Rey had struggled with her identity her whole life. She was orphaned at 4 and went from home to home till she finally aged out of the system. They gave her some random last name but Rey doesn’t really use it. She is just “Rey.” Rey, the youngest person to graduate from her secondary school in 10 years. Rey, who got a full scholarship to study engineering. And for three and a half months when she was 19 she was Rey the Intern. Rey was going to school in London when she got offered a summer internship at Skywalker Inc. in New York City. The company designed and manufactured pieces for airplanes and jets. The fastest jet ever recorded was done by someone at their company. The founder Anakin Skywalker had been shady and had done some illegal stuff, but when he died and his son and daughter took over the company they made it respectable again. Rey knew that the daughter went into politics and became the senator of New York for a while, like her mother had been, and left the company in the hands of her brother. Skywalker Inc. had a lot of history and not all of it good but it was a chance of a lifetime for her.
New York was a big city and a lot different than the small towns she had lived in. Everyone was always in a hurry. Even in the office it seemed everyone was going a hundred miles an hour. Rey had made a friend though. He was working in basement like she was filing and scanning stuff for the big wigs. Unlike Rey who was happy for the opportunity to get any kind of work experience he looked annoyed and would ramble on how this work was beneath him. He was maybe 7 and some years older but acted fifty, and yet his maturity level was below hers. He had a nice smile though. It was rare but nice. He said his name was Kylo Ren.
“What?” Kylo had said with a frown as she gave him a look of disbelief after telling her his name.
“That doesn’t sound like a real name,” Rey said.
“Like you can talk Miss I Only Have One Name.” He said back.
“Lots of people go by one name. Pink. Rhianna. Beyoncé.” Rey argued.
“You are saying you are like Beyoncé?” Kylo asked with one of his rare smiles.
“No one is like Beyoncé,” Rey with a grin of her own.
Causal conversation turned to eating lunch together, then dinner, then staying till breakfast. Rey had never had a summer fling before. It was fun. It wasn’t serious since she was going back to England in a few months so there was no need to stress about the future. They toured the city and raced through Central Park. Kylo always insisted on taking off his shirt during their runs. Show off. They argued just as much as they laughed, probably more. And when she left there was no promises of calls or visits. Long distance wasn’t a thing either of them wanted so when it was goodbye it was goodbye forever.
Until Rey found out a few months later she brought a piece of him with her across the pond. Finn had freaked out more than her. They had met in college and been best friends ever since. He was with her when she took the pregnancy test and when the doctor confirmed it. They had tried to look for Kylo but no record of any one with that name was found.
“Told you it was fake,” Finn said.
“I figured,” Rey said resting the bowl of popcorn on her growing stomach. She was keeping it of course. She was nearly done with her BS in Mechanical Engineering anyway and could finish the rest online. As for a job she had saved every penny of her money since she was 16 and was on a scholarship. Finding work with her skills wasn’t an issue based on what her teachers had told her. Rey was living in a small flat with Finn but they were looking for a three bedroom so the baby could have his own room.
“Then why are you naming the kid, Wren?” Finn asked some months later when looking down at the dark haired baby in his best friend’s arms.
“To have some kind of connection to him I guess,” Rey answered. “Besides Wrens are cute chubby looking birds. He’s my Little Birdie.”
Wren was cute and very chubby. He had dark curls and eyes that looked almost black. She left the father’s name on the birth certificate blank and gave him the last name Austen. It was the one they had given her and Wren’s father had reminded her of Mr. Darcy at times. Grumpy and antisocial but could be sweet underneath. She called him her “Little Bird” even though he was growing like a weed, and was going to be taller than her if he took any more of his father’s traits.
While his parents like to build things and make sure everything works, Wren loved to write and draw. He wrote a three page comic when he was 5 and Rey cried she was so proud. Nearly everything was spelled wrong and the characters were stick figures, but he had some real talent. As Wren grew up he even created his own character. It was about a villain trying to come back to the light. He named him Kylo Ren.
“Finn always said it sounded like a name from some sci-fi show,” Wren explained. He had a secret reason though. Maybe if Wren became a famous comic book writer his work would be made into a movie or TV show and his father would recognize the name and come looking for him. A stupid dream, but Wren lived in a dream world. He knew people thought he was weird because he was rather read than play sports. Or that he was really quiet and would rather try and hack his Uncle Finn’s HBO account then hang out by the park. He did love to run though. He couldn’t catch or kick a ball but he was fast. It came in handy when bullies tried to beat him up. Can’t punch what they can’t catch. Besides, Wren was going to be taller than all of them one day. His mother said his Dad super tall.
“Mum,” Wren asked his mother one night. He had been even quieter the last few weeks. His 12th birthday was coming up. Next year he would be a teen. Rey knew her baby was feeling a little out of sorts. He was almost off kilter, and that had nothing to do with the growth spurt he had over the summer.
“Yes Birdie?” Rey said and at her son’s glare corrected herself. “I mean Wren.”
“Am I like my Dad?” Wren asked. “I mean no offence Mom, but I don’t know…sometimes…”
“I know baby,” Rey said putting her arm around him. “And yes, you do remind me of your father. You are both serious, smart, and very tall.” Wren smiled. “But there is more of me in you than you think. For example, you have my smile, and I see it often. Getting a smile out of your father was like pulling teeth, and I only saw him laugh once in the months I known him. And well honestly, he could be a bit of an arsehole.” Wren full out laughed. “But a sweet one. Deep, deep, down. You are not like that. He was closed off, and you are more open. In fact I say you are a perfect balance of his dark broodiness and my “ray of sunshine” as your Uncle Finn likes to call it. You are your own person, Wren. Okay?”
“Okay,” Wren said.
“I have an Interview at Skywalker Inc.” Rey told him which surprised Wren. He didn’t know she was looking for a new job. Her boss was a real tosser though. “Why don’t you come with me? We can try and track down your father.”
“Really?” Wren said his eyes lightening up.
“Don’t get too excited,” Rey said quickly, “It has been 13 years. He might have a whole other life. A wife. Other children.”
“At least I would know,” Wren said.
“At least you would know,” Rey agreed.
Wren closed his bedroom door and sat down in front of the laptop his mother had put together for him. It was only a month ago that his mother had removed all the child safety blocks from his completer so he had full search power rather than mother approved sites. After his mother said they were going to New York, Wren had gone to his room to pack. Actually he was planning to take advantage of his newly found freedom. Wren typed “Kylo Ren” into the search bar. A lot of Kylos and Rens came up, but nothing that tied the two together. Wren got up and saw that his mother was still watching TV. Wren went back to his computer and did something he knew he shouldn’t. He found his way into the Skywalker Inc and employee files and looked up the list of interns the year his mother was there. He saw his mother listed and there were two more names. Poe Dameron and Ben Solo. No Kylo Ren. Wren decided to look up Ben before Poe.
He typed in Ben Solo and a lot more matches came up. Thousands. Pictures too. Wren felt like he was looking at an older version of himself. They had different face shapes and different noses but the resemblance was there. Not only did Ben Solo still work at Skywalker Inc. he was the CEO. He wasn’t just some intern! He was the son of Leia Organa and Han Solo! Wren’s father was one of the richest people in America. The company was successful before him, but with all the risks Ben took things were expanding even more.
As Wren kept reading he saw that like his grandfather a few years ago Ben Solo had gotten into some shady stuff, but his mother had stepped in. He did a press conference and everything acknowledging he hand been wrong. He seemed anxious in interviews. Almost like he wasn’t comfortable in his own skin. Wren could relate. There were shirtless pictures too. Wren scrunched his nose at that but it gave him hope that his lanky body would fill out. So it looked like his father was the CEO of a billion dollar company. Even if he didn’t get a father out of all this, Wren might get a new computer at least.
Wren was jolted out of his thoughts by the sound of his mother calling for dinner. Wren quickly closed all the browsers and cleared all the history.
“Hey Birdie, hungry?” His mother asked with smile on her face. Wren nodded. His mother had a rule that when they ate together screens or books were not allowed. It was family time together. She asked about his day and if he was working on anything new. His mother told him about a project she was working on for work and more details of the New York trip. Wren felt guilty for not sharing what he knew, but he didn’t even know what he was going to do with the information. Barge into his Dad’s office? Hack his account and get the money for the computer?
“They are opening a new aerospace division,” Rey said taking a bite of her spaghetti. “So if I do get hired we will be starting from the ground up. Exciting right?”
“Yeah, you would be great,” Wren said, “I bet they would even let you head it.”
“I would just be one of the engineers,” Rey said her cheeks turning pink.
“Nah, I think you could lead the lot of them.” Wren said and took a big bite of garlic bread.
“Want to run tomorrow? You are getting faster.” Rey asked.
“Sure, I’ll beat you one day,” Wren said and Rey laughed.
“Your father said that and he never good,” Rey told him. “Want to show me what you have been working on? You have been awfully quiet all night. Kylo Ren cause himself even more trouble?”
“Always.” Wren said and the detailed the new story he was working on.
“He’s going to take his mask off?” Rey said looking at the sketches. “We finally get to see what he looks like?”
“Yeah,” Wren said, “We finally see him.”