Chapter 44 – Stories

01-20-18_7-16-05 PMAfter thinking about it, Ben decided to take Leroy up on his offer of a job. He was glad he had. It was providing a much needed creative outlet for him. It also kept his mind occupied with something other than how much he missed Grace, although that was getting easier everyday.  And on top of that, it was providing an extra income so he would be able to buy his own home sooner.

01-20-18_7-27-43 PM.pngHis mom happily kept Cole so it made it easy.  Ben would drop him off each morning and sometimes stay for dinner when he picked him up in the evening.

Leroy assigned him the job of working on the park and community center. They wanted a family friendly area with a clubhouse for parties, a pool, play areas for the kids as well as activities for the parents and teens.

01-20-18_7-36-56 PM.pngThere was a lot to think about in the design. Ben started spending free time at home working on plans and redoing them. That’s when the unforgivable happened. He almost missed about a drop. The time got away from him and he was 10 minutes late.

01-20-18_7-41-18 PMHe grabbed his bag, picked up Cole and ran out of the house.

01-20-18_8-09-45 PM.pngWhen he arrived at the designated place, the new thugs were thankfully still there. Ben sighed with relief.

01-28-18_1-09-20 PMHe walked up and they had a dog with them today. Maybe they wouldn’t notice he was a few minutes late. Cole immediately wiggled out of Ben’s arms to see the dog.

01-28-18_1-21-17 PMBlondie distracted Cole with the dog. Ben started to tell Cole to be careful when the lead thug walked up behind Ben and stuck the tip of a knife in his back. “We are gonna take a walk Benny. Don’t worry about the kid. He’s fine, but not so much if you resist. Now move – to the restrooms. Now,” he said, punctuating his words with more pressure from the knife in his back.

Ben threw up his hands.  “Okay, please, don’t hurt him,” begged Ben as his mind was racing as fast as his heart trying to figure out how to get away and get to Cole.

01-20-18_8-26-45 PMAs soon as they got inside, he punched Ben in the ribs, knocking his feet out from under him and the air out of lungs. “That’s a warning. Don’t make us wait again or you won’t get off so easy.”

01-20-18_8-24-37 PM.pngWhile Ben was on the ground,  he took advantage and kicked him. “Now get the hell out of here and go get your brat.” He turned and calmly walked away like he just came in to take a piss.

Ben got up as fast as he could, struggling to breath. He ran out to find his son, his heart still pounding in his chest. All he could think about was getting to Cole.

01-20-18_8-44-26 PM.pngHe almost cried with relief when he saw him right there as soon as he walked outside, happily playing in the ball pit – all alone.  Ben bent to pick him up and grimaced at the pain in his rib. He hugged him tightly anyway. “You okay Buddy?” he asked as he looked around for the two dealers. He didn’t see them anywhere. They had disappeared into thin air, dog and all.

“Daddy! Want doggie!” squealed Cole.

“Not today. Let’s go home.”

01-20-18_8-42-56 PMCole started to cry. “Doggie!”

“How about ice cream?” The fine art of negotiation with an almost two-year old. Ben didn’t really want to go home yet anyway. He needed to calm down and think.

Cole’s cries turned to squeals of delight, the dog long forgotten. “Ice cweam!”

01-20-18_9-00-10 PM.pngSitting at the ice cream parlor, Ben thought over his options. He couldn’t go to the cops. This wasn’t just a local street gang. They had a long reach. Cole wouldn’t be safe. The only reason he got into trouble was because he was late, same as before, when he completely missed the drop when Cole was only 5 months old. That had been the only other hiccup, and it was all because he wasn’t on time.

01-20-18_9-01-12 PM.pngHe was late because he was so distracted by his real job. He didn’t mind the work, and in fact, enjoyed it – a lot. But he didn’t enjoy being threatened by the dealers.

“Cole,” he said, addressing the little boy happily shoving ice cream in his mouth, “I have a plan. I am going to ask Papa Leroy if he will let me hire some help. That way I won’t have to work weekends and evenings at home. That will give me more time with you buddy!”

01-20-18_9-02-50 PM.png“Papa, Gigi!” squealed Cole.

Ben let out a laugh, feeling better now. “Yep, Papa,” he said to Cole. Hopefully Leroy would allow it and then they could get the final plans drawn up. Regardless, he knew he would never, ever be late again. He couldn’t be.

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

01-20-18_9-37-14 PM.pngLeroy walked in the next morning as Ben was making the morning coffee. “Hi Leroy. I need to talk to you about something.”

01-20-18_9-39-08 PM.png“Sure. So what’s up?” asked Leroy as they sat down with their coffee.

“I know it’s getting close to crunch time.”

“Yes. We are behind. We have both been putting in a lot of overtime to get this done.”

“Well, do you think we could maybe hire another designer that can help me finalize the plans?”

01-20-18_9-47-42 PM.png“You sure you want input from someone else? This is your design?”

01-20-18_9-40-01 PM“I have the basics. I just need another sets of eyes, especially for the grounds.”

01-20-18_9-49-25 PM.png“Okay. I actually have somebody in mind. I’ll call them. You can interview them as soon as they can make it in. It will be your decision since you will be working closely with them.”

Even though he and Leroy had been getting along really well, Ben was still shocked that he respected his judgement enough to readily hire someone and allow him to make the decision. There was no animosity towards him at all. They had even shared a beer after work a few times.

01-20-18_9-53-42 PM.png“Thanks man. And Leroy, it means a lot. Not just this, but everything you and mom have done for me. It’s helped me and Cole more than you will ever know. I can never repay you.”

01-20-18_9-52-53 PM.pngLeroy smiled then put his hand out as if to shake Ben’s hand. When Ben reached for him he pulled Ben into a hug. ” Why don’t you come in my office,” said Leroy, “It’s my turn. I want to talk to you about something.”

01-20-18_10-21-10 PM.pngThey sat down on the couch in Leroy’s office. “Ben, I know you have had a really hard time with everything – for a long time. And I’m not only talking about Grace – although I can’t fathom how hard that must be. I’m talking about your family and how confusing things were for you growing up, feeling like you didn’t have a place.”

Ben looked away.  He was just thinking Leroy was on his side and now he was going to get a lecture.

01-20-18_10-20-34 PM.pngLeroy continued anyway. “Your Mom was hurting. Reese was too busy for you. Then me, your Uncle Reid, Hailey and Dakota, we all took your mother’s attention away from you when you needed it most. Your mother always loved you Ben. Please give her the benefit of the doubt. Talk to her sometime. Just the two of you. Let her tell you her story. It won’t change the past, but maybe you two can find healing through it. It won’t hurt.”

Ben was shocked at Leroy’s insight into how alone he felt, even surrounded by family. Grace had helped him move beyond feeling incapable of being loved. He missed her terribly, but he was living for Cole now. He never knew he could love a child so much. When those thugs lured him away, he would have done anything to protect him.

memHe thought about his mother, alone with three children, his sister younger than Cole, when she took them and ran from his father. He barely managed caring for one child alone, even with his family helping him. It suddenly hit him how difficult it must have been for his mother with no support system. She had tried her best. Things started clicking into place like pieces of a puzzle. He put his head down as tears burned his eyes, trying to escape.

01-20-18_10-32-31 PM.png“Hey man,” said Leroy clapping him on the shoulder, “I didn’t mean to bring up painful memories.”

01-20-18_10-22-48 PM.pngBen took a deep breath, swallowing back his tears and sat up. “It’s okay. You’re right about how hard things were. I guess it is time for Mom and I to talk. But, Leroy, how did you know? I felt invisible. You had Hailey, Dakota – and Mom.”

01-20-18_10-21-47 PM.pngLeroy thought for a minute. “Maybe I will share my story over a beer sometime. For now, we need to get to work. I have some calls to make. You need an assistant.”

Ben never knew Leroy had a story.  He thought about his own situation. It seems he also had a story, one of loneliness, love and death. Cole will too, growing up motherless. Grace and Lillie May had a story. Evidently, everyone had a story, he realized.  Your own story shaped your life and it was how you dealt with your story that determined your future state. Suddenly, he wanted to know his mother’s story and Leroy’s story too. Maybe, even his father’s. Maybe.

Go to Chapter 45>>>>>>>

Go Back to Chapter 43

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46 thoughts on “Chapter 44 – Stories

  1. Pingback: Chapter 43 – Happy Birthday Cole | New Beginnings

  2. Uh oh… it seems that Ben made the thugs angry and I bet they’re not messing around! It’s a good thing he didn’t forget the delivery because this time, they wouldn’t let him go with just a warning!
    I can’t help but wonder about this assistant… could it be a she? 😁 ❤ Oh, don't mind me, I have this permanent urge of wanting to see everyone settled in a relationship, lol!
    And finding out about everyone's story? Yes please! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Angry thugs are not good! Dog or not. 🙁

      Hmmm, so you are hoping for a female assistant so Ben can fall in love again? And did you have in mind a particular she or just any she? 😂 We will find out if it’s a he or she in the next chapter!

      I hope we do,get to hear everyone’s story. Leroy’s is one I think Ben needs to hear, maybe even more than his mother’s. He does need to hear it though I think.

      And I like happy endings for everyone too, sooo. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The new thugs are bullies 😭 just cause they got a cute doggo they think they could just do whatever they want 😭

    It’s good that Ben is deciding to act his age now and listen. As much as I love his angsty spiel, he’s older now so that means he should empathize, not whine.

    I’m definitely looking forward to reading about Leroy’s story someday!! From the little details he had between him and Reid were pretty interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leroy’s story would be really good for Ben to hear. He has no idea the struggles he had to go through to get where he is today. It is good to see Ben start growing up and begin to empathize with his mom.

      And yes, a cute doggo does not make a thug less of a thug. They were so mean to Ben.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yessss Ben please listen to your stepfather. Stories are important. You can learn so much from them!

    I was so worried for Cole 😭 Ben has gotta find a way to get out of this. I’m glad he’s making steps in the right direction though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that was super scary. And of course Cole has seen these guys a few times now since Ben takes him along so he wasn’t afraid at all. Add a doggie to the mix, he doesn’t give a flip about Daddy anymore. They knew what they were doing.

      And yes, please listen and learn! He’s in a much better place to do that now I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Scary situation! Ben! Stop producing drugs!

    I wish he’d get help…

    And I call that the designer is a woman. Whenever someone uses the “they” pronoun when talking about someone they know…(and I’m assuming they aren’t trans and wish it). The author is hiding a potential love interest. (Which…ugh! I want Sofia…oh…maybe it will be her! Jesse can’t say nothing about it!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ~ I thinks he has finally gots it, he is seeing what Grace said,about him being a father & understanding his mother better,though he took the hardest way to get to that conclusion!
    ~ Our little boy is finally growing up, & his son had a lot to do with that! ♥♥♥
    ~ It looks like he has no choice, but I am betting there is a way to get out of growing for those thugs & the ‘Boss’ that will not result in bashing’s & death even, if only he could think it through!( I was hoping he would move & be forgotten,but no,that did not happen!)
    ~ That being ten minutes late was way too close & scary, he really needs to find a way out!
    ~ And I am betting the new assistant is female, & no I do not think it is anyone he knows, just like Grace was unexpected in his life so will she! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • He is getting it. It was exactly what Grace tried to tell him when Cole was born. He certainly took a long time to really take it to heart. Cole does have a lot to do with it.

      I think as Cole gets older, if he is still doing this, he won’t be able to hide it from him. He is going to have to figure something out. And continuing shouldn’t be his only option.

      So everyone wants it to just be a female! Lol…Ben has been celibate for awhile so that might happen if it’s a female! Lol.

      Like

  7. Do my eyes deceive me or did Ben and Leroy just hug? 😮
    I am so proud of Ben. He had come a long way. And I am dieing to know more about Leroy’s story.
    Now we just need to figure out what to do about the drug dealers. Hiring an assistant won’t make the problem go away!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a great breakthrough this is! I’m so glad Leroy talked to Ben. This could be the thing that brings Ben closer to his family. It would be great if he could heal from all the hurt that’s built up.

    As for the goons… I am so worried for Ben and Cole right now, I can’t even express it well enough in words! :O

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Chapter 45 – Assistant | New Beginnings

  10. I’m glad that Leroy managed to take Ben’s mind off of him and made him have better insight into his mother’s actions (or hinted at that since being a single father really helped him realize things). Those drug dealers still..uh oh.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. yaaayyyyy! I was thinking that having a child would make him have a better relationship with his family! I’m glad everything is going well…He seems to be finally growing out of the ”All my mistakes are because of my family” thing…I’m really worried about the drug dealers…If things keep up that way, I’m not so sure for how long he will be able to hide thigns form his family…

    Liked by 1 person

    • The drug dealers are definitely still an issue that he refuses to deal,with appropriately. But on the bright side, now that he is a parent he understands how hard it is and how much he loves his child. So he is starting to figure things out.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Silly me, I was kinda hoping for Sofia and Ben. Anyway nailbiting over the cannibus, and wonder who the assistant would be Gotta read a few more chapters.
    Thank you again for the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m glad Ben decided to accept Leroy’s job. On the bright side, it was great he didn’t miss the drop, but seeing him get beat up in the bathroom made me weirdly emotional 😢 Granted, worse things have happened to him, but he’s trying so hard to make a life for his son, and these thugs are really getting on my last nerves. I want to see them thrown into jail and somehow for Ben to not get caught up in that mess if they do, but since the police force is dirty, that won’t happen 😤😤😤
    Aww Leroy is a gem; Ben’s finally beginning to realize that everyone has struggles and a story! I’m hoping that’ll come to mind the next time he decides to get angry at someone… The ending lines of this chapter were beautiful ❤ Our boy's growing up :')

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you liked the ending. ❤️ Ben is finally growing up and trying hard to make a life for his son. He is beginning to realize that shit happens to everyone and you pick how to deal with it. Leroy is awesome. ❤️ He adores Ben’s mother and is very protective of her. I think,he’s learning life’s lessons the hard way. 😢

      Liked by 1 person

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