I ran a poll on my twitter asking what story should I update CinABun or Living In Cin and CinABun won by a long shot.
Ciara walked through the Square looking at different shops. Every time she went into one she walked out with countless bags for the baby. Ciara was about to head back to the loft when she saw her mom headed toward her. Ciara hadn't seen her in almost 2 months since the ultimatum at Doug's Place. Ciara meant every word of what she said; her mother could either shape up when it came to Ben or ship out as far as she was concerned.
Hope looked at Ciara's growing belly as she approached her, "Ciara." Ciara coolly said, "Mom." Hope, judging her daughter's tone continued carefully, "How are you feeling?" Ciara sighed, "Good." Hope continued, "Getting lots of rest?" Ciara nodded, "Yeah, Ben doesn't let me do anything. He waits on me hand and foot." Hope's swallowed hard at hearing Ben's name but did her best to hide it because the last thing she wanted to do was ostracize her daughter further. Ciara sighed, "If there's nothing else, I really should get home."
Hope gently grabbed Ciara's arm, "Wait." Ciara closed her eyes for a moment, "What, Mom?" Hope let go of Ciara's arm, "Why don't you come by the Brady Pub tonight at say 6?" Ciara looked at her mom in confusion, "Why?" Hope sighed, "It's a surprise." Ciara thought about it for a second, "Okay." As Ciara started to walk away, Hope yelled out, "Oh, and don't bring Ben."
Ciara rolled her eyes and muttered "of course" as she walked away.
Ciara walked into the loft and saw Ben sitting on the floor putting the crib together. Ciara smiled and Ben was so into what he was doing he didn't even hear her come in. Ben ordered the crib as soon as they got back to Salem because he was so excited. Ciara knew that Ben was going to be the most amazing father in the world.
Ciara put her bags on the island and Ben looked up, "Someone was busy." Ciara chuckled, "I'm not the only one." Ben smiled and stood up, "Yeah, I-I know we still have time but I just wanted to get a head start. I want everything to be perfect." Ciara smiled and walked up to Ben, "I know that you are going to be the most amazing daddy."
Ben smiled but Ciara could tell that there was a twinge of sadness in his smile. "What? What's wrong?" Ben smirked slightly, "You know me so well. I-I told you that I want to prove that I can be a better father than mine was to me…" Ciara wrapped her arms around Ben's neck, "You will be, I know it." Ben rested his hands on Ciara's back, "Bu-but there IS a piece of me that is afraid that I will end up… I'll end up just like my father."
Tears began to well in Ciara's eyes, "N-No baby, that's not possible. You are NOT your father. Okay? Look at me Ben." Ben looked up and met Ciara's eyes, "You are not responsible for the things your father did to you. I know that you are going to do everything in your power to make sure…" Ciara put Ben's hand over her belly, "…to make sure this baby always feels loved."
Ben smiled a small smile, "Yeah. This baby and his or her mother is the most important thing to me." Ciara smiled, "I love you Ozark."
Ben's smile fell and he took a deep breath, "I need you to promise me something, Ciara." Ciara smiled at Ben, "Anything." Ben thinned his lips to a line, "I-if the day ever comes that I-I start to turn into my father, I need you to promise me that you will take the baby and leave and never look back." Tears began to well in Ciara's eyes, "Ben…" Ben swallowed hard, "Promise me, Ciara."
Ben rubbed Ciara's belly. Ben thought he felt the baby move. Ben looked at Ciara, "Was that…?" Ciara nodded, "I think you just felt our baby move." Ben laughed and picked Ciara up and spun her around. Ciara laughed as Ben put her back down. "I love you Ciara Alice Brady."
Ciara gave Ben a kiss on the lips and made her way over to the freezer. Ciara pulled out a container, "Is this…?" "The peanut butter ice cream you've craved? Yeah. I picked up some while you were out." Ciara smiled, "Thank you, Ben." Ciara took a spoonful, "Mm, that's the stuff." Ben pointed to the fridge, "There's also a mango smoothie in there." Ciara opened the fridge and pulled the styrofoam container out of the fridge. Ciara smiled slightly as she dipped a spoonful of peanut butter ice cream into the smoothie and licked the spoon. "Ciara, are you sure you want to-" Ben had a look of disgust while Ciara looked like she was in heaven. Ciara sighed contently, "Oh, that's good." Ben chuckled lightly, "Whatever my baby wants."
Ciara put the spoon in the sink, "Mm, I forgot to tell you. I ran into my mom in the Square." Ben took a seat on one of the bar stools by the island, "And how did that go?" Ciara shrugged her shoulders, "Tensed when I said your name; y'know, the usual." Ciara swallowed, "She invited me to the pub tonight, said it was some kind of surprise."
Ben looked at Ciara in confusion, "Are you going to go?" Ciara nodded slowly, "I want to see what she has to say, but I made myself perfectly clear 2 months ago." "Maybe, maybe this is some sort of peace offering. Maybe she's giving you a baby shower?" Ciara sighed, "Maybe, but I think you're thinking too positively of my mom."
Ciara walked out into the living room wearing an off-the-shoulder black maternity dress. Ben stood up from the couch, "Wow."
Ciara played with the top of dress a bit, "Is it too much? I-I mean this is the first maternity dress I'm wearing." Ben walked over to Ciara and caressed her cheek, "You look beautiful." Ciara blushed slightly, "Thank you." Ciara kissed Ben and walked over to the island and grabbed her bag, "I will see you later. Bye."
Ciara walked up to the Pub and saw a sign that said "Closed for Private Party". Ciara walked into the pub and saw people from both sides of her family sitting at tables. Hope walked up to Ciara. Ciara looked at her mom, "Wha-what is going on here exactly?"
Hope gestured to a nearby chair, "Why don't you sit down?" Ciara sat down and rested a hand protectively on her stomach. "So why exactly am I here?" Hope swallowed hard, "Honey, I know that this must be a scary time for you. You're entering a new phase of life. But-but why would you want to do this with a man who tried to kill you and has hurt so many people that we love?" Ciara sighed angrily and stood up, "What is this? Some sort of last-ditch attempt to get me to leave Ben?"
Ciara rubbed her stomach, "Mom, Ben is the father of this baby." Hope inhaled deeply, "You don't have to have Ben in the baby's life. It would be so much better for you and the baby if you didn't. Ciara, you can say that you cheated on Ben and he's not the father, or you can go stay with your sister in London for a while and I'll tell Ben that you lost the baby." The more suggestions Hope gave, the angrier Ciara got.
Ciara looked at her mom incredulously, "You want me to LIE to Ben? Mom, since Ben found out that I was pregnant, ALL he has talked about is how excited he is to be a father and get a second chance to do things right." Ciara narrowed her eyes at Abigail and gave her a slight glare as she said that comment.
Hope put her hand on Ciara's shoulders, "So you're saying he's obsessed? Ciara, you and the baby will never be safe with Ben." Ciara put her tongue on the roof of her mouth as tears began to form, "So this is an intervention? T-to try to get me to leave Ben? I would NEVER lie to Ben about something like this!"
Roman walked up to Ciara, "Ciara, you know what Ben did to Will. How can you feel that you won't be putting your child in jeopardy by allowing it to be around a serial killer? He has already tried to isolate you by making you quit your job here." Ciara breathed deeply trying not to get upset because it wouldn't be good for the baby. Ciara put her hands in the praying position, "Uncle Roman, I know and trust Ben. He would NEVER do anything to hurt me or the baby. Ben goes to the convenience store if I have a middle of the night craving, no matter what time it is or how soon he has to get up. He does everything for me. He holds my hand and my hair when I'm having morning sickness and riding the porcelain bus. He even keeps saltines by the bed just in case I want one or two or even a sleeve during the night. And Ben didn't MAKE me quit my job. He didn't think it was a good idea for me to be working on my feet all day while being pregnant. Ben brought up the idea and after WE discussed it together, we decided together that it would be best for me and the baby to quit. Ben has been the perfect boyfriend and baby daddy." Ciara sniffed trying to keep her emotions at bay. "Ben is the father of this baby, that is NEVER going to change. He and I are going to raise this baby together. And… you all can go to hell as far as I'm concerned."
Ciara stormed out of the pub without another word.
Ciara stormed into the loft and slammed the door behind her. Ben came out of the bedroom. "Hey what hap-" Ben was cut off by Ciara running to him and pulling him in for a passionate kiss. Ben pulled away after a moment. Ben rested his hands on either side of Ciara's face.
Ciara sighed angrily, "Let's go somewhere. Just the two of us, far away from Salem." Ben looked at Ciara in confusion and she continued, "W-we can go to New York, be with Jordan or I'll go to Poplar Buffs if you want. Anywhere you want to go." Ben rubbed his hands and pulled on Ciara's hair slightly, "Ciara, what… happened tonight?"
Ciara sighed angrily, "It wasn't a baby shower, but an intervention." Ben's confused look stayed. "My mom as well as most of my family was trying to convince me to leave you. My mom suggested that I go to London to live with Chelsea and she would…" Tears threatened to fall, "…she would tell you that I lost the baby." Ben looked at Ciara speechless.
"Wow." Ciara sighed, "Yeah. Wh-why should we raise our son or daughter in a place where everyone is against his or her father?" Ben rested his forehead on Ciara's, "Ci, this is your home. This is the place where you grew up. I-I can't ask you to uproot your life." Ciara rested a hand on Ben's cheek, "Ben, you stayed in Salem even though pretty much everyone here hates you and would like to see you get sent away. I-I don't want our child to be raised in an environment where all they hear is what a horrible person their father used to be."
Ben smiled a sad smile, "True, but Ciara… unfortunately, those are the facts. I don't want…. I don't think it's a good idea for us to go to some random place where you will have no family support. Either for you or for the baby or help with the baby once it's born." Ben gave Ciara a kiss on the forehead, "Look, we don't have to make any decisions right now. Why don't we-why don't we go to bed and sleep on it?" Ciara sighed and rested her head on Ben's shoulder. "I love you."
Ciara woke up the next morning and found the bed empty. Ben walked into their bedroom a moment later with a serving tray. Ciara let out a light laugh, "What is this?" Ben placed the tray on the bed, "I figured after last night you could use a little lazy time. So I made you my famous pancakes. But I didn't expect you to be up already. Way to ruin the surprise." Ben chuckled and Ciara couldn't help but laugh.
"Y'know, I'm pretty sure your pancakes are the reason I'm pregnant." Ciara winked at Ben. Ben sat down next to Ciara, "So, did you think about it?" Ciara sighed, "Yeah. A-and you're right. I was making a decision because I was upset. I-If you're okay with it, I want to stay in Salem and raise the baby here."
Ben nodded and kissed Ciara's forehead. "Of course it's okay." Ciara smiled relieved.
After Ciara finished eating, Ben brought Ciara's hand to his lips and smiled slightly, "I have a surprise for you." Ciara eyed Ben curiously, "I thought breakfast in bed was my surprise." Ben stood up, "Oh no. This is something I've been planning for a while. Don't move." Ben walked out of their bedroom and poked his head back in a moment later, "Close your eyes." Ciara sighed and did what Ben said.
"Okay, open them." Ciara removed her hands and saw a picture of her and her dad from the party at the Brady Pub on a piece of wood with a quote painted below it:
The moment you left me, my heart split in two.
One side filled with memories, the other side died with you.
I often lay awake at night when the world is fast asleep, and take a walk down memory lane with tears upon my cheek.
Remembering you is easy, I do it everyday; but missing you is a heartache that never goes away.
I hold you tightly within my heart and there you will remain.
You see life has gone on without you, but will never be the same.
Ciara looked up at Ben with tears glistening her eyes, "How? Wha-" Ciara cleared her throat, "What made you decide to do this?"
Ben caressed Ciara's cheek, "I know how much your dad meant to you and I know you're missing him. I know that all this talk about me becoming a dad to your child has been making you miss yours. And I've always been fairly decent with my hands and wood." Ciara smiled, "Decent?! Babe, this is amazing. Thank you, Ben." Ciara wrapped her arms around Ben's neck and Ben rested his hands on Ciara's back lightly.