Alice Horton, Ciara's great-grandmother, was a total badass. She really did help Bo break Roman Brady (the original Roman Brady, played by Wayne Northrop, because this was in 1983) out of jail and got arrested herself for it. And when everyone else was against them, Alice Horton was pretty much the sole source of emotional support for both Bo and Hope, and Jack and Jennifer. And no matter how many times those two couples broke up, Alice was still always on their side, because she knew right from the start that they belonged together. I still wanted her to have a part in Ciara and Ben's story though, if only in fanfic, because I know she'd be on their side if she were here, so I came up with this.
"Okay," Ciara said, "here we are."
Ben looked around, confused. "In the Horton Town Square?" When Ciara had asked if she could take him somewhere and show him something, he had happily agreed, because he was always up for spending time with Ciara, doing anything. But she had seemed excited, and Ben didn't see what there was to get excited about regarding the town square.
"Yes," Ciara said. "But specifically, we're here for this." She gestured toward the plaque engraved with the smiling faces of a pair of senior citizens, which proclaimed "HORTON TOWN SQUARE" above the couple's picture, and beneath it, "IN LOVING MEMORY OF TOM AND ALICE HORTON," and she explained, "They're my great-grandparents on my mom's side. I'm named after Great-Gran. My middle name is 'Alice.'"
Ben looked from the plaque to Ciara and back again. "Was she the donut lady?" he asked, recalling her story about her great-grandmother's donuts when they were at the cabin together.
"Yeah," Ciara said with a smile. There was a gleam in her eyes that said there was more to the story, though. "But Alice Horton wasn't some meek little housewife who made donuts. She was the original family badass."
Ben looked at the likeness of Alice Horton engraved in the plaque. "Her?" he asked, gesturing.
"Yes!" Ciara exclaimed triumphantly. "My Uncle Roman was accused of being the Salem Slasher, and Great-Gran helped my dad break him out of jail. Then she got arrested."
Ben's eyes widened, and then he looked at Alice's picture on the plaque again. "HER?" he asked, shocked.
Ciara grinned. "Her," she replied proudly. "You can ask Marlena if you don't believe me. She was married to my Uncle Roman at the time. He didn't do it. Dad knew that, and he and Great-Gran always had a special relationship, and she thought a lot of Marlena and Uncle Roman too, so she helped Dad break Uncle Roman out of jail, and then she got arrested for it."
"I believe you," Ben assured her. Alice Horton didn't look like a badass, but anyone who would aid in a jailbreak couldn't be anything but a badass, as far as Ben was concerned, and clearly, as far as Ciara was concerned as well. "I think I would have liked your great-grandmother."
"I know she would have liked you," Ciara replied. "That's what the rest of my family...well, except my Aunt Kayla on my dad's side...seems to be forgetting. Great-Gran was always getting involved in adventures and misadventures and schemes with my mom and dad when they were young, and my cousin Jen and her husband Jack even before they got married the first time."
"What did your great-grandfather think about that?" Ben asked.
"Sometimes he got involved right along with her, sometimes he bailed her out. With the Uncle Roman thing, I'm thinking it helped that one of their sons was a lawyer. My Great-Uncle Mickey," Ciara continued. "Great-Gran...She always saw the best in people, no matter who they were or what they had done in the past. She could look at you and see who you really were."
"A trait her namesake great-granddaughter has inherited," Ben reflected.
"I know my family is-" Ciara began.
Ben interrupted her. "I don't expect your family to approve of me," he said. "It's enough for me that you trust me and believe me, Ciara."
"I just want you to know that there's someone on my mom's side of the family that would have liked you and given you a fair chance," Ciara replied. "I wish you could have met her."
"I wish I could have too," Ben said, "so I could have told someone who would believe it that I care about you and I'll do whatever it takes to be worthy of your trust and faith in me."
Ciara took Ben's hands in hers and squeezed them. "I believe you," she assured him.
He smiled. "That's all that really matters," he said. But then he looked up. "Mrs. Horton? My name is Ben Weston, and your great-granddaughter Ciara Brady...She makes me want to be a better man, and she's my rockstar. And I will never hurt her. If I ever break that promise, I expect you to haunt me."
"She'd do it too," Ciara murmured. Then she looked up. "You really would like Ben, Great-Gran. You would have been there for us like you were for Mom and Dad, and for Jen and Jack."
At that exact moment, a slight breeze blew across the square, rustling the late-summer leaves on the trees, lifting Ciara's hair from her shoulders, and gently ruffling Ben's hair. Ciara and Ben looked at each other wide-eyed, then looked back at the plaque with her great-grandparents' pictures on it.
Ciara's smile was radiant, and made Ben's heart skip a beat. "I knew Great-Gran would approve of us," she said.
Ben smiled back at her. I won't let you down, Mrs. Horton, he silently vowed.
As Ciara and Ben left Horton Town Square hand in hand, Ciara, still smiling, had only one thought: