Rachel looked at the antique engagement ring on her finger as she and Ben snuggled up together in bed. The boys could not have been more excited at the prospect of Rachel marrying Ben, much to Rachel’s surprise and relief. The ripples of the lake reflected on the ceiling of the upstairs bedroom. She laid her head on his shoulder as he stroked her hair.
“I am so happy tonight. I love you, Ben.”
She leant up and kissed him.
“I love you too. I promise you; I will always love you and protect you and the boys.”
“You are such a good man. I don’t know how I got so lucky.”
“I am the lucky one, not only do I get to spend the rest of my life with the woman of my dreams, but, I get three sons in the mix too. I think I am the one who hit the jackpot.”
“Would you ever want to have more children? We’ve never discussed it.”
“If you want to.”
“You don’t want one of your own?”
“As far as I am concerned, those boys will be mine.”
Rachel kissed him again.
“I’ve always wanted a little girl.”
“What if we get another boy?”
“Four boys, wow.”
“Why don’t we practice?” Ben said with a playful tone in his voice.
Rachel lifted the blankets off her as she climbed on top of Ben, straddling him. She lifted her nightdress, the moonlight illuminating her pale skin. Her dark hair resting over her shoulders. She was the most beautiful thing Ben had ever laid eyes on. He reached up and brought her mouth to his.
She reached down between them and guided him in. Ben sat up and pulled her into his lap as he held her tightly. She began to rock her hips, the sensation of being so tightly connected, only added to the intimacy. She was slow and deliberate in her movements as they made love. She could feel Ben wanted to hold her from below. She pulled out of their kiss.
“Here,” she whispered, “give me your hands.”
She grabbed his hands, and she guided them to the underside of her butt. Ben felt her body tense.
“I’m okay; kiss me.” She instructed.
Ben did as he was told. He grabbed her butt harder than he had intended and felt her tense again. He began to move his hand away.
“No, don’t, please. She said. “I need you to touch me there.”
Ben smiled at her.
“You are so beautiful.” He kissed her again.
He could feel the tension leave her body as he kissed her.
“Ben, I’m close.” She said.
“Me too, you go first.”
“I love you, Ben.”
He could feel her body finish before he could hear her quietly moan, careful not to wake the boys. The noise of her in ecstasy pushed him right over the edge. He held onto her tightly as their orgasm raged and slowly wained. She kissed his shoulder and then laid her head on it, as they both caught their breaths. They stayed wrapped in each other’s arms. Rachel picked up her head and listened. Ben heard it too, a crying child.
“It’s Luke,” Rachel said. “He probably had a nightmare.”
Rachel let go and climbed out of Ben’s lap.
“Let me try?” Ben asked.
“Are you sure?”
Ben put on his boxers and a t-shirt and walked out of the bedroom. Rachel got up and put her nightdress back on as she walked to the bathroom to freshen up. She stopped outside Luke’s bedroom door and listened to Ben talking to Luke. She had been right; it was a nightmare.
“Nope, nightmares aren’t allowed in this house. It is a very special house, you know? Nightmares are afraid of this house because it is where happiness lives. Did you know that?”
“No. Then why did I have one, the monster was so scary.”
“No, he was scared, not the other way around.”
“Are you sure?” Luke asked sceptically.
“Yes, you are safe here. I promise. No more nightmares. Here I will turn on the closet light for you.”
Rachel heard Ben get up and pull the cord for the light in the closet.
“I used to sleep in here with this light on. Go back to sleep and maybe we will go fishing tomorrow.”
“For real?” Luke asked.
“Yes for real.” Ben chuckled.
“I want to catch the biggest fish!” Luke said excitedly.
“Well then you need your rest, go back to sleep, okay bud?”
Rachel heard Ben’s footsteps come closer to the door.
“I can’t go back to sleep without a hug.”
Rachel heard Ben turn back around. She took the chance to scurry back to bed herself. She climbed back into the bed she and Ben were sharing. Ben joined her a minute later.
“Did I do, okay?”
She looked over at him.
“I’m busted, huh detective.” Rachel said playfully. “You were great with him. Thank you.”
Ben laughed, and Rachel curled up next to him, laying her head on his shoulder. He stroked her hair as they watched the ripples of the lake reflect on their ceiling. They both drifted off to sleep in each other’s arms, content and happy to be with each other.
Ben woke to the sound of the boys running through the house and the smell of coffee wafting up from the kitchen. He instinctively reached over Rachel, knowing that she must have been in the kitchen making coffee. He pulled her pillow over and buried his nose in it; her scent clung to it.
“How about the real thing?” She said, standing next to his side of the bed with a cup of coffee in her hand.
He rolled over and wrapped his arm around her. She quickly set the coffee on the nightstand. Ben pulled her into bed. She landed on top of him. He reached up and tucked her hair behind her ear.
“You are even more beautiful today than you were yesterday, and I don’t even know how it is possible, but it is,” Ben said.
Rachel leant down and kissed him, feeling his body fully wake.
“The boys are awake and already outside.” She said.
“They’re outside, you say?” Ben had a mischievous grin.
He kissed her again. She got off of him and went and opened the large double doors to the upstairs porch so she could hear the boys.
“Hey guys, stay out of the lake. I am going to get dressed, okay? I’ll be down in a minute. Tommy watch Luke, I mean it.”
Rachel turned around and walked back inside, leaving the doors open so she could hear the boys. She slipped her nightdress up overhead as she walked to the bed, with a mischievous grin on her face. She laid down, and Ben came up over her. She put her hands around his neck and kissed him. He made love to her as quietly as they both could for the second time in under twelve hours.
Rachel freshened up and threw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. She would get properly cleaned up for the day after breakfast. Ben walked in as she finished brushing her teeth.
“We need milk so that I can make breakfast.” She said.
She kissed him on the cheek.
“I’ll go get dressed and go back into town to get some.”
“Thank you. Do you want pancakes, crepes or French toast?”
“Someone worked up an appetite.” Ben joked.
“It doesn’t matter to me, whatever is easiest. It won’t take me long to run into town. Black coffee is a little rough; I won’t lie.”
Ben heard Rachel bound down the stairs to start breakfast. He pulled on his jeans, t-shirt and slipped his sandals on. They had been blessed with another hot day. Ben walked downstairs to see Rachel setting the table for breakfast while the boys played. The had found frogs at the edge of the lake and were enthralled with them.
“I’ll be right back. Is there anything else we forgot?” Ben asked.
“Just this.” Rachel tapped her cheek.
Ben walked over and pulled her into his arms. She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him, really kissed him.
“Hey now, kiss me like that, and these boys are never going to get breakfast.” Ben joked.
Rachel laughed, and the sound melted Ben.
“If I don’t go now..”
Rachel pushed him out of her arms.
“Don’t be long.”
Ben drove into town with the windows down, and his radio turned up. He had not been that happy in a long time. He walked into Margo’s small grocery store and picked up two gallons of milk.
“Hi, Ben.” Margo said, “you forgot the milk yesterday. I was going to run it out to you, but I wasn’t sure with your company.”
Ben knew talk of Rachel would be all over town by lunch. It was a small town.
“It’s okay. Do you know if there is a florist in town?”
“Rae’s opens in about twenty minutes. Are you looking for anything special?”
“No just wanted to get some flowers.”
“Are they for your lady friend?”
Ben smiled shyly.
“Well, I will tell you what, you tell Rae I sent you over. He’ll take good care of you. That girl of yours is very pretty, Ben. Were those her boys with her yesterday?”
Margo smiled and rang up the milk.
Ben set both gallons of milk on the floor in the front seat and the bouquet of pink roses from the florist on the front seat as he headed back towards the house. He passed a black SUV on the way back to the house, and a few old pickup trucks hauling fishing boats. He drove back without a care in the world, thinking about taking the boys fishing out on the lake later in the day. He pulled back up to the house and grabbed both gallons of milk and the bouquet of roses. He walked into the house and noticed it was quiet. He walked into the kitchen, to a scene of chaos.
There was broken glass everywhere, and the kitchen table had been flipped over. Flour was scattered across the floor, showing that a struggled had happened in the room. There were bloody handprints on the floor. Ben dropped the milk and the roses in the hallway outside of the kitchen. The two glass jugs shattered as liquid exploded out in every direction. Frantic, Ben started screaming for Rachel and the boys running through the house. No one answered. He ran out onto the back porch and called out for Rachel and the boys. Silence.
Ben’s hands shook as he pulled out his phone to call the local police. He dialled 911 on his cell, he put the phone to his ear but didn’t hear anything. He pulled it away to see that he didn’t have a signal. He walked back into the kitchen watching where he stepped, careful preserve the scene for any clues. He picked up the receiver from the phone on the wall; it was dead. He hung up and took off for his car. He was going to have to go back into town for help. Ben got out onto the porch when he heard whimpering. He stopped.
“Boys? Where are you guys? Come out right now. You’re safe.”
Lukas emerged from underneath the porch.
The boy was dirty and red in the face from crying. Ben reached out for Lukas.
“Come here man. Where are your mom and your brothers?”
“The bad guys took them.”
Ben knelt to Luke’s eye level, “What bad guys, do you know who they were or where they were going?”
“No.” Luke cried.
Ben hugged the little boy tightly.
“Mommy told me to hide when the bad men came.”
“Good job buddy, you did good. Come on we are going to go get some help.” Ben helped Luke into the SUV and buckled him in. Ben turned the SUV around and headed back into town.
“Luke, did you see what the bad guys looked like?”
Luke shook his head.
“They make mommy fall asleep. They carried her.”
Ben pushed his foot on the accelerator a little harder.
“Luke, did you see bad guy’s car?”
“Yes. I want mommy.”
“I know, buddy. What color was the car?”
“It was black.”
“The same color as your daddy’s?”
Ben remembered the black SUV he had passed on the way back to the house from town. It had seemed out of place now that Ben thought about it.
“What it like a truck?”
“Yes. I want mommy,” Luke sobbed.
“I know, buddy.”
He reached back and touched Luke’s leg.
Ben pulled up to the police station and grabbed Luke out of the back seat. He carried Luke in with him. He identified himself as a detective and recounted the story for the local police. The police put out an APB for a black SUV. He called Rachel’s sister to let her know what was happening. She was going to set off to meet Ben in town. He also placed a call to Marty. Ben and Luke went back to the house with the local police so they can gather evidence from the scene.