“For the last time, Rey, I’m not seeing the new Aviator Chronicles movie with you,” Finn says, ducking closer to the table so he doesn’t come across like a rude jackass in a crowded restaurant (even if he is on his phone and possibly disturbing a few people’s dinners). He’s still setting up for his blind date with someone he only knows by his screen name (Huxter66) and hasn’t put out the copy of Frankenstein on the table to be recognized by, but Rey has had priority in his life for nearly a decade now and that’s not changing because of a blind date.
He rolls his eyes when Rey instantly airs her displeasure on the other end of the line, asking him why he doesn’t want to go see it, given the stellar reviews for both the film and its cast. “Because I’m not a movie kind of guy. You know that. Besides, I prefer shoot ‘em up westerns when I do go see something…” he goes on, getting his book on the edge of the table as he leans over to dig through his bag so he can zip it closed and get it out of the way.
He trails off, his gaze sliding to the commotion at the door of the nice Italian restaurant they’re in, where a redheaded man is currently reaming out the poor hostess for accidentally bumping into him.
“…and for that matter, where’s your manager so I can inform him about the disgraceful manner his staff behaves in.”
The redheaded man is wearing a black rose on his lapel, the signal for Finn to recognize him by.
“Oh, shit,” Finn manages, accidentally hanging up on Rey and bumping his head on the table at the same time in his shock. He comes away from it a little dizzy, rubbing his head with his palm while fighting off the distinct impression that nearly everyone in the restaurant must be staring at him right now.
“Hey, buddy, you okay?”
Finn’s vision is currently seeing three of everything, which is a problem. He blinks and manages to get it down to double and after a few more seconds, he’s only seeing one of anything. That includes the guy kneeling in between his legs, too handsome for his own good and wearing a look of concern to go with all those perfect features. Fuck, did he pass out or something? People this good-looking don’t usually show up in Finn’s reality.
“What happened?” Handsome asks, sliding his hand up to Finn’s head to look for a potential bump.
Momentarily stunned (and a little bit knocked around), Finn struggles to explain what happened when he sees Huxter start to scan the restaurant.
“I need you to be my date,” Finn says frantically, because even a few minutes spent with that blowhard will be too much. Better for him to think he’s been blown off and then later, Finn can delete all their conversations on his computer. What the hell had he been thinking? (No, he knows what he’s been thinking and most of it goes along the lines of his right hand being way too tired to keep up the hard work without a little backup)
Handsome grins at him, his gaze sliding over Finn’s face. “Do you proposition all the nice men who come to help you out with your head wounds?”
Finn manages not to reply with ‘only the handsome ones’. Barely. “That guy? That guy right there?” Finn says, nodding frantically. “He’s my blind date, only I just watched him ream out the nice hostess and he looks a little like he’s just waiting for the opportunity to do it again.”
Handsome glances over Finn’s shoulder, makes a ‘you’re probably right’ face, and then looks back at Finn with an ever-softening smile. “What’ll you give me for it?” he asks teasingly.
Finn doesn’t think ‘a kiss’ is an appropriate response this soon into meeting someone, so he gestures to the little two-person table with the romantic candlelight and the breadsticks. “Free dinner?”
Handsome looks over his shoulder, like he’s trying to check with someone whether he should do this, but he uses Finn’s knee to lever himself upwards, standing and taking the opposite seat from Finn. “How about your name and dinner? Maybe your number, too,” Handsome goes on. “I haven’t decided yet.”
Now that Finn’s got a prince charming to rescue him from the toad, Finn shoves the potentially damning book back into his bag, grateful he’d never used a picture online. “Finn,” he introduces himself, once he’s sure Huxter can’t hear them. “I’m Finn.”
“Finn, huh? I’m Poe,” he replies, reaching out to shake Finn’s hand. He holds onto it for a weirdly long time, studying Finn like he’s waiting for something.
Not sure what that’s about, but Finn’s just happy that he’s managed to eke out a last minute rescue. “Good to meet you,” he says. Finally, Poe gives up on whatever he’s looking for and relinquishes Finn’s hand (which is sort of unfortunate and Finn kind of regrets thinking that the too-long handshake had been awkward). Handsome becomes Poe, but as they order wine, Finn figures out that he could’ve nicknamed him Witty or Charming or Funny, because they all apply.
“So what were you doing here before I knocked my head like an idiot?” Finn asks, having trouble taking his eyes off of Poe to look at the menu.
“I have a friend who recommended the place to me. I’m in town for a while, so I figured I’d check it out,” Poe replies, dipping some bread in the olive oil. It requires him to stretch forward and reach closer to Finn and gives Finn the opportunity to observe how damn good Poe smells. Between that and his perfectly tousled hair, not to mention the sleek suit, Finn’s starting to feel out of his league.
“What’re you doing in town, then?” Their little sea-side town didn’t have much claim to fame, but they had a few decent industries coming through and their proximity to the major cities on the east coast helped people make the decision to settle down. It’s quaint. In the history of descriptions, no one’s come up with something better than quaint, but that’s usually because it is. It’s the people that Finn’s come to love, not the place.
Poe narrows his eyes and stares at Finn with that look again.
“You really want to know?” he asks.
“I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t,” Finn says. Is this a flaw? Maybe this is the first flaw and he finally has something to go against all the good things he’s put in Poe’s ‘pros’ column. “I mean, we can start with me. I work on the army base.” He leaves out the part where he’s just managed to get out of sanitation and into the reserves, because none of that is really flattering, even for a fake-date.
“I’m here on a job,” Poe replies. “Couple of weeks, and then I head back home until the next business trip.”
Finn tries not to look too disappointed. Sure, it’s probably only a fake-date and yeah, it’s not like Poe’s anything more than a solid guy doing him a favour, but only a couple of weeks in town means that he’s going to leave eventually and Finn’s going to be left on his own.
Well, not completely alone. He’s got Rey, but Rey’s always busy with her shop and her second job running the martial-arts studio downtown with one of the Skywalkers. Still, he’s been so desperate for someone else that he agreed to a blind date online and look where that’s left him.
He has to avoid feeling bad about this. It’s not like Poe’s even interested in him. He could just be a really good guy intent on saving Finn from a potential catastrophe. Finn tells himself that the best thing he can do is just make the best of it. That means enjoying the evening and not getting overly pessimistic about the future, which he’s got a bad habit of doing.
He’s at dinner with a gorgeous guy who’s funny and clever and doesn’t want to be anywhere else. That’s better than Finn’s done in years.
“You should get the lasagna,” Finn recommends, finally prying his gaze away from Poe to order. He licks his lips and tries not to go back to staring at Poe, which is when he realizes that if he’s been staring at Poe this whole time and they haven’t broken eye contact, Poe’s been staring back.
Staring back and biting his lip, in fact, but Finn’s working on some delayed reaction time in his disbelief that anyone half as handsome as Poe would want anything to do with him.
“I’ll take it, then,” he says to the waiter, handing off the menu. The waiter is gaping at Poe a lot longer than he probably needs to. This should be a red flag to Finn, but at the moment, all he can think about is how he doesn’t blame the guy for looking at Poe for so long.
(Later, this will be one of the exhibits in the lengthy mental trial of ‘How On Earth Did You Not Figure This Out Sooner, Finn?’ as narrated by Rey)
They spend dinner exchanging facts about themselves and Finn forgets reality. It’s there, he knows it, but at this point the restaurant could explode and all he’d manage to do is note the golden flecks of warmth that color Poe’s brown eyes. Finn ignores his ringing phone, ignores the other staring patrons, and is pretty sure his heart skips a beat when Poe reaches across the table for a fork and ends up twining their fingers together briefly.
“Do you want to go out with me?” Finn asks, when he can’t take it anymore. The worst that can happen is Poe leaves in a few weeks’ time and Finn nurses his humiliation while avoiding the guy in the meantime.
He honestly can’t take another minute of this dinner without finding out whether he’s got a shot.
Poe grins at him and in the candlelight of the table, Finn’s completely sure that he’s never seen anyone more handsome. Oh god, please let him be gay, single, and willing to settle for a guy like him. Poe leans across the table, brows knit together as he coaxes for Finn to come closer. He does, elbows on the table rumpling the tablecloth as he finds himself a hair’s breadth away from Poe’s lips.
“I thought we were on a date,” Poe says, laughter lines crinkling up around his eyes.
“No, no, I mean a real date,” Finn clarifies. “One where you’re not just saving me from an asshole.”
“Finn, buddy,” Poe says. “I thought we were on a real date.” While that sinks in, Finn leans back and grins, laughing when he figures out that he’s not about to get publically dumped.
If he weren’t in a public place, he’d be running victory laps right about now, screaming joyfully at his good luck.
“In that case, don’t get the lasagna,” Finn quips, heart racing as he pushes his luck.
“Yeah? Why not?”
“Onions,” is all Finn says. “And garlic.”
Poe waits a moment before lifting his hand to signal for the waiter while never taking his eyes off of Finn. “Waiter,” he calls, biting his lip again as his gaze slides lasciviously over Finn’s body. “I’m gonna need to change my order.”
Finn sighs happily for the fourth time that morning. It’s only been twelve hours since he’d last seen Poe and he’s already in the midst of withdrawal.
It’s apparently too much because Rey slides out from under the vintage car she’s been taking apart for parts, pointing at him with the wrench. “You need to stop that,” she warns. “I mean it. First of all, I’m still mad at you for hanging up on me and not calling back. Second of all, I’m even more upset that you didn’t take a picture of this supposedly gorgeous man…”
“Because you and I both know you’re prone to exaggeration.” She wheels herself the rest of the way out and grabs a cloth to wipe the oil off her hands, pushing sweaty hair off her forehead as she heads to the small mini-fridge she keeps in the shop. “He can’t have been that good looking.”
“Rey, trust me,” Finn promises, chasing after her and wishing he had taken a picture. “He’s gorgeous. He’s got these warm brown eyes that make you feel like you’re the only person in the world when he looks at you and I swear to god, his hair looks like he’s got someone following him around fluffing it up.”
He doesn’t go into the lovelorn monologue about what it’d been like kissing Poe in the alleyway behind the restaurant and how that perfectly tousled hair had felt gripped in Finn’s hand, not because he doesn’t want to share, but because he’s pretty sure Rey will actually throw something at him to get him to stop.
She drags a bottle of water from out of the fridge and sips it, not taking her eyes off of him once. He recognizes her expression as the one she wears when she’s still figuring out how she feels about something.
“This isn’t like Ben?” she checks.
Finn makes a face, hating to be reminded of the time he went and fell half in love with the Mayor’s son, who’d been on the base while he was working there, only to end up enlisting in the Navy and pretending he’d never met Finn at all. He’d managed to get his heart broken and now he ends up seeing Ben at Thanksgiving dinners when the group of them show up to dinner, nursing awkward old wounds.
He refuses to answer to his given name, lately, only going by his call sign. He seems eager to forget anything about his time in the army, citing his new division to be superior to anything he’s done before.
Finn’s pretty sure he dodged a bullet, there.
“He’s only in town for a little,” Finn admits, “but we’ve already arranged for a second date. He says he’s going to surprise me. We’re meeting tomorrow afternoon.”
“Finn, you romantic,” she accuses. “Just remember, safe sex is good sex.”
Finn makes a face because the prospect of sex with Poe is definitely a good one, but now he’s got images of Rey watching it, in his head. And that’s just a level of weird he’s not ready to cope with today.
“Where are you going?”
“It’s his choice,” Finn admits, leaning back in his chair and reliving every glorious moment of last night’s dinner.
“So what happened with your original date?” Rey asks.
“Huxter? As far as I know, he went on to be rude to the manager and half the guests in the restaurant before he left. I was a little too busy to pay much attention,” he confesses. “I swear, it was actually hard to look away from him, he’s so handsome.”
She gives him a dubious look. “Pictures,” she says firmly. “Or I’m not going to believe he’s real.”
There’s a very selfish part of Finn that doesn’t want to share his new kind-of-boyfriend with anyone, not even his best friend.
“He paid for dinner, too,” Finn says, unable to let another minute pass without sharing more news from the night before. “Even after I promised that I’d pay. He just whipped out this platinum credit card and paid, then wrote his number on the back of the check.”
“So he’s rich and good-looking and only in town for a few weeks,” Rey says, giving Finn a sympathetic shoulder squeeze. “You always did have nasty luck.”
“Tell me about it.”
Finn’s already made a resolution to enjoy himself, though, and no amount of reminders about how this is all temporary is going to ruin it for him. He’s fidgeting in his chair when another long span of silence passes. “Fine,” she sighs. “Tell me more about him, but you owe me. You’re coming to class to help the kids next week during their yellow belt ceremony.”
He agrees quickly before launching into a long description of how Poe had taken his hand through the dinner, tracing the lifelines on Finn’s palm, like he’d been searching for a future or trying to wish one there with just the trace of his warm fingers.
Rey’s the one sighing by mid-morning, but hers are definitely a lot less lovelorn and a lot more frustrated. She knows as well as Finn, though, that his luck in love has been pretty hit and miss over the years, so she lets it go.
This time, at least.
Poe shows up for their date wearing sunglasses despite the slightly grey skies and a gorgeous dark-green turtleneck that hugs his torso in an appallingly appealing way. The jeans give him a casual look and don’t make Finn feel entirely overdressed. He’s wearing this vintage-looking leather jacket and Finn can’t help but feel like he’s staring at a 1920’s movie star.
(This, incidentally, is exhibit two in the case of ‘Finn, You’re An Idiot’, with appendices by Mr. Solo, the smuggler turned police chief and Rey’s uncle)
His heart still skips a beat at the sight of him, his hearing vanishing for just a moment before he remembers that he should say something or risk looking like a concussed drooling idiot.
“So where are we going?” Finn asks, deciding not to probe Poe about his fashion choices (or ask how he finds clothes that fit him so perfectly that Finn can almost see the definition of his abs).
“You afraid of heights?”
“Never had a good reason to find out,” Finn replies. He’s flown a few times, sure, but if Poe has arranged for something crazy like skydiving or bungee-jumping he might have to start stacking up the ‘things that are wrong with Poe No-Last-Name-Given’ column.
Poe grabs hold of Finn’s hand, tugging him along through the town past the little shops on main street and past the pylons and trucks where they’re shooting a movie, ducking in a few back-alleys until Finn, who’s lived here all his life, doesn’t even know where they are. Eventually, though, they come out on an air-field, with Poe gesturing over his shoulder at the vintage biplane looming over him. “Well?” he asks excitedly. “What do you think?”
“You’re a pilot?” Finn asks, eyes brightening. “That’s what you do?”
“Not exactly,” Poe replies. “This is more of a hobby.” He sprints over to the plane and rubs his hand over it affectionately. “I’ve nicknamed her the Blackbird X,” he says, leaning inside to get the engine going while Finn appreciates the design-work that’s been done to it over the years.
Poe is definitely, definitely rich.
“What’s RY?” Finn asks on his second round about the plane, having found the initials painted alongside a small drawing of an old spitfire.
Poe stares at him with that look of disbelief that’s starting to become commonplace and ducks his head to hide his fond grin. “Not important,” he says, handing a pair of goggles to Finn. “C’mon,” he says. “This place looks amazing from the sky.”
Finn hesitates at the edge of the plane, knowing that half the reason for his nerves is the gorgeous man in front of him, but the other half belong to a very reasonable fear he feels he needs to air.
“Do you have a pilot’s license?”
Poe fishes around the plane and digs out a laminated copy of just that, setting Finn’s heart at ease from the near-panic palpitations he’s just avoided. He climbs into the little plane, trying to figure out how he went from cleaning floors at the army base and signing his time away to the reserves to flying around in planes with rich men.
The minute they hit their cruising altitude, all of Finn’s disbelief melts away and the only thing he thinks about is the rush of crisp air on his skin, the dots below that make up their little seaside town by the ocean, and how safe he feels in Poe’s hands.
They fly around for another thirty minutes and by the time they land, Finn is filled with exuberant glee; the kind that leaves him shaking and so happy that he could weep. This is the sort of experience he’s always wanted to have and he’s just managed to knock it off on a second date like it’s nothing.
“Hey,” Poe says worriedly, helping Finn down from the plane once everything is off. “You’re shaking.”
It could be the proximity to the man he’s got a furious crush on, but given that Finn had worn his tight black t-shirt today (it’s the hotter days of summer and the t-shirt shows off all the hard work he’s been putting into his arms at the gym), he thinks maybe it has more to do with the chill in the air so high up. He opens his mouth to say he’ll warm up soon enough, but Poe’s already prying his jacket off and sliding Finn’s arms into it.
“There,” he murmurs, brushing off some dust from the arm. “Look at that, it fits you perfectly, like it was meant to be.”
The shaking is definitely not the weather’s fault at this point.
“You look really, really good in my jacket,” Poe says.
The next thing Finn knows, he’s backed up against the side of Poe’s plane, being kissed so well that Finn actually has to grab hold of the plane to keep his knees from buckling. He refuses to be shown up, tangling his fingers into Poe’s wavy locks, turning them so it’s Poe’s turn to get pinned to the plane, while Finn slides his knee in between Poe’s thighs to try and get the upper hand. It works for about ten glorious seconds in which he’s got Poe at his mercy, groaning and begging under his breath for more.
The spell breaks when Poe eases back and realizes what they’re doing. “Shit,” Poe gets out, a dazed look on his face. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
“I kind of beg to differ,” Finn replies, leaning in for round two when Poe pulls away. Finn’s face falls, but Poe reaches for him so quickly that he holds back the worry of rejection. “Was that not okay?”
“Oh, trust me, that was more than okay. I’d even go so far as to call it a whole new kind of amazing,” Poe promises, glancing warily over his shoulder. “I’m just not usually a PDA kind of guy.” They’re far away, but in the distance, Finn can see some of the airport staff milling around.
Finn can kind of understand that, but he’s also pretty convinced that you’d have to be made of stone not to kiss Poe after being given his jacket like that. He runs his fingers over the lapel of the jacket, staring at it reverently. When he looks up to thank Poe, he finds that Poe’s staring at Finn’s hands, the tip of his tongue pressed to his upper lip as he breathes out slowly.
“I brought lunch,” Poe says suddenly, as aware as Finn that if they don’t move from this bubble of a moment they’re trapped in that they’re going to fall right back to making out against the plane. “Over there?” he suggests, gesturing to the nearby willow tree with his thumb.
Finn nods frantically, trying to process all the things his mind has skipped over while absorbing that kiss, like the fact that Poe’s hand has been under his t-shirt at the small of his back this whole time and the warmth of that hand is radiating through him, or the way one of Poe’s tendrils of hair is curling over his forehead.
“I’ve never had a second date like this before,” Finn admits, dragging himself away from the plane. He’s never had any dates before where the guy showed up and flew him over their town like he’s got his own personal magic carpet, but he thinks that one goes without saying.
Poe gives a disappointed sound at losing contact with Finn’s skin (even though it’d been his idea to stop) and follows along after him like an eager puppy. “Yeah? Is that because you haven’t had many second dates or am I just that good?”
“Buy me a drink and I’ll tell,” Finn flirts incorrigibly, stopping in front of a picnic basket and checkered tablecloth right out of a movie.
(He doesn’t even think he needs to talk about how this is Exhibit Three. He’ll just leave that in his memory and walk away)
Poe leans down and unearths a bottle of champagne, popping it open and pouring Finn a fizzy, full plastic glass of the stuff while patting the space beside him. Finn gets comfortable, silently lamenting the fact that he isn’t getting to sit in Poe’s lap. Then he can only fixate on the champagne and the incredible little finger-foods that Poe’s packed away for them.
“I haven’t been on as many second dates as I’d like people to think,” Finn admits, after being bribed with a salmon pinwheel.
“People are insane for not wanting to take you out.”
Finn shrugs, staring at the bubbles evaporating in his glass. “I don’t think it’s them. My best friend, Rey? She’d say I’m really picky, but that’s not it, either. Most of the people I’ve dated end up being better friendship material than anything else. Actually, that’s how Rey and I met. We were set up and I swear, I’ve never clicked so naturally with someone, but we both realized really quickly that we were better friends than lovers.”
“We’re on a second date,” Poe says, wearing hope on his face like a mask.
“Yeah, we are,” Finn agrees.
“And are we better off friends?”
Finn glances off to the plane in the distance and thinks about the jacket hanging off his shoulders and that intense kiss and how he feels completely alive when he’s around Poe. “How about this?” he suggests. “For our third date, I’ll take you to the best coffee shop in town and you can tell me how friendly we are. They make a caramel latte so good, it’s managed to get me through a few dry spells.”
“I like it,” Poe grins. “I like that plan a lot.”
“Good, me too,” Finn confirms, popping another salmon bite in his mouth. “So when did you learn to fly?” he asks, his mouth still half-full.
“My mother flew planes when I was a kid. Not commercial or anything, but Dad had enough pull with the right people to get her flying lessons. I don’t remember a single time in my childhood when Mom wasn’t trying to get up there again. She took me up for the first time when I was six,” Poe shares, wistful and fond, “and let me hang onto the controls. It couldn’t have been more than thirty seconds, not really, but those thirty seconds proved to me that I’d be just like her, someday.”
“So flying’s in your blood?” Finn asks, to Poe’s nod. “And your Dad? What’d he do?”
“Oh, you know. This and that, once he got out of the army,” Poe says. “What about you? What did your parents do?”
“I don’t know about my birth parents,” Finn admits. “I’m an orphan. I was raised by one of the locals. Nice enough woman, but a bit stern,” he says, thinking of Mrs. P. “She just wanted me to grow up respecting her rules. When I turned eighteen, I went to the base and asked for a job. All they had for me was janitorial, but I took it knowing I could save money and go to school. After figuring out that maybe joining up wasn’t the worst thing, I’m kind of dipping my toes in with the reserves to see how I like it.”
“Do you have a uniform?” Poe asks, sounding very interested in a uniform that Finn’s never really seen the big deal about before today.
“That’s fifth date kind of wear.”
“Well, hopefully I’m not just your friend by then.”
“We’ll play it by ear,” Finn replies, reaching over to twine his fingers with Poe’s, squeezing their joined hands to reassure him that he really doesn’t see this being anything platonic anytime soon.
If only he got to keep Poe longer than a few more weeks.
“I really wish you weren’t just here visiting,” Finn says, unable to keep to himself why the bucket of cold water’s been thrown over him. “In two dates, I already like you more than my whole back catalogue of high school hookups.”
“Lot of screwing in cars?” Poe asks, sounding a little jealous (which is kind of new to Finn, who’s not used to being the object of someone’s jealous worry).
“What kind of teenaged years did you have,” Finn asks, feeling a frisson of a thrill for having this much power over Poe already. “It was more awkward groping in bathroom stalls. Besides, you must have had your whole school panting over you.”
“Believe it or not, I was an extremely awkward teenager.” He doesn’t exactly give Finn an answer about whether he’d been a hot commodity, though.
“I demand pictures.”
Again, that strange look on Poe’s face, like he just can’t believe Finn. It’s almost as if he expects Finn to already know these things. That look fades away as easily as it’d come and he tops up Finn’s glass of champagne, glancing at the airport staff before leaning in and kissing Finn slowly, sweetly, cupping his cheek and leaning in until Finn has to tighten his grip on his glass or lose it.
“I thought you didn’t like PDA?” Finn asks breathlessly, the sweet hint of champagne on his lips now forever twined with the taste of Poe’s kiss.
“Sometimes, you just look so gorgeous that I have to make exceptions,” Poe confesses. “Come on. Eat up. We’re going up again after lunch.”
Finn could argue and tell Poe that he’s completely charmed already and he doesn’t need more proof of Poe’s ability, but he’s kind of completely overwhelmed with the sinking sensation that he’d do anything on earth just to get some more time with Poe.
Curled up in his jacket, drinking champagne that will always remind him of Poe, Finn doesn’t know of a better place to be. Up in the sky with Poe? Yeah. That’s not something he’s going to argue.
Finn has his head buried in his hands.
It’s been a week of picnic dates, afternoon flights, and fumbled groping with Poe whenever the other man can find time, which has left him starting to fall down a terrifying rabbit hole he’s pretty sure leads to something a lot deeper than puppy love. Poe’s busy today with his job, so Finn’s at Rey’s because he doesn’t really think he can hang around the base anymore on his days off. His buddies are starting to give him a hard time about not having a life. Even the weather seems to be against him, drizzling in fits and starts outside and only contributing to Finn’s miserable mood.
Time apart from Poe, however, is starting to highlight some of the strange eccentricities that Finn’s noticed over the last few dates this week. “He hasn’t told me his last name,” Finn realizes, handing Rey a can of oil. “And every time I ask him what he does, he replies with ‘it really depends on the day’.”
“He’s only here a few weeks, maybe he doesn’t want to get attached,” Rey reasons.
“That’s the worst part,” Finn complains. “If he’s only here temporarily and doesn’t want to get attached, then why am I bothering? He’s gorgeous and funny and beautiful and he owns planes and wears scarves when we go flying like some kind of movie star right out of a World War One film…”
Something he’s said has set Rey off. She sits very, very still, ignoring the oil can. “Finn,” she says calmly, in that way she always leads with when she’s about to have one of her scary genius moments. “What did you say his name was?”
“Poe,” he says, giving her an accusatory look because he’s only said it about a dozen times when they’re talking.
“And he’s only in town for a few weeks,” she repeats, wheeling herself and her chair over to the little fridge. “My God, I’m best friends with an idiot.”
“Hey!” Finn objects sharply. “…Why am I an idiot?”
The thing is, Rey’s usually right about this kind of thing.
She drags her way through her leftovers and the bottles of pop to dig out that weird yogurt in a tube stuff that she eats for breakfast. Finn refuses to call it by its actual name because he’s a grown-ass man. He refuses to even look at it in the store because yogurt does not and should not come in disposable tubes.
“Poe Dameron, maybe?”
She turns the package around and points to the little figure on the yogurt, which bears a really, really striking resemblance to the guy that Finn’s been dating.
“Is this him?”
“Why is Poe on a pack of yogurt?”
Rey covers her mouth with her hand, but it’s useless because Finn can see her laughing at him. He glares at her, because this kind of thing isn’t funny, not at all.
“You know what’s actually hilarious to me,” Rey informs him, “is that I was trying to get you to come and see his latest movie with me the night you met him!” She very neatly tears open the top of the yogurt and begins to methodically suck out yogurt from Poe’s head without breaking eye contact. Finn’s trying really hard not to be childish, but sometimes Rey makes maturity near-impossible. She uses her thumb to wipe away a stray bit of the yogurt. “He plays Romeo Yavin in the Aviator Chronicles,” she explains. “And he’s been in at least two blockbusters this year along with a few very moving indie flicks. He’s gorgeous, insanely talented, rich, and can sing in a way that might have another girl’s knees weak.”
“But not yours?”
“Maybe a little bit mine,” Rey admits with a shrug. “You’re dating a movie star,” she realizes, grinning so wide that her eyes are practically closed with glee. “Okay, very seriously now,” she says, taking a few breaths to compose herself. “Finn, how did you not know?”
“I told you! I’m not really the kind of guy who follows that sort of thing. Why was I supposed to know?”
“His face is on yogurt,” she deadpans. “It’s sort of hard to miss.”
“I’m dating a movie star?” Finn says the words out loud to try and get a sense of them. “I’m dating a movie star.”
Lots of little clues start to come together. The way that people had stared at Poe in the restaurant, the money, the casual way he owns planes, not to mention Poe’s displeasure with public displays of affection like he’s worried someone’s going to see them.
Holy shit, he’s dating a movie star.
The only problem is that regardless of what Poe does for a living, he’s still leaving town, soon.
“He’s here shooting a movie,” Finn realizes, thinking back to all those catering trucks and the cordoned off areas of downtown. He thinks of how Poe’s always exhausted on the mornings when he meets Finn for coffee, citing a long night of work. “The movie that wraps up this week,” he goes on, heart sinking down into his stomach.
“Oh, Finn,” Rey says softly, curling him in close to her, letting him rest his cheek on her shoulder. They stay like this for a long moment, long enough that Finn actually starts to feel better because Rey’s good at taking him when he’s at his most broken and building him up by patching up the insecurities that make him feel worn. “What are you going to do?” she asks quietly.
“I don’t know,” Finn confesses.
Does he confront Poe? It’s not like Poe’s ever lied to him about what he does. Is this why Poe likes Finn so much? He’s been completely in the dark about Poe’s career, which means he hasn’t really been blinded by rumors or gossip. He’s just taken the opportunity to get to know Poe and he’s discovered that they really, really work well together.
Does he go after Poe and beg him to stay? It’s only been ten days and despite how well they click, it’s a little early for something like that, even if Finn would argue that the very first night with Poe had been the moment that he’d known things felt so comfortable and right between them.
“I have to tell him I know,” Finn says, knowing that much.
“I heard they’re wrapping up shooting on Main Street in about an hour,” Rey says helpfully. “Finn?”
“Don’t screw this up,” she says. “Do you want a yogurt to go?” she suggests, wiggling one of the closed packs with a mischievous grin on her face. “Or have you already sucked his…”
“You need to stop,” Finn interrupts her, snatching the yogurt out of her hand, waving it in her face before he realizes what this could look like, before throwing it in the nearby trash. He grabs his jacket (no, not his jacket, Poe’s jacket that he’d insisted on Finn keeping) and tries to come to grips with this news.
He’s dating a movie star.
It’s worse than that. Finn is pretty sure he’s falling in love with a movie star.
Rey sends him off into the streets with one more warning about not ‘pulling a Finn’, which is offensive, yet accurate, and makes him a little sad that he’s managed to sabotage himself to the point that Rey’s verbing his name.
The trouble is that he’s not sure how to bring up that he’s figured out who Poe is. He paces around town trying to kill time until they’re wrapped on set and without meaning to, Finn’s worked himself in knots worrying about what’s going to happen, as if somehow Poe will be mad at him even though really, if anyone’s allowed to be mad in this situation, it’s Finn.
He’s not pissed off at Poe, though. He wants to clear the air and get the lies out of the way, but he’s not mad.
The reporters staying in town are swarming Main Street, which means that the private conversation Finn had been meaning to have is pretty much a no-go unless he’s willing to wait until they get bored of waiting for a scandalous shot. Of course, Finn knows that his conversation with Poe could end up providing exactly that, so he has to be careful.
Finn works his way up to the front of the crowd, gripping the barrier until his knuckles are strained. He sees the exact moment that Poe finds him in the crowd and the smile on his face falls away.
He must think that this is the end. Now that Finn knows the truth, it’s pretty clear to him that Poe had liked Finn for his ignorance to Poe’s real job. Rey’s given him a good idea of the short of how famous Poe actually is, but Finn’s got some suspicions that in the long version, he’d find out that Poe’s the kind of movie star that everyone either wants to be with or wants to be. All those times he’d thought Poe had the makings of a silver screen star from back in the day, and he’d had no idea how right he’s been.
“Finn,” Poe exhales, loud enough for the crowd to hear.
It’s the wrong thing to do. All of a sudden, every single reporter swivels as if they’re manning a battle station instead of just operating heavy-duty cameras and flashes start going off, blinding Finn so badly that he’s staggering blindly, trying to get to Poe’s side. He tries not to feel overwhelmed by all of it, but it’s a little impossible.
Poe still looks crushed, as if he’s been waiting for Finn to figure out who he really is and end things, as if the end hasn’t been looming over them for weeks. He manages to get to Poe’s side right about the time that the rain starts coming down, breaking through that near-permanent grey sky they’ve had for days.
Within seconds, the warm summer storm plasters Poe’s hair to his forehead and make Finn’s white shirt stick to his chest. Even though it itches, Finn barely registers it because Poe is grasping frantically at his soaked shirt, panic flashing in his eyes.
“Did you always know?” he asks. “About…?”
“I just found out. Rey has yogurt with your face on it,” he admits, knowing how ridiculous that sounds and he’s still in disbelief about how that is what tipped him off. Rain is starting to sluice down his face and the bright, frantic flash of the cameras remind Finn that they have a very large audience and Finn’s about to end up on a few magazine websites tomorrow.
Poe seems to figure it out at the same time.
Finn reaches forward and grabs Poe’s hand, tugging him towards one of the little back-alleys that leads behind most of the Main Street businesses, glancing over his shoulder to Poe when he realizes he has no actual escape plan.
“You got a hotel? Nice hotel?”
“Yeah, turn left here,” Poe instructs, yanking on Finn’s hand to help guide him. They end up half-tripping into the lobby of the town’s nicest hotel, which Finn has only ever seen the once when their school had arranged for prom to be held there. It offers the kind of luxury and elegance that Finn’s not accustomed to.
He’s starting to realize that this must be just another day in Poe’s life. Finn’s realizing that Poe being a movie star and living this kind of life is going to take a lot longer to get used to than he’d expected.
They make it through the lobby unscathed and stumble around the corner towards the elevator banks. Shivering, Poe nudges him into the first open elevator, which Finn is grateful is empty when the doors slide close, giving them the privacy Finn’s been after this whole time.
“Hey,” Poe says, trying to smile reassuringly, but it doesn’t reach his eyes. He curls Finn into his arms and frantically rubs his hands up and down his arms. “Hey, you’re freezing.”
“Wasn’t expecting that much rain or this much air-conditioning,” Finn confesses, leaning into the touch like it might be the last time he gets it. It’s up to him, though, isn’t it? Poe’s worried look can only mean one thing – he’s sure that Finn is about to leave him. He reaches over with wet fingertips and pushes back the sopping wet strands of hair off Poe’s forehead.
Standing there twined together like this in silence, they ride the last few floors to the top of the hotel without speaking, without moving.
The elevator glides open on their arrival and Poe reluctantly lets go of Finn to get his card, peering through the halls as he opens the door to what has to be the penthouse, gesturing for Finn to join him.
“There’s going to be a lot of pictures of you online pretty soon,” Poe warns, as if that’s the kind of thing Finn cares about. He hovers in the doorway, absently running his fingers through his hair like he can somehow calm himself down with just a few touches. Given how Poe quickly goes from panicked to steady, maybe it does work.
Finn lingers in the front hall of the room, not sure where to put himself in such a nice place. “I don’t really care,” he admits. “Do you?” he asks warily, because while he knows that Poe’s a movie star, he doesn’t know what kind of movie star he is. “Do you care about being seen with someone or do you care because that someone is a guy?”
Poe’s dark look definitely isn’t one that Finn wants to be the cause of again anytime soon. “I’ve been out since I was a teenager,” he says heavily. “It’s more that I don’t want you to have to deal with that crap.” He gestures for Finn to come inside, in the middle of stripping off his wet jacket, followed by the wet wool sweater, and then the t-shirt goes too until Finn’s standing in the middle of a hotel room with his pseudo-boyfriend, dripping a puddle on his nice floor and watching an unexpected (but definitely not unwanted) strip show. “Come in, get that stuff off. I’ll have the laundry service get everything dried.” He turns to place the call, giving Finn a moment to compose his thoughts.
There’s a shaky thread of worry weaving its way in between Poe’s words and Finn wants to address the elephant in the room before it gets too big.
“I don’t care,” he says. He’d spent all his time between leaving Rey and finding Poe rehearsing speeches in his head, but somewhere along the way, he’s figured out that simple is best. “Poe? I don’t care that you’re a movie star.”
He can see the instantaneous relief wash over Poe, his shoulders dropping about two inches as he sags forward, closing the distance between them as he wraps up his hand in the wet fabric of Finn’s t-shirt.
“Most people care,” he admits, sounding overwhelmingly relieved that Finn isn’t one of them.
He’s had time to meet Poe and get to know him without outside influences. Poe could be a teacher or a lifeguard. He could be anyone, but it’s not the occupation that Finn’s falling for. It’s the man himself, and Finn’s more than willing to fight to keep that man in his life. If anything, Finn should be the one who’s worried. Poe is a movie star and Finn’s just a reserve doing his best to figure out his life. He’d thought he was out of his league when Poe had just been a handsome, rich stranger.
Somehow, in the last few moments, Poe has managed to close the distance between them until he’s so close that he’s a breath away from being pressed flush to Finn.
“Let me get this off of you,” Poe says, his voice low and heavy. Once he gets his fingers on Finn’s skin, he can feel that they’re shaking as if he’s the one stuck in chilly clothes. He pries away the t-shirt and lets it drop, heavy and hard, into a pile behind them. He’s staring at Finn like he’s worried that one or both of them is going to break and Finn wants to get through all the anxieties so they can get to the good part. “When I met you and you had no idea who I was, I went with it. Funny, charming, and hot? It’s a no-brainer, Finn. Not to mention that you treated me like a person instead of some idol.”
“You saved me,” Finn replies, the shiver coursing over his skin definitely not the fault of the rain, now.
“I saved you from a bad date, Finn, it wasn’t exactly a war rescue.”
“It might as well have been. I think a second date with that guy would’ve left me dead,” Finn announces dramatically, breathing in slow and shakily as he looks down to where his hands rest on Poe’s belt. When did they get there? Not that he’s complaining, but he’d like to think he’s got some control over them.
“Laundry service is coming up in thirty minutes,” Poe says, reaching down to help Finn’s hands inside his pants. “I’ve got a few ideas about what we can do until then.”
“Smart, too,” Finn says, managing not to sound completely head over heels, but just barely. “You’re really okay with this?”
“Are you?” Poe asks, as they fumble their way to the bedroom, unfastening belts, kicking off shoes, and losing socks (potentially forever) along the way. “You’re the one who just figured out who I really am. I mean, I don’t want you to go anywhere, but if you want to leave, now’s the time and there’s the door.”
In response, Finn pushes Poe onto the bed, fighting back the urge to clamber on top of him because he wants this opportunity to really get a good look at him. Now that he knows the truth, there’s a part of him that wants to ask Rey if she’ll help him go through a lot of old videos and photo shoots to find every last picture he can, but he also has the feeling that she’s already doing it.
“Have you ever been voted Sexiest Anything?” Finn asks, at the foot of the bed.
Poe writhes in place, glaring at Finn like he’s actually doing something worth getting pissed about when he’s just taking his time and appreciating the gift lying on the bed beneath him. “I was number twelve on the list, once,” he replies, sitting up on his elbows. This calls even more attention to his abs and Finn is pretty much a goner.
He needs a little bit of control back, so he gestures towards Poe’s chest. “You wax every week, then?”
That seems like the breaking point, given that Poe vaults to his knees and practically storms the distance between them to yank Finn down onto the bed, pinning him on his back so he can’t get away and do things like stand back and marvel at Poe like the god in human form he so clearly is.
“Poe, I really don’t care how many movies or magazines you’ve been in,” Finn says, when they’re so close together that they’re sharing each other’s breathing space and Poe is brushing the tip of his nose gently against Finn’s, taking his time and indulging in this moment. “I met you because you saw I was in a bad situation and you got me out of there, paid for my dinner, and pretty much wooed me unlike I have ever been wooed before. And I don’t use the word ‘woo’ lightly. Honestly, I usually don’t use it at all.”
Poe grins at Finn as he leans in for a slow kiss, the kind that they haven’t shared since they started kissing. It’s slow and explorative, a warm brush of lips against Finn’s that makes him feel like the ground beneath him is giving way to an endless chasm of warmth and security and belonging.
Finn doesn’t know how long they spend like this, but the knock at the door rattles him from it. Poe eases back, giving Finn the chance to marvel at the shiny sheen of his bruised lips. Finn collapses on his back in Poe’s absence, wondering how the hell he’s managed to get this lucky. Then again, after the many bad relationships he’s had, maybe this is just the universe’s way of cutting him a break.
Poe returns with a bundle of new clothes in his arms, his dark hair starting to dry in frizzy curls that Finn’s sure no magazine photographer has ever captured on film. “Sweatpants and shirts while we wait for the clothes to dry,” he explains, gnawing his lower lip with his teeth as he stares at Finn. “You comfortable?”
“Yeah, wh...?” Finn’s question is swallowed by his sudden gasp when Poe surges forward on the bed and yanks Finn’s pants down, getting his slick lips wrapped around Finn’s cock in what Finn assumes is record-breaking time. “Fuck!” he gets out before Poe starts a campaign to make sure that the only sounds coming out of Finn’s mouth resemble hoarse shouts and not a single word known to man.
He’s methodical and unrelenting as he takes Finn deep, his tongue a firm, hard presence with every swallow that leaves Finn just as helpless when he eases back to pay just as much attention to his balls, stubble brushing against him and leaving him helpless to all new sensations. He grips at the covers on the bed, back arching upwards in an attempt to get his cock deeper into Poe’s mouth.
“I’m gonna come,” he manages, when Poe’s pace finally flags and he starts showing off technique after all that steady stamina. “Poe, Poe, please, God, please let me...” He’s halfway there to warning Poe to ease back when the choice is taken from him. He comes, shouting Poe’s name, and all the muscles in his body lock in this frozen moment of pure ecstasy that only melts into something prolonged and warm as he watches Poe swallow every last bit that he can manage.
Finn lets out a breathless laugh as he collapses on the bed, every part of him aching. “Get up here and kiss me already,” he says.
“With pleasure,” Poe replies, his voice dirty and hoarse and so sexy that Finn’s in danger of coming again. He climbs on top of Finn, which sort of takes reciprocation by way of mouth out of the equation, but luckily Finn’s in possession of some very excellent hands.
Poe eases back from the slow kiss he’s stealing to find Finn wrapping his fingers around his cock. “You don’t have to,” he says, clearly blissfully happy to give and not receive because being a rich movie star isn’t enough. No, he’s trying to be generous in bed, too.
“Who said anything about have to? I want to,” Finn says, ducking away when Poe tries to kiss him. “And I want to watch,” he says, rubbing his thumb in steady, slow little circles that could probably torture a man into confessing to at least three murders and one theft (if his last boyfriend’s praises are anything to go by).
Poe bites his lip, bare chest heaving, clearly having trouble with letting go of his control. Finn has to wonder if this is a side-effect of the movie star thing. Has he gone through his life not entirely trusting the people he’s been with? Is he worried that if he completely lets go, the people he’s been with will judge him and want to leave?
If that’s the case, Finn definitely looks forward to prying him apart and building him back up to trust everyone he possibly can. That, and hunting down everyone who’s ever hurt Poe to make him hold himself so tightly together.
“Finn, Finn, buddy, babe, I can’t...” Poe makes a really adorable little noise, like he’s trying not to shout and it gets caught up in his throat, coming out like a little mewling grunt of frustration instead. “You are going to ... fuck, kill me,” he gasps, reaching down to slide his hand into Finn’s, looking up past his drying-hair to catch Finn’s gaze. “Together,” he insists.
Poe’s hand slotted together with his, they work together to bring Poe to orgasm, Poe grinning like a maniac and Finn not far behind.
“Never had a movie star come on me before,” Finn quips, eyes widening in delight and horror when that actually is the moment that Poe loses control and comes all over Finn’s chest. “Oh my god,” he manages, burying his face in Poe’s neck. “This is so embarrassing for you,” he mumbles the words against Poe’s sweaty skin.
“Bite me,” Poe mutters, collapsing on Finn. “Ow!” he hisses, when Finn follows his instruction to the letter. He laughs, though, groaning at the sticky mess they’ve made. “I’m not calling the laundry back this soon. We’ll get them cleaned in the morning.” He gently nudges Finn’s chin to get him to ease back, enough to make eye contact. “Will you still be here in the morning?”
“Sure,” Finn replies, too tired to do anything but pass out. After the day he’s had, he doesn’t think he’d make it home. “I’ve always wanted to dine with a movie star,” he jokes, but glances up at Poe to make sure he knows he’s only joking. “More than that, I really want to have breakfast with you.”
He absently registers Poe’s fingers stroking his head and down the back of his neck, but his protests are lost when he winds up falling asleep on top of Poe.
His dreams are fuzzy, bright things. He thinks Rey is in them and Poe is definitely there. It’s summer and it’s pouring, because Finn’s going to associate the rain with this day in his brain as long as he thinks he could remember. The dream is so good that he can forget the pictures that are bound to surface in the press and the fact that he’s probably going to get hounded a little, not to mention the crap he’ll take on the base and from idiots who think they know things about him.
In the dream, Poe grins at him in the light of the setting sun by the sea and Finn falls, and falls, and falls in love.
When he slowly shifts awake, he notices that the bed is empty, but there’s music coming from the direction of the bathroom. His breath catches when he realizes it’s Poe, singing Fly Me To The Moon, his voice bouncing off the tiles in the shower and sounding like a siren luring Finn to his doom.
Finn buries his head in a freshly laundered pillow to let out a muffled groan, pretty sure he’s doomed to many a session with his hand when Poe’s not around and it’ll be that song that does it.
“All yours,” Poe says, wrapping a towel around his waist and gesturing over his shoulder. “There are clean clothes for when you get out. They’re only hotel sweatpants, but I think with your ass, you can make it work.”
Finn doesn’t waste time getting clean, not wanting to be apart from Poe for a single second (especially not when Poe’s naked and wet). He changes into the hotel sweats and his now-dry t-shirt before heading back to the main room, where Poe is sitting on the edge of the bed, his shoulders hunched over. Considering the evening they’ve just had, he looks completely miserable and Finn doesn’t know why.
“Was it that bad?” Finn asks, drying the last of his skin before draping his towel over the chair. The bed’s still a mess, a memory of the night before, but he can’t find a single part of it that’s bad. Poe being a movie star doesn’t mean anything to Finn because it doesn’t matter. All that matters is he likes Poe, himself, the actual man behind the fame.
Poe gives a tremulous smile. “Are you kidding me, Finn? Last night was incredible.”
“So what’s with the face?”
“I leave in two days,” he says quietly. “We’re about done filming here and I’m set to fly the plane back two days from now.”
“Oh,” Finn says, sinking into the chair across from the bed. He’d always known this was going to happen, but he’s been pushing off reality as long as he could. He’s not even sure whether he should do anything about it, like beg Poe to consider staying a little while longer. He’s got his life here and one weekend a month (and a few nights of the week) belongs to the base. Besides that, Finn’s pretty sure that Poe’s aspirational goals don’t start and stop with some guy he’d met in some little town that always managed to smell like saltwater and sweets (thanks to the taffy shop) at the same time.
It feels like they’re up against a wall.
Poe looks at Finn intently. “I’m hoping you’ve had as good a time as I have,” he says, clearly yearning for a specific answer from Finn.
So Finn has to hope that, “The best, really,” is the right one.
They won’t even get a chance to figure out if this can go the long haul. That’s what’s bugging Finn the most. The media and the fame stuff? He can cope with that if it means getting a chance to really get to know Poe and find out if the connection they’ve fostered over the last few weeks can go the distance.
Except two days from now, Poe’s getting on a plane and leaving town.
“It was the best,” Finn says again, mustering up a smile to show that he’s got no regrets. “Poe, really, it was amazing. You’re amazing,” he swears. “I’m really glad I hit my head like an idiot and you felt the need to swoop in and rescue me.”
“You really hit it hard,” Poe confesses. “Part of me thought there was going to be blood everywhere and I’d have to get you to a hospital. Instead, I got one of the most unexpectedly amazing first dates of my life. I’ve been acting since I was six,” he admits. “No one’s ever really looked at me like a normal person, but that whole night? You didn’t know about my horrible teen punk phase or the awful kid’s show I was on. You just cared that I was the guy who saved you from a bad blind date.”
Finn wrings his towel in his hands, trying to fight off the heartache that’s making his chest hurt so badly. “Will you give me your email? I don’t really text or anything, but I’ve got my laptop. We could just keep in touch,” he says, trying to find the bright spot. “Maybe the next time you’re in town, we could connect again.”
Poe stares at Finn for a long time, so long that Finn actually starts to worry that maybe Poe didn’t exactly hear him.
“Because I’d be in town,” he says. “And we could connect.”
“Pretty much what I said,” he agrees warily. “You okay?”
“Yeah,” Poe says hurriedly. “Yeah, I’m great.” Finn tries not to let that sting because leaving in two days means that Poe shouldn’t be great, no matter how good things had been the night before. He leans up to kiss Finn’s forehead, then steals another kiss from his lips. “Don’t leave town or go anywhere. I want to see you again before I leave.”
“Yeah, of course,” Finn agrees.
Breakfast is just as fancy as Finn’s expecting, with waffles and fruits he didn’t even know existed with ridiculous names he’s pretty sure have been made up. The rest of the morning is leisurely and good, all the awkwardness melting away as if it’d never been there.
And yet, when Finn leaves Poe’s hotel that morning (with a new hoodie to cover his face just in case anyone’s lurking around for a picture), he has the distinct feeling that he’s been thrown off balance and he can’t even put his finger on why.
Somehow, in the madness of the last few weeks, Finn’s managed to lose his cell phone.
When Poe finds out, he makes a comment about how this explains a lot. What it does mean is that his lack of a cell phone means that Rey now ends up as his message proxy.
Today, she looks caught between pissed off at having to relay the message and delighted at whatever it is. “You look way too happy for today,” Finn mumbles, curled up on his couch and trying to ignore what day it is.
Today is the day the film wraps up and the cast leaves town.
Today’s the day that Poe is leaving him.
Rey plops herself down right beside Finn and wiggles the whole of her body with one hand to his shoulder. “You should be more grateful that I’m willing to deliver your messages at nine in the morning,” she says. “Please replace your phone.”
He’s been meaning to, he really has been, but Poe’s been a whirlwind that’s completely taken apart his life and now that he does have time, he doesn’t want to do anything. He peers up at Rey, feeling completely weighed down. It’s pretty much the worst depression he’s felt since the time he’d almost failed calculus and wound up in summer school until a technicality got him through the course.
“And please don’t look so sad,” Rey begs. “Poe sent me a text and yes, before you ask, we have now talked about you at length. He wants you to meet him up on the bluffs. 2187 Ocean Drive,” she says, kissing his forehead before she strokes her palm over the skin as if to wipe away the evidence.
He still feels devoid of energy, but musters his way to his feet, grabbing his jacket – except it’s not really his, because it’s the jacket that Poe gave to him and nothing else fits him so perfectly and smells so right – and he buries his face in the lapel for a long moment to get himself together before heading out for the walk up to the bluffs.
The first thing that hits him when he gets there is the sea breeze off the ocean, but Finn’s attention is quickly diverted to the small corgi with a burnished brown coat that comes charging at him from the steps of the palatial house, wiggling its tail and simultaneously growling at him.
“BB-8!” Poe’s frantic voice comes from inside the house. “No!”
The dog is jumping up on its hind legs, nipping and tugging at Finn’s coat like he’s trying to yank it off Finn’s body. “I got him, don’t worry,” another man’s voice calls from the driveway. The bearded man bends down to snatch up the dog, turning his attention to Finn. “You’re the mythical boyfriend, huh? Poe’s been scary about not letting us near you. Jess, he’s here! EL, c’mon and get a look before Poe scares us away forever.”
“You guys are Poe’s buddies?”
“The ones who’ve tolerated his charming ass this long,” the woman (Jess, must be) says. “Do you really not know about his weekly appearances on TMZ?”
“What about the thing with the Prince of Monaco?”
The third guy, EL, wanders up and takes BB-8 out of the first man’s hands. “You’re the reason we’re here, huh?”
Poe seems to finally finish up with whatever he’s doing, racing out the front door like he can sense his friends talking ill about him. The wind sends his hair wild, his cheeks matching the red of his soccer jersey. He glares at his friends, taking the dog out of EL’s hands.
“Finn, you’ve met the reprobates,” Poe says. “Snap, Jess, and EL. Old friends.”
“Fun fact,” Snap says, leaning in to shake Finn’s hand. “The Reprobates was our band name back in high school when Poe was also our lead singer and not just some famous actor.”
Finn is a little charmed to find out that the people around Poe are high school friends, which says a lot about the longevity of Poe’s loyalty. He’s also reminded of hearing Poe sing in the shower just yesterday morning, but that brings the depression right back because it forces him to think about the fact that Poe’s packing up to leave today. It makes the whole visit a bittersweet experience that he’s not sure what to do with.
“What’s with the house?” Finn asks, reminding himself that he’s taking advantage of every minute he can and that includes these moments.
“Guys, can you give us a minute?” Poe asks, handing BB-8 off to Jess (the dog hasn’t stopped growling lowly at Finn, as if him wearing Poe’s jacket is somehow a reason to be upset at the man). They all leave quickly, patting Poe on the back and leaving him with Finn in the shadow of the most gorgeous mansion in town.
If this is some kind of weird set for their goodbye, Finn’s debating running away just so it can’t actually happen.
They stand there together awkwardly, the both of them not wanting to be the first to speak. If Finn starts talking, then he starts them on the path towards the conversation that ends with Poe saying goodbye to him and this town forever. He doesn’t want to be the one who gets them closer to that. Poe grins sheepishly, clearly not wanting to be the first to speak either.
“Cute dog,” Finn finally says, when the awkward silence is too much. He figures the dog is a good neutral topic. “You had a thing with the Prince of Monaco?” he goes on, because he’s kind of curious about that one.
Poe flushes red, resting his hand on Finn’s elbow as he directs him to start walking alongside him. “It’s only half truths,” he mumbles, which isn’t exactly a denial. “You shouldn’t believe anything you read about me,” he insists. “If you did, you’d think I had a secret fetish for sardines, am twice married, and happened to fall head over heels in love for a local guy in a matter of weeks.”
“One out of those three things is true?” he asks hopefully, heart pounding in his chest.
Poe leans closer, hand over his heart. “I’ve always had a devastating love for sardines,” he confides. “And for you.”
This is bad, Finn tells himself. This is only making it worse. This is taking his heart and crushing it into a few more pieces than he’d expected, all because he’d listened to Rey and come up here when he should have just started to mend his heart and cut his losses.
“What do you think?” Poe asks, glancing backwards to the house.
Finn takes a few moments to study it, notes the new flowers decorating the front foyer and the painters applying fresh coats to the garage. It must have sold after sitting on the market forever. He can’t really blame anyone for not taking up the deal – the price had crept towards double-digit millions.
“It’s nice,” he says, his suspicions starting to grow when he notices the boxes, the cars in the driveway that belong to Poe, and the plane off in the distant field. “Did you buy it?” He wants to hope for ‘yes’, wants so badly to hear the word, wants to grab hold of Poe by the lapels and not move a muscle until he gets it.
“I’ve been looking for something on this side of the country,” Poe admits, completely awful at hiding how overjoyed he is to be telling Finn about this. “Snap said he saw this place during one of our flyovers and…” He inhales sharply. “I’m about to sound sappy, I think you’re just going to have to roll with it.”
“I can do that,” Finn promises, waiting for confirmation before he believes this can be true.
“It’s been a little less than two weeks and I know it’s fast, trust me, I know. I come from a whole industry built around people moving too fast because they’re deceived into thinking what they feel is true, but I honestly felt right with you the minute I sat down to dinner,” Poe says. “So maybe it’s fast for me to be buying property in your town, maybe it’s even faster for me to be asking you to move into it, but this place suits me. At least, I think it does,” he admits, eyes flickering over Finn’s face as he awaits reaction.
“You’re moving here?”
“If the town’s good enough to have me,” Poe jokes, but then he softens. He seems to understand that this isn’t totally a joke. “If you’ll have me.”
Everything sort of catches up at once, rushing into Finn’s ears. Poe’s moving into town, Poe bought the most expensive house here, and he wants Finn to move in with him.
“You’re not worried I only want you for your money?”
Poe shakes his head, giving a wry laugh. “Buddy, if you did, the first date when your eyes got saucer-round at my credit card would’ve been when I figured out whether you were just gold-digging. I’ve always been told that wearing my emotions on my sleeve has helped me become the actor I am, but you…”
He leans in, cupping Finn’s cheek tenderly.
“You’ve never bothered to hide a thing from me and I love it.” Poe searches Finn’s face, like it’s his turn to wait for an answer. “Will you? Stay here with me?”
“Can we start with me getting a drawer?” he suggests, palms flush with anxious sweat, lips curling up with brimming joy, and his heart pounding away in his chest like a drum. He likes Poe a lot (he’s probably falling in love with him), but there’s some realistic anchors weighing down Finn’s heart that he’d rather detach slowly than cut them all and float away. “I need to hear it. Sorry, but you need to say it. Tell me you’re staying.”
“Finn,” Poe says, shifting so that he’s standing right in front of Finn, their heights evenly aligned so that Poe is looking him straight in the eye. “I’m staying here with you.”
Poe looks perfect, too handsome to look at for too long, and Finn catches himself laughing with riotous joy as he leans into Poe’s hold over him, finally realizing that he doesn’t have to mete out his time and measure it carefully. He gets to have as much time as they’ve got, the two of them, and Finn is getting the opportunity to really be happy with someone he really, really likes.
“I think your dog hates me.”
“BB-8? Nah, he’s just protective.”
“If he’s eight, what happened to the other seven?”
“Long story,” Poe replies, taking Finn’s hand in his. “Come on. Let’s take the tour and you can pick out which drawer you want.”
All of them, Finn wants to say, but he’s the one who put the brakes on them moving that fast. One drawer for now, he negotiates, and he can work his way up from there while basking in the grateful warmth that comes of knowing that he’s not losing Poe; not today or ever, if he gets his way.
Which of Hollywood’s heartthrobs has been seen converting from vanilla to chocolate after being seen publically canoodling with Mr. Right? Is the sex swing already retired or should we be keeping our eyes out for Heartthrob buying a couples’ set?
Finn stares at the gossip item online, reminded of why he doesn’t spend that much time online if this is the kind of thing that’s out there. He peers up from his plate of egg white scramble and down the table to where Jess is feeding BB-8 apple slices.
“Sex swing?” is all he asks, a touch worried that maybe he should ask for a tour of the mansion that goes to the basement.
Rey peeks up from the crossword, opening her mouth for what’s no doubt going to be a completely hilarious joke (to everyone else but Finn). He gives her a sharp glare that says he got her invited to this little brunch shindig and he can get her uninvited pretty quickly. He’s distracted soon enough when Poe wanders downstairs from his morning workout, clad only in a tight black tank top and a pair of sinfully tight orange shorts that, despite their god-awful color, do insanely flattering things for his ass.
He opens his mouth to say something, but nothing comes out.
Poe leans down and kisses Finn’s cheek, lingering while grinning that dashing, debonair, Cary Grant-style smile (Finn’s starting to learn, thanks to Poe’s intensive classic Hollywood education program) at their guests.
“Do you ladies mind if I steal Finn?” he requests politely. “I have a very slippery bathtub and the owner of the house recommended that I always bring in extra help, just in case.”
Jess waves them off, clearly used to their newfound coupledom. Rey is still getting used to seeing Finn in the pages of US Weekly (usually in the ‘Stars, Just Like Us’ section when photographers have managed to capture pictures of him and Poe walking BB-8), but she’s still fairly enamoured with the fact that her best friend has found a little sliver of happiness to call his own.
Poe drags a very willing Finn away, except that the blind item is still rattling around in his head.
“Am I really Mr. Right?” he asks. “And is there really a sex swing?”
Poe smiles enigmatically and opens the door to the bathroom, giving Finn a gentle push inside. “Yes,” is all he says.
“Yeah, but which one is that yes to? The ring or the swing?”
“Yes,” Poe replies again, stripping off his tank top.
Oh, why the hell does he care? He’s got a half-naked, sweaty Poe at his disposal, a gorgeous claw foot tub, and nowhere to be for the next three hours. Page Six’s gossip column can wait for later. Finn closes the door behind him, basking in the glory that’s Poe’s full-bodied laugh when Finn starts in on him, with full intent to get him naked, soaked, and sated.
“Yogurt?” Jess asks, extending it out to Rey.
“Does it have Poe’s face on it?”
“No,” Jess replies, with the same sound relief that Rey feels. She reaches over to take it from Jess, pausing only when she hears the heavy thunk upstairs followed by a sound that’s definitely not a groan of pain. BB-8 starts barking loudly, as if concerned about Finn somehow hurting his master, but Rey knows enough to know that it’s not without being requested.
“On second thought,” Rey says, dabbing the corner of her lips with her napkin, “I have a great selection of breakfast muffins at the office. Shall we?”
The next sound is actually a little impressive, both in length and ability to get them out of there.
“Come on, BB-8,” Rey coaxes the corgi. “Stay close.”
He yips cheerfully in response as they leave the lovebirds to break whatever furniture they want to, in peace and quiet.
And they lived happily ever after. Well, mostly.
Poe did go on a crazy ranting spree in front of about thirty paparazzi when they won't leave Finn alone and there's the little matter of the sex-tape scandal, not to mention the constant articles about how they're getting secretly married (when both Finn and Poe have been secretly planning on proposing to each other for only two years now and Rey is getting fed up waiting).
But they've got a nice place and Finn's learning how to fly and starting to consider the air force and the kids at Rey's studio adore Poe about as much as Finn does and even Ben is starting to warm up to the guy. It's Finn's movie tale happy ending, as far as he's concerned. He's good with this. He's good with his life.
Chapter 3: epilogue: the stars incline but do not bend
Thanks to templemarker for the beta of this fic! In writing the first main story from Finn's POV, it got very clear, very quickly that Poe seemed larger than life and without his flaws and so, this epilogue was born because I live for balance and more Poe/Finn in my life.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Hey, Finn, do you want to…” Poe trails off, unaccustomed to the strange silence that resonates through the halls of this too-large house. BB-8 peers up at him from his new resting place on the edge of the sofa, a pitiless, unsympathetic look on his Corgi features.
It’s been twelve hours since Finn left, citing a need "for a little break".
Poe’s been alone now for twelve hours without him. It shouldn’t be so difficult, but he’s not used to facing a new day without Finn at his side or readily available with a quick call.
He’s sure that he can remember some part of his life that didn’t have Finn in it, but it’s a memory he can’t exactly pick out, now that they’ve been together for the better part of a year. Poe’s made space for Finn in his life, carving out the places where Poe wants him to belong. The trouble with that is, now that Finn’s not here, Poe feels emptier than he can remember ever being. Those places he’s made for Finn are vacant reminders of all the places he’s not.
It can’t have been like this before, yet being alone feels so miserable and blank that he’s convinced life before Finn can’t have been worth much at all.
Poe wanders through the kitchen and puts on coffee for one, makes breakfast for one, and then looks at his schedule on his phone. If Finn were here, he’d be making jokes about Poe’s latest script and curled up close to him to fight off Poe’s inherently grumpy morning nature.
Today, it’s just Poe and BB-8.
“What do you say, buddy?” Poe asks his dog. “Let’s try another ten or fifteen calls and texts and see if he answers?”
BB-8 gives a sad little whining noise, which Poe definitely gets.
How the hell is he supposed to apologize and figure out how to move past this if Finn won’t even talk to him? That leads him down the terrifying path of asking, what happens if Finn never talks to Poe and they don’t get past this? More than that, Poe’s still struggling to figure out exactly what went wrong and what they were really fighting about.
“We’ll get him back, BB-8, don’t worry,” Poe says, falling into one of Finn’s habits. He’s talking to himself to boost his confidence, trying to convince himself that Finn’s coming back to him and they’re going to talk this out. They’re going to fix it.
There is no other option, as far as he’s concerned. He’s not sure how much longer he can go on with his life bearing these gaping Finn-shaped holes in it.
Finn wakes up to light rain on a dingy window and the sound of a machine humming behind him. Given that he’s crashing in Rey’s loft, it could be anything. Her apartment has a ridiculous workshop-like feel, cluttered and quaint and clever. It’s pretty much a guarantee that he’s going to trip over something that can walk, talk, and possibly think on its own.
Staring blearily in the direction of the kitchen, he discovers the humming is the sound of the toaster and Rey is sitting at the kitchen table with her tea, knees tucked into her chest.
“Why are you watching me sleep?” Finn mumbles, rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand.
“I’m not used to company this early in the morning,” Rey replies. “I’m not watching you, I’m just zoning out.” She takes in a deep breath and exhales, the steam wafting away from her tea. “I put coffee on for you, even if you are a heathen to enjoy it.”
“Not all of us are sophisticated Shepherd’s Bush girls,” he replies, putting on a half-assed attempt at a mockery of her accent.
“You are pretty enough to be one,” Rey teases, setting the sugar on the table because she knows the way Finn takes his coffee. It’s their third day together after The Big Fight and Finn is beginning to settle in, finding comfort in his hiding place. “Now that you’re awake…”
“No,” he cuts her off, because he already knows where this is going.
“Finn, it’s been three days and you haven’t even told me why you turned up on my door with a duffel. It must have been serious,” Rey notes softly.
Finn knows she’s concerned about him because his relationship is on the rocks, but he’s genuinely worried that as soon as he starts talking about it, he might sound like the guy with the biggest stake of idiocy in the fight. He doesn’t know if he can take putting his problems out there and finding out he’s making mountains out of molehills. He knows Rey won’t be dismissive of him, but he’s still worried.
He also knows that she’s not above kicking him out unless he gives up the information.
Finn stumbles off the couch and takes his coffee, adding too much sugar and staring into the cup and his reflection in the settling liquid. “I need you not to take sides,” he says, finally. “I need advice, Rey.”
“I’m very objective,” she promises, rubbing a hand in circles at the place between his shoulder blades once he settles in the chair beside her. “Selfishly, I do want my couch back, but your happiness still takes precedent. Finn, what happened?”
“You know how Poe is pretty much everyone’s favorite? I mean, he’s charming and he’s funny and he’s hot and I love him,” Finn says, wanting to be clear. “And he’s so nice.”
Rey makes a face like she can’t believe she’d agreed to be objective and Finn knows her well enough to know the dozen quips she’s not saying. It’s just as Finn had feared. The minute he starts getting this out loud, he sounds like a total ingrate. His boyfriend is nice. His boyfriend is charming and inviting.
He takes a deep breath and keeps going, having already opened the lid of Pandora’s Box. “Poe’s too nice,” he goes on. “But I’m not talking about the relationship. He never says no, Rey. Which is great for us, because it means things never really go stale between us. I can suggest anything and he’s up for trying it.” Poe's casual willingness to say yes has led to dates on the other side of the country, simply because Finn had jokingly asked if they could. It’s also one of the reasons why Finn’s pretty sure he could publish a sex tell-all and make about a million dollars given the things in bed Poe’s said yes though.
Outside their relationship, the people-pleasing thing is kind of a real bitch.
“You name it, he says yes. Photographer wants shots? People want autographs? We were at dinner once and he spent the entire time talking to fans and the paparazzi. I got three words out of him and it was our anniversary,” Finn says, starting to come back to the anger that had caused the big blowup.
Finn had snapped when Poe had agreed to yet another magazine shoot, this one coinciding during one of Finn’s planned dinners with his friends – something Poe had agreed to attend earlier, because he just never says no.
“I don’t feel like I’m the most important thing to him anymore--and it’s not like I have to be the only thing,” Finn clarifies, “but a guy still wants to feel like the priority. You know?”
Rey gives him a sympathetic look
“Do you think he’s lost interest?”
“No,” Finn exhales, which is the one saving grace in all this.
Poe still stares at him with all the adoration he’s possessed since this all started. Finn had still woken up to Poe tracing patterns on his bare skin and pressing kisses in the wake of his fingers. Poe’s insanely attentive of making it clear that he loves Finn, from the way he’d left coffee for him in the mornings to the quick calls at lunch and to his unflinching insistence on boasting about his boyfriend in the press whenever possible.
Poe’s a good boyfriend, he really is.
He’s just really bad at prioritizing who he says yes to, lately. They’ll talk this out. It’s just a temporary speed-bump (or so he hopes). They’ll get through it.
Funny how it doesn’t really seem like it right now, when he’s got nothing but an uncomfortable couch and threadbare blankets protecting him through the night instead of winding himself around Poe, holding him, constantly the big spoon in the relationship. Then again, that’s on him.
“You need to talk to him about this,” Rey says. “It sounds like something that could be easily fixed.”
“I know,” he says, a touch immaturely. He will. “I will.”
He might be ignoring his phone and the newspapers and the internet, but he’ll get there. He just needs to work through the part where there are a few possibilities the conversation with Poe ends badly. Once he’s put his anxieties to rest, then he’ll go home.
One day later, he’s still not ready.
Two, and he’s working through the possibility that he’ll talk about this with Poe and be sent back to Rey because Poe needs to keep doing what he’s been doing for his career.
On day three, Finn gives up on being a pathetic hermit one-hundred percent of the time and moves it back to something closer to sixty percent. He progresses to going out for morning coffee, which is a big deal for him given the fact that he and Rey’s coffee maker are becoming best friends at this rate.
“Call him today,” Rey had instructed before leaving for work, because she knows Finn better than just about anyone (excluding Poe, at this point). One of his greatest talents is running from a problem, which means he hasn’t looked at his phone since the big blowup. He’s not sure he could manage to see if Poe’s called or not. It’s Schrodinger’s Phone, and it’s kind of killing him.
He’s at the coffee shop on Main Street today instead of going to Maz’s Café, varying up his routine because he doesn’t feel like running into Poe’s friends (or worse, Poe himself). He’s so out of it that he doesn’t even realize that he’s in someone’s way until hot coffee splashes all over his feet, ruining the suede of his shoes and making him cry out in despair.
They’d been a gift from Poe on his birthday – real blue suede shoes, to go along with a personal serenade of "Blue Moon" from Poe that led to them trying their damnedest to break their record for "Most Times in One Night".
Somewhat heartbroken, Finn glances up to a beautiful woman with flowing wavy blonde hair and freckles dotting her caramel skin. It’s not like Finn’s in the market, but having an appreciation for beautiful women makes him swallow up his rant. She’s a few inches taller than him and looks plenty worried as it is.
“I just spilled hot coffee over you,” she says, grabbing napkins as she stares down to the splatter. “Oh, your shoes.”
“They’re just shoes,” Finn tries to say without sounding completely wrecked about them. He has the feeling it’s not working given the miserable dullness in his voice. He ends up taking a napkin from her hand, crouching down to try and get the coffee off. She bends down with him to help, close enough that Finn can smell her perfume.
Once upon a time, so many years ago, Finn would’ve been smooth enough to turn this into an opportunity for flirtation. He may lean more towards guys, but he’s bisexual and this is the kind of meet-cute that he would’ve loved, back then.
B.P.D., that is.
Before Poe Dameron and his effortlessly gorgeous looks and his too-giving heart.
“I’m sorry,” she says, tucking a long strand of her hair behind her ear. “Can I at least buy you a replacement? I feel awful.”
“Yeah,” Finn gives in, because he could use a free coffee out of this and doesn’t mind the distraction. “I’m Finn.”
“Hey Finn,” she greets him. “I’m Karé, destructor of shoes.”
He startles himself with his laugh, so unused to hearing the cheerful sound after so many days of depression. Finn shakes her hand. “I mean, it’s not destroyer of worlds, but…”
“I’m working up to it,” she protests in mock-defense. They stand at once, his hand resting on her arm to steady himself as he stares down at his shoes, still trying not to feel the ache of losing them. “I’ll just have a caramel latté, three sugars.”
Her eyes widen slightly. “Are you planning to jitter through the afternoon?”
“Sweet tooth,” Finn says with a shrug. “Been this way since I can remember.” He wants to take the coffee and go back to Rey’s place to curl up and ignore his phone a little more, but it’s probably rude to do that after he’s just been the obstacle in someone’s course this morning, so when Karé gestures to the couches, Finn manages a nod.
She keeps staring at him, like she’s trying to place him, and all he can think is here it comes.
“Do I know you?” she asks. “You look really familiar.”
“I’m a reserve,” he says, trying desperately not to lead her down the path that ends with the epiphany that he’s a movie star’s boyfriend. “I work in sanitation at the base?”
“Could be. Maybe it’s just me wishing I met more cute guys like you,” she says, leaning into his space and resting her palm on his knee.
Even if things might be on the rocks, Finn knows he needs to clear the air before things get too deep. “I don’t want to lead you on or anything,” he says. “So I just want to put it out there that I have a boyfriend.” At least, he thinks he does. What if Poe isn’t his boyfriend anymore? Shit. What if he has to deal with the fallout of being the arch-enemy of the tabloids, a traitor to the world for breaking up with Poe.
He feels sick and the latté is only making it worse.
“Are you okay?” she asks warily. “Most people don’t get that ill looking when they talk about their boyfriend.”
“No, I’m fine,” Finn rushes to promise. “Just…stomach problems.”
He tries to focus on what she’s talking about, but Finn feels a little bad that a half hour passes and all that he manages to get from her is that she’s in town for some flight training (she’s a Captain in the Air Force, which means she probably actually has run into Finn on the base and isn’t recognizing him from the tabloids). She’s really nice and Finn could use someone else’s brand of nice right now, but he still feels guilty when he gets up from the couch and doesn’t remember much about their conversation.
“I’d offer you my number, but you have a boyfriend,” she says, when they’re parting ways.
Some part of his brain says that he could take it, but that would be a final nail in the coffin. Given that his ruined shoes seem like an ominous sign from the universe, he’s not planning on taking his chances taking her number.
“Maybe I’ll see you around,” he says. “Hopefully next time, we don’t meet with hot liquid anywhere between us. Or any liquid,” he says awkwardly, but she seems to take it well, laughing warmly as she squeezes his upper arm after saying goodbye.
He has the weird feeling that someone’s lurking and watching, but a quick check settles Finn’s rapid heart rate when he can confidently say there are no reporters lurking outside the coffee shop.
Staring down at his coffee splattered shoes one last time, Finn starts the walk back to Rey’s, feeling proud that he’s managed to leave her place for an hour without needing to. At this rate, he’ll be able to call Poe to talk about their issues sometime in the next century.
At least by then, they’ll both be old and wise.
By that point, Poe will probably have an Oscar, a ridiculous anthology of work, and probably a new boyfriend and Finn…yeah, he needs to get his act together.
When he gets back to Rey’s, Finn’s plans involve a very intensive three step plan:
1) Take off his shoes and stare at them like they’re an ill portent;
2) Figure out what Netflix has to offer;
And the most important:
3) Curl up and watch one of Poe’s movies again and hope Netflix doesn’t give him another one of those ‘are you sure you want to watch this again’ questions, as if Finn’s method of working through his anxieties by watching Poe play a handsome aviator isn’t tried and true.
His plans go off the rails within thirty seconds of getting back, though.
“Check your phone, Finn,” Rey says sharply, shoving it at him when he gets in the door. She’s glaring at him in the kind of way people get stared at right before they’re about to be murdered. “I swear, if you screw this up because you’re trying to stick your head in the sand, I’m going to bang you upside the head with your own phone until you bleed and given how little it is, it will take ages,” she threatens coolly.
Finn hangs up his jacket, staring at his ruined shoes while absently grabbing his phone from her.
“Why are you flirting with gorgeous women?”
“What?” Finn asks, not paying attention to the forty (oh, shit, forty) texts and ten missed calls from Poe just yet because he’s a little concerned about how fast the news has hit Rey and the fact that she thinks that he’s been flirting. If she thinks that, it means that everyone else in town does, because she can’t have been there and gossip spreads faster than a tornado in this place.
Finn rolls to the first text and actually thinks his heart stops beating.
No one in town has told Rey about the flirtation. It’s this text, right here. It’s the one that says: I saw you with her. I didn’t know you wanted to end things. I understand. Call me, if that’s what you want. I can have your things ready.
And the next: You looked good together.
“Shit!” Finn swears in a panic. How the hell did he manage to miss Poe at the coffee shop? How the hell did he get so fixated on his bad mood that he’d zoned out and ignored the rest of the world? “Rey, what the hell?”
“I told you to go talk to him!” she snaps at him, her patience clearly gone. “Get up to that house and work things out before he actually does put your things in a box and leaves town because he thinks you don’t love him anymore.”
Poe can’t think that. It’s one moment in a coffee shop with a gorgeous woman. He couldn’t possibly have looked anything but miserable, because that’s been his constant state lately. Finn grabs his jacket again and manages to switch his shoes, shoving his cell phone into his pocket as he awkwardly fumbles to change.
“I need advice,” he says. “What do I say?”
“The truth, Finn!” Rey says, in furious disbelief. “You told me very clearly why you were mad at him, mad enough to leave him, and now he’s gone and built up some dramatic story in his head about you moving on. Tell him what you told me.”
“I need you to put me above your fans and your followers when it matters,” Finn recites, giving Rey a wary raise of his brow, looking for the one opinion that trumps all the rest. Apparently, that little recitation isn’t enough, so he makes a second attempt. “Poe,” he starts, “when you say yes to everyone else and put their needs above mine, it makes me think that we don’t have a healthy future.”
“Good,” she says to that. “Do not run away, Finn. Do not get defensive,” she warns, “and remember this most of all.” She grabs hold of his arms and leans in to press a kiss to his forehead, leaning up on her toes to reach. “Do not get distracted by that handsome face.”
Bolstered by Rey’s pep talk, Finn sets out for Poe’s place, trying not to pay much attention to the fact that he’s wearing the jacket Poe gave to him on their second date; or the fact that these shoes are a gift from one of the athletic companies Poe did an ad for. Even now, even in the middle of a fight, Finn’s whole life is surrounded by Poe.
Thinking about the fact that Poe’s willing to end it for Finn’s own good makes him pick up the pace.
Finn’s never been more out of breath than he is running the last steep hill to the house, cursing the incline the whole time. How the hell did running away seem like the smart thing to do? He might have been willing to let his past relationships go the way of extinction from bad habits, but he’s not letting this one go if it can be fixed.
He fumbles for his key and realizes, belatedly, that he hadn’t taken his keys with him when he’d stormed out after the fight. Forced to ring the doorbell, he presses his forehead to the frame, smiling a bittersweet smile when the doorbell makes BB-8 bark frantically to alert Poe that he’s got company.
Finn listens to Poe soothe BB-8 and tries to calm himself down, taking solace in the fact that this is home, but the truth is that the time between checking his messages and running here hasn’t been enough for Finn to figure out what he’s going to start with.
Poe opens the door wearing one of Finn’s old sweatshirts and a pair of yoga pants, and it’s all Finn can do not to rush forward and grab him tight for a hug closer to a vice-grip. He remembers Rey’s words, though, and it stops him (but just barely).
Don’t give in.
“Hi,” Finn manages.
Poe looks awful, which is saying something. Finn’s seen him with the flu, after a twelve-day shoot working fifteen hour days, and in makeup looking tortured and bloodied. None of it compares to this moment, with Poe’s dark bags under his eyes and the pallor of his skin. Not to mention the lines around Poe’s lips, like the misery wants to etch itself permanently there.
“I was at the coffee shop,” Poe says evenly. “I tried to avoid your usual spot because I didn’t want to run into you, but I guess you had the same idea.” He steps back to give Finn room to come inside.
Finn steps in, absently leaning over to pet BB-8 even though he doesn’t take his eyes off of Poe.
“I saw you both but you were too involved with the conversation to notice me,” Poe says, sounding so devoid of his usual charm and life that it feels like Finn’s been punched in the gut. “And all I could think was, ‘is that what we looked like when I saved you from your blind date?’ You’re gorgeous together and I could see the way you looked at her. I saw how you laughed.”
No, no, no, thinks Finn. Not like this, this conversation isn’t supposed to go like this.
“I just let her buy me coffee to be polite,” Finn says, frantic to get anything out. “She spilled her coffee on the shoes you gave me and all I could do was think about my favorite shoes being ruined, so when she offered to buy me coffee, I said yes. I was being nice,” he ekes out, realizing now how ironic this whole thing is. He lets out a scoff. “You should know about that.”
“What?” Poe asks, staring at Finn in confusion. Finn actually sees the moment it dawns on him. “Finn, I didn’t mean to bail on your dinner. The magazine shoot was important, though.”
“It’s not just the magazine shoot!” Finn finally snaps. The fight that had sent Finn to Rey’s had been a singular instance which turned into an argument, but he feels like the dam’s been waiting to break. At this point, he knows that he has to tell Poe what he feels and go from there. “You keep saying yes to everyone, which is great. I love that you’re so nice and accommodating, but you’re a people-pleaser, Poe.”
“Would you rather I was an asshole?” Poe argues back, disbelieving.
“No!” Finn manages, trying to keep his frustration at bay. “The problem is that you’re nice to everyone, Poe, but that makes me feel like I don’t matter as much as these strangers in our lives. This magazine shoot, the way you ditch me when you go off to sign autographs or take pictures-- it’s great that you do all these things for other people, but I’m not part of it. It feels like I’m not your priority. Poe, I love that you’re so kind,” Finn swears, “but I need you to be kind to me, first. When we’re out on a date having dinner despite our crazy schedules, I need you to prioritize me before the fans.”
And here’s the biggest question he’ll probably ever ask in his life (apart from the other big question that he’d been counting on asking a few years from now, if all this goes well).
“Can you do that for me, Poe?”
Poe looks stunned, like no one’s ever confronted him with this before. Finn supposes he can understand why. Poe’s never really had a relationship that lasted more than six months; up until now, he’s mostly dated other actors. He would’ve never had anyone in his life that didn’t have their own fans and their own magazine shoots to consider.
“You don’t want to leave me,” Poe says quietly. “I thought, when I saw you with her…”
“I know this might seem petty and small to you, but it’s kind of a deal breaker to me,” Finn says, wanting to get back on track. “Poe, can you do this for me? Can you make me a priority when we’re having time together?”
“It’s not small or petty,” Poe replies, those awful frown lines gone as a serene smile replaces them. “Finn, I didn’t know,” he swears, hand on his heart. “I swear to god, I didn’t know that you felt like that and I didn’t realize I was doing that. I was trying to be nice and I think maybe I went too far.”
“Yeah,” Finn agrees, because he doesn’t want to say ‘it’s okay’ when it’s not. He’s not even sure there’s anything to forgive.
“I can absolutely, one-hundred percent, totally make sure that the fans and photographers and strangers come second to you and our friends and family,” Poe says. “I love you, Finn. I don't want to jeopardize that for my celebrity. I’m sorry I didn’t realize.”
“I’m sorry we didn’t just talk about it the other night,” Finn admits his own failing, feeling like this one is on him given his instinct to run at the first sign of trouble. “I love you too, Poe,” he exhales with relief, grateful to know that he’s not losing this. “And I wasn’t flirting with her.”
“She was hot.”
“Not my type,” Finn promises. “I prefer handsome Latino movie stars who are just too goddamn nice.”
“I think I know a guy like that,” Poe says, the cheer starting to return to his voice. He drapes his arm around Finn’s shoulders and leads him inside. “Let’s have breakfast and I’ll tell you a little bit about him.”
“He sounds great,” Finn agrees, overjoyed with relief and the immense satisfying feeling of coming home. “He single?”
“Taken,” Poe sighs. “He’s been in love for the past year. It’s a shame, too, because you’re totally the kind of guy he’d fall for.”
“Oh, well. Maybe I’ll just settle for you.”
“Hmm, good call.”
Finn grins and tightens his hold on Poe, refusing to let him loose. “The best decision I’ve ever made,” he promises.
The pool overlooking the ocean is one of the best features of the house. There have been articles about it in Architecture Weekly and Poe’s made a habit of having summer pool parties on a regular basis since he’d moved in. Today’s has a theme of ‘Thank God Finn Decided To Accept His Stupid Ass Back’ (a party that has also managed to get Jess off banner duty for a while) and it’s all of Finn’s favorite people in one place.
Finn accepts a slushy fruity drink from Rey, glancing warily to the commotion at the fence. “What’s going on?” he asks, noting Poe grabbing his hilariously skimpy robe (a joke present from Jess that Poe hasn’t figured out the punch line for yet) tying it at the waist as he heads away from the party.
“Looks like photographers,” Snap says, shrugging. “Who wants another drink? We’ve got, what, an hour before we get Poe back from their clutches?”
It’s just a joke, but it stings Finn to think that they’re going right back to where they started. He grabs one of the towels and drapes it over his shoulders, heading for the fence to try and drag Poe back and remind him of their agreement, but when he gets close enough, he hears a conversation already in progress.
“…I know normally I’m all about letting you guys get a few shots in and a story, but this is a private event today for my boyfriend and I’d really appreciate some privacy,” Poe says.
Finn knows there’s not a chance in hell he’s going to get it, but he’s too busy marveling at what Poe’s saying to point out reality.
“So, if you’ll excuse me, there won’t be any personal shots or autographs today. Today is about Finn,” he says, turning and coming to a stop when he nearly collides with Finn. Poe may be a good actor, but not good enough that the shock on his face is faked. He had no idea that Finn’s been here listening to him try and shake off their photographer friends. “Hey,” Poe greets him, melting with warmth and affection in a single moment.
Finn tangles his fingers into the belt of Poe’s robe and coaxes him back in the direction of the pool. “So, today is the only day I get, huh?”
“I didn’t think it was smart to whip out my calendar and start telling them my plans for you.”
“I don’t think you should be whipping anything out in front of the press, flyboy,” Finn jokes.
“Just me,” Finn agrees, waiting until they’re halfway between the fence and the pool to tug Poe in by the lapels of his robe. He leans down for a kiss that’s going to make the front page of every gossip magazine the next day. (Of course, the next day Finn’s going to regret doing this with a skintight bathing suit that shows off every inch of interest, but you live and you learn.)
Finn wraps his arm around Poe as they join the party beside the pool again, with Finn feeling confident about his place in their relationship, knowing that Poe’s heart is in the right place.
“How about, next premiere, we’ll spend an extra bit of time during your interviews on the red carpet, just so no one thinks you’ve turned into a diva,” he suggests.
Poe’s smile of naked, honest relief makes Finn realize that this is going to end up being a balancing act, but it’s one that he’s willing to participate in considering Poe’s willing to make sacrifices, too. If this is the way the rest of their lives go, he knows he can handle it.
“Okay, lovebirds,” Jess calls cheerfully. “Picture time!”
Poe glances at Finn, like he’s waiting for permission.
This time, though, Finn doesn’t hesitate. He grabs Poe’s hand and tugs him along to join the party. “Get the hell over here and prepare to look like shit next to me,” he teases, taking solace in the relief on Poe’s face and the knowledge that this is just the start for them. It’s different, but it’s the kind of different Finn knows they can work with.
It’s the kind of balance he can see them doing for the rest of their lives.
“Say cheese,” Finn prompts and takes ridiculously giddy pleasure in ruining the picture by groping Poe’s ass at exactly the right moment.
That picture hangs, now, in their front hall.
It’s Finn’s absolute favorite picture of his favorite man, at the start of a relationship he knows he’s not about to run away from ever again.
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