All Kinds of Headaches
Posted on Fri Jun 28th, 2013 @ 12:36am by Clarice Darling
Edited on Fri Jun 28th, 2013 @ 12:05pm
Date: Feb. 23, 2010
Time: 7:23 pm
Location: Clarice's room on the second floor
Clarice was laying on her pink counterpane, facing her big picture window, currently curtained, the mirror on her bureau currently reflecting her prone figure, still dressed for dinner in a long, white, sleeveless shift. She'd taken out her gold hoops, but she still had her bracelet and (sigh) her engagement ring on. She watched the light overhead sparkle off of the diamond. It wasn't too big, but tasteful, and surrounded by tiny pink sapphires. She adored the twisting gold band it was on. It was enough for her. More than enough.
The door opened, but she didn't turn to look. After the tantrum she'd thrown during dinner, she didn't want to deal with it if it happened to be her mother, or heaven forbid, Jana. The slow tread and the belt buckle that she saw out of the corner of her eye told her who it was, but she waited until he was at the side of the bed before looking up at him. "Hey, Benny," she said with a weak smile. "Didn't think I'd see you again tonight."
He climbed up on the bed, taking off his boots and stretching out his full length on the other side of her bed, a nice, big queen (a gift from her mother for her 18th birthday after they got back from the ranch). He hung up his hat on her bedside lamp and looked at her, serious. "I'm not leaving without talking to my girl." He pushed back her hair. "Even if she was a brat tonight."
She pouted. "But Benny..." Another look. She sighed. "I know, I know. She just got me so mad. Jana was just pushing my buttons, I just hated it when she said I was only getting a degree for the piece of paper." Her fist tightened. She knew she was more intelligent than that, and her baby cousin was just being a brat and dragging her down to her level...
"Or that you were only marrying me because all your friends were getting married."
"And making fun of my taste in clothes."
"And TV. Though I admit I don't understand the whole Real Housewives thing..."
"Hey!" She gave him a look. "They're just trying to get rid of the stigma that *Desperate* Housewives left them with!"
They looked at each other, and burst out laughing.
Still chuckling, he rested a hand on the side of her waist. "You know what I mean, though. She's trying to get a rise out of you, get you to yell at her. Because you're beautiful, with your brown hair and brown eyes, classy style, and figure that finally filled out." She gave him a push. "Hey! I'm just saying, she's a kid. She's rail thin and more knees and elbows than you ever were. You're intimidating, and while I can understand being that way around other people, in your own home you should be able to relax it a bit. She only lost her parents six months ago." He released her waist and took her hand. "Give her a break." He kissed the back of it.
Clarice sighed. "I know. I just... things aren't going the way I planned. I have to practically lock my room when I leave the house, so everything stays the way I left it. Momma never has time to take me shopping anymore, because she has to take the kids shopping. Denise, Debra and Wanda are all busy with their own weddings, and we don't do anything together anymore. And the wedding planner we hired is a complete idiot and doesn't know saffron from lilac!"
Ben nodded. "Yeah, it can be hard making an adjustment. But," he tipped her chin to look at him with his other hand, the arm resting on the bed, "we're getting married in six months, so you'll have to share a room with me anyways," that made her giggle, " and your momma will be left her to raise three kids that really need a mom and dad." He pushed back her hair again. "When all of your friends are married with you everyone'll have something to talk about at lunch, and the only thing important about the wedding is that I'll be waiting at the end of the aisle to make you my wife. It'll all work itself out or be someone else's problem." His thumb traced her bottom lip. "So take it down a couple notches, okay?"
Clarice nodded. "Okay. I guess it just got to me. I'll make it up to her when I recover from my 'headache.'" It had been her excuse to leave dinner early, and she used it at least once a week.
Benjamin smiled. "If you keep getting 'headaches', your mother might take you to see a doctor soon. Or get suspicious and make you stay at dinner."
Clarice shuddered. "I don't like either one," she said. She looked up at him. "How did I get so lucky to get you?"
Ben was still smiling. "You fell of a horse and went to use my taproom instead of going to a real bathroom."
Clarice scowled. "That's not funny! I was being serious!"
"It's the truth!" he defended. "Besides," he laid a kiss on her lips, "it made me want to play hero. You were the snottiest girl out there, but you turned out to have a good heart. I wanted to get to know you better. Like having a little buddy.
"I also wanted to make sure you didn't fall off another horse."
Clarice giggled, but pushed his shoulder again. "You! I learned how to ride just fine, thank you very much. I just didn't think you'd ever see me as more than a kid."
"I didn't think so, either," he said. "I invited your family because I felt sorry for you." She frowned, but he touched the corner of her mouth and pushed it up. "But that changed, and I knew when you were 17 that I didn't feel sorry for you anymore. I just had to wait one more month to prove it."
Clarice shook her head. "You are the only person on the face of the planet who would ever have felt sorry for me," she told him.
Ben pulled her in. "That's because they don't know you like I do," he told her, kissing her again. She returned his kiss, and when he started to move over her he paused, then sighed, pulling away.
He put a finger to her lips. "I told you before, and I'll tell you again. Not until after the wedding." He took in her form. "Even if it kills me." He moved to 'his' side of the bed again, putting on his hat. "Besides, you have a headache," he teased.
Clarice smiled coyly. "There are all kinds of headaches," she said.
Ben put his boots back on and turned, waving his finger at her. "Behave. I'll see you tomorrow." He gave him another small kiss, then got up. "Goodbye, Darlin'." It was a joke between them.
Clarice smiled. "Shoot 'em up, Fourth."
He chuckled, and he left.
She smiled to herself. It was great to be in love with your best friend.
Benjamin Hawthorne Shooter IV