As much as he loves helping people there is a bit of a tear down factor with each bit of information he learns about those involved in cases that he works on. His sole decision on getting involved in law as a career was to help put his mind at ease as well as others. As long as Karen's death remained a mystery and it could not be helped he felt less powerless by helping others. This isn't some over night choice of some lost teenager who decided to throw nearly eighty grand at an education to further himself and take a leap of faith. It wasn't for an escape to get more schooling and avoid the real world for just a bit longer and enjoy the benefits of adulthood with the real world experience of a child. All that time was serious thought and deep personal soul searching. Ben had taken a year off from everything after Karen passed, of course, but he did need time to heal.
His family thought it was best. As the trial went about a year later, Ben was thought to be one of the possible suspects in the case. He was close, knew her very well, and around her very often. He was the last one seen with Karen by many. The truth is, they had a fight that night. This phone call; the heathen on the other end opened a can of worms for Ben. The past is blurry for him but he can re-live most of the events that took place as he recited them at court over a year from the day Karen died.
The grieving process had been very hard but no one ever seen Ben cry. No one ever heard Ben speak of Karen as if she was gone. It was hard to let go when in all honesty he did not have to. Two months after the day Karen was taken, he got served for a public hearing. Waverly figured at this time that he was doomed. Someone had taken away his highschool sweet heart, murdered her and left her to lie and rot and he was going to get the blame for it. Everything points to him.
A few text messages sent from Karen to one of her close friends about the argument they were having; it revealed that the two were talking about college and how Ben was afraid that she would move on in another city once she went to to California. Ben had plans to go to school as well, but to stay within Pennsylvania. He wanted to go to school somewhere with Karen but he didn't have the educational background to get grants to send him to a school across the country nor did his family have the funds to support him so his best bet was to stay local and commute from home. Ben wanted to take business management and communications to someday run a business while Karen was very absorbed into learning about animals so she was shooting for marine biology. The conversation between them was described by Karen to her best friend and it was used in court against Ben.
"So, really, you think we're going to work out when you go to Cali?" Ben says to her. He had been drinking. The mix of alcohol and the confusion with the ending of his high school career coming soon raised so many questions. Graduation was a month away and he was trying very hard to put pieces together that seemingly would not ever fit.
"Do we have to do this now? Can't we just enjoy the party? I mean, you'll see me again. You won't see anyone else, though. Our class mates, Ben. Let's just have fun, tonight."
"Karen. I need to know now. I've been losing sleep over. It makes me sick to the stomach thinking that you're going to go there and fall in love with the life you have out there and never come back!"
"Ben! Let's do this later! Please?" She says in disgust as they're sitting together on their friend's couch. It was an after prom party but it was full of people from around the area. Friends of friends who didn't go to the same school and it had been a fairly decent sized home. When someone throws a party and it's B.Y.O.B. then the social networking begins. That's how kids are and always have been. It's not fun once it's legal so say some young adults.
"Go to University of Pittsburgh with me or Penn State. Hell, we could take online courses and get a place together. I don't understand why you have to go away to get what you want!"
"Ben... I'm sorry. I love you. I really do. But, I have one time in my life where I can figure out who I am."
"I said bullshit! You're a fucking liar. You've been using me all this time!" He stands up and throws his drink on the ground and everything in the room got silent.
"Whoa, what's going on here?" Jason, one of their classmates jumps into the conversation.
"None of your business."
"Ben, you're acting like an idiot! You've been drinking too much! Go home and sleep it off!" Karen yells.
"You just called me an idiot? Are you serious!? Fuck you! Find your own ride home, tonight!" Ben turns around and pushes his way through the crowd of people in the house to go through the front door.
Karen's eyes start to tear up and she walks up stairs to the bathroom. As she is fixing her make up there is a knock on the bathroom door.
"Just one minute!" She yells.
"Who are you?"
"I uh... I was over hearing your fight. You don't know me but I just wanted to see if you were okay."
"Do you mind waiting until I come out of the bathroom? I mean, kinda creepy dude!"
"You've been in there for forty minutes. Come on," he replies in a smart tone.
"It's even worse that you were keeping track," she laughs as she fixes her mascara.
"That's fair, that's fair. Alright, um... Well, if you change your mind, here's my number," he says and slips a piece of paper under the door. "Take it easy, huh? At least call me if you fall in."
"Yeah, uh, okay," Karen rolls her eyes and waits a little longer before leaving the bathroom and going back down stairs.