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Staying the night

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It isn’t until half past six when Ben shows up to watch the videos the next day. Bea had gotten a text before she left school that said “Test from hell done. Need sleep and a snack before watching vlogs, was up until 4 studying. Love!” so she isn’t really surprised. When Ben shows up, though, he’s his usual energetic self, and is really eager to continue watching the videos. This time, she’s not getting overwhelmed by the rude comments past!Bea hurled towards Ben; instead, she could see the hilarity of the hypocrisy.

“’Gangly giraffe’, huh?” Ben murmurs in her ear when they get to the video where she overheard Hero and the others.

“It’s a very fitting description of you,” she returns, “Besides, I like giraffes!” Ben grins at her, and takes her hand.

“Well, gangly giraffe is better than crotchety old emu!” he teases, and intercepts her other hand, trying to pinch him.

 

When they get to Balthazar’s second song, Bea brings up something she’s suspected for a while.

“So, Balth wrote this for Pedro, and put this up all those months ago? And Pedro still hasn’t cottoned on? Jeez, talk about thick!” Ben is just looking at the screen with a stunned expression on his face.

“Pedro filmed this??”

“Nope, he just stood there.” Bea replies. “Ursula’s the genius.” Ben shakes his head slowly.

“I had no idea Balth felt that way. And Pedro just stood there and didn’t realise that Balthazar has a huge crush on him?”

Bea snorted. “Like I said, thick! But you didn’t know before this? I’ve been suspecting things for about a month.”

“I had no clue! But it does make a lot of sense, now that you point it out. Poor Balthy, if that song wasn’t obvious enough for Pedro, I don’t know what is.”

“Well,” Bea says, leaning her head on Ben’s shoulder. “We can’t all write such classic pieces of love declaration as Beatrice, you’re vivacious, can we?” Ben completely ignores her smirk in favour of putting his arm around her.

“You love it, and you know it! I’m just wondering when your song will be up on YouTube. It really isn’t fair to Balthy not to display his amazing talents to the internet.

“Oh, look, the next video is starting now!” Bea chooses to ignore him, like she has every time he’s asked her about it for the past week. Ben, thankfully, drops the subject, and turns his attention to the screen.

“Hey!” Hero says, from her place in the chair next to the sofa occupied by Bea and Ben. “This isn’t about my present at all! Sneaky Beatrice!” Bea only offers a shrug of half-hearted apology to her, guessing by now that Hero had already known it wasn’t really about her birthday gift.

 

Her cousin makes herself scarce when they reach the videos from her party. Bea doesn’t blame her in the slightest, since she’s not sure she can sit through these videos without losing her calm, much less Hero. Ben takes over the twitter duties, but they decide to refrain from putting their comments online for a while. Halfway through Ursula’s video from the party, Bea can’t take it anymore, and buries her head in Ben’s neck. Closing her eyes, she can almost shut out the sounds of Claudio yelling at her cousin, and her cousin’s panicked breaths. When she hears Ben’s furious yell of “Turn that camera off!”, she lifts her head and gives him a kiss on the cheek.

“I love you, you know.” Ben looks back at her, the same furious turmoil in his eyes as she feels in her stomach. He tilts his head toward her, and leans his forehead against her. (This is rapidly becoming one of her favourite things, leaning her head against his and breathing together.)

“I know” he whispers. “I love you too.”

This exchange is repeated a few minutes later when they get to Ben’s video ‘WORDS’. Ben hasn’t let go of her since she cuddled up for comfort, and when she challenges Claudio on his channel, he holds her even tighter.

“I love you best in all the world, isn’t that fucking weird?”

“Not as weird as me loving you back, Ben. Just make it less sappy when you put it on the internet,” she adds as he starts tapping away on the screen. While Ben’s updating her twitter, Bea starts thinking of what happened after they turned the camera off that day. Warmth spreads through her as she remembers how she and Ben had cuddled up on his bed and just talked for hours. At first, it had all been about Hero and the crappy situation with their friends, but then they had started talking about other things, like the best character in Game of Thrones, or best headcanon from Harry Potter, and somehow, without even knowing how they got there, they just lay there, holding each other’s hand and let their eyes talk. Bea was certain that words like “Hey, I really like you, do you like me, wanna go out?” had never been spoken between her and Benedick, but she was equally certain that it was that day when they had first been honest about their feelings. If hard pressed by hero to name a date when they got together, that date was pretty high up on Bea’s list.

 

Ben puts the phone down, and wraps his arms around her again.

“Though the video wasn’t about a great topic, I really enjoyed what came afterwards” he mumbles in her hair.

“Mmm, me too,” Bea sighs. “I remember not wanting to go home that night, back to a sullen Leo and a heartbroken Hero. A selfish bit of me wanted to stay right there with you.” His arms tighten around her.

“You’re not selfish for wanting to be happy, Bea. You needed a break so you could keep being a support for Hero, there’s nothing wrong with that. Besides, I don’t think a sleepover at that stage would have been a good idea for us.”

“What about now?” Bea asks, and twists her head to look at Ben’s face (damn this height difference!). “Would a sleepover at this stage be a bad idea for us? I mean, not an accidental one like on Friday, but a proper one where I bring a toothbrush and a clean change of clothes.” Ben looks like a deer caught in headlights, but something tells Bea he’s more surprised than averse to the idea. “And I do mean a sleepover!” She says in a firm voice. They are certainly not ready for anything else, and she wants to make that clear for the start. Communication, and all that.

“I think” Ben croaks out, his voice a bit hoarse, “that a sleepover sounds absolutely brilliant at this stage, Bea.” He presses a hard kiss to her lips, but before it can escalate into a proper make-out, another video from the Watch pulls their attention to the screen.

“To be continued” Bea says, winking at him.

“’Bea’ continued” Ben sniggers, before turning his attention to the screen.

 

Hero turns up twenty minutes later with freshly baked cookies – greeted with much enthusiasm from Ben – and stays for the rest of the videos. Most of the videos left are of the more light hearted variety, and Bea and Ben joke their way through them. As Ursula’s final video ends, they all get ready to go and get some pizza. When Hero runs up the stairs to get her purse, Bea sidles up close to Ben.

“Soo, I should bring a change of clothes with me, then?” Her eyes are wide and apprehensive, and she really hopes she wants this as much as she does. Ben visibly swallows, and nods, before once again leaning down and rests his forehead against his. Her stomach fills with bubbles of joy that threatens to float her away, but she merely closes her eyes and breathes in sync with Ben for a few moments, before going upstairs.

As she’s packing a bag to bring with her, Hero pokes her head into her bedroom to see what’s taking her so long.

“So, I take it you’re not coming back here after we get pizza?” Hero asks.

“Yeah, you don’t mind if I stay at Ben’s again, do you?” Bea asks, feeling slightly guilty for spending so little time with her cousin lately. “I promise we’ll do something the two of us soon. And perhaps something with Meg and Ursula as well, soon?”

“Bea, you don’t have to feel guilty about wanting to spend time with your boyfriend!” Hero says gently. “It’s part of being in love, wanting to be near the other all the time, and you’ve been waiting for this for four years! Go, have fun with Ben! Just don’t give me the details tomorrow!” Bea’s jaw drops, but she catches a teasing glint in the otherwise perfect poker face of her cousin, so she settles for throwing a pillow at her. Hero’s laugh lingers in the hall as she walks downstairs to wait for Bea with Ben. And though Bea wants to feel annoyed, she finds it’s impossible. With Hero doing better, and Ben being her boyfriend, she finds she’s almost ridiculously happy!