Chapter 38 – I’ve Got It

Author’s Note:  Maybe you won’t use all three boxes, but just in case…there is one sad passage.  After this we should be dry again….So sorry…. 01-13-18_6-58-01 PM

01-07-18_3-53-19 PMLeroy and Kaitlin stayed after Grace’s funeral and helped take care of Cole. It had already been two weeks. Time meant little to Ben. Everyday ran into the next. Seeing Lillie May was the last thing he remembered clearly until after the funeral.

01-07-18_3-37-43 PMBen laid on his bed in the darkness and stared at the ceiling, trying to understand why Grace had been taken from him. Her loss was like a weight on his chest anchoring him to the bed. Every breath was like a stake through his heart reminding him he was here and Grace wasn’t. He wished he could stop breathing. Nothing seemed to matter if he couldn’t share it with Grace.

01-07-18_3-20-10 PMHe couldn’t even bring himself to take care of Cole. It was simply too painful. So he let his mom and stepfather do it. She had even taken him to see Lillie May in his place.

Ben had barely acknowledged his parents, other than to tell them his room was off limits. He told his mother he wasn’t ready to touch Grace’s things. That was true. He wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Grace. Not yet. The smell of her perfume still lingered on her clothing, allowing him to keep her close for just a little while longer. When he held her nightgown, he could almost imagine that she was in the room with him, lying beside him, giving him sweet kisses and whispering I love you as they drifted off to sleep. He could almost hear her.  Being closed off in his room was the one place where he could keep her alive and escape the pain of living.

01-07-18_3-29-23 PMHe often sat on the balcony and cried, wondering why life just went on. He began to hate the people that walked the sidewalks everyday, like nothing was wrong. And the cars that zoomed up and down the streets seemingly without a care in the world.

01-07-18_6-51-23 PM.pngHis Mom & Leroy settled in the nursery.  They moved Cole’s crib from the front room in there with them so they could tend to the baby and not disturb Ben.

01-07-18_3-46-15 PMThe doctors said there was nothing that could have prevented what happened, still Ben blamed himself. The ‘what ifs’ constantly swirled around and around in his head…..If I hadn’t left her alone she wouldn’t have picked up the baby….I should have called the doctor when I noticed how pale she was the day before….If I had paid closer attention, I may have noticed the blood sooner…..I should have made her go to the ER when she had such a hard time getting off the couch. They never, ever ended.

memoryGrace was the only person that he had ever loved. And she loved him back. Their wedding day was truly the happiest day of his life. And now she was gone. He didn’t know how to move forward without her. She was his other half. She had made him so much better in the short time they had together. It’s not fair, he thought.

01-07-18_6-24-35 PM.pngBen heard Cole crying in the other room and felt a fresh stab of pain wash through him. He wanted to go to him, but holding their son made his heart ache so much he could barely breathe.

01-07-18_6-21-40 PM.pngHe heard his mother talking to the baby, soothing him. He knew, in the back of his mind, that he needed to be there for him, but he just didn’t know how. So he went into his closet and tended the plants. He couldn’t hear anything in there. That was the only thing that stopped the pain, if only for a few minutes.

His mother knocked on the door interrupting his miserable thoughts. “Ben, I made lunch. Why don’t you get up and come eat?”

01-07-18_7-01-43 PM“Maybe later,” he called out, not yet ready to talk to anyone.

“Ben, sweetheart, you need to eat. Cole needs you to be strong.”

01-07-18_7-09-14 PMShe wasn’t going to give up. And as much as he didn’t want to admit it, she had a point. Cole was his life now.

His mom’s words made him think about Lillie May.  She said the same thing to him on that day.  The day he told her the news that crushed her. She said he needed to be strong. She had held his hand, twin tears running down her cheeks and told him.

memory2‘It’s up to you now Ben,’ she had said, ‘This little baby will get you through the pain, just like Grace got me through losing my whole family. You have to stay strong so you can raise him to be a strong and loving young man. Don’t let this define his life – or yours. Grace loved you so much. I never saw her happier than she was the day she married you. You made her happy Ben. Remember that. I know that God saved Grace that rainy night for me, and for you too. She gave us both something to live for.  She was my reason. This sweet child she gave you is yours. Do right by her love and her gift to you.’

01-07-18_6-33-19 PMHe had promised her he would. But he hadn’t done one damn thing towards that promise. He couldn’t let her down, let Grace down, or Cole.  Especially Cole. He took a deep breath and swung his feet off the edge of the bed. It was time. He had to take the first step.  “Okay Mom, give me a minute,” he called through the door.

01-07-18_7-15-57 PM.png“Thank you Ben,” she replied sounding relieved.

01-07-18_7-46-37 PMAs Ben was getting dressed, he received a text message.

test

Ben’s felt a shiver go down his spine. Even though he had been working in his ‘closet greenhouse’ he hadn’t really thought about making deliveries nor had he been able to harvest the buds.  He remembered acutely the feel of the cold steel stuck in his chest.  The text was just one more wake-up call that Ben needed to figure out how to move forward.

He desperately needed to harvest what was ready before they were wasted or he wouldn’t have enough in two weeks.  Ben needed money worse than ever because now he couldn’t work. There was no way he was letting Cole out of his sight or allowing anyone else to care for him. Cole was all he had. And sadly, he was all Cole had.

01-07-18_8-27-25 PMBen knew the time had come to tell his mom and stepdad to leave. For Grace and for Lillie May, he would make sure Cole was loved and well cared for.  But, he had to convince his mother he could care for him so she would leave.

* * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

01-07-18_8-45-08 PMOver the next week, no matter how hard it was, Ben got out of bed at a regular time, showered and ate with his parents.

01-07-18_8-57-43 PMHe even began working out on the treadmill again, which gave him an outlet for his stress and anger.

01-07-18_8-48-25 PMThe most important thing Ben did was to take over the primary care of Cole. His beautiful little blue-eyed baby. Holding and caring for his son actually turned out to be good for him. Lillie May was right. That little baby gave him the strength he needed to go on. He easily lost himself in his gurgles. He knew he could do this when he felt himself smiling for the first time in three weeks. It actually felt good.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

01-07-18_9-07-33 PM.pngWhen Ben got up that morning, he decided, today was the day. It was time to start his and Cole’s journey.  To make a new life for him and his son. A new beginning. Plus, he only had a week left to get everything ready for the next drop, and it was a big one. He couldn’t risk the dealers coming to his apartment again.

01-07-18_9-33-12 PMHis mom was cuddling her grandson and Leroy was watching TV when Ben walked out of the bedroom.

01-07-18_9-39-33 PMKaitlin looked up at Ben smiling. “Hi Honey,” she said brightly. Then she turned and walked into the nursery cum guestroom carrying Cole.  Ben followed her. He needed to tell her she could leave.

“How are you feeling this morning?” she asked after she laid the sleepy baby in his crib.

01-07-18_9-47-56 PMBen sat on the bed. “Really Mom?” he asked infuriated at her question, “My life sucks except for Cole. So, yeah, I’m great.” Shit Ben, he thought to himself, not exactly the best way to get them to leave. He had no filter when it came to his mother.

01-07-18_9-49-49 PM.pngHer smile quickly vanished and she joined him on the bed. “I’m sorry Ben. It’s going to take time, but I can stay here a little longer and help. Leroy needs to get back and take care of the girls. You know, Christmas is in four days.”

01-07-18_9-49-17 PM.pngHe hated her condescending attitude. His words just seemed to spew out of their own accord. “Time…that’s all I fucking have now. And I don’t give a goddamn fuck about Christmas!” At the horrified look on his mother’s face, he stopped and took a deep breath to calm himself.

01-07-18_9-50-19 PMHe did his best to temper his tone. “I’m sorry. You were just being concerned. It is hard, but each day is a tiny bit less hard than the day before. You and Leroy should go home. Enjoy Christmas with the girls. I can take care of Cole just fine by myself. Grace….,” he stopped and took a ragged breath, “she would want me to take care of him and love him enough….for both of us.”

Kaitlin began to tear up at his mention of Grace. “Oh Ben…you don’t have to do this alone.”

He swallowed hard to keep his composure. “I said I’m okay.” He couldn’t sit there any longer so he got up and picked up the baby to help calm himself.  Holding Cole seemed to somehow ground him. He began talking softly to the baby.

smile.pngLittle Cole made sweet baby sounds and then smiled up at him. Ben laughed through the tears that were welling in his eyes and smiled back at the baby. “Hey Buddy, you laughing at your old man?” Ben looked up at his mother. “Did you see him? He’s smiling. Look, he did it again.”

01-08-18_8-33-42 PM.pngKaitlin walked over to look at her grandson. “Awe, he is smiling, you should take a picture.”

Ben’s joy at his son’s first smile quickly turned into overwhelming sadness. His stomach twisted in knots at his mother’s innocent suggestion. This was just one of the ‘first’s’ that Cole would have without his mother. Grace would have been so happy. He couldn’t breathe and had to take quick short breaths to maintain control.

01-08-18_8-57-25 PMBen put the baby back in the crib and turned to face his own mother trying his best to keep it together. She backed up ever so slightly which made it worse. He was hurting again. He wanted…he didn’t know what…maybe for her to hold him…to make the pain go away. But she didn’t, she backed away. That old feeling of being unworthy hit him hard.

Ben swallowed hard. “Grace should be here to see his first smile,” he whispered, tears burning behind his eyes. “She was all light and goodness. It’s not fair.”

01-08-18_8-53-24 PM.pngKaitlin began to cry at his words but kept her distance. “Ben,” she said softly, “Why don’t you talk to a counselor. They can help you. Do it for Cole. He needs his father whole, not broken.”

That pissed him off.  He needed her to take the pain away, not to tell him to talk to a fucking counselor. She never understood what he needed. He felt the anger rolling through him, just like it had when he was living at home. “Don’t tell me what I need to do!” he yelled and then walked out of the room.

01-08-18_9-00-18 PMKaitlin followed him. “Ben…please don’t do this.”

01-08-18_9-07-49 PM.pngHer turned around and glared at her. “Don’t do what Mother? Take care of my son. No. What I don’t need to do is have a shrink to tell me how to love my kid or that it’s not my fault Grace died! But know this, what I will do is to never allow my child to be ignored, abused or homeless, ever. He will know he is loved!”

Kaitlin gasped. “Ben…”

01-08-18_9-27-04 PM“Ben. That’s enough!” said Leroy in his deep booming voice. At the same time he wrapped his arms around Kaitlin and pulled her close.  Just like he always does. Nothing has changed, thought Ben.

Cole began crying. “I’ll get him,” said Kaitlin softly, leaving the two men in a standoff.

01-08-18_9-51-13 PM.pngLeroy’s demeanor changed the instant Kaitlin left the room.  He seemed almost apologetic. “Look Ben, I know you are hurting. More than I can even begin to imagine. I just really hope that, maybe, one day, as Cole grows up and you have to make difficult decisions about his upbringing, that you will come to realize your mother made the hard choices she did solely because of how much she loves you.”

01-08-18_9-48-41 PMThe last thing Ben needed was a lecture from Leroy.  It just fueled his anger. But he needed them to leave more than he needed to argue. He clenched his teeth, took a deep breath and calmed himself. “Look, I’m sorry. I think I just need some time alone with Cole. You and Mom should leave. Honestly, I’ve got it from here.”

01-08-18_9-52-04 PMThen he said something that surprised himself. “Thank you for being here and helping with Cole. I really do appreciate it. I – I don’t think I could have done this without you and Mom.”

Ben turned away quickly not giving Leroy a chance to respond or he wouldn’t have been able to maintain his composure.  He walked the few short steps into the kitchen. He grabbed the cold breakfast from the tray his mom had left on the counter to busy himself.

01-08-18_10-16-24 PM.pngAs he ate, his thoughts drifted back to Lillie May.  He needed to take Cole to see her. And more importantly, he needed to see her. To apologize for not coming himself. Maybe, as a peace offering he would ask his Mom and Leroy to go with him. Damn.

Kaitlin walked back in and sat down at the table with him, Leroy hovering close like a giant guard dog. “He just needed a diaper change,” she explained.

01-08-18_10-21-33 PM.pngBen looked up at his mother and forced himself to give her a smile. “Mom….before you leave, can you do me a favor?”

Go to Chapter 39>>>>>

Go Back to Chapter 37

37 thoughts on “Chapter 38 – I’ve Got It

    • Let’s hope he doesn’t do anything stupid. Yes, they gave him bereavement time…so nice of them…🙄

      Even if this is bad, it sort of kick started him back to life, although he was getting there on his own, it may have taken him longer. Not sure if that is good or bad. And Kaitlin, she always tries with Ben, but never seems to get it right. He knows what he needs but he won’t let her give it. Those old wounds are deep. But he extended an olive branch. Going to see Lillie May with Kaitlin and Leroy is big for him. He’s gonna have to be super nice because he doesn’t want to hurt Lillie May. And maybe he does, deep down, want to hurt his mom a little. And he is so jealous of Leroy. He was right to say it never changed. Leroy will always be super protective of Kaitlin.

      Sorry for the long reply..I just know that you read Starting Over…so are familiar with Kate & Leroy. 😍

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Bennnnn 😭

    I’m proud that he finally made some progress near the end here. But it’s still so painful to see him like this… and frustrating to see him still so rude and ungrateful toward Kaitlin and Leroy 😦

    If it were anyone else, I’d blame him acting like that on the guilt haha But given the history he has with them… :-/

    I’m glad he expressed his appreciation at last. But I noticed he said it to Leroy and not his mother — who is probably the person who really needed to hear it!

    Ok, my ranting is over haha Great chapter ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so right that he should have said thank you to his mother instead of Leroy. I think he unconsciously does and says things that elicits her standoffish behavior which justifies his feelings and actions. If he let her in, he would have to admit he had acted wrong as well. He’s just not quite ready to let go of that security blanket that defined him for so long.

      You know Kaitlin would want nothing more than to hug Ben and take away his pain, but she thinks he would reject her so she doesn’t. I don’t know if he would or not, probably. You could see how he wrestled with wanting her to comfort him and when she did the opposite, he felt betrayed again. But that’s where he’s comfortable, but maybe not so much anymore. Let’s hope.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Chapter 37 – Lillie May | New Beginnings

  3. Oh my, I was close to tears once again! Beautiful writing ❤
    Poor Ben. Having to pretend to being alright usually adds so much to the already existing pain. Hopefully he'll be able to get through this, he's already showing signs of improvement!
    He was a bit rude to his mom and stepdad, but I can't really blame him at this point.
    I'm very curious to see how the weed business is going to go. I want him to get out but I can't see how that's possible right now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. This was hopefully the last of the tissue’s required chapters as we will see how Ben’s attempt to be a single father works out. A far cry from his playboy days of just over a year ago. How quickly life twists and turns and changes us in the process. I just hope he is ready for the ride.

      His love hate relationship with his mom and stepdad is hard to see. He unconsciously sabotages any attempt she makes to get close to him and is super jealous of her relationship with Leroy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ben is all Cole has now, so I hope he doesn’t get in trouble because of his dealing. I’m really wondering how he will get out of that situation if he will, that is. It’s kind of scary to think about those thugs and how deeply Ben is into all of that.

    Ben also has so many unresolved feelings with his parents and Leroy, too. I was hoping Ben would be able to work some things out with his mom, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. hahaha He has so much hurt, it’s going to take a real effort to put all of that aside.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ben is all Cole now. It would be devastating if anything happened because of the dealing. Whether he got caught by authorities or something happened with the guys he’s selling to. He is in deep.

      He does have a lot of unresolved feelings for sure. I hope he is able to work towards that. Grace was encouraging it so hopefully he will remember that. And now that Lillie May has met his mother and Leroy, maybe she will also encourage him. Time will tell. :).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. UGH .. I am not sad anymore.. now I am mad! I want to knock some sense into him. Just because a person is in pain does not give them a justification to abuse and be ungrateful. Goodness and will not give up on those dang plants .. jail is not a nice place!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! So no tissues needed! Lol. Ben, give up his money trees? I don’t think so. Jail isn’t a nice place and neither is getting being beat up.

      As far as how he treated his mom and Leroy, yes, he crossed the line. Leroy called him out. He did try to make up for it at the end but for the wrong reasons…😠 He refuses to let his mom get close yet that is exactly what he wants that from her…he is so confused. If they could just sit down and talk then maybe. And he is so jealous of Leroy and the obvious affection they have for each other. He is in a mess when it comes to his family. He did take a baby step….a tiny baby step, but a step. 🙂

      Like

  6. Those are some nice dealers to think of Ben’s situation LOL
    At least they gave him some time to grieve. +1

    I do love angsty Ben but man
    He’s gotta make some amends since one of the last things he promised Grace was to be on better terms with them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes – he was lucky. I guess they have a heart. Let him bury his wife. I think they knew he had all kinds of people in and out. No doubt they were watching and didn’t want there money train to get discovered.

      He does need to try and reconcile with his family. He did promise her he would be nice and he wasn’t very nice. But going to see Lillie May with his Mom and Leroy, even if it was to get her to leave, was hard for him to do. 😏

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Fabulous! I love all the changes made in the chapter and I was sitting on the edge of my seat feeling each word as I read them! I shall miss Grace, but I am looking forward to seeing the kind of parent Ben will turn out to be. As soon as he gets rid of the goons!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. ❤️ I am glad it worked. The goons are definitely problematic! I hope he gets rid of them soon so he can focus entirely on Cole and have him in a healthier environment. Thanks you so much!

      Like

  8. I ope Ben ( Actually, Cole) figures out his things with his parents, he can’t be bitter about it forever, someday ( I hope) he should become the ”bigger person” and try to talk with they again, also, I cold totally see the him being an airplane father, as he thinks about all the time he didn’t get attention and love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He could be overprotective has Cole gets older – good possibility. I hope he isn’t bitter forever and does start to reconcile. He made a teeny tiny first step. It was tiny though.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Chapter 39 – Just You ‘N Me | New Beginnings

  10. Ben wants all the best for his son, but it’s sad he has to get it all the illegal way. It irritated me how the dealers put a crying emoji there, almost as if they felt any compassion…They’re such bastards and it will be hard to break away from it all for Ben. But I stil hope he does before it’s too late. And he handled things with mom and Leroy quite well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The dealers aren’t nice, that’s for sure. Part of it’s because his stuff is quality and they are getting top dollar for it. It’s going to be hard for him to get out.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ahh, nothing like fresh trauma to set you back from healing from old trauma?
    Yikes.
    10/10 that’s one swell drug overlord though…more bereavement time off than most other employers anyhow!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I know many people are familiar with 5 steps in the grieving process. 1. Denial 2. its not fair and so on until you accept it in the 5th step and find peace a little. you have developed Bens’ feeling pretty good. Note he is hot tempered and is probably more like his dad than he realized. Alot of abusers have been abused themselves as kids for many generations. It is hard to stop family tragedies and make a new beginning..
    Thank you for the storyline so far. Well developed and believable. We see what Bens mother and stepfather are like…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you… It is hard to break the cycle of abuse. He is more like his Dad that he so doesn’t want to be like. I hope you will like how the rest of the story for Ben unfolds. 🙂

      Like

  13. Ben is doing much better for his circumstances than expected c:
    Granted he’ll mist likely get into trouble again, but it’s sweet how he tries.
    And is he finally planning to move? I hope so.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. The fact that Cole will continue to be a constant reminder of Grace is so bittersweet, he’s a symbol of what came from that love between her and Ben that is now lost forever. Lillie May’s words for him were beautiful, and probably just what he needed to hear. I totalllyy forgot about the plant project, oh goodness, Ben really needs to get that sorted now more than ever, he can’t afford to make unwise decisions. Trying extra hard to make it seem like he’s okay to get his mother and Leroy to leave is probably adding even more stress. I thought I’d be frustrated with how easily he snaps at his mom, but I found myself empathizing with him a bit, especially when he was thinking that he wanted her to hold him and make the pain go away… but she just backed away instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lillie May is so wise. And the plants… ugh. I am glad you were able to empathize with Ben. He’s beginning to figure it out, but he’s still very much a child himself. And he needs his mom. But she doesn’t know how to bridge the gap between them. They both want it. But neither one knows how. She probably thought giving him space was what he wanted. So sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. It was clear the dealers would address Ben again in the worst moment possible… 😒
    It would have done Ben good to keep Grace for a while longer. Until a second child, maybe. He has still so much hurt in himself that he sheltered for years, and that comes out as anger now. He’s falling into old patterns. Grace could have taught him to love again and to let lose of that hurt, but now Cole will have to do. Babies can be a major source of comfort and healing, too ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • The dealers are awful. Too bad he couldn’t have got out of that before it got him in too deep. Indeed, Grace could have helped him overcome his old hurts and learn to love. He was well on the way. Now it’s up to Ben to deal with his grief and take care of a newborn. I’m so very glad he has Cole. It helps and hurts him at the same time.

      Liked by 1 person

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