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Laugh Through Your Confusion

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"He's staring at you. AGAIN."

Rey glanced up from her book, frowning slightly. She hated to be interrupted when she got to a good part.

The two upper grades were crammed together in the auditorium for yet another boring assembly about college, and "choosing the right career path for you!"

Personally she didn't want to think of any of this stuff for at least another year, so she had brought a book with her, spending the long hour going back and forth between reading and talking to the boy next to her, her best friend, Finn.

She briefly locked eyes with the person in question; a tall, dark haired boy sitting about two rows to the side and beneath them.

He was covered in head to toe black, with a baggy hooded sweatshirt, strap and chain-adorned pants, and clunky military-style boots, also decorated in straps.

He hadn't always dressed like something out of an emo kid's wet dream.

She had known him for years, as his family had lived in the house across the street from hers since grade school.

When they were younger they were often forced (or as the grownups would call it, "encouraged") to play with one another, as their moms were good friends, and always at one another's houses.

Then about two years back her mom passed away, and the visits from the Solo household became less and less frequent.

Which wasn't due at all to lack of effort on /their/ part; but after her mom's death, her father became more and more of a social recluse, pushing away those once close to him and burying himself in his work.

Their differing personal interests and groups of friends pulled them away from each other, resulting in a friendship that was more neighborly than actually friendly.

Still, she texted with him quite often, and on rare occasions she also hung out with him in the outside world; platonic activities where they shared slightly common interests, such as food and movies.

Despite the often scary black clothing and his carefully crafted cynical demeanor with others, he was actually a really nice guy.

And, for some reason, it seemed like since the start of this year, his Senior and her Junior, he had been making more of an effort to talk to her, spend time with her.

She couldn't imagine WHY; she was so different, probably dull, compared to the group of friends he normally hung out with.

She had off-handedly mentioned this to Finn, one time when they were watching TV at her house.

He jumped right away into the whole "Maybe he has a crush on you" spiel, and despite her protests, hadn't left the idea alone ever since.

It wouldn't--be such a bad thing, if he DID see her like that.

Which she doubted.

It was just, she honestly didn't see what the attraction would be, on his end.

Again, despite questionable fashion choices, he was actually quite good-looking.

Tall and muscular, with tiny dark moles standing out against pale skin on his face and neck. Unusually full lips for a boy, and a full head of long, semi curly black hair that often fell in a messy tangle across his dark, expressive eyes.

His name was Ben Solo, although, about three years back, he had started going by Kylo Ren, which he had informally christened himself around the same time he went into full-goth mode.

With the exception of his parents and a few stuffy teachers, nobody ever called him by his /real/ name; she doubted that half the people in his life even knew what it /was/.

He was sitting with his core group of friends, an eclectic trio who, like him, wore mostly black and went by singular, made-up names.

The girl was tall, taller than Ren even, with short spiky blonde hair and multiple piercings in her ears and lip. She went by the name Phasma.

One of the others, Ren's best friend, was a guy who went by the name of Hux. He was about shoulder length height to Ren, skinny and pale, with dark-framed glasses and bright orange-red hair. If Rey had to guess she'd say that, aside from Ren, he was the most intelligent one in that group. Certainly the quietest; or at least he was that way in public.

Lastly, there was the other boy, about halfway in height between Ren and Hux, with straight brown hair, big ears, and a mouth that wouldn't quit. He had one of those annoying carrying voices, loud and somewhat nasal, that you could pretty much identify out of any group of people. He went by the name of Mitaka, although his friends had adopted to calling him Mitty on most occasions.

She looked at Ren, now, who was indeed looking at her; and she raised her hand a little , wiggling her fingers at him in a slight wave which he returned, smiling tentatively, before turning back to the sketchbook sitting on his lap.

She couldn't see very well what he was drawing from here, but it looked sort of like a dog or some small animal biting the head off of another, larger animal.

Turning back to her book, she said to her best friend "He wasn't /staring/; he just happened to be looking in this direction, Finn."

Finn snorted a laugh, leaning back further in his seat.

"So he just 'happened' to be looking in this direction, like 5 separate times, now?"

"Well, obviously that's not such a hard thing to do, if you've 'happened' to /see/ him looking over here all these times."

"Touché", he said, grinning.

"Hola, amigos", said a voice from behind them.

Finn turned around, smiling widely; but Rey didn't have to turn around to know who is was.

It was Poe, the guy who had moved here a little over a year ago from San Antonio; a startling attractive half-Latino boy with an adorable accent, curly brown hair, huge soulful eyes, and skin that stayed enviably tanned-looking even in the coldest winter months.

And, most importantly, he was dating Finn.

The first time that Finn had confessed to her that he had feelings for the charismatic newcomer, she had been somewhat surprised, but supportive.

Finn had never shown interest in /anyone/ before, male or female, so she had assumed that there must be terribly special about the one person who had finally caught his eye, in that way.

Eventually the two started dating, casually at first; and then earlier this semester they had declared themselves in love and exclusive with each other.

It was somewhat awkward, in the beginning, trying to turn what had been a duo for so long into a group. However his charms and his obvious devotion to her best friend warmed Rey's heart to him, and now the three of them were nearly inseparable, spending copious amounts of time at each other's houses and hanging out.

He walked up now, leaning across his boyfriend to give Rey a tight hug before pecking Finn on the cheek and slipping into the seat he had been saving for him.

"So what's new in the land of boredom?", he asked, leaning back in his seat and frowning at the stage, where some representative from the local college was giving a speech about freshman enrollment.

"You know, same old same old," Rey said, not looking up from her book. "What do YOU want to be when you grow up?", she asked in a mock-cheerful voice, imitating the speaker at the podium.

Sitting up a little, he said "I don't know about the rest of these losers, but I'd like to be Mr. Finn one day", he said teasingly, reaching over to grab Finn's hand.

Finn gave his hand a squeeze before saying "I think they mean something that'll earn money, babe. Something lucrative."

"But it will earn money. I mean, at least YOU will. You're going to be a professional basketball player, right? You'll be making millions, and I'll get to be a stay at home spouse, with the kids. It's a good plan."

Finn laughed, before saying "Yeah, okay; tell that to Coach Dickwad the next time he has me riding the bench the entire game."

"Sounds like a smart plan to me, Poe", Rey says as she turned another page.

"Well what about YOU, mamacita?", he asked, using the nickname he had assigned to her from the very beginning. "What do YOU want to be?"

She frowned, looking up from her book at him. "Happy, mostly."

"That's -- deep", Poe said, now looking at her thoughtfully. "That should be the answer everyone has; to be happy."

"I suppose; but happiness doesn't pay the bills, in most scenarios", she said, yawning and stretching out a little. "Which is why we have to sit through bullshit assemblies like this one."

Finn leaned forward, conspiratorially. "Well I know what would make you happy," he said, shifting his eyes down towards where Ren was sitting.

"What's that?, asked Poe, confused.

Right then the bell rang, dismissing the auditorium and saving Rey from having to answer Poe's question.

Her heart sank as she heard Finn say to him, low, "Don't worry; I'll tell you later."