Down A Rabbit Hole We Go

Summary: A very AU story involving Ryan, Caleb, and the Cohens. I'm not even sure where this is going myself. This is my first O.C. story and for some reason the first few chapters materialized in my head….Now if I an just figure out where these characters are headed…..

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Chapter 1 – Don't Think You Know Everything About Me

Caleb Nichol waited impatiently for his car to be brought around. This was by far the most boring Newport social event of the year. As he loosened his tie, he felt his cellphone buzzing in his coat pocket. Pulling it out, he stared at the caller ID showing the call was from Chino Juvenile Dete…the display only showed a partial name, but the word Chino got his undivided attention. Stepping to the side away from a couple who were also waiting for their car, he flipped the phone open. "Ryan…" he started, only to be interrupted by a voice he didn't recognize.

"Sir, this is Officer Whatley at the Chino Juvenile Detention Center. We have a juvenile in custody, let's see….a Ryan Atwood. We placed a call to his mother without success and he insisted that he had the right to make his own phone call and could call whoever he wanted," the officer chuckled slightly.

"What do you mean in custody?" Caleb barked and Whatley stopped laughing.

"Sir, he's right here, I'll let him explain. He has two minutes," the officer replied.

"Cal…Cal, are you there?" Caleb was temporarily speechless at the tremor in the boy's voice.

"Ryan, I'm here. What's going on? What did he mean in custody?" Caleb quizzed.

"I'm sorry, Cal. I just needed to get out….away from the house. Trey came and picked me up. I didn't know the car was hot," Ryan rambled.

"Trey! I've told you not to be hanging out with Trey, Ryan. That boy is nothing but trouble!" Caleb seethed.

"I'm sorry. I know you asked me not to go out with Trey, but I needed to get out and…. I didn't know about the car. Honest."

"What did he mean, in custody, Ryan? Have you been arrested? Are they charging you with something?"

"Yes…No…I don't know. I'm sorry, Cal. I swear, I didn't know about the car. Can you please just…can you come get me? They can't find my mom."

Caleb heard the hitch in Ryan's voice. He sounded close to tears which wasn't like Ryan at all. The boy was tough as nails. "I'm coming, Ryan. You just keep your mouth shut. Do you understand? Don't say anything else to anyone." Caleb could hear the officer in the background telling Ryan his time was up.

"I'm on my way, Ryan, just sit tight." Caleb heard the dial tone click and stared at the phone in his hand incredulously. He turned around to see what was taking so long with his car and saw the valet pulling it up to the curb. Then he spotted Sandy, Kirsten, and Seth waiting for another valet to bring Sandy's car around.

Kirsten saw the look on her father's face and tensed immediately, "Dad, are you ok? What's wrong?"

"Nothing…Nothing for you to worry about. Sanford, come with me. I need your help," Call insisted, grabbing Sandy by the arm and pulling him toward his Jag. Sandy tried to protest but was practically pushed into the passenger seat by his father-in-law.

"Dad?" Kirsten tried to get his attention.

"It's alright, Kiki," Cal huffed. "I'll have him home by morning." And with that, he jumped in the driver's side and tore out of the parking lot, leaving Kirsten and Seth standing on the sidewalk dumfounded.

Sandy braced himself with a hand on the dash and then fumbled for his seatbelt. "What is going on, Cal?" "Where are we going?" Sandy demanded.

"I told you, I need your help Sanford." Cal repeated with a sigh, realizing that Sandy was going to insist on a more robust explanation. Looking over, he could see Sandy staring at him impatiently. "We're going to Chino," Caleb started to explain. "We're going to the juvenile detention center." Now Cal looked anywhere but at Sandy. "There's a boy…his name is Ryan….he's….he's an acquaintance of mine. He needs your help."

Sandy's eyebrow's shot up. That was the last thing he expected to hear come from Caleb's mouth. "An acquaintance? Do you mean an accomplice?" Sandy goaded. Why would Caleb, ogre that he was, be trying to help a kid from Chino? How did Caleb even know a kid from Chino?

"No, Sanford. Don't be ridiculous," Caleb huffed in frustration. "Ryan's a good kid. He's never been in trouble before….other than a couple of fights at school and a few citations for truancy. He wouldn't be in trouble now if his no-good brother hadn't picked him up in a stolen car."

"How do you even know this kid, Cal?" Sandy was truly baffled.

"I…I met him through… charity work."

At that, Sandy laughed out loud, earning him a glare from Caleb. "Your idea of charity work is a big fat check and a pat on the back, Cal. I'm not buying it. What's really going on? Does this kid have something on you?"

"I'm not even going to justify that with an answer, Sandy," Cal grumbled. "Don't think you know everything about me, because you don't."

Sandy just shook his head, because apparently, he didn't.

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