A/N: Next chapter ready. This one was interesting.
Chapter One: An Abundance of Caution
Sam and Sophie are sitting at opposite ends of the table as he had finished his own class a while ago and she is asking him about the book she is reading for her class, and my phone buzzes. I see Ryan's name and an envelope that indicates a text message. I open the message and frown
Sandy—Something's come up. I need your help. Can you guys do a FaceTime? Don't mention anything to Soph or Sam yet. —Ryan
The message is cryptic, even for Ryan, and asking for a FaceTime when he could just come or call. Even with all the new rules. We would never turn away if he needed something. I know he knows that. So I can't help but be nervous.
"Sandy," Kirsten comes over. "Something wrong?"
"Don't know yet." I hold up my phone. "Ryan,"
I see Sam look up and in my direction at hearing. I give him a look that I hope is reassuring.
"Let's go to the office," I tell Kirsten. My study is the best place if we don't want the kids overhearing.
Kirsten followed me. "Sandy, what is it?" She asked once I'd closed the door. We were all on edge lately and I knew she was no exception.
"I'm not sure, but whatever it is, Ryan doesn't want Sophie or Sam to know anything yet." I replied. "He wants us to video call."
I can see Kirsten is fighting the worst case scenario, and nods briefly. "Okay, okay…"
"Okay," I take my phone and make the call.
Ryan picks up on the second ring, and I can see he is back at his place, a mask covering his face so I can't read his expression in the same way, can't see the frown that he is doubtless probably wearing. But his eyes...he looks half his age in this moment, I can read the same haunted expression I saw when I took him back to Chino to that empty house, and despite not touching, I can feel Kirsten tense next to me.
"Ryan...what…?" Kirsten's voice is soft. "Are you okay?"
"Someone on our site tested positive," Ryan said, no preamble. His voice is flat. "I…"
"Oh kid…" I sighed softly. "You're feeling alright though?"
Ryan nodded. "Sandy...I...what do I do? It's two weeks…I can't take a chance."
"Sam," I said.
He nodded barely there.
"Okay, well when, when did he get tested, your guy?" I asked trying to focus on the facts.
"I...I'm not sure. It takes, well, I don't know." Ryan said. "Probably one or two days ago. I don't know."
"Okay, well," I notice Ryan is closing his eyes .looking a bit green. "Ry, hey stay with me breathe okay? You're gonna be fine. You've been doing everything right."
"You're okay Ryan, alright, we're with you. Always, you know that right?" Kirsten asked.
Another small nod. "Just...I don't think Sam should come here. Is it, is it okay?"
"Of course, of course sweetheart," Kirsten said. "The guest room's still set the way he left it, I just changed the sheets" She chuckles but it's choked.
"I'm sorry, Mom...dad...we...we've been so stupid." Ryan said.
"I'm going to stop you there," I said. "It's a bad situation and we're making the best of it. But you've been smart, smarter than most. It's just one bad hand."
"Another one, great," Ryan replied. "Last thing I need."
"It doesn't mean anything Ryan. It's just being careful." I said. "Want me to go get Sam for you?" I placed my phone standing up on the stand in front of Kirsten.
"Yeah…" Ryan whispered.
A/N: Behind the scenes fact: So I weighed Ryan's thought process through this a lot as I was writing this chapter despite it being Sandy's point of view. And as is Ryan's way, I figured his first instinct would be protecting as many people as possible which includes Sam by making it as complete as possible. And his changing form of address for the Cohens making an appearance well, that will be reflected upon as well.