a/n: this will move through the four seasons and beyond as it showcases primarily Ryan's thoughts on the Ferris wheel and their first kiss in different stages of their relationship… hint,hint… the kiss is a depiction of something… or someone! Just an idea that I had, so don't kill me.

His first innocent kiss...

He was talking to Anna about something he couldn't quite recall when he saw Her. Subconsciously he had been thinking about Her all day. He didn't know why, but ever since he had seen her at the end of the driveway she had always been on his mind. She had this unique power over him. she could see him.. really see him… see what was good in him and he had never felt this way with anyone before. There was something indefinable between them that kept pulling him to her. She was heading for the Ferris wheel, he realized, and he felt his breath catch. The very thought of getting on that thing which would take him fifty feet in the air was terrifying, but he would do it, if that was the only way they could talk! He had to make sure that she understood how important this was to him, how important she was to him. he was going to do whatever he could to make this work between them.

He ran towards her, barely managing to hold summer back before she could slide in… " do you mind", he drew out… summer must have sensed some of the desperation in him because finally she relented and stepped aside. he slid in beside her, as he stole a glance. She was avoiding his eyes and he really couldn't blame her for doing that. Not after the way he had went off on her earlier about Luke. Then, the Ferris wheel began moving upwards and he felt that familiar tightening in his body as fear began gripping his heart. For a moment, though, as he looked at her, their eyes connected and he forgot about the fight, his fear of heights, he forgot about everything but the way she looked. she looked so beautiful it hurt. What did you say to a girl like that? He wondered! He was not going to deny that he had wanted many women before.. and he didn't want to brag, but most of the time he had 'had' them. But there was just something so different this time. It was almost as if he needed her. It was crazy, he knew, even dangerous because he knew he didn't really fit in her world, but ever since that first moment in the driveway, he had been pulled in her vortex so fast that she had become almost as essential as breathing to him. he wanted to let her know that this was not just sex to him. he wanted to cherish her, love her, protect her from any and every harm including himself if need be. But he didn't quite know how to put all this into words. And now that he was sitting beside her, he was once again tongue tied.

"I thought you were afraid of heights…", softly her words intruded upon his thoughts.

"uh… huh… but this was important" ,he said in an attempt to make her realize how important all this was to him but before he could more than utter a few words the Ferris wheel stopped, making him almost choke with fear.

"whhh…what's happening?" he asked as he tightly shut his eyes.

"uh… we're stopped" she replied.

"wwwh… why we're stopped?" he muttered, trying to stop his voice from shaking, but she just shrugged.

"had to get the cheap ferries wheel didn't you? What kind of carnival is this, cooper?. his words sounded as accusatory as possible and she gave him a dirty look… if he continued this, he thought, chances were she would throw him out before the Ferris wheel landed. He had to have 'the talk' now, before he screwed up more. He closed his eyes tightly shut and gathering all the courage he had and spoke…

"okay… so I don't talk a lot and I really don't trust people, but I trust you… and I want to make it work no matter what, and if we ever get down from this ferries wheel maybe we can talk about it".

"well, who knows when that will be…" she was torturing him…

"please don't say that…"he whispered very softly. He wasn't sure how much more of this he could take…

He still didn't open his eyes. He was afraid to see her face, see her reaction. He had let her know as best as he could how much she meant to him, how wrong he had been not to trust her with Luke… what if it just hadn't been enough?

She leaned into him as she said," look, maybe you just need something to take your mind off it!".

Did she even realize what her soft voice did to him? or what her nearness triggered? He felt a tingle pass through his entire body and it was so intense that it was almost painful. he sighed,"50 feet in the air, what could possibly…" and then his entire world exploded as he felt her soft lips upon his. he couldn't think, he couldn't breathe, surprise immobilizing him. it was so sudden, so unexpected! He didn't react at all, as his blue eyes opened wide and the pounding of his heart grew so loud that he was sure the entire world could hear It! He leaned into her as finally his lips began to act. As soon as they did, blood rushed to his head and his pulse started hammering at an erratic pace and this time when his chest tightened he knew it wasn't from fear. His eyes closed wanting to memorize her every touch, every feel, every move of those incredibly soft lips as slowly his tongue parted her mouth and stroked her's to a feverish pitch. For the first time he realized what it was like for time to stand still, for them to be the only two people in this world. The world around them disappeared and the only thing that mattered was 'him'… 'her'… and this amazing connection that they had. At this moment he really didn't care that he was 50 feet in the air, really didn't care that they were in extremely public place, really didn't care if these would be the last moments of his life. she fit him so perfectly and kissing her was the most amazing experience that he'd ever had.

And when they finally drew apart after what seemed like a lifetime, both having these ridiculous crazy grins on their faces, he couldn't really help but feel that even though he had been kissed many times before, more expertly, more thoroughly and definitely more erotically, this had been his very 'first kiss'!

His first, innocent kiss got tainted...

She was standing there, exactly where he had stood a year back and he could see the Ferris wheel a few feet behind her. He couldn't believe what he had seen tonight. . Thoughts raced through his mind as he remembered how he had felt when he had seen her and that guy… kissing … he felt so angry, he wanted to punch someone. he didn't know he could feel this way… so unbelievably angry, so betrayed. He wanted to shout, he wanted to scream. Why couldn't she have just told him the truth? But, no, she had to lie to him. she had to make a fool of him. she had to hurt him like she'd never hurt him before. Seeing her with Oliver had broken him. she knew that. she knew how he was. It had already happened to them once before, but no, she had to do this to him once again. Seeing her with this other guy tore him apart and he had concluded that She would never change. She would continue to betray him and he wanted no part of this anymore... She had hurt him too much for that. Slowly he made his way towards her…

"I was going to tell you", he heard her say, her voice broken, tears In her eyes and he felt so unbelievably angry at the lie.

"no you were not. Don't lie to me", he shouted. She flinched as if he had hit her. But he couldn't care less. She had hurt him just as much.

" you weren't coming back", she said and he couldn't believe that she would throw that at him. as if that atoned for all her mistakes.

" you could have just told me the truth instead of lying to Me.". no, but that would be too simple for her. How could she think of something so straightforward. He could actually see the wheels turning in her head. He knew exactly what she was thinking and even before she said it, he knew what she was going to say.

" im sorry…" she whispered. Her big, blue eyes widened, tears forming in them and he took a step back, afraid they would sway him once again.

" look, maybe we should just be friends for a while.." he said, trying to find a middle path.

"get real Ry, we've never been friends", she shouted and It brought all the hurt and the betrayal back for him. It was true. They never could be friends.

"maybe that was always the problem" he shouted back. He watched her tears fall down her cheek, he watched her start to say something, he watched her try and stop him but he turned his back and started to walk away. He heard the Ferris wheel in the distance and for a moment he remembered their first kiss. he closed his eyes as he felt the pain. The pain of hurt, the pain of betrayal, the pain of his heart breaking. It didn't matter anymore, he thought.

His first kiss was already tainted

His first innocent kiss was already tainted!

His first innocent, tainted kiss was broken...

She was sitting beside him, her long golden hair tied in some sort of a bun, her blue eyes beautiful and that smile that he loved so much gracing her face. he couldn't help but think that it felt so different now. She seemed so different now. Her blue eyes though big and just as beautiful had a hint of sadness in them. That mischievous sparkle was gone. That smile of hers still managed to make his breath catch in his throat, but to him , now, it appeared a bit forced, strained, while earlier it had been so full of life and love. He would do anything to bring it back. but he knew he couldn't. and it pained him so much!

The Ferris wheel began to move upwards and he smiled at the bittersweet irony. He never could have imagined two years back that life would take them down this road. what had appeared so complex then, had actually been so simple as compared to what they were facing now. Everything was just so… difficult. His brother had tried to rape his girlfriend, he had tried to kill his brother, his girlfriend had saved his life by shooting his brother, he had gone to jail for it, his girlfriend had got him out of jail and now she was being thrown out of school for all of this. How did one even begin to deal with something like this? he stole a glance at her. How was she dealing with all this? how would they as a couple deal with it? Everything had changed so much. he knew he still loved her though but he had no idea if they could ever put this shit behind. A lot had happened and he had no idea if they would ever truly be able to get over all of that and for the first time he was really scared.

"I thought you were afraid of heights", she said, a smile playing across her face just like the first time and it broke his heart to see how much it had changed.

"maybe third time is the charm", he said and his voice caught in his throat. Both of them knew that he wasn't just talking about the Ferris wheel and his fear of heights. There were so many words that he knew he should say to her. So many things that she needed to hear. But he knew he couldn't. so instead he made a promise to her,

"look, I know the last two years haven't exactly been perfect, and I know that this year is going to be even more tougher but… we'll continue to have our moments, right?", he said and after a long time he saw a hint of that Marissa back as she smiled mischievously up at him,

" I think we are having one right now", She said as she brought her lips closer and closer to him and just as always both of them got lost in those feelings, those feelings that were more powerful than words as the world around them disappeared and only both of them remained. and For the first time since that night, they felt as if things were starting to get alright…

"just what do you think you are doing, miss cooper"

harsh words intruded their thoughts and for a split second it didn't register in his mind as he turned to look at the source of this annoying intrusion, the smile still on his face. and then he froze…

"look, she is not here on school property, she is here as my guest…", he attempted to explain…

"you better say out of this"

what was the guy talking about? How could he stay out of this? but before he could voice any of his opinions, Marissa spoke…

"I am not here to cause any problems, ill just leave"

"no wait" he spoke involuntarily to her. Why was she not fighting all this? why was she giving up so easily? Why were these people treating her like this? they were her friends, weren't they?

" you can't do that", he said, " she has been organizing this very same carnival for the past two years…"

"thank you for this trip down the memory lane, but you are in as much trouble as it is. And unless you plan to follow the same way as Marissa cooper, shut up."

He could really hurt this guy, he thought. But before he could retort, the guy pulled Marissa by the arm and began to drag her away. That's when he lost it. As the blood rushed to his head and his brain stopped functioning. How dare some guy touch Marissa? How dare he hurt her? He pulled him by the arm and punched him in the face.

As if from a distance, he heard the collective gasp of students. For a split second he didn't know what had happened, and then he realized…

He had punched the dean…

He looked at Marissa. She was crying and he could clearly see the guilt written in her face. It was one more thing to come in between them.

He looked back at the dean and even before he said it, he knew what was coming. He was getting expelled. But he didn't care anymore as the rage still pumped adrenaline through him and without a backward glance he walked away. It was some time before he realized that Marissa had not followed him.

He turned back to see her standing alone near at the boundaries watching all the people that had been her life, watching the school that she had once owned, watching the place that had just as irreversibly rejected her as if she had never been a part of it. He could feel her pain in his heart. He went back to her as he put his arms around her. They were in this together now and as he slowly pulled her away, both turning their backs on the life they had once lived, each knowing that they could never return to it again,

he knew that the memory of his first kiss was already 'broken'!

His first, innocent, tainted, broken kiss got lost...

He was walking a little behind Taylor as she kept pulling him chattering away to glory but he really wasn't paying much attention. In fact he couldn't remember the last time he had actually paid any attention to his surroundings or to the clothes he wore or to the food he ate. He functioned on an automaton now. Feeling anything would bring the pain back.

Ever since that fateful day when 'she' had died, people had been clamoring him with false words of consolation or pity in their eyes. he couldn't take it especially when it was so difficult for him to sleep at night with her presence still lingering everywhere. They couldn't understand. They wouldn't get the fact that he just didn't feel like doing anything. They wouldn't leave him alone. 'she' would have understood. 'she' would have known exactly what to do. But 'she' wasn't there. She was gone…

"common Ryan, lets go that way…", Taylor said, pulling him by his hand and Seth gave him an amused sort of a grin. He gave Seth a dirty look. He was really not in the mood, but he let her drag him anyway. He was too weak to resist, too lost to really care. All of a sudden his feet came to a stop and his breath got caught in his throat as he took in his surroundings. Summer gasped, Seth began pulling him the other way and Taylor was looking perplexed. "what? I thought it would be fun to visit the carnival again" Taylor said but he didn't answer, he stood transfixed for a moment as his eyes took in the Ferris wheel. And then the suppressed emotions of the past few months crashed onto him and he felt tears well up in his eyes and he snapped! Taylor pulled at him trying to stop him, but he violently pushed her away. "let go off me" , he shouted his eyes blazing with anger and so powerful was his expression that she actually flinched. But he didn't care, he turned his back to her before he walked away…

it was sometime later that he realized where he was or what he was doing. He was drenched in sweat, standing near the lifeguard stand, the empty sea beckoning him, calling out to him. his mind was going crazy as image after image came crashing on to him. " I don't talk a lot and I really don't trust people, but I trust you and I want to make this work, no matter what" . "had to get the cheap Ferris wheel didn't you? What kind of a carnival is this, cooper". " look maybe you just need something to take your mind off things" the feel of her lips, the touch of her face, the sparkle in her eyes as she said it , the laughter that they had shared as they got down from the wheel, the smirks that they received from fellow students. And suddenly she was everywhere, smiling at him, laughing with him, calling out to him, kissing him, needing him, fighting with him, walking away from him, supporting him, loving him… there were hundreds of her all shouting and then all of a sudden there were none. He fell down on his knees and tears cascaded down his cheek before he could stop them. Suddenly he was sobbing, harder than he had ever sobbed in his life. these sobs racked his entire being and he almost threw up twice.

Strong arms enveloped him tight from behind and he turned around to see Seth and summer look at him with sadness in their eyes. He closed his eyes, not speaking a word to them, and after long moments, maybe it were minutes or maybe it were hours, nobody knew how much and nobody cared, he finally, brokenly, hesitantly spoke…

"I promised... I promised her that day, that I would make this work no matter what. I promised her… that I trusted her, and a year later I promised her that I would stick it through.", the word tumbled out surprising both summer and Seth with their intensity. But he wanted to say this, he needed to say this because he wanted someone else to blame him just as much as he did. But the blame never came…

" don't you get it, summer, I broke all my promises to her…", he said again a little more harshly. "Why?", he screamt

But neither said a word to him, both knowing nothing they could say would convince him it wasn't his fault… so they just sat there with him hearing the waves crashing by as night became dawn.

Finally Seth said, "dude… we should really get back to the house"

"I just need to be alone right now"

Seth started to argue with him but summer stopped him. she looked at him before she softly whispered… "come… come when you are ready. And we will be waiting for you".

" I know…", he said before he watched them walk away leaving him with her memories…

It were days before he finally acknowledged that she really was gone… days before he finally had the guts to date Taylor… days before he finally realized that

his first kiss was lost somewhere… never to be found again…

His first, innocent, tainted, broken, lost kiss would forever remain...

It had been five years since he had last come here. He had changed so much in that time. So many journeys had been made. So many obstacles had been overcome and yet nothing over here had changed. He could still see those glittering, shining masses of people, still hear those raucous childish laughter of teenagers, still feel that air of excitement that could only be felt in a high school carnival where innocence could be seen before the world changed it all.

he wondered who hosted these events now, wondered if there would again be some boy who had come from the wrong side of tracts only to fall in love with the beautiful, elusive girl who held that social chair. But, he doubted it. Things like that happened only once. Girls like her only came once. His throat contracted with unshed tears as he remembered that very first time, remembered that 16 year old girl in her white top and dark jeans and a smile on her face.

Slowly he turned around and he could see it. The 'Ferris wheel' moving up and down as children screamed . he wondered if at this moment there was some love story being started atop it or some relationship being ended. but before he could complete his train of thoughts, the Ferris wheel stopped as it unloaded each old passenger to take in each new. 'change' that was the only thing that was permanent.

he saw Her. he knew she would be there. he saw the white top and the dark jeans that she wore. She wasn't smiling today though, and he felt sad. She should always smile. She was sitting in her usual place, the left side of the seat, leaving the right side empty. he ran just as the Ferris man was about to close the handle and slid in beside he as he felt her familiar scent envelope him. she looked up and their eyes connected. Two matching pair of blues, two mirrors of one soul.

" I am sorry… I am late" , he whispered as he took her hand in his, intertwining their fingers. She gave him that special, dazzling brilliant smile of hers as she said,

" you are just in time…"

Slowly the Ferris wheel took them higher and higher and he closed his eyes, so intense was the pain. softly he felt her turn his face towards hers and the wall, the dam broke. Tears cascaded down his cheek and he brokenly said …

" I am so sorry, Riss. for everything. More sorry than you can ever know. There are so many promises that I broke, so many dreams that remained unfulfilled, so many hours that I wasted, so many things that I could have done differently.." , and on and on he went as he poured every thought, every emotion out to her. He had never spoken this much to her. Finally, totally spent, he hung his head, unable to meet her eyes.

softly she looked at him, her blue eyes connecting with his as she said,

" I wouldn't have it any other way…" ,

and he felt as if a burden that he had been carrying for years now was lifted from his shoulder. He had never felt this free since the day she had died.

"I wish there had been more time…", he said voicing the thought that had been uppermost in his mind, and before he knew it she had turned his face to her and kissed him, and just like so many years ago, his eyes opened in surprise and then closed again. He wanted to savor this one last time, savor every touch, every feel, every move of those incredibly soft lips, for as long as possible because he knew this would be the last time. Slowly he opened his eyes and looked at her,

"I love you… I know I never told you enough, but I love you…"

"I know…" she whispered…" I always knew…"

For an interminably long moment neither spoke, each knowing what was coming next, each scared of it just as much as the other.

"you're going…" he said. It was not a question. but the pain was still as much real.

" I have to, Ry", she whispered. "you have to let me go… there is someone else waiting for you now". He looked at her, blue clashing against blue silently acknowledging what she had said.

They sat like that, frozen in time for a long while. Finally he spoke, "did you ever think that night on the Ferris wheel that we wouldn't be together like that again?"

"never…", she replied.

" yeah… me neither. I always thought I would be with you forever." , he said as he remembered the countless minutes that he had spent with her.

"are you saying its over?", she teased and he smiled.

He knew she was right. He knew they would have their time someday but for now this time had to end.

"I'll miss you", he said and his voice broke.

she gently placed her hand on his heart and said, "I am right here, Ry, in your heart , and that's where I'll always remain".

He closed his eyes not daring to move afraid each breath he took would be their last. There were so many things still left to say, so many moments yet to finish, he wasn't ready, he would never be ready. But he knew he had to.

"do you remember the first time we had met?" , He asked.

"ofcourse,Ry". She replied.

He kept his eyes tightly shut trying to protect himself from the pain he knew would come.

""who are you?", He questioned and he could feel her smiling at him.

"I am, whoever you want me to be" she whispered, and when he opened his eyes, she was gone…

He couldn't remember for how long he sat there as evening turned into night and night turned into last ride. A small boy came up to him jolting him out of his senses,

"mister, I saw you here for as long as I can remember. Don't you get afraid of heights?"

he looked at him directly in the eye before he said," not anymore…" ,and then he walked away leaving the boy with this cryptic answer…

The carnival had already come to an end. The lights were slowly dwindling as each stall was being packed up. Tired people were walking back towards their home exhausted from their days of activity. He saw them in the distance. He could make out the form of Seth and beside him he could see summer. Summer was crying and Seth was holding her. And with them there was… Claire. She had a confused expression on her face, not really understanding why her fiancé was wandering around this carnival alone so late in the night a day before their wedding or why his best friends were crying.. he assumed none of them had filled her in. He had never really told her about 'Her'. He would someday… but now was not the time. As soon as she saw him come near she launched herself at him and hugged him tight. "what were you doing, Ryan?" she asked as she buried her neck deeper in his and for a moment he remembered how 'She' had felt. He looked beyond as his eyes clashed with Summer's. "saying Goodbye…", he whispered and through her tears summer smiled. Slowly as a group they continued walking by, with time summer's tears ran dry, within a few steps his hand found Claire's and held it tight, slowly he kissed her, his lips meeting her, and after some time they began to talk and then laugh as things returned to normal. Just as they were leaving the premises of the carnival he turned back one last time to look at the Ferris wheel. There was no one there anymore and everything was boarded up and dark. He hadn't expected anyone to be there. She was gone… but as he lay his hand on his heart the way she had, he knew, that even though slowly with time, the memory of that incredibly beautiful broken girl would diminish, it would never be completely gone.

However innocent, tainted, broken and lost the kiss was, it would forever remain… here, in his heart…