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Benny Watts Stag Party

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'Well, we drank champagne and danced all night
Under electric candlelight
She picked me up and sat me on her knee
And said "Dear boy, won't you come home with me?"

Well, I'm not the world's most passionate guy
But when I looked in her eyes, well I almost fell for my Lola
La-la-la-la Lola
La-la-la-la Lola' - Song Link

 

It was not strictly agreed between Beth and Benny that Benny didn’t drink around Beth, he just did it. He could think of nothing worse than trying to recover from an alcohol addiction and having people constantly drinking around you, so Benny just decided one night he would avoid drinking around her. Not because he doubted her strength, not that he doubted her, he just didn’t want to make it harder for her than it already was. 

So Benny made a point to avoid drinking around her. That wasn’t to say the odd time when he was trying to relax he’d have a beer and Beth would have her sparkling apple juice and cigarettes on their balcony overlooking New York and he would go on about how terrible the city was and she just would hum along.

He rather loved it, this little system they had created. After a hard tournament or a difficult week, after touring Europe or fighting with the federation, Benny would sit on the balcony and have a beer and Beth would join them.

It was on the same balcony that Benny asked Beth to marry him. She dropped her cigarette, looking at him and nodding slowly. Then there was laughter and tears and hugging. 

Benny was never one to turn down a party. And he knew his stag party was going to be the event of the century. He didn’t know what Weiss had something planned, and he knew Beth also knew about it because every time she looked at him she started grinning and had to leave the room to quietly giggle somewhere until she composed herself. 

That was how Benny found himself with Weiss, Wexler, Levertov, Friedman, Matt and Mike all dressed as various chess pieces and was presented with a rather ridiculous crown.

“For the Queen,” Weiss grinned, putting it on his head.

“I’m not a Queen. I’m a King.”

“For tonight, no you’re not! Join me in toasting to Benny Watts! The prettiest lady to ever play chess!”

And then the drinking began. The first game was simple, it was Pass Out and if there was something Benny knew how to do, it was how to play a board game. So he wasn’t overly drunk at that. Then they played shot chess. for every piece that another player took you had to drink and soon after that, everyone left until only Benny and Danny were left in the shitty apartment drinking together. When it was only the two left, that was when their grand adventure was had. Benny could not answer how they ended up at central park trying to feed the ducks or what possessed him to think standing in the lake, knee deep in water trying to become the King of The Ducks was a good idea. Yet here he was.

“I’m going to become the Duck King,” Benny whispered to Danny.

“You’re already a Queen.”

“Why can’t I be both?” he staggered forward, grabbing the orange cone and swinging it upwards. “Hear me! Thy peasants, it is I! King Queen Benny Watts the Fourth. I am your new leader, we ride at Dawn to overthrow the Queen of the Swans!”

“Overthrow the Swans!” Danny yelled back, hitting the bin lid he had stolen.  

Benny was starting to feel pleasantly buzzed now from alcohol. 

He staggered back to the grassy bank, breathless and giggling. “I will be their King and Queen and they will love me!”

“All hail King Queen Benny Watts!” Danny cheered. Benny looked at his second, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and leaning against him.

“I love you, Danny.”

“I love you too, Benny. You dumbass.” 

“And, I’m marrying Beth Harmon.”

“You’re marrying Beth fucking Harmon. The true Queen of Chess.”

“Nah.. nah, Beth is a King. She’s the most important piece. She can’t be taken off the board, she can’t be defeated. She’s the true King and Queen of Chess.”

“And you’re marrying her,” Danny whispered. “Who would’ve thought you’d settle down?”

“Some people find religion, I find a murderous ginger who would slash my tires if I didn’t compliment her dress.”

“Would she?”

“I speak from experience,” he grinned. What a fun trip that had been. When Beth was utterly exhausted from travelling and Benny said her dress made her look like a fish. 

He then discovered his tires slashed and Beth smoking out the window with a tragic look, “I tried to fend them off,” she explained, clearly not having moved.

“What happened?” 

“You pissed someone off, and they slashed your tires,” she shrugged.

Benny grinned at the memory, holding onto Danny tighter.

 “She’s a scary biscuit,” Danny murmured

“I think she’s a peacock.”

“A peacock?”

“Mmm. Beautiful but deadly, could break you in half and pick your eyes out but still look stunning,” Benny mused, looking at the distance. “And I get to spend the rest of my life with her.”

“If you survive.”

“I will survive, she likes me too much to kill me,” he grinned. “I need to go home, I’ve left her too long.”

“Let's go home then,” Danny agreed, linking his arm with Bennys and staggering back to the apartment block of which Beth and Benny lived. He couldn’t recall the journey home, he was utterly convinced that he had returned to Dannys.

Yet, standing before him like a glorious angel was Beth. What was Beth doing here? She didn’t like going to Weiss’s because it was worse than Bennys old flat.

“Benny,” she sounded like she had been saying his name for a while now. She snapped her fingers in front of him. “Get it together, cowboy.”

“Beth?”

“Jesus, Benny. What did you drink?”

“Why are you at Danny’s?”

“Benny, you’re home. Well, I didn’t know this until Tara came knocking, I was enjoying an evening to myself and she comes knocking and says ‘Hi Beth! Your cowboy passed out in the stairwell and blocked it!’. You stupid ass,” she muttered, hauling him to his feet and looking at him.

And all he could do was grin at her, pecking her lips softly.

“Don’t be angry?”

“You smell worse than a brewery.” 

“Please?”

“What did you even drink?”

“Beer, champagne, then Levertov brought out this green stuff.”

“Oh my god, Benny,” Beth wrapped her arm firmly around him and tapped his cheek. “Stay awake, and get it together.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“You’re a sassy little… peacock.” 

“A peacock?”

“Caw caw,” Benny whispered in her ear before doubling over and throwing up all over his shoes. Benny wiped his mouth with his sleeve, looking at Beth with a frown. “I think I’m drunk.”

Benny,” she said so softly, “Alright. Let's get you into bed,” she murmured, opening their door and dragging him into the apartment. There was the intention of going to bed, but they made a detour to the bathroom for Benny to continue to empty his stomach contents. Beth remained by his side, rubbing the space between his shoulders.

“Here, drink some water,” she instructed, handing him the glass. Benny took it, almost downing it at once but she stopped him. “Not at once, slow sips.”

Benny huffed, slowly sipping the water as instructed. He was very tired, his head felt too heavy now.

 “Beth…” he whined, “I’m dying.”

“You’re not dying, Benny. You’re drunk.”

“Don’t like being drunk,” he mumbled, rubbing his face. Beth kneeled before him, gently wiping his face with a damp cloth and then kissing his nose. 

“You’ll be OK, Benny.”

“Will you come to my funeral?”

“Of course, I’ll be your widow.”

“We’re not married yet.”

“Nobody needs to know that,” she smiled, touching his cheek. “Come to bed?”

Benny did have the intention of going to bed. He did, but he saw his beloved record player and it looked sad. 

Benny didn’t want his record player to be sad.

“Benny,” Beth’s voice cut through the silence. Benny just made a shush gesture at her, grabbing The Kinks and gasping when Lola came on. 

“Beth.”

“Benny.”

“Bethhhhh.”

“Benny.”

Benny wriggled his hips and eyebrows, opening his hands for Beth.

“We’re not dancing, Benny.”

“Please,” Benny huffed, taking her and beginning to sway with her. He could see Beth fighting with herself. “Let your hair down, kiddo,” Benny grabbed the head scarf wrapped around Beth's head, letting her hair fall loose around her. He always thought she looked pretty with her hair down. “Boogie with me.”

“Boogie with you?”

“Let’s go,” he pulled Beth close, bobbing side to side and grinning the entire time. He saw the small quirk to Beth's lips as she tried to fight a smile. And he loved the sight.

He held her hand, twirling her around and then pulling her close again, wrapping his arms around her tight and starting to sing along.

Well, we drank champagne and danced all night

Under electric candlelight

She picked me up and sat me on her knee

And said "Dear boy, won't you come home with me?" Benny sang, holding Beth close and kissing her head softly. 

“Sing, Beth. Sing it with me.”

Well, I'm not the world's most passionate guy

But when I looked in her eyes, well I almost fell for my Lola

La-la-la-la Lola

La-la-la-la Lola

Lola

La-la-la-la Lola

La-la-la-la Lola,” they sang together, giggling and grinning. Beth managed to pull Benny away from his beloved record player, changing him into something more comfortable. He crawled into the bed and hummed gently. 

“Beth?”

“What, Benny?”

“Thanks for marrying me.”

“We aren’t married yet, Benny.”

“You still said yes, though,” he opened his arms, even in his drunkest state he still knew Beth liked to be the little spoon. She curled into his arms and got comfortable.

“I love you, Watts.”

“Love you too, kid.”

 

---

 

The morning, Benny hated the sun. He groaned, burying his head amongst the pillows and wishing for nothing more than death. 

“Good morning, sunshine. Someone feeling fragile?”

“Ssh,” Benny murmured, sitting up and rubbing his temple as Beth handed him a cup of coffee and a bowl of fruit. He frowned at that, looking at her.

“Fruit?”

“You need it after last night.”

“What happened last night?”

“Well, you passed out on the stairs. You threw up outside Mrs McCullogh’s door so I just had to pay to have you're sick cleaned up. Then you insisted we dance to Lola by the Kinks, and you called me a peacock.”

“Fuck,” he breathed, rubbing his nose and taking a long drink of the coffee and wincing slightly. “I am so sorry.”

“It was very entertaining.”

“I didn’t… I don’t mean to drink around you.”

“Benny, you don’t have to tiptoe around me. You had a good night, and I’m so glad you did because you deserved it and needed to blow off steam. I’m glad you were safe and came home.”

“I’ll always come home to you, Beth.”

Beth leaned down, gently kissing his cheek. “That’s all I can ask then.”

And, two days later. Benny emerged for breakfast with Beth who he could hear cackling from the kitchen. He frowned, sitting at the table and looking at the newspaper and nearly spilling his coffee over himself.

Before him was a picture of Benny standing in the lake of Central Park, arms in their air and holding a traffic cone with Danny behind him cheering.

Why have the drunks of New York became so unruly? Last night as I took a stroll with my wife, we were met with the most undignified scene. Two young drunken men stood in the lake claiming to be the Kings and Queens of Ducks and I ask you now, the people of New York, what has our city become? That this sort of dysfunction takes place right on our doorstep? These mad men clearly need psychological help, and we urge them to seek it.’

“Fuck me,” Benny whispered, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Just wait until the Chess Federation find out,” Beth murmured.

“You’re marrying this.”

“I always rather liked the idea of marrying someone who was a social outcast and delinquent.”

“Well then, buckle up, kid.”

Beth looked at him, reaching down and kissing him gently, a true kiss.

“I love you, Benny Watts.”

“I love you too, Beth Harmon.”