Title: For Now
Fandom: Resident Alien
Characters: D'Arcy Bloom/Ben Hawthorne
Word Count: 2102
Summary: D'Arcy and Ben through the years
Ms. Philworth was an old bat who undoubtedly never had a boyfriend. She didn't smile and she was currently teaching a stupid subject (geography) that D'arcy was never gonna use. There was no point in paying any attention to it. Instead, D'arcy could sit, draw funny pictures in her notebook, and daydream about one day being Mrs. Ben Hawthorne. He sat kitty-korner from her and was so dreamy. It was a shame that she mostly was just able to look at the back of his head because the front of his head was a whole lot better.
“Uh-what?” D'arcy said and some of the other kids started to laugh at her.
Ben turned his head and mouthed the answer to Ms. Philsworth's question.
“A volcano,” D'arcy answered.
Ms. Philsworth's mouth dropped open, then she moved on to her next victim.
D'arcy sent a dazzling smile in Ben's direction. I'm gonna marry that boy, she thought.
“Mikey told me that he kissed Judy.”
“Ugh. She's a skank.”
“Still,” Ben said.
D'arcy rolled her eyes. “Why don't you just ask?”
“Can I kiss you?”
D'arcy's heart quickened. This was really happening. Ben was gonna be so much better a kisser than dumb Mikey Nightingale. She couldn't wait to tell Judy all about it.
D'arcy blinked. She nodded and he started to move forward. She put a hand on his shoulder. “Hold on a second,” she said, taking the piece of gum she'd been chewing out of her mouth and holding it between her thumb and forefinger away from the action. “Okay, I'm ready.”
She closed her eyes and waited, peeking only once when Ben seemed to be taking his time. A moment later, his lips were on hers, smashing their mouths together, then gone almost as soon as it started.
She opened her eyes. He gave her a shy smile. “How was that?”
“Okay, I guess. Maybe we should practice a bit more.”
“So... you want to be my girlfriend?”
She smacked him in the arm. “Of course. I'm not letting just any boy kiss me.”
Ben gave her a goofy grin. “Great.”
It wasn't until their next class when she noticed the chewing gum. It, like her, was stuck on him. On his left sleeve to be exact.
Ben felt a mixture of pride and fear when he watched his girlfriend navigate the slopes. They all could ski, of course, but D'arcy took it to a whole other level. She could fly.
She'd talked about going to the Olympics off and on, even found a coach that could work with her as she pursued her dreams. All Ben could see was that she was eventually going to leave Patience and leave him.
They were going to be starting high school soon. Maybe it was time to bring up the subject of seeing other people to D'arcy.
“Sure,” she said, without any hesitation when he mentioned it.
He really wished she would have hesitated just a little.
They'd had too much to drink. “You're so much better than JT,” Darcy said, leaning heavily against him as she slurred her words. “Why'd we break up?”
Ben thought about it for a moment, then said, “I don't think we have.”
She giggled. “Good.” His eyes widened as she fumbled with his zipper.
“D'arce,” he said, more calmly than he felt as her hands continued to brush against his crotch. “Whatcha doing?”
She put her head close to his ear and whispered loudly, “I'm gonna blow you.”
His dick appreciated that statement- a little too much. He grabbed a decorative throw pillow from the sofa and placed it at the juncture of his legs. If one of the guys saw him with a boner, he'd never live it down. “Um... maybe we should wait until after the party.”
“Yeah, maybe,” she said. Her head was still continuing its downward trajectory. “You have a pillow. Good. I'm gonna take a little nap.”
It was another three months before they had sex, a fumbling first time before they moved on again to other partners.
She'd been in training when she'd heard the news. “Ben's got a girl,” her mother informed her over the phone during a rundown of the town gossip. Why she saved that information until after the gory details of Florence's kidney stones, D'arcy had no idea.
“'Bout time, I guess.”
“She seems a nice girl. Kate Something-or-Other. She's a teacher. They met at one of the city council meetings. Did I tell you he's on the City Council?”
“You told me, Ma.”
“He still asks about you every time he sees me.”
“That's nice. Tell him hello.”
“Tell him yourself. I'm sure he'd love to hear from you.”
“Right, Ma. Hey, I've got to go.” She didn't have to go, not really, but she couldn't keep up the conversation any longer. She finished the call with her mother, then headed out to work out on the slopes and drive all thoughts of Ben Hawthorne from her mind.
Her mother brought D'arcy the cream-colored wedding invitation while she was recovering from her third surgery on her leg. “Two envelopes, really? What a waste. I'm sure Ben thought of giving them a lecture about recycling.”
“It's for the RSVP.”
“Well, that's easy enough. I'm not going.”
“And why not?”
“I can't go like this. Can't let anyone see me like this.”
“Anyone or Ben?”
“Anyone. I'm not looking for pity.”
“Darling, nobody's gonna be looking at you. Their eyes will only be on the bride.”
She pleaded tiredness to her mother. D'arcy wasn't fooling anyone, but her mother knew when to leave well enough alone.
In a few weeks, Kate Something-or-Other would be Mrs. Ben Hawthorne.
And D'arcy would not.
Ben paced back and forth in Sam's office. “I walked into The 59 and she was there. Just there. Flirting with some guy.”
“She's a bartender. Some of that is the nature of the job. When were you last in the bar and the bartender didn't flirt with you?”
“Was Kate with you?”
“Well, yeah. She wanted to go out, didn't want to keep sitting around the house.”
“You see where I'm going with this.”
“I know. I know. But D'arcy... she wasn't supposed to come back. She left.” His voice broke and he said it again, almost a whisper, “She left.”
Sam didn't say anything. Ben took a moment to stare at a picture of a deer that was hanging on the wall. It was a weird picture because the deer's eyes seemed to follow him when he moved. He inhaled deeply and then sat down in a chair across from Sam.
“I'm with Kate now and we're about to have a kid. Life is great, right?”
They'd crossed paths several times. Patience was a small town, how could they not? On the street, at the corner store, at the city council meetings that she had to go to since she was part of the avalanche control team, at the diner. Sometimes Ben was with his wife- his about-to-burst-with-a-baby wife- but most of the times it was just him.
He'd be polite, nod in her direction, occasionally make small talk if there was someone else around. Ben didn't seek her out on his own so she made new friends, temporary friends, just passing through friends. There was no harm in it because she wasn't going to make a connection that would ultimately wind up with her getting her heart broken again.
Sam would refill her birth control and give her the talk about STDs, but he never judged. Judy judged, but she was still a bigger skank than D'arcy would ever be. Asta just smiled, shook her head, and then introduced someone new to D'arcy like any good wing-woman would.
She smiled and learned to ignore the dagger in her heart that hit every time she saw him again.
“You're coming with me,” D'arcy said, looping her arm around his after the city council meeting.
“What? No. I'm fine.”
“Benny, you could barely keep your head up in there.”
“Oh, that's just... Max had a bad night last night. I'm fine.”
“Doesn't matter. Call it my bartender's instinct, but you're not fit to drive.”
“I can walk.”
“It's raining. What kind of friend would I be if I let you walk home in the rain? Get in,” she said, clicking the button on her car key that would unlock both doors and walking around the truck to get in the driver's seat.
He looked up at her, sitting in the car, the ignition not yet running, just waiting for him. This is a terrible idea, he thought, before opening the passenger side door.
She started the ignition. He listened to the terrible drag of the wipers against the glass. “You probably should change those,” he said.
“Yeah. I bought a pair, just haven't put them on yet.”
They fell silent once again. “We're living at the apartments on State Street. Until I can get the house ready.”
“Oh right. Jeez, you're doing it all, aren't you? Raising a kid, rehabbing a house, running for mayor.”
“It's not...” Ben tried to discount it. In all these months, Kate had never really acknowledged it like that. It threw him for a bit of a loop.
The car was rapidly approaching the turn onto State. “Can we go somewhere or do you have plans?” he asked.
“No. But you should probably get some sleep.”
“Well, you know I love it when they beg. Alright.”
She drove them to the high school and pulled into the parking lot behind the building, turning the lights off.
“Tenth grade seems so long ago,” he said.
“Yeah,” she kept her gaze straight ahead, looking out toward the football field.
“What kind of friend...” he whispered to the passenger side window, so quietly that she could barely hear anything other than the murmur of his words over the sound of the rain.
“What was that?”
“Just thinking. You said, 'what kind of friend would I be if I let you walk home in the rain'.”
“What kind of friend have you been? I mean... what do I mean? Just forget it. I'm talking nonsense. Just take me home.”
“Screw you, Benny.” The rain started to pound harder against the windshield. “I'm not letting you go. Not after that.” She was breathing hard, sounding as if she'd just finished a race. Ben closed his eyes and braced himself for the onslaught.
He opened them when he felt the cool rush of air from the driver's side door opening. “D'arce,” he called. “Come back inside.” He heard her let out a frustrated cry and contemplated going out into the rain after her. Before he could pop open the passenger door, she swung back up into the driver's seat. Her hair was dripping from the rain, but she looked beautiful.
Before he could stop himself, he leaned over the gear shift and pressed his mouth to hers. Almost as soon as the kiss had started, he was backing away mumbling apologies. She was going to hate him for this. Kate was going to hate him for this. He hated himself for this.
“You really needed that, huh?”
“No, it's not.”
“You just had a moment. That's all it was. That's all it was ever going to be,” she said gently.
You, not we. That's what they had become.
He nodded, though he didn't know why, and she started the car again. “Let's get you home.”
When they were a block away from the apartment building, she pulled the car over.
“Just so you know, I still think of you as my friend,” she said.
“Yeah. Yeah. Me too. Never stopped.”
“Good.” D'arcy gave him a smile. “That's settled then.”
He found himself smiling back as she drove him to his apartment building.
“See you around.”
It might not be perfect.
It might not be what either of them expected.
But they'd settled into something and would be there for each other when they were needed.
And that was all that either of them could ask.