Note: Sadly, this fic is at an end. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Don't fret! I am always working on new stories and you can always reread the old stories! lol Please review!
Benny didn't answer in the hopes that Maureen would think he was talking in his sleep. When she whacked him hard on the chest, he knew she wasn't fooled. He rubbed the wounded area and sat up. He risked a glance at Maureen's face and immediately wished he hadn't. Her eyes flashed with fury and hurt. Somehow, her rage made her even more beautiful. That and the fact that the sheet only covered her from the waist down. This conversation, however, was going to be ugly.
"Who the fuck is Allison?" she repeated, a little louder this time.
Benny knew she wasn't going to like the answer. How could he explain himself? "It's a long story, Mo. I don't even know where to start."
"I have all day. I've been waiting a long time for an explanation from you, Benjamin."
She'd used his first name. That was never a good sign. Benny looked her straight in the eye and said, "Allison is my fiancé."
He ignored the pain that first sentence brought to her face and continued. "I didn't intend for it to happen. She was nothing but the boss' daughter to me. I would see her at the office occasionally. She happened to be at the Christmas party this year. We started talking and, after quite a few drinks, she took me outside for some 'fresh air;." Benny chuckled bitterly.
"I should have known better. She started to kiss me, but I pushed her away. She became angry and confused. I explained that I had a girlfriend waiting for me at home who was probably wondering where I was. Allison accused me of leading her on when all I did was treat her with respect. She is the boss' daughter, so I couldn't ignore her. I tried to reason with her, but she wasn't hearing any of it. I turned to go when she threatened me."
Maureen could barely speak past the lump in her throat. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. "What did she say?"
"Wait until my father hears what you've done, " he mimicked. "She was going to make up a story to tell her father that would paint me in a bad light and get me fired. The only way she would stay quiet was if I married her."
Maureen was stunned. "So you just agreed on the spot?"
"What was I supposed to do, Maureen? Say 'thanks, but I'd rather lose my job than marry you'?"
"If you loved me, yes!" Benny looked away from her stricken face. "Did you even think about me? You could have reminded her that you had a girlfriend that you were very much in love with who meant more to you than your job.." She stopped and studied him. "Or do I?" she uttered barely above a whisper.
"Don't say that, Mo." Benny reached out to caress her face, but Maureen backed away.
"No. I understand now. I never meant anything to you. I was a piece of ass to come home to every night."
"It wasn't like that, Maureen."
"Wasn't it? The fact that you let some stranger blackmail you into an engagement instead of giving up your job speaks volumes to me about our relationship."
Benny didn't respond. He did love her, but she would never believe him. Everything he'd done up to this point contradicted his feelings for her. So, he would lie with his silence. He watched her take his silence as an admission. She drew the sheet over her breasts and turned away from him.
"Get out," she said softly. When Benny didn't move, she turned back to face him. Her eyes glittered with unshed tears and rage.
"Get out!!" she screamed.
That made Benny go. He picked up his clothes and headed to the bathroom. When he emerged, he found Roger and Collins standing by the couch. Their body language was less than friendly. Collins stood straight and tall, his arms folded across his broad chest. Roger had his shoulders back and was clenching his fists. They didn't have to speak. The looks on their faces spoke for them. Benny knew he was no longer welcome among them.
"I'll be gone by tomorrow night," he told them and he walked out of the loft.
Mark came out of his room and followed Roger and Collins into Maureen's room. They found her in the same position she was in when Benny left her. The men sat around her on the bed. Collins drew her into his arms, Mark placed a hand on her knee, and Roger stroked her dark curls. Their comfort spilled the tears from her eyes. Her breath came in heavy, body-wracking sobs.
None of the men said a word. They simply offered their love in an attempt to erase her pain. As Maureen sobbed, a bitter and vengeful part of her vowed never to let anyone hurt her this was again. Benjamin Coffin III would regret the day he crossed Maureen Johnson.