Chapter 60 – Nick

02-23-18_8-35-07 PM.pngBen finally finished cleaning out his closet. It had been a challenge with Cole ‘helping’ him. He wanted to put his toys in the closet too. So Ben had to pick up all of Cole’s things and put them back after he was done. But he didn’t care. His life was looking up. Sofia didn’t leave them, and in fact, said she would be his wife and, by default, Cole’s mother. Nothing could spoil his good mood. He was on cloud nine.

02-23-18_8-46-51 PM.pngAs he watched his sweet, independent little boy playing in the closet, he figured, maybe, that’s why he had put off calling Nick. He didn’t want to ruin his good mood. Plus, he was still pissed off at him over the whole grow room revelation. But once again, Nick was probably right to have told Sofia, although he would have preferred that he had let him tell her instead. Well, he was going to marry his sister with or without Nick’s blessing. It would be better though, if Nick would be happy for them. He really had missed Nick.

02-24-18_7-45-55 PM.pngAfter putting Cole’s toys back in his room, Ben sat down on the couch and Cole instantly climbed up with him. He was ready to call Nick, but he didn’t want Cole to listen just in case it got ugly. It was nap time anyway. “Hey buddy,” lets get a snack and then it’s nap time,” he said to the sleepy little boy.

02-24-18_7-32-13 PM.pngAll Cole heard was nap time. He frowned and shook his head. “No nap Daddy. Not tired.”

02-24-18_7-37-48 PM.png“I’ll read to you first. But you are taking a nap,” said Ben sternly.

02-24-18_7-39-47 PM.pngCole’s bottom lip came out and Ben couldn’t help but laugh. “How about some animal crackers first?”

02-24-18_7-48-41 PM.pngCole immediately grinned, forgetting all about nap time. “Yay! Aminal Cwackers!”

02-24-18_7-52-41 PM.pngBen scooped him up and kissed him. He put him in the high chair and gave him the promised cookies.

02-24-18_8-00-34 PM.pngBen sat there while he ate. He looked more and more like his mother everyday. Ben thought about Sofia’s fears of being compared to Grace. He hoped she wouldn’t look at Cole and think that she was his substitute mother. Ben had been both mother and father to Cole since he was born.  It would be good for him to finally have the love only a mother can give.

02-24-18_8-07-44 PM.pngWhen Cole started crumbling the cookies and throwing them, Ben took him to his room and read him a story.  Thankfully, he quickly fell asleep.

Ben walked back into the living room and took out his phone to call Nick.

02-24-18_8-13-10 PMHe was surprised at how nervous he was waiting for Nick to answer. His heart was beating overtime. Nick had been his best friend since they were 14 and he loved him like a brother. He cared more about Nick’s reaction than he wanted to admit. But if he had to choose, he would choose the woman he loved over his best friend. He just hoped it didn’t come down to that.

02-25-18_3-47-00 PM.pngNick answered on the last ring and instantly laid into him. “Murdock, if you are calling to bitch at me, forget it. She’s my sister and I didn’t have a choice. You should have fucking told her before you slept with her!”

Well shit, thought Ben. “Whoa. Nick…. I’m not calling to chew you out,” said Ben, “You were right – again. I should have told her. But Nick, it’s over. It’s no more.”

“You broke up?” Nick sounded hopeful.

02-24-18_8-56-08 PM“No. We didn’t….sorry to burst your bubble. Audrey and her kids….THAT’s what’s over. The plants are gone.”

“Yeah, right. Like I believe that.”

02-24-18_8-56-39 PM.png“No Nick. Really. They’re gone.”

“How?”

Nick totally didn’t believe him. “It’s sort of a long story. Your sister, she is a firecracker. She came at me with her claws out and gave me an ultimatum. Cole and her – or the weed. She was going to go to my parents if I didn’t stop. So…I put on my big boy pants and we went together and talked to Mom, Dad and Leroy.  Turns out Father of the Year knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone. That kind of thing. Anyway, the someone worked out a deal with the bad guys. My Dad delivered the plants to them. In turn, I am free and clear.”

“Seriously? Your Dad? Who does he know? And in a week?”

02-24-18_9-06-21 PMBen’s sighed. “Nick, you really don’t want to know who the someone was.  I don’t either. But Mom assures me Dad is not a criminal – he just – knows some. Anyway, your sister didn’t give me any wiggle room. Fix it now or else. And when she said now, she meant now, not next month, next week or even tomorrow.  The plants are gone Nick, and I am off the hook. Sofia and I, we are okay.  So I told her I would call this time. Look, you know she and I have always been close. And I really do love her. Very, very much. You know I would never do anything to hurt her.”

“Are you sure she’s not just another one night stand?”

“Dammit Nick. No. I would never do that to her. I hoped you thought more of me than that, but I guess I deserved that.” Ben paused and took a deep breath. Here goes nothing, he thought. “There is more. Are you sitting down?”

02-25-18_4-15-09 PM“You fucking got her pregnant!”

Ben rolled his eyes. “Geez Nick, give me some credit. No. She’s not pregnant…. actually…. I sort of proposed to her.”  His comment was met with silence.  “Nick?…..Nick, are you still there?” he asked.

Finally Nick responded, his voice flat. “What do you mean ‘sort of’. You did or didn’t.” 

“I was afraid she was going to leave me over the whole marijuana thing and when she said we were good, I was so relieved that I got ahead of myself and started planning our future. I told her if we got married right away that Cole would call her Mom.”

“You’re an ass. If she agreed to that after the weed fiasco, she must be rebounding from Jesse. Dude, she was with him for three years! You are taking advantage of a rebound affair…with MY SISTER!”

02-24-18_9-08-14 PM.png“No. I am not!” said Ben a little too harshly. Ben took several deep breaths to calm himself before going on. “Nick, the attraction has been there between us, even when she was with him, we just didn’t act on it. And, well, I took my time – afterwards,” he said, struggling for the right word. “We are both ready for our relationship.”

“I don’t believe she is really in love with you. And you. Do you love her?  I mean, really love her? …. Like you loved Grace?” Nick sounded doubtful.

How could he make Nick understand? Ben thought for a minute before answering. “Not like Grace. It’s different. Deeper. I can’t explain it. I did love Grace, don’t get me wrong. She was my whole world. I will always carry a piece of her in my heart. Maybe our love would have grown more if she had lived. But it’s already more with Sofia. Maybe because we’ve known each other for so long. I don’t know. But it’s like I’m supposed to be with her, to watch out for her. And she watches out for me. When we are together it’s so easy and comfortable. Our life experiences have bonded us together somehow. Me having Cole and losing Grace, Sofia getting ra…um, dumped by her boyfriend of three years. ” Shit, he hoped Nick didn’t catch his slip.

02-25-18_4-16-33 PM“Wait a damn minute. Sofia said she dumped him. What really happened? Tell me what you were going to say.”

He was screwed. “What do you mean?”

“Ben… you were going to say something about Sofia and Jesse. What really happened between them? She blew me off when I asked, so I know there has to be more. Tell me the truth dammit, or I will ask her.”

02-24-18_9-10-00 PM.png“Nick…no, please, don’t ask her. She made me promise not to tell you or your parents.”

“Fuck, please tell me it’s not what I’m thinking….Ben!

Ben felt sick. “Nick, if I tell you….God…I can’t.” He couldn’t believe he was about to betray Sofia. Nick had already guessed because of his stupid slip.

02-25-18_3-55-48 PM“That’s why he left town isn’t it. He fucking raped her. Goddammit Ben.  Please, tell me it’s something else. Anything else.” Nick was heartbroken. Ben could hear it in his voice.

Ben tried to be calm. “You can’t let her know that you know. It would devastate her. She thinks you will look at her differently, as damaged.”

“I’m going to kill him. Why in the hell did she tell you and not me? Is she okay? Is he at least locked up?”

02-24-18_9-52-51 PMBen took yet another deep breath. This was so hard. He needed Nick to be okay and feel assured that his sister was okay as well. “Please, let it go Nick. Maybe, one day, she will tell you. Just know that I punched him and Leroy knocked him out with one blow. Leroy’s a strong SOB for an old guy. I promise, Sofia is fine. Mom and I helped her through it. He left town and is getting counseling. She has a restraining order so if he comes close, she can have him arrested.”

Ben got nervous because Nick didn’t answer right away. He felt so bad for his friend. “Nick?”

That’s what she was talking about when she called me – when she said you were there when she needed you,” said Nick, his voice eerily calm.

Ben let out a breath, relieved. “Look, I’ve already said too much. Please don’t tell her you know.”

When he was met with silence again, he began to worry. “Nick, dude, are you okay? Are you there?”

02-25-18_5-01-19 PM.png“Yeah,” he said, his voice shaking.

Shit, he’s crying, thought Ben. “Nick. I’m so sorry. This is why she didn’t want you to know. I swear she’s okay. She’s strong. Now that we are together, nothing like that’ll ever happen to her again. Jesse’s not going to bother her anymore.”

“You swear?”

“On my life.”

“You and my baby sister are getting married,”  stated Nick. He sounded like he was trying to come to terms with everything Ben had said.

02-25-18_6-36-42 PM.pngBen tried to be respectful of Nick’s feelings and kept his voice calm and even. “Yes Nick, we are. Does this mean we have your support? Can you at least pretend like you are happy? For Sofia. She loves you Nick, and was trying to protect you and your folks by not telling you. Please, don’t screw us up. If you make her choose, she will choose me. But it will hurt her. She has been hurt enough already.” He was begging.

“I could never understand why she liked to hang out with your dumb ass,” replied Nick. He still sounded like he was still trying to make sense of everything. “Do you know I used to spy on you two to make sure you weren’t trying take advantage of her?”

02-25-18_6-36-13 PM.pngNo, he didn’t, and that pissed him off. “You son of a bitch!” Shit, that didn’t help  “You know you could trust me with her. Outside of you, she was my best friend.” Ben paused to get full control of his anger. He tempered his tone when he continued. “Nick, am I really so bad that you can’t be okay with me? She loves me. And she loves Cole like her own child. We are good together Nick. I swear it.” He knew he was still begging, but he didn’t care.

Nick inhaled sharply and blew it out. “No Ben, you’re not bad. You just made some stupid ass decisions. You know you are like a brother to me…..You had to grow up too fast.  I saw the change in you when you finally allowed yourself to love Grace. Once you admitted your feelings, she was your priority…. Fuck!”  Nick took another deep breath and let it out slowly. Ben could tell he was trying not to cry. “Congratulations man…take care of my sister….or else.”

The tension fled Ben’s body and he huffed out a relieved breath of air. “Thanks. That means more than you know. Call Sofia and congratulate her. It will make her happy. But don’t say anything, please.”

02-25-18_5-42-23 PM.png“Ben, I can’t lie to her, she will know,” he said his voice flat and cold.

He knew Nick was right. And did he really want to start their relationship with another lie between them? She would know, just like Nick knew he wasn’t being honest. “You are right. Damn, why the hell are you always right? I don’t want to lie to her either. Look, let me tell her before you call her. I will do it tonight. I know you need to talk to her. But I need to be the one to tell her that you know so she can be prepared. She will never trust me again if I don’t. Do you understand. I love her and I need her in my life. God, I hate these fucking big boy pants.”

That earned a laugh from Nick and Ben’s anxiety dropped a couple of notches. “Nick, I don’t think I ever said thank you. I have been on an apology tour this past year. You deserve one too. You have always been there for me. Even through all the dumb-ass shit I pulled. I am honored to have you as a future brother-in-law. When your sister and I do get married, I want you to stand up for me – again.”

Nick was still emotional. Ben could hear him sniffing back tears. “God, who the hell are you and what did you do with Ben?” he said and laughed.

02-24-18_8-57-33 PM.pngBen couldn’t stop the relieved smile taking over his face. “When are you going to propose to Rachael? You guys have been together for almost 4 years.”

“Soon.”

“Why are you waiting? Casey proposed to Emma after only a year.” Ben was truly confused by that.

“Yeah, well after Grace died, Emma was depressed and sad. We all were. He told me that he imagined what it would be like to lose her and it drove home how much he loved her. He felt the need to propose. It was his way of bringing them closer and for her to start to heal. I think it’s like, when a couple makes love after losing someone close. We just need to feel alive again, you know.”

“Damn. Whew, now we’ve lost Nick too. What’s happened to us?”

Nick laughed quietly. “I think it’s called life. I will be happy to stand up for you.”

“Thanks, but you totally deflected my question about you and Rach.”

“Rachael says congrats.”

“Oh, she is there with you.” Of course she was. And Ben was really glad. Nick would need her after this call.

02-25-18_3-02-18 PM.png“Now get off the phone and let my sister down gently,” said Nick, his pain evident in his tone, “Tell her I love her and to call me when she gets home.  Let her know I’m happy for her – you too Ben….” Nick got emotional again and had to stop to compose himself before continuing.  “And let her know it’s okay. She must love you very much if you were the one she went to.  I’m glad you were there for her.”

Go to Chapter 61>>>>>>

Go Back to Chapter 59

39 thoughts on “Chapter 60 – Nick

  1. Pingback: Chapter 59 – Yes | New Beginnings

  2. I knew it! Ben totally stepped up and did the right thing! Showing Nick that he isn’t that one night stand guy anymore and apologizing. This chapter really showed how much Ben has grown and it’s so special to me that I’m teary eyed.

    I am glad we got to hear about Nick and Rachel and Emma. This genreration is really wrapping up and I couldn’t be more impressed with you for everything you have done with Ben’s Generation. You took him all the way through his defiant 10 year old self to a grown and mature father about to marry the woman he loves.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awww….thank you. ❤️ Ben has certainly learned a lot the hard way. And his family stepped up. He needed that or things may not have gone as well for him. He convinced himself they didn’t care and was so self absorbed he couldn’t see past his hurt and anger when it came to them. He was determined he didn’t need them, but found out family is a good thing. At least his is. ❤️

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    • Nick has matured too. He saw what happened to Ben and at least recognizes that he has changed. He knows his sister well too and when he found out what Jesse did to her, I’m sure he felt a guilty, but the truth in Ben’s words must have rang true and he knew he couldn’t fight their relationship any longer. I’m proud he is not going to be an obstacle. If he would just ask Rachael to marry him now! It took them forever to profess their love. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 😭😭😭 I don’t know why this chapter gave me more feels than the previous ones! All except for grace dying. I’m so glad he talked to Nick and worked it all out. Even though it upset him, Nick needed to know what happened to Sophia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have never seen Nick get so emotional before. Even when Grace died he was being strong for Ben. So we didn’t see that side of him. To see him so crushed at what happened to his sister was heartbreaking… but I think he knows Ben has nothing but her best interests at heart. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Phew, this went better than I thought! I’m glad that Nick *finally* accepted that Ben is serious about Sofia! And he should do the same with Rachel soon. The clock is ticking buddy! 😁
    Now I’m dreading the moment Sofia will know that Nick knows… uh oh! I hope she takes it well 😕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Nick is coming around although I felt so sorry for him. I am glad Rachael was there. And he artfully skirted Ben’s question with Rachael sitting right there. He needs to put a ring on it quick! 🙄. I am glad she was there for him though. He certain,y needed someone to talk to. New chapter on Sunday and we will find out how Sofia reacts to what Ben told Nick.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Another excellent chapter! I am glad Nick gave his blessings and has even agreed to stand with him at his wedding. I have to admit in the beginning I was pulling for Emma, I guess that southern lilt, or perhaps that Texas twang made me partial to her. Then Grace came and I fell in love with her (even based one of my own characters a bit on Grace, I’ll let you figure out who) then came Sofia. I didn’t give her much thought in the prologue, not realizing what her role would be in the story. However when Ben came home and we met her again for the first time, as a young woman, I quickly got on the Benfia wagon. Sophia isn’t going to be happy that Ben let the fact that Jesse raped her slip, but perhaps it’s for the best.One I think it will give Nick a better appreciation of their relationship, knowing Ben was there at this really difficult time in his sisters life, Plus, being a rape victim is the kind of secret that will eventually come out, and while thanks to Ben she has tried to put it behind her, it’s not something you just get over, and it will be good for her to have the love and support of her family, all of them, especially if she suffers from any PTSD later on.
    I am excited to see how this generation is wrapping up, but i am also a bit sad, and while I know we will be seeing more of Ben and Sophia in Cole’s generation, it will be bitter sweet not to have them at the center of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gosh…thank you for insightful comment. ❤️ I still miss having Emma as a central character in Ben’s life. I totally love her. They will always be good friends.

      I too fell in love with Grace. She was such a good influence on Ben. 😍 Had it not been for her pregnancy, Ben would likely have eventually moved on. Although he was taking their break up pretty hard even though he initiated it. I have said it before, I cried A LOT writing her chapters and those after while Ben was mourning and was almost too broken to move on. 💔

      You are likely right that Sofia will not be too happy about Nick finding out. I hope she doesn’t suffer as much as Ben’s mother did. Having her to talk to right away helped. I am sure she was not happy meeting Ben’s father knowing that he had been abusive. But seeing that Ben’s mom had reconciled with him gave her strength to move on. And he did help Ben….so there’s that. Haha.

      I will totally miss Ben and Sofia when we move to Cole. When I moved from Leroy and Kaitlin I was also sad…but Ben has been so much fun! 😁

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  6. This whole time I have been saying how proud I am of Ben’s path to maturity, and now I can say that this chapter shows how much Nick has matured as well. Both men have grown so much.
    Hopefully Sofia is not too mad at Ben for acidentally letting her secret slip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amazing what having to deal,with the harsh realities of real life will do. Although I would never wish what Ben went through on anyone! Nick led a much more “normal” childhood with two loving parents. So maybe a little spoiled but yes, he has definitely grown up too. So proud of my boys!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I loved showing how much Nick loves his sister and getting really getting emotional. He usually just gets mad at Ben for his ridiculous behavior. And as much as he gets irritated at Ben, he knows him and knows he has a good heart. The boys are growing up! ❤️❤️❤️. Now let’s hope Sofia doesn’t lose it when she finds out.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Chapter 61 – Big Boy Pants | New Beginnings

  8. Things ended up better than I thought they would. No one got hurt, or punched, and they were able to get on the same page. It’s so interresting to see how much all the parts involved in this have grownd with time. It was very slowly, but o=if you compare the (salty) Ben from the beginning with the Ben from now…the change is impressive.( althought he *was* exposed to extreme situations, so it *would* be hard not to change after that.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes…Ben did have a lot of extraordinary circumstances to deal with so he had to grow up or go down. Nick saw it even though it didn’t happen to him. So he knows. I’m glad they are on the same page too. I just hope Sofia is. 👍🏻

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  9. I loved all of the emotion in this one! And that conversation was so long overdue… it showed such growth for both of these guys. Hard to believe they’re the same two knuckleheads from the start of this story 😛 And soon, they’ll be brothers-in-law! 😮 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nick got it right when Ben asked what happened and he said Life. Nick never thought he would be related to Ben. But he had to realize, given what happened with Jesse, that when Sofia turned to Ben they were really in love with each other. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sofia made a bad but understandable decision not to let her family know. I believe her family would have rallied around her just like Bens family rallied around him. Dirty little secrets not only have a way of coming out but it festers inside. Not good to keep any secrets from your family especially this.
    so more drama to come when Ben tells Sophia he let the cat out of the bag with Nick. Curious how that will be resolved and am reading on….Thanks again for a great story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes…so,true, but as a young woman, she understandably feels like she will not be the same anymore. But of course they would rally around her. She has a very loving family.

      Like

  11. Nick is a good brother. And a good friend (welllll, apart from the weed thing). He’s caring for his loved ones very much and it says a lot that Ben is able to realize that. Only a few years ago, he wouldn’t have been.
    And it’s good they reconciled before hanging up. It’s never good to carry quarrels with you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol… yes, Nick sorta got the whole weed thing started. I’m glad things got worked out too. It would’ve been terrible to have that argument hanging out there. Ben has grown by leaps and bounds. He’s realized how important his family is. Having his own child helped him understand that. And of course how his mom and stepfather rallied around to help him out. Even his own father came around even though their relationship was strained.

      Liked by 1 person

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