'Ahhh! What the fuckity fuck?'
Ben looked down to see what had caused the painful throbbing in his big toe. His eyes settled on a large terracotta pot with some sort of giant fern growing out of it.
What the actually fuck? Another one?
'REY!' Ben roared up the stairs.
'Five more minutes!' Rey whined back.
She settled back down into the bed smiling happily as she snuggled into her feather pillows.
'Did you buy another plant?'
Rey cracked one eye open.
'Then what did I just stub my fucking toe on, air?'
Rey opened both her eyes and sighed. She got out of bed and walked to the top of the stairs. Ben was standing at the bottom in his boxer shorts looking seriously pissed off, but also kinda hot. Rey put her hands on her hips.
'You said I could decorate our house however I wanted—'
'That was before I realised you were fucking Mowgli from the Jungle Book.'
Ben looked at her face and his expression softened. He ran a hand through his hair.
'Rey, come on, it's starting to look like a fucking rainforest and... do you think you could put some clothes on? It's very distracting having this argument with you when you look like that.'
Instead of getting dressed as he had asked, Rey sauntered down the stairs and stopped on the second to last step so they were roughly at eye level with each other. She put her arms around his neck and rubbed her nose against his.
'What do I need to do to convince you to let my plants stay?' she asked, kissing a trail across his cheek and down throat.
Ben tilted his head to capture her lips with a searing kiss.
'They can stay. You know I'd do anything for you.'
He pulled her close and she wrapped her legs around his waist, crossing her ankles behind his back. Ben started to walk up the stairs.
'My foot is bloody killing me though, so I think some sympathy sex is in order.'
'Poor baby, I'll take care of you,' Rey cooed kissing him once more.
Later that night, Ben woke up at around 1am with a full bladder. He got out of bed and padded to the toilet naked.
After peeing and washing his hands, Ben stumbled on the bath mat and fell backwards, he bumped into something sharp and yelped loudly.
Rey jolted upright in bed thinking they were being burgled. Suddenly the light clicked on in the room and Rey covered her sensitive eyes with her hands. When she uncovered them there was a very angry, very naked Ben standing at the foot of the bed.
'What happened?' she asked.
'I tripped in the bathroom, that's what happened.'
'Oh no! Are you alright?'
'I would have been fine if someone hadn't snuck a giant fucking cactus into the corner of the room when I wasn't looking! Now I look like a fucking pin cushion.'
Rey scanned his toned body.
'I don't see any needles…'
'That's because you're looking in the wrong place!' He yelled.
Ben turned around and Rey saw a collection of sharp cactus spines sticking in Ben's left butt cheek. She pressed her lips together to keep from laughing as she started to remove them very carefully. Once she was finished she rubbed his buttock and gave it a kiss.
'There all better,' she announced cheerfully.
'Unfortunately when Ben turned around, he didn't seem to share her good humour.
'I want all these plants out of here by the end of tomorrow.'
'Don't but me, those plants are a pain in my literal butt! I want them out of here!'
Ben stomped over to the light switch and flicked it off, then he slammed himself down into the mattress and turned away from her. Rey sighed and lay down. Stupid impulse cactus buy. She knew Ben was at breaking point. She shouldn't have pushed it.
After awhile she dropped off to sleep and dreamt about Ben pricking his butt over and over in a room full of cacti.
In the morning Rey had the day off but Ben had to work. She pretended to be asleep as he moved around the room getting dressed.
Maybe he had forgotten about…
'I know you're awake and I haven't forgotten. I want those plants gone by the time I get home.'
Rey sat up and looked sad.
Ben looked at her. He walked towards her and leaned down to press a kiss against her forehead.
'You can keep the little ones but I would like to be able to walk around my house without feeling like I'm on the set of little shops of horrors.'
'I'll see you later,' he said tilted her chin up so he could kiss her lips.
Rey listened to him head down the stairs and shut the front door. She heard the car pull out of the driveway then she got up and put on her clothes.
She knew what a sane person would do. They would just get rid of some of the plants. But Rey already knew that wasn't what she was going to do. They all had names now. They were part of her family. She moved every plant in the house into the spare bedroom. Ben never went in there so she figured it would be safe.
When Ben came home that evening he was happy to find that the house was plant free and relieved to find that Rey didn't seem too cut up about it. Maybe she had finally started to see things from his point of view.
They had a perfect evening of good food, a romantic movie and sex for dessert.
Rey was feeling quite smug about pulling the wool over Ben's eyes so she even treated him to a blow job before falling blissfully asleep.
The next morning, Ben woke up in a really good mood. He decided he would surprise Rey with a weekend away. He needed to find the big suitcase. Where did they put it? Ahhh yes in the spare bedroom...
Rey's eyes sprang open at the sound of her name. Ben appeared before her with a stormy look on his face.
'Got rid of all the plants did ya?'
'I tried, I really did, it's just that…'
'It's just that you like making me feel like a fool? is that it?'
'You lied to me, Rey.'
'I know and I'm sorry it's just that…'
'You lied to me over something as stupid as a load of bloody pot plants!'
'Well I don't think it's stupid, you see…'
'I mean what's the big deal? It's just a load of plants! People get rid of their plants all the time! Most of them are old and nearly dead anyway…'
Rey got out of bed.
'And is that what you'll do to me Ben? If I'm annoying you or if I get too old? Will you throw me out? Will you discard me as easily as you will these plants?'
'Of course not, Rey you're overreacting…'
He reached out for her but she put a hand out towards him. She started to cry.
'I know what you think. She's just over emotional, she's probably just tired, it couldn't possibly be anything to do with the fact that her parents abandoned her when she was young and then a countless number of foster families rejected her for being an inconvenience to them. It couldn't be linked to the fact that she made a pact with herself when she was just seven years old that she would never disvalue a living thing because she knew what it felt like to be treated like an unwanted piece of junk?'
Ben looked crestfallen.
'Rey, I'm so sorry-'
'Don't. Just don't.'
Rey felt raw and exposed. She was ashamed that she was sobbing but she couldn't help it. She needed to get away from the situation. She focused on finding some clothes.
'I'm going to go to Roses,' she said as she pulled on a shirt.
'Rey, please let's talk about this,' Ben pleaded.
'There's nothing to say, I know what you're thinking.'
'No you don't, please just listen to me.'
Rey finished dressing and shoved her feet into her trainers. She grabbed her handbag and headed for the doorway. Ben blocked her path.
'Ben please,' she begged with red rimmed eyes.
He moved aside.
Rey ran down the stairs and unlocked the front door. She took a deep breath of cold morning air. It helped her calm down a little. She walked to Rose's house and knocked on the door. Rose's husband Armitage answered it. He took one look at Rey and ushered her inside. Rey sat down numbly in the living room.
She heard Armitage talking to Rose quietly in the kitchen. She peeked through the doorway at them.
'I'll take Paige to the park for a few hours,' he said scooping Rey's darling god-daughter out of her high chair and kissing Rose gently on the cheek. Rey almost started crying again as she watched the happy family.
Once Armitage and Paige had left, Rose turned to look at her friend. She opened her arms and Rey all but fell into them.
'What happened?' Rose asked as she stroked her hair.
'I had a melt down, and I just needed to get out of there, I'm sorry, I just didn't know where to…'
'Hey, this is the place,' Rose said gently.
Rey smiled, she could always rely on Rose.
Rose made some tea and they sat in the lounge together. Rey told her everything that had happened.
'I know I overreacted but it just felt like he wasn't even trying to see my side.'
'It's hard for him to understand, he didn't grow up in the system.'
Rey rubbed at her eyes, she suddenly felt very tired.
'Do you want to lie down?' Rose asked.
Rey nodded and Rose led her to the spare bedroom.
'I'll call you when it's dinner time.'
'Thank you, Rose,' Rey said as she climbed into the bed.
'I'm sure everything will seem better when you wake up.'
'I hope so.'
Rey didn't know how long she had been asleep but she woke up to the sounds of Rose and Armitage talking quietly outside the room.
'Has he called?' She heard Armitage ask.
'No,' Rose replied. Rey's heart sank.
He hadn't called? Was he done with her?
A week passed and Ben didn't call. She resigned herself to the fact that it was really over. She didn't go to work that week.
On the seventh day, he came. Rose let him in. He looked awful, his clothes were crumpled, his eyes were dark from lack of sleep and his hair was greasy and slicked back.
'Rey, please come home.'
Rey was still hurt that it had taken a week for him to miss her. Was he just here because he missed having clean clothes and a warm body in bed next to him?
'I don't know, things are different now,' she answered.
'Please Rey, give me one hour, then if you want to leave, I won't stop you.'
Rey got into the car with Ben and they travelled back to the house they shared together.
'Did you get rid of my plants?' She asked as she got out of the car.
Ben held out his hand towards her and she took it. He led her through the house to the living room. She gasped when she saw that the living room now had two double doors which led into a newly constructed conservatory.
She looked back at Ben questiongly.
'Go ahead,' Ben said gesturing for her to open them.
Rey opened the doors and walked into the warm, glass room.
Every surface in the room was occupied by one of her beloved plants. They even hung from the ceiling. In the corner of the extension was a large, floral fabric chair and a matching footstool with a small table covered in books.
'I made this for you, to show you how much I love you,' Ben said as he appeared behind her.
'How did you do this so quickly?'
'I had a little help from Mom and her bank account.'
Rey's heart filled with love. He did care.
'This is beautiful, Ben. No one has ever done anything like this for me before.'
Ben came to stand in front of her.
'Rey, I was wrong. I've always known that you have a big heart. I should have realised that it was big enough to love everything that comes into your sphere, not just the things with beating hearts.'
Rey smiled. He did understand.
'I love you,' she said.
'I love you more,' Ben said.
'I understand now that the reason you were so upset is because you didn't have a lot of constants in your life as you grew up and you're still worried that I'm going to disappear. Rey, I'm your family now and I want you to know that I will never leave you. I'm your permanency, I'm your forever, and with that in mind, there's something that I want to ask you.'
Ben got down on one knee and Rey felt as if the ground below her was shaking.
'Rey, my darling girl, you're the love of my life. My light in the darkness, the source of my happiness and the better half of our shared soul. Will you make me truly complete, and agree to marry me?'
'Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Of course I'll marry you, Ben,' Rey replied immediately as tears clouded her vision. He stood and embraced her tightly.
'We can pick a ring out together, but I hope this will do for now.'
Ben picked a daisy from a nearby pot. He cut a slit into the stalk with his nail and pulled the head through to create a loop. He slipped the makeshift ring onto Rey's finger.
Rey felt more tears begin to flow down her cheeks as she looked at the flower wrapped around her finger.
Their lips found each other and they kissed passionately. Later, as they sat wound together in the floral armchair, Rey felt strong enough to regain her sense of humour.
'I assume you are going to insist that one of my wedding vows has to state I can't buy anymore plants,' she joked.
Ben kissed her forehead.
'You may buy all the plants you wish for, my darling. Just please keep the spiky ones away from my ass.'
'It's a deal.'
Ben nuzzled her neck and Rey squirmed in his lap as she felt him harden against her thigh.
'Seems like plants aren't the only things growing around here,' she murmured.
'What can I say? We've missed you.'
Rey stood up and held out her hand.
'Let's go upstairs and you can show me how much.'
Rey led him to the bedroom and they fell onto the bed together. Ben pressed soft kisses down her throat.
'You're my sunshine Rey, I could never live without you,' he murmured against her skin.
'I'll never leave you again, Ben. I love you.'
'I love you too.'
They made love all through the night and fell asleep tangled together like twisted roots.
The next day, whilst sitting in her new favourite room, Rey noticed a quote Ben had framed and placed on the table beside her:
Beautiful flowers need both the sun and the rain in order to grow and so do beautiful relationships.
She smiled as Ben appeared in the doorway and looked down at her lovingly. She walked towards him and reached up to press a kiss to his lips.
'I'm glad we made it through the rain,' she murmured against his mouth.