A/N: NSFW content towards the end. Also, picture heavy.
Ben took Grace by the hand and led her to a secluded area away from the rest of the group. He wanted to be alone with her. Not to have sex, he realized, but just to be together with her. She settled him.
Grace was the only girl other than Emma or Sofia that he really enjoyed just being with. The difference was that she was the first person he had been intimate with that he looked forward to seeing again and again. Not just for the amazing sex, but just to be together. It was so easy to be with her because she made it easy. He figured that’s why he had violated his three date rule without even realizing it.
When they got to the end of the bluff that looked out over the ocean, Ben sat down on a stone that served as a chair and pulled Grace into his lap. They sat marveling at the beautiful sunset, enjoying being together…each lost in their own thoughts.
Grace sighed softly and put her head on Ben’s chest. He put his arm around her drawing her closer. He loved the way her hair smelled and the scent of her perfume. She was like a drug to him and he couldn’t get enough of her. He realized that was why he had to end it. It scared him so bad he couldn’t sleep at night – unless Grace was in his arms.
They would enjoy this one last weekend together and then he would let her go. His gut clenched at the thought of not holding her like this anymore.
His thoughts went to Emma. She said he would have broken her heart into ‘a million itty-bitty pieces’ if Nick hadn’t interrupted them a year ago. He had finally let her go and she was fine. She had Casey. Grace would be fine too he reasoned. Grace gasped as the sun finally dipped below the hills in the distance. “God, it’s beautiful,” she whispered, “I wish we could just stay here like this and not have to worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
Ben looked into her eyes and it hit him. She knew. Somehow Grace knew this was going to be their last night. Suddenly, it was his own heart breaking into ‘a million itty-bitty pieces’ and he didn’t know why.
Ben closed his eyes and pulled her around and kissed her so he wouldn’t have to see the look in her eyes that she had tried to hide from him.
Their kiss was intimate and filled with emotion. Ben would make this weekend special for her. At least they could have good memories to look back on.
“It’s not as beautiful as you,” said Ben when they released.
Grace playfully slapped his arm lightening the mood. “That’s so cheesy Ben! I thought I taught you better.”
Ben laughed and turned her around and pulled her to him. “You are beautiful,” he said said and kissed her again, “So tough. I can say it. It’s the truth.”
It began to get dark quickly once the sun had disappeared behind the mountain’s ridge. “I wish we could stay here too,” said Ben with a sigh, “but it’s getting dark and we need to get back.”
Ben put his arm around Grace and the couple headed back towards the rest of the group.
The bonfire was burning brightly, beer was flowing freely, everyone was telling jokes and dancing. The sweet smell of burning marijuana blended with the woodsy smell of the bonfire.
Grace smiled and waved when she saw their friends. His friends had become her friends. She obviously loved them and they had readily adopted her. It made him ridiculously happy. He had no idea why. He wondered if they would remain friends afterwards, and it made him sad to think they might not.
Grace grabbed a drink and went over to Emma and Rachael. She slid easily into their lively conversation telling them about the sunset. Ben had no trouble picking out her sweet voice among the others. Grace found joy in the simple things. He figured that was one of the things that drew him to her.
While he watched her, he thought about their time together because he knew it would soon be over.
She had marveled at his fake science project. He had felt compelled to confess why he was growing it and showed her Audrey II and III in his closet. She had laughed hysterically. Then they had awesome closet sex.
She never complained about watching sports with him and Nick. And when he told her about fishing, she was fascinated that he liked it and asked him if he would teach her someday. He foolishly agreed like there would be a million somedays in their future.
She was perfect. The concern that he might break her like his father broke his mother reinforced his decision to let her go. And just like Emma, she would find someone else more deserving of her. In the long run, she would be okay and that was all that mattered.
Emma caught him watching Grace and gave him a sad smile. Did everyone know what he was thinking? He forced a smile back at Emma.
As the night went on and everyone got a little drunk, the couples started pairing up. Their desire for each other heated up and they eventually decided to head back to the rental house to their respective bedrooms.
Ben and Grace stayed to put out the bonfire. She looked at him with a million questions in her blue eyes that went unasked. He put his arm around her to keep her warm. They followed the path back to the house they rented for the weekend and eventually to his, no their room.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
They walked into the bedroom and Grace began to get undressed. Ben stopped her. The fear in her eyes said she thought he was going to tell her no, and this was going to be their goodbye.
Ben kissed her sweetly. “Let me,” he whispered in her ear as he traced the little heart tattoo on her shoulder. “Angels deserve to be cherished.” She relaxed and melted into him. Good.
Ben couldn’t sleep, but he didn’t want to move. He laid there for a couple of hours, just holding Grace until she turned over in her sleep.
He looked at his sleeping angel. What had transpired between them destroyed him. They didn’t just have sex, they had made love to each other. That had never happened before – not with anyone.
Finally, when he couldn’t control his emotions any longer, he gently pulled the blankets over her and quietly climbed out of bed.
He walked out on the balcony and looked out over the ocean, tears now streaming down his face. What was wrong with him. He wanted to keep her, but couldn’t. He asked God the question that was tearing him up inside. “Why did you send me an Angel when I just have to send her back?”
No longer able to stand, he sat down and cried.