Fifteen excruciatingly long minutes later, Ben arrived at Jen's house. He had been nervous the entire drive there, trying to keep his eyes on the road and his mind focused. But it kept wandering to Jen. They needed to talk and sort stuff out. It was time; he was ready.
He pulled up by the house, turned the car off, and got out. He walked up the walkway to the front door, trying to keep his mind from racing with all of the thoughts going through his head. But he knew he couldn't; he wanted to see her so badly. He wanted to talk to her, to be with her.
He took a deep breath, but didn't even have to lift his finger to the doorbell; she immediately opened the door. He gave a friendly chuckle. "You were looking through the window, weren't you?"
"Maybe," she said, with a small smile. He loved her smile. It made him smile, too.
She opened the door wider for him to come in. It was only a few days since they'd last been together, but it felt like much longer. He stepped through, and she shut the door softly behind her. He could see how tense her body was, from her head to her toes and everywhere in between. "So…how have you been?" she finally asked a bit nervously.
Ben wasn't interested in idle chitchat, and he told her so. "Come on, Jen, cut to the chase. We need to talk and sort this stuff out." He really wanted to hug and kiss her, but didn't think the moment was right.
Jen sighed. "I'm not very good at that."
"I'm aware. What else are you hiding? You have a boyfriend back in Buffalo that I should know about?" He realized as soon as he said it that it was stupid thing to say. It made no sense. But the cat was out of the bag, and Jen pounced on the ball of yarn.
"Are you kidding me? You know about my past. You know I could never allow myself to date…or f-fall in love after the accident. And you're accusing me of having a boyfriend back in Buffalo?"
Ben sighed. "You're right, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that."
"You're right, you should not have." Jen turned away, but didn't storm off. He didn't run, he just stood there; instead, a moment later, Ben heard sobs. He put his hand on her shoulder. "I'm so sorry."
It took Jen another several moments, but then turned to look at him, the tears streaming down her face. "I haven't let myself cry as much since the accident as I have the past few days. I'm so…so sorry. It's a lot."
Ben didn't say anything; he finally pulled her into a hug, and wrapped his arms tightly around her. "I'm sorry, Jen. But I am glad you're finally crying about it."
Jen pulled back from him for a moment. "Sorry for this. I think I got some snot on your shirt."
He pulled her back in to a hug. "Not at all. Like I said, it's good for you to cry. It was time, Jen."
Jen continued to cry, and Ben continued to hold her.
Kevin went over to the Camdens later that night. No one else was around, so he stuck his head in Eric's office. "Mind if Lucy and I borrow some ketchup? I forgot to pick up when I went to the store."
"Help yourself," Eric said. He was reading something on his laptop, but Kevin wasn't interested in finding out. After a second, Eric stopped and looked at Kevin. "I spoke to Ben."
"How did it go?"
"I can't say anything, but I think you need to talk to him."
"He's my brother. Since when is he going to ever tell me anything?"
"Just talk to him, Kevin."
After quite awhile of crying – Ben didn't know how long he held her, it felt like a long time but so short at the same time – she finally pulled back and was able to wipe the tears from her eyes. "Thanks, Ben."
"What are you thanking me for? I'm glad to be here for you."
He kissed her forehead. "I want to be."
"I'm sorry for freaking out about the kiss earlier. I just…I got scared, you know? This is new territory for me."
"It's all right, Jen. I understand. But Sarah would want you to be happy. Let yourself to be happy."
Jen sighed. "I know."
Ben took his hands in hers. "May I?"
"What are you doing?" she asked, just as his lips found hers. But this time, Jen did not pull back.
End of Chapter 17. Let me know what you guys think.