Ben groaned in frustration at the empty Square, it having no choice but to listen. The day at work had not gone great, it seemed that nothing had even remotely gone his way. It had been one annoying thing after another, each time Ben swore he could feel his head tightening around his brain, causing a less than appreciated headache.
No matter, Ben thought. Some painkillers and a film with Callum and Lexi would pull him out of his dreary and frustrated mindset. Lola and Jay had gone away for the week since it was half-term, leaving Lexi in Ben's care. With the extra space in the Mitchell house, Callum had offered to temporarily move in to both mind Lexi whenever Ben had to go to work and spend more time with him in general.
As much as Ben knew Callum adored Lexi, and vice-versa, he felt it was unfair to saddle her on him whenever he had to go to work.
"My mum can look after her if you don't want to." Ben had told Callum many times.
"Don't be daft," was Callum's reply, every time his boyfriend informed him of this. "Of course I'll mind her, I'd love to."
After the third time of hearing Callum's protest, Ben finally accepted it and headed off to work on day one.
He came home during the first afternoon to find Lexi teaching Callum how to 'expertly draw and colour-in'. Ever since, Callum has been called a 'worthy apprentice' by Lexi, much to everyone's amusement.
On the second day, Ben had come home to his daughter showing Callum her latest dance moves. In typical Callum fashion, he was cheering her on, pretending to be both an announcer and judge for an elite dance competition. Lexi was having the time of her life; loud giggles could be heard for miles beyond the Square. It was a scene that melted Ben's heart so much so that he simply had to join in. Sitting himself down next to Callum, the pair voiced their encouragement for Lexi and gave her a solid 10 after every routine.
No one outside of the Mitchell house would know of the dance-off that followed between father and daughter, with Callum lovingly watching the whole thing.
So, for two days now, Lexi had been the one to teach or show Callum something. As Ben neared the house, keys at the ready, his mind turned to guess whatever the pair could've been up to that day. He felt a strange conflict arise in him when the possibility of Lexi showing Callum her skills with makeup crossed his mind. Of course, Ben had been at the suffering end of that before and he had looked 'beautiful' according to his daughter. Part of Ben hoped Lexi hadn't done the same to Callum in case it made him feel in any way uncomfortable (which he doubted) and yet the other part of him remained curious to see what his boyfriend would look like with a fashionable makeover from a 7-year-old girl.
Ben knew there was only one way to find out and turned the key to the door, his ears listening for any words or music that might give away what they were doing.
He could tell that they were in the lounge from the shouts of enthusiasm.
However, no Little Mix blasted through the walls, no sounds of Lexi tutoring Callum on how to draw, there was none of anything from the past two days.
Since the door to the lounge was closed, exactly what the pair were saying was slightly muffled. So, once Ben had removed his coat, he headed straight for the door and looked upon a scenario that he hadn't predicted earlier.
"…and here comes Lexi Pearce, round the corner and through the lava field like there's no tomorrow, but Callum Highway is catching up from behind! Looks like it's gonna be a fight for first place, folks!" Callum commentated enthusiastically from the sofa; Lexi was sat on the floor in front of him.
"Yeah right!" replied Lexi without turning away from the TV. "I'm gonna win!" she exclaimed with excitement radiating in her happy little voice.
"They're both on the last stretch, it's now or never, folks. Will Callum Highway make it or will Lexi Pearce become the champion once more?" the level of excitement in Callum's voice fluctuated with his body movements as whatever they were playing obviously required motion control.
"…and Lexi Pearce wins it again! The Highway lad comes second and Bowser takes third! What a race!" Callum put his controller down and laughed along with Lexi, who was also squealing with happiness that she'd won. Her little eyes lit up and she watched her character receive a gold trophy on the podium.
In the middle of all that, Ben had realised what they were playing. Mario Kart.
Ben loved Mario Kart.
Neither Callum or Lexi had heard Ben come in and settle himself at the door, far too caught up in their race. Ben decided to take advantage of this fact.
"Well, Bowser would be in the top three, since it's his course." stated Ben from the entrance to the lounge.
Lexi didn't need to turn around to know that voice. "Daddy!" she squealed and she leapt up to give Ben a hug. Her dad then proceeded to pick her up and spin her around in the air much to Lexi's delight. Callum watched on in amusement from the sofa.
"Have you been beating Callum at Mario Kart, baby?" Ben asked his daughter.
"Yeah, he's rubbish. He's not won one race yet!" she giggled.
"I am not rubbish!" Callum replied in mock offence. "I'm just not as good as you." he stated smiling whilst grabbing his controller to set up for a new race. Lexi laughed at his comment.
"Will you play with us, daddy? We're about to do more races." Lexi asked her dad with hope in her eyes.
"Course I will, Lex. But I'll probably win." Ben said jokingly as he put Lexi down, she darted for her controller.
"Not if I pick the courses I want." she replied with a small wicked smile on her lips.
Callum had already guessed Ben's answer and had set up the next set of races for three players. Ben plonked himself down next to Callum and kissed him on the forehead.
"Was that the winner's kiss?" Callum asked Ben as he reached for a third controller from his bag.
"No, that's what you get when you come second place to a 7-year-old."
"Ha, very funny. She's actually quite good, you know." explained Callum, Lexi wasn't listening as she was too busy picking her next racer. It was a debate between Princess Peach, Daisy, and Rosalina.
"She's bound to be good; she's got her dad's skills in Mario Kart."
"Well then, why don't we see some of those 'skills' from you?" Callum asked fondly and handed Ben a Wii remote stuck in a white steering wheel. The pair exchanged a loving smile that was only interrupted by Lexi's command for them to pick their racers.
Lexi had finally settled on Rosalina since she'd already played as Peach and Daisy. Callum chose Waluigi, much to the amusement of Ben. He decided to go for Toad, one of the smaller characters. Callum was not expecting his boyfriend's choice of character and so asked why he'd picked him.
"Well, you know, gotta give some love to the little guys." was Ben's reply to that. Callum smiled, adoring the response. They both turned away from looking at each other to pay attention to the game.
Callum tried to keep up his commentating throughout each race since Lexi loved it so much. In the midst of their third race out of four, which Lexi was currently winning, Ben suddenly wondered where the Wii console had come from.
"It's mine," Callum explained after Ben asked him, the pair trying desperately not to fall off the course they were currently racing on. They were also trying not to knock into each other from their over-the-top motion control movements. "Lex and I went to fetch it from my place after I told her I had it."
Ben gathered that Lexi must have shown that she wanted to play with Callum and admired his boyfriend for the effort he'd put in for his daughter. Callum didn't have to do that but he did. He was so damn kind and wanted the best for everyone. It was one of the many reasons why he loved him so much. Ben endeared the fact that Cal adored Lexi as much as he did.
"You're amazing, babe. You really are." Ben blurted out without thinking, causing Callum to become momentarily distracted by his boyfriend's words and promptly fell off the course as a result.
"Oh and down goes Mr. Highway! But Ben Mitchell is still in second place, catching up to Miss Lexi Pearce as they near the final corner, who will win? The father or the daughter?" Ben picked up where Callum's commentary had left off with an equal amount of energy. Callum, on the other hand, tried futilely to catch up to the pair after falling off the course but knew that he wouldn't be able to. So instead, he spectated in adoration as his boyfriend and his sparky daughter turned the last corner of the course, the finish line ever nearing.
"It's going to be a close one, folks!" shouted Ben, channeling Callum's commentary style. "They turn the corner; Ben Mitchell is right behind Lexi Pearce as they reach the final stretch…and Lexi Pearce is the winner again!" Lexi squealed again in delight, her dad only hyping her up. She performed her own mini celebration from the floor.
Ben turned to an incredibly enthralled Callum. "So, what do I get for coming second place?"
"This." Callum fondly replied as he seized Ben in a kiss, passionate lips meeting each other. Lexi turned around and saw what they were doing and smiled, happy that her dad was happy. She knew that Callum was a keeper.
Once they'd finished, Ben felt the need to point something out.
"Now, that felt like a winner's kiss." Ben said, their faces still close together.
"But none of you have won yet!" chimed Lexi as she searched for the next course for the three to race on.
Ben looked directly into Callum's eyes. "Debatable." was all he said, earning a goofy grin from Callum.
Of course, it went completely over Lexi's head. "None of you will win on this course anyway." she claimed having already pressed the 'start race' button. Ben and Callum were so distracted that they didn't see what course she'd picked.
They'd find out soon enough.
The short introduction clips of the racetrack started, the familiar music accompanying it. Only this time, it was joined by mystical space sounds and a floating, colourful road.
Lexi's favourite course was Rainbow Road. She had actively chosen Rainbow Road as the final race in their Grand Prix. Callum and Ben felt a small amount of dread bubble in their stomachs, knowing very well how this was going to end.
It could only end one way – badly.
It had ended badly alright. Callum fell off the road at every sharp corner, Ben was trying so hard to catch up with Lexi that he misjudged some of his turns and frequently fell off the map to his doom.
Somehow Lexi had suffered no consequences by picking Rainbow Road throughout the whole race, she was apparently immune to falling off. At one point, Callum stopped concentrating on himself and watched in awe as Lexi glided through the course like a pro. Even after playing the game for many years now, he'd still not been able to conquer Rainbow Road in the way that Lexi was doing.
It was made clear after the first lap that little Lexi Pearce would win, and she did so with more flying colours than Rainbow Road itself.
In turn, Ben grabbed his little girl and twirled her in the air as a celebration. Callum stood up and ruffled Lexi's hair, telling her that she had the spark of a professional racer. Ben then planted a kiss on Callum's neck since he couldn't reach his cheek. Normally, he'd stand on his toes if he wanted to go that high but Lexi being in his arms made that slightly more difficult.
Ben was feeling miles better just from seeing two of his favourite people alone. He had forgotten all about his rough day at work and his headache had seemed to dissipate as well. In the spur of his cheery mood, he promised Callum and Lexi a pizza. Both of them became an excited pair of children, which was excusable for one of them.
Playing games with her dad and Callum had quickly become one of Lexi's all-time favourite things. So, the two men made sure to do it as often as possible, them loving it too.
Each game of whatever they were playing usually ended with a 'winner's kiss' even if one of them had so horribly lost. They were not unwelcomed by either man.
Because they knew that in victory or defeat, with each other by their sides, they'd certainly won.