Notes: This story was written as an entry for FanArtPolozza 2009 at the Dreamer website, because, so far, no one has given Ben any love. This, actually may have been the only time that I have ever had an idea for a story and then sat down and wrote it, without long stretches or pondering and angsting over it, I'm kind of proud of myself. All characters belong to Lora Innes.
A The Dreamer Fanfiction
Ben Cato was pissed. As soon as he parked in his driveway flung open the door to his truck, his feet hitting the ground heavily, and slammed the door loudly behind him. Leaving his mud coated football gear on the back seat and his mother watching baffled from her garden, he began walking down the street.
Football practice tonight had been a disaster. The other Seniors had somehow gotten it in their heads that the season was as good as won, and that hard work was not really necessary for them. This upset a group of Juniors and caused them to plan some kind of team mutiny. In the middle of all of this mess was the handful of sophomores who just got moved up from JV this week, and had no idea what was going on.
Ben, who as the Captain of the team was supposed to be preventing all of this from happening, was simply in pain. Ben had torn up his knee at the end of last season and once training began this summer he realized it hadn't completely healed.
His coach had noticed too, he pulled Ben aside after tonight's practice and told him that unless things changed, there was a good chance he wasn't going to be a starter this season.
"I'm not saying you won't," Coach Solomon had tried to reassure him, "but you've been a shoo-in choice every other year and I'm not sure that that's going to be the case this year. It's not your fault and I'm really sorry, Ben, but I just wanted to let you know what I'm thinking and where we're at."
He aimlessly turned corners through the neighborhood, just wanting to keep moving, just to prove that he could. All the while wondering if the six months he spent in boring, painful, and all together awful, physical therapy had been for nothing?
He couldn't believe that this was happening. He was about to start his senior year, what was supposed to be the "time of his life," as a second string player, with completely average grades, and no girlfriend.
Well, at least he could change one of those things.
A few blocks ahead he saw John Mulligan at one of the tables set up outside of Charlotte and Virginia's Olde Fashioned Ice Cream Shoppe. He was with a brunette girl who Ben was pretty sure was his cousin, Beatrice Whaley.
Ben never wanted to be seen as the typical, arrogant football player, but anyone would have to be pretty unobservant to not notice that Bea had had a thing for Ben for a while now.
Not that he had never noticed her before. He wasn't sure if she was aware, but since high school started, he had seen every show she had been in. Not because he was that interested in You Can't Take it with You or Guys and Dolls, but because he loved watching Bea Whaley act. Whether she played a damsel in distress or an undercover agent, she had a spark to her while she was on stage that he never saw in the quiet girl in the hallway. Maybe it was time to start looking for it.
As Ben made his way toward them, he saw John suddenly stand up, Bea whipped around backwards in her chair with a panicked expression and then immediately grab onto John's arm, saying something to him with a desperate look on her face. John violently shook off her grip and walked inside the ice cream parlor. Really, just watching that scene go down was enough to brighten Ben's day.
"Hey, Bea." Ben said casually, walking around the table to stand behind John's now empty chair.
"Hey!" She said quickly, blushing. She was fidgeting with her sliver spoon, which making a ting noise as it hit the sides of the glass of her mint chocolate chip sundae. "John had to make a phone call." She added lamely.
"That's cool." Ben said, taking the liberty to sit across the table from her. "How was your summer?"
"Pretty boring. I spent a few weeks in New York for Drama Camp, but aside from that I just hung out here."
"Yeah, me too, except for football, we've been having two-a-days since the middle of August."
"It's hard work, winning championships." Bea said with a shrug and a smile.
"Yeah," Ben agreed halfheartedly, her playful attitude didn't stop the wave regret that washed over him. He changed the subject, "What about you, do you know what the fall show is going to be?"
"Yeah, actually, it hasn't been announced yet but I ran into Mrs. Russle at the mall yesterday and she said we're gonna do Romeo and Juliet, but shhh it's a secret." She giggled bringing her finger over her lips.
"It safe with me" Ben laughed.
"Hey, Cato! What's up?" said John as he walked up to the table.
"Who was oh-so-important that you had to go call them right away?" Bea angrily interrupted.
"That's none on your business!" John shot back making a face.
Ben laughed. "Well I don't want to break up the love, and I'm sure my mom wants me back for dinner, but it was great talking to you Bea, I'll see you both next week at school."
John waved and Bea said "Yeah, see you then!" her face flushing, yet again.
Ben headed back towards his house he couldn't help but think that Beatrice was really kind of adorable once you got her talking. So, maybe football wasn't going to work out for him, maybe he could spend some time checking out other things. A block away from home Ben surprised himself by abruptly turning into the Blockbuster and marching straight back to the Romance section.
The first two copies of Romeo and Juliet that he picked up were in black and white. Ben didn't mind making some changes, but some things were just too much. The next DVD was the version they'd watched freshman year when they read the play in class. The case proudly displayed that the film was "brought to you in Technicolor," but the kid playing Romeo looked exactly like the kid from the High School Musical movies, which seemed far too ironic for this situation. Ben was starting to wonder if this was all a bad idea, but there was one version left, and he cautiously reached for it.
Once he looked it over he realized he'd seen this one before too. His older sister had watched all of the Leonardo Dicaprio movies on a loop for most of his Elementary school years. There was a gun right on the front, and if he remembered correctly, there was more than one scene of Claire Danes hanging out in a bathrobe.
Ben paid for the DVD in slight disbelief of what he was doing. He tried to shake it off, renting a movie didn't mean he was making any commitments. It wasn't like he was going to quit the team, even if he got a part in the play. And wasn't high school a time for trying new things? The possibility of winning the girl was just an added bonus.