Hope walked into Doug's Place with a pep in her step. She was met by Julie at the bar.
Julie chuckled, "You're in a particularly good mood today." Hope sighed happily, "You know what today is?" Julie shook her head and Hope continued, "Ciara's accident was exactly three months ago." Julie shook her head slightly, still not getting it. Hope sighed and smiled, "Kayla said that if Ciara's memory didn't return within three months, it was highly unlikely it ever would which means…" Julie smiled, "We are free of Weston."
Hope nodded and chuckled, "Forever. My baby girl doesn't remember what Chase did to her and thinks Weston is still as psycho as ever." Hope sighed again, "We're free."
Julie and Hope hugged as Doug approached. "What's going on, ladies?" Hope half-hugged her dad, "We're celebrating, Daddy." "Celebrating what?"
Julie smiled broadly at her husband, "Weston being out of all of our lives for good." Doug chuckled slightly, "That IS cause for celebration."
Ben sighed when he saw the date on his phone as he entered the mansion after doing his morning sweep. It had been three months, ninety days, one hundred twenty nine thousand six hundred minutes since the accident. Kayla's words rang through Ben's head: If Ciara doesn't regain her memory within three months, chances are she may never.
Ben was a shell of the person he was before. All he wanted was to build a life with the woman he loved but it was over. It was over the minute Nicole Walker crashed into their car. John had done it, he had found out that Nicole was driving the night of the accident but it didn't bring any comfort to Ben, not like he had hoped it would. He wanted to be so angry at Nicole for taking his Ciara away, but watching John turn her in and have her arrested did nothing for him. He didn't feel vindicated like he had wished for. He was on empty.
After the disaster of a date, Ben didn't go back to see Ciara again. Even though he swore he would never give up on her, he couldn't do it anymore. It wasn't fair to him or her to keep doing this. As much as it killed Ben, he had to let go and Ciara move on with her life.
Ciara wrapped her arms around a faceless man who had his hands on her cheeks as they kissed. The man pulled back, rested his forehead on Ciara's for a moment before pulling back fully. "You… are not too broken to be loved, Ciara." "Neither are you." The man sighed, "Do you still want to run away from your feelings, from me?" Ciara didn't say a word, instead she kissed the faceless man passionately, placing her hand on his neck. After being stunned for a brief moment, the man kissed back. Ciara wrapped her arm around the man's neck. Ciara and the faceless man held each other tightly as they swayed slightly as they kiss. An older man came toward them and pushed the man off Ciara.
Ciara woke up gasping. Ciara touched her lips, who was that? She got out her journal and logged the dream with today's date. Who was that man who pulled the faceless man off her?
Ciara sighed frustrated, she couldn't see who the man was but he was a recurring dream for her.
Ciara knocked on Marlena's door. "Marlena?" Marlena stood up, "Ciara, come in. Please." Ciara sighed as she entered.
Marlena gestured for Ciara to take a seat. "What brings you by?" Ciara sighed heavily, digging her nails into the armrest of the chair nervously. "Ciara, what's going on?" Ciara inhaled sharply, "I-I keep having these recurring dreams… of a faceless man. I-I'm in them too. I can never place the man's voice but there's something… familiar about him."
Marlena narrowed her eyes ever so slightly, "Ciara, what are you asking me?" Ciara pressed her lips together for a moment, "I-I know you hypnotize people to help them. Co-could you maybe hypnotize me? See if I can't make sense of these dreams?"
Marlena had a feeling Ben was the faceless man in Ciara's dreams and if she did this, maybe Ciara could remember Ben. Marlena nodded, "Of course. I have some time now if you like?" Ciara nodded, "The sooner I can make sense of these dreams, the sooner I can stop obsessing over them and move on with my life." Ciara chuckled nervously.
Marlena dimmed the lights and moved the chairs around so she was sitting next to Ciara. "Ciara, close your eyes." Ciara closed her eyes and tried to relax the best she could.
"I want to take you back to your last dream. Take a deep breath in and out. Where are you?" "Outside the Pub."
Marlena nodded, "Okay, what time of year is it? Is it Summer?" Ciara shook her head slightly, "No. It's cool. There's leaves rustling. Fall."
"Okay, let's focus in on being outside the Pub. Who's with you?" "A man, I-I can't make out his face." Marlena paused for a moment, "That's okay. What can you describe about him?" After a moment, Ciara said, "He's slightly taller than me, but he's holding me close."
"How do you feel?" Ciara inhaled and removed her nails from the armrest, "Safe. Like I know I won't get hurt. He's holding me close. He has his hands on my back. I feel secure. Happy, like I've been waiting for this. He's talking to me."
"Focus on the man's voice. Can you recognize it?" Ciara tried hard to place the man's voice but couldn't. "No. It's familiar though. His voice is low, maybe slightly gruff but safe at the same time. He feels like home. I feel happy hearing him."
Marlena knew with everything in her, this was Ben. Ciara was having memories of their first kiss. But it would be unethical to put the idea in Ciara's head. Like she told Ben, Ciara had to remember on her own. Unless…
"Have you seen this man before or is this a first meeting?" "I know him, the way we're talking; I know him and he knows me." Marlena sighed, "Okay, I'm going to count down and you're going to come out of it. You will remember the things you've recalled about your memory. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Eyes open."
Ciara blinked her eyes open and after a moment sighed. "Thanks for trying." Marlena nodded, "Of course. If there's anything else I can do…" Ciara smiled slightly, "Thanks. I-I think I'm just going to go home. Lay down. Maybe I'll have another dream and I'll be closer to identifying this mystery man." Marlena swallowed and didn't say a word but smiled slightly. Ciara stood up and walked out of the room.
Once Marlena knew Ciara was out of earshot, she said to herself, "Don't give up Ben, Ciara's in there. Her memories are in there."
Ciara opened the mailbox and saw a letter. It had felt like forever since she got one. Ciara sighed, never knowing what to expect from these letters.
I know it's been a while. I've been trying to give you your space. But time is running out. I need to pull out the big gun. Ben did an interview with 20/20 detailing his life and in it, you will see Ben talk about you. You will know the truth. Please watch it.
Ciara sighed, the last thing she wanted to do was watch Ben detail himself but if Ben claims this will make her 'remember them'. What does she have to lose?
Ciara walked over to the TV in the living room and scrolled through On Demand. As luck would have it, Ben's 20/20 episode was still up.
Ciara sighed heavily as she sat on the coffee table and hesitantly pressed play.
Diane Sawyer appeared on the screen. "I'm Diane Sawyer and this is 20/20. Today we delve into the man responsible for The Necktie Killings in Salem, Illinois. Ben Weston was born Oliver Weston to Clyde and Carla Weston in Poplar Buffs, Missouri. Carla Weston was killed when Ben was only eight years old, leaving him in his father's and half-sister Tammy Sue, later known as Jordan Ridgeway's care. When Weston was old enough, he and Ridgeway took off from their supposedly abusive father. After many years on the run, Weston found himself in Salem under the name of Ben Rogers. After getting involved with Abigail Deveraux, Ben's father Clyde found him and Ridgeway in Salem. Nefarious things went down and Ben strangled and killed 3 people, including at the time fiancee's cousin Will Horton. Weston set up Abigail's ex-boyfriend Chad DiMera, son of the infamous Stefano DiMera to take the fall for the murders. According to police records, upon figuring out Weston was responsible for the murders, he kidnapped a very pregnant Deveraux and took her to a remote cabin where he held her there against her will. There, Abigail went into labor and Weston brought a midwife to deliver the baby who would later be named Thomas DiMera, after it was discovered that Chad DiMera, not Ben Weston was the baby's father due to tampering of the DNA test at the threat of Ben's father, Clyde. According to a police statement by Deveraux, after the baby was born, Ben promptly took the midwife outside the cabin and shot her saying her 'services were no longer needed'. Chad DiMera managed to find Deveraux and Weston in the cabin but Weston got the upper hand. He tied Chad and Abigail to the bed and set the bed on fire. Weston then fled with the newborn baby, leaving the ex-couple to die. Chad managed to get himself and Abigail to safety and Weston was later apprehended. After a two-and-a-half year stint in various mental institutions with several escapes, Weston was deemed reformed and fit to return to society in June of 2018. We now take you to Ben Weston."
Ciara paused the TV. Why would Ben want her to see this? This just confirms everything everyone's been telling her about Ben. Ciara's curiosity got the best of her and sighed as she pressed play.
Ben sat on the couch in the gatehouse with Diane not far away. Diane said, "Thank you for joining us today, Ben." Ben nodded nervously and rubbed his hands together.
"So, we've gone over what lead up to the killings. Let's talk about what happened after you were deemed sane and released." Ben sighed, "I returned to Salem to try and make amends with people like Chad and Will for what I did. I had finally realized the things that I had done, I had actually taken lives. Needless to say, they weren't too receptive of it. Chad paid me a sum of money to leave Salem and never return. I didn't have a job or any way to take care of myself. My sister was long gone so I took him up on it. He drove me to the edge of town and I was trying to hitch a ride when I found her." Diane questioned, "'Her'?"
Ben couldn't help but smile, "Ciara Brady. She had just crashed her motorcycle."
Ciara paused the TV, Ben was insane. Telling this whole story on national TV. Ciara sighed and against her better judgement, pressed play again.
Ben continued, "I took her to the cabin-" "Where you torched Chad and Abigail?" Ben nodded, "It wasn't my intention but I got lost. I knew that cabin. I set up the bed and while she was still unconscious, the memories of what I did there came flooding back. I was sick over it. Before I knew it, Ciara woke up. When she saw she was with me, she was terrified to say the least." Ben chuckled, "And she had no problem making that known. Her leg was broken so I set it." Diane interrupted, "How did you know how to do that?"
Ben looked down at his hands for a moment, "M-my father used to beat my mom and my sister. I learned how to splint bones and patch ribs. We spent a few days in the cabin together and we couldn't help but get to know each other."
"And then the cabin mysteriously burst into flames." Ben nodded, "I was accused of it, but I had nothing to do with it. I would never hurt Ciara… or anyone for that matter. Not anymore." Diane paused for a moment, "And you've remained reformed since?" Ben nodded and Diane asked, "And who is responsible for that?"
"First and foremost, being on meds and regular sessions with Dr. Marlena Evans… but the woman that I love has so much to do with me being able to keep my mental illness under control."
Diane's voiceover played, "When we come back, we'll meet the woman Ben Weston credits with keeping him sane."
Ciara sighed, feeling more conflicted than ever. She was so sure that Ben was lying that they knew each other but if they didn't, this wouldn't have made it to air, right? A major network like this would have some sort of fact-checking before airing this, right?
Ciara was drawn out of her own thoughts when the show resumed. "Welcome back, we've been talking with the man responsible for Salem's Necktie Killer, Ben Weston. And now we meet the woman he credits with keeping him sane."
Ciara was stunned to see herself sitting on the couch next to Ben as the words "Ben's Girlfriend" spread across the screen under her name.
Diane turned to Ciara, "You two have been together for how long now?" Ciara took Ben's hand in hers and thought for a moment, "Since Thanksgiving of last year. We've had a few breaks…" Ben kissed Ciara's hand, "My doing, my stupid stupid doing." Ciara chuckled, "But we've always had a connection. From the time we met in the cabin. We went from not trusting each other to becoming friends to then becoming something more."
Ben rested his and Ciara's enclosed hands on her knee and rubbed Ciara's hand with his thumb, "Ciara changed me. I never thought after everything I did, anyone could love me or if I was even capable of love, but Ciara showed me that I was. I still feel that darkness at time, but the love that this woman has given me, it makes me fight. Every moment of everyday. Because I know if I don't, I'll lose her and I couldn't imagine my life without her in it. Her love truly saved my life."
Ciara kissed Ben's cheek, "You did that for me." Ciara tensed slightly and tightened her grip on Ben's hand, "Because of… things that had happened to me before meeting Ben, I didn't think I could ever fall in love or have anyone love me back for that matter."
Ciara smiled and spoke looking right at Ben, "But Ben surprised me. I have never been loved, so fully or so completely like I am by him. Despite his past, which I know, I don't ignore; I have never felt safer than when I'm with Ben. He says my love saved him, but his saved me too." Ciara kissed Ben's cheek and rested her forehead against the side of his face.
Diane began to talk again as pictures of Ben and Ciara throughout their relationship were shown. Their first date, first Christmas together, ice skating, every milestone the couple had reached.
Ciara dropped the letter to the floor. Her eyes were stinging with tears. All the sudden, she got a pounding in her head and it all came flooding back; all of her memories of Ben. Ciara put her hand to her mouth, "Oh my god. Ben."