Chapter#3

Visitor's Room of Statesville Prison

Upon hearing that Ciara was on the radar of his mother's family the Balfours, Ben's chest started to tighten with anxiety. He had spent eleven years moving around with his relatives and the motorcycle club his grandfather had helped found decades ago, The Raven's Shadow. The Club was more than just being about riding your bike, they were a family. Though his grandfather, his Uncles and other family members tried to keep some of their dirty deeds hidden from him and his cousins growing up, unfortunately sometimes information never could stay buried. Secrets that needed to be taken to the grave of atrocities, revenge and payback or just sheer sick and depraved behavior finding an outlet. He demanded himself to be calm and began his inquisition.

Grabbing Declan by the back of his neck quickly, his eyes locked on his slightly younger cousin, "What the hell are you talking about? Why is Ciara's name being dropped at me?"

Declan swallowed hard, "Easy, Oliver. Remember where you are."

"I am that's why you're still alive." Ben's voice was low but not hiding his anger.

After Ben released his hold on Declan he provided the information he knew, "OK, listen. I don't know all the facts, but this morning Grandma called me and asked me to come down here and tell you to just do what Jackson wants until she can get him to see rational."

Ben tried hard to hide his shock, "Rational, Jackson! Wait Grandma? How does she know what's going on? She never gets involved in Club Business."

Declan kept an eye for where the guard was, "She didn't get involved willingly. She overheard what she didn't like and expressed her displeasure to the Old Man."

Ben was getting agitated, "Your dancing around what I want to know. Why is Jackson bringing Ciara into the mix? Why is he using her to keep me in line? What does he want me to do?"

Declan let out a sharp painful breath, "It's not that he wants you to do something." He paused trying to find a way not to upset his cousin, "It has to do with your sentence. If you die Oliver. He's…He's…"

Ben's teeth were clenched, "He's what? He's what?"

"He's… He's going to kill Ciara." Declan mournfully divulged.

Ben started to hyperventilate in terror briefly, but quickly composed, "No. No. You have to stop this Dec. You have to get word to Jackson….no tell him I need to see him now. Ciara is innocent. I'll do whatever he wants. Please just tell him not to hurt Ciara."

Declan took Ben's hand and was cautioned by the guard.

"No touching. The inmate knows the rules." Bellowed the burly man.

"We're praying. Exercising our first amendment constitutional right." Declan then raised his hand and turned the back of it to face the guard showing his tattoo of being a high ranking member of the Raven's Shadow. "I don't see you having any problems with that."

Upon seeing the threatening ink, the guard turned his head away.

Ben recognized the tattoo and knowing it's meaning and felt slightly at ease, "You're the Vice President. You can appeal my case to Jackson. Your word will carry plenty of weight Declan."

Declan steadied himself to make sure the guard didn't hear any more of their conversation, "Hold a second. My Dad is the President and Jackson still overrules him some of the time. You got to tell me everything so I can give grandma what she'll need. Don't leave anything out. The first thing we got to do is figure out what could have set The Old Boy off, to go to such extremes at Ciara."

Ben started to have guarded optimism, "You said Clyde called him and told him about me being on Death Row and wanting him to help get me out of here."

Declan folded his hands, "Yeah. The key is what he told him. How much does Clyde know?"

Ben shook his head in disgust, "Unfortunately everything. Oh, man what the hell was I thinking? I told Clyde that I was framed and I told him who I think framed me. Victor Kiriakis and his nephew Xander. I told him I think Victor ordered Xander to kill Jordan."

Declan started to process the information, "Ok, but how is Ciara mixed up in this?"

Ben braved himself, "Ciara is Victor's granddaughter and he highly disapproves of us being together."

"Being together? Wait Ollie are you saying you and this Ciara Brady chick, have been going out, friends with benefits, more than casual acquaintances or are you saying that Ciara is your Old Lady?" Declan started to stroke his thin beard.

"We've been together for two years." Ben did not like referring to Ciara in that way but reluctantly agreed with Declan's last choice of characterization, "So yeah, she would be considered my Old Lady." Ben wasn't too fond of his nickname used, "And its Ben. Ollie is long buried the way I'm starting to believe Clyde should have been."

Declan rolled his eyes, "If my Old Man and Jackson had their way he would have been twenty-four years ago. Uncle Frank was too much of a softy to let that happen."

"There was nothing soft about Frank." Ben cleared up sternly, "He got his hands dirty when he needed to, but there was nothing wrong with showing mercy too."

Declan rolled his eyes, "You and Frank. Sometimes by the way you think I think you should have been his kid instead of Clyde's. You talk the way Rio does."

"Given what Clyde has given me you don't think I would have better off as Frank's kid?" Ben rebutted.

"What have I given you? Except life." Clyde rudely interrupted.

"Any guy can screw and make a baby but it takes a real man, to be a father." Ben's reply was sharp and cold.

"Why you ungrateful bastard. Is this what I get for demeaning myself and asking your son of a bitch of a grandfather for help to save your life? Clyde approached Ben with a rage in his eyes.

"What the ass you doing here Clyde?' Declan added with defiance, "I don't remember asking to see you or join our conversation."

"Earl, told me that Ben had a very interesting visitor from Raven's Shadow. A high ranking member so I had to see if The Man was here himself." Clyde sat down next to Ben without being asked.

Declan smirked than laughed, "Earl better mind his own business next time or some "associates" of mine from the Aryan Brother Hood might remind him to." He folded his arms behind his head and leaned slightly back in his chair, "So you feel like a big man having the guards on payroll, so to speak?"

Clyde laughed and shook his head from side to side, "Look, Little John I spoke to Jackson a few days ago and now I'm finally seeing some movement. So what's the Old Man going to do?'

Ben quelled his rage at his father, "Well for starters he put a hit out on Ciara." He saw the shock in Clyde's eyes, "What the hell did you tell him to go nuclear or am I trying not to believe that maybe you suggested that to him as payback?'

Clyde's eyes began to bulge. He fought stammering to defend himself, "Now look here all I did was tell your grandfather that your final appeal was coming up and that he needed to come up with his usual Hail Mary saves and save you. Why in hell's name would I want him to hurt Ciara? Get payback for what?"

"For when you and Victor used to go at it? For Xander being free and you spending your life here? Or that the usual you want control over me and feel Ciara is an obstacle and her being "out of the picture" will leave me vulnerable." Ben was seething with anger.

"Look no matter what those two bastards did to me you are my number one priority." Clyde saw Ben smirk at him and look at him in disdain, "It's the truth Ollie. You are my son, my flesh and blood. And I'll move heaven and earth to keep you alive. Even if it means begging a man whose wanted me dead since he met me. I'll do whatever it takes to keep you alive but I swear on your mother's grave I never ever sold Ciara out to him and you know deep down that is the God's honest truth."

"Well something sent him over the edge." Ben still had his suspicions in Clyde's phone conversation with his grandfather, "He's never went after a woman before as retribution. Or am I wrong Dec?"

"If he did it hasn't been while I've been in the business but to the best of my knowledge he hasn't." Declan put his hands in his pocket, "Clyde, word for word what did you tell him?"

Clyde sighed mournfully, "I told him that your final appeal was coming up, Ben and it was your last chance at escaping the needle. I told him I know he hates me, but I'll do anything if he can just find a way to help you. He said he knows you were maintaining your innocence and declaring you were framed so he asked me to give him a list of suspects capable or having motive to do that. I told him what you said Victor Kiriakis would have motive and most likely asked my old compadre Xander to do it."

Ben folded his arms angrily, "Why do I feel like you're leaving so much out? I mean am I supposed to believe he didn't ask why Victor would go after me? Are you freakin' serious?"

"Must be getting' old Clyde I've seen drunk men lie better than you?" Declan taunted.

"Ok, I may have told him that Victor was capable of framing you but it was just to light a fire under him to get you out." Clyde grabbed Ben's arm, "I swear and I mean it this time I never thought he'd go ballistic and want to hurt Ciara. Ollie, listen to me I may have my opinions of her but from what I'm hearin' from you and been reading in the papers she's devoted to you, she loves you. You'll never find another love like that and the future of our family. I'm a lot of things son but I would never take the one person who has been giving you all you've ever deserved and dreamed of. " A lone tear fell down Clyde's cheek, "I know what it's like not being able to be with your destiny, the one you really love. You're my son, if it couldn't happen for me then I'm glad that it's happening for you." He brushed another tear away from his cheek.

"You know Clyde you actually sound convincing." Declan leaned against the wall.

"Oh, believe what the hell you want I'm not asking for your approval. You're as judgmental as your father and grandfather." Clyde sat down, "No, I take it back about your father because he never would have done to me what Jackson did and that says plenty."

"What did Grandpa do to you?" Ben's curiosity was piqued at the information he possibly never heard before.

Clyde shook his head from side to side wearily then let a hard sigh out, "It happened thirty-two years ago…"

Before he could tell his son and nephew his tale Justin walked in.

"I just got the verdict in on your final appeal."

The men looked at him each trying to get an idea what he was going to say and with his words said were sucker punched.