NSFW Warning – In the beginning…..
When Ben dropped Sofia off at her house, he told her to take the morning off and come in after lunch. She laughed. I guess sleeping with the boss had its perks. She took a shower and picked up a book to read. But she couldn’t concentrate. All she could do was think about the last 24 hours. It was far better than the romance novel she was trying to read.
Her life had changed with three little words from Ben. I love you. Sofia had never been happier. She was still reeling from this morning’s love making session that started in Ben’s ‘gourmet’ kitchen.
It had been urgent and needy, sexy and hot. She smiled again, thinking of him calling her a sexy, hot nerd.
Then her thoughts drifted to their first time together the night before. Ben had been sweet, gentle and so very loving.
He locked eyes with her when they made love the first time. It made everything so much more intimate. So real. Right and perfect. Then when she cried her eyes out afterwards, he held her and told her how much he loved her.
Since she couldn’t read or relax, she figured now was as good of a time as any to tell her brother she was in love with his best friend. How upset could he really be? They were best friends after all. She picked up her phone and dialed Nick. She hoped he would be happy for her.
He answered on the first ring. “Hey little sis, what’s up?”
“Hi Nick!” she said brightly, “Well, I’ve been really busy working with Ben and Leroy. We will have the park completed in another month. Did Ben tell you? We are naming the park after Grace and will dedicate it to her. Her grandmother is coming up for the dedication. I hope you and Rachael can make it.” She knew she was stalling.
Nick took a second to reply. She forgot he had known Grace really well. “So I heard. That’s really nice. How is Ben? I haven’t heard from him for a couple of months.”
“He’s doing really well and Cole is getting so big. He’s a regular chatterbox. He’s such a sweet little boy. Ben has done a really good job with him.”
“Sounds like you have been spending a lot of time with Ben. How’s Jesse feel about that?”
“We broke up four months ago,” she said, her voice devoid of any emotion.
“Why didn’t you tell me? I’m sorry Sis. You guys have been together a long time. Are you okay? What happened?”
Sofia tried to tiptoe around her answer. “I finally realized that he is an absolute ass so I broke up with him. He moved out of town and is living in Roaring Heights.”
“Moved out of town?” asked Nick and let out a low whistle. “Damn. You must have had the granddaddy of all falling outs for him to leave you and move out of town. What happened?”
“I’d rather not rehash it.”
“Are you okay?”
She took a deep breath. Here goes nothing. “Actually. I am better than okay. That’s what I really called to tell you….Ben and I…we are dating.”
“Ben? Ben Murdock? NO! He’s bad news, Sofia. You can do better than either of those two losers. You jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. You need to stay away from him. Do I make myself clear?”
“What the hell Nick? I thought you two were friends.”
“Are you sleeping with him? Hell, it’s Ben. Of course you are.”
“That’s none of your business. But if you must know, yes. I am. And it wasn’t like that. I love him and he loves me.”
“Shit. Sofia, he’s got so many problems, not to mention Cole. You have to get away from him.”
“No Nick, I don’t. God, I hoped you’d be happy for me. Ben and I have talked at length about Grace. I am not just a rebound hookup. We’ve been seeing each other for months and I believe him when he says he loves me. He was there for for me when I needed him. He’s good Nick. And what does Cole have to do with it anyway?”
“Sofia, he’s naming the park after his dead wife. He has a child. And his past. God, there are so many things you don’t know.”
“No there isn’t. I know about his past. About his father. How he came to live in Twinbrook. And it was my idea to name the Park after Grace, not his.”
“He told you about the weed?”
“Weed? As in marijuana weed? He doesn’t smoke pot. He hardly drinks.”
“He doesn’t smoke it Sofia, he grows it and sells it – to dealers.”
“You are crazy. I’ve been to his house. There is no pot.”
“He probably has it hidden in his closet. That’s where it was in San Myshuno. I’m so sorry Sofia. You’re my sister, I’m only telling you this to protect you. I can’t have you getting in the middle of his illegal activities.”
She remembered his closet was locked. She assumed it was to keep Cole out. Sofia’s heart was pounding in her chest. She was starting to believe her brother. “Your lying to me! Please tell me your lying. Why would you do that. Just because I’m sleeping with him?”
“Ask him Sofia. Do it for me, for yourself.” Nicks voice was calm and controlled.
“You’re serious aren’t you?” she whispered into the phone, her hands now shaking.
“I love you Sofia. I would never lie to you….Are you okay?”
Sofia had gone from hurt to angry in the space of five minutes. “No Nick. I’m not. He has Cole living there with him. Oh God. That baby could be in danger. I gotta go.”
She disconnected the call with shaking hands. She felt hot tears rolling down her cheeks. She was so angry and hurt that Ben hadn’t told her about the weed.
She collapsed onto the couch to think. If it was true, she had to figure out what to do for Cole’s sake. Not for her and not for Ben. Cole was almost three-years-old. Toddlers are so, so curious. Cole could climb on the counter and get into his supplies. And what happens if Ben gets caught. They would take Cole away from him. Or the dealers could use Cole to get to Ben. It would destroy her if anything happened to Cole and she could have prevented it. The more she thought about it the more she knew she had to do something.
The fact that she might lose Ben in the process made her physically sick. But right now she didn’t know if she could go back to him anyway. She didn’t understand how he could do this. He had to know the risks. Did he need money that bad? She was sure Leroy paid him enough to get by. Her salary was good and she worked for Ben.
Only one way to find out. Do what Nick had suggested and ask him. Sofia forced herself to get up. She prayed Ben would tell her he had stopped a long time ago and that there was nothing sinister about his locked closet.