A/N: This was just supposed to be a quick little chapter but it ended up being over 7800 words! Easily my longest ever!
Ciara sighed nervously as she sat on the couch in the loft looking at her phone. She hadn't heard from Ben and was started to get worried. She had lost track of how many times she had called and texted him with no response. This was pretty unlike Ben. Ciara was just hoping that her Mom hadn't arrested Ben again but didn't want to call her and alert her of something. Ciara was about ready to start making Missing posters for Ben when Claire walked in.
Ciara jumped up "Claire!" Claire's eyes widened at Ciara. Uneasy, Claire said, "Hey…?"
Ciara rub her hands together nervously, "Have, uh, have you heard from Ben? He's been MIA and that's pretty unlike him." Before Claire could answer, Tripp walked out to where Claire and Ciara were. Tripp asked, "Why do you care where that psychopath is?"
Ciara sighed deeply, "Because he's my friend."
Ciara turned back to face Claire, "Claire, you and Ben seem to be close lately. I can't imagine what you two would have to talk about, but did he mention anything to you?"Claire smiled a small smile.
Innocently, Claire said, "He might be at the DiMera mansion?" Ciara's eyes bugged out almost like a cartoon, "What? Why would Ben be there?" Claire sighed, as if contemplating if she should tell Ciara. Ciara gently grasped Claire's arm, "If you know something, please tell me." Claire sighed, "He took a job with Stefan." Ciara shook her head, "No, no. Ben wouldn't do that. Why would he go work for Stefan DiMera?"
Tripp watched as Ciara freaked out, "Why do you care what Ben does Ciara?" Claire shrugged her shoulders, "I don't know." Tripp put a hand on Ciara's shoulders, "How about we…"
Ciara didn't acknowledge Tripp and reached for her purse which was sitting on the island. Ciara quickly said, "I have to go." as she shut the door behind her.
Claire started walking toward the couch and smirked slightly to herself. She didn't even have to do anything, which was good since Ben was more than hesitant to lie to Ciara. That made Claire roll her eyes mentally, but the plan seemed to be working.
Ciara practically ran the whole way from the loft to the DiMera mansion. Ciara couldn't possibly imagine what Stefan could have on Ben that would make him want to work for him.
When Ciara arrived at the DiMera mansion, she stood in front of the door for a few moments catching her breath before knocking. When Ciara tapped at the door, the door opened slightly. Ciara thought to herself that that was strange. Ciara took a deep breath before slowly opening the door and walking into the mansion. There was an uneasy feeling in the pit of Ciara's stomach.
Ciara looked around and saw Ben in the living room facing away from her. Ciara sighed again trying to slow down her heart before she said, "Ben?"
Ben whipped around and looked at Ciara confused, "Ciara? What're you doing here?"
Ciara took a deep breath and she walked toward Ben, "I could ask you the same thing. Why on EARTH would you take a job with Stefan DiMera?" Ben looked at Ciara in confusion, "How did you…?" It then dawned on Ben, "Claire." Ciara nodded slowly.
"Is this why you went radio silent on me? Why you weren't answering my calls or texts?" Ben swallowed hard, "Look, I know that Stefan isn't exactly the most upstanding guy in Salem-" Ciara laughed, "Yeah, you could say that again."
Ciara walked closer until she and Ben were in front of each other. Ben was now standing with his back toward the entrance and Ciara was right in front of him. Ciara took one of Ben's hands in her own a gave it a light squeeze and looked directly into Ben's eyes, "You are wanting SO badly to prove to everyone that you have changed." Ben nodded slightly, "I do, I have." Ciara let go of Ben's hand and narrowed her eyes ever so slightly, "Then how does working for Stefan DiMera help you achieve that? He's the one person in this town who probably has more enemies than you. No offence."
Ben nodded, "None taken, but as bad as Stefan may be… he is the ONE person in this town who will give me a chance." Ciara opened her mouth to speak but Ben continued, "Other than you. You have done SO much for me and I will never be able to re-pay you for that, but the fact of the matter is, I need a job. And if Stefan is the only one who will employ me, I don't have the option to be picky."
Ciara shook her head, "No, Ben. There HAS to be SOMEONE beside Stefan who would help you." Ben took in a deep breath, "Trust me I tried. NO one will hire me."
Ciara sighed, "I will scour every business in this town if I have to. You CAN'T work for Stefan DiMera. You just CAN'T." Ben swallowed, "As much as I appreciate that, I can't ask you to do that." Ciara asked, "Why not?"
Ben started stammering, "Be-because, it-it's not fair. Why do you want to help me so much when you have a boyfriend?" Ciara sighed, "You really don't know?"
Before Ben could answer Ciara moved so she and Ben were chest to chest and leaned in and pulled Ben into a kiss. Ciara put a hand on Ben's neck with her thumb resting between his jaw and his cheek. Ciara wrapped her other arm around Ben's neck. Ciara sucked in a breath and she pulled Ben even closer to her if that was even possible. Ben sucked in a breath and returned the kiss with equal fire. Ben parted his lips slightly and Ciara slipped her tongue into Ben's. Ciara began to turn her head slightly when Ben pulled away.
"No, I can't do this." Ciara stood there stunned. Ciara was frozen with her neck still extended and her mouth parted slightly. Tears welled ever so slightly in Ciara's eyes, "No, I'm sorry. I misread things. I thought that you wanted… I thought that you and I…" Ciara swallowed the tears down, "I'm clearly mistaken. I'll go."
Ciara passed Ben and was about the leave when Ben grabbed Ciara's arm by the elbow and spun her back around to face him. "No, you didn't misread anything. I want you, Ciara. I've wanted you for a while now." Fresh tears began to pool in Ciara's eyes, "Then why did you pull away?" Ben sighed, closed his eyes and looked up at the ceiling for a moment, "I want you, I want you more than I've ever wanted anything. You have been my rock, my anchor. I look into your eyes and it's like I'm home, I'm safe, secure. Like I can breathe. You make me feel what I haven't felt since I was a child, that calm feeling."
Ciara wiped her eye to catch a tear that threatened to fall. Ben continued, "As much as I want you, want this…" Ben gestured between them. "I can't do this. Not while you're with Tripp."
Ciara looked at Ben in confusion and he continued, "There is nothing more that I want than to take you in my arms and never let you go…" Ciara took a step toward Ben and placed her hand on his neck and placed her forehead on his. In a voice barely below a whisper Ciara said, "Then do it…"
Ben shivered out of Ciara's grasp and Ciara's body fell. "But I can't. Because I know how it feels." Ciara sighed, getting it. "Abigail." Ben nodded, "I loved her, and I thought she loved me. And she was screwing Chad behind my back for god knows how long. Here." Ben gestured around the mansion. "I know what it feels like to have the person that you love hook-up with someone else. So, as much as I want you, and I DO, I just can't. Not while you're with someone else."
Ciara sniffed and pulled Ben into a hug. After a second Ben wrapped his arms around Ciara's waist and rested his forehead on Ciara's shoulder. After a moment Ciara pulled away and placed both of her hands on each side of Ben's face, "So, about this job with Stefan, PLEASE let me help you get a job somewhere else, ANYWHERE but here, but HIM." Softly, Ben said, "Okay." A smile spread across Ciara's face, "Thank you." Ben couldn't help but smile back.
Ciara pulled back from the hug and gave Ben a light kiss on the lips. Ben began to speak, but Ciara interrupted, "Last one, I promise." Ben chuckled lightly under his breath and watched Ciara as she left the mansion.
Ciara walked back to the loft, slower than the time before with a huge grin on her face. It was like she was drunk and in a daze, but sober at the same time. She didn't go to find Ben with the intention of kissing him, it just happened, but she was glad it did. She had been fighting how she felt about Ben for so long and had forgotten why. Ben was a good guy, regardless of what everyone else in Salem thought and he treated her well, why shouldn't she be with him? 1 word: Tripp. Ciara cared about Tripp, she wouldn't deny that, but Ben made her feel things that no other guy had made her feel, maybe ever, and she couldn't deny those feelings any longer. Now, all Ciara could think about was the next time that she would be able to kiss Ben again.
Ciara was walking up to the door of the loft when she heard loud voices. She realized Claire and Tripp were arguing. Ciara quietly opened the door and cracked it open ever so slightly. Ciara saw Claire sitting on the couch and Tripp sitting in a chair across. "At least they're not screwing" Ciara thought to herself.
Tripp said, "You can't tell Ciara!" Claire sighed, "She's my best friend. I owe it to her to tell her." Tripp stood up and took a step closer toward Claire, "Look, you canNOT tell Ciara that I am the one who planted the evidence on Ben. She and I were doing so well when he wasn't around, and I knew that if he was out of the picture, she and I could get back to where we were."
Ciara silently gasped. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Ben was right: someone DID set him up, just not the person that he thought. Ciara thought back to the questions that Ben asked her when he was arrested with the 'new evidence'. Tripp fit those perfectly. Tripp wanted to destroy the trust that Ciara had with Ben and wanted to keep him away from her forever. Ciara sighed realizing that she pushed Ben away when he was only telling the truth and Tripp was the one that she couldn't trust, not Ben.
Ciara continued to listen. "Tripp, did you really think that Ciara would do whatever it took to prove Ben innocent?" Tripp pursed his lips, "I knew that she would never abandon him unless there was concrete proof that Ben was guilty. And he was, he IS, there just wasn't any evidence to prove it. Ciara is MINE, I wasn't going to let anyone but ESPECIALLY that psychopath get in the way of us. And it worked, didn't it? Ciara left Ben in jail and she slept with me. My plan worked perfectly if I do say so myself. I don't mean to toot my own horn but, toot-toot."
At that moment, Ciara bursted into the loft. Claire looked surprised and Tripp looked like a deer in headlights.
Tripp tried to laugh it off, "Ciara, hey. You were gone a while. Is everything okay?" Ciara deadpanned, "Tripp, I need to talk to you."
Claire moved off of the couch and went into the kitchen area and Ciara walked up to Tripp, "I heard, I heard EVERY word. I know you planted that evidence on Ben."
Tripp looked at Ciara like she was crazy, "What? I-" Ciara shook her head, "DON'T even try to deny it Tripp." Ciara turned to Claire, "Is it true?" Quietly Claire said, "Yes." Ciara nodded, "Thank you!"
Ciara turned back to face Tripp, "How could you? No, you know what, don't answer because I heard EVERY word you said. You're disgusting. You know what the irony is? I was coming back here to end things with you."
Tripp looked at Ciara in shock, "Wha-why?" Ciara swallowed, "When I left, I went to find Ben and I kissed him. The kiss only stopped because HE pulled away. Because he knew how YOU would feel. I wouldn't have stopped it because I wanted it, I wanted HIM." Ciara shook her head disgusted, "And you set him up."
Ciara headed for the door and just before she opened it, she turned back to face Tripp, "And just in case it wasn't clear, we're through." Ciara turned to face Claire, "I know you've wanted him and I think you deserve better, but if you want him, he's all yours." Claire nodded slowly not able to say anything. Ciara walked out the door without another word.
Ciara went to the one person's house that she felt wouldn't judge her. Ciara knocked on the door and when it opened on the verge of tears Ciara said, "Can I stay here tonight?" Maggie wrapped her arms around Ciara, "Of course, honey."
The next morning Ciara sat up in bed and looked around and saw that she wasn't in her bedroom, she was in one of the guest rooms at Grandpa Vic's. The events of the prior night came flooding back to her: the kiss with Ben, finding out the truth about Tripp, and ending things with him.
Ciara scratched her head slightly when there was a knock at the door. Ciara called, "Come in." Maggie walked in with a coffee cup. As she handed it to Ciara, she said, "Thought you could use this."
Ciara smiled a half smile, "Thanks." Maggie sat on the edge of the bed, "How'd you sleep?" Ciara shrugged her shoulders, "Okay."
Maggie sighed, "I know you didn't really feel like talking last night other than the fact that you couldn't go home. Now as much as your grandpa and I love having you here, do you want to talk about what happened?" Ciara shrugged her shoulders and sighed deeply, "I guess it would be nice to talk about it with someone who isn't going to judge me."
Maggie opened her arms, "Talk to me." Ciara looked down at her coffee for a moment before looking back up at Maggie, "I, uh, I kissed Ben yesterday." Maggie tried to hide her shock, but Ciara saw it. After a moment Ciara continued, "He took a job with Stefan DiMera and I went to see him to talk him out of it. He questioned why I cared about him and where he works and I just kissed him." Maggie gestured for Ciara to continue, "And…?" Ciara couldn't fight the huge smile that came to her face, "It was an AMAZING kiss, like the best ever." Ciara laughed and her smile got even bigger. Ciara continued, "And he stopped it. Because I was with Tripp. He knew what it was like to be cheated so he said that as much as he wanted to be with me, to take me in his arms and never let me go, he couldn't."
Maggie nodded, "You said 'was with Tripp'. Is that why you couldn't go home?" Ciara sighed deeply, "Kind of, but not really." Maggie looked at Ciara in confusion and she continued, "I went home with the full intention of ending things with Tripp…" Maggie swallowed, "Because you want to be with Ben?" Ciara nodded, "But when I got there, I overheard Tripp and Claire arguing." Maggie narrowed her eyebrows, "About…?" Ciara took a deep breath, "About Claire wanting to tell me that Tripp was the one who planted the evidence on Ben."
Ciara looked up at Maggie who had wide eyes, "Wow, was not expecting that." Ciara chuckled slightly, "Yeah, me neither. Needless to say, I ended things with Tripp. I just needed to get away for a moment and regroup and collect my thoughts. So I ended up here." Maggie put her hand on Ciara's arm, "You are welcome to stay here as long as you need." Ciara smiled, "Thank you."
Maggie leaned forward and gave Ciara a hug. "Come downstairs when you're ready. I'll have a nice spread prepared." Ciara smiled, "Thanks."
Ciara walked downstairs into the living room and saw that Maggie wasn't kidding. The coffee table was completely covered. Ciara sat down in a chair and took a few items.
Ciara had just started to eat when Victor walked into the living room. He walked over to Ciara and gave Ciara a kiss on the head, "Maggie told me we had a visitor."
Ciara smiled, "Thanks for letting my crash Grandpa Vic." Victor took a seat on the couch, "You are welcome anytime." Ciara took a sip of juice when Victor asked, "I'm assuming that this has to do with Weston." Ciara looked at Maggie who gave her a look saying that she hadn't told.
Ciara's smile fell, "Don't start on me too, the last thing I need is another lecture." Victor looked at Ciara in defense, "Would I do that?" Ciara shook her head and laughed slightly.
Ciara gave her grandfather an abridged version of what had transpired the day before. Ciara sighed, "I guess the next thing to do is talk to Ben and see where things stand now."
Ciara stood up and sighed as she walked up the stairs. After she got dressed she grabbed her phone and texted Ben. "Can you meet me at the café? I need to talk to you." Ciara sighed as she pressed 'send'. She wasn't exactly sure what she was going to say when she saw him. She couldn't just blurt out 'Hey, my boyfriend was the one who set you up for attempted murder and arson'.
Ciara came back downstairs and poked her head into the living room, "I'm, uh, heading out." Victor nodded, "Shall we expect you tonight?"
Ciara smiled a small smile, "Well, that depends on what happens today." Ciara walked in and gave Maggie a hug and walked over to Victor and leaned down and gave him a kiss on the cheek, "Thank you both, for letting me stay."
Maggie and Victor nodded and Victor said, "I'm not sure of what to think of your friendship or more with Weston, but I can see the smile he brings, so..." Victor mumbled the next part to himself, "I may regret this…" Victor sighed, "If you and Weston don't have anywhere else to go, I suppose you guys can stay here."
Ciara's eyes widened, "Really? Thank you. I love you Grandpa Vic." Victor smiled as Ciara hugged him.
After Ciara left Maggie turned to Victor, "That was surprising." Victor shrugged, "What can I say? I'm in a giving mood. Besides if Weston's here, I can keep an eye on him." Maggie chuckled and pointed a finger at Victor, "There it is." Victor couldn't help but let a soft laugh out, "Well, what're you gonna do?"
Ciara walked up to the café and saw Ben already at a table. Ciara smiled as she walked up to Ben. Ben looked up when he sensed Ciara. "Hey." Ciara took a breath, "Hey."
Ben stood up and wasn't sure what to do. He started to go in for a hug, but retreated, he then put out his hand to shake but after a second shook his head and retreated. Ben gestured for Ciara to sit.
Ciara sat down and Ben began, "I wasn't sure if I was going to hear from you last night." Ciara sighed, "Yeah, I, um, after I left the mansion, I went back to the loft with the full intention of ending things with Tripp…" Ben nodded slowly, "But you couldn't do it."
Ciara opened her mouth to talk but Ben continued before she could get a word in, "I get it. You realize the kiss was a mistake and you don't want to end things with your boyfriend." Ciara looked at Ben in confusion, "Ben, I…" Ben swallowed hard, "Is that why you asked me to come here? So you could let me down easy?"
Ciara put her hand onto Ben's, "Ben. Let me explain." Ben nodded and Ciara sighed, "When I got to the loft I overheard Tripp say that HE was the one who planted the evidence on you." Ben's eyes bugged out, "Tripp?" Ciara nodded slowly, "Yeah. He said that he was sure that if you were in jail everything would go back to the way it was for me and him."
Ben shook his head, "I can't believe this. I'm sorry Ciara. I accused your mother of doing it when really, it was Tripp." Tears began to fill Ciara's eyes as she shook her head, "I can't believe that I slept with the person who was setting you up. The thought makes me sick to my stomach." Ciara looked up at Ben, "You told me not to do something that I would regret, and I did just that. Everyone told me that I couldn't trust you, when the truth of the matter was the person I couldn't trust was my boyfriend, the guy that I gave EVERYTHING to." Tears welled in Ciara's eyes, "God, I'm such an idiot! How could I not see what was happening right in front of my face?" Ciara shook her head. Ben got out of his seat and kneeled down. Ben put a hand to Ciara's neck.
Softly, he said, "Hey, this is not your fault. You cannot blame yourself for this. Ben gave Ciara a kiss on the forehead as he stood up. Ben began to walk away when Ciara called his name. "Ben?"
Ben turned back to face Ciara, "He's not getting away with this Ciara. Everything that he has done, all of the pain that he has caused you. He has to answer for it." Ciara sighed as she watched Ben walk away. Ciara sat down in the seat thinking about everything Tripp had done. She had slept with him because she thought she loved him and thought that he loved her. She gave the most precious gift that she has to Tripp when in actuality he was the last person who deserved it.
Ciara walked through town thinking about everything that had transpired. It was Tripp, Tripp was the one who set Ben up for the fire. Ciara couldn't wrap her head around that. She thought that Tripp was a good and honorable man but everything that she thought Tripp was, he turned out not to be.
Ciara walked up to the door of the loft but couldn't bring herself to go in yet. The last 24 hours changed her life in so many ways. On the one hand, she felt betrayed by Tripp in more ways than she could describe, but on the other hand she was finally honest about how she felt about Ben. Something she had been fighting for so long, ever since she had that dream about Ben. That's when it hit Ciara, she had that dream about Ben less than 48 hours after she had given herself to Tripp. That should have been the first sign that something was wrong, but she just pushed it down like everything else she had been feeling about Ben.
Ciara took a deep breath and opened the door and saw Ben and Tripp in a full fist-fight. Ciara ran over and leaned down to Ben, "Are you okay?" Ciara began checking Ben up and down." Ben sighed heavily, "Yeah, fine." Tripp spit out blood, "Are you serious?! Him? Look at me!" There was blood coming from Tripp's mouth. Ciara looked at Tripp with daggers in her eyes, "Oh, you deserve worse!"
Ciara helped Ben stand up. Tripp spit again, "You didn't come home last night." Ciara laughed, "Did you really think I would come back here after you set up the man that I love?" Tripp's eyes nearly bugged out of his head when he heard the word 'love'.
Ciara put an arm around Ben, "C'mon. Let's get you cleaned up."
Ciara and Ben walked into the bathroom and Ben sat down on the toilet while Ciara grabbed a few items to help her clean him up. Ciara heard the door slam shut and figured Tripp stormed out.
Ciara stood in-between Ben's legs. Ben smirked a bit, "So, the man you love huh?" Ciara blushed slightly, "Shut up."
Ciara reached over to the sink and wet a hand towel and began wiping Ben's cheek and lips. Ciara began to press the cloth to Ben's lips when Ben winced and turned away. Ben tried to laugh it off, "Ciara, I'm fine."
Ciara place the cloth on the counter and placed each of her hands on Ben's cheeks, "Ben, you helped me, now let me help you." Ben sighed, "Fine." Ciara picked up the cloth and gently wiped Ben's lips and moved to his eye. "Y'know, I really didn't need defending." Ben sighed, "I know, I just hate what that guy did to you." Ciara smiled, "Thanks."
Ciara took a step closer so she was standing right in-between Ben's legs. Ben looked up at Ciara slightly and smiled and Ciara couldn't help but smile back. Ciara leaned down and Ben pulled her to him and captured her lips in a kiss. Ciara dropped the cloth she was holding and wrapped her arms around Ben's neck. Ben carefully pulled Ciara into his lap. Ciara smiled as Ben did this and tightened her grip around his neck. As Ciara deepened the kiss, Ben lifted himself up with Ciara still in his lap and gently laid her on the bathroom floor. Ben hovered on top of her, careful not to hurt her. Ciara smiled and pulled Ben tightly to her. Ciara's hands played with the hem of Ben's shirt and began to roam her fingers under it. Ben smiled into the kiss when the door swung open.
Ciara and Ben both looked up to see a shocked Claire standing at the door. Claire, with her mouth still open slightly said, "Oh, sorry. Sorry." Claire ran out and closed the door behind her.
Ciara lowered her head back down and put her hands over her face and started laughing. Ben moved so her was now sitting up and helped Ciara into a sitting position as well. Ciara still laughing said, "Well, THAT happened." Ben nodded, "Yeah."
Ben and Ciara stood up and Ciara ran her hands down her shirt straightening it. Ben leaned against the sink and Ciara walked up and gently kissed Ben's lips. Ben smiled.
Ciara and Ben walked out into the kitchen where Claire was standing. Claire laughed nervously, "Heey." Ciara stood on the opposite side of the island than Claire, "Um, about what you walked in on…" Claire let out a slight chuckle, "Don't worry about it. I, um, I just didn't think anyone was home. So are you guys…"
Ciara walked back to where Ben was standing and put her hand in his and nodded. "Yeah, we are." Claire asked, "So are you guys like official boyfriend/girlfriend?"
Ciara turned to Ben, "Well, we haven't had that 'talk', but…" Ben put a hand to Ciara's cheek, "I would love nothing more than to be your boyfriend." Ciara smiled a wide smile, "Yes. Yes, yes, yes." Ben pulled Ciara in for a kiss. Ciara pulled back and licked her lips, "I'm uh, I'm going to go pack a few things."
Ciara turned to Claire, "You can let Tripp and the landlord know that I will be moving out as soon as I can find a place." Claire swallowed, "Where, um, where will you be staying in the meantime?"
Ciara smiled, "Grandpa Vic said I can stay with him." Ciara turned to Ben, "Oh, and he said that you can stay too." Ben looked at Ciara in shock, "Really? What's his angle?" Ciara shrugged her shoulders, "I don't know, in the giving mood I guess? So, what do you say?" Ben sighed, "Well, it's gotta be better than the shelter and there's more than one bathroom so I shouldn't wait as long as when I lived here."
Ciara shoved Ben's shoulder playfully, "Hey!" Ciara shook her head at Ben.
Ben sat at the island and Claire just smiled at him. After a few moments Ben said, "What?" Claire quietly said, "Looks like that plan is working perfectly. Part 1 accomplished." Claire gave a little handclap.
Ben shook his head, "This didn't have anything to do with the plan." Claire rolled her eyes, "Oh please. You think I 'accidentally' let it slip that you were at the DiMera mansion?" Claire blew on her nails like they were wet. Claire leaned forward, "So, shall we discuss the next part of the plan?"
Ben shook his head and whispered, "There is no 'next part'. I'm done, I'm out." Claire laughed, "What are you talking about?" Ben sighed and looked back to make sure that Ciara wasn't coming out, "Look, I never liked this plan and I hate every second that I was keeping something from Ciara. I love her, and I'm not going to help you in your manipulation game."
Claire shook her head and chuckled, "Oh you are. Because if you don't…" Claire lowered her voice, "I will tell Ciara EXACTLY how you two got together and ALL about our 'little plan'."
Ben's face turned hard, "You wouldn't."
Claire crossed her arms, "Don't test me." Ben shook his head, "No, Ciara's your best friend. She would have nothing to do with you."
Now Claire face turned hard and cold, "Listen to me carefully, if I don't get what I want, I will make DAMN sure that you don't either." Claire smirked as she snaked back until she was in a standing position.
Before Ben could rebut, Ciara walked out carrying a large duffel bag. Ciara sighed as she put it down, "Ready?" Ben nodded, "BEYOND." Ciara walked around the island and up to Claire and hugged her. Claire's eyes turned wide and she looked at Ben.
When Ciara pulled out of the hug, Claire asked, "What was that for?" Ciara smiled, "I just wanted to thank you, for being honest. If it wasn't for you, I would have probably been with Tripp longer and I wouldn't have gotten with Ben. So, for that, I thank you." Claire put on her best fake smile, "You're welcome."
Ben picked up Ciara's bag, "What do you have in here, a dead body?" Ciara sarcastically laughed," Ha-ha, very funny."
As they walked out of the loft, Ben turned back to Claire and she mouthed, "You owe me." Ben didn't say a word and just shut the door behind him.
Ciara and Ben walked through the Square holding hands while Ben carried Ciara's bag. Ciara chuckled, "You know I can carry it myself." Ben huffed, "No, I'm fine." Ciara shook her head, "Okay, if you say so. Why don't we sit down for a moment?"
They sat down on 'their' bench. Ben let out a heavy breath. Ciara smiled and put her hand on Ben's cheek, "I love you Ben." Ben put his hand over Ciara's. Ciara continued, "I know that we just got together, but I don't want to waste another moment. So, it may be too soon, but I want you to know: I love you."
Ben smiled, "I love you too. I fell for you so quickly and so hard. I never pictured that you would return my feelings. But the fact that you do makes it so much greater." Ciara smiled, "I just want to shout it from the rooftops. I love you Oliver Benjamin Weston." Ben chuckled, "And I love you Ciara Alice Brady."
Ciara laughed and pulled Ben in for a kiss. After a moment Ben pulled away and held Ciara's hand in his own. "I want to always be completely honest with you Ciara, no secrets." Ciara smiled, "I want that too. The only way this is going to work is if we're completely honest with each other, no matter what." Ben swallowed hard, "No matter what?" Ciara nodded and Ben sighed, "Then I need to tell you something."
Ciara sighed, "Already?" Ben nodded, "When you were still with Tripp, and you saw me and Claire together…" Ben sighed heavily, "She wasn't trying to help me get a job at the café." Ciara looked at Ben in confusion, "Then what WERE you talking about?" Ben sighed heavily, not able to look Ciara in the eye, "She-she and I were, um…" Ben cleared his throat, "She and I were plotting to break you and Tripp up."
Ciara slid her hand out from Ben's, "What?"
Ben sighed, "I HATED the idea, but Claire convinced me that she belonged with Tripp and you belonged with me and we would be doing you a favor by saving you guys heartbreak."
Ciara pulled her hair to the side, "That two-faced bitch!" Ben put his hand on Ciara's shoulder, but she flinched away. "Don't."
Ciara stood up, "So all of the time that I saw you two with your heads together, THAT'S what it was about?" Ben nodded, "I felt sick to my stomach every time I had to lie to you because you are the most important thing and the ONE pure thing in my life." Ciara scoffed, "So I'm a 'thing' now?!" Ben shook his head violently, "No, no, Ciara. That's not what I'm saying. I love you. I never wanted to manipulate or hurt you."
Tears welled in Ciara's eyes, "Yeah, well, you did JUST that."
Ben tried to take Ciara's hand but she yanked her hand back. "So, every moment, everything you said at the DiMera mansion. It was all lies? It was all Claire in your ear because she wanted Tripp?" Ben shook his head, "No, baby. I meant EVERY word that I said. Everything I said came from the heart. There's one more thing."
Ciara looked up, "WHAT else could there be?" Ben swallowed hard, "Claire still wanted my help to get her and Tripp together. And if I refused she was going to tell you all about the plan. I couldn't be a part of that anymore. I was so scared that she was going to tell you and I would lose you, so I wanted you to hear it from me."
Ciara sniffed, "HOW can I believe anything that comes out of your mouth?" Ben looked at the ground, "Ciara, I love you, I never want to keep anything from you, which is why I needed to tell you."
Ciara shook her head as she sniffed, "No, you were just afraid that Claire would out you." Ben once again went for Ciara's hand and Ciara once again jerked away.
Ciara grabbed her bag, "I can't." Ben stood up and pulled Ciara's arm, "Don't! Don't follow me!" Ciara scoffed as she walked away and Ben collapsed onto the bench, defeated.
Ciara walked into the Kiriakis mansion still upset and fuming. Maggie walked into the entry. "I take it things didn't go well?" Ciara dropped her bag, "Why are guys such jerks?"
Maggie chuckled slightly under her breath as she wrapped her arm around Ciara and took her into the living room. "Ah, honey. You're going to have to be more specific than that." Ciara cracked a smile and Maggie pointed to it, "Ah, a smile. It can't be that bad." Ciara sniffed, "Oh it is."
Maggie gestured for Ciara to sit on the couch and she sat next to her. "I take it this is about Ben." Ciara swallowed, "Kinda, but not really. I can't talk to you about this because this is also about Claire." Maggie nodded, "Honey, you can tell me anything." Ciara arched an eyebrow, "Are you sure?"
Maggie nodded and Ciara took a deep breath, "It's about Ben and Claire." Maggie nodded slowly, "Did they sleep together?" Ciara shook her head, "No, thank GOD." Maggie gently put her hand on Ciara's arm, "Well, I'm sure whatever it was couldn't be that bad. Yesterday, you were so happy that you kissed him and admitted your feelings."
Ciara sighed, "Yeah, but it turned out he was keeping something pretty big too. He and Claire were plotting to break me and Tripp up."
Maggie nodded slightly, "Well, didn't Tripp do something that you would have ended things with him anyway?" Ciara sighed, "Yeah, but Ben had been lying to me; saying that Claire was trying to help him find a job at the café and then that the café wouldn't hire him. It was all lies! How do I trust him after that?!" Fresh tears threatened to fall. "And you know what makes it worse? He told me that Claire still wanted his help and if he refused she would tell me. So he did so I would hear it from him. He says that he would have told me anyway because he doesn't want to keep anything from me, but I don't know what to believe anymore."
Ciara sniffed and placed her head on Maggie's shoulder. Maggie cradled Ciara's head, "What do you want now?" Ciara lifted her head and sniffed, "I don't know. There is a part of me that still wants to be with him, but another part that doesn't feel like I can trust a word that comes out of his mouth anymore."
Maggie stood up and Ciara did as well. "Why don't you get some sleep and look at this with fresh eyes tomorrow?" Ciara nodded, "Yeah, some sleep sounds good."
As Ciara left Victor entered. "Ciara sounded upset. Who do I need to hurt?" Maggie chuckled slightly and shook her head.
Ciara sighed as she got ready for bed. A part of her wanted to call Ben, but another part just wasn't ready to face him yet.
Ciara glanced at her nightstand and saw 'Ben' followed by a motorcycle emoji. She had put that as part of his contact name since he had fixed her dad's bike. Ciara couldn't help but think to herself 'was that all part of the plan?' Now Ciara was second guessing everything that Ben has done and said to her.
Ciara declined the call and placed the phone back on the nightstand. Ciara sat in bed unable to sleep. She couldn't get Ben out of her head. Ciara picked up her phone, started to text Ben, but then shook her head, locked her phone, and placed it back on the nightstand.
Ciara sighed deeply as she laid back down and closed her eyes.
All the sudden Ciara heard a tapping at the window. Ciara contemplated getting her grandfather in case it was one of his enemies.
She decided against it and put a robe on and opened the blinds. Ciara crossed her arms when she saw Ben standing there. She opened the window, "What're you doing here?"
Ben sighed, "You weren't answering your phone. I had to go old-fashioned." Ciara smirked, "So you thought throwing stones at the window was a good idea? You DO know who my grandfather is, right?"
Ben half-smiled, "It wasn't easy. This was the third window I tried. Who knew your grandfather's place was so big?" Ciara said, "So, did you come here to talk about how big the Kiriakis place is or…?"
Ben couldn't help but let out a small laugh. "You wouldn't listen to what I had to say so I thought maybe you would listen to this."
Ben held up his phone as music began to pour through. Ciara let out a light laugh, "What? Do you think that this is some cheesy rom-com?"
Ben sighed, "Just… listen to the words, please." Ciara sighed. Softly she said, "Fine."
You're the first face that I see. And the last thing I think about. You're the reason that I'm alive, you're what I can't live without. You're what I can't live without. You never give up when I'm fallin' apart. Your arms are always open wide. And you're quick to forgive when I make a mistake. You love me in the blink of an eye. Ben began singing along. I don't deserve your love, but you give it to me anyway. Ciara put a hand to her mouth so Ben wouldn't see her laugh. Ben stopped singing. Can't get enough, you're everything I need. And when I walk away, you take off running and come right after me. It's what you do and I don't deserve you. You're the light inside my eyes. You give me a reason to keep tryin'. You give me more than I could dream. And you bring me to my knees, you bring me to my knees. Your heart is gold and how am I the one, that you've chosen to love. I still can't believe that you're right next to me after all that I've done. I don't DESERVE your love, but you give it to me anyway. Can't GET enough. You're everything I need. And when I walk away, you take off running and come right after me. It's what you do and I don't deserve you. Ben said the next part. I don't deserve a chance like this. I don't deserve a love that gives me EVERYTHING. You're everything I WANT. Ben stopped singing and tears began to fill Ciara's eyes. I don't deserve your love, but you give it to me anyway. Can't get enough. You're everything I need. And when I WALK away, you take off runnin' and come right after me. It's what you do and I don't deserve you. And I don't deserve you.
Ben looked up and saw Ciara no longer standing at the window. Ben's face fell.
Ciara walked down the stairs and went out the door to where Ben was standing. Ben turned and saw Ciara standing right in front of him.
Ben sighed, "Ciara. I-if that didn't convince you, I've got other songs. I-I just want you to know how much I love you and I swear to you, I would never do anything to-"
As Ben talked Ciara walked closer and closer to him until she cut him off with a kiss.
After a moment, Ciara pulled back and her face glistened with fresh tears, "I know, Ben. I know."
Ben held Ciara's hands in his and rubbed the back of her hands with his thumb. Ben moved one of his hands to Ciara's face, "I PROMISE Ciara, I will NEVER lie or keep anything from you again. I will always be honest with you."
Ciara sighed and swallowed, "I promise to do the same. Is this going to be easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely." Ben smiled, "I love you, Ci."
Ciara smiled and wrapped her arms around Ben's neck, "I love you too."
Ciara walked around the loft collecting her things. She and Ben were going to be living at her grandfather's until they found a place together.
Tripp followed Ciara with his eyes. He couldn't believe that he had lost her. EVERYTHING he had done was for nothing. Claire just looked at Tripp the way she always did.
Ciara sighed as she lugged her suitcases out of what was her old room.
Tripp walked up to Ciara, "You don't have to do this. You don't have to move out." Ciara scoffed, "And stay here with the person who set my boyfriend up for attempted murder? No thanks." Ciara smirked and lowered her voice, "As much as it would give me joy for you to watch me with Ben EVERY day, I wouldn't subject Ben to having to see the person who almost got him sent to prison." Ciara swallowed and turned away from Tripp. There was a knock at the door and Claire opened it to see Ben.
Claire's eyes went wide, "Ben." Ben didn't say a word and just walked in. Quietly, Claire said, "Ben. Look, I'm sorry about how things went down." Ben shook his head, "I almost lost Ciara so quickly after getting her because of you."
Ben turned to see Ciara, "Ready, babe?" Ciara smiled, "Almost." Ciara walked over to where Claire was.
"We have one thing to settle." Ciara slapped Claire HARD. Claire held her face where Ciara had slapped her. Ben and Tripp both looked with their mouth gaped slightly open.
Ciara sighed, "You know when I said you deserve better than Tripp?" Claire nodded timidly and Ciara continued, "I was wrong. You two deserve each other. You both have said that you love me, but you're both nothing more than selfish bitches! If this is your idea of love, I want NO part in it. How Ben treats me, now THAT is love. He treats me with respect, like my opinions mean something."
Ciara turned toward Tripp, "You are I are NOTHING to each other anymore." Ciara turned to Claire, "You and I, we may share DNA and some relatives, but that's it. That's the end of our 'bond'." Ciara sighed satisfied.
Ciara took a suitcase and so did Ben. Right before they were out the door, Ben turned back slightly and smirked at Tripp. Tripp yelled out, "Just remember one thing, Weston. When you're in bed with her, remember that I had her first." Ben dropped the suitcase and started for Tripp, but Ciara yanked his arm, "Don't, Ben. He's not worth it."
Ben groaned, "He can't talk about you like that." Ciara nodded, "He's just trying to get a reaction from you." Ciara smirked knew how to get under Tripp's skin without Ben risking getting arrested. Ciara gripped Ben's neck tightly and pulled him in for a deep and passionate kiss. After they pulled away, Ciara said, "I love you, Ben." Ciara smiled and wrapped her arms around Ben. They walked out of the loft without another word.
Once they were outside, Ciara turned to Ben, "I love you." Ben smiled, "I don't think I'll ever get sick of hearing those 3 words." Ciara blushed, "I love you, I love you. I LOVE YOU!" Ben couldn't help but laugh. Ciara said," Is this going to be easy? Nope. Is it worth it? Absolutely." Ben smiled, "I am going to do whatever it takes to make it worth it to you." Ciara gripped Ben's hand, "You don't have to do anything. Just keep doing what you're doing, and we'll keep talking…" Ben smiled, "Always." Ciara smiled back, "…and we're golden." This wasn't the last obstacle that Ciara and Ben would face as a couple. Far from it. But as long as they communicated openly, there was NOTHING they couldn't overcome.
A/N: For some reason I saw Ben and Ciara's first kiss at the DiMera mansion.
The song that Ben plays for Ciara is "Don't Deserve You" by Plumb