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steer from the passenger side

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The Mojave desert is vast and empty.  


It’s late, but Kylo’s wired with adrenaline.  His knuckles crease the leather of the steering wheel.  He drives to Vegas through the starless night as his eyes adjust to the dark road ahead.


A set of bright headlights close in on them from behind.  He blinks up at the rearview mirror as muscles tense.  He waits for a siren.  An old pickup truck passes on the left, a false alarm.  His shoulders slowly ease as the road empties again.  


The clouds part like a curtain to reveal the full moon.  Moonlight reflects off the dunes as if they’re made of water, frozen whitecaps caught in the silver light.  Then the clouds swallow up the moon again and the only light is the greenish glow from the dashboard and the Jeep’s twin beams slicing through the black.


Kylo won’t risk waking her with music, so his drive is accompanied by the whisper of the wind from the crack in the window, the dull drumbeat of the tires on asphalt, and her deep, slow breaths.  He glances over at her curled like a kitten under his jacket.  She looks so small he feels it in his chest.


The blackness gives way to grey and then a scream of neon as they enter the city limits of Las Vegas.


It’s after 2 am and the streets are crawling with life.  Roads are clogged with cars and tourists heading to bars and casinos, a riot of color and sound.  The deep bass of other people’s music thumps in his chest.


A convertible stops and guys with drinks hang out the side to yell at girls on the sidewalk.  He swerves around to pass.  Vegas teems with artificial noise and technicolor energy, a bright gash cut into the quiet, desert night.


Kylo retreats from the strip to find a quiet motel.  Not too quiet, so they’ll be noticed, but far enough to avoid the crowds.  


The bright red vacancy sign at the Howard Johnson blinks and he pulls into the lot.


He doesn’t want to leave Rey alone, but hates to wake her.  Weighing it out, it’s better if she stays hidden.  The less people who can link her with him the better.


The light in the office is a sickly yellow.  The overnight clerk with tattoos swirling up the sides of his neck won’t make eye contact, too focused on a wrestling match on the small t.v. in the corner.  When Kylo offers to pre-pay for three nights, the guy doesn’t ask for a driver’s license. 


Their room is across from the swimming pool and hidden from the road.  The aqua water shimmers and glows from the underwater pool lights and it casts moving shadows on their door.  Kylo cuts the engine and sits for a few minutes to watch the lot.  It's quiet.  He carries in their bags to the room and returns for her.


He opens the passenger side door and crouches down.  Cupping her knee, he says softly, “Rey, wake up.  We’re here.”


She makes a little noise but doesn’t move.  He uses his index finger to trace a strand of hair back from her brow, studying her face.  Her fierceness is gone in dreams.  She so beautiful he tries to soak it in to save it. 


He exhales and reaches around to unbuckle her seatbelt.  “C’mere,” he says, scooping her up.  


Rey stirs and he hushes her.  He carries her inside cradled to his chest and she nuzzles into his shoulder.  She’s light, a ball of muscle and tight energy.  He could carry her for miles.  Rey shivers under his jacket against the cool air and he grips her tighter.


Kylo places her gently on the bed and she immediately rolls over onto her side.  Just one bed, a king.  He didn’t think to ask.


He leaves to lock the Jeep and have a smoke.  A few people come and go, tourists, but no one pays him any mind.  He exhales and stares up at the sky, the nicotine soothing his nerves.  


When he returns, Rey's asleep tucked under the covers.  Her jean shorts and bra are crumpled on top of her boots next to the bed.


Kylo washes up and strips down to his boxers.  He settles in next to her and folds an arm behind his head to stare at the ceiling as his mind churns.


Rey’s in it with him now.  All of it.  Selfish bastard that he is, he sucked her right down with him.  He’s got to figure out what to do next.


Poe said the FBI was involved.  That was a surprise.  So now he has both the Feds and Snoke looking for him.  Of course Snoke already knew something was wrong, since he hadn’t heard from the team tracking him– the guys at the bottom of the ravine in New Mexico– for a week.  But now he knows Kylo’s still in the country and where to look for him.  


Hopefully he doesn’t know about Rey yet.  


Kylo works his jaw.  He should've made a fast break for California.  Now he’s dragged Rey into this hell with him, and it’s the last place in the world he wants her to be.


The dark guilt sits sour in his stomach.  He watches her shoulder rise and fall rhythmically as she sleeps facing the wall.  His knuckles lift to brush along her back, sketching the curve of her shoulder blade.


He’s the one to put her at risk.  Rey, who deserves so much more, who threw away everything to save him.  


Kylo won't let anything happen to her. 


He falls asleep watching her.




He wakes to long, brown hair tickling his bare chest.  Her forehead presses into the outside of his arm in the chill of the very early morning.  


The red numbers on the alarm clock say it’s an hour before dawn.  Sometime in the night, she had turned to him seeking heat or some other comfort.  Her shins press against the outside of his leg as she balls up on his side.


Kylo lifts an arm to drape behind her back.  Rey shifts closer into the warm space he’s made for her.  He pulls the covers around them and rests his lips on the top of her head to breathe her in.  His eyes drift closed.


He knows he’s a terrible man.  He’s done shitty things, unforgivable things, and he’s fucked up the one good deed he wanted to do for this girl.  Kylo’s earned whatever happens to him, of that he’s sure, and he doesn’t come close to deserving her.  


But he’s also just a man, and Rey’s so warm, so tender, and so damn close.


He rolls over on his side and slides his other arm around her waist under the covers.  Tugging her closer, she unfurls and he slots a thigh between her legs.  Rey sighs in her sleep and turns her cheek to rest on his chest with a little hot puff of air.  Her hand wraps around his ribs as they adjust around each other, skin pressing into warm skin.


His fingers squeeze her bare waist just below the hem of her shirt.  Her smooth legs slide against his.  He rocks his hips once, feeling her press up against him in response.  He swallows heavy as his cock stiffens.


It feels so good.  Maybe just holding her could be enough.  


His fingers lightly trace the curve of her spine.  Warm heat to warm heat, her softness melts around him as he grows hard.  Her head rests over his heart.  


He almost believes this could be enough.


Rey squirms and her hips brush against his cock.  Kylo bites his lip.  She’s not fully awake yet, but he is.  His heartbeat pounds in his chest so loud he’s sure it will wake her.  The places where she touches him become unbearably hot.


The list of reasons why he shouldn’t fades away.  It’s just her and him, this room and this bed.  He wants her, more than he knew he could.


Rey moves again and instinct takes over.  He holds her ass as he grinds his hips forward into hers.  The feel of her against his cock is delicious, only the thinnest layers of cotton separating them.  Rey’s lips unseal with a little breath and her fingers press into his chest.  


His body moves against hers as if asking a question.  Her body answers.


Rey starts rocking into him in a slow dance, and Kylo lets her take the lead.  Her hands move to grip his hips and he knows she's awake now.  He holds her tight as they move together, the friction heating them under the covers.


Her moan breaks free and it’s like lighting a fuse.  He curls an index finger under her chin to look at her.  In the hazy light, her drowsy eyes sparkle green.  When she parts her mouth, he covers it with his.   


The spark is instantaneous.  He sweeps his tongue on her lips, little bites moving deeper as she opens to him.  His arms cinch around her like ropes.  Their hips meet and a hand nestles in to tug his hair.   


All his pent up energy flows free.  It almost hurts if he's not touching her, if he can’t feel every inch of her at the same moment.


He rolls onto his back and pulls her with him.  He tastes her without stop, holding her jaw at the right angle so he can kiss her properly.  Her long legs slide against his calves, and the brush of her hip on his cock is driving him quickly mad.  


Rey pulls up with a gasp for air.  He trails kisses down under her jaw, never wanting to stop kissing her.  Her thighs split around his waist and she straddles him and sits up.  He grips her hips and stops kissing her long enough to meet her eyes.


Her long hair drapes down around them.  Rey's lips are pink and bee-stung, and her wide hazel eyes burn.  The inches between them are too far.  He stretches up to kiss her, but she pulls back just out of reach.


“What’s your name?  Your real name?” Rey asks as she catches her breath.   


Kylo drops his head heavy on the pillow and sighs.  His thumbs draw soft circles around her hip bones.  The thought strikes him clear as a bell that he wants her to know.  He wants to tell her everything.


“Ben.”  He swallows.  “Ben Solo.”


“Ben,” she says, testing it out on her tongue.  He squeezes her hips again.


Her gaze washes over him in the quiet darkness.  He waits.  She finally lifts fingertips to sweep the hair off his forehead.  Their eyes lock and it feels like a crushing weight was lifted.  He can breathe again. 


The room grows lighter at the first hint of dawn.  They can see each other clearly.  He lifts his head off the pillow to tentatively reach for her.  She bends down and cups his jaw and their lips touch.


It’s slower now, softer now, as the heat settles in under his skin.


He kisses her dizzy, tender but constant, hands rubbing down her back and thighs, rocking her in his lap.  His cock is wedged between them, bulging at the fly of his boxers and impossibly hard for her.  He guides her hips as she brushes along his shaft, following her lead.


His palms slide under the hem of her shirt and crawl up to her ribs as he whispers, “Is this okay?”


Rey nods and bites her lip.  He cups the undersides of her breasts under her shirt.  His thumbs lightly circle her nipples and Rey moans and arches her back to fill his hands.  His eyes drift down to her little white panties, crotch tantalizingly close, nestled between tan skin spread wide for him.


He helps her out of her shirt and drops it off the bed.  She flips her hair over a shoulder and smiles at him, shy.  Freckles pop under the blush of her cheeks. 


Her beauty steals his breath away.  “You’re fucking gorgeous,” he says, voice hoarse.


Rey looks down as a smile blooms.  He circles her creamy breasts until her nipples spike into his palms.  She’s the perfect balance of fierce and innocent, sweet and stunning, in a near lethal combination.  He flexes his hips and lifts her up off the bed a few inches.  She hangs onto his wrists for balance.


Rey drags her hips back and forth in his lap, then leans forward to kiss him.  He combs fingers through her hair and holds her mouth steady as she starts to pant against his lips.  He wants her to come for him, just like this, where he can see her.  His forehead presses to hers as he watches her hungrily, catching each small whimper and moan to steal them away for himself.  


No other thoughts, only Rey.  “Come on, baby, come for me,” he whispers to her lips. 


She whines and he kisses her as two fingers find the seam of her panties.  She moans and moves faster.  His fingers dip over the edge of her panties to find her clit.


Rey's hands fumble to release his cock.  He inhales sharply as her fingers wrap around and start to pull.  He kisses her harder.  “Damn, baby,” he says and she smiles against his mouth.


Their hands work, needy and hungry for each other, until he feels her thighs clench around his hips.  She gasps and closes her eyes as bends over him and tips over the edge.  She comes as he kisses her neck, drinking up her whimpers.  Her rocking slows until she melts down and his arms wrap around her back.  


Rey sits up with a smirk, a pink flush still on her cheeks, and wraps both hands around him.  It doesn't take long.  He helps her pump him fast, his big hand covering her small ones, until he comes into his palm with a grunt.


Ben drops his head back on the pillow and Rey curls up next to him, kissing his shoulder.  His hand lands on her thigh.  He goes to the bathroom to clean up and brings her a towel before returning to bed.  


The darkness recedes to the corners of the room as they curl together and fall asleep with the rising sun.  




Rey wakes up hours later, rubbing her eyes.


“Kylo?”  she calls out.  Then a moment later, “Ben?”


The air is still enough to tell her she’s alone.  She sits up in bed and sees the small note on the bed in a clean and controlled black cursive.


I went to get food.

Don’t leave.


Another line beneath it, as if an afterthought.  


Please Baby.


Rey picks up the note and presses it to her closed lips for a moment and considers.  She drops it in the bottom of her bag next to the disposable camera.  She heads to the shower smiling.