Ben lit up the cigarette in his mouth, as he sat on the ground around the backside of his dorm building. He leaned his back up against the wall. He closed his eyes as he blew the smoke out. He sighed, before bringing the cigarette back to his lips again.
What the fuck happened to him?
He went from Mr. Mayor, Mayor Ben Wyatt, Benji Wyatt. The strong, professional, and powerful Ben Wyatt, to “Ice Clown”. A smoker who sat on the backside of his dorm building to hide from the rest of the world. He was an idiot, he had the unemployment rates down crazy low. He dumped all the money into goddamn Ice Town. Of course, they wanted to impeach him. The town would’ve been stupid not to. He’s easily the most hated person in Partridge, Minnesota.
Which was fair.
It was freezing. He’d just arrived back at his college dorm from winter break. The winter break he spent hiding in his house because the only people who didn’t hate him were his mom and Stephanie at this point. He’d assumed that if he went to school in the tiny town of Pawnee, Indiana that he wouldn’t be recognized.
Yeah, that didn’t happen.
He started new classes tomorrow which meant everyone would freak out about having Ice Clown in their classes. After the first couple of days the kids in his class opted for just ignoring him. But there were always whispers about him on the first day. Just the thought of that made him shudder. He tossed his cigarette butt, threw his hood over his head, and kept his eyes glued to the ground as he tried to get back to his dorm room.
“Look, it’s Ice Clown.” He heard someone laugh loudly. He recognized the voice right away. Mark Brendanawicz, the stupid jock. His friend was quiet, but he heard a small giggle. She almost sounded uncomfortable.
“Come on, Mark. Just keep going.”
He ignored them both, stopped at the vending machine to get a snack, and waited for them to round the corner before finishing the walk to his dorm. The last thing he needed was Brendanawicz knowing where he stayed. He glanced down at the clock on his desk and saw it was already after eleven.
He opted for waking up super early and taking a shower in the morning. Too many people were out and about, excited to be back on campus and back with their friends again. Ben did have one friend on campus though, and that was Chris Traeger. Ben knew that Chris was easily at a party, probably trying to get with Ann Perkins. A very open lesbian, who was dating her “future president of the United States” best friend Leslie Knope. Why Chris bothered trying was way beyond Ben.
To get his mind off of tomorrow he attempted to sleep. He tossed and turned the whole night, but managed to get in at least a few hours of sleep. He woke up to a knock on his door, he rolled out of bed and threw on the nearest shirt knowing it was just Chris, ready to make sure he showered, ate, and didn’t smoke anything, which Ben was fully prepared for.
“Ben Wyatt!” He exclaimed when the door behind him shut.
“Aren't you hungover?” Ben mumbled, pulling everything out for his shower.
“Yes, completely!” He replied, digging for Ben’s ibuprofen.
He just laughed, as he slipped out the door. He detoured and went out to smoke first. Chris hates the fact that Ben smokes. The whole “health” and “your body is a microchip” deal. As far as Chris knew Ben had quit, but Ben just did a real good job of hiding it. Sure he probably looked like an idiot with his shower caddy next to him, but if he was going to get through this day he needed this.
Ben could’ve sat there for hours instead of going to class. He definitely enjoyed this cigarette for a little longer than he usually does. He watched the smoke dissipate into the sky, which is something he wishes he could do on a daily basis. He sighed as he checked his watch. If he wanted to get to breakfast before anyone, he’d have to shower now. He finished off his cigarette, pushed the door open to be greeted by Chris.
“I knew it.” He sighed, making Ben jump.
“Ben, you can’t rely on smoking when you're stressed.”
“It helps, Chris,” Ben replied, trying to push past him to go towards the bathrooms. Chris was having none of that, stepped in his way. Ben knew better than to fight. “Just yell at me now so I can shower and get this damn day over with.”
“Ben, I just care about you. I don’t do this to piss you off.”
“I know, Chris. Just please let me have my destructive habits.”
Chris sighed, knowing he wasn't going to get anywhere. Ben gave Chris his key so he could wait in Ben’s dorm. He showered the smoke smell off of him, he was quick to slip his hoodie on, and put his hood up. He finished everything he had to and headed back for his room. When he walked in, Chris was staring at Ben’s Partridge stuff he had adorning his walls, including his inauguration picture.
“If you’re so against Partridge, why is all of this on the wall?” Chris inquired. “I’ve been meaning to ask you.”
“I peaked.” Ben accepted. “And while I fucked myself over, I still did that.”
Chris smiled, handing Ben his bag and ushering him out the door. The two entered their dining hall to see it was still empty. Ben let out a sigh of relief, the dining hall was one of the most anxiety-inducing parts of the whole campus. He grabbed some cereal so he could eat and haul ass out of there.
“Good luck, Ben,” Chris stated as Ben got up to leave. He nodded a thank you, as he basically sprinted out the door. His first classes were nothing new. The whispers he expected, new freshman having no clue who he was just to be deterred away from him by other students. He had a decent break in between classes, so he took that opportunity to go to his spot. Just to sit, and pull himself together. He had one class left. This teacher always had them do icebreakers on the first day of classes. Why college professors still did ice breakers was way beyond him. He just knew he was fucked.
Ben realized he was about to be late, he stood up and walked to class. He wasn’t trying to be late, that was the last thing he needed. Everyone had a reason to hate him, he didn’t need to give teachers another reason to despise him.
He slipped into the building with plenty of time to spare. As he headed towards the room, he saw Ann and Leslie outside the door. He was praying for Ann to be in his class and not Leslie. Anyone but Leslie. Ben was pretty sure Ann hated him just because he was Chris’ friend which only gives Leslie all the more reason to hate his guts. He slipped in the room and took a spot in the back of the classroom. The door swung open and Leslie entered, she eyed Ben and actually smiled at him. She took a spot in the front of the room, as expected. People started filing into the room, he kept his eyes glued to his desk. Once the professor dragged on her long syllabus explanation, she told everyone to partner up. He glanced up and saw Leslie headed his way.
“Hey.” She greeted slowly. “Partners?”
He shrugged. “I guess.”
Ben is not used to people that's not Chris or his mom and sister being nice to him. He was deflecting and building walls like crazy.
“You’re just going to get to know each other, as an icebreaker. Learn a fact about each other and share it with the class.”
Leslie sighed before beginning. “I know who you are.”
“So does everyone else.”
“I supported you the whole time.”
“It was a mistake. You were so young.”
He sighed, changing the subject. “So you want to be the president, and I’m a failed mayor.”
Leslie just nodded. “Also, I’m sorry about what Mark said yesterday.”
Ben tilted his head. “That was you.”
“Yes.” She sighed. “He and I have been friends since elementary school. He always made fun of me for supporting you.”
Before he had a chance to reply, the professor interrupted them.
“Leslie and Ben! Would you two like to go first?”
“Ben was the president of his class all four years of high school,” Leslie exclaimed, eyeing Ben. He was confused, he never told anyone that.
“Leslie is going to be the first female president of the United States.”
When their class was over, everyone was quick to pile out of the room.
“Hey. How did you know I was the president of my class?”
Leslie stopped short and chuckled. “I was obsessed with you. You were living my dream of being in a political office.”
Before Ben could reply, Ann was by Leslie’s side. She smiled once she felt Ann’s arms around her.
“You know Ben.” Leslie smiled. Not even a question, Ann nodded.
“I do. We’re both here for you. I know you have Chris, but if you need anything.” Ann replied, trailing off.
Ann and Leslie went off in a different direction, as Ben threw his hood up and went back to avoiding eye contact. Instead of going inside his dorm he circled around the back. He sat on the same step he normally did. He’s not used to feeling like this after his first day of classes. He’s never actually had someone know the full story and understand that he was just some stupid teenager. He pulled out the pack of cigarettes he kept in his bag and lit one up.
His phone buzzed with a text from Chris.
“When you’re done destroying your lungs, I’m at your dorm.”
Ben didn’t bother replying. He slipped his phone in his bag, shivered due to the cold January breeze. While smoking calmed him down, it sucked in the winter. It clearly wasn’t stopping him though. He tossed the butt to the side, grabbed his bag, and entered his building. Chris was right outside his door.
“So. When were you going to tell me you befriended Ann Perkins?” He asked as they entered Ben’s room. He looked puzzled.
“I just worked with her girlfriend on a project.”
“And Knope supports you. So Ann supports you too.”
“I’m pretty sure Ann just supports me because Leslie does.”
“Ben,” Chris began. “This is just proof that not every single person hates you.”
He nodded. Ben knew that Chris was absolutely right. But when you go about life thinking everyone hates you, it’s easy to be hesitant. It’s reasonable.
“Listen, you see Leslie again tomorrow. Be nice to her.”
“I wasn’t rude at all today?”
“Good.” Chris smiled, heading towards the door to leave. “I’ll bring you up some pizza.”
Ben sat down and forced himself to get some work done. Only three out of the four classes assigned him homework today. At least more than just reading and singing a syllabus. Chris delivered him the pizza but left again when he saw Ben was busy.
By the time he’d finished, it was late. The dorms seemed quiet so he slipped out the back door for one last smoke.
He enjoyed smoking at night. It was silent, and he really felt like he was the only person on the whole planet. But his silence was interrupted by footsteps. He sighed when the door cracked open.
“I’m not smoking, Chris.” He lied until the door opened fully. “Leslie?”
As she stepped out he saw she was crying. “Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t know this was your spot.”
“No, come out. If you don’t mind smoking that is.”
She stepped out of the door and sat next to him on the steps.
“Are you okay?” Ben asked. He was feeling brave. He trusted Leslie a lot. It’s near impossible for someone to break him out of his shell like this.
“Uh, no. Not really.” She laughed through her tears. Ben tossed his cigarette to the side. He hadn’t even finished it. Suddenly the only thing that mattered was the crying girl beside him, that he’d only met just hours prior.
“Do you want to tell me?” He asked.
“Ann, just kinda broke up with me?” She replied, making the statement sound more like a question.
“Oh jeez, Leslie I’m so sorry.” He felt brave enough to reach out and brush her hair behind her ear. She visibly shivered but Ben assumed it was just because of the cold air. It then hit him that she wasn’t wearing a jacket. “Leslie you must be freezing.”
He slipped his jacket off and wrapped it around her shoulders. She accepted, embracing the warmth.
“Sorry. It probably smells like smoke.” He apologized. Okay, what the fuck is happening? He’s never been embarrassed about smelling like smoke before. It was easily because he only hung out with Chris and his family. They were used to it.
“It’s okay.” She chuckled softly. She wiped the tears from her eyes, a comfortable silence falling upon the two.
Before Ben knew it, Leslie was turning his face towards her and smashing her lips on his. It ended just as quickly as it began, and Leslie was looking mortified.
“Oh god, I’m so sorry I don’t know why I did that.”
“I-it’s okay,” Ben replied. It really was. “But I thought you were,”
“I’m pansexual.” She replied. “Not lesbian. That was Ann’s problem. She said I was too flirty with you.”
Ben nodded. “Gotcha.”
“Again, I’m so so sorry about that. I don’t want that to ruin anything. I think I like you but we just met hours ago, the breakup and,”
Ben cut her off with a soft kiss on the lips, “You’re going through a breakup. Take your time okay?”
Leslie nodded, slipping out of the jacket and handing it back to Ben. “Thank you.”
Ben walked back up to his room and saw it was one am. He paced around his room, feeling like his brain was about to combust . He’s been crushing on Chris for god knows how long. He’s never found a girl he liked so he just assumed he must be gay. But now with Leslie in the picture, he’s not too sure.
He knew Chris was going to kill him for calling so late, but he was about to lose his mind.
“You’re bisexual Ben. Go to sleep.”
Ben thought a lot about the conversation with Chris. He was freaked out at first. Which was normal, that thought would scare someone, but it made sense for him. He felt comfortable. The only thing he was worried about now was his friendship with Leslie. They’d only met that day, he was freaked out that she’d only kissed him just because her emotions were running crazy high.
After a month, he was finally in the part of the semester where things quieted down for him. People tolerated working with him when they realized his grades were great. He was managing to become better friends with Leslie, despite that kiss. She seemed to have forgotten about it, which is exactly what Ben was worried about. He’s never opened himself up to anyone like he did that night.
Ben tossed his bag in his room, grabbed his pack of cigarettes, and went outside. It was still freezing so he slipped his jacket on, and walked outside. As he pushed the door open, he was greeted with Leslie who looked as if she was waiting for him.
“I knew you’d come out here.” She chuckled. Ben laughed and nodded.
“Yeah. Is it okay if I smoke?” Ben asked. Leslie nodded.
“Look, I’m sorry I waited so long to say anything about that night,” Leslie spoke up. Ben almost choked on the smoke. She hasn’t brought it up since then. “I was worried you forgot about it.”
“Les, it’s been on my mind since it happened,” Ben replied. Leslie flushed red and looked down at her feet.
“I really like you, Ben.”
Ben put out his second cigarette for this girl, pulled her up and shoved her against the cement wall. He pushed her lips onto hers, his hands running up and down her body. Leslie kept her arms winded around his neck. He dragged her into the building and up to his dorm. Ben shut the door behind them, he mentally thanked his organized self and lifted her onto the desk. She kissed Ben like he knows she does with everything, full of passion, and filled with every emotion possible. Ben did the exact same.
“Are you positive?” He asked, breathing heavily. Leslie put her hand on his cheek. It was all so intimate, he was sure after Ice Town, he’d never get this again.
“I’m absolutely positive.” He pulled her off the desk, to be closer to him. Ben brushed her hair from her neck and dropped kisses all down her neck.
“You looked really hot wearing my jacket.” He whispered in her ear, sending a visible shiver down her spine.
“Ben,” She mumbled out, her voice barely above a whisper. This time Ben lifted her onto the edge of the tall bed and started to unbutton her blouse. He started slow, eyeing her. Once she nodded her head, that was all he needed. He tossed the blouse on the floor, feeling the urge to kiss her again. As he went in to kiss her he felt Leslie’s hands travel down to his butt, she gave it a squeeze. He moaned softly as he worked on unhooking her bra.
“Are you struggling?” She giggled.
“No, a really pretty girl just touched my butt.” He whispered in her ear. She giggled, as Ben finally had her bra unhooked and in the pile with her blouse. Just as he was about to go for her jeans, she ripped his hoodie up over his head, his shirt coming off right after. Ben grabbed her hand, and let himself fall on the bed, her on top of him. They were both laughing as he pulled her in to kiss her some more.
“Ben,” Leslie whispered.
“Keep going.” She replied he slipped out from under her, going to pull her jeans down. He saw she was already soaked.
“That quick, huh?” He teased.
“Oh shut it.” She breathed. “Wait. I don’t have condoms.”
“Me either. We can make that work.” Ben promised.
He didn’t hesitate and shoved his fingers inside her. Her eyes rolled back and she moaned. She grinded on his hand as if her life depended on it. He pulled his fingers out, making her whine. Her whine turned to a moan when his mouth replaced his fingers. She gripped the sheets, as she finished. He moved up to her lips again, shoving his tongue in her mouth. She pulled him down next to her, he pulled her back on top of him again. She was breathing heavily, her bare body pressed against his bare chest.
“Stay here tonight.” He whispered, placing a kiss on her head.