Ciara looked down at her seven-year-old daughter, Olive Jordan as she sat at Ciara's vanity. She was the spitting imagine of Ciara; black hair with thick curls. Ciara smiled at her daughter. Ciara held up the curling iron, "Now this is hot, Olive. So you need to be really still while Mommy does your hair all pretty for the dance with Daddy, okay?"
Olive nodded, "Okay Mommy." Ciara smiled. After she finished giving Olive's hair the final curls, she reached over and grabbed a bottle of hair spray. "Now I want you to cover your eyes." Olive giggled, "Like peek-a-boo?" Ciara nodded, "Yes, baby. Like peek-a-boo."
Olive did as her mom said and covered her eyes. "Okay, you can uncover your eyes now."
Olive blinked a couple of times. Ciara spun Olive around, "What do you think?" Olive giggled, "Purty." Ciara smiled and crouched down to Olive's level, "Now, Daddy might be against this, but how would you like to wear a little make-up?" Olive smiled, "Like you, Mommy?" Ciara smiled, "Yes, just like Mommy." Olive's smile got bigger, "Yes."
Ciara stood up and grabbed a few palettes. Ciara put a tiny amount of eye shadow and blush on her daughter. Olive giggled as the brushes touched her skin. After a moment Ciara put the palettes back on the vanity. "All done."
Olive hopped off the stool in front of the vanity and did a spin. Olive was wearing a black dress with silver studs all on the top. Ciara smiled. Ben was right. Olive really was a spitting image of her.
Ciara put her hand out, "C'mon. Let's go to Daddy." Olive smiled and took her mother's hand.
Ciara and Olive walked out of Ciara and Ben's bedroom and into the living room/kitchen. Ben was sitting at the island already dressed. Ciara cleared her throat. "I present Olive Jordan Weston."
Ben turned around and his mouth gaped open. "Wow." Olive did another spin and giggled. Ben knelt down, "Wow, you look beautiful Ollie." Olive ran up and hugged Ben. As Ben wrapped his arms around his daughter, he looked up at his wife and smiled. Ciara couldn't help but smile back. This was all that Ben had ever wanted: a family.
Ciara looked around, "Where's Bo?" "He's hanging out with Thomas." Ciara nodded as Ben pulled out of the hug, "We have a dance to get to, don't we little lady?" Olive nodded.
Ciara kissed Olive on the top of her head and gave Ben a peck on the check. As Olive and Ben headed out the door Ciara said, "Behave." Ben smirked, "I'll make sure she's a perfect angel." Ciara raised her eyebrows, "'Kay, she's OUR daughter so, not possible and I was talking to you." Ciara smirked and Ben let out a light laugh, "Love you too." Ciara shook her head as Ben closed the door behind them.
Ciara sighed as she sat down on the couch. She and Ben had everything they could have ever wanted.
Ciara was laying on the living room couch watching TV and absentmindedly flipping through a magazine when her and Ben's teenage son Bo Oliver stormed through the door. Ciara instantly sat up. "Hey, Bo? What wrong?"
"Is Dad a murderer?" Ciara stood up and looked at her son with shocked eyes and confusion. Panic rose through Ciara, though she tried to hide it.
Ciara forced a smile to her face, "Whe-where did you get an idea like that?" Bo shook his head angrily, "Don't-don't. Just tell me the truth. Thomas showed me the article that the Spectator ran on 'The Necktie Killer'."
Bo pulled out his phone and showed the article to Ciara. Ciara read the headline out loud, "The Necktie Murders: 20 Years Later" Bo scrolled down to a mugshot, "That's Dad isn't it? Isn't it?!"
Ciara sighed, "Sit down, Bo." Bo angrily sat down on the couch. "Look, there is a LOT that you don't know about your dad and me."
Bo chuckled bitterly, "Yeah, like how he murdered FOUR people, including attempting to kill Will?!"
Ciara sat down on the edge of the coffee table facing Bo, closed her eyes and sighed, "Look, your father and I knew, we knew that we were going to have to have a conversation with you AND your sister one day, but we wanted to wait until you were older." Bo dramatically rested his chin on his hand, "Well? Do tell."
Ciara sighed and closed her eyes for a moment, "Yes, it is true. Your dad is the 'Necktie Killer', but-" Ciara was interrupted by Bo jumping up, "So it's true?!"
Ciara ran her hand through her hair as tears began to form, "-but there is so much more to the story. So much more than you know." Bo shook his head, "What more is there to know?! Dad killed people for no reason!"
Ciara shook her head, "No, honey. You know those prescription vitamins that your father takes every day, that he has to take at the same time?" Bo looked at his mom confused, but nodded slightly.
Ciara sighed, "They're mood stabilizers. Your dad was VERY mentally sick when he did what he did." Bo shook his head, "So, that just makes it 'okay' that Dad took people's lives?! Because he was 'sick'?!"
Ciara swallowed hard, "The issues… they go even further than you know." Bo looked at Ciara in confusion and she continued, "We... we've told you that your grandfather is in jail because he is NOT a good person."
Bo raised his eyebrows at Ciara, "Yeah…?" "Well, we haven't said JUST how bad things were; for you dad and Aunt Jordan."
Ciara looked down at her hands for a moment, "He did really bad things to them. Both of them. They… they went on the run at an early age, because they needed to get away from him. That scarred your father really bad. Look, I can't tell you all of the things that he did, because some of those things still keep ME up at night, but-" Before Ciara could continue Ben and Olive walked in with huge smiles on their faces. Ben's face fell when he saw his wife and son's faces.
"What's, uh, what's happening?" Ciara nervously ran a hand through her locks, "Um, honey…"
Bo stood up, "Murderer!" Ciara whipped around, "Bo!" Ciara gritted her teeth, "Not in front of your s-i-s-t-e-r."
Ciara walked up to Olive and picked her up. "Let's go get you ready for bed." Ciara looked at her husband with wide eyes and mouthed 'he knows'. Ben's eyes widened slightly. "I'll-uh, I'll help."
Ciara placed Olive on her bed. Once Olive was changed into her pajamas, Ciara tucked her in and sat on the edge of Olive's bed while Ben grabbed a photo album with the words "Mommy and Daddy's Love Story" from the shelf.
"So, Mommy wants to know how the dance went. Did you have fun?" Olive smiled and nodded, "Daddy danced every dance." Ciara looked at Ben, "Yeah? Sounds like the first time Daddy and I spent New Year's Eve together." Ciara and Ben couldn't help smile at the memory.
Ben smirked slightly, "Even though Mommy wasn't that good of a dancer." Ciara slapped Ben's shoulder lightly, "Oh, hush. That didn't stop you."
Ciara handed the photo album to Olive, "Okay Olive. You know the routine. What story from Mommy and Daddy's past do you want to hear tonight?" Ciara and Ben had a tradition: they put together a photo album from their different times together and every night Olive would choose one that she wanted to hear the story of. Olive pointed to a photo of Ciara and Ben ice skating.
Ciara picked up the album and smirked at Ben slightly, "Oh, that's a good one. And kinda embarrassing for Daddy." Ben smirked slightly at his wife.
Ciara smiled, "Okay, so it was the first Christmas that Mommy and Daddy spent together. It was Christmas Eve and neither of us had any plans. So… Mommy comes up with the brilliant idea to go ice skating. I mean it IS Christmas Eve and all. So, Daddy tells Mommy that he doesn't ice skate and I tell him that I can teach him and that it's easy." Ciara chuckled slightly, "And of course Daddy agreed because Daddy would do ANYTHING to make Mommy happy. You know how you have Daddy wrapped around your finger?"
Olive nodded and Ciara continued, "Well, Mommy had Daddy wrapped around her finger too. So we get to the rink and get our skates and Daddy's trying to act all cool and smooth to impress Mommy, but as soon as we get onto the ice, Daddy falls flat on his butt, more than once." Olive giggled.
Ben put his hands up, "Hey I told you I didn't ice skate." Ciara rolled her eyes slightly, "So, Daddy decides to just hold onto the side and watch Mommy for a little bit. As people are skating past Daddy, he falls to the ground. Mommy comes over and…" Ben interrupts, "starts laughing at Daddy." Ciara chuckled, "I was NOT laughing at you." Ben gave Ciara a look, "Okay, maybe a little. You couldn't even get back UP."
Ciara turned back to face Olive, "But that might've had something to do with the fact that Daddy was trying to ice skate in dressy clothes. So Mommy convinces Daddy to try again and Daddy doesn't let go of Mommy's hands the entire time that we're going around the rink." Ciara leans in close toward Olive, "But Mommy thinks that's just because Daddy wanted to hold Mommy's hand."
Ciara smiled at Ben, "So Daddy finally makes it all the way around the rink and Mommy can't really feel her hands because of how tight Daddy was holding on." Ben pursed his lips, "Hey did you want to spend Christmas Even watching me fall on my as-uh, butt over and over again?" Ciara shook her head and whispered to her husband, "Nice save."
Ciara turned back to Olive, "So, afterwards Daddy decides to go classic Christmas movie and get him and Mommy some hot chocolate and Mommy and Daddy spent the rest of the day just talking. Because that was the thing with Mommy and Daddy, we got each other right away. We became someone that the other could tell ANYTHING to. It was the perfect Christmas Eve."
Ciara looked down at her daughter and saw her eyes closing. Ciara stood up, "Goodnight Olive."
Ben gave his daughter a kiss on the forehead, "I love you my little Ollie. Never forget that." Within seconds of Ben standing back up, Olive was fast asleep. Quietly, they got up and shut the door to Olive's room.
Ciara looked at Ben, "Are you ready?" Ben chuckled, "No. But I guess as ready as I'll ever be." Ciara sighed, "We knew this day would come." Ben nodded.
Ben looked away from Ciara and Ciara placed her finger on the corner of Ben's jaw and forced him to look at her. "Hey, whatever happens in there, we're in this together. We'll get through this the way we get through everything: together." Ben smiled a slight smile and gave his wife a chaste kiss.
Ciara and Ben walked into the living room but didn't find their son there. They went into Bo's room and found him laying on his bed with noise-cancelling headphones on. Ciara tapped her son's shoulder, "Can we talk?"
Bo yanked them off, "There's nothing to talk about. I'm not going to talk to a serial killer." Ben's face fell with hurt and Ciara's turned hard, "Hey! I know that you are confused and upset, but you will treat your father with respect!"
Bo sat up slightly and scoffed, "Respect? That's rich. Is that how he treated his victims? with 'respect' when he MURDERED them?!" Ciara stood up and sighed, trying not to get angry at her son.
"Bo, I told you. There is so much more to this than you know. You know that when your father and I met it was an instance of 'right place, right time', right?" Bo nodded.
"It goes much deeper than that. Your dad was going to leave Salem for good; Thomas's father even paid him money to."
Bo scoffed and looked at Ben, "Why didn't you?" Bo glared at his father as Ciara continued, "I had just walked in on my boyfriend with another girl."
Bo cocked his head slightly, "When you say 'with' do you mean…" Ciara nodded, "Yes, like that. Anyway, I took off and Grandpa Bo's motorcycle and I took a turn too hard because I was distracted thinking about them and crashed."
Ciara smiled slightly at Ben, "And your dad found me. Thank GOD for that now, because I probably would have died or at least lost a limb if it wasn't for him. And, yeah, Bo, I'll be honest, when your dad first started to take care of me, I didn't trust him. I knew him as…" Bo interrupted, "The Necktie Killer?"
Ciara took a deep breath, "Yes. But the more time I spent with your dad, the more I stopped seeing him as a villain and…" Ciara smiled slightly, "…more as just 'Ben', a person who wanted a second chance, redemption. Just like I did."
Bo looked at his mom in confusion, "What did you need redemption for?" Ciara glanced at Ben, contemplating whether to tell the story. Ben nodded slightly.
Ciara sat back down on Bo's bed, "When I was your age, I was sexually assaulted." Bo raised his eyes in shock, "You were RAPED?!" Ciara nodded as tears began to form.
Ciara swallowed hard, "Yes, Bo. Everyone felt sorry and pitied me and saw me as a victim. But not your dad." Ciara glanced at her husband for a moment and smiled a small smile, "He saw me as strong and not 'damaged goods'." Bo softly said, "Wow, Mom. I had no idea."
Ciara nodded as tears threatened to fall. Ciara gently held Bo's wrist, "I wanted to protect you and your sister from our pasts for as long as possible." The softness on Bo's face went away as he shook his head, "That doesn't change the fact that Dad is a murderer. You were a victim of violence and you thought it was a GOOD idea to take up with a psychopath?!"
Ciara's tears faded as anger began to take over, "HEY! I get that you are upset, and this is a lot to process, but you have no right to call your father names. You have NO idea when he went through coming back here. He has been called so many horrible names and he stayed. You know why?" Bo looked down at his hands. "Because he loved me."
Ben spoke up, "Buddy, your mom was the only one who could look past my past and see me. The REAL me. You know your middle name?" Bo shrugged a shoulder, "Oliver."
"You know where that comes from?" Bo shook his head and Ben continued, "That's my birth name. When your Aunt Jordan and I need to run from our father, I had to leave that name in the past, but when you were born, your mom wanted you to have it, so you would have a piece of me before your grandfather tried to ruin me, forever."
Bo shook his head, "So, this is all your father's fault? 'Oh, poor me. I had a tough childhood, I'm gonna murder people and blame it on Daddy Issues'."
Ciara shook her head, "Beauregard Oliver Weston, you have NO idea what went down." Bo scoffed, "What I'm hearing is if it wasn't for you Mom…" Bo pointed at Ben, "…this monster would have been LONG gone from this town."
Ciara stood up, "One, your father is NOT a monster. Two, your father has loved me more than anyone else. NO one ever put me first like your father. He ALWAYS made me a priority. Before ANYTHING. And three, you and your sister wouldn't be here."
Bo crossed his arms, "Yeah, well. At least I wouldn't be related to a psycho murderer." Ciara started to speak, but before she could say anything Ben grabbed her and spoke, "This is a lot to process so we will give you some time." Ben escorted Ciara toward the door.
Before Ben closed it, he turned back to Bo, "We both love you Bo, so much." Ben closed the door without another word.
Ben plopped down on the couch, "Did that really just happen?" Ciara sniffed as she ran a finger through her hair, "Yeah, I-I think it did."
Ciara sat down on the couch and put her head on Ben's shoulder, "We knew that this was going to happen. We were going to have to have this conversation, but…" Ben nodded, "I didn't think it would be this hard. The way Bo looked at me…"
Ciara sighed, "I love you, Ben. I know Bo does too. He's just in shock right now." Before Ben could respond Bo walked out into the living room carrying a duffel bag. Ciara stood up and walked over so she was right in front of her son.
Ciara crossed her arms, "Um, where do you think you're going?" Bo glanced at Ben, "If you think I'm going to stay here with a murderer, you're the one who's crazy. You and Olive should come with me."
Ciara sighed, "Bo, you are not in danger here. Your father would not hurt anyone." Bo scoffed and counted on his fingers, "Yeah, tell that to Serena Mason, Paige Larson, the midwife who delivered Thomas…" Ciara sighed, "Bo, I mean I know for a FACT that your dad isn't going to hurt anyone. If I thought that you or your sister were in danger, I would have us out of here so fast, you would swear I could fly. But I know your father."
Ciara put her hand over her chest, "I know him in my heart. You or nobody else is in danger." Bo shook his head, "Yeah, well, it's nice if you believe that. I don't." Bo stormed out of the loft without another word.
Ciara turned back to face her husband, "GOD! He is so stubborn!" Ben chuckled slightly, "Yeah, he's you like 17 years ago." Ciara's eyes widened at Ben in disbelief, "Um excuse me?! Me? He is NOTHING like me. He is acting INSANELY stubborn, he's not listening to what you and I have to say, all he's willing to think is what he thinks regardless of what anyone else has to…" Ben crossed his arms and raised his eyebrows at Ciara. "Oh my god, he IS me!" Ciara pointed to the door with a bewildered look on her face, "Is that what I acted like?!" Ben nodded slightly. Ciara couldn't help but chuckle. "Damn. I mean I wasn't wrong about you, but I think I may owe my mom an apology."
After sitting on the couch for about 15 minutes Ciara stood up. "That's it. I'm going to find our son." Ben looked at Ciara in confused. "He said that he didn't want to be around me."
Ciara sighed, "Yeah, well. That's just too damn bad. I'm gonna talk some sense into that boy if it's the last thing I do." Ben shook his head slightly as he watched his wife leave the loft.
Ciara knocked on Abigail's door. Abigail answered and crossed her arms, "Ciara. It's late. What are you doing here?" Ciara sighed, "We need to talk. Can I come in?"
Abigail hesitated for a moment but then opened the door. She sat down on the couch while Ciara stayed standing up. Abigail sighed, "What is it that is so important that you had to come here at this hour?"
Ciara crossed her arms, "Why the hell did you think it was okay to tell my son that his father was the Necktie Killer?!" Abigail let out a huff, "It's not my fault that the Spectator ran an article on it." Ciara huffed, "So Thomas 'just happened' to come across it and 'just happened' to show it to MY SON?!"
Abigail smirked slightly, "It's not my fault that your baby daddy has a colorful past." Ciara clenched her jaw trying to regain her temper. Calmly, Ciara said "Abigail, it was not your place to inform Bo of his father's… not so great past. That decision was mine and Ben's. When and what to tell to our children. How would YOU like it if I told Thomas and Charlotte about all of the things YOU did when you were sick?!" Ciara began counting on her fingers, "Sleeping with your brother-in-law that your husband despised, killing your OTHER brother-in-law in 'self-defense', almost killing Marlena, Vivian, and Kate because… well GOD knows why, should I go on?! Because I can!"
Abigail stood up, "Okay, okay. You've made your point." Ciara shook her head, "No, I don't think I have. C'mon you were going to say that it's not my place to tell your children about your sordid past and all of the things that you did when you were sick, right? That that is yours and Chad's decision, right?!"
Abigail stayed silent. Ciara ran a hand through her hair, "Well same goes for Ben and I with our children. Look, I know that our sons are friends, but maybe it's for the best if they don't see each other anymore. Because you obviously don't respect me as Bo's mother." Before Abigail could respond, Chad came down the steps, "Hey, what's going on here?"
Ciara shook her head angrily, "Nothing. We're done here." Ciara stormed past Chad and out of the house without another word.
Chad looked at Abigail in confusion, "What the hell just happened?" Abigail took a deep breath.
Ciara went to Jordan's, Hope's, as well as Bo's friends's houses looking for him but no luck. She was about to give up when it hit her. Bo has a soft spot: Great Uncle Steve. Ciara walked as fast as her legs would carry her until she reached Steve and Kayla. Ciara sighed as she knocked on the door.
Kayla opened the door slightly, "Ciara." Ciara sighed, "Is my son here?" Kayla nodded slightly, "But he doesn't want to…" Ciara shook her head, "I know. Can I just talk to him?"
Kayla opened the door and Ciara saw Bo sitting with Uncle Steve. Bo and Steve looked up. Ciara walked over to the couch. "Mom, what are you doing here?" Ciara sighed, "I came to get you, Bo; bring you home." Bo shook his head, "No, Mom. I love you, and Olive, but I'm not going back home to live with a serial killer."
Steve began to stand up, "I'll give you guys some space." Ciara shook her head, "No, it's okay. You can stay." Ciara closed her eyes for a moment, "Bo, you have every right to feel however you want to feel while you're processing, but you know your dad. You know him at his core." Bo stayed silent and Ciara continued, "Bo, you know about the cabin fire?" Bo scoffed slightly, "Yeah, apparently Dad tried to kill you." Ciara inhaled a sharp breath, "No. That's what everyone thought."
Ciara lightly placed her hand on her son's knee, "Your dad looked me in the eyes and SWORE to me that he didn't start the fire." Bo shook his head, "But the person who started the fire was never caught." Bo's face softened slightly, "You really don't think it was Dad?" Ciara shook her head, "No, he looked me dead in my eyes and said he would never hurt me and that was the god-honest truth." Bo sighed.
"Bo, you're in shock right now. I get it. It's going to take some time to process that information. But you need to know the truth: your dad is a good and honest man now. He can never take back what he did, but he is a far cry from that person today." Bo leaned back in the couch processing.
Bo looked at Steve, "Can I stay here tonight?" Steve looked over at Ciara, "I don't know bud, I think your mom-" Ciara interrupted, "No, you can stay here tonight, Bo. I want you to process this on your own terms. If you have any questions, you can ask me anything." Bo sighed slightly.
"Bo, do you remember Halloween when you were 6?" Bo shook his head. "Well, you said you wanted to be your favorite superhero and when I asked you who and you said…" Tears began to form in Ciara's eyes, "…you said 'Daddy'. The person you wanted to be for Halloween is the same person who is sitting at home right now absolutely terrified that he's just lost his son. We all have pasts, Bo. Think about that." Ciara stood up and kissed Bo's head.
Ciara started for the door when Bo called her, "Mom?" Ciara turned back around to face her son, "Yes?" "Why does Dad, um, why does he call you 'Bobcat'? And why do you call him 'Ozark'?" Ciara thought back to when the nicknames started and a smile came to her face. "You really wanna know?" Bo nodded, "It was the first time your dad and I kissed, or more specifically when he kissed me…" Bo scrunched his face and Ciara half-smiled. "…I was going through a lot of self-doubt and your dad said that even though when he found me my leg was shattered, my heart and spirit was whole and I had more fight in me than a bag full of bobcats." Ciara chuckled at the memory, "He unintentionally made me laugh, which just made me fall for your dad even harder than I already had. He said that it was an Ozark thing and the name just stuck. I'm his Bobcat and he's my Ozark." Bo nodded slowly, "Thanks, Mom."
Ciara nodded and headed for the door. As Ciara walked through the doorway, Kayla put a hand on Ciara's shoulder, "Ciara, wait." Ciara turned around to face her aunt. Kayla continued, "I'm sorry I didn't call you. I just-" Ciara nodded, "I get it. Bo trusts Uncle Steve. Didn't want to ruin that. I understand. I don't like it, but I get it. Aunt Kayla, if Bo needs anything…" Kayla nodded, "You'll be my first call."
Ciara smiled and hugged Kayla. "Thank you." "Ciara, mom to mom, I think Bo's going to be just fine. His parents are two of the strongest and also two of the stubbornest people I know." Ciara half-smiled, "Thanks." Ciara paused for a moment, "I think."
Ciara walked into the loft and saw Ben sitting at the island with a glass of wine. Ben looked up and saw his wife walking through the door. Ben's face fell slightly when he saw she was alone.
"Bo?" Ciara sighed as she placed her purse on the island. "He's at Steve and Kayla's. He's going to spend the night there." Ben's face fell further, "He doesn't want to be anywhere near me. He hates me."
Ciara ran over to her husband and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Benjamin Oliver Weston. Your son does NOT hate you." Ben gave Ciara an 'Oh really?' look. Ciara continued, "He's-he's processing a lot of information. And on top of that he's a teenager. Give him some time."
Ben sighed, "If this is how Bo took it, I can only imagine how Olive is going to take it, she's going to hate me even more than Bo does."
Ciara shook her head, "Honey, Olive loves you more than anything and so does Bo. You know, Bo asked why you call me Bobcat and I call you Ozark." Ciara shook her head ever so slightly, "That doesn't sound like someone who hates you." Ben looked up slightly at Ciara, "I remember that day like it was yesterday." Ciara smiled, "Me too. That and our Chinese Food date."
Ciara chuckled, "You remember how my fortune said that 'my date would end in a kiss'?" Ben nodded and Ciara continued, "That's not what it really said. It said 'Respect you elders. You could inherit a large sum of money' which was true." Ciara chuckled and Ben couldn't help but laugh, "Why didn't you say that?"
Ciara shrugged her shoulders slightly, "I don't know. It sounded more romantic? Plus I wanted that kiss." "I love you, Bobcat." Ciara pulled Ben close, "I love you too, Ozark. Let's go to bed." Ciara put her hand out and Ben took it.
Ciara and Ben got into bed and Ciara laid there thinking about the night's events. "Ben? Thank you." Ben looked at Ciara in confusion, "For what?" Ciara swallowed, "For loving me and seeing the good in me even when I couldn't, when I thought I was too broken to love or to be loved." Ben wrapped his arm around his wife, "'Good things come to those who wait', right?" Ciara chuckled, "I can't believe we remember the fortunes from our first date all these years later." Ciara yawned, "Goodnight baby."
Ciara woke up during the night and reached her arm out for Ben, but didn't feel him. Ciara rolled over and saw Ben wasn't in bed. Ciara put her robe on and checked the bathroom, but Ben wasn't in there either.
Ciara walked out to the living room and saw Ben watching TV. "Ben?" Ciara finally saw Ben's tear-stained face, "What happened to this moment?" Ciara looked at the TV and saw Ben was watching the video they had of when Bo took his first steps. Ciara sighed sadly.
Ciara and Ben sat a few feet apart on the floor. Ben set the camera on the other side of the room, zoomed in so they would be able to capture Bo's milestones when he finally took his first steps.
Ciara supported a wiggly Bo. Bo pointed to Ben, "Dada." Ciara held Bo's hands, "Walk to Daddy, Bo. You can do it. Go to Dada."
Ben held his hands out for Bo to come to him. Bo slowly put one foot in front of the other as he unsteadily made his way across the hardwood floor and toward his dad.
Ciara silently gasped at her son. Right before Ben could grab Bo, he fell right into Ben's legs. Bo looked up at Ben with his big brown eyes and smiled a slightly toothy grin, "Dada."
Ciara rushed over to where Bo and Ben were. "You did it Bo-Bo. You took your first steps!" Ciara took Bo in her arms and stood up as Ben did the same.
Ciara smiled at Ben, "We've got a walker!" Ben nodded, "We do." Ben kissed his son's head. Ciara leaned into Ben, "I guess all he needed was Daddy."
Ben's smile got even bigger, "That's my boy."
"He walked to ME, Ciara. He took his first steps toward ME and now… now he can't run away from me quickly enough."
Ciara sat down next to Ben and put her hand on Ben's shoulder, "Babe, Bo's not a little boy anymore, but you are still his father, and he loves you. That will never change."
Ben took in a sharp breath, "How do you know?" Ciara sighed, "He's our son, Ben. He's half-you, half-me."
Ciara chuckled slightly, "And that means that boy is stubborn as HELL but also has the biggest heart. You just need to give him some time."
Ben put his head in his hands, "But what if he never comes back to me? What if he only sees me as the Necktie Killer for the rest of his life? I-I couldn't take that." Ciara put a supporting hand on Ben's shoulder while resting her head on the other, "You just have to trust. Trust that our boy will come around."
Ciara stood up, "Let's go back to bed." Ben let out a heavy sigh as he took his wife's hand and walked back to bed.
Ciara woke up before Ben the next morning. She quietly slipped out of bed and woke Olive up.
"Daddy had a rough night. How about we go surprise him?" Olive nodded.
Ciara carried Olive into her and Ben's room and gently placed her on Ben's still-sleeping body. Ciara put her finger to her lips and silently counted 1, 2, 3. Olive giggled, "Good morning, Daddy!"
Ben looked around confused and saw his daughter sitting on his lap. Ben kissed Olive's head as he sat up and looked at Ciara in confusion. "I told Olive that Daddy had a bit of a rough night and was in some need of some serious Daddy/daughter time." Ben smiled a small smile, "Yep, but seeing my Olive-bug makes it all better." Ben tickled Olive as she giggled loudly. "You're as ticklish as Mommy, huh?" Ciara shook her head slightly and Olive just giggled more.
Ben wrapped an arm around Olive, "How about I make you and Mommy my famous pancakes?" Olive nodded, "Yay!" Ciara and Ben couldn't help but chuckle at their daughter. Ben grabbed Olive, "How about you and I go get started while Mommy gets dressed?" Ben leaned in close to his daughter, "We know she can't really cook." Olive laughed as Ciara gaped her mouth open in offense, "Hey." "Did you or did you not burn spaghetti when we first started dating?" Ciara smirked, "That doesn't count. I was…" Ciara eyed Olive and chose her words carefully, "…distracted." Ben smirked, "If that's what you want to call it."
Ciara shook her head as Ben left the room. Ciara picked up a pillow and chucked it at Ben's head, "Love you too Bobcat." Ciara couldn't help but laugh.
Ciara walked into the kitchen and saw Olive watching Ben intensely as he made pancakes. Ciara kissed the top of her daughter's head, "Olive, did you know that pancakes was one of the first things that Daddy made for Mommy when we first met?" Olive shook her head and Ben supported his chin with his hand dramatically, "And…?" Ciara shook her head, laughing slightly, "AND, they were like the BEST pancakes EVER."
Olive looked around, "Where's Bo-ey?" Ciara looked at Ben nervously, "Um, Bo is..." Before Ciara could finish her thought, Bo walked through the door, bag in hand. Ciara cleared her throat, "Bo spent the night with Uncle Steve and Aunt Kayla."
Ciara walked over to her son and hugged him. After a moment, Bo let go and walked over to Ben. Ben was bracing for war and was not prepared for when Bo gave his dad a slight hug. Since Bo was a teenager, him hugging his dad was a rare occurrence, but ESPECIALLY after the way he acted the night prior, to say Ben was shocked was an understatement.
Ciara smiled at her son. Ben shook his head ever so slightly at his wife. She was right, Bo WOULD come around. Bo went over to Olive and started tickling her. Ben put pancakes in front of the kids, "Hey watch yourself Bo, Olive might try to kick your teeth out just like your mama tried to do to me." Ciara shook her head, "You are too much sometimes."
Ciara walked over to her husband and have him a side hug and rested her head on his shoulder while they watched their kids eat their pancakes.