Authors Note: So I'm a bit confused about the timeline between the end of 'The Truth' and the start of 'The heartbreak.' The incident at the hotel happens at the weekend, I think on a saturday. But then I'm sure its mentioned somewhere in the heartbreak that the valentines event is at the weekend, meaning at least 4 days have passed since the hotel incident. And it would have taken a few days for Ryans suspension to get overturned, so it makes sense that the hearbreak starts on the friday after the hotel incident. But at the start of the episode Sandy is mulling it over as if it was only the next day, and the way Marissa asks Ryan if he managed to get any sleep makes it sound like its the next day too. And its strange that Marissa seems to think they're still a couple and hasn't yet realised that Ryan is acting off with her - have they not spoken to each other at all for 4-5 days since the hotel? I'm maybe taking it too seriously but the whole thing is just a little confusing for me

Anyways, I hope you like it. I've been working a lot of shifts recently so I've been writing this in the early hours once I get home - I really hope I've managed to keep everyone in character.

Kirsten heard the font door close and a few moments later Sandy came into the kitchen with a carrier bag. He started unpacking the contents (lunch from their favourite deli), then noticed that Kirstens gaze was directed out of the kitchen window toward the pool house.

'He's been sitting in there on his own for three days now. Apart from going to the hotel yesterday,' Kirsten said, her voice edged with worry.

'He just needs some space honey, he'll come out eventually,' Sandy replied, coming to stand next to her with a sigh.

Kirsten wasn't convinced. He'd been holed up in his bedroom for three days, how much more space did he need?

She picked up his sandwich and took it across to the pool house. She knocked lightly and walked in, but Ryan didn't even look up. He was sat at his desk poring over his schoolwork, and to the best of her knowledge he hadn't moved since Sandy had been in earlier that day.

'Hey sweetie, we got sandwiches from the deli for lunch. Is bologna ok?' she asked gently.

'Yeah, thanks,' Ryan responded in a monotone, still not looking at her.

'Why don't you take a break and come over to eat with us?' she suggested lightly, already knowing what the answer would be.

'Thanks, but I've got a lot to do,' Ryan replied, gesturing towards the pile of school work in front of him.

'Ryan honey, there's only so much homework you can do in a day. You've been working hard all morning, you need to take a break and eat,' Kirsten prompted gently, trying to find a way round his defences.

'I'll have a break later. Thanks for the sandwich,' Ryan replied.

Kirsten sighed softly and went to put his sandwich in the fridge. The corner of her eye caught his wastepaper basked and when she looked in it she saw the bagel Sandy had brought him the day before, completely untouched. She felt a flicker of unease in her stomach – as far as she was aware he hadn't eaten anything in the last few days. For now though, she could see that Ryan had put up his wall and wasn't letting her in. She and Sandy had both agreed that pushing him would just make it worse, make retreat further into his shell.

'How is he?' Sandy asked as she walked back into the kitchen and sat down at the table with him.

'Just the same,' she replied, eliciting a sad sigh from her husband.

As they sat in silence eating their lunch, she pondered on how to get through to Ryan. For the first time in a long time she felt absolutely powerless. She knew Seth inside out, she knew what made him tick and how to communicate with him. But she had no idea how to get through to the silent, sullen teenager in the poolhouse. This was the first major conflict they'd had since he moved in and she was at a loss.

'Do you think we're expecting too much of him?' Kirsten asked thoughtfully, as she chewed on her sandwich.

'In what way?' Sandy looked up at her, surprised.

Well, he's spent his whole life fighting with people. And now suddenly we expect him to start talking about problems instead. Sandy, if we know anything about Ryan it's that he's not a big talker. It's going to take time for him to get used to doing things our way,' she explained.

Sandy didn't respond but chewed on his sandwich thoughtfully, pondering his wife's motherly wisdom.

'And he did come and talk to us Sandy. Or at least he tried. He told us Oliver was dangerous, but we didn't listen to him. We let him down,' Kirsten pointed out guiltily.

The doorbell rang, so Kirsten rose to go and answer it. She opened to door to see Marissa standing on the doorstep, looking like she wasn't sure whether she should be there.

'Oh hi sweetie, how are you?' Kirsten asked, inviting her in.

'Uhhm yeah ok, I guess. Is Ryan in? I tried calling him but there was no answer,' Marissa asked uncertainly.

'He's been busy on homework all morning, I'll just go get him for you,' Kirsten explained carefully, leaving Marissa in the kitchen with Sandy and heading over to the pool house. She would normally just leave Marissa to go over to the pool house herself but she wasn't sure if Ryan's 'being alone' policy extended to Marissa and she wanted to give him the choice.

'Hey Ryan, Marissa came to see you. She's in the lounge…' Kirsten offered him, putting her head round the pool house door.

'Thanks but I need to get this finished,' Ryan said. He was still poring over his schoolwork, still wouldn't look at her.

So it wasn't just them, he didn't want to see Marissa either. Kirsten couldn't blame him, Marissa had turned her back on him after all.

'Ryan, do you not want to talk to her her just now?' Kirsten asked.

'Not really, no,' Ryan mumbled, his eyes finally flickering in her direction.

'That's ok sweetie, I understand' Kirsten reassured him.

'She… she said we were over,' Ryan admitted, finally lifting his gaze to meet Kirstens eye.

'I'm so sorry Ryan. I'll make up an excuse for you,' Kirsten responded gently.

'Thanks,' Ryan said, with obvious sincerity, turning back to his schoolwork.

Kirsten realised he had just opened up and given her something, however small. In a moment of rare honesty, he had let her in behind the wall, let her know how he was feeling. Maybe he did just need a bit of time after all.

'Sorry sweetie, he's having a nap just now. I'll tell him you came over when he wakes up,' Kirsten said airily to Marissa as she re-entered the lounge. It was shallow and less than convincing but it was the best she had been able to come up with. She could tell by the look on Marissa's face that she wasn't convinced either.

'Oh ok … well I guess I'll see you guys later then… Marissa said awkwardly, as she headed towards the front door.

She closed the door behind Marissa and headed back through to the kitchen table.

'Ryan doesn't take naps,' Sandy queried perceptively, with a raised eyebrow.

'He didn't want to see her,' Kirsten explained as she sat down.

'Uh oh. Sounds like we have a low grade relationship issue brewing.'

'High grade, I think it might be a level five Sandy. Ryan just told me Marissa broke up with him.'

Sandy looked up at her quickly, not quite managing to hide the surprise and hurt on his face. Kirsten knew that Sandy wanted Ryan to talk to him. He wanted to be the one Ryan confided in, the one to make all his problems go away. She could see that underneath his tough stance over the last few days it hurt him that Ryan wouldn't talk to him, wouldn't let him in.

'Sandy, he just needs some time to think about things. When he's ready to talk he'll come to you' Kirsten reassured him, echoing the words of her son the day before.

I hope you're right,' Sandy responded sadly, pulling her into his embrace.