"She trusts me." Ben thought to himself as he stared at the young, brunette female he'd grown to know the past week at that cabin. That damn cabin. He hadn't started that fire. He had been on edge, that he knew but he remembered everything. He remembered seeing Clyde and he remembered Ciara talking him down and convincing him to go get his medication. He remembered walking the three miles to the pharmacy, all the way there trying in vein to get Clyde out of his head.
That was always easier said than done. Clyde had always been there. In the back of his mind. Egging him on to kill those women, frame Chad, take back Abigail. "Claim what was his."
Something he had learned in therapy and had come to accept was that Abigail was never "his". That didn't make the feeling of her cheating on him any easier or the sting of it any less painful, but, he had come to realize that he had put Abigail on such a high pedestal because of his past with Clyde and that was unfair. When she broke that trust, when he had so delicately and purposely tried to put it with someone who he thought would never hurt him, it caused his mental break. He snapped. If he couldn't trust her, who could he trust?
Hours and days and months and years of therapy helped him see that. Helped him own his own part in what caused him to snap. He couldn't solely blame Abigail anymore. And in that fact, he knew he was a changed man. He couldn't run and hide. He had to own his decisions and his actions and the hurt that he had caused.
"And I believe him." Ciara finished her statement as Hope looked on in complete terror.
Ben couldn't believe his ears. Someone believed him. Someone was on his side. He hadn't felt like that in years.
"Ciara Alice…" Hope started in, trying to break the stare going on between her daughter and the serial killer across from her. Her poignant stare turned toward Ben and for a moment, he believed that she would reach across the table and attack him. "What did you do to her?" She accused.
Ben, caught off guard, broke his intense stare with Ciara and tried to defend himself.
"I didn't do anything to her!"
"You brainwashed her! You did something to her!" She continued her tirade. "You held her against her will at that cabin and then you tried to set her on fire. Just like Abigail and Chad."
"Mom!" Ciara tried again. It was then that Rafe entered the interrogation room.
"Hope. They've sent back the report about what caused the fire."
Hope stood there looking in smug, hoping to prove to her daughter once and for all that Ben Weston hadn't changed a damn bit.
"And?" She eagerly awaited the news.
Rafe took a deep breath and explained. "Looks like the fire was started by some bad electrical wiring. Must have been from when the place *first* went up in flames." He glared at Ben, who looked incredibly relieved.
Hope snatched the report out of Rafe's hand, unable to conceive that it wasn't on purpose. Ciara looked at Ben and smiled. When he returned it in kind, she winked at him. He felt his heart stop for just a brief moment. He couldn't deny that Ciara was beautiful but his head wasn't even in a place where that was a sliver of a possibility. He didn't even have a place to live. He couldn't be thinking about a girl of all things.
"So, he's free to go then?" Ciara prodded happily, crossing her arms and waiting for the grunts and sighs to come.
Rafe, begrudgingly came over to the side of the table where Ben was located and before he unlocked the handcuffs Ben was shackled to, gave him a stern warning.
"Just so you know, we'll be watching you. Closely." And with a quick twist of his key, Ben was freed.
Ciara rolled her eyes. "Let's go Ben." She grabbed her crutches and started to head out the door. Ben, with his head slightly down, followed her.
"Ciara…" Hope called out after her. "What are you doing?"
Ciara confidently told her mother, "I'm helping a friend find a place to live. So, if you'll excuse me, we're going to go now."
Hope looked at Rafe, who was about as pleased as she was about this whole blossoming situation in front of them. She wanted to take comfort in his arms but that wasn't appropriate anymore. They weren't together anymore and she didn't want to send him mixed signals. That wasn't fair to either of them when all she really wanted to do was talk to Bo.
Bo always knew what was going on Ciara's head even before Ciara did. She somberly smiled at Rafe and turned back to head into her office. Rafe felt the distance and wanted to go after Hope and normally he would have. But something gave him the impression that in this moment, Hope needed to be alone. It was her relationship with Ciara that was on the line, not theirs.
Rafe found his coffee mug sitting on his desk off to his right and figured now would be as good a time as any to grab a cup. If he was going to keep a close eye on Ben Weston, he'd need to get some caffeine in him.
Once they reached the outside of the police station, Ben tried his best to help Ciara on her crutches. He was glad that she had finally been seen be a real doctor. He'd been worried about her leg.
"Maybe we should find a place to sit down." He suggested. "Get you off your feet."
Ciara smiled and thought about someplace that wasn't far from where they were that no one seemed to visit anymore. "I know where we can go." She gave him a wicked smile and they turned the corner.
"What is this place?" Ben asked looking around Salem Place as if he had just stepped into a time warp.
"This is someplace that we stopped going to for some reason. I don't know why. The town square is nice and all but, I miss this place too."
They found a table at a café and Ben, gentlemanly helped Ciara into her chair. He sat down next to her and it hit him. He was a free man. He had a full prescription of his meds. He had to make sure to make scheduled therapy sessions at University Hospital but, he was out. What the hell did that mean? Where was he going to go from here?
He must have been deeply lost in his thoughts because it took him a moment to register that Ciara had reached across the table and placed her hand on his. She had a small smile on her face as she looked at him. He didn't know where he was going or what he was going to do but with her believing him and trusting him, he knew his future was worth the fight.
"Come on. Let's get some food. I'm starving. You must be too."
"I could eat." He grumbled not wanting to let on just how much he could really eat. He'd been generous at the cabin, knowing she'd gone longer without food than he had, but he could have eaten everything he bought for those few days in one sitting if she'd let him.
She pulled out a menu and glanced at it carefully. He did the same but couldn't help but be distracted by her. Something about Ciara made him not want to keep his eyes off of her at all times. It was only then, in the beaming sunshine above them, he could truly appreciate the deep chestnut color of her hair or how green her eyes really were. How her eyebrow arched just like her Mom when she was deep in thought and she probably didn't realize it.
He didn't know what his future held but if she was going to be in it in any capacity, only one thought ran through his head… "Fuck."