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The Rebel Side of Heaven

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 “Ugh,” Poe says. He sits down heavily at the table Rey staked out for their group in the back of the bar. “Thank God that’s over.”

“Seriously,” Finn says. He sits down next to Poe and reaches across him for the pitcher their server just brought. “That last question? On the Fourteenth Amendment?” He grabs some glasses and starts to pour, making a face when he realizes Poe ordered the cheap stuff. “You guys, that last question killed me. I’m pouring this shitty beer from beyond the grave.”

Everybody laughs at that except Ben, who just shakes his head.

“The class is graded on a curve,” he reminds them, sounding more than a little haughty. Of course, that’s usually how Ben sounds. Even when he doesn’t mean to. He grabs one of the pints Finn just poured and takes a long swallow. “I’m sure we all missed that one. You have nothing to worry about.”

Rey – who’s been sitting here for twenty minutes, waiting for her friends to arrive, and is already halfway through her second beer – can’t help but roll her eyes at Ben’s transparent, fake attempt at modesty.

It’s the worst kept secret in the school that Ben Solo is top in their class.

“Oh, sure,” Rose says, very loudly.  “Ben says we all probably missed that question. So we have nothing to worry about.”

She winks at him, letting him know she’s only teasing. The tips of Ben’s ears go pink all the same.

“The class is graded on a curve,” he mutters defensively. But that just makes everyone laugh again.

This is the first time Rey and her friends have had a chance to really sit down and relax in weeks. The first year of law school has been every bit as brutal as everyone said it would be. Especially for her. Everything about this place – from the way you’re supposed to study for law school exams, to the pomp and circumstance expected in internship interviews – has been brand new to her.

After all, she’s a first generation college graduate. She’d had no idea what she was getting into when she started here last August. And the learning curve has been steep.

If it hadn’t been for this group of friends she isn’t sure how she would have stayed sane.

Ben’s the only one who doesn’t really fit in with the rest of them. Ben Solo, son of an important New York senator, and fifth in a long line of family members to attend law school, has seemed to know what to do here from day one with an effortless grace Rey would kill to have.

Ben Solo, who’ll be spending the summer at Snoke & Associates, one of the most prestigious firms in the city, while the rest of them clerk at a legal aid office on the south side

Not that any of it seems to make Ben happy. He’s always been courteous enough to her, if not exactly what one would call friendly . He’s shared his meticulous, handwritten class notes with her a couple of times and helped her a lot in the lead up to final exams. But he’s also prone to long periods of sullenness and outrageous temper tantrums -- to the point where Rose has asked Rey, more than once, exactly why it is they hang out with him in the first place.

Rey doesn’t really know the answer to that question. Because there’s no denying that Ben Solo is… a bit off-putting, most of the time. Maybe it’s because she suspects he feels lost here too, somehow, despite the ease with which he handles the academic aspects of law school.

Feeling lost is something Rey can relate to all too well.

“Another round?” Finn asks the group. Rey looks from her empty glass to the pitcher at the center of the table. The cheap beer Poe bought is already gone.

Her friends are really going to town tonight, Rey thinks, amused. Which, given that exams and their first year of law school are all finally behind them, makes sense.

“Yes! Let’s get another pitcher.” Rose agrees. “But good beer this time, please.”

Finn gives her a wink and a salute.

“I’ll be back in five minutes,” he says, before making his way to the bar.


By the time their group finishes their fifth pitcher, the crowd in the bar – made up mostly of other law students celebrating the end of the school year – is starting to thin out considerably.

Rey isn’t surprised. If there’s anything she’s learned this past year (other than random things having to do with contracts, and what the different constitutional amendments are) it’s that the only thing grad students seem to like to do more than drink is have casual, semi-drunken hookups after finals are over.

Not that Rey ever joins in on that.

Rose is the first of their group to leave. She shows up to their table, the beer she’s been drinking all night painted as an adorable rosy flush on her cheeks, holding hands with a really cute second year Rey knows she’s been interested in since last semester.

“See you all later,” she says meaningfully, before turning on her heels and following the guy out the door.

Poe watches as she leaves, smirking a little.

“Good for Rosie,” he says.

Finn punches him playfully on the shoulder. “Should we get going as well?”

Poe yawns, and pretends to stretch, wrapping his arm very tightly around Finn in the process.

Smooth, Poe , Rey thinks, amused. Really smooth.

“Sure,” Poe says, grinning up at his boyfriend. “Let’s get out of here.”

Finn nods at Rey and Ben. “See you two later.”

As Finn and Poe leave the bar, Rey glances over at Ben from across the table. Sure enough, there it is – the wistful look he always seems to get whenever people start to couple up and head home for the night.

Feeling a bit awkward now that it’s just the two of them left, and not really sober enough to have much of a filter anymore, Rey says the first random thing that pops into her head.

“Nothing like a good fuck to get the stress of finals out of your system, I guess.”

She was trying for sarcastic, trying for funny. But when she sees the thunderstruck look on Ben’s face she realizes, immediately, that she just made a huge mistake.

He shakes his head ruefully and gives a hollow bark of laughter.

“I wouldn’t know the first thing about that,” he mutters.

Rey’s eyes go wide.

“Wait. What did you say?”

He takes another sip of his beer, not looking at her. “Nothing.”

Rey takes the glass he’s holding out of his hands and turns his chin so he has to look at her. “No, I mean it. What did you say?”

He huffs, getting annoyed now. “Clearly I shouldn’t have said anything at all.”

“But you did,” Rey points out.

“Um. Yeah. I guess I did.” The unflappable confidence Ben usually shows in classes and whenever they hang out as a group is gone now. He’s starting to look, and sound, like a man who would very much like it if the earth just opened up beneath him and swallowed him whole.

Suddenly, the pieces all fit together in Rey’s mind.

“You’re a virgin,” she says, matter-of-factly.

That has to be what he’s telling her.

Right?

She’s pretty sure she’s never thought about Ben Solo’s sex life before, but now that she is thinking about it she supposes his being a virgin makes some sense. He’s not exactly the easiest person in the world to be around. It’s not hard to see how people might not exactly be lining up around the block to throw themselves at him.

For one thing, he studies constantly. On the rare occasions he’s not studying, he’s usually being surly at someone or throwing things.

Probably not the sort of person you’d likely chat up in a bar. Or even find in a bar in the first place, most of the time.

Ben sighs, and closes his eyes.

“I suppose I am,” he admits, very quietly, to the floor. “I’ve never even… uh.  Kissed… someone before. Not a real kiss, anyway.” His cheeks go red at the admission, and Rey wonders if perhaps she’s not the only one operating without a filter right now.

“Oh,” she says. What else can she say? “Really?”

“Yeah,” he says. “Really. But like – it’s fine. I’m fine. It’s not a big deal.” He swallows, and looks like he’s searching for the right words to say. “It’s just… I don’t know. Occasionally a little awkward, I guess. Not to have any idea what… it’s all about.”

“But…” Rey begins. But she stops herself because honestly, if Ben is fine with having no sexual experience what business is it of hers?

It’s just she can’t help but feel he’d rather not have no experience. She doesn’t know him super well – certainly not as well as her other friends – but she does have eyes. She saw the look he had on his face when their friends all left tonight. She thinks back on how… sad, for lack of a better word, Ben always seems to be when it’s time for everybody to go home at the end of an evening.

Suddenly, a ridiculous plan begins to take shape in her mind.

In truth, it’s probably one of the worst ideas she’s ever had, and she isn’t quite sure what causes it pop into her head. Maybe it’s the little pang of wistfulness she felt herself when all their friends left with someone tonight. Or maybe it’s just the giddy relief she’s felt all day over this hellish school year finally being over.

Maybe it can all be blamed on the alcohol she’s had tonight.

Either way, Rey is definitely on the wrong side of tipsy right now, and that’s all it takes for the words to come flying out of her mouth before she can stop them.

“I could teach you,” she says, very matter-of-fact. “What it’s all about, I mean. What to do.”

Ben stares at her blankly for a very long moment, her meaning clearly not registering.

When he finally does get what she’s saying, the effect is immediate and explosive.

What ?” he sputters, eyes wide. His hands have gone spastic, clenching and unclenching rapidly and uncontrollably at his sides. “What? Rey, no. No. Absolutely not. I… I don’t… I don’t need your charity .”

He’s misunderstood her. “Oh, it wouldn’t be charity,” she rushes to reassure him. She puts her hand on top of one of his. He stares at it, his eyes still very wide. “I think it would be… you know.” She shrugs. “Fun. I’m single, I haven’t had sex in a really long time, and…”

She trails off, shrugging again.

“Fun,” Ben repeats, looking, and sounding, stunned. He’s still staring down at their hands.

“Yeah.” She gives his hand a squeeze. His free hand clenches into a fist again at his side. “I’ll teach you what to do so you’ll know what you’re doing when you meet someone down the line you actually want to have sex with.”

Because despite all his awkwardness and sullen idiosyncrasies, Rey likes Ben. He’s a friend. She would hate for his first real sexual experience to be awkward or embarrassing because of nerves and a lack of knowing what to expect.

Better to get the kinks out first – so to speak – with an acquaintance in a completely no-pressure situation.

And besides – without his help, there’s literally no way she would have survived her first year of law school. Teaching him what she knows about sex seems like the least she can do. A quid pro quo , as their contracts professor might say.

Ben doesn’t say anything in response to any of this for a very long time. He eventually shifts his focus from their touching hands to his half-finished beer, staring at it like he might be able to find the answers to all the questions in the universe in it if he only stares hard enough.

Eventually, he sighs, and runs his free hand through his hair.

“Okay,” he says. He shrugs, going for casual, trying to give off the vibe that none of this is any big deal at all. Only the riotous blush on his cheeks and the hand that trembles beneath hers suggest that he’s nervous about this. Maybe even more than nervous.

Rey smiles, and gives his hand another squeeze. “Okay,” she says. “Shall we start… tomorrow? I’m a little too drunk to start tonight, I think.”

Ben closes his eyes. He swallows, his Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat.

“Tomorrow,” he agrees.

Still smiling, on impulse Rey lifts their linked hands and presses a gentle kiss to the back of his. It’s perfectly chaste – just a quick peck of the lips, and over almost as soon as it begins – but the effect on Ben is electric. His whole body stiffens, and his eyes go very wide before fluttering closed again on a quiet sigh.

“Tomorrow, then,” Rey repeats, murmuring the word against the back of his hand.

He opens his eyes, and then looks at her with such adulaton and wonder in his eyes it takes her breath away and causes her heart to stutter uncomfortably in her chest..

This is either gonna be a lot of fun or the worst mistake I’ve ever made, Rey thinks to herself, as they finish their beers in silence.


Chapter Text

Sua Sponte: an act of authority taken without formal prompting from another party


 

Rey wakes up the next morning with a terrible headache.

She also wakes up with some serious misgivings about the arrangement she just made with Ben.

The headache – a predictable enough side-effect of all that beer she had – is taken care of easily enough with a tall glass of water, a couple of Advil, and a long, hot shower.

The misgivings, however…

She can’t get rid of them so easily.

Is what she and Ben are about to do really such a good idea?

It seemed like it was, last night. Last night it seemed like something that would not only help a friend, but could also be a pleasant distraction for her.

Killing two birds with one stone, really.

But the way Ben reacted when she kissed his hand…

And that long, lingering look he gave her afterwards…

Shit.

She’d had absolutely no idea what that look meant. Or what the hell she was supposed to do with it.

She still doesn’t.

After her shower, Rey grabs a towel from the hook on the bathroom door and uses it to dry her hair. She makes her way to the kitchen table in her bathrobe, grabs the half-empty coffee mug sitting there, and checks her phone.

She got two texts while she was in the shower:

Rose: mexican tonight? i’m craving guacamole

Ben: Are we still on for 8? Should I bring anything?

Rey takes a deep breath and closes her eyes.

Looks like this is actually happening.

She replies to Rose first, letting her know she’s busy tonight and won’t be able to grab dinner.

She hopes Rose doesn’t pry and ask for details about her plans. What will she say to her if she does? That she’s offered to be Ben Solo’s sex instructor, and they’re starting tonight?

And then, before she can chicken out, she shoots Ben a text confirming that yes, tonight still works for her and yes, eight is still fine. And there’s no need for him to bring anything. (She doesn’t know if what he really meant to ask was, should I bring condoms ? Regardless, she’s got some on hand if things get to that point tonight.)

She can’t exactly back out of this now, right? This whole crazy thing was her idea in the first place.

She just hopes it doesn’t turn out to be a huge fucking mistake.


 

Rey spends the rest of the morning slowly getting her messy apartment into some vague semblance of order.

Ordinarily, she likes to think of herself as a pretty organized person. Finn has joked, in the past, that a person could eat off Rey Johnson’s kitchen floor. He’s normally kind of right about that. But this semester’s finals thoroughly kicked her ass. Little everyday chores like getting groceries, deleting junk email, and taking out the trash at regular intervals mostly fell by the wayside as she crammed.

While Rey’s not normally someone who needs to go into frantic cleaning mode before having someone over, she definitely is today.

Besides, Ben’s never seen her place before. For reasons she can’t fully articulate she wants him to see it clean.

Thankfully, her summer internship is here in the city. Unlike for some of her classmates, move across the country isn’t on her week’s list of to-dos. Still, though. After how hard she worked these past few weeks, even the simple tasks of washing and putting away the dirty laundry piled up in the corner of her bedroom feel daunting.

After about two hours of cleaning, Rey starts to feel like she’s got things more or less under control. She decides to take a break from housework. She sits down on her couch, opens up her gmail, and rereads the emails she got last week from Legal Aid of the South Side.

They’re not very interesting. They mostly cover administrative details like how to set up direct deposit for the summer, where and when interns are supposed to show up the first day, and a description of the office’s casual dress code. Things like that.

Rey rereads the emails anyway. She’s excited about this position. Really, really excited.

The crushing poverty she faced during her childhood – the homelessness; the countless nights when she went to bed hungry – all of it is what led her to apply to law school in the first place. It made her want make a difference for the less fortunate.

And now, finally, this summer she’ll get to use what she’s learned in school to help people in need.

When she got her acceptance letter from LASS a month ago, telling her she’d been assigned to their low-income housing department for the summer, she was so excited about it she framed it and hung it on her wall. Poe and Finn made merciless fun of her when they saw it but she didn’t care.

Rey has long since memorized LASS’ address, and the subway route she’ll need to take to get there. But she grabs a pen and a post-it note from her top desk drawer anyway and writes the information down again, just in case.


 

At some point after dinner, Rey looks up from the movie she’s half-watching and glances at her phone.

Her stomach clenches when she sees it’s 7:30.

Ben will be here in thirty minutes.

She should probably shut this movie off and figure out what she’s going to wear tonight.

Then again, does it really matter what she wears? Ben’s no more attracted to her than she is to him. She offered him an opportunity to practice all this… sex stuff, and he took her up on it.

That’s all this is.

Rey finds it hard to believe he’d be offended, or storm off in one of his angry huffs, if she’s in a sweatshirt and yoga pants when he gets here.

Still, though. If they’re going to be messing around, it would probably be a bit weird if she didn’t make at least some attempt to look presentable. Wouldn’t it?

Her mind made up, Rey goes to her bedroom to evaluate options. She decides to put on a matching bra and panties. If she’s going to do this, might as well go all the way. She then picks out on a flowery, short sleeve top that’s not too badly wrinkled, and puts it on with a pair of light-colored skinny jeans.

Casual, but not too casual.

Perfect.

She’s just deciding which shoes to wear (or if she even needs shoes at all; it’s not like they’re going anywhere) when there’s a loud knock on her front door.

She looks at her phone again. It’s only 7:55.

He’s here. And he’s early.

Her stomach suddenly in knots, Rey rushes to her front door and opens it.

Sure enough, Ben Solo is standing outside her apartment, hands clasped behind his back, wide-eyed and looking more terrified than she’s ever seen another person look before in her life.

He clears his throat.

“Hi, Rey.”

Rey stares at him, stunned.

Ben usually shows up to class dressed like he finds the whole concept of caring about personal appearance a pointless distraction.  But tonight he looks… kind of amazing. He’s wearing a long-sleeved, close-fitting brown Henley that emphasizes his broad shoulders and his slim waist, and dark jeans that fit perfectly.

When he walks into her apartment she notices, for the first time, just how tall he is. He towers over her.

How had she never noticed just how big Ben Solo is, before now?

“Can I get you something to… uh, drink?” she asks. Her voice comes out sounding a bit funny. Higher than usual. She cringes, and wonders if maybe she isn’t a bit nervous about all this, too.

He shakes his head. “No,” he says. “No. I’m... uh. I’m good.” He looks around her living room distractedly, taking in the posters on her walls and the photographs on her bookshelves, and fidgets with his expensive-looking wristwatch.

Now that he’s here, Rey suddenly feels self-conscious about her apartment. It’s the first place she’s ever had that was all her own, and she’s proud of it.  But it’s just a basic one-bedroom. Nothing special. It probably seems pretty crappy to Ben, given the sorts of places he likely grew up in.

If he’s unimpressed by his surroundings, though, he shows no sign of it. He turns to face Rey, looking even more nervous than he was before.

“So… um,” he begins. His voice sounds a bit strange tonight, too. He gestures vaguely with his hands. “How should I… where do you want to…?”

Right to the point, then , Rey muses. Ben Solo is nothing if not all business. His cheeks are turning a bit pink as he stumbles over what she knows he’s trying to ask her.

Rey supposes she should make this as easy on him as possible.

“Oh. Um, well… how about we sit on the couch?” she suggests.

Ben nods decisively. Like it’s the best idea he’s ever heard. “Couch. Yes. Yes, that’s good.”

He makes his way towards the only couch Rey owns and sits down, his back ramrod straight. His eyes are fixed firmly on his shoes and his hands are clasped tightly in his lap.

Rey sits down next to him and angles her body towards him slightly his as he continues to look at the floor and not at her.

Rey’s mind is racing. She bites her lip, trying to figure out how to start this.

How do you start something like this?

Should she lean towards him? Turn his chin with her hand so he has to look at her?

Should she maybe try and say something reassuring, or hold his hand?

To her relief, Ben eventually relaxes enough on his own to turn his body towards her a little.

A moment later he’s looking right at her, at her lips, with an unexpected and undeniable heat.

He gives her a shy, nervous smile.

“Hey,” she says, very softly.

Slowly, slowly, Rey reaches up and cups his face in her hands. He’s usually got a permanent five o’clock shadow, but he shaved for this. For her. She gently strokes his cheeks with her thumbs, making him shiver.

His eyes slip closed.

“Is this okay?” Rey asks quietly, feeling at least as nervous as he looks.

He opens his mouth to answer her, but then closes it again and just nods, wordlessly. Like he doesn’t quite trust his voice right now.

Taking his assent as encouragement, Rey slowly closes the distance between them and gently, tentatively presses her lips to his.

“How much do you want to do tonight?” she murmurs, when she pulls back. This is a conversation they need to have. She’d spent today mentally preparing herself to do whatever he wanted to do – up to and including actual sex. But now that she sees how terrified he is just sitting next to her, she’s wondering if she’d been expecting far too much.

He swallows, and reaches up to cover her hands with his. They’re much larger than hers, and to Rey’s relief they’re steady, not shaking like they were last night.

He chuckles a little. “I have no idea,” he says. He begins to caress the backs of her hands with his thumbs. He checks for her reaction and she nods, smiling. He keeps going. “I’ve never done any of this before.”

She pauses, considering. “Well, do you want to start with kissing?”

His answer his immediate. “Yes.” He nods vigorously. “Kissing is… yes. I definitely want to start with kissing.” He pauses briefly, biting his bottom lip, then adds: “Please.”

She can’t help but smile at his eagerness.

He’s just… adorable, really. He has no idea.

“All right, then,” she whispers, and kisses him.


 

It’s immediately apparent to Rey that Ben was right.

He really has no idea what he’s doing.

Everything about the kiss is incredibly awkward at first. He doesn’t know what to do with his tongue, using it far too often. He doesn’t know where to put his hands. Their noses and elbows keep bumping together uncomfortably, to the point where she decides that if he bangs her in the ribs one more time she’s calling a time-out.

Fortunately, however, Ben is a quick learner.

He responds to Rey’s gentle, unspoken feedback – her little nudges and hums of approval – almost instinctively. His lips are deliciously soft, and after his initial nervousness abates a little he’s able to hold himself – and his overeager tongue – in check.  He brushes his lips gently against hers, again, and then again, eventually finding the courage and the coordination to wind his arms around her to pull her closer.

His hands are so big, and warm, as they splay across her back and pull her towards him, and when Rey sighs against his lips it is entirely unplanned.

On instinct, Rey wraps her arms around him in return, and then takes the lead, deepening the kiss properly by gently tracing the seam of his lips with the tip of her tongue. He opens up for her right away, whimpering a little, seemingly unable to help himself, as her tongue strokes gently along his.

“Ben,” she says at length, pulling back. Time to check in.

Ben’s eyes are still closed and he’s breathing hard.

He swallows. “Yeah?”

She glances down and sees, with surprise, that Ben already has an absolutely enormous erection. He must not realize she notices it, because he hasn’t run out of here yet, screaming.  

Her eyes go wide at just how big he  is.

What would it be like, she wonders suddenly, to sit on Ben’s lap right now? Would it be pushing the envelope too much for his first kiss if she climbed on top of him, straddled him, shoved him back against the sofa cushions, and ground down on that giant bulge in his jeans until he started writhing beneath her?

And then – what will it feel like to have that giant cock inside of her, when the time comes?

He opens his eyes and looks at her.

His worried expression is back.

It snaps her out of her reverie.

“How… how was that?” Ben’s face is flushed and his hair is a wreck from when her hands went wandering during the kiss. His hair is incredibly soft. She’d had no idea. “How did I do?”

He’s so eager and nervous. So frightened of rejection, even though they both know what they’re doing here doesn’t really mean anything.

Rey nods.

“You did great,” she says, smiling. She hopes she’s being reassuring. She hopes he believes her.

She kisses his cheek. “That was really nice.”

It seems to work. Ben relaxes a little, and he smiles back, shyly.

“Can we… um.” He runs a hand through his hair and lets out a loud exhale. “Can we try that again?”

She nods. “Definitely.”

She leans forward for round two, and he meets her halfway, eagerly, his arms going around her just as hers go around him.

He’s really getting the hang of this , Rey thinks, as they kiss for the second time. She lets Ben take the lead, and he mirrors her actions from earlier as he pulls her closer, tasting her lips, her mouth, with a restraint and a finesse she would not have imagined possible from him thirty minutes ago.

He leans her back a little, so that she’s resting on the back of the sofa and he’s leaning over her, an inverse approximation of what she’d been thinking about doing to him just minutes ago.

“Rey,” he breathes, against her lips, before kissing her again.

She makes a little noise of approval, and it seems to spur him on. He soon grows bolder, moving away from her mouth to the side of her jaw, pressing eager little kisses along the side of her neck without her even needing to guide him.

His soft lips, his warm breath, the tip of his tongue, feel so good against her sensitized skin, and…

Damn. She is enjoying this way too much.

Sighing, Rey puts a hand on his broad, muscled chest and gently slides it down the front of his body, eliciting a rumbling groan from deep within him.

And then, encouraged by that reaction, on impulse, Rey slides her hand down a little further, and gently, gently squeezes his dick.

Ben twitches, hard, against her palm, and cries out.

“Oh, shit ,” he grunts, bolting upright, away from her, effectively throwing a bucket of cold ice water on everything that had been happening up until this now.

He shoves her hand away from his body like it just burned him. And then h e scrunches up his face, breathing harder than ever.

With a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach, Rey thinks she has a pretty good idea of what he’s about to tell her before he even says it.

The words look like agony for him to get out. “If you do that right now, Rey," he begins, pained. "I’m… I’m probably gonna… lose it. In like, two seconds.”

She blinks at him. “Oh,” she says, sounding, and feeling, like an idiot.

Shit. Shit. She should have realized grabbing him there was probably not something he'd be ready for.

“I’m sorry,” he adds, closing his eyes tightly. His hands are balled up into fists and he presses them into his eyes. He looks absolutely mortified. “Shit. Fuck.    I’m…. I’m sorry.”

He’s rocking back and forth a little on her couch, now, clearly trying to calm himself down.

She shakes her head. “Ben. There’s no need to be sorry.” She touches his chin and waits for him to look at her again. At length, he does. He still looks mortified. “There’s no rush on any of this stuff.”

He lets out a huff of frustration. “I know. It’s just…”

Rey pauses, carefully considering her next words. It’s hard, because she’s trying, and mostly failing, not to get too excited herself, just thinking about how excited she’s made him already.

“I think,” she says, very quietly. “I think we probably need to work on your stamina, next.”

Because the last thing he’s going to want, when he’s having sex with someone he likes, is to come before anything’s even happened.

But Ben just groans, and throws his arms over his face.

“Rey,” he moans. “Just thinking about you working on my stamina is enough to test my... stamina.”

She smiles, and leans forward to kiss his cheek again.

“Okay,” she says. He’s still breathing very hard, and his heart is a rapid staccato beat she swears she can hear. “Okay. We’ll save working on your sta… uh, on that other thing… for next time.”

He nods. “I’ll be… uh. Better prepared, next time,” he mumbles. “I promise.”

Rey isn’t entirely certain what being better prepared means. From the way his cheeks are turning red, though, she wonders if he’s implying he plans to… take himself in hand, so to speak, right before their next date.

She decides not to pry. He’d probably spontaneously combust if she did. Come to think of it, she might, too.

“So,” she begins, trying to regroup. “For now, for tonight, we’ll just… take things really slow. Do you want to practice kissing some more?”

He nods. “Yes. Yeah, I do. And… thank you.”

“You don’t need to thank me.”

He pulls back and looks at her. “I do, though.” His tone is serious, and his eyes are wide and very bright. “I do.”

And, there’s that look again. The one he gave her last night in the bar, after he’d agreed to her insane little plan.

She bites her lip, and looks away from the intensity of his gaze.

“You’re welcome, Ben,” she says, her face suddenly very warm. “You’re welcome.”

Chapter Text

Arms Length Transaction: in which both parties to an agreement act in their own self-interest and are not subject to any pressure or duress from the other party.


Legal Aid of the South Side is located just a few blocks west of the Garfield red line stop, sandwiched between a large pawn shop with bars on its windows and a payday loan office with a line of customers already out the door at eight in the morning.

This part of town is so unlike the trendy neighborhood where Rey has lived for the past six years it feels like a different city altogether.

Tucking her small briefcase under her arm, Rey walks quickly towards the squat, cinderblock building where she’ll be interning for the next twelve weeks. There are thick iron bars on its windows, too, as well as bars separating her from the building’s front door. Rey searches for the buzzer she knows she’ll find somewhere on the front of the building and presses it, waiting for someone inside to let her in.

Five seconds later, an answering buzz from inside the office – and an accompanying series of loud clicks – lets her know the bars and the door have been unlocked for her.

She pushes them open.

Inside, she is greeted by a short, older man with graying hair and a full beard.

He smiles kindly at her.

“You must be Rey Johnson.”

The room they’re in – a lobby, she thinks, or some other kind of waiting room – looks like it was last redecorated sometime during the Clinton administration. The carpet on the floor is thin, gray, and dingy, with strange, discolored spots underneath an old-fashioned receptionist’s desk. The chairs that line the walls, ostensibly there for clients while they’re waiting for their appointments, are simple metal folding chairs. The chairs are just as dingy as the rest of the room and, in some instances, are rusted a bit at the hinges.

The older man has to step around something that looks like a large portable air conditioning unit in order to reach her.

When he does, he extends his hand.

She takes it. “Yes, hi,” she says, smiling back at him. “I’m Rey.”

They shake hands. His handshake is surprisingly firm.

“Welcome to Legal Aid of the South Side, Rey,” he says. “I’m Luke Skywalker, LASS’ new Executive Director.”

Rey’s eyes go wide with surprise.

Luke Skywalker works here?

But…

But that’s impossible.

Luke Skywalker was the stuff of legend in all the public interest organizations Rey volunteered with this past year. Back in the early 1980s, Luke had been lead counsel in the trial that brought down Empire Industries, one of the most notorious slumlords and money launderers in all of Chicago. Due in part to Luke Skywalker’s brilliant litigation strategies, the plaintiffs in that case had been awarded millions for their pain and suffering.  

In the criminal action that followed, Empire’s CEO was sentenced to twenty years in a federal penitentiary.

A win like that could have brought Luke Skywalker fame and fortune. And it would have, had he only accepted what he’d been offered. But he didn’t seem interested in any of it. He turned down book deals, interviews with Oprah, and named partnerships at some of the country’s most prestigious law firms without any real explanation other than to say he was tired and, now that the case was over, he just wanted to rest for a while.

And then, for all intents and purposes, he disappeared from public eye.

In the ensuing years, there had been a lot of rumors about exactly where Luke Skywalker was and what he was doing. The one Rey heard most often was that Luke had founded, and was running, a secretive, elite training program downstate for a small, handpicked group of promising young attorneys. But no one really knew for sure whether that, or any of the other rumors, were true.

Either way, he’s here now, standing right in front of Rey, back from wherever he’s been all these years. And he’s apparently running the legal aid office where she’ll be working this summer.

Luke Skywalker gives her a quizzical look, and then frowns. “I take it from the look on your face that you’ve heard of me.”

It isn’t a question. And he doesn’t sound either proud or boastful when he says it, though lord knows he’s entitled to be both. Instead, he only sounds… sad. Defeated.

But there’s no point in denying that she knows who he is. “Yeah,” Rey says, a little sheepishly. She nods. “Of course I’ve heard of you.”

Luke Skywalker sighs, and runs a hand through his graying hair. “I suppose it was impossible to hope for otherwise,” he mutters.

“It kind of was,” Rey agrees.  Sensing that her new boss would prefer to talk about something – anything – else, she changes the subject. “Where will I be working this summer, Mr. Skywalker?”

The change of subject has the intended effect. Her new mentor’s warm smile is back.

He shakes his head and raises his hands, palms towards her. “Please,” he says. “Call me Luke.”

Rey nods. “All right. Luke.”

“We’re all on a first-name basis here,” he explains, then chuckles. “Formality doesn’t really make sense when you’re working in a building where the ceiling leaks as much as ours does.”

Rey nods again, filing this information away for later. She’s so used to calling people she reports to by professor, or by their last names. Calling someone like Luke Skywalker simply Luke will take a lot of getting used to.

“Follow me,” he says, motioning her forward. “I’ll show you to the office you’ll be sharing with the other interns.”

She follows him down a narrow, dimly-lit hallway. They pause when they get to a room in the back, chock-full of floor-to-ceiling metal file cabinets and crammed with low-walled cubicles.

“This is it?” she asks.

“Yep,” Luke confirms. “But before I leave you here – when you see how much is already waiting for you on your desk, don’t freak out. We believe in trial by fire here, which you’ll soon discover. You will have a lot to do, starting today. But you won’t be handling any of your files all on your own.”

Rey feels a small frisson of excitement at his words. She smiles at him. “To be honest, I was hoping I’d be busy this summer.”

Luke laughs at that. “Well, then, Rey. You’re in luck."


 

Rey is at home, leafing through one of the thick files Luke assigned her today and nursing a glass of white wine, when there’s a sharp knock on her front door.

She sets the new client’s file down on her coffee table and checks her phone.

It’s eight o’clock.

It’s time for her second date with Ben. And once again, he’s right on time.

But when Rey opens the door for him she can immediately tell he’s in a terrible mood. There’s no sign of the shy, nervous boy who showed up on her doorstep a week ago for his kissing lessons. No – tonight, Ben has come to her angry and scowling.

He stalks into her apartment, jaw tightly clenched, and brushes right past her without even waiting for her to invite him inside.

She frowns, and quietly closes the door.

“What’s wrong?” she asks.

She’s pretty sure Ben’s bad mood isn’t directed at her. After all, if it were, he would have cancelled tonight. Wouldn’t he?  

Then again, Ben’s so uncommunicative. No one in their group is ever really sure what he’s thinking.

Ben flops down on her couch theatrically without answering her question. He leans forward, elbows on knees, and lets out a long exhale.

He buries his face in his hands.

“My job is what’s wrong,” he eventually mutters, his tone murderous.

He doesn’t elaborate, but Rey’s heard enough horror stories about what it’s like to work at Snoke & Associates that he doesn’t have to

“I’m sorry,” she says. She hopes she sounds sympathetic. Because she is. In truth, she wouldn’t wish a summer at that firm on her worst enemy.

She makes her way across her living room to where he sits and joins him on the couch.  Tentatively, and remembering how skittish he’d been last week, she puts her hand on his upper thigh. To her relief, he doesn’t jump or flinch at her touch.

He’s making progress, she muses.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Rey asks.

For a long moment Ben doesn’t respond. Eventually, he drops his hands to his sides and leans back against the back of her sofa.

He sighs, and when he turns to look at her, he seems a bit more composed.

“No,” he says. His tone is flat, devoid of any kind of inflection. He mostly just sounds exhausted. Rey supposes that’s better than furious, at least. “Not really.”

Rey presses a kiss to his cheek. “Okay, then. We won’t talk about it.”

Without another word, she carefully climbs onto his lap and straddles him, one leg slung over each of his thighs. She wraps her arms around him, interlacing her hands behind his neck. He’s wearing an expensive-looking suit today, tailored to perfection and complete with a jacket and tie. No casual summers at Snoke & Associates, apparently.

The fabric of Ben’s suit jacket is smooth, almost like silk, against her palms. She can’t resist running her hands over its collar, back and forth, behind his neck, admiring how good the material feels against her fingers.

The effect all of this has on Ben – her current position on his lap, her running her hands back and forth along the collar of a jacket he’s still wearing; all of it – is impossible to miss. He looks up at her and swallows, his eyes suddenly glassy and unfocused.

As she continues to gently caress him, his eyes eventually drift down to her lips. And just like that, Rey can tell that whatever Ben was upset about when he came here tonight isn’t bothering him anymore.  

He really has made progress since last week.

Either that, or he actually did show up tonight better prepared for her, as he cryptically implied he’d be at the end of their last date.

“Yeah. I… definitely don’t want to talk about work,” he reiterates, sounding a little dazed.

Rey can’t help but smile. “What do you want to talk about?”   

By way of response, Ben leans forward and captures her lips in a gentle, but insistent, kiss.

He’s taking initiative, Rey thinks, as he pulls her close, tracing her bottom lip with the tip of his tongue, the way she showed him last time.

She sighs, and Ben tugs her even closer, placing the broad, warm palm of his hand at the small of her back, and drawing small, gentle circles there with the pads of his thumbs.

Good. That’s… yeah, that’s really good.

When Ben pulls back from her he says, breathlessly, against her lips: “Actually, I don’t really want to talk about anything at all.”

He leans back a little more, and because she’s sitting on his lap his face is now more or less level with her chest.

This was deliberate positioning on Rey’s part.

At the end of last week’s date they agreed that tonight, on their second date, they would try and work on Ben’s stamina. Whatever the fuck that means. In truth, Rey has absolutely no idea what working on a guy’s stamina would, or should, entail. Her only real plan for the evening is to tease Ben as much as she can for as long as he lets her do it, and see how long he can take it without coming.

Worst case scenario, he comes really quickly. But at least then they’ll know what they’re working with and they can build a plan from there.

She tells him none of this.

Instead, in one fluid motion, Rey lifts her shirt up over her head and drops it to the floor.

She can hear Ben’s sharp intake of breath, and she smiles. A moment later, she reaches around, and then she’s got her bra off too. It joins her shirt next to the couch on the floor.

Now her breasts are bare, and Ben’s eyes are wide, unbelieving, as they stare steadfastly, determinedly, pointedly... into her eyes.

“Oh,” he breathes.

She leans forward, kissing his cheek again. She has to bite her lip to keep from giggling at just how adorably shy he is all over again, now that her clothes are starting to come off.

“Is this ok?” she whispers into his ear.

She feels him nod. “Yeah.”

“In that case – Ben, you can look at me.”

He blinks at her several times, looking very much like he’s trying, hard, to make up his mind about something very important.

A moment later, he apparently comes to a decision, and his gaze drops to her breasts. His eyes widen at the sight of her, half-naked and perched on his lap.

A small, involuntary groan slips out of him.

“What do you want to do tonight, Ben?” she asks him gently.

He looks up at her face again. His eyes plead with her.

“Show me how to touch you,” he rasps. “Please.”

In response, Rey takes each of his large hands in one of hers and slowly, slowly brings them up her body. She covers her breasts with them, and then puts her hands over his, encouraging him to keep them there.

“Just… touch me, I guess. Any way you want to.” She smiles encouragingly, and brushes a stray lock of hair out of his eyes. “Most women usually like it when a guy pays attention to their breasts before moving on to other stuff.”

Ben pauses as he considers her words.

“Most women usually like this.” He repeats her words back to her, very slowly.

Rey nods. “Yeah.”

He cocks his head to one side and looks into her eyes. His expression is unreadable. “What about you, though?”

Rey’s eyes grow very wide.

“What?”

“I said, what about you?” He pauses, and ducks his head. “Do you like it when… um. When guys touch your breasts?”

Rey opens and closes her mouth several times, but no words come out.

She is stunned beyond words.

This arrangement was never supposed to be about what she specifically does, or doesn’t, like, as far as sex goes. At least not as she understood the deal. This whole thing was just supposed to be a broad overview that would prepare Ben for… well. For future sexual experiences. With other women.

Obviously, Rey had been hoping she’d get some physical pleasure out of these lessons as well. But Ben asking her about her own personal preferences…

It frankly never occurred to her Ben would care what she liked. Or that he’d bother to ask.

But he’s still looking at her, his cheeks growing redder by the second, waiting for her to answer his question. She supposes she better think of something to tell him.

She swallows, and decides on the truth.

“Yeah,” she eventually admits. Her voice is barely above a whisper. “I do like it.” She closes her eyes, because she doesn’t think she can deal with seeing his face right now.  “And you can… um. You can kiss them, too. If you… I mean. If you want.”

Ben closes his eyes for just a moment, and takes several deep breaths, in and out, as though trying very hard to collect himself.

“Okay,” he says.

He kisses her mouth, and then he starts to move his hands.

At first, it’s clear--just as it had been with kissing-- that Ben has no idea what to do. His hands are already on her, and so he begins by simply kneading her small breasts very gently, very tentatively. He checks her face for her reaction and, apparently encouraged by what he sees, he keeps going.  After a moment he pulls back a little, stroking and caressing one of her breasts while tracing the outline of the other nipple with his fingertip.

He watches her, enraptured, as she shivers under his touch, and as her nipples begin to pebble up against his palms.

“So soft,” he murmurs as he touches her, so quietly it’s like he’s talking to himself. He chances one more glance up at her face and then, with a boldness Rey didn’t think he had in him, leans forward to suck one of her nipples into his mouth.

“Oh,” Rey cries out, the unexpected pleasure shooting straight down her spine, and she arches her back and starts to grind against him before she even realizes she’s doing it. He slowly drags the tip of his tongue around and around the rosy-crested bud, and she cries out again when he suckles the other one into his mouth for more of the same treatment. While he sucks and kneads at one breast, he rolls the other, sensitized nipple between his thumb and forefinger. His fingertips are calloused, something Rey definitely didn’t expect, and the coarseness of his touch adds another delicious, unexpected level of sensation.

She threads her hands into his soft, dark hair and tugs, pulling him closer, reveling in the feel of his hands, his hot breath, and his warm, wet mouth on her body.

“Is this good?” He murmurs the words between her breasts before sucking a nipple into his mouth again. He worries it a little with his teeth and tongue and damnit, he’s already so hard underneath her, and it’s taking all her restraint not dry hump him right here on her couch. “Do you like this?”

Still so nervous, so desperate to get this exactly right.

Yes,” she hisses. “Yes, Ben. Yes.”

It’s actually a little too good, what he’s doing. The urge to grind down on him, to rock against that hardness she feels beneath her, is strong. Really strong. He’s just so big, so solid, all over, and it’s been way too damn long since she’s been with someone like this.

But she holds herself back, reminding herself that it’s way too early for that. The point of tonight is to help Ben work on his stamina. Or… something like that. Not for her to get off while he plays with her tits.

There will be plenty of time for that later. Should things progress to that stage, of course.

Shaking her head to try and refocus, Rey carefully slips out of his grasp.

He looks at her, pouting a little when she moves away.

“What is it?” he asks. He sounds slightly panicked.

“Nothing,” she hastens to reassure him. “Nothing. That was… that was really good, Ben. I just… want to try something else now.”

He blinks at her. “What do you want to try?”  

Instead of answering him with words, Rey slides off his lap and down to the floor. She spreads his legs and scoots between them.

If they’re going to work on his stamina tonight, she decides, might as well go all in.

A moment later, her hands are fiddling with the buckle of his expensive leather belt.

Ben makes a strange choking noise in the back of his throat when he realizes what she’s about to do. What she’s already doing. He stares down at her, thunderstruck.

“Rey,” he gasps, once she gets his belt undone. She’s trying to unfasten the button of his slacks now, but it’s trickier than she’d anticipated. Maybe it’s because her hands are shaking. Eventually, however, she manages it. She pulls down his zipper. “You don’t… God, Rey, you don’t have to…”

The rest of what Ben was going to say comes out as a strangled groan when she reaches inside and wraps her hand around his cock.

She looks up at him.

“Do you want me to?”

She pulls him out of his boxers and Ben squeezes his eyes tightly shut. She licks a long, deliberate stripe along him from base to tip.

Fuck,” he hisses. “Yes.”

Rey smiles.

“I want to, too.”

It’s the truth.

Even before she had his cock in her hands, Rey knew Ben was big just by how he felt pressed up against her through their several layers of clothes.

But now that she’s got him, hot and hard and pulsing a little, in her hands, she realizes – with a spark of excitement that goes right to her core – that really, before this moment she’d had no idea.

Ben isn’t just big. He’s the biggest guy she’s ever seen. The biggest guy she’s ever touched. By a mile.

“Try and relax,” she says, as much to herself as to him, before licking him again. “I want you to try and last as long as you can while I do this. Can you do that?”

Yes,” he whimpers.

She hums in approval.

“Can you tell me what you like, when you touch yourself?” she asks. All guys are different, after all. “That’ll help guide what I do.”

The noise Ben makes in response – if it can even really be called a response – is completely unintelligible.

But he doesn’t stop her. Doesn’t tell her to stop touching him.

Instead, he begins to thrust himself, just a little, into her hands.

Rey chooses to take all of that as a good sign.

All of Ben’s nervousness from the other night is back now, she can tell, as she takes him into her mouth. Once she starts to work him in earnest his legs start to tremble beneath her palms as he fights not to thrust up into her mouth, and his fists grip the fabric of her sofa cushions so tightly his knuckles quickly turn white.

She bobs her head slowly, letting the full length of him slide in and out of her mouth at an almost leisurely pace, never taking her eyes from his face as she moves, as she takes him as far back into her throat as she can without gagging.

For his part, she can tell he wants to watch as she does this. As they do this. And at first, he does watch. But it’s not long before Ben’s eyes flutter closed of their own accord and his head is thrown back against the back of her couch, his jaw slack as guttural moans spill forth from his lips.

When Ben’s breathing starts to become irregular and she feels his balls pulling up tight against his body Rey knows he’s already on the edge.

He needs to last longer than this. She needs to draw this out.

She quickly pulls back from him with an audible pop and looks up at him.

“Rey,” Ben groans. He thrashes his head from side to side along the back of the couch in frustration. He can’t manage to say anything besides her name, but the single syllable sounds an awful lot like begging.

“Shh,” she says. She kisses the tip of his cock, very gently. He cries out at the contact, digging his fingertips even more deeply into the couch. “Is this still okay? You want me to keep going?”

“Fuck, yes, Rey, but–

She kisses his tip again, and then again with an open mouth, swirling her tongue along his slit and then around him once, twice, before pulling off again and patting his thighs.

“Rey,” he groans again. The tendons in his neck are standing out in sharp relief and he’s breathing like he’s just run a mile. He’s staring down at her, his eyes dark and hungrier than she’s ever seen them. “Don’t stop. Please.”

“You’re doing really well,” she says, and kisses his tip again. “You’re holding on really well.”

At her words he throbs once, needfully, against her lips, and he whimpers.

“I can’t,” Ben moans, sounding near tears this time. “Fuck, Rey, I can’t…”

Their eyes meet, and the violently desperate look she sees in his tells Rey he’s going to come in about five seconds whether she helps him get there or not.

“Okay,” she says, nodding.

She wraps one hand around the base of his shaft and takes him into her mouth again, more forcefully this time. She sucks him hard, purposefully, as she moves over him, as she works him, and she adds a little twist of her hand in time with every sweep of her tongue.

He comes seconds later with a forceful thrust into her mouth and a shout of her name, his whole body going rigid beneath her as he pulses, his come sliding down her throat as she drinks him down.

When his entire body goes limp on the couch, Rey slides off him, regarding him from her perch on the floor.

For a very long moment neither of them say anything. Rey listens to the rhythm of his breathing, slowing down now that she’s let him come.

He cracks one eye open and looks down at her.

He clears his throat.

“Rey,” he says. He chuckles, sounding a bit awed. And bone-tired. “That was…”

He trails off, apparently unable to find the words he’s looking for. But Rey thinks she gets his meaning well enough all the same.

She studies him – lying on her couch, completely relaxed. He’s still almost fully dressed, still in the suit and tie he showed up in.

He has a dazed, blissful look of gratitude on his face as his eyes drift closed.

Beautiful, she thinks, suddenly, as she looks at him. He is beautiful.

“Yeah,” Rey says, agreeing with him. She gently pats his knee. “It was.”


 

Later that night, long after Ben has gone home, Rey lies awake in bed, unable to sleep.

Ben had been so upset when he showed up at her place.

Granted, Ben is often hot-tempered and can be completely irrational. But if there’s one thing Rey knows about him, it’s that high expectations are not one of the things that set him off. She’s seen him let demanding professors’ outbursts slide off him like water off a duck’s back, and surely he knew what he was signing up for when he agreed to work at Snoke & Associates this summer.

What could possibly have happened to make him so angry?

A good friend, she decides, would have – probably should have – tried harder to find out what had happened than she did when he was here earlier today. A good friend would have lent a listening ear.

Before she can talk herself out of it-- before she can remind herself that they don’t really know each other all that well, that the two of them don’t really do this--Rey grabs her phone from her nightstand.

She opens her text window with Ben.

     We didn’t really talk about this earlier but I’m worried about you.

     What happened at work today?

     You can tell me.

When Rey wakes up the next morning her phone shows the texts were received and read.

But Ben never wrote back.

Chapter Text

Discovery: the formal process of exchanging information before trial.

 


 

Luke was right when he said Rey would have a busy summer.

After the routine, administrative aspects of starting her new job are dispensed with, LASS’ attorneys waste no time in putting Rey to work right away.

“You won’t be stuck in a file room all summer doing document review,” LASS’ lead staff attorney, Amilyn Holdo, tells Rey at her first one-on-one case handling meeting in the organization’s only, windowless conference room. Amilyn is a tall, angular woman, and a prominent alum of Rey’s law school. She’s also completely no-nonsense in a way that commands respect. Rey likes her immediately. “We don’t bill by the hour here, of course, and we’re staffed far too leanly to be able to waste valuable resources like you on that kind of menial garbage.”

Amilyn slides a thick, paper file across the conference table towards Rey. Rey knows most firms have switched to cloud-based file storage systems; but here, at LASS, they apparently still do things the old-fashioned way.

The older woman nods towards the file, indicating that Rey should open it.

“I know Luke’s already given you a few things to work on,” she continues. “But your primary project this summer will be to help me on a counterclaim we’re filing as part of an unlawful detainer action against one of the city’s biggest slumlords.”

Rey nods as Amilyn talks, already flipping through the pages in the file as she listens.

“Our clients are a Mexican immigrant family living in the near west side. Here legally, of course. A husband and wife and their three children.” Amilyn recites these basic facts very quickly, making Rey suspect she’s long since had them committed them to memory. “John Vasquez, the head of household, lost his job six weeks ago. Maria stays home with the children, and they’ve fallen behind on their rent. Naturally, their landlord, Hux and Associates – they’re absolutely atrocious, by the way; we go up against them all the time – is already filing for eviction.”

Rey rolls her eyes. “Naturally.” It doesn’t surprise her one bit that the landlord is moving so quickly. Her childhood was an unending string of landlords just like this one – most of them jerks, drunks, or big corporations all too eager to throw good people out on the street if there was money to be made in doing so.

“There’s more to this case than the family simply being behind on rent, though,” Amilyn says. “It’s not your standard-issue eviction action. The unit the Vasquez family has been living in for the past five years is in unspeakably horrible condition.” Amilyn pauses, and steeples her fingers together under her chin. “They’ve been dealing with things you couldn’t imagine.. Roofs that leak every time it rains. Raw sewage in the hallways. Toilets that haven’t worked in six months.”

Rey pretends to be shocked at these details. “I can’t believe it,” she says, a hand at her throat.

In truth, though, after the childhood she had, Rey’s pretty sure she’s already seen just about every horrible living condition that exists. But that’s not something she wants to share with Amilyn Holdo. At least, not yet. She wants to get off on the right foot with these people, and the last thing she wants is for the awkwardness, or the pitying stares, that would inevitably follow to get in the way.

"Believe it," Amilyn says. "In any event, we won’t be setting any legal precedent with this case. But it’s important work all the same. There are at least four different plausible defenses to this eviction, but the one we’re going to have you focus on will be the breach of the implied warranty of habitability. Our first set of responses to Hux’s discovery requests are due in two weeks, and we’ll be putting you in charge of drafting the first round.”

Rey nods. “All right.” She remembers briefly learning about the implied warranty of habitability in her first year property class, and she already knows what discovery requests are from her first assignment with Luke. “I’ve got it.”

Amilyn smiles at her. “That’s what we’re counting on.”

 


 

By the time Rey finally feels comfortable enough with the facts of the Vasquez case to leave for the night it’s already well past 10pm.

Despite the late hour, she smiles to herself as she locks LASS’ front door and closes it behind her.

Helping the Vasquez family will be good work. Interesting, rewarding, important work. Rey can already tell.

Even though today was only her fourth day on the job, and even though she’s exhausted, she doesn’t think she’s ever been happier to work this hard.

This is exactly what Rey had hoped her summer would be.

When she finally gets to the train station near LASS, she slowly makes her way down the steps to the platform. Northbound trains don’t run very frequently this late at night, and she suspects she’ll have to wait a while for one to arrive.

When she does finally make it onboard a train, she is still so wrapped up in the details of her new case that at first, she doesn’t notice the only other passenger on the subway car.

It’s only after she’s been on the train for a few minutes, lost in her own thoughts – only once the other passenger begins yelling into his cell phone in a voice that can only be Ben Solo’s – does Rey realize, with a start, that she’s not alone.

“I don’t give one single fuck if it does take you all night to finish those goddamn interrogatories,” Ben shouts tersely, so loudly it makes Rey jump in her seat. “I can assure you the client doesn’t, either.”

Ben is rapidly, furiously, pacing back and forth at the opposite end of the train car from Rey, his balance seemingly unaffected by the train’s wobbly lurches and random bumps as it rounds the bends in the track. His free hand is clenched into a very tight fist at his side, and the only word Rey can think of to describe the set of his jaw, the glint in his eyes, and the look on his face is murderous.

Rey has heard legends among the law review staff of Ben and the tantrums he’d sometimes throw when deadlines were missed or mistakes were made by other law students. She’s personally seen him storm off in an angry huff over very little provocation on more than one occasion.

But nothing she’s ever seen from or heard about Ben comes close to the level of intensity and fury pouring off him in waves right now. He looks like he wants to kill whoever he’s talking to on the phone. Like it’s taking all his restraint not to smash his cell phone against the nearest wall.

“No.” He spits the word out like a bullet from a gun. “No, goddamn it. Monday morning isn’t good enough.”

If Ben has any idea she’s here, watching him, he shows no sign of it. Just the opposite. From the tone and volume of his voice, and the wild way he’s gesticulating with his hands as he shouts into his phone, it’s clear Ben has no idea he’s got an audience.

It’s been three days since their last date. Three days since Rey went down on him in her living room, and three days since he blew off her worried texts. This is the first she’s seen of or heard from him since. As she watches him, really takes in how haggard he looks in his fancy suit, sees the dark circles that ring his eyes as he shouts and paces – the irritation she’s been feeling with him since her texts went unanswered is slowly replaced with serious concern.

Rey tucks the Vasquez file into her bag and makes her way over to his end of the train car. He’s stopped shouting, and he’s no longer pacing back and forth, but it’s clear that whatever the person on the other end is saying to him still has him furious. His jaw is still clenched, and he’s breathing heavily in and out through his nose, looking like he’d nothing better than to reach through his phone and throttle whoever he’s speaking to.

“Phasma. Listen to me.” Each syllable is clipped, controlled, and precise, cutting through the air like a knife through warm butter. “For the last time, will you fucking listen to me. You are capable of understanding the English language, are you not?”

Ben is about to say something else to Phasma, but before he does he happens to look up.

He sees Rey, finally, standing less than three feet away from him.

Whatever Ben was about to say to the hapless person on the other end of the phone dies on his lips. His face goes through a complete metamorphosis in seconds, cycling rapidly from the fury he felt in the moment before he saw Rey, to bewilderment, to something that looks like nothing so much as horrified embarrassment.

He blinks several times in rapid succession, as though trying to clear his head. Like he’s coming to from a very long, disturbing dream.

He clears his throat.

“I’ll call you tomorrow,” he says abruptly into his phone.

He hangs up, and drops his cell onto the seat closest to him.

They look at each other for a very long moment without saying anything. Rey doesn’t feel like she’s looking at him reproachfully, but Ben’s eyes convey shame and wordless apology in equal measure all the same.

“Rey,” he says, his voice all but breaking on the word. Pleading with her.

He hesitates a moment, licking his lips, before leaning forward and desperately taking her hand.

“Ben,” she whispers, and takes him home.

 


 

Rey has hardly been home since starting her summer job, so there’s not much food in the fridge when she rummages through it for a snack for them to share.

There’s some hummus in the back that, upon examination, appears to still be within its expiration date. Rifling through the cupboard yields a bag of chips from a party she must have thrown at some point that looks more or less okay.

She decides it’ll be good enough. She gets a couple of plates from the drying rack and sets everything down between them on the kitchen table.

“Eat,” she tells Ben.

Rey has always felt her apartment was big enough for most of her needs. Her kitchen, though, is tiny, to the point of it not really being functional. She mostly uses the table as a thing to stack other things on, and eats most of her meals on the couch in the living room.

But given the past few weeks, she suspects her living room couch has connotations for Ben that shouldn’t be part of their conversation tonight. She wants him to tell her what’s happening to him, and not be distracted by the sex they’re in the process of trying to have.

Ben sits obediently in one of her tiny kitchen chairs, looking contrite but more than a little uncomfortable. In order to fit into it he has to fold his ridiculously long limbs into himself, tucking his legs awkwardly under the table as Rey gathers their snacks.

In this moment, as Ben sits there, crammed into her too-small kitchen, there is no sign at all of the deranged young man from the train who looked about five seconds away from smashing his fist through a window. In his place sits a sad, overgrown boy playing dress up in a man’s tailored suit.

He looks down at the hummus and chips, frowns a little, then looks away.

“You’re not going to eat?” Rey asks. She opens the bag of chips and digs in. For her part, she’s starving. She was so caught up in the Vasquez file today she hasn’t eaten anything since about ten this morning.

“I’m not hungry,” he says. He pauses a moment before continuing. “You didn’t need to do this, you know. Take me off the train and bring me here, I mean.”

“Of course I didn’t need to,” Rey says. “I wanted to.”

Ben looks at her, legitimately confused. “Why?”

“Because… because, I found you by yourself, late at night, on an empty train car, shouting obscenities into your phone.” That’s close enough to the truth, anyway. Probably. She shakes her head. “I figured you could use someone to talk to. Or, I don’t know. An intervention, or something.”

At that, Ben’s face goes blank. Expressionless. “You figured wrong,” he mumbles to the floor. But he says it so quietly, so half-heartedly, she doesn’t believe him. She suspects he doesn’t even expect her to.

Rey reaches across the little table for his hand. To her relief, despite his obvious reluctance to talk about what’s happening right now, he takes hers without hesitation, dwarfing her hand as he envelops it in his own.

“Ben,” she says, trying again. “What’s going on? What I saw tonight was not normal behavior.” She gives him a small smile. “Even for you.”

Ben looks down at their linked hands for a moment. He takes a long, shuddering breath.

He lets it out on a sigh.

“Fine,” he eventually mumbles, giving up.

And he tells her.

“It’s my job.” The words come out haltingly, slowly, like it’s causing him actual physical pain to admit any of this to her. “I know it’s just for the summer, but I don’t… I don’t like the person it’s turning me into.” He pauses. “Actually, it’s more than that. I’m scared of the person it’s turning me into.”

He stops talking, but he looks like he has more to say. Rey decides to just watch him, and wait for him to continue in his own time.

He shifts in his chair, looking more agitated. “I hate that you saw me like that tonight, Rey.” He rubs awkwardly at the back of his neck with his free hand. “You probably don’t believe me, but I don’t want to be like that. Ever.”

Rey chooses her next words very carefully.

“I’ve... heard working for Snoke is rough...”

He cuts her off with a sharp bark of humorless laughter. “You have no idea.”

She realizes she probably doesn’t. “Tell me, then.”

Ben leans back as best he can in his chair and looks off into space, as though trying to think of the best way to pin down his scattered thoughts with actual words.

“Snoke pits us against each other. From day one,” he begins. “Everyone there has top grades from top schools, but it’s survival of the fittest, even for the law students.” He shakes his head. “It’s clear from the beginning that most of us won’t make it past this summer, and that some of us won’t even last there that long.”

She squeezes his hand. “Oh, Ben,” she says.

He continues. “Everyone who works there does so because Snoke’s is the most prestigious firm. Everyone who works there was born hungry for first prize. For the next gold star.” He looks away, and shrugs. “And Rey, I’m… I’m no different from the rest of them.”

Rey nods at that, because she’s long suspected this about Ben. It’s never been enough for him to get an A in a class. It’s always been apparent to her – to everyone, probably – that there was something inside Ben that yearned for the highest A, all the time.

Ben takes a tortilla chip from the bag and begins to munch on it distractedly. “Under Snoke’s watchful eye it’s basically like the lawyer version of the Hunger Games. Kill, or be killed.”

Rey shakes her head. “I’ve heard the horror stories,” she says. “But nothing like this. I honestly can’t imagine an environment more unlike the one I’m in this summer.”  

Ben snorts. “Not all of us are cut out for legal aid,” he says bitterly.

Rey raises an eyebrow at that. She suspects there was a dig in there at her, somehow. But she lets it go.

“Can’t you just… not play Snoke’s game?” Rey asks. “Keep your head down, do the brilliant work you’ve always done, and get the fuck out of there once the summer’s over?”

Ben hesitates before answering her. When he does, he can’t look her in the eye.

“There’s a part of me that… likes it,” he admits, very quietly, to the floor. “That craves it, I think. Being dominant. Winning.” He looks at her again. “Snoke knows that. I know he does. And he’s exploiting it to get me to work harder, work more aggressively. To get me to stay with the firm after graduation and cut down anyone who gets in my way.”

He looks so distraught as he tells her all this that before she even realizes she’s doing it, Rey begins to stroke the back of his hand with her thumb, as comfortingly as she can.

He responds immediately to her gesture, closing his eyes on a sad sigh.

A lump rises in Rey’s throat as a sudden realization hits her.

A few days ago she had Ben here in her apartment, trembling beneath her, his dick halfway down her throat as his hands tangled needfully in her hair.

And yet somehow his confessing these things to her in her kitchen over hummus and slightly stale chips is probably the most intimate moment they’ve ever shared.

“I don’t know where I go from here, Rey,” he tells her. His eyes are dull, lifeless. His tone is flat.

It makes her heart hurt, seeing him like this. He has so much potential. With his family connections and his education, he can do whatever he wants with his life. Why can’t he see that?

“I don’t want to become the person Snoke wants me to be. Not really. Not deep down.”

She squeezes his hand. “Then don’t be,” she says bluntly. “Don’t accept his offer for after law school, if one comes. Or, do one better by quitting now.” She shakes her head. “It’s not like you need the money.”

He looks into her eyes. His expression is helpless. A little desperate. “But what if… I don’t know. What if I don’t know how to be anyone else? What if I can’t be anyone else?”

Rey thinks she knows what he means. Law school is grooming all of them to be tough advocates for their clients. But there’s something about the way Ben has taken to it that almost seems like he was simply made for the kind of ruthless aggression Snoke fosters in his associates.

It’s almost like all that hatred and fire has been part of Ben all along, just simmering beneath the surface, lying dormant in wait for someone like Snoke to come along and stoke it into a blaze.

But everybody has a choice.

“You can be whatever you want to be, Ben,” she tells him. He won’t meet her eyes, so she tilts his chin so that he has to look at her. His eyes quickly dart down to her lips, then back up to her eyes. She flushes in spite of herself. “Your future is yours to shape however you want.”

He swallows thickly. “But what if mine isn’t? What if my story’s already set in stone?”

He turns away from her again but she roughly grabs his chin in her hand and forces him to look at her.

“It isn’t,” she says, with certainty. “It’s not.”

He leans forward with a groan, and, to Rey’s surprise, rests his forehead against hers.

“I wish I had your conviction,” he murmurs. He’s close to her, now, very close, his breath fanning out sweetly against her lips as it mingles with hers. Her eyes flutter closed instinctively. “I wish… so many things.”

Neither of them say anything else. The only sounds Rey can hear come from their shared breathing, the beat of her heart, and the loud ticking of the cheap IKEA clock on her kitchen wall.

Rey doesn’t know which of them closes the rest of the small distance between them and starts the kiss. All she knows with a certainty is the feel of Ben’s lips against hers, his impossibly soft hair between her fingers, his long, strong arms slowly wrapping around her body, and his broad hands splayed at the small of her back that pull her closer. The kiss shoves every single thought about Snoke, about the law, and about the future right out of her head, leaving room for nothing else but Ben, and this.

Shit, Rey thinks to herself, more than a little alarmed at how much she enjoys, wants, this unplanned kiss with Ben, when he ends it a short moment later and pulls back, a little breathless, his eyes warm and dark and inviting.

He reaches up and tucks a stray lock of hair behind her ear, trailing his fingertips gently down her arm as he moves away, leaving a trail of goosebumps in their wake.

His lips are so plump, kissed, and he doesn’t say anything for a long moment, until, without warning, his face falls, his expression turning into a strange, indescribable mixture of horror and embarrassment.

“I’m… oh, my god. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” The words trip over each other in their haste to leave his mouth. He abruptly stands up from his chair, nearly knocking it over in the process. “I… it was a mistake, Rey.  I… shouldn’t have done it.”

Rey stands up from her chair, too. She tries to ignore the strange, disappointed way her stomach lurches at his apology, and at the realization he already regrets kissing her outside the context of an official lesson.

“Don’t be sorry,” she says, putting what she hopes is a reassuring hand on his arm. Inside, however, she is reeling.

This is fine, she tells herself. This is totally fine.  

And then she says the first thing that pops into her head. “It’s… I mean, it’s only natural, I think, to want this kind of comfort when you’re upset about something.”

Whatever Ben had expected Rey to say in response to his apology, she quickly realizes it wasn’t this. The corners of his lips quirk up into an odd, humorless smile, and his whole body stiffens.

“Comfort,” Ben repeats.

Rey nods. “Yeah.” She can tell her face is flushed, now. “It’s natural. And it’s totally… I mean, it’s totally fine. Please don’t worry about it.” She looks up at him. “Did it… did it help?”

He looks down at her. He swallows thickly, and she watches as his Adam’s apple bobs in his throat.

“Yeah,” he says. He starts to gather his things -- his coat; his briefcase -- and begins to make his way towards her front door. When he gets there, he turns back to look at her, still standing in her kitchen. He nods his assent, but there’s something odd in his expression Rey can’t place. “It helped.”

 


 

Rey wakes up at two in the morning to the sound of her phone buzzing loudly on her nightstand.

She rolls over and peers at it, bleary-eyed.

Ben: Are you awake?

Rey rubs her eyes, still half-asleep, but also more than a little concerned.

Why is Ben texting her so late?

Is he freaking out again about his job?

She fumbles on her nightstand for the phone and picks it up with sleep-clumsy hands.

I am now, she writes back.

Ben: I’m sorry if I woke you

It’s fine. What is it?

He doesn’t respond right away. Instead, three dots hover where Ben’s next message will ostensibly appear, for what feels to Rey like a very long time.

Ben: There’s something I didn’t tell you tonight

Ben: Texting is much easier for me than face to face

Ben: I’m still so nervous about all this

Ben: About you

Ben: But

Ben: I need to tell you something

Ben: To ask you something

Rey’s heartbeat starts to pick up in spite of herself. Because somehow, she has a feeling what he didn’t tell her earlier, and what he wants to tell her right now, in the middle of the night, has absolutely nothing to do with his summer job.

Don’t be nervous, Ben

You can tell me

What is it?

Those three telltale dots reappear in response to her question, just… hovering there, taunting her. Is he writing her a long message? Or is he simply struggling with what to say?

And then, after what feels like another hour:

Ben: I can’t stop thinking about what you did the other night

Rey stares at his message, confused about what, specifically, he’s referring to.

When she doesn’t respond, he clarifies.

Ben: With your mouth.

At that, Rey sits bolt upright, suddenly as wide awake as if it were ten in the morning.

Is Ben Solo… sexting her?

His texts start coming in fast and furious after that, as though now that the dam has burst, he can’t hold any of it back.

Rey blinks at her phone, wide-eyed, as they appear, trying to make sense of the words she’s reading on the screen.

Ben: Whenever I close my eyes I see you, on the floor

Ben: your face between my legs, your breasts pressed up against my thighs, just

Ben: looking up at me

Ben: with my dick in your mouth, in your hands

Ben: Rey that was the hottest fucking thing I’ve ever seen

Rey mind is racing, reeling, and yet totally blank, and her mouth has suddenly gone bone dry.

What the hell is she supposed to say to this?

More importantly – why are these messages from him turning her on so fucking much?

When she doesn’t respond, Ben adds:

Ben: You don’t have to say anything. I guess I just wanted you to know.

That snaps Rey out of her stupor.

I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m here.

I’m just

really flattered I guess

surprised too

But I’m glad you liked it

Ben: I did

Ben: Christ

Ben: Rey

Ben: I’m getting hard again just thinking about it

Rey shivers, and before she can stop herself an image of Ben appears in her mind. Ben, all alone, in his apartment, in his bed, sending her these texts at two in the morning, maybe wearing only his boxers or maybe wearing nothing at all, his huge dick getting harder and harder with every passing second as he thinks of her going down on him until he can’t help it, he has to touch himself, has to stroke himself, and –

Ben: Please show me how to do that?  

Rey blinks, confused.

What

Ben: To you, I mean. I want to know how to do that to you.

Rey bites her bottom lip and, oh god, that first night in her apartment, when they’d practiced kissing for the first time. He’d been so… intense. So eager to learn, so eager to get it exactly right.

To have his mouth, those lips of his, his tongue inside of her, with all of that intensity focused just on her, on her clit, on her pleasure…

She texts him back with shaking hands.

Yes Ben. Of course I can show you.

She then proceeds to compose, and delete, about a half dozen texts over the next thirty seconds:

(actually I’d love to show you)

(Fuck just the thought of you between my thighs is already getting me wet)

(How far away do you live)

(Can you come over here and get started right now) 

But she can’t send these kinds of messages to him. She just can’t. 

She thinks back on their kiss tonight and how much he’d regretted it.

And then she thinks about her reaction to the kiss, and how she really, really hadn’t wanted it to end.

If he comes over tonight… 

No. 

The last thing Ben needs is for her, the person with more sexual experience, to be tempted to… to take advantage of him – an inexperienced virgin – the way she totally would be if he came over right now.

Ben has only ever been interested in her to the extent she can teach him about sex. She's always known it, and he made it abundantly clear this evening. What’s more, he trusts her. She simply cannot tell him how excited the idea of him going down on her makes her, and she cannot invite him to come over right now to get started on lesson three.

If they do this, it absolutely has to be a planned-in-advance thing. Something they can each pencil into their respective calendars.

After another moment of indecision, Rey eventually writes:

Will next Saturday night work for you?

His response is immediate.

Ben: thank you 

Ben: yes

Ben: Saturday night is great

Ben: But

Ben: Do you want to maybe meet at my place this time? 

Rey has to think on that a minute. She’s comfortable here, in her own space. So far, meeting at her apartment has worked well.  

But what’s the harm in going to his apartment just this once? 

Sure.

She swallows. Tries to slow her breathing.

It doesn’t work.

Your apartment sounds great.

Chapter Text

Oral Argument: The oral presentation of a party's position and the reasoning behind it 


 

By the time Rey finally arrives at the coffee shop on campus for her meetup with Finn, her friend is already waiting for her at a little table for two in the back.

He’s on his laptop, books spread out in front of him, and drinking one of those ridiculous five dollar coffee things he’s loved for as long as she’s known him.

Rey pushes past the group of undergrads clustered together in the middle of the crowded shop with mild annoyance, and drops her bag beside the chair Finn’s saved for her.

“Sorry I’m so late,” she says, feeling more than a little guilty. “The trains were backed up.”

It’s only a half-truth. There was a delay with the trains—but the main reason she’s forty-five minutes late is she was so caught up in a project for the Vasquez case she simply lost track of time.

Finn waves his hand dismissively. “Don’t worry about it,” he says. He picks up his iced mocha-frappa-whatever and sips it through the green plastic straw. “It gave me a chance to catch up on email.”

Email.

That reminds Rey of something she’s been meaning to ask him.

“Speaking of email. Did you get that message from Career Services about the June 26 cocktail thing?” she asks him. “I wasn’t sure if if it went out to the whole school or just to hopeless cases like me.”

Hopeless cases like her, because getting a post-graduation job offer in legal aid is like finding a unicorn on the subway. Organizations like LASS rarely have the budget to add new, full-time staff attorneys outside of their summer programs.

People like Rey, who refuse to consider anything but jobs like the one she’s got this summer, are Career Services’ biggest nightmare.

Finn nods. “Yeah, we all got it.”

“Are you going?”

He shrugs. “Don’t know yet,” he says. “These things suck even when you go with friends, you know? Poe’s out of town that day, and I doubt Rose will want to go. And Ben’s got the next ten years of his career already locked down, so I can’t imagine he’ll want to be bothered.”
“Yeah. Totally,” Rey says vaguely in response.

She hopes her face isn’t turning red at the mention of Ben’s name. Finn is one of her most intuitive friends. Can he tell, just by looking at her, what she and Ben have been doing? Does he somehow know she has plans with Ben tonight to teach him what she knows about oral sex?

Rey wishes the idea of their friends knowing about their arrangement didn’t make her feel uncomfortable. But it does. She isn’t ashamed of what they’re doing, of course. But she worries that if their friends knew, it would just lead to nosy questions she has no good answers to these days, and assumptions about what she and Ben are to each other, now, that she doesn’t know how to deal with, either.

That said, Finn is absolutely right. Ben wouldn’t be caught dead at an event like this. Neither would Rose.

“Can’t blame them, really,” Finn adds. “All that… mingling. And networking.” He pulls a disgusted face and gives an exaggerated shudder.

Rey grins at him. “Oh, they’re not so bad. It’s an excuse to dress up. And there’s free food, and alcohol, and all that.” She shrugs. “All we have do do is listen to twenty minutes’ of Career Service’s spiel and then we get to have a fancy party. Seems like a small price to pay.”

Finn eyes her. “So you’re going?”

“Yeah. Why not?” An idea occurs to her. “You’re right about it being better with friends, though. You should come with me as my date.”

Finn laughs at that.

“Your date?”

Notwithstanding the fact that they’ll be dressed up, this event is likely to be about as romantic as a root canal. Even if it were intended to be romantic, Finn is about as close to being engaged to Poe as it’s possible to be without an actual ring on his finger.

Calling this a date is probably the funniest way Rey could have described it.

But Finn eventually nods. “Fine,” he says. “I’ll go. As your date. But I’m staying an hour, tops. Forty-five minutes if the Dean gives a speech about the importance of giving money back to the law school after graduation.”

“It’s a deal,” Rey agrees, and smiles at him. “Now. Tell me how your summer’s been so far.”

 


 

Ben lives in an affluent neighborhood about two miles north of downtown. Rey hasn’t been in this part of the city before; most of her friends and classmates live near campus, where the housing is cheaper and the amenities are more tailored to students’ needs and budgets.

Given this neighborhood’s proximity to downtown and its easy access to public transportation, though, Rey knows it's popular among young professionals with high salaries and demanding jobs that keep them downtown for long hours.

And, apparently, it’s also popular among law students who don’t have to worry about next month’s rent.

Rey tries to calm the fluttering nerves in the pit of her stomach, and reflexively checks Ben’s most recent text to confirm, for the thousandth time, that she’s got the right address. And then she presses the doorbell marked 5A.

Ben’s apartment.

A few seconds later the front door buzzes, and a clicking sound lets Rey know Ben’s unlocked it for her. She pushes it open and walks into a large, modern entryway with a very high ceiling, all cold, hard angles and chrome surfaces.

Ben is waiting for her in the open doorway to his apartment, leaning against the doorjamb, when she gets there.

“You made it,” he says. He sounds a little surprised. Had he not expected her to come? He looks great tonight, wearing a snug-fitting pair of jeans and a short-sleeved collared shirt that shows off the muscles in his forearms, and emphasizes the broad chest Rey swears to God he did not have before their arrangement began a few weeks ago.

“Of course I made it,” Rey says, trying her best not to stare.

Ben clears his throat, and stands up straight. “Well. Come on in.”

She follows him inside.

And she realizes, immediately, and without surprise, that Ben Solo’s apartment is one of the nicest living spaces she’s ever been in in her life.

Where her little apartment is all economy and practicality, with sentimental knick knacks on bookshelves and framed pictures of friends on her desk, Ben’s is incredibly spacious, spare, and yet somehow opulent, with a few expensive-looking framed prints on the walls and two rich-looking leather chairs serving as the only places to sit. The floor plan is open, yet spartan, as though the architect designed it for people who could afford to do whatever they wanted by way of decor but simply preferred to keep things sleek and unadorned.

It’s a very cold apartment, Rey thinks, a little uneasy.

And then: What must he think of my crappy little place?

Rey looks around and sees a thick stack of legal files on Ben’s glass-topped coffee table. They’re full of sticky notes, and multi-colored tabs peek out from between the pages.

Rey wonders if he’s spent most of the day working on a case, like she had before meeting up with Finn.

“How’s work?” she asks, looking at the files. “Are things at your firm any better?” Rey thinks they’re fair questions, given his recent train meltdown and the subject of their last in-person conversation.

He frowns. “I don’t want to talk about that right now.”

“But—”

He steps towards her, puts his hands on her shoulders, and cuts her off with a brief kiss.

“Please, Rey,” he says. “I promise I’m ok. Or, rather—I promise I’m handling it. I just… don’t want to think about any of that tonight, while we—”

He trails off and averts his eyes, the tips of his ears going faintly pink.

She kisses his cheek. “Okay,” she says. “No worries.”

He lets out a breath Rey hadn’t realized he’d been holding. “Thank you.”

He takes one of her hands, interlacing their fingers, and brings her into the kitchen, where he’s got two long-stemmed glasses of red wine waiting for them on his dark granite countertop.

“Want a drink?” he asks. Without waiting for an answer, Ben grabs one of the glasses. “I do.”

He downs the glass’ contents in three swallows.

Jesus.

Ben’s been incredibly nervous on each of their dates, of course, but this is the first time he’s needed alcohol to calm down before they got started.

At least, that Rey knows of.

He must be about to fly out of his skin.

“I’m good, thanks,” she tells him. It’s going to be tough enough as it is, staying focused and giving him detailed instructions while his face is between her thighs. She’s a lightweight when it comes to alcohol. Even one glass of wine would make things that much harder.

He nods, and slides the untouched glass of wine off to the side.

And then, liquid courage downed, he turns to face her.

He licks his lips. And then he opens and closes his mouth several times, clearly trying, and failing, to get actual words to come out of his mouth.

“I’ve been thinking,” he eventually says.

Rey waits for him to tell her what he’s been thinking. When he doesn’t, she prompts: “About what?”

Ben nods slowly, like he’d been expecting that question, but the look on his face tells Rey he’d somehow hoped she wouldn't ask it.  

“About tonight. I think we should do—what we’re going to do, tonight—on a bed,” he says, firmly.

Rey’s about to tell him that’s fine with her, but now that he’s finally talking it seems he has more to say.

“On my bed, specifically,” he clarifies. “In my… um. Bedroom. You’d—we’d—be more comfortable while we do this, I think, if you’re lying down.”

He’s speaking very rapidly now, and his tone reminds Rey a lot of the Ben Solo who got the highest grade in their oral arguments class first semester by explaining, persuasively and concisely, exactly why his team’s position on the First Amendment was the correct one.  

The only difference between then and now is in class, he made his arguments with an eloquence and grace Rey would kill to have, and now, he’s stumbling over every other word and turning beet red.

“Couches are fine for… um. Certain activities. Your couch has been amazing for… well. You know. But I don’t actually own a couch, and for what we’re doing tonight, I think we should—”

And... now he’s just babbling.

Rey decides to put a stop to it by cupping his face in her hands and gently, gently pressing her lips to his.

It works.

“You’ve convinced me, counsel,” Rey says, smiling against his lips. A shudder goes through him. “We’ll do it on your bed.”

Ben covers her hands with his own.

His eyes flutter closed.

 


 

Ben’s bedroom is much like the rest of his apartment: spacious and uncluttered. His bed is neatly made, and the duvet looks soft, and incredibly expensive. Everything else in his room looks expensive, too. His dresser. The small, wooden desk in the corner.

But other than the furniture, there’s not much here. The only personal effects Rey can see are two small items on his desk: a framed picture showing Ben as a young child with his mother, Senator Organa, who Rey recognizes right away; and something that looks kind of like an antique pen set.

He does like to take his class notes by hand, Rey muses.

Ben watches Rey take in her surroundings in nervous silence.

When she’s finished, she turns to face him.

“I think you should be the one to take off my clothes tonight,” she says.

His eyebrows shoot up in surprise. He takes a small step back. “What?”

“I know it wasn’t on the agenda,” she adds. “But if you want to go down on someone, you should probably know how to get them naked, too.”

He blinks at her, processing what she’s telling him.

“That makes… a fair amount of sense. I guess.”

Apparently deciding there’s no time like the present to get started, Ben moves towards her. He reaches down and tentatively touches the bottom hem of her shirt.

Her top is very loose-fitting, and despite the fact that his hands are shaking a little, he lifts it up and over her head easily enough before tossing it to the floor.

His eyes drop to her breasts, then, and he frowns, because of course that’s where the trouble lies.

“Bra,” he says, sounding a bit mystified.

“Bra,” Rey agrees, nodding.

This is exactly why she’s having him do this.  

She knows bras aren’t the most intuitive things in the world. And when Ben’s with someone else (and wow, does the thought of him being with someone else sting, now) he’s not going to want to fuck it all up when it’s time to take off her bra.

Rey’s bra tonight has a simple front closure. She figured she’d make things easy on him. There’s no way he’s ready, yet, for a bra with hooks in the back. She’s certain of that.

Ben skims the pad of a fingertip lightly over the little clasp between her breasts, and studies it with the kind of intense concentration most people usually reserve for final exams.

And then, he figures it out. With a little twist of his fingers, he’s got it undone, and her breasts spring free.

“Aha!” he exclaims, smirking a little, victorious. He slides the straps of her bra off her shoulders, and it joins her shirt on the floor.

He’s so obviously pleased with himself that Rey can’t help but grin at him. He’s so adorable. “Well done,” she says, encouragingly.

Ben pauses a moment, his eyes lingering for several long beats on her bare chest.

As he looks at her, takes her in, Rey shivers for reasons having nothing to do with the room’s temperature.

She wonders if he might be thinking about touching her, holding her breasts in his large hands, now that he’s got her half-undressed.

Against her better judgment, she really hopes he will.

But he doesn’t.

“You’re so…” he says reverently instead, his voice thick.

He doesn’t finish the thought. He shakes his head a little as if to clear it, and then without another word he kneels down before her, like a penitent, to attend to her jeans. Rey can feel his shaky breath against the bare skin of her stomach as he undoes the button, and then the zipper, and she has to dig her fingernails into her palms to keep from whimpering as he gently, haltingly, slides her jeans down her legs.

When his fingers come to rest at the waistband of her underwear he hesitates. He looks up at her—with those dark, beautiful eyes—and bites his lip.

He’s asking for permission.

She nods once, granting it.

With a sharp intake of breath, Ben gently peels them over her hips and down her legs.

She kicks them, and her jeans, off to the side.

When at last she is standing naked before him she rests one hand on his shoulder.

“It’ll be more comfortable, I think, if we’re both naked for this,” she murmurs. He’s still kneeling on the floor, gazing up at her in wonder. The sight of him in such a submissive position -- like he’s just waiting there; waiting for her to tell him what to do -- makes her knees go weak.  

She runs her fingertips gently over the material of his shirt, and thinks of how incredible it’ll feel, to have her legs splayed over each of his bare shoulders when his face is buried between her thighs.

She glances down at the front of his jeans and, less selfishly, thinks of the discomfort he’ll probably soon feel if he has to keep that erection of his crammed tightly within the confines of his jeans for much longer.

“Take off your clothes, Ben.”

She doesn’t have to ask him twice. Ben scrambles to his feet, and within a minute he’s torn off his shirt, then his jeans, and finally his boxers, kicking all of them into a messy heap by his bed.

Now that he’s naked, too, Rey can’t stop staring at his body.

She’d already known he was big, everywhere. But…

She takes in his broad chest (how does someone who works as much as he does have a fucking eight pack?), his thick, muscled arms, and then at last her gaze is drawn irresistibly to his cock, already rising up, thick and huge—up to his navel—from the dark thatch of hair at its base.

They’ve only just gotten started and he’s already so eager for this. For her.

She puts one hand on his chest, and looks into his eyes.

He’s trembling.

“Are you gonna be able to handle this?”

Now that they’re really about to do this, she can’t help but think of that first night, when he nearly came in his pants just from kissing her, and of the second night, when he fell apart in less than a minute when she took him into her mouth.

He nods, looking a bit sheepish.

“I… yeah. I think so.” His eyes leave hers and drift down to the floor. “I… um. I jerked off about an hour before you got here. That’s why I wanted to meet here tonight instead of your apartment. I figured, if I needed to calm myself down, or something, it would just be easier for me if…”  

He trails off, unable to complete the thought.

Rey has a nearly irresistible urge to ask if he thought about her when he made himself come.

“That was probably a good idea,” she says, very gently, instead.

She kisses him on the mouth, and settles back onto his mattress with a sigh.

Ben continues to stand at the foot of his bed, rooted to the spot. His arms hang uselessly at his sides as he stares down at her, splayed out before him, with wide eyes.

“I… have no idea how to do this.”

Rey pats the edge of the bed for him to join her. He complies immediately, sitting down beside her, never taking his eyes off her.

“You need a teacher,” she whispers. “Come here.”

 


 

After a few minutes of discussion and awkward maneuvering, they eventually settle into a position where Rey is lying on the edge of Ben’s bed and Ben is kneeling on the floor in front of her, her legs slung comfortably over each of his shoulders.

“I think this position will help you see me better,” she says. Can he tell how keyed up she is already? How worried she is that she’ll lose her mind about five seconds into this? “Will that make it easier for you?”

Ben lets out a small, nervous laugh that she can feel, warm puffs of air against the sensitive skin of her inner thighs. Rey has to bite her lip, hard, to keep from moaning already.

“I have no idea,” he says. “Though I suppose having a clear view of what I’m doing will provide some advantages, and… oh.

She’s shifted a little on the bed and now she’s completely open to him, giving him a crystal clear view of... everything. And as his large, strong hands tightly grip her hips, his mouth is now just a hair's breadth away from where she’s already desperate for it to be.

Rey shaved her bikini line this morning. It had been a while, and it seemed like the sort of thing you do the morning before you think someone might go down on you. But she hadn’t had time to get anything waxed, and now that the moment is here, and Ben is there, she suddenly feels self-conscious about her appearance.

But if Ben gives one single solitary fuck about the current state of her grooming he shows no sign of it. He stares at the very core of her, utterly transfixed, his eyes dark and hungry, like he’s a man starving and she’s a meal he cannot wait to devour.

“Start slowly,” Rey says, forcing her voice, her breathing, to remain steady. She needs to keep it together to get him through this. But now he’s rubbing one of his rough, stubbled cheeks against her inner thigh, back and forth, caressing her, and she doesn’t think she’ll be able to keep it together for much longer. “Draw it out, you know? Don’t focus only on my clit; that’s a mistake a lot of guys make. Start by kissing my thighs, teasing my cunt, and…”

She trails off.

“Rey?” he asks, weakly.

“Yeah?”

He clears his throat. “Um. Can you show me where your clit is, exactly?” He pauses. “I’m sorry. I just-- I don’t think I--”

“Oh, sorry,” she says. Of course he’d have trouble finding that. Jesus, even some guys who aren’t virgins don’t know where it is. “Don’t apologize. It’s all right.”

She reaches down with her right hand and, with her index and middle finger, begins to draw tight little circles over the spot in question.

“There,” she says.

His breath hitches as he watches her touch herself.

“Oh, my god,” he breathes.

Rey looks down and, seeing Ben’s rapt face, watching him as he watches her fingers move rapidly against her most sensitive place -- it sends a bolt of unexpected pleasure right down her spine.

She lets out a shaky breath and removes her hand.

“Got it?” she asks.

He nods against her thigh. “Yeah.”

Now that his question has been answered he’s apparently too eager to get started to await further instruction. He places desperate, hungry, open-mouthed kisses beside each of her knees, and then drags his lips, the tip of his tongue, agonizingly slowly, up and down and then back again, along her inner thighs.

It’s a little awkward, a little too eager, what he’s doing right now, and it doesn’t do much for her, other than it being very sweet and obviously well-intentioned. But he’s clearly enjoying himself, kissing her body like this, and it’s helping her keep her mind intact for just a bit longer.

But then finally, at last, his mouth finds her core, and her entire body tenses up in anticipation.

He looks up at her again. Searching, once more, for permission.

“Ben,” she murmurs.

He breathes hotly against her entrance. He presses his lips to it.

And then, with a moan that reverberates through her entire body, he gives her clit a long, broad lick with the achingly soft flat of his tongue.

Oh!” she cries out, her back arching off the bed as the pleasure, sharp and unexpected and real, cuts through her like a knife.

She starts to writhe a little on the bed, in his hands, unable to help herself, but he continues to grip her thighs, hard, and it limits her movement. He takes his time as he explores her, doing exactly as she told him to do earlier, drawing it out mercilessly, dipping his tongue inside to taste her, again, and then again, before circling back around to her clit and lavishing it with his full attention.

She feels him tentatively slide first one, and then two, incredibly thick fingers inside her. He moans again, loudly, as he feels her properly from the inside for the first time.

Or maybe she’s the one who’s moaning.

“Is this… is this okay?”

He’s panting, now, breathing hard, and she’s vaguely aware that he’s rutting a little against the mattress, probably desperate for a little relief of his own.

She wiggles a little on the bed, and fuck, she’s so filled up already, just by this, just by two of his fingers. Not for the first time, she wonders how she’s going to take that dick of his when the time comes.

“Yes,” she breathes. “It’s more than okay.”

“Can I... move them?” he grits out.

“Yes, Ben, please.”

It takes him a minute to get the rhythm right, to coordinate his searching, thrusting fingers with the movement of his lips and tongue. But then he moves his hand, just so, and he tongues along her slit, and then suddenly the edge of his fingertips brush up against that soft, spongy part of her that lines her front walls, and Rey keens his name, bucking her hips against his face as he works and licks and sucks her.

Maybe it’s because she’s been too pent up lately. Or maybe it’s because it’s just been so goddamn long since she’s been touched like this. Whatever the reason, it isn’t much longer before Rey can feel her orgasm begin to build inside her, deliciously, right at the base of her spine.

“Oh, Ben, I’m going to—”

He whimpers against her wet flesh, sucking her clit into his mouth one final time, rubbing the little nub firmly with the tip of his tongue as he continues to fuck her, hard, with his fingers.

And she shatters, her vision whiting out as her whole body goes rigid beneath him, her pleasure cresting and breaking inside her.

But... Ben doesn’t stop. He keeps going, keeps touching her, tonguing her for just a few heartbeats too long.

She winces.

“No, no—stop stop stop,” she says quickly, pulling her legs down from his shoulders and rolling over onto her side.

“Oh. Sorry,” he mutters, and clambers onto the bed next to her.

He curls his body around hers, behind her, and presses himself, hard and thick and desperate, against her hip.

“Sorry,” he breathes again, brokenly, into her ear.

Her hands drift down between their bodies and before she knows it, he’s in her hands, grunting and thrusting into them and asking for reassurance that this, too, is ok.

“Of course it’s ok,” she says. She kisses his forehead.

It’s the only encouragement he needs.

“Rey,” he groans, and suddenly his body is all taut muscle and desperate need as he roughly thrusts himself, again and again, into her tight grip.

Last night, when Rey thought about this moment, she hadn’t thought she’d just crudely jerk him off after he went down on her. She figured that after taking a minute to catch her breath, she’d probably return the favor.

Or, if she managed to work up the nerve to ask and Ben felt ready for the next step, she’d roll onto her back, spread her legs for him, and give Ben his final lesson.

But like an idiot she forgot to bring condoms tonight. And with the way his hips are already beginning to stutter erratically against her palm she suspects by the time she asks if she can suck him off it’ll be too late.

“Ben,” she says against his lips. She squeezes him, hard, and jerks her hand in time to the rhythm of his hips.

That’s all it takes. He makes an almost inhuman noise of pleasure deep in the back of his throat, and his hips thrust forward one final time, locking into place as his cum splatters against her wrist and along the side of her hip.

For a very long moment, neither of them move. Neither of them speak.

And then…

“Oh, shit,” Ben mumbles, sounding almost drugged, when he comes back to himself. He props himself up on one elbow and looks down blearily at the mess he made. “I’m sorry. That’s… I’m sorry.”

He sits up, and casts about for something to clean her up with. He eventually settles on a discarded t-shirt lying on the floor. He grabs it, and begins to wipe away the mess on her body, using the gentle care and precision one might use when handling something precious and rare.

Once he’s satisfied that she’s clean, he chucks the shirt back on the floor. He lies down, and curls his long body around her once again.

It feels so nice, lying in Ben’s bed with him like this, her head on his pillow and his arms wrapped securely around her body. So nice, in fact, that for just a brief moment, Rey allows herself to imagine that what they did tonight—that this—is real, and not just part of an arrangement they’ve made.

Ben starts lazily mouthing at her collarbone, which only adds to the fantasy. She sighs, content and relaxed and sleepy.

“You aren’t grossed out by that?” he murmurs, some time later. With his body pressed up against hers, behind her, his voice is a low rumble she can feel more than hear. It’s pleasant and soothing, and she sighs.

“Grossed out by what?”

“By having that stuff on you.” He moves her hair off her shoulder and presses his lips to it. Rey’s eyes slip closed. “My cum.”

Rey pauses a moment, considering the best way to answer him.

“I mean, I don’t think it’s anyone’s favorite thing in the world to have on them,” she says. “Outside of certain pornos, that is.”

Ben laughs at that.

It’s such a happy, carefree sound, his laughter. With a start, she realizes she can’t remember the last time she heard it.

It suits him, she decides. Rey makes a pact with herself to get him to laugh more often.

“Only popular in certain pornos,” he says, still smiling, as he nuzzles her neck. He kisses her, right where her neck meets her shoulder, and damnit, that feels good, what he’s doing with his lips. “Noted.”

She nods. “But... I guess I don’t really see it as a big deal.” Rey pauses, and then grits her teeth, bracing herself to give him the advice she knows he’s really looking for. “In the future, though, you should ask the person you’re with what they’re comfortable with. Everyone’s different.”

At her words, Ben’s whole body stiffens.

He stops kissing her neck. He lets out a long, slow breath.

“In the future I’ll... keep that in mind,” he says, drily.

Slowly, but deliberately, Ben disentangles himself from her, and rolls over so he’s facing the opposite wall.

No part of them is touching anymore, and Rey’s stomach sinks at the sudden change in Ben’s demeanor, and at the loss of that sweetly intimate physical contact they’d just been sharing.

But then again--this was their arrangement from the beginning, wasn’t it?

To get him good at this, so he’ll be prepared when someone he’s interested in comes along.

Nothing more.

But as Ben lies next to her, not touching her, most likely fantasizing about doing the things they did tonight with other women, Rey realizes, with a start, that somehow, at some point -- she doesn’t know exactly when, or how -- she began hoping that this... thing between them would turn into something more than a simple arrangement between friends.

She hates herself, just a little, for feeling this way. It’s not fair for her to be disappointed in Ben’s reaction just now. Not when he came into this expecting no strings attached.

It’s also not fair for her to expect Ben to have had a similar change of heart.

He’s done nothing wrong. He’s keeping his end of the bargain. She’s the one who’s suddenly, unexpectedly, began to want more.

She continues to stare up at the ceiling in Ben’s bedroom for a very long time, pretending to believe he’s fallen asleep as he lies there beside her, neither one of them saying a word.

It’ll be okay, she tells herself. This will be okay.

She’s still his friend, after all.

Somehow -- she doesn’t know how, but somehow -- she’ll make sure it’ll be okay.

Chapter Text

Ambiguity: Doubtfulness or uncertainty of meaning or intention.


 

Rey blinks herself awake just as dawn’s earliest light begins filtering in through the blinds covering the bedroom windows.

Once she’s able to really see her surroundings she realizes, with a shock, that she’s not in her own bedroom.

“Good morning.”

She sits bolt upright in bed at the sound of Ben’s voice—deeper than it usually is and rough with sleep—right beside her. The soft sheets covering her body fall to her waist in the process.

Only then does she realize she’s completely naked.

Suddenly, the events of last night come crashing back to her.

She remembers Ben’s fumbling, but ultimately successful, attempt at getting her off with his mouth, and afterward, how frantically he’d thrust himself into her hands.

She remembers the disquieting feeling in the pit of her stomach as she lay here in silence, ruminating over her changing, and apparently unreciprocated, feelings for Ben.

And then…

And then, nothing.

Shit .

She must have fallen asleep at that point. Still naked, and in Ben’s bed.

She groans a little—partly because she’s still not fully ready to be awake yet, but mostly because Christ , this is awkward.

When she finally works up the nerve to turn her head in the direction of his voice, she finds Ben lying on his back and looking up at her with an unreadable expression, one arm tucked at an angle beneath his head. The bedcovers stop at the middle of his chest, and she can see he’s wearing a faded old Morrissey t-shirt, which she finds so out of character for him she almost laughs. He’s got one of the wildest cases of bedhead she’s ever seen, and one side of his face has creases all over it from his pillow.

He must have just woken up, too.

Ben’s rumpled, unfiltered, first-thing-in-the-morning appearance makes him look younger, somehow. More vulnerable.

Rey has a nearly irresistible urge to reach out and smooth away all the creases his pillow left behind with her fingertips.

But she keeps her hands to herself.

For a moment, Ben simply lies there, looking up at her, holding her gaze. But she’s naked, and the sheets are pooled at her waist, and despite the awkwardness with which they didn’t say good night last night—or anything at all, really, before she fell asleep—soon enough his eyes drop to her breasts and stay there.

Rey scrambles for the covers reflexively, and hurriedly pulls them up to cover herself.

“Good… good morning,” she stammers back to him. She can feel the heat of an embarrassed flush beginning to creep up the back of her neck. “Shit. Ben, I… I didn’t mean to fall asleep here last night. I’m sorry.”

She is sorry.

She hadn’t planned on spending the night. And this can’t be what he wanted.

Ben nods, and rolls over onto his side so he’s facing her, propping himself up on one elbow. He looks down at the duvet, and begins fidgeting with its edge.

“I figured it was an accident,” he says. “But I wasn’t able to wake you.”

He... tried to wake her up?

Wow. Normally, she’s an incredibly light sleeper.

I must have been really exhausted , Rey muses.

Ben’s clearly not the only one working too hard this summer.

He considers his next words carefully before continuing. “In case you’re wondering, or worried, Rey, I didn’t… I mean, while you were asleep, I absolutely did not...

He moves his hands meaningfully, and the tips of his ears start to go a little pink. Even though he seems unable to complete his sentence she has a pretty good idea of what he’s trying to tell her.

“Of course you didn’t,” Rey says, rushing to reassure him. She covers one of his large hands with one hers. She doesn’t believe for one second that Ben would take advantage of her while she slept.

His shoulders sag a little at her words—in relief, hopefully. But his expression is still oddly closed off, and impossible for Rey to read.

“Well,” she says, rubbing at the back of her neck. “Thanks for… um. For letting me crash here last night, I guess.”

He looks up at her, silently, for a very long moment, reaching up a tentative hand to push back a lock of hair that’s fallen into her eyes.

“Of course,” he says, so quietly she has to strain to hear him. “And… thank you. For everything.”

Before Rey knows it, he’s pulling her down to him and pressing his lips to hers.

The kiss is chaste. Especially compared to what they did last night. Rey’s mouth is still sour with sleep, and she suspects his might be, too. Neither one of them is in any kind of hurry to move things forward.

But it’s warm, his arms around her. And so comforting. The feel of his lips against hers is so sweet, and tender, and their positioning—him still on his back, her hovering over him; the feel of his morning erection pressing hard against her thigh, with memories of what they did here in his bed last night still thrumming through her veins—

It’s enough, all on its own, to get Rey’s heart racing.

Ben lifts a hand as he kisses her, and moves it between them. It hovers in the air, just in front of her chest, so close to her body she can practically feel the heat of his palm against the sensitive skin of her breasts.

He hesitates.

“You can touch me, Ben,” she murmurs. Please . She wraps her arms more tightly around him, and rolls them both so she’s more fully on top of him. She slots one of her legs between his and presses her thigh insistently against his cock.

She hums appreciatively against his lips.

His eyes fly open.

Ben breaks the kiss abruptly, pulling back from her, disentangling himself from her, with a quickness that would have taken Rey by surprise if the circumstances between them were not what they currently are.

Even still, her stomach twists itself into a hard, brittle knot at the sudden loss of this sweet physical contact.

“I... have to go into the office,” he says sharply, not meeting her eyes.

She stares at him. “It’s Sunday.”

“I know.”

“And it’s only—” she fumbles around blindly on Ben’s nightstand for her phone, and then blinks at the display— “6:34 in the morning.”

He’s pulling back the bedsheets, now, already halfway out of bed. “I know that, too.”

He walks quickly towards the bedroom door and grabs a blue terry cloth robe hanging on a hook on the back of it. He wraps the robe around himself, tying it loosely at the waist.

“You’re welcome to…” He pauses. Shrugs. He looks at the floor down by his feet, at his fingernails—at everything and everywhere but her. “You’re welcome to hang out here, I guess. If you want. But I’m going to work as soon as I get showered and dressed.”

The insane impulse to ask Ben if he’d like some company in the shower rises up suddenly and without warning.

Shower sex can be a tricky thing, after all. Balancing isn’t always easy on slippery wet tiles.

She could give him pointers.

But she holds her tongue. His tone right now is so cold, with none of the intimacy or affection for her it had last night. The look on his face is vague, and uncomfortable, and as he stands there in his t-shirt, boxers, and bathrobe, he shifts his weight impatiently from foot to foot.

He doesn’t want Rey to teach him about shower sex right now. He doesn’t even want to be having this conversation with her.

Rey swallows down the lump that’s rising in her throat.

“Thanks,” she manages. She will not cry about this. She will not . “But I better get going, myself.”

That’s actually kind of true. Ben isn’t the only one with work to do today.

He nods. “Okay.”

She climbs out of bed, and begins stumbling around his still-dark bedroom, gathering up her clothes from where they’d scattered them when Ben undressed her.

By the time she looks up again he’s already gone.

 


 

The only silver lining to having to work on a Sunday, Rey’s always thought, is that in exchange for giving up a day off that most people take for granted, you usually get to do your work anyplace you like.

Rey likes to alternate between several different weekend work haunts. The law school library, with its huge windows and inspiring view of the lake, is great during the school year. The hipster coffee shop near her apartment is another favorite, especially if the work she’s doing is helped along by having a lot of background noise.

Today, though, she needs to take the first stab at drafting responses to interrogatories in the Hux v. Vasquez case—the eviction and habitability lawsuit that, true to Amilyn’s word, has taken up most of Rey’s summer so far.

While Rey knows, technically, what interrogatories are, she’s never drafted responses before. She’ll need the absolute quiet she can only get in her own apartment to really concentrate.

So, today, her apartment it is.

After getting home from Ben’s around 8:30, Rey quickly decides that the best way to distract herself from… whatever’s currently happening with him is to dig into her work sooner rather than later. She takes a quick shower, and changes into comfy jeans and a t-shirt. She pours herself a bowl of cereal and eats it on her couch as she re-reads the email Luke sent her yesterday afternoon.

 

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

To: johnson.rey@lass.org

From: skywalker.luke@lass.org

Subject: Vasquez Interrogatories

Dear Rey,

These were served on us on Friday afternoon, just before 5 pm. We need our responses finalized by the end of the week so the Vasquez family can sign them before the court’s deadline.

You’ve spent more time with the clients than anyone else. You’ve seen their apartment in person. As such, Amilyn and I agree you’re the one best suited to write the first draft.

Hux’s company is going with a different firm this time. I’m not certain why. I also don’t know why this particular firm agreed to take the case.  Even if Hux wins, they won’t get a dime from the Vasquez family. It’s a very prestigious firm (as you’ll see once you read the interrogatories, attached to this email), but don’t let that worry you. The upshot is I doubt a senior attorney had anything to do with these interrogatories. Most likely a law student did all the legwork and a second-year signed off on it.

As you draft your responses, remember that Amilyn and I have your back all the way. Do your best, and we’ll discuss at our meeting on Monday.

Luke

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

Rey can’t help but think that Luke’s faith in her is a little misplaced. While it’s true that Rey is the only one in the office who’s seen the appalling conditions of the Vasquez’ apartment firsthand, this is real legal work. Something she’s never actually done before.

She just hopes she doesn’t let the family down.

“All right,” she says, under her breath, as she opens the attachment. “Let’s see what you’ve cooked up for us.”

Rey skims through the lengthy document quickly, keeping an eye out for easy, background interrogatories she knows she’ll be able to answer without having to consult Luke, Amilyn, or the file. Things like the clients’ names, the basis for their counterclaim…

But when she finally gets to the signature line at the bottom of the last page, and reads the name of the law firm that prepared this document, her brain shorts out.

Oh, no...

She closes her eyes. Rubs them, hard, with her fists, in the hopes that when she re-opens them she’ll realize she was mistaken. That she’d misread the law firm’s name.

Because surely, some other firm prepared these interrogatories, not…

She opens her eyes.

To her dismay, she’d been right the first time.

“Snoke & Associates,” she reads out loud.

A minute ago, Rey had been relatively calm, and ready to spend the next twelve hours hard at work. Now, though, it feels like she’s trapped in an elevator in freefall.

The conventional wisdom surrounding Snoke is that he’s built his sprawling legal empire by representing morally ambiguous, large corporations who want to sue, screw over, acquire, or otherwise fuck with other morally ambiguous large corporations.

As such, the attorneys who work under him specialize, as far as Rey has always understood, on mergers, acquisitions, transactions, and other corporate law-ish things that have always made Rey’s skin crawl, but which, to Rey’s knowledge, are not necessarily evil per se .

But this…

Why would Snoke be involved in a case like this? A case where there’s no money to be made, and virtually nothing at stake for anyone but the Vasquez family?

More importantly from her perspective, though—is Ben involved in this case? Luke guessed a law student probably drafted these interrogatories. Is that true?

If so... was it Ben?

Rey suspects Ben’s likely done some things this summer for some of Snoke’s corporate clients that would turn Rey’s overly sensitive stomach, but this…

The Vasquez family are good people. The youngest is only three years old. To actively fight against them staying housed… to help this slumlord throw its extensive resources at keeping them from getting the restitution they deserve…

It’s beyond morally ambiguous. It’s actively evil.

Ben said he didn’t like who working for Snoke was turning him into. Is this the kind of case Snoke is having him handle this summer? Did Ben not want to talk about work last night because he knows they’ll be going up against each other in court soon?

Rey closes her laptop, and buries her face in her hands.

She won’t let this derail her efforts. She will complete the assignment Luke’s given her.

She won’t let the Vasquez family down.

But the thought that Ben might be working against them… against her...

She needs a minute. Just a minute. To get her breathing back under control, and to calm down.

She just needs a minute and then she’ll be able to get right back to work.

“Please, Ben,” she says, under her breath. “Please. Not this.”


 

A few minutes to midnight—well past the time any reasonable person would have shut off her work computer and gone to bed—Rey’s phone pings with a new text.

She looks up from her laptop, where she’s still working on her answers to the Vasquez interrogatories, and glances at her phone, lying next to her Evidence textbook on her coffee table.

It’s from Ben.

Ben: I’m sorry I was such an asshole this morning

Ben: I shouldn’t have run you off like that

Rey picks up her phone and slowly runs her fingers over Ben’s words.

Her mind is an absolute wreck right now, and not just because she’s been working with virtually no breaks for the past fourteen hours.

She racks her brain, trying to think of the best way to respond to him.

She eventually decides on a half-truth.

It’s fine.

(Okay; maybe it’s only a quarter-truth.)

His reply is instantaneous.

Ben : It’s not. You hadn’t done anything wrong.

Rey isn’t so sure that’s true. She’s beginning to feel that at some point over the last few weeks—without intending to—she’s made a series of tiny little missteps with Ben that have somehow sent them careening away from the casual friendship they once had, towards… whatever it is that exists between them, now.

Maybe she has done something wrong. Maybe she’s been doing everything wrong.

She tells him none of this.

Thank you , she texts him instead.

But you don’t need to apologize.

Rey puts her phone back down on her coffee table and waits for him to respond.

For a long time, he doesn’t.

Eventually, Rey just shakes her head and goes back to work, deciding this late-night, abrupt apology from Ben was the only thing he’d wanted to say.

But then, five minutes later:

Ben: If you can forgive me for how I acted this morning

Ben : I’d really like you to

And then, once again, nothing.

Rey waits for the rest of the message impatiently, staring at her phone for what feels like hours.

After a few more minutes go by she decides to force the issue.

She doesn’t exactly have time for this right now.

What, Ben?

What would you really like me to do?

Tell me. Please.

After that, finally, he finds his nerve. Those telltale three dots appear on her phone immediately, and then the rest of his texts come.

Ben : The rest of it

Ben : I want you to show me all the rest of it

Ben: What to do

Ben: How to

Ben: have actual sex

Ben : One last lesson

Ben: if you’re still willing

Ben: after how I acted today

Rey blinks at her phone, biting her lip.

She puts her head, which is suddenly pounding, down on her coffee table, its smooth wooden surface cool beneath her cheek.

How the fuck does she respond to this?

There’s a chance Ben might be representing the city’s worst slumlord, who’s trying to evict her clients and deprive them of the restitution they’re owed under the law.

Even if Ben isn’t working with Hux—even if some other Snoke law student drafted what she’s working on tonight— if she agrees to have sex with him, she’s beginning to think it might just break her heart, in the end, when he inevitably thanks her for her help and sends her on her way.

But as she reads his texts again, and then again, an image of Ben, on top of her, between her legs, pistoning into her with abandon, floats up to the forefront of her mind. She can all but feel the girth of him, inside her, filling her up, stretching her to bursting with every thrust of his hips.

If she’s honest with herself, she’s been imagining this—wanting this, wanting him —from the night of their very first date.

She shakes her head, and berates herself for the text she’s about to send him. For making what she’s almost certain, now, is going to end up being a colossal mistake, one way or another.

But she nods, decided. Even though he’s not here to see her do it.

She sends her reply.

Of course I’m still willing .

We have a deal don’t we?

She has to wait another few minutes for his response.

BenA deal.

Ben: You're right. We do have a deal

Ben: Rey

Ben: Before we have our last date

Ben: We need to talk

Ben: Talking about all of this stuff is SO fucking hard for me

Ben: But it’s important

Ben: I should have said something this morning but I lost my nerve when we started kissing

Ben: Actually I should have said something right from the beginning

She raises an eyebrow.

Ben Solo wants to talk about something important?

Ben Solo never wants to do that.

What on earth does he want to talk about before their next date?

Rey can think of only two possibilities.

One: he wants to come clean with her, before they have sex, and tell her he’s working against her, and her client, on her big case.

Or, two: he wants to reiterate, before they have sex, that theirs is still a no-strings attached arrangement from his perspective, and that if she’s developing actual feelings -feelings for him perhaps they should just call the whole fucking thing off.

Neither are conversations she particularly wants to have in person.

She doesn’t see why they can’t just do this right now.

You could just tell me now over text if that’s easier

You said this stuff’s hard for you

But you seem braver over text.

So...

Ben: Ha

Ben: It’s not untrue

Ben: All of this is MUCH easier when I can hide behind my phone.

So, out with it.

What’s going on?

Ben: No. Even though the thought of discussing this stuff with you in person terrifies me

Ben: It doesn’t matter

Ben: Text won’t work for this.

At that point, Rey knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and with a horribly sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, that whatever Ben wants to talk to her about, it won’t be good.  

Okay .

Fine, then.

Not over text

When do you want to meet?

Ben: I’m leaving town tomorrow for a training in New York

Ben: I’ll be back Friday

Ben: Does next Saturday night work for you?

Rey checks her calendar.

Next Saturday is that law school cocktail thing she agreed to attend with Finn.

I’m busy Saturday night

Will Sunday at 2 work?

Ben: Yeah

Ben: It will

Ben: Let’s meet Sunday at 2  

Ben: not at one of our apartments

Ben: Someplace neutral

Someplace… neutral?

What the fuck does that mean?

How about a coffee shop?

Ben: Perfect

Ben: The one by my place maybe?

Ok. Sure.

I’ll put it in my calendar

I’ll see you then.

Ben: Great. Thank you.

Ben: Sleep well, Rey. I’ll see you in a week.

After his texts stop coming, Rey closes her eyes and sighs.

She drops her phone back down onto the coffee table and turns to her laptop, staring at the cursor as it blinks accusingly at her from the middle of her document.

Despite how late it is, Rey still has at least another hour of work ahead of her before she’s ready to send these interrogatory responses off to Luke.

Somehow, though, Rey suspects sleep will be elusive for her tonight, even then.

Chapter Text

Reveal: To make (something secret or hidden) publicly or generally known.


 

When Rey opens the passenger’s-side door to Finn’s car and slides in, her friend looks at her approvingly and gives a low whistle.

“Damn, Peanut,” he says, nodding. “You look good.”

Rey smirks at him as she buckles her seatbelt. “Are you saying I normally look like crap?”

He laughs. “Not at all.” He gives her a playful punch on the shoulder. “You always look good. It’s just that tonight, you look exceptionally good.”

“Well, thank you,” Rey says, smiling. She regards him in his suit and tie. “You do, too.”

As Finn pulls away from the curb and merges into traffic, Rey runs her hands over the skirt of her dress in an attempt to smooth out a few wrinkles she hadn’t noticed while ironing it.

It’s always a nightmare, deciding what to wear to these things. It’s a cocktail party, so she has to dress up. But it’s a cocktail party at the law school. Her professors will be there; so will a lot of conservative, older attorneys.

There are at least a million unwritten rules dictating what she can, and cannot, wear tonight. It’s like navigating a minefield.

Rey decided to play it relatively safe: a simple, form-fitting black sheath dress with spaghetti straps that stops just above the knee, with low black heels to match and paired with a gauzy purple shawl.

It’s elegant, she thinks, but not too sexy. Professional, but hopefully not boring.

Not for the first time, she finds herself envying how much easier men have it in just about every professional arena than women do.

As Finn drives, Rey pulls down the passenger’s-side visor and flips open the mirror so she can check her makeup. Between work being crazy, and worrying about whatever the fuck is going on with Ben, she’s slept terribly this week. She’s not great at doing her makeup--she almost never wears it--but as she examines her face she decides the concealer she used has done a decent job of minimizing the raccoonish dark circles under her eyes.

“You remember what I said about tonight, right?” Finn asks. “I’m staying at this thing for one hour.”

“I remember,” Rey says automatically, flipping the visor back up. This is the fourth time Finn’s brought this up in the past two days. How could she possibly forget? “If I want to stay longer I’ll take the subway, or I’ll Uber home.”

Finn shakes his head. “I can’t imagine why you’d want to stay longer than an hour at a Career Services event.”

In truth, Rey isn’t sure she actually will want to stay at this thing for very long. But with how few permanent, paying jobs there are that match her career interests, she can’t afford to miss an opportunity to network.

Especially when the networking opportunity comes with free food and alcohol. And especially especially when it will force her to think about something other than the conversation she’s having with Ben tomorrow afternoon.

She still doesn’t know what he wants to talk about. She hasn’t worked up the nerve to text him back since their last conversation. He might still be away at his training, for all she knows. Or maybe he’s back now. Either way, he hasn’t texted her again, either.

God, she’s stressed.

“You’re right,” Rey admits. “It might be boring, and I may not want to stay long. But if I do, you’re off the hook for getting me home.”

Finn nods. “Sounds like a plan to me.”


 

Rey has always thought her law school was beautiful.  

Just two blocks away from the gorgeous lakefront that is the central focus of the city’s landscape, the school takes full advantage of its prime location. The building is tall, lean, and graceful, with most of its eastern face made up entirely of floor-to-ceiling windows that let students look out over one of America’s most spectacular views.

As though the school’s architects knew there was nothing they could do to compete with the majesty just outside their front door, the school’s interior is simple and functional. It has none of the stained glass windows Rey saw at some of the other schools she applied to. There’s no intricately carved interior woodwork that’s supposed to make you think you’re at Oxford or Cambridge.

No; everything inside the building is designed to draw the eye outside of it. Rey has always liked that. Her school emphasizes what it has, and doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not.

Given how practical the school’s decor usually is, it makes it that much clearer to Rey that the school went all out for this event. There are lights strung up everywhere, which cast complicated shadow patterns on the walls. Exotic flower arrangements top each of the tables scattered throughout the room.

There are even servers dressed in black wandering by with trays of hors d'oeuvres.

“I don’t recognize this place,” Rey murmurs as they make their way inside.

Finn nods in agreement. “They must really want us to get jobs after graduation.”

Rey sees a sign in fancy gold lettering pointing towards the bar they’ve set up at the back of the room.

“Let’s get a drink,” she says. “Wine always makes these things easier.”

“No arguments from me,” Finn says. “Lead the way.”

Everything about this place is so fundamentally different from how it usually is and it’s so crowded , with nervous, overdressed law students everywhere, mingling with professors and local attorneys that at first, Rey is too distracted to even notice the guy in the slate gray suit standing about fifteen feet to her right, his arms folded tightly across his broad chest and an irritated expression on his face.

But then, as she and Finn join the line forming in front of the bar, she turns her head just enough to catch sight of him out of the corner of her eye.

She stops in her tracks, eyes wide with surprise.

What the…?

Rey is so shocked to see Ben here that it takes her a minute to really process what she’s seeing.

But there’s no denying it. Ben Solo someone who never comes to law school events, ever is here, just… standing there, looking more pissed off than Rey’s ever seen him.

He doesn’t see her. At least, she doesn’t think he sees her. He’s not looking in her direction, anyway. Once Rey’s finally able to tear her eyes away from him she notices he’s standing next to an incredibly tall, severe-looking blonde woman in a scarlet red dress. His attention is focused entirely on her, and on whatever she’s saying. Their heads are inclined together, just a little, like they’re parties to a secret conspiracy.  

They’re standing far enough away that Rey can’t make out what they’re saying, though it’s clear that whatever this woman is telling Ben is annoying him. More than annoying him. His jaw was already tightly clenched when Rey spotted him; the longer this woman talks, the more rigid his posture becomes.

But none of that matters right now. Just seeing Ben with this other woman, her hands on her hips and her face just a little too close to Ben’s, sends a sudden, hot stab of jealousy right through her.

No , she thinks.

And then, fiercely, irrationally: Mine.

With some difficulty, Rey forces herself to look away.

Because... this is stupid.

She is being absolutely stupid.

This is a law school networking event which is in no way supposed to be romantic, and it’s not like she and Ben are dating, anyway, and

Why the fuck is this drinks line taking so long?

“Anyone here you’re particularly interested in talking to?”

It takes Rey a minute to realize Finn just asked her a question.

She shakes her head a little, trying to clear it.

“Oh. Um, I’m sorry.” She clears her throat. “What did you just say?”

He rolls his eyes.

“You were the one who wanted to come to this thing,” he reminds her. “So, I asked if there’s anyone here you’re particularly interested in talking to. I assume the answer is yes, right? Because if not, why are we here?”

Rey brushes her hair behind her ear, beyond flustered, as she wills her heart rate to slow and her breathing to normalize.

“Um. Yeah,” she says. “As soon as I get my Chardonnay I’m going to find the city public defender.”

The city public defender is the main person she’d wanted to speak with tonight, and so speaking with him is exactly what she’s going to do.

No matter who Ben Solo might have brought with him tonight.

“City public defender it is, then,” Finn says. “I’ll be your wingman.”


 

It takes Ben about ten more minutes to realize Rey’s here.

He doesn’t come talk to her. He seems content (if that’s really the right word; he looks absolutely miserable, every time Rey glances his way) to lurk silently by himself in a quiet, isolated corner, away from everyone else.

Even still, Rey knows he knows she’s here.

She can sense Ben’s dark eyes on her as she moves around the room, and as she chats with the public defender. She can feel his gaze, his dominating presence in this crowded space, as acutely as any physical touch as she talks with their Torts professor, and when she gets herself another glass of white wine to try and to calm her roiling nerves.

Twice, Rey almost goes over to him to ask what the hell is going on. But each time she works up the courage to do it, that woman in the red dress is with him again, and she loses her nerve.

Why he doesn’t just come over and talk to her , given that he’s the one who said they needed to discuss something important…

It’s beyond her.

After about forty-five minutes of this, Rey is so unnerved her hands are shaking, the wine in her glass sloshing around precariously.

She needs to get out of here.

She looks around the room for Finn. She’s lost him again, which, in spite of everything, makes her smile a little.

She knew that once she got him here he’d end up having an okay time.

“There you are, Finn,” she says, when she finally finds him. He’s talking to Professor Buxbaum, the faculty supervisor for the school’s Business Law Society. He’s about forty, with a bushy beard and a nerd streak a mile long. Everybody at the law school including her; despite her complete lack of interest in business law loves him. “Ready to go?”

“Oh, yeah. Sure,” he says to Rey, nodding, before turning back to Buxbaum. “Professor, it’s been a pleasure.”

“The pleasure’s been all mine,” the man says, smiling, before wandering off to find another group of students to talk to.

Rey lets out a long, shaky breath. “You were right, Finn. About this party being lame.”

“I told you.”

She smiles. “You did.” She puts her hand on his arm and gives it a gentle squeeze.

It’s at that precise moment, with no warning whatsoever, that Ben suddenly materializes at her side, as if from thin air.

“Oh, hey,” he says, mock casually. “Well. Look who’s here.” He swallows, and tugs nervously at his collar. “Hello there, Rey.” He pauses, and looks at Finn, eyes narrowing slightly. “Finn.”

Ben’s trying very hard, Rey can tell, to pretend he had absolutely no idea either of them were at this party until now. But he’s just so awkward about it, an embarrassed flush already beginning to creep up from beneath his collar. He’s holding someone’s business card, and he’s fidgeting with it distractedly. Rey would bet money he picked it up from someone at random a half-second before coming over here, just for something to do with his hands.

Rey glances at Finn, and is surprised to see he’s biting the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing out loud.

“Dude,” Finn says, on a barely-suppressed chuckle. “You knew Rey was here. You’ve been staring at her all night.”

Rey’s mouth drops open in shock.

So. She wasn’t imagining it, then.

Ben pretends not to have heard a word Finn said. He’s focused intently on the business card in his hands, studying it like it’s the most fascinating thing he’s ever seen. Meanwhile, the tips of his ears are turning bright red.

He clears his throat.

“Um. Rey?” he asks. His eyes flit from the business card, to her, before darting back down again. “Can I talk to you for a minute?”

Rey’s eyes go wide as her stomach bottoms out. “Oh. Sure. I mean… well, right now?”

Ben nods. “Yeah. But… um. Outside? Maybe?” He shoots a quick glance over at Finn before turning his attention back to Rey. “Somewhere where there aren’t so many fucking people around?”

Rey tugs her shawl around her shoulders a little more tightly.

Now that he’s here, and this moment is here, she’s suddenly excruciatingly nervous.

Because in truth, she’d thought she had another full day to get ready for…

Whatever is about to happen.

She glances at Finn. “I’ll get home on my own.”

Finn looks between her and Ben, and then gives Rey a strange sort of smile she can’t quite interpret.

“Works for me. I’ll see you later, Rey.”

Without another word, Finn’s out the door, gone before Rey can thank him again for the ride and for being her date tonight.


 

They walk together out of the building, and stop once they get to the gate that separates the law school campus from the rest of downtown.  

It’s a very warm evening, even for June. There’s no breeze coming off the lake, making the air feel damp and close. Rey feels a little sorry for Ben, still in his suit jacket and tie. He must be uncomfortably hot now that they’re out of the air conditioned building.

But then he turns to face her, and the desperate look he gives her makes her shiver in spite of the heat.

“Rey,” he breathes. Now that they’re away from everyone else Ben lets his mask slip a little. He’s no longer even pretending at casual. His voice sounds strange. He looks terrified. She notices, for the first time, that his eyes are ringed with circles as dark as hers.

He licks his lips, and shakes his head, clearly working up the courage to speak.

Here it is , Rey thinks. She squares her shoulders and braces herself. Here’s what he’s been wanting to tell me .

Even though she’s had nearly a week to prepare herself for this she’s nearly sick with nerves.

But Ben says nothing. He merely bites his lip, considering her.

“What is it?” Rey asks. It comes out louder, and much more harshly, than she’d intended. But it’s been one hell of a week, due in no small part to his own actions. Her patience is wearing thin. “Just… tell me, Ben. Whatever it is. I can take it.”

He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were coming to this thing tonight, Rey?” His voice is barely above a whisper.

Rey blinks at him.

Why didn’t she tell him she was... coming to a Career Services event?

She’s so baffled by his question it takes her a moment to find her voice.

“Um. What?”

“Did you not… I don’t know…” Ben pauses, then runs a hand through his hair in agitation. “Did you not want to be seen with me at school? Or… something?”

“Ben, what are you talking about?” This makes no sense. He is making absolutely no sense. “You never go to these things. It never occurred to me that you would

“Finn never goes to these things either,” he says, cutting her off mid-sentence. His tone doesn’t sound angry. Just… hurt, somehow. His eyes are downcast, and he won’t look at her. “Yet clearly you were fine with coming with him.”

There’s so much that Ben isn’t saying right now that it takes Rey a minute to process what he is saying.

When she finally figures it out, her jaw drops.

“You’re… jealous. Because I came to this…. stupid networking event. With Finn.”  She says the words very slowly, as she tries to make sense of the situation. “You’re jealous because I came to a Career Services event with a mutual friend who is practically engaged to our other mutual friend.”

“That’s not it at all,” Ben snaps at her. But he’s rubbing at the back of nis neck as he says the words and staring down at his shoes, and damnit, Ben Solo will have to get a better poker face if he wants any kind of career as a litigator.

“Why would you be jealous?” Rey asks, ignoring his protests. “It’s a fucking Career Services event, Ben. Half the school was there; not just the three of us. And I mean you didn’t tell me you were coming to this either, right? And yet, you also came, with another person.” She shakes her head as she tries, and mostly fails, to stay calm. “Are you saying I should be jealous of her?”

His eyes snap to hers. “That was Phasma.” He spits out the name, as though the simple act of saying it has left a bad taste in his mouth. “Phasma Tarth. She’s another summer associate at Snoke’s firm.”

“Phasma, then,” Rey says. “Should I be upset because you came to the event with her and didn’t invite me?”

Ben laughs at her question, loudly. But it’s a bitter sound. It’s clear he finds nothing amusing about any of this.

“Rey,” he says. “Last week, when I said we needed to talk, you specifically told me you had plans tonight. Had you not done that I would have invited you, immediately, once I realized I was coming to this.” He pauses, and drags a hand through his hair again. It won’t be much longer before whatever hairstyle he’d been going for tonight is totally destroyed. “I guess I didn’t do a good enough job of putting two and two together. I probably should have figured the thing you had to do tonight was, in fact, this.”

“Maybe.”

“But… but that’s beside the point,” Ben continues. “What is the point is that I fucking hate Phasma. She’s transferring to our school in the fall and invited herself to join me when I told her there was an event. Snoke told me to let her come along, so I did.” He shakes his head, and now there’s an angry glint in his eyes that frightens Rey. “But Rey, even if I didn’t hate Phasma, even if I had wanted her to come with me to this, you can’t

He breaks off abruptly, then, and quickly turns away so that his back is to her. His hands are on his hips, and he’s taking very deep breaths, clearly trying to calm himself down.

“I can’t what?” Rey asks. She hesitates a moment, wondering if it’s a gesture he would welcome. And then before she can talk herself out of doing it she puts a hand on his shoulder. To her relief, he doesn’t shrug it off. She squeezes gently, and he shudders.

“Rey,” he murmurs.

“I can’t what, Ben?” she asks again

He shakes his head, and sighs.

He doesn’t answer her question.

“There’s no point anymore, is there,” he says instead. He mumbles the words, so quietly Rey’s pretty sure he’s talking to himself.

Slowly, with both hands, Rey turns him around so that he’s facing her again. He comes along willingly, but he won’t look her in the eye.

“What can’t I do, Ben?” Her words are soft, encouraging..

Ben takes another deep breath, and closes his eyes.

“You can’t be jealous if I take another woman to something.” He explains this like he’s explaining an obvious, irrefutable point of law. But there’s an edge to his voice, and bone-deep exhaustion laces his words. “You just can’t. Because that’s all this has been about since the beginning, right? The whole point of it has been for me to know what I’m doing when I find someone else I want to fuck.”

He looks into her eyes, finally. His expression is so hard, and closed off, that Rey has to fight against the lump in her throat just to breathe.

She opens and closes her mouth several times as she stumbles over the right words to say.

Her mind is a messy tangle of yes, that was the plan, and you’re right, I have no right to be jealous , and that isn’t what I want, not anymore, and no Ben you can’t be with anyone else you’re mine .

But she has no idea what the right words are, and absolutely no clue what will get Ben to stop looking at her like his world is ending.

“Ben…” is all she manages to choke out before tears are pricking the corners of her eyes and threaten to spill over onto her cheeks. She quickly dashes them away with the back of her hand.

Words failing her, she reaches up and gently, gently cups one side of his face with her hand.

Ben seems to misinterpret her lack of a coherent response as agreement with what he just said, and her gentle touch as pity. He pries her hand away from his cheek, letting it drop to the side. His face falls further, and his lips come together in a hard, thin line.

“Well, it was never about that for me, Rey,” he says, his voice straining now with hurt, and anger, and with something Rey suspects might be unshed tears of his own. “The only person I’ve ever wanted to learn how to please is you.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 8: Amendment: a formal or official change made to a law, contract, constitution, or other legal document.


 

“Well, it was never about that for me, Rey,” he says, his voice straining now with hurt, and anger, and with something Rey suspects might be unshed tears of his own. “The only person I’ve ever wanted to learn how to please is you.”

At Ben’s blunt confession, Rey’s mouth drops open in shock. The ground beneath her feet lists and wobbles, and she has to put a hand on the gate beside them to steady herself and keep from falling to the ground.

She is flabbergasted. She is reeling .

Ben continues, not finished yet. He’s standing right in front of her, close enough for her to reach out and touch with her hands, but his words are distorted, somehow, only half of them making it to her at all through the thick fog that has suddenly clouded her brain, dulling every single one of her senses.   

“... should have told you…”

“...  since the day I met you, but…”

“ … I know you don’t feel the same…”

“... terrible idea….”

After what feels like an hour—though Rey knows no more than a minute or two can have possibly passed—Ben shakes his head. He looks even more upset now than he was when they left the party.

And now… now he’s angling away from her. Turning to leave. Once again mistaking her lack of a coherent response for agreement with what he’s been saying.

“Goodbye, Rey.” His voice sounds broken. It cuts her to the quick.

No.

He gives her a small, sad wave.

No!

Oh, God. She’s been so stupid.

Before Rey can talk herself out of doing it—before Ben can turn around and walk away—she leaps, her instincts spurring her into action at last.

She grabs him, hard, by the lapels of his suit, and drags him toward her until their faces are almost touching.

He stumbles into her in surprise.

“What—what—?” he sputters. He tries to regain his balance, restore his footing--to put some physical distance between them again--but she’s still gripping his lapels in both fists and she has absolutely no intention of letting him go.

She shakes her head.

“No,” she says, emphatically.

A pause.

Ben blinks at her.

“No?”

“That’s right,” she confirms. “No.”

Ben opens his mouth to say something else. Maybe it’s to tell her she’s insane. Or maybe it’s just to ask for clarification on what, exactly, she means by no . Either way, he doesn’t get the chance. She pulls him a little closer, until her lips are pressed up against his, cutting off anything else he might have wanted to say.

He recoils from the kiss almost immediately.

“Rey—”

“Ben, please, listen to me—”

“You don’t... you don’t have to—”

“But I want to.”

“You… wait. You what?”

And then she stands on her tiptoes so she can bring his face down to hers again, and kisses him as hard as she can.

This time, to her relief, Ben doesn’t pull away. But he doesn’t exactly kiss her back, either. He’s clearly torn, and struggling to make up his mind about what he should do. As she kisses him, caresses his cheeks with her thumbs, and then slides her hands up into his soft, dark hair, his own hands clench and unclench at his sides. She can feel him shift his weight from foot to foot, as though weighing whether he should kiss her back or whether to turn tail and run, immediately.

It’s only when Rey sighs his name against his lips, and traces their seam with the tip of her tongue, wordlessly inviting him to open for her, that something seems to snap inside of him and he makes his decision.

He whimpers.

“Rey,” he says brokenly, his arms finally coming around her body to pull her close.

Rey doesn’t know how long they stand there in front of the law school, just holding each other and kissing. She also doesn’t care. Now that he’s made his choice he’s kissing her with such eagerness, such incredulous gratitude, that it takes her breath away. And when he splays one of his large hands at the small of her back to pull her closer, and angles his head to deepen the kiss, she sighs with heady pleasure and absolute contentment.

Eventually, and far too soon, they break apart. Ben is already breathing very heavily, just from this.

Then again, so is she.

He tilts his head forward, just a little, until their foreheads are touching. He reaches up and gently caresses the side of her face.

She kisses his palm, and leans into his touch.

She finds her voice.

“I... don’t want you to find someone else, Ben,” she tells him. “And I don’t want to just be some kind of... warm-up tutorial for you, either.” She pauses. “I want…”

He looks into her eyes expectantly.

When she doesn’t finish her thought, he nudges her nose with his.

“What do you want, Rey? Because this whole time, I seriously thought...” He trails off, and shakes his head. His eyes plead with her. “Please, Rey. Just… just tell me what you want.”

Rey hesitates, and looks away.

What does she want?

Rey’s always considered herself articulate. Someone who’s good with words. But for what’s happening right now, for this, every single word she’s ever known feels completely inadequate.

Then she looks into Ben’s eyes. The look he gives her as he waits for her answer is so raw, so vulnerable, it pulls the truth from her before she’s realized it’s happened.

“I want you,” she tells him, honestly.

There’s still so much they need to discuss. She doesn’t really know what any of this means for them, long term. She still has no idea what the hell he’s working on this summer, and if it will impact her.

But... she wants him. This much, at least, she knows is true.

A shudder goes through Ben at her words, and she pulls him closer.

“I just want you.”


 

Somehow—Rey isn’t sure exactly how—they pull themselves together enough to get an Uber.

“I’m asking them to take us to my place,” Ben says. His hands are shaking as he taps at his phone, but not as badly as his voice is. “I hope that’s... okay?”

He looks at her hopefully.

“More than okay,” she assures him. They have to talk tonight, but there’s no reason they can’t do it there.

She smiles at him, and then tugs him back down into another kiss. Her heart is racing as he parts her lips to taste her, as he pulls her flush against his body with his free arm. She can feel every inch of him, now, through the silky thin fabric of her black dress, and she can’t help but notice how hard he already is against her stomach.

She has a sudden, nearly irresistible urge to reach down and stroke him gently through his slate gray slacks. She wants to watch his beautiful face as he falls apart in her hands. But they’re in public. In fact, they’re still standing in front of the law school. Their classmates are beginning to file out of the cocktail party in larger numbers, now, heading off to the rest of their Saturday night plans.

They really can’t do this here.

Ben looks over her shoulder, just beyond her, and pulls away a little.

“Oh. It’s here,” he says, peering down at her. He looks dazed, and more than a little bewildered. A little thrill goes down her spine at the thought that he looks that way because of her. Does he have any idea how adorable he is? “The Uber, I mean. It’s here.”

It’s a very small car, Rey notices right away. Ben must not have wanted to hold out and wait for something bigger.  

She supposes she can’t blame him for that.

Regardless, it should get them where they need to go well enough.

Ben opens the car door closest to them, and holds it open for Rey as she crawls inside. The car is actually incredibly small, and the skirt of her dress rides up a little as she crawls across the back seat to the other side. It exposes the backs of her bare thighs, and Rey can feel Ben’s eyes on her as he slides in behind her and closes the door.

Rey moves to fasten her seatbelt, but as the driver pulls away from the curb Ben surprises her, tugging her awkwardly over to his side of the car.

“Oh!” she exclaims, surprised.

“I don’t want to be that far away from you,” he explains. He gives her a small, bashful smile as he settles her on his lap.

It’s such a ridiculously sweet, out of character thing for Ben to say that Rey almost wants to laugh. But he looks so earnest—like the idea of not touching her for the whole eleven minutes it’ll take to get to his apartment is just too much for him to bear right now.

She bites her lip, and decides to go along with it.

The only problem is, he’s holding her at a really weird angle. Her head rests on his shoulder and her legs are splayed out across his lap, onto the seat beside them. While she supposes it’s an adorable idea in theory, it’s an uncomfortable position in reality. The car’s ceiling is far too low for this to really work, and her head hits it every time they hit a pothole.

If Ben wants her on his lap she’ll have to change positions a bit.

“Wait… um. Hold on,” she says.

She scoots around, shimmying and maneuvering herself, until she’s facing him and straddling his hips.

She wiggles a little, and then a little more, until she’s comfortable.

And then, too late, she suddenly realizes that her center is right…

… there .

Oh,” Ben gasps.

All that separates them now are his slacks and her thin cotton underwear. Rey sucks in a harsh breath at the feel of him, all of him, harder than ever and pressed right up against her core.

The thunderstruck look on Ben’s face tells Rey he hadn’t really thought any of this through when he pulled her to over his side of the car. His eyes are wide, unbelieving, as he looks into hers, and his jaw is slack—as though the fact that they’re in this position, here, in the backseat of this tiny car, has struck him completely dumb.

At some point, the skirt of Rey’s must have ridden up even further. Now it barely even covers her ass. Ben hands travel down her body to grips her hips, fingertips digging into her bare flesh.

Don’t move , Rey orders herself. Don’t move. Don’t move don’t move. You’re in an Uber you’re in an Uber you’re in an...

But Ben’s the one to break first. His breathing is fast and shaky, and he leans forward on a barely-stifled groan to press a hot, open-mouthed, needy kiss to the sensitive spot just below her ear.

“Rey,” he breathes into her skin, sending shivers all the way down her spine.

He squeezes her hips, hard . And then her resolve snaps, too.

She sends up a quick prayer to whatever deity might be listening that it’s too dark for the driver to notice what’s happening in his backseat. She takes a deep breath to steady her nerves—and then she rolls her hips once, experimentally, against Ben, as she holds his gaze.

His reaction is explosive.

Fuck ,” he grunts into her neck as quietly as he can—which unfortunately isn’t very quietly at all. He throbs needfully against her core, her thin, damp underwear doing almost nothing to dull the sensation. Rey hisses in spite of herself, squeezing her thighs together around his hips reflexively.

Ben’s breathing hard now—dangerously hard, given how little it takes for him to come when they’re together. But feeling him between her legs is making Rey more than a little delirious. Even before getting in this car she was already half-drunk on the knowledge that Ben wants her, wants this . And so she rocks against him again, slowly, cautiously, even though she knows she shouldn’t, and then she does it again, revelling in the delicious heat the friction is creating in the pit of her stomach.

Ben’s head lolls back against the seat, exposing his throat to her. He whimpers, and Rey can’t resist. She leans forward as she continues to rock against him, nipping her way across his Adam’s apple, his throat, up along his jaw. He tastes like soap, and sweat, and Ben , and his stubble scratches her tongue, and god dammit if isn’t taking forever to get to Ben’s apartment.

“Is this really happening?” Ben mumbles weakly. His hands are like vise grips now on her body, and he’s growing impossibly large against her core. He whimpers again, much louder than he probably should, and then he begins to move, too, to meet her rolling hips with barely restrained thrusts of his own.

“Yes. It’s really happening.”

At the sound of their driver’s irritated voice Rey leaps off of Ben and back into her own seat.

She hastily pulls down her skirt so that it’s covering her hips again. The driver makes eye contact with her in the rearview mirror and shakes his head.

“We’ll be there in like, three minutes, okay?” The driver sighs. “Can you just… keep it together for three more minutes? Please?”

Rey chances a glance at Ben out of the corner of her eye. He looks so mortified right now it’s all she can do not to burst out laughing.

“Sorry about your Uber rating,” she whispers to him from across the seat, feeling guilty for her part in all this. He’s going to get hammered by this guy.

Ben won’t look her in the eye. He’s trying to adjust his absolutely massive erection without having to undo his zipper or fly. A flush of heat goes right through her when she sees the small, but unmistakable, wet spot where the tip of his cock meets the restrictive fabric of his slacks.

He waves a hand at her dismissively.

“It’s… all right,” Ben mutters. “My Uber rating was already terrible.”


 

When the driver finally pulls up to Ben’s building, Ben practically leaps from the car, at least as eager to be out of there as the driver is to be rid of them.

As he hurries to his apartment he grabs Rey by the hand, pulling her along after him.

“Come with me. Please,” he begs.

They get to the building’s glass and chrome front door, and Ben tears it open with so much force Rey worries, briefly, he might have damaged its hinges.

His lips are on her throat before they’ve even made it to the elevator bank.

“I’ve wanted this for so long,” he breathes against her skin. She is only dimly aware that one of the elevators has opened for them, that he’s guiding her inside of it. His hands, suddenly, are everywhere. Everywhere. Her face. Her ass. Her breasts. The feel of his heated touch on her sensitized skin drives every last rational thought from her head. “I’ve imagined it, so many times. But I never thought it would actually happen.”

The elevator door slides quietly closed behind them. Rey leans against it for support, her head thrown back to give him better access.

“Ben,” she whispers, encouraging him.

He presses her up against the door, his body caging her in. His lips find her pulse point, and he trails kisses down her throat, along her jaw. The noise she makes when he nibbles, and then licks, a sensitive spot on her collarbone isn’t quite human.

“Every night this week… before falling asleep… I thought of you,” he murmurs. “About the way you taste, the way you...”

As he speaks, and unable to resist touching him any longer, Rey slides her hand down between their bodies, palming his cock through his pants.

Fuck, he’s big.

Ben trails off, grunting, and leans his forehead on the wall beside her head with a loud thunk .

She squeezes him, hard, and then follows it with a series of gentle but purposeful strokes. A litany of filthy curse words fall from his lips, and damnit if it isn’t the hottest thing in the world, seeing the brilliant Ben Solo reduced to this.

“What were you saying, Ben?” she teases. His eyes are squeezed tightly shut, all his energy focused on trying not to come right this second.

It takes him a long moment to find his voice again.

“In... New York,” he eventually grits out, his jaw tight. “I would... touch myself, thinking of the way you… clenched around my fingers when I… made you come,” he pants. He’s throbbing against her palm, now. He’s so close. Her entire body is trembling in anticipation. She wants him to fall apart. She wants to be the one to make him fall apart. “Fuck, you were so tight , Rey. All I could think about was...”

Before he can finish his sentence, the elevator dings. The door slides open, signalling their arrival on the fifth floor.

She pulls back from him and looks into his eyes. His pupils are enormous, blown wide with desire. He looks like he wants to devour her here, right where they stand.

Rey squeezes him again, just because she can. His eyes roll back into his head before fluttering closed.  

They need to talk tonight. They definitely, definitely need to talk tonight .

But…

“Can we… um. Continue this conversation in your apartment?” Rey murmurs, biting her lip.

The heated, hungry look he gives her in response takes her breath away.

She swallows.

They’re doing this, then. They’re... really going to do this.

Oh, God.

“Show me how to do all the rest of it, Rey,” Ben rasps, his eyes dark. “Please.”

Chapter Text

Negotiations: Discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.


 

“Show me how to do all the rest of it, Rey,” Ben rasps, his eyes dark. “Please.”


 

Somehow, they manage to pull themselves together enough to leave the elevator before the door slides closed again.

Once his apartment is within sight Ben wastes no time, scooping Rey into his arms as quickly and easily as if she weighed nothing at all.

She yelps in surprise.

“Ben, what—“

But he says nothing, only hurries her down the corridor with focused, single-minded determination.

Some awkward shifting around and a fumbling of keys later, he gets the door to his apartment open. He carries Rey over the threshold, cradling her to his chest, and then slams the door shut behind them with his foot.

He sprints through his apartment, moving so quickly that at this point Rey’s starting to wonder if he’s worried she’s going to change her mind about all this.

Only once they’re in his bedroom does Ben seem to relax a little. He sets her down gently on his bed, and then kneels on the floor beside her.

Rey sits up, and looks into his deep, brown eyes. She sees nothing but gratitude and pure, raw desire reflected back at her.

“Rey,” he breathes, his tone making her shiver.

And then he pounces.

Whatever shred of restraint Ben still clung to earlier is gone now. He kisses her mouth, her body, like a man out of control, open-mouthed and hungry, everything she’s taught him about finesse forgotten as he trails his lips over every part of her he can reach.

He lies her back down on his bed with shaking hands. And she lets him, pulling him on top of her, urging him on with little kisses pressed to the underside of his jaw. She arches up into him as he trails wet, desperate kisses down her neck, across her collarbone, every press of his lips to her flushed skin sending shockwaves of sensation everywhere.

It’s not long at all before Rey’s writhing beneath him, moaning his name.

It turns Rey on more than she thought possible to see Ben come undone like this. It defies belief to know she’s the reason for it.

His cock presses into her thigh as he moves, hard as a lead pipe and nearly as thick. She’ll soon know what it feels like to have him inside of her; the thought sends a rush of heat straight to her core.

He’s moving over her even more frantically now, moving lower, kissing her breasts, her stomach, over the thin fabric of the black dress she’s still wearing.

She wonders, suddenly, if he’s thinking about being inside her, too.

“Ben,” she whispers.

It’s time, she decides. No more waiting. No more dancing around what she knows they both want.

She places her palms flat on his chest and pushes on him a little to get his attention.

He pulls back immediately.

“What… what is it?” he asks. He’s panting now, and his words come out much breathier than usual, but there’s a slight edge of panic in his voice that’s impossible to miss.

“Everything’s okay,” she reassures him. She reaches up, and caresses the side of his face. He closes his eyes, leaning into her touch. “I just want you to lie on your back.”

He huffs out a breath, and he nods.

She puts her hands on his chest again and rolls them until she’s on top of him. She scoots backward a little until she’s straddling his hips in a rough approximation of the position she was in during their Uber ride.

She bites her lip and rocks her pelvis against his cock. This time they have no audience, and this time Ben doesn’t even try to stifle his groan.

She leans forward to undo the knot of his tie. Her inner thigh just barely brushes up against his swollen cock again as she moves. The loud, guttural noise Ben makes at this small contact, and the tight grimace on his face, tells Rey he’s already incredibly close to being done for.

With nimble fingers, and with her breasts pressed against his chest, Rey quickly gets his tie undone. Ben watches her, reverent and slack-jawed, as she slides the slim strip of silk from the collar of his shirt and tosses it to the floor.

She sits back, regarding him. His eyes are hooded, glazed over. His chest is heaving like he’s just run a mile, and now he’s fisting the sheets so tightly his knuckles are white.

“Ben,” she says again.

He props himself up on his elbows and looks at her.

“Yeah?” His voice is rough, practically crackling with need.

She swallows. “Do you want to come first? I mean—before we have sex?” She’s pretty sure this will be over before it even starts if he doesn’t. Given that he’s jerked off before some of their dates, she suspects he’ll be able to go again soon enough either way.

His eyes widen at her question.

And then he flops back down on the bed and groans again, throwing an arm over his eyes.

“Kind of,” he admits, weakly. “I’m… probably going to lose it the second I’m inside you if I don’t.” He moves his arm a little and looks up at her sheepishly. “Is that all right? I can just… um. Go into the bathroom, I guess, and...“

She lies down next to him and strokes his arm. “No,” she says. She puts her other hand on his upper thigh and slowly, meaningfully, moves it upward. She kisses his cheek. “Let me do it.” Because she really, really wants to.

She slides her hand up a little more until she’s cupping him, making him cry out.

“Oh, God,” he manages. She looks down at the front of his pants; she gasps when she sees he’s even bigger now than he was a few moments ago. She didn’t think that was even possible. He’s already starting to thrust up a little into her palm, desperate for friction, and she knows this won’t take long.

The sight of him like this, coming apart at the seams just from her touch…

It’s incredible. He is incredible.

“Rey,” he murmurs, still rubbing himself against her hand. “You are going to be the death of me.”

Interpreting all of this as consent, Rey quickly scoots down his body until she’s perched on his knees. She pops the button of his slacks and tugs down the zipper.

Rey takes a deep breath, and then reaches inside his boxers to pull his erection free.

Her eyes go wide. He’s bigger right now than Rey’s ever seen him. She wonders, for one mad instant, whether he’s even going to fit.

She wraps her hand around him as best she can, and—

“Yes,” Ben whispers hoarsely. His back is already starting to arch off the bed. “Oh, God. Yes .”

—and then she leans forward, taking him into her mouth.

It’s different, this time, from the last time she sucked him off. Before, she’d tried to stay detached. In control. She’d meant it as nothing more than a simple exercise in stamina. She was the instructor, and she was teaching him how to control himself, how to last, when his dick was being touched.

Or so she’d tried to tell herself, anyway.

Now, though, Rey lets herself enjoy the experience. She can’t get enough of Ben’s cock, she realizes, as she brings him between her lips, as she hollows out her cheeks around him, and as she swirls the soft flat of her tongue around and around his tip. He’s just so big , and thick, and she loves the way he tastes, loves the way he twitches her mouth, when he gets close.

He’s acting different this time, too. He’s not just a passive recipient of whatever Rey decides to give him. This time, he’s writhing on the bed like a wild animal, aggressively fucking up into her mouth as she sucks him off, sometimes thrusting so hard she almost gags. The noises he makes are inhuman, the words he says a combination of incoherent begging and the filthiest swear words she’s ever heard.

“Please, Rey,” he begs. She reaches down to gently cup his balls, and he grunts, squeezing his eyes shut tight. “Oh, God. Please, let me—“

He doesn’t finish his sentence. His plump, kissable lips fall open into a round, perfect O as his entire body goes rigid beneath her palms.

When his cum spurts into her mouth a moment later, she swallows it down, stroking his thighs as he shudders.

After, he lies there bonelessly for a long moment, his eyes closed, as he tries to catch his breath. She crawls back up his body and places a chaste kiss to his cheek.

“I like doing that to you,” she confesses quietly into his ear. Can he tell how wet she is right now? Can he hear her heart pounding in her chest? “Making you fall apart like that... I love it, actually.”

Ben makes a high-pitched noise deep in the back of his throat and clutches her to him.

“You are incredible,” he says earnestly, overwhelmed by feeling. He kisses her cheek. He nuzzles the side of her throat. “Absolutely incredible.

 


 

Much to Rey’s disappointment, Ben leaves the bed a few minutes later.

“I need to clean up a little,” he explains when she protests. “I’ll be right back.”

His voice is low, and full of unspoken promise.

Rey watches him walk out of his bedroom, smiling to herself, about ready to burst out of her skin with anticipation.

 


 

But everything comes to a screeching halt before Ben’s even been gone a full minute.

Now that Rey’s alone, and she has the presence of mind to really take in her surroundings, she looks around the room and sees the files that are just… sitting there, stacked neatly in the middle of Ben’s orderly desk.

The files are the only thing different about this room from the last time she was in it. The only thing here that’s new. She was so preoccupied with all of tonight’s other revelations, and with what they were doing here just a moment ago, that she hadn’t even noticed them.

But now that Rey has seen them— Hux v. Vasquez written on their spines with a bright red Sharpie—she cannot think of anything else.

“Shit,” Rey says out loud. Her stomach bottoms out as the reality she’s been trying to ignore all night comes crashing down all around her. She balls up her fists and presses them into her eyes. “Shit. Shit .”

Before she saw these files, she probably would have fucked him without talking about any of this. She would have just told herself Ben probably wasn’t involved in this case and lived in denial another day.

If she even thought about the Vasquez case at all.

But ignoring reality, and denial, are no longer options. Snoke’s files are in Ben’s bedroom, staring her in the face. The worry Rey’s had since the day she learned his firm was involved comes roaring back, drowning out everything else.

No matter how badly she wants to pretend this isn’t happening, this discussion with Ben cannot be put off any longer.

They absolutely have to clear the air.

Ben wanders back into his bedroom a few minutes later. By now, Rey is so worked up she doesn’t even notice him until he clears his throat from the doorway.

He’s barefoot now. He’s lost his shirt, too. All he’s wearing are his slacks from earlier. Despite the anxiety threatening to suffocate her, Rey would have to be dead not to notice how fucking hot he looks right now, bare-chested and smiling at her from the doorway.

He comes up behind her without a word and envelops her in a big hug. He smells like soap, and... toothpaste.

He must have just brushed his teeth.

The thought that Ben took this extra little step to be presentable for her before they have sex for the first time makes Rey’s heart clench painfully. Especially given the conversation they’ve about to have.

He buries his face in her hair, his warm breath on the back of her neck making her want to both burrow more deeply into his arms and run screaming from the room all at the same time.

“Can I return the favor?” His voice is a low, seductive murmur. He presses a tender kiss to the spot just below her ear. He’s learning her most sensitive places; Rey has to dig her fingernails into her palms not to lose it right then and there. “Can I go down on you, now? Before we…”

He trails off, kissing that sensitive spot again, and then again, before leaving his lips there and humming happily against her skin.

Instead of answering him, and with great difficulty, Rey pulls out of his embrace.

She turns to look at him, her arms folded tightly across her chest.

He looks back at her, forehead creased in confusion.

“What is it, Rey?”

I have to do this , Rey reminds herself. No matter how much I don’t want to.

“Ben,” she begins. “When you texted me a week ago, and said you wanted to talk to me about something important... what was that it you wanted to talk about?”

He blinks at her, utterly bewildered. It’s clear he wasn’t expecting this.

“Um. Well…” He scratches at the back of his neck, blowing out a breath. “I think we’ve… you know. Already covered it.” A pause. “Haven’t we?”

She blushes. Of course. “Right. Right. Um… but what I mean is, was there anything else you wanted to talk about? Besides how you… you know.” She swallows, and looks away. “Besides how you feel about me.”

He frowns. “No. I’m… pretty sure the only thing I wanted to discuss was how our arrangement was killing me. Given that you are the only person I’ve ever wanted to have sex with.”

Rey can feel her blush deepen. She tries to ignore just how hard her heart is hammering inside her ribcage.

She steels herself, and points to the files on his desk. “Are you sure you weren’t also going to tell me about that case?”

He follows where she’s pointing with his eyes.

“Um. Why would I do that?” The barest hint of panic is beginning to creep into Ben’s voice. He moves towards her, but Rey takes a deliberate step back before he can reach her.

Now he looks truly worried.

“Rey. What’s going on?”

Rey closes her eyes and takes a deep, steadying breath. She points to the files on his desk again.

“I’m working on that case, too.”

Ben’s eyes go wide as he takes a staggering step backward. He stares at her silently for a long moment, looking thunderstruck.

What? ” He glances at the files again, then back at her. “But… but that’s impossible.”

“Why is that impossible? LASS’ name must be all over those documents. You must have known I was representing the opposite side.”

Ben starts pacing his bedroom, brow furrowed, hands clasped tightly behind his back. Rey tries not to gape, tries not think about how sexy he looks right now, brooding and intense and shirtless as he stalks his room.

“I haven’t even looked at those files yet,” he tells her, still pacing. “I’m taking it over from Phasma. Literally the only two things I know about the case are that Luke Skywalker is representing the other side, and that our client is Hux, a total asshole who owns a bunch of shitty properties across town.” He stops pacing, and looks at her. “When Snoke learned Luke was involved, he immediately took Phasma off the case and put me on it. This happened yesterday. I don’t even know what the case is about yet.”

“Well, now you know three things about it,” Rey says. “The third being, I’m on it, too.”

Ben closes his eyes and sits back down on the bed. He buries his face in his hands.

“Fuck,” he mutters.

Rey sits down next to him. “So, you did know Luke’s involved. And you also know I’m at LASS. How did you not put two and two together?”

“I just… didn’t.” His voice is flat. Emotionless. He drops his hands to the mattress. “First of all, I didn’t know LASS was involved. Or that Luke was back at LASS. Hell, I didn’t even know he was back in this city until yesterday.”

“Well. Now you know,” Rey says.

He turns to face her, his eyes betraying his fear, and his sadness. “I don’t want to go up against you in this case, Rey.” He pauses. “Or in any case. Ever.”

“Ask Snoke to take you off it, then,” Rey says, bluntly. “I know you have a lot of problems with him, and with your firm. But even if you don’t know the specifics of this case, you do know Hux is terrible. How could you possibly represent someone like Hux? How could you even want to?”

Ben sighs.

“I… don’t seem able to say no to Snoke,” he mumbles, so quietly Rey wonders if perhaps he’s talking more to himself than to her.

“You need to learn how.”

“No. I really don’t think I can.” He shakes his head. “At least, not this time. Snoke only took this case because he hates Luke Skywalker more than he hates anyone or anything in this world. And he assigned it to me because he wants to channel my own, personal hatred of Luke into a solid, humiliating legal victory.” He lies back down on the bed and closes his eyes. “When I was given this assignment, nothing other than getting that next gold star from Snoke, and getting back at Luke Fucking Skywalker, seemed a relevant consideration.”

Luke Fucking Skywalker?

Rey can easily guess why Snoke despises Luke. Luke directly opposes just about everything Snoke and his law firm stand for.

But why on earth does Ben hate Luke?

Rey knows there’s a story there. But that’ll have to wait for another time.

She lies down next to him, and gently rests her hand on his arm.

“The Vasquez family could have been me, Ben.”

He turns his head to look at her. “What?”

She hesitates. What she’s about to tell him are details that, as a rule, she keeps very close to the chest. Her classmates mostly come from money and privilege. Or, at the very least, from college-educated families. When she came to law school she vowed no one would ever find out just how different from the rest of them she really is.

Success in the law is based far too much on pedigree to let people in this field know the truth about her background.

But Ben…

She looks into his eyes.

Ben, she decides, needs to know the truth.

“I grew up poor,” she tells him. “Like, really poor. My parents often didn’t have enough money to cover rent. Sometimes they didn’t have enough money to feed me.” She pauses, and bites her lip, because this next part is always the hardest. “When I was six they stopped even trying. They left me at a gas station in the middle of the night while I was asleep.”

Ben sits bolt upright in bed, horrified.

“Rey. Oh, my God. I’m.. I’m so…” He trails off, and runs an anxious hand through his hair. “ I’m sorry isn’t a remotely adequate thing to say right now, I know, but—I am.” He touches her shoulder.  “I am so, so sorry.”

She shrugs. Because it’s done. It’s in the past. “Anyway, I bounced around in the foster care system a lot after that. Some of the families were okay. Others weren’t.” She closes her eyes, remembering. “Some of the living conditions I had to endure defy description. Some of the landlords were just as bad as Hux, or worse. One time, my foster family got evicted just because my foster father lost his job and was a couple weeks late with the rent.” She looks him right in the eye. “I was nine years old. And I was homeless for six weeks after that.”

Rey gets out of bed and crosses over to Ben’s desk. This time, she looks not at the stack of Vasquez files, but at the framed picture of young Ben with his mother. Ben couldn’t have been more than six or seven years old when it was taken, and Senator Organa looks much younger here than she has when Rey’s seen her on Meet the Press.

What’s so striking to Rey about the photograph, though, is the pure, unconditional love Leia Organa clearly has for her young son. Young Ben is surly in his little suit, and clearly not in the mood to be photographed, but his mother is looking at him like he’s the center of her universe.

She turns away from the picture, wiping her eyes.

Rey has never had that kind of mother’s love. She never will.

“The Vasquez family is poor, Ben. But they’re doing right by their children.” Unlike my own parents , Rey doesn’t say. “I will do absolutely everything in my power to make certain those children do not have to go through what I did. We will win this case, Ben. And the counterclaim.” She levels Ben with the most serious stare she can muster. “No matter who’s representing their fucking landlord.”

When she’s finished, Ben slowly crosses the room to where she stands. Tentatively, as though worried she’ll rebuke him again, he gathers her into his arms.

This time, she goes willingly.

“I will call Snoke—tonight; right now—and tell him I won’t work on this case.” He pulls her closer, and presses a kiss to the top of her head. “I don’t want to be the sort of person who works for people like Snoke. I don’t want to be the kind of lawyer who represents monsters like Hux. I swear I don’t. But I… Rey, I also have no idea if Snoke will accept my request.” She feels him stiffen in her arms. “Or what I’ll do if he tells me I have to work on it anyway.”

Rey nods, her heart both soaring, and sinking, at his words. “Okay.”

“Snoke has a way of…” Ben pauses, searching for the right words. “Manipulating me, I guess. Convincing me that if I only do everything he asks of me, in the end I’ll get everything I want.” He chuckles darkly. “I know that sounds stupid. But it’s the only way I can describe the insane kind of hold he has over me.”

Rey pulls back a little and looks him in the eye.

“If you do what he wants you to do in this case, you’ll lose something you already have.” She shakes her head, her lips pressed together in a thin, hard line. “I can’t be with someone who would knowingly, actively work against this family, Ben. I won’t.”

They don’t say anything else for a very long time after that. The only sounds Rey can hear are Ben’s irregular breathing as he processes everything she’s just told him— including the suggestion that she’s something he already has.

And then, finally—

“Can you be in the room with me when I call him? Please?”

His voice is small, terrified, and it breaks Rey’s heart that such a brilliant man feels so unable to free himself from something that doesn’t make him happy.

“Of course, Ben,” she tells him. She leans up, and presses a kiss to his cheek. He’s trembling. “I’ll be right beside you the whole time, holding your hand.”

He crushes her to him, and lets out a loud, grateful sob.

“Thank you.”

She pulls him closer.

“I’ve got you, Ben,” she murmurs, fiercely, protectively, against his bare chest. “I’ve got you.”

Chapter Text

Insertion:  the addition of language at a place within an existing typed or written document

 


 

They sit together, Rey perched on his lap, in one of Ben’s cozy leather armchairs while he makes the call.

The idea of Rey being half a living room away from him, all the way over in the other armchair, while he’s talking to Snoke is apparently too much for Ben to handle right now.

“Here goes nothing,” Ben mutters. This chair wasn’t really designed for two people; his lips are so close to Rey’s cheek right now she can feel his warm breath against her skin as he speaks.

He punches Snoke’s number into his phone and then, sighing, holds the phone up to his ear. He wraps his free arm around Rey to pull her even closer, and Rey closes her eyes, snuggling against his chest.

He’s trembling.

“I’m proud of you, Ben,” she tells him. Because he needs to know. One hand finds the little hairs at the nape of his neck, and she begins idly running her fingers through them.

“But... I haven’t done anything yet,” he protests.

As she continues to touch him, his eyes slip closed, and his body relaxes a little, slouching further into the chair. Rey smiles, pleased that her presence here is a comfort.

“You’ve already done the hardest part,” she counters.

As she sits there, her head resting against his chest, her hands playing with his hair, Ben waits for Snoke to pick up his phone for what feels like a very long time. He waits until the call goes to voicemail before finally hanging up.

He looks at Rey, and then up at the ceiling, biting his lip as he ponders what to do next.

“Email’s probably better,” he muses. He glances at his phone again. “It’s already past ten. Even Snoke probably stops answering calls after a certain point.”

He flips his phone around in his hands for a few moments, absently, a faraway look in his eyes as he thinks of the best way to phrase what he wants to tell his boss.

Eventually, he nods, decided.

“Yeah,” he murmurs to himself. “Yeah. That’ll work.”

He begins to tap out his message to Snoke, his long, dexterous fingers moving with surprising speed over his phone’s tiny screen.

After only a minute or two, though, he stops.

He stiffens.

“Actually… you know what? No. No. ” He practically shouts the words, startling Rey. Suddenly, and for the first time all evening, he sounds absolutely furious.

“Ben? What is it?”

He doesn’t answer her. “ Fuck this,” he says again. “I’m done with this bullshit. All of it.”

Before Rey can say anything else he’s back to tapping words into his phone again, his lips pressed together in a hard, thin line.

This time, he only types for about thirty seconds. After he’s finished, his eyes scan the screen as he reads over what he’s just written.

Then he looks at her, his eyes wide and a little unfocused.

“Want to read it before I send it?” He’s not shouting anymore, but he’s breathing very hard. Like he’s just run a mile, not drafted an email to his boss.

He’s so nervous and worried right now. It hurts her heart, seeing him like this.

But…

Rey bites her lip. “I probably shouldn’t,” she says, apologetically. She squeezes his hand. “Hearing your half of a two-sided phone conversation would probably was one thing. But reading an actual email relating to a case…” She shakes her head. “If the email makes suggestions on how the case should be staffed, or discusses specifics, I shouldn’t read it. Right?”

Ben glances at his phone, looks back to Rey, and then looks down at his phone again.

“I mean, I haven’t taken Legal Ethics yet,” he says. “But I don’t think we’d be violating anything if you read my letter of resignation.”

Her eyes go wide. “Your what?”

He turns his phone around so she can see the screen.

It’s only a few lines long:

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dear Mr. Snoke,

I’m resigning my summer position effective immediately. I’ll be in on Monday to return my files and my keys to HR, and for any other administrative tasks HR needs me to take care of.

Sincerely,

Ben C. Solo

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Rey reads the email three times to make sure her eyes aren’t playing tricks on her. Then she just stares at Ben, shocked beyond speech.

He raises an eyebrow at her. “See any typos?”

She swallows, trying to remember how to breathe.

She shakes her head.

“No,” she says, eventually. “No typos. But, Ben , what are you--”

He cuts off the rest of her words with a long, searing kiss.

“Good,” he murmurs against her lips, before pressing send.

 


 

“What are you going to do now?”

They’re still sitting in the same chair in Ben’s living room, watching a rom com he found on Netflix about an hour ago. Well; sort of watching. Between the kisses they keep breaking for, and how jittery Ben has been after sending off that email, neither of them are following what passes for its plot very closely.

At Rey’s question, Ben turns his head a little so he can look at her.

“Well...” he says, drawing out the word. He scratches at his chin as he pretends to look thoughtful. But he’s still got that same giddy gleam in his eye he’s had for the past hour, and she’s not fooled. “First of all, after this stupid movie ends--” he nods a little, indicating the tv-- “I’m going to try and convince you to come back with me to my bedroom. Assuming that works, my next step will to be to seduce you so that you’ll… you know. Fuck me.”

He waggles his eyebrows at her and gives her a ridiculous, shit-eating grin that lights up his entire face.

Rey shivers at his words, knowing there’s truth behind them despite the fact that he’s obviously being silly right now, and clearly dodging her real question.

She kisses him, once, on the lips--just because she can-- and then smirks at him.

“I meant professionally , Ben.”

When she asked him to get taken off Vasquez, she hadn’t meant for him to go so far as to actually quit . She can’t say she loves the idea of him working there, but that’s more to do with how Snoke treated him, and how he was reacting to that treatment, than anything else. Rey’s not naive; she knows that most of what Snoke probably does--and most of what Ben did for Snoke--was legitimate work on behalf of legitimate businesses.

Distasteful work, maybe. Definitely not her personal cup of tea. But not morally repellent the way representing Hux was.

She’d assumed if Snoke took Ben off this file, Ben would go back to working for large, faceless corporations in their dealings with other large, faceless corporations. She would figure out a way to deal with it... and that would be that.

But what would quitting halfway through the summer mean for Ben’s future?

Ben pauses, considering her question for real this time, and rests his cheek on her head.

“I’m… not totally sure what I’m going to do,” he admits quietly. “I accepted this position for two reasons. Stupid reasons, but they seemed compelling at the time.” He shakes his head. “But I can’t let them motivate me anymore. Not this much. Not if I want to be happy. I just don’t know what will--or should--take their place.”

“What were the reasons?” she asks. It’s a nosy question, she knows, and not one she’s certain he’ll answer.

But he does.

“The most important reason, by a huge margin, was that I knew working for Snoke would piss off my family.” He gives her a wry smile. “A lot.”

Rey wants to ask why making his family angry was so important to him. But she’s already pushed enough for one night, and she holds her tongue.

“Oh,” is all she says.

“Yeah,” Ben says, rolling his eyes. “The second was that it’s the most prestigious firm in the city, and wasn’t that what I deserved? What I’d earned?” He shakes his head. “Like I said--stupid reasons. I’ve loathed every fucking minute of my time at that firm. I hated my boss. My clients. The other assholes, like Phasma, who work there.”

Rey closes her eyes, and leans forward until their foreheads are touching.

“In that case, I’m glad you quit.”

And she is glad. If being there made him this miserable, he did the right thing.

He touches her chin, and she opens her eyes. His eyes are brown, warm. Inviting.

“The worst part was, after only six weeks, I was starting to hate myself, too.” He laughs a little, but there’s no humor in it. “I hated what working for Snoke, constantly trying to be what he expected me to be, being around all those other horrible people, was doing to me. What it was making me become.” He pauses. Bites his lip. “Honestly, Rey, I have no idea what will happen next. But I have to think it’ll all work out. Nothing could be worse than staying at that place one minute longer.”

Rey touches his cheek. “I have to think it’ll all work out for you in the end.” It’s the truth. He’s first in their class. His mom’s a U.S. Senator. People like him don’t typically fall through the cracks, professionally, if they don’t want to.

He smiles at her. “Even if it doesn’t work out…” He breaks off, shaking his head. “Even if I never work in the law again, it’s better than what the alternative would have been if I’d stayed.”

 


 

At length, the movie ends.

Ben uses the remote to shut off the tv halfway through the closing credits. His hand falls back to the chair with a thunk , and he lets out a long, shaky breath.

He turns to look at Rey.

At some point during the movie, Ben had begun to relax a little. By the end, he was even paying some actual attention to the thing, snickering occasionally and rolling his eyes.

Now that the movie’s over, though, and no longer a distraction--and the only thing left for him to focus on is Rey, on his lap, still wearing the fitted black sheath she wore to tonight’s cocktail party--the rigidity in his spine that’s always a dead giveaway that he’s nervous is unmistakably back.

Rey shifts a little on his lap, and hears Ben’s sharp intake of breath.

Her eyes go wide. He’s... already half-hard.

That was fast , she thinks, a little surprised.

And then: Yes .

He clears his throat.

“So,” he says. His voice sounds a little strained. He’s staring at the fingers of his left hand, not looking at her, a shy flush she’s come to know well beginning to stain his cheeks. “About that to-do list I mentioned earlier.”

He doesn’t say anything else after that. But he doesn’t have to. He’s getting harder beneath her with every passing second, and she knows exactly what he’s talking about.

Rey turns his chin with her hands so he has to look at her. And she kisses him, savoring it, briefly sucking his luscious bottom lip into her mouth before letting it go.

“Do you still want to do this?” she murmurs. She thinks he does. It feels like he does. But a lot has happened tonight. If Ben wants to put this final step off until another time…

Well. She’d be disappointed, but she’d understand.

But Ben isn’t really listening to her anymore. His gaze has dropped to her breasts, which he caresses with his eyes as tenderly as he ever has with his hands. Instead of answering her question with words he leans forward, slowly, and presses a lingering kiss to one, and then the other, over her dress.

He rests his cheek against her chest, and wraps his arms around her. She responds in kind, holding him close.

“I dream of you, Rey,” Ben admits, very quiet. His voice, already deep to begin with, is lower than she’s ever heard it, a dark, rich baritone that turns her blood to fire in her veins and sounds like molten honey. Like sex. “Every single night. I can’t stop thinking about you, naked in my bed. I keep thinking about how fucking incredible you’d felt, clenching around my fingers when you came.”

As he speaks, he starts to draw small, invisible patterns with his fingertips at the small of her back. Even though his touch is separated from her body by the fabric of her dress, every nerve ending is so alive right now, so sensitized, it feels like he’s touching bare skin.

He runs his hands along her arms, his fingertips leaving a trail of gooseflesh in their wake.

“Ben,” she whispers, pulling him closer. Wanting more.

He lifts his head so he can look up at her, his eyes so dark and hungry it takes her breath away.

“Show me all the rest of it. Please,” he breathes, repeating his words from the elevator. “All I want right now is to be buried inside you.”

He’s so hard beneath her now. So hard. And as he speaks, and she listens to what he’s telling her, she starts to lose patience.

She’s ready for him. For this.

And he’s ready too.

She repositions a little herself so she’s straddling his hips, making him gasp again. His cock is right there , so thick and solid and hers, pressing intimately against her most sensitive places.

The look on his beautiful face is so stunned, so full of wide-eyed desperation and wonder and longing, that she can’t help but rock her hips against him, just once, almost before she realizes she’s done it.

Her dress is hiked up to her waist by this point, his cock separated from her by nothing but his slacks and her thin scrap of damp underwear. When it makes brief, delicious contact with her clit, it sends sparks of sensation racing through her.

Her toes curl reflexively, and they both cry out.

“Rey,” he gasps, clutching her tighter.

“Bedroom,” she whispers against his lips. “Now.”

He says nothing, only picks her up in the position she’s already in, straddling his lap, and walks her backwards the fifteen feet it takes to get to his room. As he walks, she rests her forehead against his shoulder, winding her arms and legs so tightly around his body she’s no longer sure where she ends and he begins.

He stumbles into his room, and shoves her up against the wall, pinning her there with his body, far too impatient for this, now that they’re finally here, to make it all the way to the bed.

“Show me, Rey,” he rasps, pressing hot, desperate kisses down the slim column of her throat. Her legs are still tight around his waist, her pelvis tilted slightly towards him, and he angles his hips just enough that he can thrust up against her core while they’re both still standing.

The feel of him losing control like this, his grip on sanity unravelling before either of them are fully undressed, sends a red hot spike of lust coursing down her spine.

Ben, ” she cries out, rocking against him as best she can in this position, shocked both by his boldness and how desperate she is for him to keep going.

“Show me how. Please, ” he begs again, into her neck, brokenly, as he continues to move. Her underwear does nothing to dull the feel of him, hot and heavy and there . Her shoulders are sliding down the wall a little as they both lose their ability to hold themselves upright, but she doesn’t care. Because this is everything , the way Ben is pinning her to the wall with his hips and his strong arms as he moves against her, his cock between her thighs, his enormous hands tearing down the straps of her dress so he can mouth at her tits.

“I want--” she begins, but then his lips close, hard and insistently, around one rosy crested peak, and she forgets the rest of what she was about to say, forgets her own name, forgets everything but the feel of his body pressed so urgently against hers and the achingly soft flat of his tongue.

“I want you ,” he finishes, his voice all low growl and hot breath against her breast. He fumbles a moment, then slides a large, shaking hand inside her underwear, finding her clit and rubbing tight circles against it--

--and then she shatters, with no warning, still pinned between him and the wall, her jaw going slack as her vision whites out with pleasure.

He pulls back a little, pausing his movements, watching her with reverence as she breaks.

He is stunned, for a long moment, beyond words.

“So beautiful,” he eventually murmurs. He sounds dazed. Incredulous. Like he cannot believe this is actually happening.

He gathers her to him, boneless in his arms, and lies her gently down on his bed. By the time Rey comes back to herself and blinks open her eyes, Ben’s already stripped off his clothes, his expensive tailored suit now lying in a messy pile on the floor.

Her eyes roam appreciatively over his incredible body, taking in his broad chest and narrow hips before moving back up again.

Mine , she thinks, the residual pleasure from her orgasm making her a dizzy. All mine.

She meets his gaze, and sees, instantly, that his boldness from a moment ago has faltered.

“Can you…” his jaw works, and he swallows visibly, licking his lips. His voice is sandpaper-rough. “Can you take off your dress? Please, Rey. I want to see you.”

If this were one of their lessons from before, she’d make him do it himself. She’d tease him. Draw it out. Make certain he was learning something from the experience.

But this isn’t one of their lessons. And right now, Ben looks on the verge of spontaneous combustion. The time for teasing him, for being the instructor, is long gone.

Rey gets up on her knees and, in one fluid motion, pulls her dress up and over her head. She tosses it to the floor, where it lands in a heap by Ben’s suit.

She takes off her bra and underwear, and then before she can even turn around to face him he’s on the bed beside her, gently guiding her onto her back and parting her thighs, every muscle in his body rigid and trembling. He’s got his dick in one hand, throbbing a little and enormous. He’s holding it so tightly it looks almost painful.

In his other hand he’s clutching a small, foil packet.

Rey stares at the little square. And she flushes, imagining Ben Solo at Target, stammering and terrified, purchasing his very first box of condoms.

She covers the hand holding the condom with hers and squeezes it reassuringly, stopping his movements.

“Let me.”

She takes it from him and quickly rolls the condom on. Ben’s eyes roll back in his head at the sensation. Overwhelmed, suddenly, by the affection she feels for this man, Rey kisses his lips, unable to help herself.

Together, they position his tip at her entrance. It nudges, bumps, against her opening, and she shivers in anticipation.

She takes a deep breath to steady her nerves.

“Are you ready?” she asks. She reaches down and strokes him once, very gently.

He whimpers.

Please ,” he begs.

She coaxes him forward, and--

Oh ,” she breathes, the sound pushed out of her as he pushes in.

For a long moment, neither of them move. Neither of them breathe. He’s trembling violently above her, his hands white-knuckled as he fists the sheets on either side of her head.

He’s just so... big . It’s been a long time for her, which probably doesn’t help. Either way, she can hardly breathe right now she’s so full of Ben. She tries to reposition herself beneath him--just a little; just so she can try and accommodate his massive girth-- and he whines in response at the slight change in sensation.

“You feel,” he grits out, mouth right by her ear, his eyes squeezed tightly shut. “So. Fucking. Good .”

But he doesn’t move. He’s holding himself as still as he can above her, taking large, gasping breaths as he tries to calm himself down.

She kisses his cheek. “You can move, Ben,” she encourages him. But her voice is shaking a little now, too. “I want you to move. Just, go slow at first, all right? You’re, like… really big.”

At that, he pulls back, just enough to look at her.

He blinks.

“I am?”

He looks legitimately surprised--and pleased --by this information. Rey almost starts to laugh, in spite of everything.

“You seriously didn’t know that?”

He ducks his head, his cheek hot against hers. “I guess I didn’t.”

She turns her head to the side so she can kiss him. “Well. Now you do.”

He chuckles a little, still sounding unbearably nervous.

“Cool,” he says, on a whisper.

And he starts to move.

It’s not the hurried, frantic thrusting Rey’s experienced with other partners, and that she’d imagined when she allowed herself to think about sex with Ben. Ben’s movements inside her are slow, tentative, and rigidly controlled. They’re barely movements at all, really--as though he still can’t believe he’s here, with her, and doing this.

He’s shaking again as he fights to hang on and keep that control, his breathing so hard and so rapid Rey gently runs her hands down along his spine to help soothe him.

Shh .” His face is pressed into the pillow beside her head, his ear right by her mouth. She traces its shell with the tip of her tongue.

He throbs inside her in response, whining desperately.

“It’s okay,” Rey says. “I said go slow , but you can give me more than this. I promise I won’t break.”

“But--” he gasps. “But if I go any faster, it’s… it’s over.”

Rey tilts her hips a little, and slides her hands down his back until she’s gripping his ass.

“If that happens, Ben, we’ll just have to do it again . ” She kisses his cheek. “And then again.”

She squeezes his ass, hard, pulling him more deeply inside her, urging him on.

He groans, helplessly, into her ear. And he breaks.

“Rey,” he moans, as he starts up a punishing pace. There’s no finesse to his movements. No rhythm. All that propels him forward is his hard, driving need. Rey throws her head back on the pillows and revels in it. In his size. In him. In the way he fills her up so completely every time he fucks into her, and the yearning emptiness he leaves behind when he pulls back out.

Oh ,” she breathes, open-mouthed, feeling the hunger inside her building again as he fucks her with abandon. Her breasts are bouncing with the speed and force of his movements but Ben’s too far gone, too desperate both to come and to make this experience last as long as possible, to notice. He’s trying to put some of his weight on his forearms to keep from crushing her, but he’s so close to the edge he’s shaking himself to pieces with the effort.

“Rey,” he groans loudly. The sound of her name on his lips, in this moment, is profane and holy all at once. “Oh, god, Rey, I’m--”

He slams into her one last time, his hips locking him into place so hard she’ll probably have bruises later. His body goes still and rigid above her, his eyes rolling back into his head just before he buries his face in her hair.

And he comes, his cock pulsing inside her. She soothes him through it, whispering sweet words into his ear and gently caressing his arms, his back, every part of him she can reach, as he spasms.

We’ll do this again , she thinks to herself, smiling.

When it’s over, and he collapses on top of her, breathless, the weight of his body pressing her into the mattress feels like nothing so much as a new beginning.

 


 

The next morning arrives far too soon. Ben must have forgotten to pull down his blinds last night, and sunlight comes pouring into his bedroom long before Rey is ready to wake up.

Waking up to this , though--Ben Solo, his long body curled protectively around hers, an arm slung over her waist as he sleeps beside her--

There are definitely worse ways to start the day.

She rolls over in bed so she can see him. She winces, still a bit sore from last night’s activities, but smiling to herself as she remembers how she ended up this way.

Her movements jostle him a little, and he blinks open his eyes.

He smiles bashfully, blissfully, at her.

“Good morning,” he sighs. His smile grows, and broadens, until it transforms his face, making him look younger, somehow. Like someone without a care in the world.

She smiles back at him, leaning across the pillow so she can kiss him the rest of the way awake.

“Good morning,” she murmurs against his lips.

Because it is.

Chapter Text

Rey wakes to the sound of dishes being stacked in the kitchen sink and the smell of something wonderful baking.

She stretches languidly in the bed, and turns her head to the side. Sure enough, Ben is gone, the side of the bed he’d slept on cold and empty.

More noises come from the kitchen. Now it sounds like he’s rummaging around for something in the fridge. And not having much luck finding it, if the muttered swearing she can only just make out from here is any guide.

It’s still pretty early, but by this point Rey’s wide awake, so she decides she might as well go investigate. She sits up, letting the soft sheets fall to her waist, and scans the pile of clothes on the floor. She grabs her underwear, and Ben’s t-shirt from last night, deciding they’ll do.

Rey finds him standing at the kitchen counter with his back to her, stirring something she cannot see. He’s shirtless, dressed only in his plaid boxers, and Rey takes full advantage of the fact that he didn’t hear her come in to look her fill. She takes in his broad shoulders, his slim waist--

--and his tight, perfect ass.

She’d had her hands on that ass just last night, urging him on as he fucked her, hard, into the mattress.

Mine , she thinks, possessively, smiling at the memory of it, as she watches him work undetected. All mine.

It’s only been two weeks. Two short, incredible weeks. Hardly any time at all, really. Even still, Rey’s not sure she’ll ever get used to this.

Quietly, so she won’t give herself away, Rey creeps up behind him, and then slides her arms around him from behind--marveling, once again, at just how perfect the hard muscles of his chest feel beneath her hands.

He jumps a little at her touch, clearly surprised.

“Hey,” she says, pressing a gentle kiss between his shoulder blades.

He sighs contentedly. “Hey.” He doesn’t turn from what he’s doing to face her, but she can hear the smile in his voice all the same. “Are you hungry?”

As if on cue, Rey’s stomach growls audibly. She cringes, burying her face in his back. But he only laughs.

“I guess I am,” she admits. “What are you making? It smells incredible.”

“Waffles.” Ben sets down his whisk and turns so he can pull her into his arms. “Although it was supposed to be a surprise. I didn’t expect you up so early.”

Of all the things Rey has learned about Ben the past two weeks, the fact that making big breakfasts is kind of a thing for him might be the biggest surprise. Even now, while he’s technically unemployed, he’s the hardest-working person she knows, spending hours each day on the phone with his mother, with members of the local bar, with partners of law firms in other cities--everyone falling all over themselves to encourage him work for them , rather than a competitor, next summer. (Standing up to someone like Snoke, as a law student, apparently comes with it a certain amount of respect.) But when Rey’s with him, everything else in his life seems to fall away. All of his focus, all of his attention, is on her.

And every morning she’s woken up in Ben’s bed there’s been something delicious waiting for her in the kitchen. Something he’s made, especially for her, with his own two hands.

It tugs at her heart, how close they’re growing. How comfortable, and unexpectedly easy it’s all been, falling into this still-unnamed thing that’s sprung up between them as quickly as summer grass.

It’s like nothing she’s ever experienced before. Like nothing she ever expected to experience.

“I.. don’t really know how to do this part,” she blurts out suddenly, just as Ben’s reaching into a cupboard for the plates.

Ben pauses, and blinks at her, confused. “This part?”

She huffs out a breath and closes her eyes.

This has been on her mind for weeks. But she’s never known how, or when, to bring it up. The earnest look he’s giving her now, though, over the waffles he woke up at the crack of dawn to make for her--  

She stares down at her feet. “The part that comes after the sex, I mean. The... this … relationship part.” She swallows. “I don’t know how to do it. I’ve… never done it.”

Not like this, anyway.

A beat.

“Oh.”

She chances a glance at him. To her relief, if he’s surprised by her confession, or upset in any way, he shows no sign of it. He only pulls her to him again and kisses her forehead.

He says: “Well, maybe this part... we can learn how to do together.”

He smiles a little. The earnest, honest, hopeful look he gives her takes her breath away.

She smiles back, and reaches up to cup his face in her hands. He leans into her touch, eyes fluttering closed.

“Sounds like a plan to me,” she murmurs, her heart full of hope and wonder.