“Hey, Finn? Can you tell Mr. Dameron that I’m running a bit late? The elevator wasn’t working in the building so I had to walk down all the stairs, and then the train was stopped for some reason, and then the line at the coffee shop was insane and it’s pouring out here-“
Her explanations tumble from her lips all in one breath, and she struggles to catch it again as she props her phone between her cheek and her shoulder. She shivers in the rain, so used to warmth around her entire body and not just trapped in her hands. She clutches her tea like a lifeline, squeezing between passerby and trying to make herself as small as possible on the cramped sidewalk.
“… Rey, your meeting with him isn’t for another hour.”
“I know that.” She runs into someone’s shoulder, wincing at the slight pain. She’s pushed along with the rest of Manhattan for a hellish moment, and then she skitters forward in an attempt to put some space between her and the people behind her. The sidewalk is slick beneath her shoes, and she almost stumbles into passerby a few times. “I just … would you tell him for me?”
“He’s not even here yet,” Finn tells her. He sounds oddly far away, and it’s then she realizes that she’s been put on speakerphone. She can hear him rummaging through something on the other end - can hear the sliding of metal, the clicking of plastic and the soft sound of zippers being tugged along their teeth. “Take a deep breath, all right? Stay calm.”
She can’t calm down. No amount of green tea or meditation could help her now as she hurried her way down the Manhattan streets. She’s just glad she’s wearing sensible, somewhat water-resistant shoes. She’s no stranger to exercise, but jogging in comfortable trainers is a bit different than rushing down a sidewalk in work-appropriate shoes. “I can’t stay calm, Finn!”
“I was talking to myself - my very important memory card’s gone MIA - oh, wait, no, here it is.”
Rey takes a deep breath, pushing her way between two slow businessmen with a soft apology. “What if he doesn’t like me?”
“Poe likes everyone, Rey, honestly. And everyone loves him back, so just calm down. If he gets here before you, I’ll let him know that you’re on your way, all right?”
“You’re a saint,” she breathes. She feels her heart skip a beat as she recognizes the building she’s to be working in. “I’ll text you when I’m in the elevator, all right?”
“You got it, peanut.”
She smiles softly at the nickname and hangs up. It doesn’t seem right to stand in the middle of the busy sidewalk and gawk up at her new workplace, especially not when it’s raining, so she stalks forward instead. For a quick dart of a moment, she lets her eyes glance upwards at the grey building. It’s tall, towering above her like the rest of the New York skyline. It’s a relatively new one, all sleek glass and metal and concrete. It’s also intimidating as hell, but she nods to the security guard as she walks in. He nods back, and she checks that worry off of her mental list. She’s in the building without trouble. Good.
Her I.D. card feels like a lead weight in the right pocket of her coat, and she fingers the thin plastic nervously as she approaches the sleek elevators. She slides it through the turnstile and gives a soft sigh of relief when the light turns green. She walks through, newly confident. Another disaster somehow averted.
She pushes her way through some other people to the elevator. Golden light spills from the elevator onto the marble floor, and she rushes towards the still-open doors. She completely misses the stricken looks of bystanders, the sharp intake of breath from a few of them as she says, “Hold it!” All she manages to notice is the door closing, and she slips through the crack just in time. She clutches her bag to her chest, grinning in relief when the doors close behind her.
“Sorry,” she apologizes to the dark figure beside her - the only other being in the elevator. She tucks a wet strand of hair behind her ear before reaching forward and tapping at the 19th floor button. It takes more than a little tap, apparently, and she has to jab it twice before it glows. She returns back to her designated space in the elevator, letting her bag fall back to her side. Not for the first time that morning, she wonders if the papers and laptop inside of it are all right. They’ve been through a hell of a morning, between her bounding down the apartments steps and the rain outside.
“Not the prettiest morning, huh?” she asks, casting a glance towards the man beside her. He hasn’t spoken, instead staring at her with a mixture of awe and disgust. She meets his dark gaze straight on, before looking at the button he’d pressed. “48. The top floor,” she tries, giving him the best smile she can. He’s not a bad looking man, attractive in a bit of a strange way, like one of those high fashion models who’s contracted for their ‘unique’ look. She can see the way his ears poke out slightly from his long, dark hair, and his nose is perhaps a bit too big for his face. But he has a way about him, a sort of aura of power that she knows she’ll never, ever have. He looks like the rest of the world is beneath of him, and she finds herself believing it.
He scoffs softly, turning and watching as the numbers climb higher and higher.
Well then. She shuffles, then sniffles, immediately damning the rain outside. She clutches her tea tighter, stressing the cup slightly. The rest of the ride is tense, the man beside her stiff as a board with his hands in the pockets of what she can tell is a very, very expensive black coat. She sniffles again, and he looks at her again with open disgust.
“Sorry,” she admits quietly. “I’m not used to the cold.”
He glares before looking back towards the climbing floors.
The 19th floor cannot come soon enough.
As soon as the elevator dings, she’s out of there. “Have a nice day!” She throws the phrase back carelessly before hurrying along, clutching her bag to her chest awkwardly.
There’s no response as the doors close.
“Still here before him,” Finn tells her when she rounds the corner into the reception area. He’s grinning, arms open towards her. She rushes into them, thoroughly enjoying the heat of him. Screw professionalism - her boss isn’t there yet, she can hug her best friend if she wants to. He wraps his arms around her, strong from lugging around tripods and heavy equipment around.
“I feel like I’m gonna throw up,” she mutters into the dark material of his long-sleeved shirt. He snorts, large hand patting her head.
“Poe’ll love you,” he insists, pulling back. “I promise. And if he doesn’t, I’ll kick his butt.”
“HR might have a problem with that.”
He’s still grinning, so she gives him her best smile back. After all, he was the one who gave her the opportunity. He’d opened a door for her she never thought would even be unlocked, ever. It had taken some name dropping, plugging and blatant bragging on his part, but she’d managed to get it anyway - she’s entirely positive it was sheer dumb luck that the other candidate left to work at a catalogue company.
She’s just about to tell him to stop smiling when the glass doors open, and a man rushes in. He’s a whirlwind of brown and black and orange. “Sorry, sorry!” he apologizes as he bumps into another man, offering a charming smile and a pat on the shoulder before walking straight to the office with ‘DAMERON’ in white lettering on the glass door.
Rey stares at his neon orange and white backpack. It’s the only thing remotely unprofessional about him. The rest of him is put together impeccably, all tan skin and wild curls and slight stubble. She watches through the glass as he puts his backpack on the desk, unloading his laptop and a series of folders before tucking it behind the desk.
“That’s … Mr. Dameron?”
“That’s Poe Dameron,” Finn confirms, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning against the reception desk. “Don’t call him Mr. I tried for about two weeks until he threatened to dock my pay because of it. Jokingly, of course.”
“Of course.” She can’t imagine the man currently opening his orange, Star Wars sticker-covered laptop docking anyone’s pay.
Rey stills at the soft kiss to her temple. “I’ve gotta go back to my floor - have a shoot in 20. I’ll text you for lunch?” he offers. She nods wordlessly, turning to watch him go. He grins as the elevator doors close, and then she’s left alone with her nerves. She clutches her bag to her side, hoping to Hell and back she brought everything she needed.
Her head whips around so quickly her neck cracks audibly. She resists the urge to wince at the sound and instead stares, wide-eyed, at the man leaning out of the office door. “Yes?”
He’s grinning, brightly, as he walks towards her. He’s not much taller than her, she notes, as he offers his hand. “Poe Dameron. We spoke over the phone.” He smirks, crossing his arms over his chest once they've shook hands. “So you’re the fantastic writer Finn’s been bragging about for weeks now.”
“Yes,” she confirms, nodding before she stops and corrects herself. “I mean we spoke over the phone, yes, not that I’m a fantastic writer.”
He just continues to smile at her. “I feel like I know you already with how much Finn’s told me.”
Her heart thumps heavily, and she offers what she hopes is a confident grin. “All good things, I hope?”
“The man literally wouldn’t shut up about how amazing you are.” He looks towards his office, then shrugs. “Guess there’s no point in asking you to sit down, then. You said you haven’t been in a copy editing department before?”
She shakes her head. “No, not a department.”
“But you can catch grammatical and spelling errors?”
“Good. That’s good, since that’s what you’ll be doing.” He shrugs. “It can never pass through too many hands, you know? BB has the pages you’ll be looking through today. She’ll get you up and running, too. I don’t think your and Finn’s hours quite match up, but I’m sure he’ll make it work.”
She blinks at him, a bit confused. “BB?” What kind of name - or nickname, she assumes - is BB?
She turns, frowning at the person who’s just come in from the rain and is shedding their black slicker behind the receptionist desk. They look too young to be working, 16 at most. They’re dressed simply, in grey jeans and a white button-down shirt and a black bow tie. The only discernible color comes from their hair, a bright shock of orange styled in an undercut. They pull a black binder from their backpack and walk over, grinning at her. “Otherwise known as BB.”
“BB,” she repeats as they hand the binder over to Poe.
“My assistant,” Poe explains. “And my savior in most situations.”
“I wouldn’t have to save you if you didn’t get into them,” BB states, poking at the binder. “Very important. Get it done today before I have to go to Phasma.”
Poe just grins, turning to Rey. “They’ve been with me for about a year now, but already they’re the best assistant I’ve ever had.”
“You say that like I'm not the eighth you've had,” BB teases. "This man couldn't keep an assistant down until I came along."
“They just weren’t as good as you.”
BB rolls their eyes. "You mean they didn't put up with your shit as long as I have," they mutter, but they smile and extend their hand. Rey takes note of the white and silver painted fingernails as she grips their hand. “You must be Rey.”
“Pleased to meet you,” she says. And she really is. They look nice, at the very least. Maybe she’ll make a friend on this floor instead of just the editing department. “Sorry for asking, but aren’t you a little young to be working?”
BB snorts. “I’m 25.”
And she manages to be younger. “Oh, sorry.”
They wave a hand. “Happens all the time.” They look towards Poe, and poke him in the chest. “Go work. I’ll show her around. If you don’t have at least one finished by 12…”
“I’ll have to work through lunch, I know.” Poe nods and waves at Rey. “Welcome to the team, Rey.”
She nods wordlessly. He steps inside his office, offering another small wave through the glass door before sitting down. And then another after he’s settled in his chair. She can’t see BB’s face, but she’s pretty sure of their expression when Poe abruptly stops waving and starts working hurriedly.
“Sometimes I wonder how that man stays here,” BB admits as they walk to stand by Rey. She notices for the first time that they’re a few inches shorter than her, standing at maybe 5’2 at best. She smiles down at them, shouldering her bag.
“All right, desk,” BB says, starting to walk down the hallway. Rey can see that it’s lined with glass-walled offices, and follows eagerly. Peeking into a few of them, she can see people already hard at work. Some have two monitors, others have one and a laptop. BB waves to several of them, and Rey’s not remotely surprised when all wave back at them.
They come around the corner and there are a few desks set up. She can see where people have made the white desks their own, small personal belongings littering the surface.
“This one,” BB says as they pass one tucked into a corner. “Is yours. Sorry, it’s not exactly a corner office.” They smile warmly at her as she walks over and starts to unload her bag. She breathes a sigh of relief when she realizes that her ancient Macbook hasn’t been damaged from the rain, still dry in its case. She sets it down gently, afraid to break it (again). Rey hesitates when she finds her portfolio of writing, holding it up to BB. The front has been labeled with a stolen piece of cream washi tape, ‘WRITING’ labeled on it neatly. “Where should I-?”
“I can take it,” BB explains, offering their hands. “I’ll show it to Poe when he has a free moment. I’ll check his schedule and let you know, all right?”
She puts the folder in their hands. “Thank you,” she says, sincerely, smiling at them.
“Happy to help.” They give a little salute before jerking their thumb back to the front desk. “I’ve gotta roll. But come by the desk if you need anything, all right?” They point a finger at her cup. “Coffee?”
“Tea,” she clarifies. “Green.”
“Good to know, considering I make the drink orders,” BB replies, winking at her. “Nice to meet you, Rey.”
“Nice to meet you, too,” she offers. They give one last little wave before walking back to the front desk. She watches them go as long as she can, catching glimpses of their orange hair in the reflections of some of the offices. And then she collapses into her chair, grinning.
She’d done it. She made it. She’s so giddy she laughs, glad to be alone for the time being. A quick shifting of her bag shows a file folder, hidden beneath the brown leather satchel. She pulls it out quickly and flips through, finding a few paragraphs tucked into the folder for her to go through and edit. She sets her bag on the ground and scoots in, snagging an orange highlighter (the only color in the cup, probably courtesy of Poe) and setting to work.