Chapter 41 – Missed

Cole1Ben woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of crying.  It had been a month since Cole cut his front two teeth and a month since Emma and Nick walked out of his life. He got up to check on his little guy, hoping they weren’t going to go through another week of teething and sleepless nights.

01-13-18_1-13-51 PMHe picked up his son and he was burning up with a fever. He found a baby thermometer in one of the drawers and tried to figure how to use it while still holding the screaming baby.  He finally managed to take his temperature. 102. Crap.

Ben laid the screaming baby back in the crib and sat down to search online what to do about it.  A cool bath it was.

Cole“Okay little guy, let’s see if this helps,” said Ben as he put him in the sink. The baby only cried louder if that was even possible.

He heard banging on the wall coming from what used to be Austin’s apartment. “Shut the fuck up!” he yelled knowing they couldn’t hear him. Then water hit his face. No, pee. Cole was spraying pee everywhere, all the while still screaming. This night couldn’t get any worse.

Cole2After he wiped up the mess, he dried and dressed the still screaming baby. He tried to get him to take a bottle. The bottle soothed him for a few minutes before he flatly refused it. Ben found a pacifier and tried that. He spit that out immediately, screaming louder if possible.

01-13-18_1-27-09 PMBen was exhausted. He couldn’t do anything except walk around the tiny apartment patting him and talking softly. Finally the exhausted baby fell asleep in his arms, his little body jerking with ragged breaths every few minutes from crying so much.

As soon as Ben tried to put Cole in his bed, he started to cry again. Ben was on the verge of tears as he picked him up and continued to walk him, the only thing that seemed to keep him quiet.

01-13-18_1-48-34 PMAfter more than an hour, Ben finally laid down in bed with his little boy next to him, patting his little back like he had when he was teething. The two of them finally slept.

01-13-18_2-03-19 PMAs soon as the pediatrician opened the next morning, he called. Since Cole was only five months old they wanted to see him that day.  They would work him in but he had to be there at 9:00 am.

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

01-13-18_2-26-23 PMWhile Ben was waiting in the doctor’s office, he received a text from an unknown number.

text

Fuck! It was drop day and he had totally forgotten. Cole had been the only thing he could focus on. He tried to text back to explain, but the text was undeliverable. He figured he would just do a double delivery the following week or maybe they would text back with a new time.

01-13-18_2-53-09 PMWhile he was still staring at the phone the nurse called for Coleman Murdock.  He put the phone away, dismissing the text from his mind. Then he picked up the carrier holding his son and walked into the doctor’s office.

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

01-13-18_6-12-31 PMBen stopped on the way home to pick up the antibiotics. Cole had an ear infection. The doctor assured Ben it was common and he should feel better in a couple of days. Ben put the carrier down to unlock the door. It wasn’t locked and it appeared the lock had been broken.

Ben felt the hairs on the back of neck stand on end. He automatically turned towards Emma’s door and stopped dead in his tracks. She hated him. They hadn’t spoken since she left his apartment a month ago, but he knew she wouldn’t take it out on Cole. He finally knocked on her door in desperation.

01-13-18_3-41-01 PMEmma answered. Thank god she was home. He pushed his way into her apartment and sat the carrier with the screaming baby on the table along with the medicine and groceries he had picked up.

“Well, come on in Ben, nice to see you,” said Emma, her voice dripping with sarcasm. She automatically went straight to the carrier and picked up the clearly upset baby. “What’s going on?” she asked while she tried to comfort Cole. “Shhh, sweetie, bless your little heart, it’s okay.”

01-13-18_6-01-59 PM“He’s got an ear infection. The meds are on the table along with the instructions.  Emma, listen to me. I need you to watch him for a few minutes while I check on something.  Lock the door when I leave and don’t answer for anyone but me, or someone you know.”

“Ben, what’s going on? Shhh, there, there, that’s all better…”

01-13-18_6-02-20 PM“I’ll be back in a few minutes. Just. Stay. Here.”

“Okay!” she said and continued to try to soothe the unhappy infant.

01-13-18_7-59-44 PMBen waited outside her door until he heard the lock. Then he went back to his apartment. When he pushed the door open, he almost went to his knees. The apartment had been tossed.

01-13-18_8-13-51 PMHis heart was beating a mile a minute. He grabbed a knife from the kitchen with shaky hands. Then he called out, but no one answered. He let out the breath he’d been holding and began to take stock of the damage. That was when he saw a handwritten note on the table underneath the now empty curing containers.

01-13-18_8-27-21 PMBen up-righted the chair and sat down. His hands were still shaking as he moved everything out of the way so he could read the note.  When he picked it up, underneath it was a package of money.

We took our fee out for picking up. Thanks for the bonus samples. Next time the order is for 20% more since it seems you have extra. Price per ounce is the same. Don’t be late again or your boss will be extremely disappointed.’

An uncannily familiar sensation of dread rolled through his body and the horrible memories of the hospital unexpectedly slammed into his consciousness. He could hear the words of the doctor telling him Grace was gone. Ben sat there for a minute trying to get his breathing under control. Cole’s okay, he thought, he’s with Emma.  He needed to breathe. To think. Nick was right – again. It was time to get out.

01-13-18_8-30-09 PMOnce Ben could breath more normally, he came up with a plan. He would just simply tell them next time he had a drop that he couldn’t do it anymore, that the baby took up too much of his time. He would give them the plants.  Simple. He had a little savings that was supposed to go for a new apartment so he would be okay until he figured out something else.

With that decided, he stoically began to pick up the trash and see what could be salvaged. When Ben walked into the nursery, Cole’s teddy bear, the one Grace had bought for him before he was born, was laying on the bed. The back of it was slashed open.

01-13-18_9-20-04 PM.pngHe sat down and picked it up. He hugged it to him, tears stinging his eyes. That’s when he knew, not only did he have to get out, he couldn’t stay in San Myshuno any longer. They weren’t safe in the apartment. He would leave in two weeks, after he made his last delivery.

A knock sounded at his door. “It’s Nick! I’m coming in!”

Ben had no energy to argue with Nick. “Door’s open,” he called from Cole’s room.

01-13-18_9-51-47 PM“Emma said…holy shit Ben! Were you robbed? We should call the police.”

At the mention of police, Ben threw down the stuffed toy and ran to where Nick was.

“No! No cops,” said Ben.

01-13-18_9-57-35 PM“We can move the plants next door first,”  offered Nick.

“No,” said Ben falling into the chair,  “It’s not that. I can’t.” Ben inhaled deeply preparing for Nicks wrath, “I missed my drop because Cole had a fever and I had to take him to the doctor. I was up all night with him and forgot I had a delivery this morning.”

“A warning?” asked Nick.

01-13-18_10-02-21 PM.pngBen felt guilty and just barely managed to nod his head. “I am going to quit after the next drop.”

“Just call them now.”

“I can’t. They only contact me. I don’t have a way to contact them.”

“Go to the cops Ben. They will help you.”

01-13-18_10-05-44 PM.png“No. It would put everyone at risk. I’ve got a little money saved. I’m getting out of San Myshuno. I’m going to tell them I have to move because the baby is sick. I will give them the plants. Let them grow it,” explained Ben.

“Where will you go?”

Ben hadn’t really thought that far ahead. “I – I don’t know. Fuck. I don’t want to go back to Twinbrook.”

“What about your Mom – they are in Willow Creek. And you would still be close enough to visit Lillie May.”

01-13-18_10-22-59 PMAt the mention of Lillie May, Ben finally broke down and tears started to fall. “How did my life get so screwed up?”

Nick reached out and placed his hand on Ben’s arm. “Ben,” he said, his voice quiet and calm, “You found love you when you weren’t looking for it. Then you lost it in the worst possible way. You are a single parent of a tiny baby with no time to grieve your loss. You have to stop pushing people away. It’s okay to ask for help. You are not superhuman. Call your mom. Tell her you and Cole are coming home in two weeks.”

01-13-18_10-30-33 PM.pngBen knew Nick was right. Nick is always right. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and stared at it.

“Call,” instructed Nick, “Then I will help you clean this place up. Does Cole have everything he needs for a few hours?”

Ben looked at Nick trying to process what he just said. Cole? He began to panic. Where is he? Emma. Emma has him. “I need to check on Cole.”

01-13-18_10-52-57 PM.png“No, you don’t. He’s fine Ben. Make the call. I’ll stay here with you.”

Ben looked at the phone again. This time, he found his mother in the contacts and touched her number.

“Ben. Hi Sweetheart,” said his mother’s pleasant voice.

01-13-18_10-37-43 PM.png“Mom,” he said, his tears streaming down his face, “I need…” was all he could get out before he lost what little composure he had left.

01-13-18_10-43-27 PMNick took the phone out of Ben’s hand.  “Mrs. Chapman…”

Go to Chapter 42>>>>>>

Go back to chapter 40

57 thoughts on “Chapter 41 – Missed

  1. Poor Ben 😢 As much as I wanted to smack him in the last chapter, I really feel for him now..! Fortunately Nick didn’t take their fight as hard as Emma did.
    Ben is about to make the right decision, but something tells me the goons will not let him go so easily! 😦
    I’m really curious to see what will happen, and I hope he and Emma will make amends soon…
    Great chapter ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! Yes, finally he is making the right choice as hard as it was for him. 😁The teddy bear did him in. You may be right about the dealers. He has been very naive about what he was doing, maybe willfully so because it was easy. We will see next Chapter how that conversation goes. Also we will see if Emma forgives him.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I should be mad at Ben like I normally am, but I’m so devastated for him and so glad they weren’t in the apartment when they came. Audrey you made me cry! And I’m not a crier! My gosh, I’ve gotten so attached to those two guys! Oh and Nick and Emma too. Can they come when he moves? Pretty please??

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m glad that Ben is finally reaching out to his mom, but it is sad that it had to come to this in order for him to finally wake up. I knew that Emma and Nick would always be there to help and support Ben, and do what is best for little Cole.
    But I don’t think that the dealers will let Ben go so easily. They don’t seem like the compromising type.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are likely correct that they won’t really give a crap about his personal problems! I hope he can make a deal with them and go hime. He really needs his family. Even as mad as they were at his behavior, I think they both thought he would come back to his senses sooner or later. Emma and Nick will always be there for Ben. He’s very lucky to have them.

      Like

  4. Bennnnnn this is what you get! *sigh* He’s so, so lucky they didn’t do worse. I’m glad he finally seemed to get his wakeup call. Maybe this will be the start of a change for Ben… he definitely needs it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • He most definitely needs to make some changes! I hope they are positive ones! My poor Ben has been hurting for sooo long. I was looking at my other story and he was such a sad little boy from day one. 💔

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Omg Ben don’t put the carrier on the table! That’s dangerous!

    But oh man, I guess those guys weren’t as nice as I thought. …But maybe they would have gave him some leeway if they knew Cole was sick…
    🤔 why am I trying to find goodness in these bad guys? LOL
    Regardless about how I feel about them, I doubt they’ll let Ben get away, he’s their cash cow 😭

    Liked by 2 people

    • He is their big time cash cow and Ben grows quality product!
      😂 about putting the carrier on the table! Well, you can’t put it on the floor because the baby would float above it! The great flying Cole. Maybe he will become an acrobat! Lmao. You are worried he might fall 12 inches and get a little bruise when drug dealers are slashing his teddy bear? Lmao. Ben seriously needs to stop putting Cole in such dangerous situations…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Chapter 40 – Think | New Beginnings

  7. Pingback: Chapter 42 – Willow Creek | New Beginnings

  8. Oh, Ben. Nick and Emma (and us) could see this coming a mile away. I should be so angry with him but I can’t. What a mess, though. I doubt those goons are just going to let him walk even if he gives them the plants. He might have to sneak out of there in the middle of the night or something. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Poor Ben…his life really changed a whole lot since the beginning of the story. I hope NOW he sees he can realy on his parents, and maybe even tries to have a relationship with then.( Because his son isn’t going to know about his pass, and most likely will have a healthy realtionship with his family.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true. His son will hopefully have a healthy relationship with Ben’s parents. It was a big step in the right direction. Funny how different Ben’s life is than the future he predicted when they first left for College

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Ben’s just one of those people who needs a hurricane to get him to budge an inch; these mild breezes and even blustery days don’t seem to effect him.

    This could be rocky; I hope he doesn’t drag the drug drama with him to him mom’s house, but him thinking he could sort that whole mess out “simple” gives me the a hard case of the “uh ohs”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Okay this was just a matter of time to happen… I actually expected it to be earlier.
    Glad he’ll finally get out of there. And hopefully the dealers don’t know where his family lives. It might be better if he’d get somewhere else alone, but it’s not easy as single parent of an infant.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ben has me wanting to slap some sense into him one second, and then almost crying for him the next. I was sad to see that it’d been a month since he’s spoken to his friends at the start, but by the end, seeing him go to Emma and then Nick coming over made me relieved that he can still rely on them despite his less than kind prior behavior. It was only a matter of time before this nasty dealing business caught up to him, thankfully no one was hurt in the process… the only thing I’m worried about is Ben being able to get a clean break. The people he’s dealing with don’t seem like the type to just let him walk away.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ben reminds me of a friend of my mother’s. She has a baby girl and after her boyfriend – whom she really loves but who also has mental problems – tried to kill her in literal meaning, she had to do everything on her own while mourning the “loss” of her love. She was a hand’s width from breakdown for weeks, caring for her daughter at day and working as a nurse at night, until she asked for help. I feel the very strong urge to tell Ben of her, and to tell him he did the right thing calling his mother and deciding to go home with Cole. And I would hug him 😢

    Liked by 1 person

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