He has on a rather tight black t-shirt under his Armani knock-off jacket, which he wears with stonewashed cowboy cut jeans and black boots.
"He's pretty short," Jason says.
"So is Ryan," Giuliana says. "I never get to wear heels anymore."
The man looks over to their table and gives Ryan a smug grin that is both sexy and infuriating, but either way requires a response. He squares his shoulders. "I'll get the next round," Ryan says, standing.
"I'll bet you will," Ben says, and the others snicker as Ryan walks to the bar.
"More of the same, Ryan?" the bartender asks.
Ryan nods and the man—who is about the same height as Ryan—says, "So, you're a regular?" His voice is deep, with an English accent.
"Regular enough," Ryan says.
"But you don't sound like you're from around here," the man replies.
Ryan grins. "No, I grew up in Atlanta. And you?"
"Hertfordshire." He leans in, a conspiratorial look on his face. "That's in England."
"Oh really? I never would have guessed."
"I'm Simon, by the way," he says, extending a hand.
The name sounds familiar, though Ryan can't think why—Simon in the land of chalk drawings, maybe? "Ryan," he replies, and shakes it.
"So," Simon says, looking around, "I take it this is the only game in town?"
"Springfield isn't much of a city," Ryan replies, "and even that only because of the university. But you'd have to drive pretty far to get to something better."
Simon takes a slow drink and looks Ryan up and down, in a way that makes Ryan feel suddenly naked despite his oxford shirt, argyle sweater vest, and brushed cords. "I reckon this place is fine," he says. "For now."
Ryan clears his throat, but before he can reply, Giuliana nudges him. "Oh, sorry, darlin'," Ryan says, turning to the drinks he's ordered.
"Never mind, I've got them," Giuliana says, reaching around him. "You just pay." She gives Simon a little grin, then takes the three drinks back to the table.
Ryan pulls out some money, avoiding Simon's eye, hoping he doesn't look too embarrassed. "So are you here just for the weekend?"
"No," Simon replies. "I've moved here to take a new job."
Ryan nods, following gay bar protocol by not asking further. "Then I hope you'll be here often."
"Yes, I look forward to seeing more of you," he replies. "Tonight, hopefully," he adds, staring right into Ryan's eyes.
He bites his lip. "I don't, I mean, I'm not—"
"I know you don't. I can tell. But we can stand here and buy more drinks, or we can go back to my flat and have the same conversation over a rather nice bottle of wine, and it will all lead to the same place. I already know that you are the only person worth talking to in this room, and I'm not inclined to pay someone else for the privilege." Simon puts his empty glass on the bar. "Not that you don't deserve to be wooed, but you look like a man who likes to cut through the bullshit, too. Am I right?"
Ryan swallows, feeling a little unnerved at having been summed up so accurately. What is that song—about someone reading your letters? "You're not wrong," Ryan says.
"Well then." Simon picks up Ryan's full drink and pours half of it into his glass. "Cheers."
"Cheers," Ryan says, and clinks glasses with Simon's.
Tuesday is the first day of school for the teachers, a day of big meetings before the actual first day of classes on Wednesday. Ryan feels great—he's been in and out of his classroom preparing it since the end of summer school two weeks ago, and he knows exactly what he's going to say and do on that first day. Lythgoe has even approved his curriculum, which was a close thing, but even as spineless as Lythgoe can be, he likes to think of himself as modern, which makes him easier to manage than one might expect.
Ryan takes a seat next to Phil Stacey near the back of the room. He likes the math teacher, who shares with Ryan a wish to pull Hughes into the 80s or at least into the 70s, and is also going to be teaching the college prep classes. "So today we meet that new dean of discipline Lythgoe's been so excited about," Phil says.
"Oh that's right," Ryan says. He looks up toward the front, and then he realizes why the name "Simon" sounded familiar.
For there, with Lythgoe, is the trick from Saturday night, the sleek Brit with whom he'd had the most intense sex of his life followed by a cozy naked brunch, the man who he can't stop thinking about, mostly because it's Tuesday and far too early to be calling. But there he is, and while Ryan won't be reporting to him, awkward doesn't begin to cover it. Then Simon looks straight at Ryan … and winks!
Ryan struggles to pay attention during the meetings that follow, but he's a professional and a more senior teacher now, and that helps. He eats lunch with Stacey and the other AP teachers, and they discuss coordinating their syllabi. With so many students in common, it makes sense to avoid overloading them at any given point, but also helps to keep them from using the other classes as excuses when unwarranted. It's then that Lythgoe brings Simon around for face-to-face introductions.
"Ryan and I have met, actually," Simon says as Ryan stands to shake his hand. "At the grocer. He recommended the Georgia peaches."
"Of course, I'm partial," Ryan replies.
"He even told me how to cook them. He said if you reach in with a finger, right at that cleft, you can work out the pit with the peach whole."
Ryan clears his throat. "But you have to be gentle. And they have to be very ripe."
"Yes, very. And then …"
"And then you take some soft butter and cinnamon, in a pastry bag," Ryan continues, "and you inject that into the space where the pit was, filling up the hole, and put it in a pan under the broiler, and it comes out running with juices." He and Simon are looking at each other, no one else, and he feels like they're flying. Why isn't he embarrassed? Where are these words even coming from?
"Well," Lythgoe says, "I'll have to try that. It sounds quite delicious."
"It was," Simon says. "Best peach I've ever had."
Near the end of the day, Ryan is in the main office when Simon calls out to him. He goes into Simon's office, closing and quietly locking the door behind him.
"Sit, sit," Simon says, coming out from behind the desk to sit in the other chair.
"Well," Ryan begins. "I just—I meant it, when I said that I don't usually do that. I don't want you to think I'm out looking for Mr Goodbar every night."
"I would hope not," Simon says. "I don't need the competition."
"Dinner on Saturday?"
"I—really? You don't think it would be, um …"
"Teachers date all the time. You know that."
"But I'm a man."
Simon shrugs. "Nobody's perfect."
Ryan has to laugh. "I love that movie."
"That's a good sign. So you'll have dinner on Saturday?"
"Come by, about seven," Ryan says. "I'll cook us something." He stands to leave.
"Will you be making those peaches you mentioned?" Simon asks.
"Oh, I think cooking the peaches is your job," Ryan replies.
Going out to his car at the end of the day, he can't help grinning. It's the year, man. He turns on the radio as he drives away, and if he's looking for omens, he thinks, he couldn't have found a better one than that song that's been playing all summer, and he sings along, loudly, not caring who hears him: Who loves you from the start? Who treats you like a star?
Up in the office, Simon looks down on the young man bouncing through the parking lot in his little vest, and smiles. Perhaps moving to this little town in the middle of nowhere won't be so horrible after all.
1: September, 1984
Ryan's Gang of Four, of course, are his buddies on E!News; the real Gang of Four, a group of communist leaders in China that included Mao Zedong's widow, were in the middle of their show trial in 1981.
Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings was a regular feature on Captain Kangaroo, which Ryan would have watched as a kid; Mike Myers cribbed the theme song for his recurring skits of a kid named Simon who sat in his tub and drew pictures.
The song Ryan can't quite remember is "Killing Me Softly." Looking for Mr. Goodbar was a 1975 novel, and a 1977 movie starring Diane Keaton, about a school teacher who picked up guys for one-night stands. Simon quotes the end of Some Like It Hot, where Jack Lemmon reveals to his sugar daddy that he's not a woman by removing his wig and saying "I'm a man!", to which the sugar daddy shrugs and replies, "Nobody's perfect." And of course Ryan drives a 1978 Saab 99 Turbo (his first new car, bought after he'd been teaching for a year and ready to ditch his college/grad school car) because he's an English teacher.