Links to parts 1-6 can be found here.
“Oh, no!” Betty exclaimed, startling Oscar from his snooze on her lap. “Ben, would you pass me my purse, please? I’ve forgotten to text Shepard.”
Ben leaned forward to pick up Betty’s deceptively heavy handbag from the coffee table and handed it to her. “I’d better wait a while before texting him myself, then, so he won’t suspect that we have something going on.”
Betty stared at him, her jaw practically on her chest. “Ben, is that joke? Yes sir, you are definitely coming out of your shell. I like it. I really do, Ben.” she said, her voice softening toward the end as she realized that she might sound a little too harsh on him.
Oscar had enough of the ruckus and hopped to the floor from Betty’s lap with a soft chuffing sound. He sauntered off down the hall, giving one glance back over his shoulder to make sure Betty was feeling appropriately guilty for disturbing his slumber. Unfortunately for him, she wasn’t.
Betty hadn’t even looked up from her phone where she was still typing a text to Shepard and struggling to save his number in her contacts. Ben squirmed awkwardly on the couch, trying to be quiet, but Betty heard his movement. She looked up.
“I’m sorry, Ben, did I forget to tell you where the bathroom is? Come on, I’ll point it out to you while I grab some blankets for that couch.”
Ben followed Betty down the hall and closed the bathroom door behind him after she pointed him in the right direction. Betty was rummaging through her linen closet when she heard her phone vibrating insistently on the coffee table, back in the living room. She grabbed the top two blankets and rushed to grab her phone.
It was Shepard. Thought I’d never hear from you! These kids are a handful! Get some rest and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Betty quickly typed a reply. Sounds great!
Ben came back from the bathroom as Betty was shaking out the two blankets she’d retrieved for him. “I really appreciate everything you’re doing for me, Betty. I mean it,” he said.
“Don’t you worry about it,” Betty replied. “And don’t you forget that I said you could stay as long as you like. this world would be a much better place if people would just take a little care of each other.”
Ben couldn’t argue that. He rifled through his backpack for his toothbrush.
“You probably don’t watch a lot of TV anymore, do you?” Betty asked.
Ben shook his head. “Not a lot of cable in the places I stay most nights.”
Betty picked up the remote and turned on the tube, changing the channel to the programming guide. “Go ahead and pick something for us to watch, then. It’s been a long day for both of us, and you probably want to just veg out as much as I do, am I right?”
Ben grinned at her, and began scanning the channels for a title that he recognized. “How about a movie? Splash has always been one of my favorites.”
“Sounds great!” Betty quickly agreed. She flipped to the correct channel, and the pair settled back to watch the movie in companionable silence.
…to be continued.