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Target

Title: Target
Fandom/Pairing: The OC (Taylor/Ryan)
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Post-series finale
Summary: It was the last place he had ever expected to see her.
AN: Something that came to me suddenly - I have no idea why - and which I wrote very very quickly.

It was the last place he had every expected to see her. The sight of the familiar long brown, with just a tinge of red, ponytail bobbing and weaving through the aisles had surprised him. That she seemed to know where she was going and what exactly she was looking for had surprised him even more. He hadn’t seen her in years, had only heard snippets of information through her best friend, but he had always thought, imagined, that she would still be the same girl who had left all those years ago to conquer the world.

Yet here she was. In San Francisco, not Paris. In a Target. Taylor Townsend was in a Target. Taylor Townsend didn’t go to Target or at least that was what Ryan had always believed.

So he considered his options as he followed her, he thought quite stealthily, around the store. A) Continue the creepy stalker routine he was currently doing. B) Ignore her and continue his shopping. C) Get the hell out and come back another time. D) Go up to her and talk to her. E) Well, there was no ‘E’ just yet.

“Ryan?”

“What?” Ryan whipped his head around and found himself face to face with his brother’s fiancee. “Oh, hi Summer.”

“Who else would it be, Atwood? You gave me a ride here…Wait, what’s going on? You’re looking shifty.”

Summer had that look, the look which told you that she knew something was up and that she would inflict incredible amounts of pain on you if you didn’t come clean. It was a look which left Ryan, veteran cage fighter and reformed bad boy, distinctly uncomfortable.

“Actually-”

“Taylor? Taylor!”

Summer practically threw Ryan aside in her rush to her clearly startled friend’s side. Taylor had the grace to flush as she was enveloped in Summer’s arms and a sharp whack to her arm left Taylor looking even more apolegetic. Ryan moved slowly to join them. He wasn’t sure if Taylor hadn’t noticed him in the excitement and pain of Summer’s greeting or if she was ignoring him but he found himself wanting to prolong the moment before he’d have to speak to the girl who had healed his heart before ripping it out and handing it back to him.

“Atwood! Look who’s in town! In a Target!”

“Hi Ryan.”

“Taylor.”

She looked perfect, like always, and Ryan was glad that at least some things hadn’t changed. She smiled at him, soft and shy and very un-Taylor, and Ryan found himself wondering, not for the first time since she’d left, how she had spent all of her time away. Had she translated more poems? Kept the book he’d given her? Fallen in love again?

“So…What are you doing here?”

“A job, maybe, with a literary magazine. I was going to tell you, I swear, but I didn’t want you to get all excited if it then fell through.”

“Right, but I’m more interested in what the hell you’re doing in a Target. I thought you hated these types of stores.”

“I didn’t know Target was known for their amazing environmental and social impact.”

“At least it’s not one of the ‘Marts’. And that wasn’t an answer. Come on, I know Ryan is secretly drying to know why you’re here. Right? Right?”

“Oh, um, right,” said Ryan after a jab in the rib from Summer who was obviously feeling extra aggressive that day.

“Just some shopping…My hotel is nearby…Food…Fine! I was picking up some of the stuff Luella Bartley designed for them. Happy?”

“You’re going to wear something from Target?” Ryan’s brain couldn’t quite comprehend what he was hearing. He didn’t know who this Luella person was but he was certain she must be some kind of goddess for Taylor Townsend to wear something that cost less than $100.

“Yes, Ryan, I plan on wearing something from Target. Call in the media: Taylor Townsend isn’t wearing designer clothes!”

“Does Victoria know about this?” Summer practically whispered her name, her hands making soothing gestures in Taylor’s direction.

“No, my emotionally unavailable harpy of a mother doesn’t know - I’m not sure she’s even realized I haven’t been in the country in the last 3 years.”

“Last Julie heard, your mom was banging a cabana boy in Cabo.”

“Thanks Summer.”

“Right, well, this has officially become awkward and Cohen isn’t even here.”

“I really am sorry, I was going to tell you if I heard any good news.”

“I know. Listen, lets grab some coffee, the three of us, so Atwood don’t even think about trying to escape, and we can all catch up. You two go grab spots in line to pay while I get a few more things on my list.”

Summer gave Taylor a quick squeeze before charging off down the aisle without a backwards glance. Taylor and Ryan stood silent and awkward for a moment, neither daring to look at the other or make the first move. A lot of time had passed, a lot had happened between them, and now here they were, in the middle of Target on a Saturday afternoon and they had no idea what to say.

“So, cash registers?” Taylor asked, her eyes seemingly glued to the floor.

“This way,” said Ryan, indicating the direction with his free hand before pulling the basket out of her hand. It was heavy, too heavy for clothes. “What are these clothes made of, rocks?”

“Ryan!” laughed Taylor, grabbing at her basket as he quickly swung it out of her reach. “I might have picked up a few other things. And you made a joke!”

“A bad one, don’t tell anyone,” he laughed, memories of a red dress and a slow dance flitting through his mind. They walked in silence, a more comfortable silence than before, each lost in their own thoughts and the undeniable spark between them. Ryan cleared his throat, the words he wanted to say stuck in his mouth. Ask the questions and get the answers, that was his new plan now that fleeing the scene was no longer an option. “So, any good news yet?”

“No, not yet, I just interviewed yesterday.” They stopped at one of the long lines and faced each other, eyes catching and smiles being exchanged. “I guess it doesn’t really matter either way.”

“Why not?”

“I’m coming home regardless of the whether or not I get the job.”

“Someone, um, special keeping you in France?”

“France? What - oh, no, no, I meant I’m coming back to California.”

“Oh, right. So, nobody special?”

“No, not in France, at least.”

“So he lives in California?” Ryan asked, a spark of hope zinging through him before he quickly squashed it.

“Yes, he’s here.”

“So, who is he?”

“What? Oh, um, god Ryan! You really are dense sometimes.”

“What-”

“There you two are! Here Atwood, take these, Taylor and I going to wait outside, all this polyester, yuck. Come on Townsend.”

Summer grabbed Taylor’s hand and led her outside, leaving Ryan standing confused and alone with two baskets filled with women’s clothes and toiletries. He was dense? What was that supposed to mean? Taylor was the one being all secretive and monosyllabic and Atwood-like. How was he being dense? And did Summer expect him to pay for all this?

The sight once more of the familiar brown ponytail weaving through the lines cut his thoughts short. Just the sight of her warmed him, made his heart speed up and a smile spread across his face. She was perfect, for him and to him, craziness and all, and if she moved back here he wouldn’t let her go so easily again. She spotted him through the crowd, squeezing her way past families and carts, before coming to a halt in front of him.

“For my stuff,” she said, holding out a few twenty dollar bills. He accepted them with a smile and a nod, not even bothering to ask if Summer had asked her to deliver any money from her. It didn’t matter, they were practically family, and he could always make Seth pay for their next round of takeout. “So, I’m going to head back out.”

She jerked her head slightly toward the door before turning to walk away, so un-Taylor in her stiff and awkward movements. She stopped a couple of steps away, paused as if to consider something, before whipping back around and heading at Ryan with such force that he took a step back. “I just, ugh! I just wanted to tell you that you’re an idiot if you think I came back here for anyone but you and I can’t believe how dense you’re being and how you’re making me say all this in the middle of Target in front of all these people but right now I really don’t-”

The press of his lips against hers stopped the rest of her confession from escaping. She’d come back, come home, for him. The time apart, the distance, it didn’t matter, had never mattered, to him. All he wanted was Taylor Townsend, quirks and all, and he had her, even if that meant a rambling speech in the middle of a Target store.

A soft cough behind them forced the two to part and remember where, exactly, they were standing. Ryan turned his body away from her, arm still wrapped firmly around Taylor’s shoulder to keep her beside him and calmly resumed waiting in line. Taylor seemed a bit more shocked and he noticed with only a slight smirk the way she touched her lips softly in shock.

“Ryan?”

“Yes?”

“I assume that meant you’re okay with my only slightly hysterical confession?”

“More than okay,” he smiled, dropping a quick kiss to the tip of her nose. “It saved me from having to buy a ticket out to Paris to make my own.”

“Right. What would you have said?” she whispered, a soft smile spreading across her face.

“You’re it, Taylor Townsend, and I’m not letting you get away.”

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Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
r_mak
Feb. 17th, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
Aww! This was sweet.

It's random, but it's good. Taylor in at Target? It would be shocking... I can see why Ryan was stalking her. Like the fact that he won't let her get away again.

Thanks for sharing :D
theporchlife
Feb. 18th, 2009 07:56 am (UTC)
Yeah, I know it is completely random, haha. I was just thinking random stuff (you know: 'sandwich...elephants...Taylor in Target...Monty Python) and this appeared. The mind works in mysterious ways.
kimmy_77
Feb. 17th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
This is fabulous! I love that she came back for him and her confession and how glad he is. Gave me the warm and fuzzies! Great job!
theporchlife
Feb. 18th, 2009 07:57 am (UTC)
Thanks so much!
marsalka
Feb. 18th, 2009 02:00 am (UTC)
I love happy endings! silly Taylor to take 3 years to come to the right conclusion
theporchlife
Feb. 18th, 2009 07:57 am (UTC)
Ryan and Taylor always get a happy ending in my world :)
belle_1220
Feb. 18th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)
I loved this! It's been so long that I read anything for Taylor/Ryan or any OC fiction. Great job.
theporchlife
Feb. 18th, 2009 07:58 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it :)
taylorforever
Feb. 18th, 2009 06:02 am (UTC)
Very very nice. They are meant for each other. Great story.
theporchlife
Feb. 18th, 2009 07:58 am (UTC)
Thanks so much - I agree, they are totally meant for each other.
kazfloyd
Feb. 18th, 2009 11:37 am (UTC)
Aww, cute story. I really like the part on how dense he was being when he was asking about a bf in France. LOL.

What was Taylor doing at Target? LOL. I love Tarjeeet. LOL. It is so much better than the Mart's. Love Summer.
theporchlife
Feb. 18th, 2009 12:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much - I have no idea what Taylor was doing in Target (and I love it too...although my love is currently transferred over to the Dutch version, Hema). Glad you liked it!
mel39
Feb. 18th, 2009 11:41 am (UTC)
Oh that was just lovely - sweet, funny and touching. Great!
theporchlife
Feb. 18th, 2009 12:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
smc36
Feb. 18th, 2009 01:16 pm (UTC)
Very cute.
theporchlife
Feb. 18th, 2009 02:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
loracj
Feb. 18th, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
So sweet....and Taylor in Target is....wonderful!
theporchlife
Feb. 18th, 2009 02:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks, glad you liked it!
katwoman76
Feb. 18th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
So sweet. :)
theporchlife
Feb. 18th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
rach603
Feb. 19th, 2009 12:22 am (UTC)
Loved it! So cute and perfect.
theporchlife
Feb. 19th, 2009 07:47 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! Glad you liked it :)
(Deleted comment)
theporchlife
Feb. 19th, 2009 07:47 am (UTC)
I miss them too! Glad you liked it.
jonsmom14
Feb. 19th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
very cute!
theporchlife
Feb. 19th, 2009 07:47 am (UTC)
Thanks!
(Deleted comment)
theporchlife
Feb. 28th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the comment - it totally made my day after having been in a car for 14 hours with 3 kids. :) I'm glad it made you smile - Taylor and Ryan always do that for me. And I'll definitely be writing more as I get inspired - things come to me so randomly, haha.

I haven't seen your Taylor picspam but I'll definitely go check it out later! Thanks again!
dogsbody01
Aug. 16th, 2012 06:20 am (UTC)
Simply delightful.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )