Actions

Work Header

Two birds with one stone

Chapter Text

Chapter 1.

 

Porgs’ shit.

 

Ben opened his eyes and looked around him. What did he expect to see? Waking up in his spacious bedroom every day, Ben had hoped that when he opened his eyes something would be different. That was foolish of him, Ben knew that, but he couldn’t stop hoping. He didn’t even know what he was waiting for, but he still waited. And every day was always the same.

 

Ben groaned, stopping the urge to throw his alarm clock into the wall, and turned the fucking buzzing thing off. Everything around him seemed gloomy. It was the first day of the autumn semester, and Ben had to go to campus in several hours. He had a couple of classes today and then he would be able to do whatever he wanted. Ben would probably call Hux. The redhead owed him a pint for a lost bet. Ben smiled at the thought of his best friend.

 

They saw each other often now as both of them had been working at Takodana University for the last couple of years. Hux and his wife Phasma had been Ben’s friends since their first year at the First Order Institute of Technology where the three of them studied Engineering. Ben frowned at the memory. Too much had happened since his first day at FOIT, some of those events he would be happy to forget forever.

 

He couldn’t, though.

 

Hux was a professor in Engineering just like Ben, and Phasma owed a little coffee shop not far from the campus. The place was unique. It looked completely out of place in their small town. The coffee shop had its modern design and crazy names for beverages that were served there. But “The Workshop” was popular among students, and the business flourished. “The Workshop” was the only place outside his own flat where Ben drank coffee. Phasma just knew how to make his coffee right, and Ben always had a special place in her coffee shop reserved for him. There, in his favorite corner, he could sit, relax, talk to Phasma, Hux or both of them and not speak to any other people.

 

Ben hated people. Especially students.

 

He sipped his coffee, burning his tongue and welcoming the feeling. Sometimes a little amount of pain in his body helped Ben coping with much deeper pain in his soul even if he didn’t want to admit it. Ben preferred to think that he had no soul at all, but sometimes something he couldn’t suppress ached inside him, making Ben very angry.

 

He still had some time before he had to go to work, so Ben turned to his daily routine. He worked out for an hour in the gym in the basement of his house, showered, and made himself one more sandwich. Warm ham and cheese, a lot of cheese, was his favorite, so when he finally left his home, everything seemed tolerable, even the necessity to go to his classes and deal with students. He messaged Hux, asking the redhead to meet him in the evening, and left the flat.

 

Here we go again… Ben thought to himself.

 

***

 

Rey opened her eyes and looked around. The dream she had had was nice, and she smiled to herself, trying to imprint the last moments of it into her memory. There, in her dream, she felt warm. Someone’s gentle hands were caressing her, and Rey felt like she finally belonged somewhere. It wasn’t an exact place, but the feeling of staying in those arms. They were gigantic, with nails neatly trimmed. For some reason, Rey remembered those nails. The nail plates were very subtle and elegant, and she had never seen fingers so long and beautiful.

 

She snorted to herself. It was stupid, really, to think about someone’s nails. Rey looked at her own hands. Her nails were short. Otherwise, she wouldn't be able to work in an auto repair shop, and Rey didn’t wear any nail polish as long as… Well, it would be too complicated to keep it in place while working with some greasy engines.

 

Poe always criticized her for the way she wore her nails, telling Rey that she wasn’t feminine enough. Poe actually chided Rey for almost everything she did, starting from her style in clothes and ending with her choice of the education program. The last one was indeed strange, as the two of them had met each other during Rey’s first year at Takodana University where they both had chosen to study Engineering.

 

Everything had been so different back then! Rey and Poe had had similar backgrounds. Well, in a way…

 

Though unlike Rey, Poe wasn’t an orphan, he had grown up in the favelas of Yavin. His parents had been some junkies, and Poe had led a miserable life until he had been found by his rich grandmother who had taken him to her house, made him the heir of her fortune and let him get a proper education. Poe had money now and didn’t have to worry about his future. His grandmother had died several years before he met Rey, and Poe had become wealthy. So very wealthy...

 

Poe was three years older than Rey and had become the best student on the course in the previous semester. He had been so very proud back then and so had been Rey. Well… Sort of… The thing was that everyone would say Poe was perfect. He seemed kind, generous, smart and caring. But it’s been a while since Rey had started to see the real Poe. And she wasn’t sure she liked what she saw anymore.

 

When they had started dating, Poe had encouraged Rey in everything she did. He had admired her intelligence, had told her how beautiful she was, and soon Rey had realized that she had fallen hard for him. Rey had never had enough money for herself, she had her scholarship, of course, but money was always tight. The first year at TU she had lived on campus and had shared a room with a girl from Canto Bight called Rose Tico. Rey and Rose had gotten along right away as they shared a passion for Engineering. Rose was a badass and confident, the complete opposite of Rey. Rose and her elder sister Paige had become Rey’s best friends, and when Poe had asked Rey to move in with him several months after the two of them had started dating, she had agreed but had hated to leave her two girls behind.

 

However, Rey had agreed. Not only had she loved the guy, but also Poe had his own flat, so the rent wasn’t an issue for her anymore. Rey had also found a job in a small auto repair shop on the other side of the town, so money became easier. She was even able to eat regularly. But otherwise many things had changed to the worse.

 

At first, Rey hadn’t noticed those changes. They were slow and gradual. Poe hadn’t liked the way Rey dressed. He had laughed at her choice of clothes and at her hairstyle. She had never minded him making a bit of fun of her, so she hadn’t put her mind into this. Until once he had bought her the whole new wardrobe without even asking her. The clothes had been nice but had also been nothing like her. All those tight short dresses, tops that had shown just too much of her body... Poe had demanded that Rey wore them. Rey had tried one of the dresses on, and the girl who had looked at her from the mirror was not her, but some cheap whore from a rusty bar in Yavin. Rey had refused to wear the new clothes, and Poe had gotten furious. He had shouted at her, told her that she had no taste. He had told her she wasn’t even slightly pretty and made no effort to fit him.

 

Rey had been shocked. Quickly, she had gathered her things and ran away from Poe’s apartment. Rose and Paige had been equally happy to see her and terrified by the story Rey had told them. She had stayed with them for three days, looking for some options to move back to campus. With Rey being gone, Rose and Paige had moved to a smaller room and Rey had had to sleep on the floor. The dorms had been full.

 

And then Poe had come back.

 

He had begged Rey for forgiveness, had almost crawled on his knees in front of her, asking Rey to give him one more chance. Rey had hesitated at first, but the thing was she loved Poe, so after all, she had agreed to come back to him.

 

At the same time, her boss in the auto repair shop had decreased her salary. Unkar Plutt had assumed that considering the market situation, an undergraduate like Rey would not be able to find another job very quickly, so he had just decreased her salary, and money had become a problem for Rey once again.

 

Things with Poe had been stable for some time, but then everything had started to get worse again. Rey and Poe had often discussed Engineering at home, and Rey’s point of view had often been contrary to Poe’s. Rey had never been a conflictual person. Growing up in the foster system, she had learned to keep quiet just in case her foster parents had not been in the mood. So she had tried not to get into fights, but Poe had always pushed the subject to the point where he started yelling at her and insulting her. He had always come back apologizing afterwards, but things were tough. Once Rey had noticed that Poe had used one of her ideas, the one he had been so vehemently speaking against, in one of his projects. It had surprised Rey but had warmed her heart at the same time. That meant Poe had actually agreed with her, she had thought, even if he hadn’t admitted it. It had warmed Rey’s heart, but, truth be told, Poe had never thanked Rey for that, although his project had been very well appreciated by those who had seen it.

 

Their relationships were complicated, but Rey still loved Poe… In a way…

 

Rey’s work didn’t bring her a lot of money, and it seemed that Unkar had been right, assuming that she wouldn’t be able to find something else. Poe helped her, of course, but Rey didn’t want to take his money. At some point she had realized that she wanted to move away from him when she had an opportunity, just to be a little bit more independent. She knew that Poe wouldn’t like it. It seemed really strange. Poe was often rude with her, but for some reason, Rey knew that Poe was afraid that she would go away. However, she wanted to try. Just to move away at first maybe. But the dorms were full, Rey couldn’t afford a flat on her own, and there was no one willing to share one with her. Things with Rose and Paige had changed as well. Rose was still her best friend, but Paige’s attitude towards Rey had changed for some reason. The girl had often seemed annoyed by Rey’s presence, and finally, Paige had asked Rey to have her one-on-one meetings with Rose somewhere outside the dorms. Rey had been hurt, and Rose had got furious, but Paige hadn’t changed her mind.

 

The worst part was that no one, except for Rose, would believe in Rey’s stories about Poe. No matter what had happened between Rey and Paige, they all still gathered together from time to time. Before moving to Takodana Rey had never had friends, so she still hoped that the situation with Paige would change somehow and everything would go back to normal. Rey also hoped that if she and Poe broke up one day, they would still stay friends. The truth was that Rey’s worst fear was not even to be hungry and homeless (after all, she had been there already during her years in the foster system and had survived), Rey’s worst fear was to lose her friends and to be abandoned again. Rose, Paige and Poe were her friends, no matter what. Rey believed that. And there was also Finn, Poe’s best friend who was always kind to Rey and who had also almost become her friend during her time with Poe too. That was their little circle, the five of them, and Rey was deadly afraid to lose them.

 

But none of them, except for Rose, would believe in Rey’s stories about her boyfriend. When they all got together, Poe behaved just like he had at the beginning of their relationship. He was caring and loving and oh so very gentle. Rey had always been deprived of love and care, so when Poe was like that, she forgot that they had problems at all. They would come back home afterwards and have sex, but then Poe's mood would change again until their next meeting with their friends.

 

Everything was too complicated. Rey probably had to go away, find the strength to do so, but if she were completely honest with herself, Rey would admit how much she depended on Poe and how afraid she was to lose everyone she cared about because of him.

 

 

Rey sighed and got off of the bed as silent as she could. She had an advanced Engineering class this morning, and she had to be there on time. They said that Professor Solo was awful with latecomers. Rey had never seen the man, but he was sort of a legend at Takodana University. Professor Solo and his colleague Professor Hux had been the two youngest professors on campus when they had started working at TU. People said, they were friends, but that fact didn’t stop the two of them from competing each other all the time when it came to engineering. Their students' projects were presented in every engineering competition, and sometimes the jury had hard times, deciding which one of them deserves the first prize. They said, in class Solo was fierce. He was open to discussions, but if he had noticed that someone was fooling around in his class, the consequences would be dreadful for the one who had got the young Professor’s attention. Rey was crazy about Engineering, but she was already afraid of Solo. She definitely didn’t want to be late.

 

“Could you be even noisier?” Poe grumbled, entering the kitchen. “My classes start in the afternoon, so for sure I wanted to wake up at 6 fucking o’clock in the morning!”

“Sorry,” Rey apologized quietly. Poe was in one of his moods, and her every word could make him explode. Her best strategy in this situation was to keep quiet and wait until Poe went away.

“When do you come back here today?” he asked, still sounding annoyed.

 

There had been a time when Poe called his apartment their home, but it wasn't the case anymore. On the contrary, every time he spoke about the place now, Poe made sure Rey realized that it was his apartment. It was especially disgusting for Rey to hear that before she and Poe had sex. It was like she owed him sex for the fact that she was living with him. Rey shivered at the memory of their last time.

 

“I have a shift at Plutt’s today in the evening. Until ten. Then I’ll be heading ho… here…”

“The fact you can’t find another job is quite disturbing, don’t you think, Rey?” Poe smirked, and Rey realized he was definitely furious because of the fact she had woken him up so early. She prepared herself for what was to follow, just in case. “I mean if you are studying Engineering at Takodana and everything you can hope for is a job at some rusty auto repair shop near a junkyard… Maybe it’s better for you just to drop it now and not waste your time?”

 

Rey gritted her teeth but didn’t let Poe drag her into this dispute. Not receiving an answer, Poe smirked once again.

 

“Do you need some money, Scavenger?” Rey wrinkled at the nickname.

 

She didn’t like to be called that, and Poe knew it perfectly well.

 

“Uhm… No, thank you. I have some.”

 

“Oh, then you’ll probably pay your part of utility payments this month, huh?”

 

Poe had never asked Rey to pay the rent, but the utility payments were a part of the deal from the very beginning. Actually, it had been Rey who had offered Poe to pay for that, not wanting to be a burden. Poe had refused at first, but Rey had insisted and started to pay her share. Now Poe mocked her for it every time she couldn’t.

 

Actually, she had almost no money at all at the moment, and if Poe had been someone else, she would probably take some from him, but right now Rey didn't want to deal with the man. It seemed, she had to go with her breakfast only and probably some crumpled sandwich from a vending machine today.

 

“We’ll see, Poe,” she managed to smile at him.

“Whatever! See you later, honey,” she kissed her roughly on the cheek, scratching her skin with his stubble, and left to the bedroom.

 

Rey took a deep breath. She had to hurry up if she didn’t want to be late.

 

***

 

“Oh, you almost got yourself into trouble,” Rose smirked kindly at her.

 

Rey had entered the classroom two minutes before the class started.

 

“Well, I am not late, am I?” Rey frowned, getting her things out of the bag.

“How are things with Poe?” Rose asked concerned.

“Nothing new.”

 

Rose frowned and wanted to tell something, but froze mid-sentence.

 

“Hello, class,” Rey heard a voice from the entrance. She turned her head to see Professor Solo entering the room.

 

She froze. The man was huge. Tall and broad-shouldered, his messy black hair reached his prominent chin. He had a big aquiline nose, and his brown eyes looked almost black to Rey. Solo couldn’t be called handsome by general standards, but there was something about him that made her shiver. Professor Solo was in his mid-thirties, Rey knew, but he looked younger. All in all, Rey thought he looked... gorgeous. Rose nudged Rey, and the girl realized that her hand had frozen in the air above her notebook.

 

“He is kinda terrifying, isn’t he?” Rose whispered.

 

Rey could only nod.

 

However, her initial shock faded quickly as soon as Professor Solo started the class. Rey immediately realized that if she wanted to survive this semester, she had to stay focused and aware. As soon as he checked if everyone was present, Solo started asking questions, and those questions were nothing like the ones other Professors asked the students to understand the level of their knowledge. The questions Solo asked were advanced, and to answer them one required to use some complicated logic. The class was failing, and Solo started to get furious.

 

“This is an advanced Engineering class, for God’s sake!” his fist slammed the desk in front of him. “How do you think you'll pass it if you know nothing?! Okay,” he took a deep breath, obviously trying to calm himself down a bit. “Okay, one last chance for all of you. If the next student I ask the question fails as hard as all the previous ones, you will all be assigned with the paper so complicated that most of you will decide to switch classes. But if that’s not the case, which I doubt, to tell you the truth, you will get a regular paper, the one I usually give to my students on their first lecture. So, are there any volunteers?”

 

The class was deadly silent.

 

“I thought so,” Solo smirked. “Okay, let me see... Johnson!”

 

Rey tried to remember if there was somebody else in her class with the same surname as hers. After all, Johnson was a common surname, wasn’t it? Right? Right?!

 

But as she raised her eyes to her teacher, she realized he was looking directly at her.

 

“Y... Yes, Professor?”

 

“So, Miss Johnson. Say, your car breaks down on the motorway somewhere in the Jakku desert,” Solo smirked. “You are driving the “Silencer GTI-198”, by the way. You wouldn’t be able to afford something a little bit more expensive, judging by the clothes you are wearing now,” Rey frowned, insulted a bit by Solo’s dismissive tone. She had had enough of that shit back at home with Poe, so she didn’t need it here, in the class. However, Rey had to stay focused. Getting the whole class into trouble would be the worst-case scenario in her situation. Solo went on. “There is some smoke coming from under the hood. Before the car stopped, you had heard a strange noise. It sounded like someone was rolling the dice again and again inside the car. So, Miss Johnson, pray tell me, what is wrong with your car? What will you do first of all? And how can you fix it, if you can fix it, of course?”

 

When Professor Solo had started questioning her, Rey thought she would be dead by the end of his question. But as Solo went on, she felt more and more relieved. It seemed some higher powers were watching her today. The Jakku desert. The “Silencer GTI-198”. The sound of somebody rolling the dice inside the car.

 

Thank you, God, or whatever you are! Rey thought.

 

She had grown up in the deserts of Jakku. She didn’t remember her parents who had abandoned her on the side of the Jakku highway in the middle of nowhere under the burning sun with nothing but a nametag on her wrist. Well, it was not actually a nametag. It had been a small piece of paper attached to a colorful ribbon that had said “Rey, 5 years old”. Her name was the only thing that had always been her own. Since then Rey had been moved from one foster family to another. Jakku had never been an orphan paradise, and the authorities had never really cared about the abandoned children there. That is why almost all foster families Rey had been moved into were quite… troubled. But one of her foster parents had actually been quite nice. The man had still been a drunk who had cared mostly for money for “taking care” of Rey, but there had been times when he wasn’t drinking, and at those times he had worked as a mechanic in his own small auto repair shop. He had taught Rey a lot about the cars. And that was why Rey knew the exact answer to Solo’s question.

 

“According to the number “198” my car was produced in 1998," she started. "Silencers GTI-198 had problems with the cooling system. That was the reason why they recalled a lot of cars back then. So I don’t really know what I am doing in the Jakku desert, riding this car. I might actually be really stupid to do so because there is like a 70% chance that something will go wrong if I ride it there,” Rey could swear that Solo had contained a smirk. “However, the problem you have described looks like the problem with the cooling system that was caused by some pebble in the radiator grill. The sound you mentioned… There are a lot of porgs living in Jakku. People there complain a lot about small stones that cover roads sometimes. They call it “porgs’ shit” and it is literally… shit… Sorry, Professor, but that’s true,” Rey heard students around her laughing, but all laughter died out quickly as Professor Solo viewed the audience with a deadly stare. Rey went on. “Porgs’ shit can get everywhere inside the car, and it usually sounds like someone is rolling the dice when that’s the case. So, I guess, some porgs’ shit broke the radiator grill of my car. It can be temporarily fixed with some sealant. But, to answer your question, first of all, I would put some gloves on. It is hot in the Jakku desert so I will burn my hands otherwise…”

 

Rey almost didn’t look at Solo throughout her speech. The man was intimidating, and she didn’t want to lose her thoughts in the middle of her answer. However, as soon as she finished answering she forced herself to look up at him.

 

Solo was watching her, and Rey’s guts made a twist under his gaze. Rey swallowed, and for a second she thought that a glimpse of a smile had touched Professor’s lips before his expression turned blank again. Rey held her breath.

 

“Well,” Solo finally said. “I guess you are all saved for today, thanks to Miss Johnson.”

 

The class cheered, and Rey felt capable of breathing again.

 

“However, it seems I asked a question that wasn’t so hard for you to answer, didn’t I?” Solo smirked, and Rey tensed. “Are you a frequent guest in Jakku, Miss Johnson?”

 

She frowned.

 

“I grew up there, Professor. I left Jakku to enter Takodana.”

 

“I see… Well, it means that you had an advantage with this question, didn’t you? That’s not really fair, don’t you think?”

 

The question made Rey furious. She didn’t make Solo ask her this question, after all, so what was the fuck?!

 

“I disagree, Professor,” she managed to stay calm despite the seething rage inside her. “I may be from Jakku, but not everyone there is capable of answering your question.”

 

“Is it so, Miss Johnson? Well, if that’s true, then I have one more question for you. The easiest one, to tell you the truth, if you are as good as you claim to be…”

 

Rey tensed. Had she thought that Solo was gorgeous? What a stupid thought it had been! Well, he probably was quite handsome, but he was a murderous snake, to say the least!

 

“So, Miss Johnson, please list all the materials that were used to make car bodies back in 1970-s. I repeat, in 1970-s.”

 

Rey was surprised. The question was actually quite easy. But there should have been a catch.

 

She started to list the materials. Truth be told, there hadn’t been too many of them back in the 70-s. The technological breakthrough that had helped to find the way of using Alderaanian steels in car manufacturing had happened in the 80-s, and before that, there hadn’t been too many options available.

 

“…and, of course, there was Yavin iron that wasn’t used too often because it was too expensive to mine it. They stopped using it after 1981 as far as I remember,” that was it, she didn’t remember anything else. It seemed, Solo wasn’t furious, so she had probably managed to give a sufficient answer. But then it suddenly dawned on her. Of course, how could she forget! “Oh, and I also forgot to mention the Tatooinean copper!”

 

At that Solo smirked. And not in a kind way.

 

“Tatooinean copper? Seriously, Miss Johnson? And I thought you actually knew the subject… When you mentioned the Yavin iron, I thought you were actually not that bad. Everyone usually forgets it as long as it wasn’t too popular and they stopped using it ages ago. But then… Tatooinean copper… I think you just listed all the materials you know, didn’t you? You are just as hopeless as the rest of this class, Miss Johnson,” Solo looked evil. There was not a trace of a smile she had seen on his face after her first answer.

 

Rey froze under his gaze. She hated conflicts, and she was always afraid to get into one. But years spent in the foster system instilled a habit in her of defending herself when a clash was inevitable. Rey sensed the danger and realized that she wasn’t able to avoid the fight, and it made her furious.

 

“I know much more materials than I have listed, Professor,” she hissed. “I may be as hopeless as everyone here, but I know for sure that Tatooinean copper was used in the production of “Millennium Falcons” in 1973. There was a limited edition, fifty cars only, back then. You can google it if you want.”

 

Solo froze. His expression changed, but Rey couldn’t read it anymore. Was he furious again? Was he angry at all? She couldn’t say. Minutes had passed before he finally spoke again.

 

“I see… Well, if you know about “Millennium Falcons” then I have to reconsider my previous opinion about you, Miss Johnson. You are completely right. Tatooinean copper was used for Falcons. There is just one Falcon left from the mentioned line in the world at the moment, by the way,” Solo addressed the class. He then looked back at Rey and for some reason this time she saw a sad smile on his face. Just for a moment, but it was there, and Rey couldn't say why. “I guess I have to apologize, Miss Johnson. You saved the class today, and you are not hopeless,” Rey smirked from under her breath.

 

“Not hopeless”, oh that was rich…

 

“Our class is over,” Solo said. “I’ll see you all on Friday. And before you go, here is your task. As you may all know, I am looking for students who are capable of participating in the Engineering competition held by Takodana University with the possibility to go to the State competitions in case the project is really good. So, what I want to see on my table this Friday is a project description that you think you might use for such a competition. Use your brains in case you have it and use your fantasy. Don’t restrict yourselves. You are free to go now.”

 

Rey finally let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding, put her stuff into the bag and followed Rose to the exit.

 

“Well done, darling,” Rose smirked. “You’ve just saved our lives.”

 

Rey rolled her eyes, exiting the classroom. She didn’t even want to think about the fact that it had taken all her willpower not to look back at Professor Solo.

 

***

 

Ben was watching the students leaving the classroom. One more class full of dumb assholes! No one knew anything these days, so it seemed.

 

But this girl, Miss Johnson… She was fierce, he could tell. Ben hadn’t even noticed her when he entered the classroom today, but as soon as she had started to speak, he was… captured. The feeling was strange. Ben was always so full of anger that at first, the feeling in his chest had seemed alien. It had felt so unfamiliar that Ben had thought that there was something from the outside that had been causing it. But as the girl spoke, the feeling grew. It was warm, and it was a bit painful. It was new or probably just long forgotten. He wasn’t sure, but that feeling scared him.

 

Ben hated his students, but this girl… This girl terrified him.

 

Porgs’ shit, he smirked, trying to suppress the terror in his chest.

 

Rey…

Chapter Text

 

Two birds with one stone.

 

Chapter 2.

 

It never rains, but it pours.

 

“Do you remember that you owe me a pint?” Ben asked annoyed.

 

“Oh, I do. Good thing we are meeting in the coffee shop,” Hux smirked, sipping his latte macchiato from a huge cup Phasma kept especially for him.

 

Ben rolled his eyes.

 

“Oh, does he owe you a pint? What for this time?” Phasma asked, sitting down next to Hux.

 

“Your idiot husband bet Holdo was younger than fifty.”

 

“Oh, God, darling, that was definitely stupid! I told you once that she and my mother went to school together! And why on Earth would you bet on Holdo’s age? Had you nothing better to do?”

 

“No, we hadn’t,” Ben and Hux answered in unison.

 

“Oh, I’m so glad summer is finally over,” Phasma murmured. “Soon the competitions will begin, and you will finally have something a little bit more mature to bet on, for God's sake!”

 

“Well, you can’t blame me, Phas. That woman looks too young! And she has purple hair, for God’s sake! Who wears purple hair when they are in their late-fifties?!”

 

“Oh, I am so glad you won, Ben. This moron here deserves it…”

 

“Hey, I married you!”

 

“That was me who married you, Armitage.”

 

“Will you please stop it?” Ben groaned. “I come to your coffee shop only because this is the only place outside my flat where I can spend some time in relative peace!”

 

Phasma chuckled.

 

“Well, you can’t blame me,” she smirked. “Armie is just too stupid.”

“You were also stupid enough to marry him, so shut up…”

“Okay, okay,” Phasma raised her hands in a surrendering gesture. “So, how were your classes today? Any future winners of the State competition?”

“It’s too early to say. I gave them the assignment to prepare project descriptions for the University competition, and I am awaiting it on Friday,” Ben sipped his black coffee, closing his eyes in pleasure.

“Same here, but I have Poe Dameron in one of my classes, so I guess Solo is doomed,” Hux grinned.

“Oh, is he the handsome that was the best on his course last semester?” Phasma’s face lightened, making Hux frown.

“Yes, that’s the one. But I am a bit concerned about the fact that my wife finds somebody else attractive,” he muttered.

“You can’t blame me, I’ve seen him, and the boy is sex on a stick!”

“Aren’t you a bit too old for him, Phas?”

“Watch it, Armitage…”

 

Ben rubbed his temples. After his first day with students, the last thing he wanted was to watch his friends’ usual bickering. Truth be told, he loved them both, but these two were just a bit too loud and irritating sometimes.

 

“I’d better go,” he muttered, rising from the table. “You both are just too exhausting.”

“Oh, come on, Ben!” Phasma caught his hand. The woman was really fast. “As if you didn’t know us! Stay, we both missed you.”

 

Ben smiled lightly.

 

“My head hurts, Phas. I will see you both later when I can bear your presence,” he smirked.

“You’d better stay, Solo,” Armitage’s voice sounded concerned, and Ben frowned, looking at the redhead.

 

Hux was watching at his phone, scrolling down the text on the screen.

 

“Did you check your e-mail?” he asked.

 

Ben pulled his own smartphone out of his pocket and opened the mail. There was just one new unread message from Amylin Holdo in his mailbox, and as Ben read through the text, he felt his fists clenching uncontrollably, rage starting to boil inside him.

 

“I think, it would be better if we didn’t compete with each other this year, Ben,” Hux murmured as Ben kept quiet, unable to form the words in his mouth. He was furious, and he had to control himself if he wanted his friend’s coffee shop to remain intact.

“What is it?” Phasma asked, trying to take the phone from her husband’s hands.

“I think,” Hux went on. “That we need to find the best students we can and all work together.”

“What?! Hux, what the hell is going on?!” Phasma shrieked.

 

Ben finally managed to release a breath he was holding and pulled himself together enough to be able to sit back on his chair. He buried his face in his hands and started taking deep breaths just like his therapist had taught him many years ago. It was Hux who finally answered Phasma’s question.

 

“It seems we have a new employee at Takodana, sweetheart… Does Dr. Andy Snoke sounds familiar to you, darling?”

 

***

 

Friday was just as gloomy as the whole previous week had been. Rey got out from the bed and hurried to put on some more clothes. She had been already wearing a T-shirt and leggings as her sleepwear, but Takodana was just too fucking cold for her. It was only September, but Rey was already freezing to death every single morning. Poe didn’t mind cold, he didn’t even think it was cold at all. Yavin was warmer, but Poe’s grandmother was from Alderaan, and it was not as hot as it was in Jakku there. Rey was used to the heat. She didn’t really like it, but her body was accustomed to higher temperatures, and it was difficult for her to readjust.

 

No, no, she liked it in here. Takodana was green, and there was always plenty of water (Rey still remembered how thirsty she had been all the time during her childhood, so water was bliss. It was bliss that no one here seemed to acknowledge), but in the mornings Rey was cold.

 

Poe didn’t like it when she was wearing too many clothes in bed.

 

“I want to feel your body,” he had been telling her, and she usually stripped to her panties before coming to bed with him.

 

He usually pressed her to himself at the beginning of the night, but Rey always woke up several hours later, freezing as Poe always moved to his side of the bed in his sleep.

 

Rey sighed in delight as the warm fabric of her hoodie covered her body, and she started to feel warm again. Things with Poe had been unexpectedly good for the last couple of days. Rey didn’t know the reason for his behavior, but her boyfriend had become very caring and gentle. He even almost hadn’t mocked Rey about anything, and that was very unusual. Rey didn’t know what was going on with him but decided against overthinking it. After all, that was how the things were supposed to be from the very beginning, wasn’t it?

 

On Fridays, she and Poe had classes at different times of the day again, and Rey managed to sneak away from the apartment without waking him up. This time she had made it to the class ten minutes before it started. Rey stole a Snickers from Poe’s flat, and she had saved an apple from the day before, so she anticipated a good breakfast when she walked into the classroom.

 

Rose was already there, keeping a place for Rey, as she always did. Together, they enjoyed their morning snacks and just talked. It was nice to be at least a bit relaxed finally. The only thing that was bothering Rey at the moment was the fact that her only class today was advanced Engineering with Solo. Rey finished her Snickers and braced herself.

 

Here goes nothing, she thought, watching Professor entering the room.

 

 

He looked nervous. Running his hand through his messy hair, Solo cursed under his breath as his papers fell out from his hands on the table in front of him.

 

“What’s wrong with him?” Rey whispered to Rose.

“What do you mean?”

“He seems... troubled.”

“Doesn’t he always?”

 

Rey shrugged as she kept observing Solo's tall figure. Rose was probably right, but Rey was still concerned. If something was off, it could influence every single one of them.

 

“Hello everyone,” Solo finally greeted the audience, and Rey realized that somehow he’d managed to pull himself together. “As far as I remember, I asked you all to bring the project descriptions that would be good enough to participate in the Engineering competition held by Takodana University. I hope for your own good that everyone here did it. I will collect the papers now and start checking them. In the meantime, you will be writing a test,” the class exploded with discontented cries. “QUIET!” Solo’s threatening voice made the whole class fell silent immediately. “Whoever here disagrees with my ways of teaching is free to go. I’ll give you one minute to leave, starting now,” Ben fell silent, watching the confused students in front of him, his intense gaze making Rey swallow hard. No one moved. “I thought so,” Solo smirked. “Prepare your works.”

 

Rey pulled her project description out from her bag, her heart racing. Truth be told, she had put a lot into this project.

 

Growing up, she had often had no toys for herself. She had made a habit out of digging through the garbage in the junkyards that were the usual parts of the landscape in Jakku. Rey had always been good at inventing something out of nothing, so she had started making toys for herself. Later it had helped her earn the scholarship and enter Takodana University. She had already brought a lot of her smaller projects to life during her first year here, but some of her ideas required more resources to come to life, and now she finally had an opportunity to get them. And she didn’t want to miss it.

 

Solo reached her and stood there waiting for her paper. She handed the project description to him and shivered as her fingers accidentally touched his. Man’s hands were cold. They were so cold that one could think that Solo was freezing. Rey raised her eyes to the Professor and saw him watching her with an unreadable expression on his face. His gaze was penetrating her, and Rey felt like she had been nailed to the seat under her. However, she managed to give Solo a weak smile, and it seemed like that made him snap out from his trance, as he frowned at her and proceded gathering the papers.

 

“What was that?” Rose smirked beside her.

“I’ve no idea, but he is kinda creeping me out,” Rey grunted. And that was almost true.

 

 

The test wasn’t very complicated. It just required some general knowledge that everyone in the advanced class should have had. Rey had finished it in twenty minutes and was now watching the classroom from under her eyelashes. She had had a long shift at Plutt’s the previous day and had had to add some final corrections to her project in the middle of the night (thank God, Poe had already been out when she came to the apartment), that was why her eyes were shutting now. Or they had been until Solo rose from his seat with a groan. The whole class stopped writing, watching their Professor pacing the room in front of them.

 

“For God’s sake...” Solo murmured loud enough for everyone to hear. “You call yourselves Engineers... Williams!” he barked at a very pale student sitting in the second row. “How on Earth do you want your project to work?! You could write something about a concept car that would drive on fairy’s powder, and that would be more convincing than this!” Solo pointed to a paper in his hand.

 

“I... You told us not to restrict ourselves, Professor,” Williams mumbled.

 

“I told you to prepare project descriptions, not to write a fairy tale! Oh, forget it, for God’s sake!” Solo shook his head. “Almost none of this shit is worth the reading! I will check the rest and let you know if I want to see any of you on my team. But, really, there are almost no worthy projects here. Put your tests on my table, and you are free to go. Read some books about Engineering in your free time, it might help you finally understand what exactly you are studying!”

 

 

Rey was following Rose to the exit when she heard Solo’s voice behind her.

 

“Miss Johnson, a few words please.”

 

She smiled faintly at Rose, showing her friend to go without her, before approaching Solo’s table. He asked her to wait for a minute, and Rey clenched her bag, trying to calm herself down. Had Solo seen her project? Was he furious because of it? Was he going to tell her that she didn’t belong in his class? She had put too much work into her project, and now she was terrified.

 

“Miss Johnson,” she heard her name and came back to reality. Looking around, she realized that the classroom was already empty.

 

Several seconds had passed before Solo spoke.

 

“I read through your project description...” he said, and Rey tensed, awaiting the worst. “I think… I think it might worth a try.”

 

Her brows met her hairline when she heard Solo’s words.

 

“Really?” she almost stammered.

“I don’t usually waste my time on stupid pranks, Miss Johnson,” Solo hissed.

 

Rey froze in fright, but her teacher just frowned, shaking his head.

 

“I apologize, I didn’t mean to be rude, Miss Johnson,” he said. “I... You should know that a lot is at stake here. So, if you are willing to participate, I expect you to invest yourself into the project fully.”

 

Rey watched him, realizing that he wasn’t finished and not willing to interrupt him.

 

“This...This year the competition will be much tougher than all the previous competitions. Your project is good, really good, but you need a teacher to help you finish it. And... And I will be glad to offer you my... help.”

 

For a second Rey thought that Solo was looking for words. It was strange, considering the situation. It seemed that looking her in the eyes was also a problem for him.

 

“I will be glad to participate, Professor, you... you can count on me,” she smiled at him finally.

 

The moment she said it, Solo finally looked at her. Rey had never been so close to him before, and the string of thoughts that flooded her head after she had met his gaze made her blush and smirk inwardly at the same time.

 

Rey had never been a romantic type. Childhood in Jakku didn’t teach one that. That’s why Rey had never understood Rose or Paige when they started to talk about boys. All those “eyes that made their hearts stop”, gazes “that turned their feet into jelly” or “breathtaking plush lips” were something Rey had never understood. But somehow, Solo was all of it at the same time. Well, except for the jelly part, probably.

 

She wished she’d never looked him into the eyes because now she couldn’t avert her gaze. Solo was so cold and distant every time she saw him in class, but somehow his eyes were warm and chocolate, maybe even slightly green if he looked at the sun. His face was covered with small beauty marks, something she hadn’t noticed before. They looked nice, made him more human somehow. Rey liked the way Ben Solo looked, she liked it to the point where her heart started fluttering. That was something that had never happened to her before, not even with Poe.

 

When Rey had met Poe, she felt nice. Probably not confident enough, as she had had little experience with boys, let alone men. However, Rey had always managed to stay in control of the situation. Never had she let emotions overwhelm her. Rey thought she knew what love was. Love felt warm and cozy, even hot sometimes when it came to the passion of sex, but always entirely controllable. Never in her life had she felt like she was ready to die under anyone’s gaze. Never before Solo.

 

Suddenly Rey realized that they were standing still, watching each other in the silence of the classroom. It seemed like her Professor had come to the same realization because suddenly Solo blinked and lowered his eyes for a moment before looking up at her again with the same blank expression she already knew so well.

 

“Right,” he coughed. “I hope so, Miss Johnson.”

 

Suddenly Rey was so embarrassed that she was ready to fall under the ground.

 

“Okay... Professor. I have to go now. Was there anything else you wanted to tell me?”

“No, no, that is all. You are free to go, Miss Johnson.”

 

She turned on her heels and headed to the exit when he called her again.

 

“Wait!”

 

Rey turned to him, shivering once again at the sound of his voice.

 

This is ridiculous, for God’s sake!

 

“I... I forgot. We need to discuss your project, and I would like to do it as soon as possible. Will you manage to come to my office around six in the evening today?” he asked.

 

“I... I have a shift at work today. Is it possible to move our appointment to at least half past six?”

 

Solo frowned.

 

“Where do you work?”

“Oh, that’s just a small auto repair shop on the other side of the town. Nothing... fancy.”

 

Did she actually use the words “auto repair shop” and “fancy” in the same sentence?

 

“I see,” Solo smirked. “And I thought that work in some auto repair shops was a thing for seniors here, in Takodana.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, the competition is great as far as I’m concerned," Solo shrugged. "That’s a normal thing for students here to work in some coffee shops for the first two years of studying. No one wants to hire freshmen or even sophomores. You must be really good...”

“Or my boss is just too greedy to hire anyone more experienced,” Rey muttered.

“Sorry?” it seemed that Solo hadn’t caught her last phrase as he frowned at her.

“Oh... That’s nothing. It’s just... my boyfriend says that if I can’t find a job as a mechanic, studying at Takodana, then I probably need just to drop the whole thing and not waste my time,” she shrugged, lowering her gaze.

“Your boyfriend?”

 

Rey looked at her Professor. Solo seemed confused, the expression that didn’t exactly fit his usually distant and confident face.

 

“Uhm... Yes. He is a senior… He is in Professor Hux’s class,” for some reason she didn’t quite understand, Rey didn’t want to discuss Poe with Professor Solo. Actually, she already wished she hadn’t mentioned her boyfriend at all.

“I see,” suddenly Solo rose from his chair and moved towards Rey, his swift moves making her shiver again. “So… Do I understand it correct?” he hissed. “Your boyfriend says that you are hopeless because you can’t find a job being a what… sophomore?”

“Well…” Rey swallowed as Solo came even closer. “Sort of…”

 

Professor Solo towered over her, and she watched his eyes turning black. Rey couldn’t move, feeling her guts turning in her stomach.

 

“There are things in this life that are much more important than Engineering, Miss Johnson,” Solo suddenly whispered, his warm breath caressing the hair on Rey's forehead. “One of them is to know when you are wasting your time on some moron that can’t treat you with the respect you deserve.”

 

Rey was confused and terrified. Solo was so close that she could feel the heat coming from his body. She should have moved back, but as his face neared hers, she couldn’t take her eyes away from his lips.

 

Every cell in her body trembled with anticipation. She had to think about what she was doing, but she couldn’t.

 

“I think I need a teacher, Professor,” she murmured, not really realizing what exactly she was saying.

 

She could swear she heard a groan coming from Solo as he moved even closer to her, but the moment Rey was about to claim his sensual lips with hers, someone called Solo from the hallway.

 

“Ben!”

 

They were fast enough to jump away from each other by the time Professor Hux opened the door to the classroom.

 

“Solo! Where the hell have you been? We were supposed to meet like ten minutes ago!”

 

Hux squinted at the sight of them, and Rey brought her bag closer to her, trying to distance herself even further from her Professor. Solo was already standing at a respectful distance from her. They must have looked slightly lost and disoriented as Hux smirked slyly.

 

“Am I interrupting something?” he asked.

 

Professor Solo was the first one to pull himself together.

 

“You are not interrupting anything, Hux. I was just asking Miss Johnson here to present her project at the University competition. After we make all the necessary adjustments, of course. Miss Johnson was already leaving,” he nodded to her. “Half past six is fine with me.”

 

Rey frowned at his dismissive tone. What had happened to his previous idea of not wasting her time on someone who couldn’t treat her with respect? However, she took the hint and nodded to Hux, still fighting to suppress her embarrassment.

 

“Yes, I have to go, I need to get to work,” she murmured. “Goodbye, Professor,” she nodded to Solo. “Professor Hux.”

 

Rey hurried away from the classroom and stopped only when she was outside of the building.

 

What the hell just happened?!

 

Rey tried not to think about it, running to work. She was already late.

 

Her shift had been tough. There had not been too many cars, but every breakdown she had worked on required a considerable amount of time and attention. By the time her shift was over Rey felt utterly exhausted.

 

“I am finished,” she told Plutt, awaiting her daily payment before heading home.

“Well, you are free to go,” he replied, and Rey frowned at the fat back of her boss.

“Uhm… I’d like to receive my daily payment.”

“Oh, really?” Plutt grinned, turning to her. “And I think that it is you who owes me money.”

 

He moved towards her, and Rey had to step back to keep her distance.

 

“What do you mean, I owe you?”

“Well, you were late for work today. I fine for this.”

“Since when?!” suddenly Rey realized that something was really off. Plutt was drunk. She hadn't been aware of it as she had spent her whole shift under the cars, but it seemed her boss had managed to get wasted while she had been working.

 

Rey had seen Plutt like that before, just for a few times. Her boss was disgusting when he was drunk. Even more disgusting than usual. And the worst of it part was that being drunk Plutt became aggressive. Rey hadn't been worried about her boss drinking before because every time he drank there were some of his friends with him to keep him distracted. Rey had always assumed that her boss never drank alone. Now, it seemed, she couldn’t be more wrong.

 

“Well, since today actually,” Plutt walked closer to her, and Rey felt her back pressing into the wall. She was trapped now. “But I know you have no money, honey. So, I will be kind to you.”

 

Rey’s eyes widened, as Plutt’s hand touched her shoulder.

 

“You can pay me with something else…”

 

His hand was caressing her cheek now, making Rey feeling sick. She had to find the way out! As Plutt’s fat fingers touched her lips, Rey screamed and bit his hand. Plutt cried in pain, taking a step back from her, and Rey used her chance to push him away and run. Unkar rushed after her, but she managed to grab a wrench from one of the shelves and threw it at her drunken boss.

 

The action gave her enough time to run out of the auto repair shop. To her luck, there was a bus coming to the bus stop not far from her. Rey hopped in, panting heavily, watching Plutt’s fat figure exiting the building. She took several deep breaths, trying to take control of her emotions. She was safe now. Obviously unemployed, but, fortunately, safe.

 

 

By the time she had reached Poe’s house, Rey was trembling violently. After the initial shock had worn off, she realized that she had forgotten her only jacket at Plutt’s. Rey was still wearing her uniform, the ugly grey overall, all covered in dirt from the cars, and her body was freezing. As soon as she got off of the bus, a torrential downpour started, and after a few seconds, Rey was soaked to the bones. Moreover, her last money had been spent on the bus ticket, and her phone had died, so she couldn’t even call Poe and ask him to meet her. He would probably be annoyed, but she would explain everything to him, and he would probably... He probably would… She stopped for a second. She didn’t know what Poe would do... She was a mess, and her eyes began to water.

 

Rey didn’t know how she managed to insert the key into the keyhole with her hands barely capable of holding the thing at all, but the door wasn’t closed. She pushed, and it succumbed easily to her effort.

 

“Poe?” she called, trying to find the switch in the dark hallway.

“Oh, shit! Shit!” Rey suddenly heard the voice from inside the flat.

 

Not bothering with taking her shoes off, she entered the living room.

 

“Poe... What’s going on?” she whispered, looking at her naked boyfriend who was trying to hide his erect cock behind the pillow.

“Oh, for God’s sake! What does it look like, Rey?” Paige asked, smirking, from behind Poe’s back.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 3.

 

A friend in need is a friend indeed.

 

 

“Oh, for God’s sake! What does it look like, Rey?”

 

She couldn’t say why exactly her body was shaking now. Was it because of the terror she’d experienced, saving herself from Plutt? Was it because she was too cold to think straight or control her muscles? Or was it because her best friend was now standing naked behind her naked boyfriend, smirking unkindly at her?

 

“W... Why?” Rey managed to whisper.

“Baby, it is not what you think it is…” Poe started, but Paige grunted, interrupting his babbling.

“Oh, come on, Poe! This is exactly what she thinks it is. I think now is the best time to tell Rey everything and close this charity case you have with her instead of having a normal relationship!”

 

Poe swallowed but didn’t argue with her.

 

Rey realized she had started crying when the hot streams of her tears began to warm her frozen cheeks.

 

“Oh, come on, Rey,” Paige rolled her eyes. “Can’t you see Poe’s the one who is suffering here? You two have started having problems ages ago, but you were too clingy just to let him go, weren’t you? You can’t keep sleeping with him for money he gives you, you know. And you can’t manipulate him, making him feeling guilty and not giving him a chance just to dump you!”

“That’s not true...” Rey whispered. “You know that’s not true!”

 

Tears started to choke her. Everything that was happening at the moment seemed surreal.

 

“Poe...” Rey wanted to reason with him, wanted to make him explain her everything, wanted him to assure her that everything was fine and that this whole situation was nothing but a terrible misunderstanding. But Poe was silent.

 

After several minutes of silence, he finally shrugged, and when he looked at Rey, she saw a familiar mocking expression on his face, the one he had usually worn minutes before he said something that would hurt her badly.

 

“Paige is right, Rey,” he said. “I can’t let you keep using me for money and the roof above your head. That’s not fair, you know.”

“I have never used you for money,” Rey could barely speak, each word hurting her throat and tongue. “You know, I haven’t…” desperate, she turned to Paige. “How… How could you, Paige? I thought we were friends…”

“Oh, Rey, don’t you try it with me too,” Paige rolled her eyes. “You used me for the place in our room, just like you’ve been using Poe. Come on, have some self-respect, for God’s sake!”

“What are you talking about, Paige?! We used to live together before I met Poe!” Paige’s words finally snapped Rey out of her trance. She was lost, but the emptiness she had felt in her chest several minutes ago was now being replaced by the feeling of uncontrollable fury.

“Yeah, and then you found him and decided that it would be okay to sleep with him for a better place to live!”

“What?..” Rey didn’t believe her ears. How could everything be so wrong?

“Rey, I think it’s time for you to collect your things and leave this place. You see, Poe and I… We are in love. Have been for some time now. He felt sorry for you, that’s why he decided not to tell you for some time. But it can’t go on like that anymore, you know.”

 

The world was spinning around Rey, and she had to lean on the doorjamb next to her to stay on her feet. Suddenly she realized that both Paige and Poe were still naked, and this realization hit her like a hammer in the chest.

 

“Could you… Could you please cover yourselves? And could we probably talk?” for some reason Rey still tried to put some sense into her friends’ minds. They were her friends, weren’t they? Weren’t they?!

 

Poe tried to say something, but Paige interrupted him again.

 

“Rey, there’s nothing to talk about here. You just need to gather your things and go away. Doesn’t she, darling?” she came closer to Poe and leaned on his shoulder, her naked breasts pressing into his tanned body.

 

Why have I never realized how short he was? Rey suddenly thought, looking at how Paige’s breasts were almost on one level with Poe’s shoulder.

 

Her thoughts were cut short, however, by Poe’s next words.

 

“Paige is right, Rey. You have to go. I can help you collect your stuff if you want.”

“But… But where am I supposed to go to? I have nowhere to go…” Rey panicked.

 

She saw Poe’s hesitation, but Paige was unstoppable.

 

“Rey, Rey, darling! That’s enough!” Paige exclaimed. “We both know you have plenty of friends on campus. After all, when I asked you and Rose to meet each other somewhere outside our room, you immediately found a place. Rose mentioned this girl… what was her name? Oh, yes, Jessika. You can go to her.”

 

Rey frowned, trying to remember who the hell Paige was talking about. It was hard, but then it hit her. Of course… Jessika. Truth be told, Rey had completely forgotten the girl. She was from one of Rose’s classes, and Rose and Rey had visited her once several months ago. Rey hadn’t seen Jessika since and doubted that the girl remembered her at all.

 

“We have visited Jessika once, that’s true, but…” Rey tried to explain, but Paige cut her off again.

“Stop it, Rey, we all know that’s not true! Don’t make it harder for Poe! You have plenty of places to go to, plenty of friends, so…”

“But I thought you were my friends! I…” Rey couldn’t continue as her sobs finally blocked the access of oxygen to her lungs. She couldn’t even breathe properly, let alone talk.

 

There was nothing she could do, nothing she could say, but, truth be told, she didn’t want to do or say anything now. Rey felt dirty. Paige had told her, this situation had lasted for some time now. That meant that all those times she and Poe had had sex lately, he had been secretly shagging her best friend. Her former best friend… Her…She couldn’t put a name to what Paige was to her now, but, truth be told, Rey couldn’t care less.

 

Shaking, she rushed to the bedroom and retrieved her suitcase from the closet. She had bought this suitcase for money she’d earned from numerous part-time jobs she’d been doing back in Jakku. It wasn’t too large, but Rey didn’t have a lot of things, and at the moment, she couldn’t be more grateful for that.

 

It took Rey five minutes to collect her stuff. She had taken only those things that had been with her when she’d moved to Poe’s, plus those that were only hers and were necessary for her studies. She didn’t want to take a single part of Poe with her. She probably had nowhere to go, but at the moment she was happy to sleep on the street, just to distance herself from the two people, waiting for her to leave in the next room.

 

When she collected everything, Rey hurried away from the apartment. She saw Paige, who was still naked on the couch, and Poe, who had put his boxers on and now looked slightly lost as she passed the living room. Rey lowered her eyes, trying to erase the image of naked Paige from her memory. She didn’t know if any of them had told her anything when she was leaving. Panting heavily, she slammed the door shut behind her and ran out into the street.

 

The rain was still pouring, and Rey stopped only when she was several blocks away from Poe’s apartment. Looking around, she realized that she was now close to campus. Her thoughts were in disarray, and as Rey saw the University buildings, she suddenly remembered that she had promised Professor Solo to meet him at half past six. She still had time.

 

Had Rey not been such a mess, she would realize that she was in no condition to visit her Professor, let alone discuss her most important project with him. However, she wasn’t thinking straight. There was not a single thought in her head that made any sense, so it seemed reasonable to her to turn to the campus and enter the building where Solo’s office was located, dragging her suitcase behind her.

 

Standing in front of his office's door, Rey stared blankly at the doorknob before knocking.

 

“Come in!” she heard Solo's voice from the office, and pushed the door, entering the room.

 

***

 

“What the hell was that, Solo?” Hux asked puzzled.

“What do you mean?” Ben asked back, trying to pretend that he had no clue what his friend was talking about.

“Oh, I don’t knoooow…..” Hux replied, stretching out his words. “Who was this girl?”

“Her name is Rey Johnson, she is my student, and her project description caught my attention.”

“Oh, really? She is what, a sophomore?”

 

Ben frowned, remembering his conversation with Rey.

 

Miss Johnson! he tried in vain to correct himself mentally.

 

This subtle girl had a strange effect on him. After their first meeting, Ben had tried to forget about her completely. He had almost succeeded, not thinking about her when he’d been working or with his friends. But when he had been alone, the image of the young engineer (and, oh yes, he had already counted her as one) appeared in his mind. That irritated him greatly, the flow of emotions that this image evoked in him. His chest clenched at the thought of her. She was so delicate and tiny, despite her fiery personality that her very existence caused some strange animalistic need in him to protect her and to take care of her. He had never felt anything like this before. Never in his life had he felt such a pull towards anyone. Not even during his first and only serious relationship, not even with Bazine.

 

The night after their first meeting with Rey Johnson he had had problems sleeping. He’d kept replaying their dialog on the loop in his head, not even sure what had worried him so much. He had seen that she was nervous, answering his question in class. He’d been so furious with all those morons who called themselves students that he had to find some scapegoat to teach those idiots a lesson. The students were supposed to study, for God’s sake! That’s why he had chosen her, the quiet one who had been obviously terrified of him. Ben had wanted to ask her a question she wouldn’t be able to answer. He had wanted to punish the whole class for her mistake. That would have earned her troubles for sure, she would have suffered a bit from her classmates until someone else fucked up, and that would have taught everyone a lesson.

 

But it had turned out that Rey knew the subject.

 

I left Jakku to enter Takodana…

 

It seemed she wasn’t going to come back. Didn’t she have a family to that she could return? Rey's words sounded like she had left Jakku on her own.

 

Then Ben had almost believed that her answer was a lucky strike when he’d heard about Tatooinean copper, but she had surprised him once again. He was always good at admitting his mistakes, and he had done that as soon as he had realized he was wrong, but there was also something new about his feelings towards this girl. There, in the classroom, Ben had felt guilty. And this was the reason he had had problems sleeping the following night.

 

However, it wasn’t only guilt that had haunted him. He couldn’t close his eyes without imagining Rey's subtle form. At first, these fantasies were innocent, but as he’d managed to doze off, she appeared naked in his arms in his dreams, his palms capable of crushing her. Ben had woken up in a cold sweat, panting heavily. With a groan, he had realized that he was rock hard. He had been sleeping with women from time to time to release some sexual tension, but none of them had aroused him as much as had a single dream of Rey.

 

She is too young, you pervert! he groaned inwardly. She can’t be more than twenty! She is more than ten years your junior!

 

But, nevertheless, she was an adult.

 

She is your fucking student!

 

That was a very good point. They both could get into trouble, had their affection been mutual. And it obviously hadn’t, if one remembered how Ben had behaved towards Rey. But he could still imagine…

 

Grunting, he had taken himself in his hand and masturbated until he saw stars. Never in his life had he come that hard.

 

He had hoped that he could masturbate her out of his system, but the fantasies had come back the following day. This time they were different, though. He’d imagined her smiling at him, asking him questions, talking to him.

 

Solo was fine alone. He had Hux and Phasma and too much bad experience to let anyone close. But Rey had kept invading his mind, and by Friday he’d realized that he would have problems getting rid of those thoughts. Ben had to stay focused, and he had managed to do so until they stayed alone in the classroom.

 

Her project was brilliant, too brilliant for a sophomore. It required some resources, but the idea was genius. Rey had invented a new type of solar battery that was at least three times more long-lived than all modern analogs. She supplemented her design with a blueprint of a car running on a similar battery. Ben could see some flaws in her project, but those could easily be fixed. The project would be a bit difficult to implement, especially if they wanted to meet a modest budget. Difficult, but not impossible, and Ben was flabbergasted.

 

He wanted to discuss the project with her, he really did, but her subtle image, now in the flesh, blocked all his thoughts from his mind, bringing all his fantasies from that night before to live in his head. He had barely managed to ask her to be a part of his team.

 

Her surprised question concerning the seriousness of his offer brought him back to reality. It wasn’t even because he had always hated repeating himself. Truth be told, he had already come to the realization that he wasn’t able to be mad at her for the things so irrelevant, but her question reminded him of the most terrible problem he had on his hands at the moment.

 

Andrew Snoke...

 

Ben had once promised Hux to do everything possible to keep away from the man. That had happened after Ben had almost lost his friends, his life, his career, and even his own name. That had happened after Ben had nearly died, forgotten and lonely, and after Hux had come after him, despite everything that Ben had made his friend go through. The promise Ben had made was the least he could do for Hux, but what his friend didn’t know was that Ben remembered not giving any promises in case Snoke attacked first. And Snoke would definitely strike first if their plan worked. Ben knew the man too well. And when he did, Ben would destroy him. He only needed to protect those he cared about. Hux and Phasma had to stay safe. And after Ben had asked the young woman in front of him to join his team, he realized he had to protect her too.

 

He knew he had hurt her with his harsh tone as soon as the words had left his mouth. Her face was too easy to read, every single emotion showing on it. He’d felt a sting of guilt and had to close his eyes to gather his composure and find some proper words to apologize. He had never apologized so often to another person, but when Rey had smiled at him, accepting his apologies, the powerful wave of excitement covered him, and Ben could only hope that he didn’t let it show.

 

She had almost left when he remembered that they needed to discuss the time of their next meeting and that was when she had mentioned her boyfriend.

 

Of course, she had a boyfriend! How could she not?

 

He had to suppress the sting of jealousy in his chest. Maybe, it was for the better. Ben couldn’t have Rey, he didn’t even want to be willing to have her, for God’s sake! He knew the thought of her boyfriend should have soothed his growing craving for her. He was not the one to destroy someone’s relationship, he was better than that! But despite his logical assumptions, his heart made a leap, and his mind started to come up with plans of how he could conquer her. Had he been alone in the room, he would probably growl loudly, but she was still there, answering his questions and surprising him even more with every little thing she said. She was smart, she was beautiful, and Ben had realized that she didn't even realize that.

 

It was when Rey had told him about her boyfriend’s words when he had completely lost control. Even if what this moron had said to her was true (and Ben knew it wasn’t), it was not something a man should have said to the woman he loved. That was not a proper way to treat a woman. That was not an appropriate way to treat... Rey.

 

Ben remembered how her sweet breath (she’d smelled of chocolate and apples) had touched his face. He remembered how close her lips had been to his. He probably should have thanked Hux for interrupting them, because Ben didn’t know what he would do, had Rey kissed him, but at the same time he couldn’t help but hate his best friend a bit for breaking into the room. He was angry with Hux.

 

Hux.

 

Hux was standing beside him and had just asked him something. Ben saw the confusion on his friend’s face slowly being replaced by curiosity and hurried to answer Hux’s last question.

 

“Yes, a sophomore. But you have to see her project.”

 

 

As Hux finished going through Rey’s project description, he let out a long whistle.

 

“Not bad... Genius, I would say!”

“I wouldn’t take anything less.”

“So... She is smart and pretty, isn’t she?” Hux smirked slyly. “Aren’t you a lucky sod to find her, Solo?”

“What do you mean?” Ben frowned.

“Oh, just that she is smart and pretty, a simple statement of facts, you know.”

“Are you interested, Armitage? What would Phas say?” Ben probably sounded more annoyed than he should have. Hux smirked, clearly noticing his reaction.

“Oh, I am crazy in love with my enormously tall wife, and you know that, Ben,” he grinned. “But what I would like to know is whether you are interested.”

“She is my fucking student, what on Earth are you talking about?” Ben couldn’t help but groan.

“Good,” suddenly Hux’s face became very serious. “Because if you fuck something up when Snoke is around, he’ll use it against you and will make anyone unlucky enough to be around you suffer just as well.”

 

Ben’s teeth clenched. That was precisely what he’d been thinking about during his conversation with Rey today.

 

“Don’t worry, Hux. I won’t let Snoke get to us.”

“Ben,” Armitage sighed. “Don’t fool yourself and don’t try to fool me. I think we both realize that the clash is inevitable this time. I am aware of it, you are aware of it, God, even Phasma is already aware of it. What we need to do now is to protect our students and try to fight Snoke. But this time we have to do it on the legal field. I don’t think he came here just because Takodana had offered him the best conditions. This bastard is in demand everywhere. He came here for you, Ben. I am sure of it.”

 

Ben took several deep breaths to calm down and arrange his thoughts.

 

“You are right, Hux,” he finally said.

“Oh, of course, I am,” his friend smirked. “So if this girl of yours is actually this good,” he pointed to Rey’s project description on the table. “You need to keep an eye on her.”

“Yes, yes, I know.”

 

Hux nodded and opened the classroom door, inviting Ben to follow him.

 

“Just remember,” he said as Ben was passing him. “Only an eye, nothing else.”

“Oh, fuck you!” Ben groaned as Hux laughed behind him.

 

 

He tried to keep himself busy and his mind occupied with something during the day, but as the evening approached, Ben found himself getting too nervous for his own good. At a quarter past six, he finally decided to get something to drink. It had never been his usual practice, he’d never drunk before scheduled meetings with his students. This time, however, Ben decided to reconsider his principles to relax a bit and be capable of putting words into sentences when Rey came to his office. He had to stay calm, and he had to remain professional. Her project was worth his attention and could beat anything Snoke could offer.

 

It was six thirty-five when Ben started to get nervous that she wouldn’t come at all. He was already going to pour himself more whiskey when he heard a knock on the door. He asked the visitor to come in, tensing in anticipation.

 

Something was terribly wrong. Rey was standing on the threshold of his office, shaking like a leaf. Her face was deadly pale, and Ben could see her teeth chattering. She was dressed too lightly for the weather outside, and she was soaking wet. Behind her, she dragged the suitcase that fell to the floor, as she had to grab the doorjamb next to her. It didn’t help her, and Rey began to fall.

 

Ben was fast enough to cross the room in two extremely wide steps and catch her before she hit the floor.

 

“Miss Johnson,” he called worriedly, feeling her body sag in his arms. “Miss Johnson,” he called again. “Rey!”

 

She opened her eyes at the sound of her name.

 

“I am sorry, Professor, I am late,” she whispered.

“What are you talking about?!” he asked, panicking. Rey's body was icy and very wet. “You are freezing! Come on, sit here!” he picked Rey up and carried her to the couch that stood by his office window. He took a woolen blanket, kept in his office for the occasions when he worked too late and was too tired to drive home, and wrapped Rey in it. “Here, drink this!” He poured some more whiskey into his own glass and handed it to her. “Come on, Rey! Drink!” he urged her.

 

She brought the glass to her lips with her trembling hands and sipped the liqueur from it. Ben almost smiled when she coughed from the burning taste of the drink, but this smile was short-lived as he noticed the dark bruise on her arm.

 

“Rey,” he asked quietly. “Tell me what happened to you.”

 

She was probably barely conscious for every time she tried to say something, she froze with her mouth open and only squeezed her glass tighter until her knuckles turned white. Ben waited a bit before asking his next question. Perhaps something less direct could help.

 

“It’s a bit cold to be dressed like that, isn’t it?” he smiled cautiously and pulled at the sleeve of her light hoodie that was not long enough to cover the whole arm. She was also wearing a dirty overall.

 

Must be a uniform...

 

“I... I left my only jacket in the auto repair shop when I ran away from there,” she finally managed to whisper.

 

The warmth of the blanket and whiskey must have helped her to come back to herself. Some color returned to her face, and Rey looked better already, but Ben still felt immensely concerned about the girl.

 

“Rey, why did you run away from the repair shop?” he asked, frowning.

 

She sipped some more whiskey before answering him.

 

“My... My boss tried to rape me... I managed to run away, but my jacket is still there.”

“He did what?!” Rey’s jacked was the last of Ben’s concerns now. He grabbed the side of the blanket, trying to stay sane.

“He was drunk... I hadn’t noticed it before I came for my daily payment. He said that I had been late for work today and that I owed him money,” as Rey started to speak it was impossible to stop her, words pouring out of her like a waterfall. “He said, he knew I had no money, so he wanted to take... something else as a payment. I managed to run away... Threw a wrench at him and hopped on the bus. My phone died, I spent my last money on the ticket. And when I came home, I found my boyfriend and my best friend together... They were... Well, they threw me out of the apartment. Told me to find some other place to live. Told me that I was just using Poe for money. That’s not true! I would never... I have nowhere to go… And then I remembered that we had an appointment today. I am sorry, I’m late, Professor...”

“Oh, For God’s sake! I couldn’t care less about your project at the moment, Rey!” he didn’t even notice how easily he switched to a first name basis with her.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Rey kept bubbling. “I usually come on time.”

 

Ben was furious. He had to avert his eyes from her for a second to pull himself together. He didn’t know if he either should have gone to this shitty repair shop, Rey had worked in and kill her boss or go to her ex-boyfriend's apartment and tear this useless piece of shit apart.

 

Calm down! he told himself. At least for now…

 

Ben could take care of it all later, now his highest priority was Rey.

 

“Rey, we will talk about your project later, don’t worry. I am not mad... at you. Come on. You need to change and to eat. I have a guest room in my apartment. You can stay there today. Come on, let’s go.”

 

Rey got up from the couch, the blanket still wrapped around her tiny body, but then stopped. “I can’t. I can’t bother you, Professor. I will be fine, you don’t need to worry about me,” she murmured.

 

He turned to her, frowning.

 

“Rey, what on Earth are you talking about? You told me you had nowhere to go. Are you going to sleep on the street?”

“There’s nothing new in that. It’s… It’s okay.”

 

Ben gulped, clenching his fists at her words. Instead of arguing with her, he came to the locker in the corner of the room and retrieved his old hoodie out of it. He kept some clothes in his office just in case, and now he couldn’t be more grateful for the fact he hadn’t taken this hoodie back home after the last time he had come to the office from the gym. The hoodie probably still smelled like him, but the most important part was that it could keep Rey warm. He handed the hoodie to her.

 

“Here, take that. Yours is wet, and you can catch a cold. You are going with me. End of discussion.”

 

Rey probably did not have any more strength to argue, because she just nodded and took the hoodie from Ben's hands. As soon as she put it on (the vision of her in his clothes making his heart skip a beat even under such dramatic circumstances), he grabbed her hand and pulled her with him.

 

In his car, Ben made sure that Rey’s seatbelt was fastened before starting the engine. Rey was silent all the way to his apartment, and when they finally reached the destination, Ben realized she had dozed off in her seat. Not willing to wake her up, he carried her out of the car, struggling with the keys when they reached the entrance. Feeling his movements, Rey woke up and asked him to put her down. It was probably a good idea because she had to change anyway and had she not woken up, he would have to change her himself, and Ben wasn’t sure it was appropriate even in the current situation.

 

Her wet clothes put into the drying machine and changed, Rey sat by the kitchen island as Ben was preparing hot herbal tea for her, the recipe he had learned from his mother when he had still been a boy, and they had all lived together. Ben shook his head, suppressing the memories of his mother. Now was definitely not the time to think about her.

 

“Here,” he said, putting the cup in front of Rey and sitting on the other side of the island to distance himself from her. They had to talk, he had to listen to her, and he wasn’t sure he would be able to if she were too close.

 

Rey was still wearing his hoodie and looked so fragile and beautiful that it was hard for him to breathe, let alone think.

 

“Thank you,” she gave him a weak smile, sipping the tea from her cup.

“Chamomile and honey,” he explained, noticing the surprised look on her face.

“I have never tasted chamomile before,” she said softly. “There was no in Jakku, and here... Well, I didn’t have a chance.”

“You usually drink it when you are ill or are going to be ill, so that’s probably not so bad,” he smirked.

“Oh, I used to have a sour throat all the time during my first year here. But my boy... Poe told me it would pass by itself...”

 

Ben frowned at the mention of her ex-boyfriend.

 

“This... This Poe. You told me, he was in Hux’s class. Is it Poe Dameron?”

“The one and only,” Rey smirked evilly, and Ben nodded, realizing that he would have time to destroy Dameron this year slowly. He winced at the thought. No matter what, this guy was an essential part of the plan he and Hux had developed to defeat Snoke. And first of all, they had to overcome him, they had to win the competition held by Takodana. That would make Snoke furious, Ben knew it for sure. And this moron Dameron was an essential part of it all. Hux had shown Ben the guy's project. It was good, really good, not as genius as Rey’s, but more mature and a little bit more professional. They had to work on both projects to increase their chances against Snoke, and Rey and Poe would have to work together.

 

Ben frowned. That would be a problem now...

 

But no matter how important the competition was, Ben knew for sure now that if he had to choose between Poe and Rey, Rey would always come first. He would protect her for now, and as soon as Snoke was down, Ben would destroy Poe Dameron for the things this idiot had done to Rey.

 

Ben took a very deep breath.

 

“Rey, can you tell me a little bit more about everything that happened to you today?” he asked.

 

She sighed and told him everything, her story almost making him lose control several times. She told him a bit about her background in the foster system (nothing too personal, just something), and about the scholarship, explaining why she had been tight on money. She told him about Dameron and about the way the guy had treated her. Rey told Ben about her perverted boss, Plutt his name was, and she told him about her friends. Well, about those she had considered as such until today...

 

Rey was honest with him, Ben could see, and that warmed his heart. Ben hadn’t felt so warm for a long time. However, when Rey finished, she remembered herself, and Ben could see embarrassment crossing her face.

 

“I’m sorry, Professor... You didn’t have to listen to me for so long. I forgot myself,” she whispered, looking at her hands holding her cup.

 

Ben couldn’t fight it anymore. Rey was broken, and he couldn’t bear it. Rising from his seat, he came closer to her, putting a hand on her shoulder.

 

“Stop apologizing, Rey. I maybe didn’t have to listen to you, but I wanted to… I still want. Those people who made you go through all this shit… They don’t deserve you. You did nothing wrong. You are...” he wanted to say “perfect”, but stopped himself. He had to control himself. Rey was too vulnerable and fragile at the moment. And she was his student, she was too young for him, she was someone he couldn’t have. So he tried to find the right words, saying. “You did nothing wrong, and I don’t want you to doubt it, do you hear me?”

 

Her eyes were wet, but she smiled at him nevertheless with a smile so sincere that the room seemed brighter.

 

“Thank you, Professor.”

“You can call me Ben when it’s just the two of us,” he smiled back at her.

“Ben,” she repeated, and his guts made a summersault in his stomach.

“You... You need to get some rest. We’ll talk tomorrow. About what we can do to help your situation and about your project.”

“You don’t have to help me with my situation...” she tried to argue, but he silenced her with a motion of his hand.

“We’ll talk tomorrow. Now let me show you your room.”

 

His apartment was spacious. Sometimes Ben didn’t know why he needed so much space for him alone. Hux and Phasma stayed overnight sometimes, but most of the time he was all alone, and if he was brave enough to acknowledge that, it felt lonely. But with Rey following him to the guest bedroom, his apartment didn’t annoy him in the slightest. As the two of them reached the room, he noticed her gasping at the sight of it.

 

“Wow... It’s... It’s kinda enormous,” she said confused.

“It’s yours,” it sounded a bit off, he knew, but it felt right to say so.

 

 

Two hours later Rey was soundly asleep, and Ben was pacing his kitchen, replaying her story in his head. He still didn’t know a lot about her. How did she end up in the foster system? Did she know her parents? Why did she decide to study Engineering? He could ask her about it later, now he had to come up with something to help her cope with her current situation.

 

Suddenly, his thoughts were stopped by the sound of crying coming from the guest bedroom.

 

Rey!

 

Losing his mind, he rushed there to find Rey sobbing and crying loudly in her sleep.

 

Ben climbed into the bed beside her and shook her gently.

 

“Rey, Rey, wake up, you are having a nightmare. Come on, sweetheart, wake up! Wake. Up!”

 

Her eyes flew open. Panting heavily, she was clearly trying to understand where she was.

 

“Rey, you are in my apartment. Everything’s fine, you are safe. Calm down, sweetheart!”

 

Finally, she recognized him, and the fear left her eyes. He was already going to let her go from his arms when she curled to his side, pressing herself closer to him.

 

“Rey,” he whispered. “Everything is fine now, you are safe, no one will hurt you here. I won’t let them, I promise.”

 

Unwillingly he tried to let her go. He had to… But Rey wrapped her arms around him tighter, stopping him from moving away.

 

“Stay. Please, stay. I know you won’t hurt me. Please... I don’t want to be alone.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 4.

Warm.

He had to move away from her, probably just sit by her side until she was asleep and then leave, close himself in his room and forget about her request forever, pretend it had never happened at all. That was all very wrong. Had someone from the University board known that he was lying in bed with his own student who was now wrapped tightly around his body, he and Rey would both be in trouble. There was no way this could be considered as just a comforting gesture. Bringing her home, making her some warm tea, offering her his spare bedroom, all of it was fine if one mentioned this situation. But to lay in her bed in the middle of the night, inhaling the smell of her hair (some car oil, rain and something he realized to be her own pleasant scent) and getting hard as her tiny sleeping form pressed into his larger one… That was bad… And even the fact that they were both fully clothed wouldn’t help them defend themselves.

She wasn’t conscious as she pressed herself into him. It was like she was trying to keep herself warm, but Ben wasn’t sure she would do it if she weren’t sleeping. Truth be told, he was sure, she wouldn’t. He had to move away, but, God damn it, he couldn’t.

Ben was glad Rey was sleeping and couldn’t hear his heartbeat. She was, however, lying with her cheek pressed to his chest and he could literally see her head trembling a little every time his heart touched his ribs from the inside. He took several deep breaths to calm it down.

It’s been a while since he had slept in bed with someone. Well, at least like that. Some of those women he had picked up stayed the night, but they had never cuddled. It was almost new to feel someone’s warm body against his own, and it made Ben feel vulnerable. He loathed that feeling. There was a reason why he had kept himself from entering into any sort of long-term relationship and he remembered it too well now. Last time he had been close to a woman, it had ended disastrously for him. He didn’t want to be close to anyone, but, nevertheless, he wasn’t able to move away from the girl in his arms. Some part of him already hated Rey for that, and he frowned, deciding to go away after all. But as soon as he moved, her arms squeezed him tightly and as Ben looked down at her, he saw her face taking on a desperate expression in her sleep. For a moment, he lost his breath at the sight of her. This expression… He had seen it all those years before… He had seen it in the mirror when he had exited the bathroom, the day Hux had come for him and offered to help him. Different facial features, but the very same expression. The expression of a terrified person, alone and desperate for someone to care.

This night Ben wouldn’t go away. He pressed Rey closer to himself, trying to erase all unwanted thoughts from his head. He desperately wanted these thoughts to go away. He told himself that he was fine without them, before he met her. He had probably been lonely and unwilling to wake up in the morning, but he had not been this terrified. He had known Rey for a week, he had seen her just twice before she appeared in his office this evening. And there he was, unable to sleep or to let her out of his arms. He had never been one to fall for someone so quickly. He had always been careful with his feelings, trying to control every possible bit of them. He and Rey were not a thing, she was still more a part of his imagination than a real person as he knew almost nothing about her. But if he were completely honest with himself, then he would admit that it might not actually be possible to let Rey away.

But still… He had to wake up before her tomorrow just to avoid complicating the issue with his morning wood. He was already hard now, and he wished he wasn’t.

However, he woke up to the empty bed. Panicking, he touched Rey’s side of it and relaxed just a bit to find it still a bit warm. Jumping up and trying not to run, he walked out of his guest bedroom.

He hadn’t heared her leaving. Ben was usually a light sleeper. He hadn’t slept for so long for ages, and the strange feeling he hadn’t realized in the first few seconds after waking up turned out to be… just him being well-rested.

Ben found her in the kitchen. Rey was sitting at the same place by the kitchen island she had occupied the previous evening. Looking up at him, she gave him a weak smile, and Ben could swear she blushed a bit, lowering her eyes. He frowned, looking at the small granola bar in her hands. He hated those and could never figure out why one would assume that that was healthier than some plain chocolate. After all, the amount of sugar was similar in those.

“Good morning,” he greeted her, managing to smile softly. “How are you feeling?”

“Good morning,” she finally looked back at him. “Oh, I slept fine, thank you…” she was concerned, he could tell. “I… I am really sorry, Professor, for making you…” she inhaled sharply. “For making you sleep with me… Not sleep with me, but… you know… In my bed,” she was stumbling, clenching at the remains of the granola bar in her hands.

“That’s nothing, Rey,” he tried to reassure her (and himself). “You were distressed and had a nightmare. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. And as I said, you can call me Ben,” he could tell by the look on her face that his reply didn’t make it easier for her, and it was easy to tell why. He felt confused himself with everything that had happened the previous night.

“What’s that?” he asked, nodding at her granola bar and trying to change the subject.

“I… That’s something from my food stash,” she shrugged. “I have stolen this from Poe yesterday morning. He has millions of these, so he wouldn’t probably notice… And that was a good way to save some money on breakfast.”

Ben frowned.

“I’m gonna cook us something,” he murmured.

“Oh, wait, Proff… I mean Ben,” Rey waved her hands. “You don’t have to cook for me, please! I have already overstayed my welcome here!”

Ben turned to her, gazing at her intently. This girl was too polite for her own good. Too polite and obviously too unaccustomed to accepting help. He admired her for that, he did, but it also annoyed him greatly that it was his help she didn’t want to accept now.

“Rey, I will say it one more time, and I won’t repeat myself again,” he groaned, noticing with an unpleasant twitch in his chest that she had tensed at the sound of his tone. He tried to go on gentler. “I am used to having breakfast at home. Sometimes I feel too lazy to cook, but I usually eat in the morning. I usually do it here or in my friend’s coffee shop, but I. Do. Eat. You are my guest, and I know for sure that you haven’t eaten since yesterday. All the same, we need to talk about everything. So spare me this politeness of yours and have breakfast with me. This shit can’t be counted as food,” he took the granola bar’s wrap from her hands and tossed it into the bin. He was sorry he made her tense, but she nodded to him and for now it was enough.

It had been ages since he cooked the pancakes.

“Pancakes are meant for a company,” his mother used to say.

Ben made it sometimes for Hux and Phasma, but it was a long-forgotten feeling to cook for a woman.

He couldn’t help but smile at how her eyes flared at the site of the plate he put in front of her. He didn’t have time to sit down, and she had already consumed half of the pancakes he made for her. Catching his surprised look, she stopped herself and tried to eat slower.

Ben looked at her carefully once more. Rey was thin. Too thin. He hadn’t noticed it before, but now it was plain as day that her thinness was unhealthy. He rose from his chair, going back to the burner

“Do you want some hot chocolate?” he asked her. “I want to make myself a cup, will you have one as well?”

That was a lie, he didn’t want hot chocolate. Truth be told, Ben hated it, but he kept one packet for the times when Phasma and Hux came for a visit. The tall woman adored her cup. Ben preferred coffee, but there were no calories in coffee, and Rey needed calories. He, however, supposed that there was no way she would let him make something for her alone.

Rey’s eyes blazed even brighter from his offer.

“Yes, thank you!” she almost squeaked.

Ben smirked, turning the burner back on.

 

“Here you go,” he said, giving Rey her cup.

She had already finished the pancakes and now reached eagerly for the hot chocolate. The girl had no idea how happy she looked when she was receiving food. She looked so grateful, and Ben felt warm from making her look like that, but at the same time he couldn’t help but worry for her. Why on Earth was she so hungry and thin?

“You seem to love your food,” he smiled at her.

Rey blushed a bit, stopping from sipping from her cup, the expression of guilt crossing her face for a second.

“I like when my guests eat,” Ben hurried to explain, watching her. “I don’t like to throw food away. I always feel that I cooked bad when people don’t eat it all…”

Rey smiled at him after his words, returning to her food.

“Mmmm, this is so good,” she said, tasting her hot chocolate, and Ben had to start thinking about some really awful things to stop himself from getting hard again. The sound she had made went straight to his groin, and he wasn’t happy about it.

“Want to eat the rest of my pancakes?” he offered, trying to distract himself from the nasty thoughts in his head. “I’ve had enough. I haven’t touched these. That was too much even for me.”

Rey hesitated but accepted the remaining pancakes from him. Truth be told, he was still a bit hungry, but looking at how eagerly Rey started to eat again, he couldn’t care less.

“I believe you like it?” he almost laughed.

“This is perfect! But I love all food.”

“Any favorites, though?”

She shook her head.

“I’m not picky. I had never had enough food or water back in Jakku, so I am used to eating when I can and what I can.”

She was so busy with her pancakes that didn’t notice Ben frowning at her words.

“May I ask you a question, Rey?”

“Sure.”

“How exactly did you end up in the foster system?”

She froze, forgetting her food and looking up at him.

“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to,” he told her gently. “It’s okay if you don’t…”

“No, no,” she interrupted. “That’s okay… My parents… My parents left me by the Jakku highway. I don’t remember them, only some blurry images. They left me under the burning sun with a piece of paper attached to my hand. There were only my name and my age written on it. I was five.”

“They just left you there?” he felt his chest boiling with furry and had to gather the last drops of control not to slam his hand down the table.

“Well, I don’t know,” Rey smirked. “They probably planned to come back for me, but they sort of forgot and police found me first. But they were only gone for three days, so, had I been there longer, they would probably remember to pick me up,” she sounded bitter, and didn’t look at him.

“You… You spent three days in a desert?!”

“Something like that, yes. Sometimes there are no cars driving the Jakku highway for days. The place is really desolate.”

He had to break something. He had to go somewhere and break something just to prevent himself from exploding. He rose from his chair and went to the sink by the kitchen window.

“Fucking bastards…” he hissed.

Suddenly, a small warm hand covered his, making him flinch at the touch. He realized he had been clenching the counter so hard that his fingers started to hurt. He turned to Rey who was now standing beside him and looking at him concerned.

“I’m sorry, Ben. It’s fine, it was so long ago,” she said quietly. “I survived and I am not going back there, no matter what.”

His name coming from her mouth helped him calm down surprisingly. Not really thinking about what he was doing, he cupped her small cheek with his large palm. Her head was so small, he could easily take it all in his hand. Rey shuddered but didn’t spring back. Instead of that, she kept looking at him with wide hazel eyes.

“Why on Earth did you apologize?” he said hoarsely.

“You seemed to get distressed because of what I said...”

He had never felt like he could drown in someone’s eyes. Not until he looked into Rey’s.

She was staring at him, her mouth agape, not moving, not even blinking, but breathing heavily. Ben could feel the warmth of her skin under his usually cold palms, and the feeling was burning. Her hair was still a bit tangled from her sleep, and her no-makeup face was so tender and pure that Ben had to swallow in uncontrollable awe.

Suddenly, she started to move closer to him. Slowly, like she didn’t know what she was doing, she took a step towards him, not averting her eyes from his. He could see her pupils dilating and wondered in some wicked trance if his had been doing the same. He almost closed his eyes and covered the distance between them when his mobile rang.

He heard her shriek and couldn’t suppress his own growl, stepping back and unable to stop the feeling of déjà vu seizing him.

Hux was calling.

“Yes,” he groaned into the phone, forgetting himself and watching from the corner of his eye as Rey covered her face with her palm in confusion.

She tried to walk away from the kitchen, but he was fast enough to grab her by the arm and stop her, gesturing to her seat by the kitchen island. She hesitated, but he looked at her pleadingly, and she sat back on her chair, fidgeting uncomfortable, as he was talking to Armitage.

“Whoa, Ben, did I wake you up?” Hux said after Ben’s harsh reply.

“No… No, sorry. Hux, we need to talk. Could you please come to my place with Phasma? I need you both here as soon as possible.”

“What’s wrong, Ben?” Hux sounded worried now.

“Nothing’s wrong. Well, nothing I can discuss with you by phone. Will you come?”

“Okay, sure. Should we bring anything?”

“Some cake from “the Workshop” would be nice. I’ll pay.”

“Of course, you will, you idiot. You alone eat enough cake to keep “the Workshop” alive,” Hux smirked.

“Just come as soon as you can,” Ben groaned and hung up.

“I… I probably need to get going,” Rey mumbled, trying to rise from her chair and leave the kitchen.

“Wait!” Ben exclaimed. “I… I have a solution to your problem,” he needed her to stay now and he didn’t want to think why.

Her project is brilliant.

Yes, yes, the project. And he didn’t even want to think or speak about what had almost happened between them just a few minutes ago.

He didn’t know why this girl had such an effect on him, but now was not the time to ponder it.

Rey relaxed a bit, obviously glad as well to avoid the subject.

“Which problem exactly do you mean?” she asked hesitantly.

 

***

Rey was at a loss when she opened her eyes. Her first reaction to her surroundings was panic and the sense of danger that accompanied it.

There were just three types of reaction to the danger in this world. The first one was to fight back, the second – to run away and the last but not least one was to pretend to be dead. Rey usually went with the second or third option, so she froze on her place, consuming her surroundings with her eyes wide open. It wasn’t that easy, though, as her face was pressed to something warm, one of her cheeks smeared over the surface of the said something.

Where am I?..

Suddenly it hit her, the memories from the day before coming back to her, making her breath hitch.

Plutt, Poe, Paige, Professor Solo… Ben.

He let her stay in his flat.

She vaguely remembered waking up from a nightmare last night. She had those when she was stressed, same old Jakku desert, burning Sun and a car, riding away from her on a high speed, visited her in her sleep. She remembered waking up in panic to find herself in Ben’s large warm arms, hearing him pleading for her to wake up. She also remembered in a blur that she had asked him to stay.

Her back felt cold as she realized what exactly she was laying on.

She was still wrapped in his arms and pressed tightly to him. He would probably be mad at her for crossing all possible boundaries when he woke up. She’d known him for a week, he was her Professor, he had asked her to join his team, there was no way she could wake up on his chest in the morning. Would he throw her off of his team now?

Good thing, she’d had so much experience getting up quietly from the bed with Poe. Carefully, she removed herself from Ben’s arms and slipped out from the room, trying to ignore the small feeling of emptiness that had touched her insides when she moved. Only when she was in the kitchen did she release a breath she’d been holding. Something else was different this morning... Well, everything was pretty new around, truth be told, but there was also something... Something... She was warm...

She wasn’t freezing to death, and the feeling was so new, she felt her eyes watering. And that was when her stomach growled.

Rey wasn’t new to feeling hungry. She’d spent most of her life hungry, for God’s sake! She had learned to ignore the feeling as long as it was possible, but last time she had actually eaten something was the previous morning with an addition of the tea that Ben had offered her in the evening. She felt a bit dizzy because of the hunger and all the stress that accompanied it. She didn’t want to roam through the fridge in somebody else’s apartment, so she remembered the granola bar she’d stolen from Poe’s.

Trying to prolong her poor breakfast, she made small bites of it. Suddenly she felt desperate. Rey had never been one to give up easily, but this time she felt like there was no way out of her situation. She had no money, no home and no job. Even if she found something today, she would still have to sleep on the street. Still struggling to find the solution, she went to her bag and pulled out her phone. It was dead from the night before, so she plugged it in to charge, waiting for it to come back to life.

As soon as her phone turned back on, several message notifications appeared on the screen, all of them from Rose.

Rey, Paige has just come back home, and is telling me some unbelievable shit about you. Where are you? Call me!

Rey, where are you, goddammit?! Paige told me you cheated on Poe and he had to throw you out of his flat. What the hell, Rey?! What’s going on?!

Paige is furious with you. She said, Poe was desperate when he found out. Told me, he’s been bad to you lately because he kinda knew about you and that guy, and didn’t want to believe it. Rey, is it true???

Damn, Rey, just call me!

Rey’s eyes widened in shock. What did Paige tell Rose?! Trying to push the right buttons on the screen of her phone, she dialed her friend.

“Rey! Where the hell are you? I tried to reach you the whole evening yesterday! What’s going on? Is it true? Where are you?” Rose whispered. “Wait... Just give me a moment!”

Rey heard the sounds of footsteps and of the door opening and closing before Rose spoke again.

“Are you okay?” was the first thing her friend asked her.

“Relatively...” Rey grunted.

“God, Rey, Paige came back from Poe’s place yesterday. Told me she’d found him in tears. Is it true? Were you seeing someone behind his back?”

“God, Rose, of course not!” speaking was hard as Rey’s throat was dry because of fury that captured her after Rose’s words.

How could Paige lie so badly to her own sister? How could she be so cynical! However, Rey didn’t want to discuss this on the phone, sitting in her professor’s apartment.

“Rose, listen, can we meet today? I need to... figure things out, but I can text you later and we can meet. Are you free?”

“Rey, I would be free for you even if I had to cancel all my other plans. This is all insane!”

“Okay, I’ll text you later then. See you, Rose.”

“Take care, for heaven’s sake, Rey!”

She hung up and came back to her granola bar, looking at it desperately. How could everything be so wrong?..

That was how he found her. She didn’t hear him coming into the kitchen, still consumed by her trance, and was deadly embarrassed when she saw him, the memories from the morning and the feeling of his body under her cheek coming back to her together with the fear of being thrown away again.

To her surprise he wasn’t mad at her. He looked embarrassed and probably confused, but there were no anger vibes coming from him as she was secretly watching him from under her lashes. She remembered who he was, Professor Ben Solo, the one that was known for his angry outbursts, exactingness, perfectionism, insistence and hatred towards those whom he considered as fools. But as Rey watched Ben cooking pancakes, frowning slightly as he was pouring the batter into the pan, she couldn’t see this person. And as he put the deliciously smelling food in front of her, all Rey could see was a man who was worried, slightly confused, a little distant and maybe slightly cold from the outside, but surprisingly warm inside. His intentions and the reason behind his kindness were unclear to her, and usually she would feel defensive about it, but she couldn’t when it came to Ben. For some unknown reason she trusted him. She trusted him and it hurt her that this, whatever it was between them couldn’t last. She couldn’t have it.

It was when she’d told him about her parents that she saw the man from the classroom again. However, his fury wasn’t directed at her. He was so tense and so angry after hearing her story that had she just met him, she would be scared and willing to go hide somewhere as fast as she could. But she didn’t. She felt sorry for causing his outburst, though, so, never realizing, what she was doing, Rey went to Ben, and put her hand on his, surprising him. She didn’t know what was happening between them, every cell of her brain telling her that somehow all this was completely wrong, but she didn’t step away when he cupped her cheek. His hand was so large, and Rey shivered from the coldness of it and from the hoarse sound of his voice speaking to her. The last reasoning of her mind leaving her head, she reached to him, to his lips and to the feeling of his warm breath smelling of pancakes.

The ringing of his phone was like a bucket of ice-cold water on her. As Ben groaned, seemingly angry, she jumped away from him, confused and terrified by what she had almost done. For a second she could tell he was furious. Was she completely crazy?! Could she make her situation even more complicated?! Professor Solo was the only person who had helped her without hesitation in the last 24 hours, and she had almost compromised them both with her behavior.

He was the one to cup my cheek…

She could only hope that would stop him from destroying her after he ended the call.

She removed her hand that covered her face and decided that it would be better to just leave him right here, right now. She could probably come to him later to apologize... maybe, maybe he won’t throw her off of the team. She tried to go away, but was stopped by the powerful grip on her forearm. He was holding her, stopping her from going away and making her sit back at the table. That was the moment Rey gave up trying to understand what was going on. Everything was in a blur when she was around him, she had switched from willing to kiss him desperately to being terrified to death by what she had almost done and back several times already. And all this for one morning.

She could hear him asking his friends to come to his place, which was obviously a clear hint for her to leave his place as soon as they finished... doing whatever they had to do.

“Just come as soon as you can,” Solo groaned and hung up.

“I… I probably need to get going,” she mumbled.

“Wait!” once again she was surprised by his intonation. He sounded confused, but it seemed he wasn’t angry at her after all. Rey turned to him, looking at him carefully. “I… I have a solution to your problem.”

Did he still want to help her? Rey couldn’t believe her ears.

“Which problem exactly do you mean?” she asked hesitantly.

“You have nowhere to live now and you have just lost your job,” Ben stated. “And you obviously can’t stay here, or we’ll get into trouble. It will be hard to explain the board why one of my students lives in my place.”

She knew he was right, but his statement still hurt her a bit.

“Right…” she answered.

For some reason he looked at her with what seemed like a bit of confusion mixed with surprise before pulling himself together and going on.

“Well, you know my friend Professor Hux, I suppose? His wife is also a close friend of mine, and she owns a small coffee shop not far from campus. “The Workshop”, do you know it?

Of course, Rey knew “the Workshop”, it was the best student coffee shop in Takodana. When Rey could afford it she would usually go to “the Workshop” for the cup of her favorite hot chocolate. She had no idea that the tall woman who owned the place was actually Professor Hux’s wife.

How do they manage it in bed with such a difference in height?

Rey also wasn’t aware that Ben and Hux were actually friends. Everyone in campus knew the stories of how the two of them were almost tearing each other’s throats out during the competitions. Rey was surprised.

“We’ll ask Phasma to give you a job,” Ben went on. “And then we can think about where you will live.”

“Do they need an employee in the Workshop?” she asked in confusion.

“I have no idea,” he waved her off. “I don’t really care. We need to get you a job. I can’t lose… I can’t lose your project,” he stammered for a second, frowning and looking away and then back at her.

“It is sort of their business,” she smirked.

“What I need from you, Miss Johnson,” suddenly his voice became very strict, and Rey saw Professor Solo from the class in front of her again. She tensed, gulping. “Is not to doubt the decisions of your professor and the head of your competition project team. Is that clear?”

“I… I’m sorry,” she gulped.

“Don’t be,” suddenly he smirked. He came back closer to the kitchen island and stopped several steps away from her. “I… I want you on my team, Rey,” he murmured. “Your project is brilliant, and no one deserves to be in the situation you are in at the moment. So… You’ll let me help you. End of discussion.”

He wasn’t asking anymore, just stating the facts. His tone didn’t imply any objections, but, truth be told, she didn’t care. No one had ever offered to help her. Not that she had ever asked for it or assumed that someone had to help her. She had always been alone, she was used to it. And now it scared her a bit to let some almost stranger close. But... She closed her eyes for a moment, remembering his last words. Warm... She felt warm all over, inside and outside. It terrified her a bit, this feeling of accepting someone’s care, but, she realized, had she been completely honest with herself, this time she wanted it very-very much. She smiled at him carefully, watching in light surprise as the serious expression on his face was replaced with something else, something kinder and something almost tender.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

He nodded, and for the second time today she uncontrollably reached for his hand. This time he closed his eyes for a moment just like he was hesitating about what he should do, but then, again, put his hand above hers, not averting his gaze from the place where their hands touched. He heard him inhaling deeply just like he wanted to tell her something, when sudden sound burst their private bubble.

“What the hell is going on here?!” Professor Hux’s bewildered voice asked from the entrance to the kitchen, and Rey saw the ginger man kneeling to pick up the book that had slipped from his hands onto the floor.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 5.

Oh shit.

“What the hell is going on here?!” Armitage’s bewildered voice asked from the entrance to the kitchen, and Ben saw his friend kneeling to pick up to pick up the book that had slipped from his hands onto the floor.

Oh, shit...

Suddenly, Ben could see the whole picture from Hux’s perspective: Rey sitting in his hoodie by the kitchen island, her hair still messy, and himself standing in front of his student in his night clothes and holding her hand.

Oh, shit.

He pulled his hand away from Rey’s as if he had been burned, the loss of their connection making him feel slightly lost immediately.

“Solo?” Hux growled furiously, and at this moment Ben regretted terribly giving the spare keys to his best friend.

“Calm down, Hux. Nothing is going on here,” Ben tried to keep calm, he did, but it was getting rather complicated.

“Oh, really?” Hux smirked enraged. “How long has this been going on?”

Armitage was still standing at the door, but Ben could feel the waves of rage emanating from him.

“Of all the times you could choose to screw things up you chose now! And the worst possible way to do it! Solo, damnit! Screwing your student, really? What happened to all that “I’d never sleep with any of my students, I am not a fucking moron who can’t keep it in his pants” thing of yours?! And now, when Snoke is lurking around…Gee, Solo, among other things, the timing is the worst ever!” Hux was on a roll, and Ben was starting to lose his patience. He could see Rey from the corner of his eye. The girl was as white as a sheet, and Ben couldn’t help the need to protect her that was burning in his chest. He realized why Hux was crazy now, but the feeling of Rey’s vulnerability made Ben go insane.

“Hux…” he tried, but Armitage interrupted him.

“Is the project you showed me actually hers?” he squinted. “Or did she just manipulate you somehow to get on the team? Sophomore student participating in Takodana competitions… That would be a story!”

“ENOUGH!” Hux winced at the sound of Ben’s voice and fell completely silent. Ben’s anger washed over him in waves and he couldn’t control it anymore. “Don’t you dare insult my professionalism or, God help me, Armitage, I will have to punch some sense into you! There’s nothing going on between Miss Johnson and me. She got into trouble, and I helped, that is all. We are neither lovers nor friends, and our relationship does not go beyond professional. Miss Johnson is my student, and, as you previously noted, I am not some fucking moron to sleep with my students. She is an important asset in the upcoming competitions, and we can’t lose her.”

He regretted his words as soon as they left his mouth. He saw Rey gasping and obviously trying to gain her composure before looking back at him. He knew he hurt her and he hated himself for that. Ben didn’t know what Rey thought about their relationship, but after everything they’d been through since the previous day, he could see she had started trusting him. He had saved her from spending the night on the street. She had slept in his bed, for God’s sake, with him holding her in his arms! He still remembered the smell of her hair… He had told her he wanted to help, and that was completely the truth. And now he had said what he had said and he could tell that she was trying to hide the pain caused by his words. He almost lost track of his thoughts, noticing this, but had to pull himself back together. No matter what, the main problem now was Hux, and Ben had to deal with him first.

“Now, sit the fuck down and I’ll explain everything to you,” Ben told Armitage. “Believe me, you owe Miss Johnson an apology!”

Hux frowned but did as he was told while Ben was gathering his thoughts together.

“Where is Phasma?” Ben asked, running his fingers through his hair exasperatedly.

“She is coming from “the Workshop”. I was nearby when you called,” Hux answered, still looking angry.

“I’m gonna make us all some tea,” Ben sighed.

“I’ll go clean up, if you don’t mind, Professor,” Rey said, raising from her chair and avoiding his gaze.

“Of course, Rey,” he nodded, following her with his eyes as she walked away from the kitchen.

He had to remember himself when Hux cleared his throat emphatically. Frowning so deep his brows hurt, Ben put the kettle on the burner.

 

Phasma entered the kitchen soon after Rey returned from the bathroom. Ben and Hux hadn’t said a word to each other since they’d been left alone in the room, and Ben had never been so happy to see the tall woman in his life. However, his happiness was short-lived.

“Gentlemen, I’ve brought the... cake...” the blond stumbled, spotting Rey. “Oh, hi, how are you?” she smiled at her, her easiness fading quickly as Phasma looked at her husband’s gloomy face.

“Hello,” Rey gave Phasma an uncertain smile that disappeared just as fast.

“Phasma, let me introduce you to Miss Rey Johnson,” Hux finally smirked. “Miss Johnson here is Ben’s student. And I pray to God that he finally tells me what is going on here, because this morning I found them here together, dressed in their pajamas only.”

***

Rey felt sick. Ben’s...

Professor Solo’s she corrected herself.

Professor Solo’s words were still buzzing in her head, scratching the insides of her scull like some fucking sandpaper. Truth be told, he hadn’t said anything new. Actually what Solo’d told Hux was good news for her. She was a valuable asset and that meant she would stay on the team. But after everything that had happened this morning, Rey was hoping that she was a bit more than just an asset. Asset. Like she was just a thing. Well, she couldn’t afford to be offended now, could she? Stiffiening under Solo’s gaze, she braced herself and started telling her story.

By the time Rey finished, Phasma was shaking her head in disbelief and Hux was frowning even harder than before.

“That’s a hell of a story,” Phasma murmured.

“If it is true,” Hux grunted in response.

“Oh, shut up, you!” the blonde smacked her husband on the arm. “Can’t you see the girl is terrified enough and doesn’t need to hear your shit? Sorry, hon, don’t mind him,” Phasma gave her a reassuring smile that Rey was not able to return. “But, Ben, why exactly did you call us?”

“I want you to give her a job.”

The situation looked extremely awkward to Rey now. Solo was talking to Phasma like he owned “the Workshop”. He sounded like he would not take it any other way, and Rey could easily tell Phasma was not one to be spoken to like that.

“Oh, really?” the blonde smirked. “I don’t remember looking for anybody.”

“It doesn’t matter. Your husband and I need Rey on our team, I can’t keep her here if we want to avoid trouble, and she can’t sleep in the street. If Rey finds anything else later and get another apartment…”

“What do you mean another apartment?!” Phasma exclaimed indignantly. “Where do you want her to live now?!”

“You have a small room above the coffee shop,” Solo said almost nonchalantly. “She can live there for now.”

“Are you completely nuts?!” Hux was furious now. “You already decided everything for us, didn’t you?! Did it ever occurred to you to discuss this with us first?! Damnit, Solo!”

Rey had trouble breathing. She felt embarrassed and humiliated. And she wanted to vanish from the room or better yet, the planet. Floating dead in the vacuum of outer space seemed more alluring option at the moment. Rey felt torn-apart and couldn’t stay here any longer.

“I should better go,” she whispered hoarsely, making everyone else fall silent. “I… I’m really sorry for… for this. You don’t have to hire me, Phasma, you know better how to run your business, I don’t want to be a burden. I will figure something out... I…”

“Oh, wait, darling,” Phasma interrupted, frowning and shaking her head. “I am sorry I got carried away, you didn’t need to hear any of this,” the tall woman tried to give Rey a soft smile which didn’t calm Rey down in the slightest. “This is not about you… We just need to discuss it with Ben…”

“Preferably alone,” Hux murmured.

“Hux!” Solo’s voice sounded menacing.

“Calm the fuck down, both of you!” Phasma roared, and Rey realized in surprise that both men immediately obeyed, shutting their mouths and looking at the blonde in confusion. “Rey, please, don’t take it personally. And Ben’s right, you won’t be able to find a job quickly and you definitely won’t sleep on the street. But this situation is tricky and we need to discuss it…”

“I get it,” Rey nodded. “You are right, I shouldn’t interfere with your discussion. I promised to meet my friend today, anyway, and I can call her now.”

“What friend?” Solo asked sharply, and Rey raised her eyes at him in surprise.

“It’s… Rose. Rose, I told you I called her this morning.”

“Right… Right…” Solo murmured averting his gaze from her again.

Everyone was quiet.

“That would be nice, Rey,” finally Phasma broke the awkward silence. “We can see you later and talk, okay? You can come to “the Workshop” as soon as you are free. It’s BB’s shift today, tell him Phasma sent you, I’ll give him a call later and he will make you a cup of coffee or whatever you want when you get there. Does Professor Solo here have your number so that we could let you know that we are on the way?”

“Oh, no… No, he doesn’t.”

Phasma gave her husband the I told you so look before turning back to Rey.

“Well, give him your number, he’ll need it anyway when you are on his team. And let us know where you are going to meet your friend, will you? Just in case, you know.”

Rey nodded frowning and reached for her phone.

 

She agreed to meet Rose in the Crait park. The location was really convenient as “the Workshop” stood in the middle of this park, and Rey would not have to spend additional time walking the streets when she was finished with Rose. It was getting colder every day, and as Rey’s jacket was lost in the depths of Plutt’s workshop, she had only her hoodie left to keep her warm. Rey was sorry she had thrown her winter parka away the previous spring. The thing looked like shit and Rey had plans to buy a new one when she had enough money. Now she was cold and, shitty or not, her old parka could keep her warm.

Rey could borrow Professor’s Solo hoodie, of course, the one he had given her yesterday. But knowing what Paige had told Rose about her, Rey didn’t want to turn up in front of her friend in some oversized clothes that clearly weren’t her own. So, it was cold, and cold Rey was.

“Hey!” she heard Rose’s voice and smiled uncontrollably. Rose was always the one to make Rey feel better just by being around.

“Hey!” she rose from the bench she was sitting on to wrap her friend in a hug.

“God, Rey! Aren’t you cold?” Rose asked concerned, sitting back down on the bench next to her. “Where the hell is your jacket?”

“Don’t worry, I’m fine,” Rey assured her friend, trying not to shiver at the same time. “And that is a part of the story…”

Rey started with Plutt and with the story of how she’d become unemployed. Rose listened closely, her eyes getting wider with every word Rey was saying.

“He did what?!” Rose exclaimed when Rey came to the point where Plutt had tried to rape her.

Rey told Rose how she had thrown a wrench into him and how she had run away.

“Why didn’t you call Poe?! Or me?!”

“My phone died…”

As Rey came to the point where she had come back to Poe’s place, she tensed.

“Rose, what I am going to tell you next… It might be a bit overwhelming for you, but please, let me finish, will you?”

“What can be possibly more overwhelming than what you’ve just told me?” Rose grumbled, shaking her head.

Rey took a deep breath and proceeded.

“…The door was open, and when I entered the apartment everything was dark. I couldn’t see a thing, but as I turned on the light… Well, there was Poe…” Rey swallowed, unsure of how to proceed.

“Well, that’s no surprise, is it?” Rose asked uncertainly.

“No, no, that’s not the thing… Just give me a moment.”

One more deep breathe. In and out.

“Rose, Poe wasn’t alone. He was naked and there was a girl with him.”

“What?!”

“Yes… But the worst part… The worst part was, that girl was… Paige…”

Rose fell silent. She was looking at Rey, her jaw working like she was trying to process everything Rey had just told her.

“That can’t be the truth,” Rose finally said hoarsely.

“I wish, it wasn’t… But she was there. She and Poe, they… Well… She told me they’ve been… in love for some time now.”

“No, it can’t be, I would know!”

“She also told me that Poe wanted to keep it secret because he… pitied me. Rose, she told me I was a charity case…”

“Rey. What are you talking about?! Paige is your friend too! I know you’ve been having troubles, but she would never do anything like that to you!” Rose was yelling now, unable to control her emotions. “Rey, damnit! No, no… That can’t be true!”

“But it is!” Rey yelled back. She could see why it was hard for Rose to believe her, but Rey went through too much pain to accept her friend’s mistrust easily. “She told Poe to throw me out of the apartment. Told me I can’t keep sleeping with him for money and the apartment he gives me! Rose, for God’s sake! I had nowhere to go! I told them I had nowhere to go, but Paige told Poe that I was a liar! She told me to go to Jessica! Told me that I had a lot of friends on campus and that I could spent the night with them!”

“Who the fuck is Jessica?” Rose growled.

“Jessica Pava…”

“You’ve only met Jessica once, why would you go to her?”

“I told Paige the same! But she didn’t want to listen!”

“And why didn’t Poe say anything? You are telling me my sister threw you out of someone else’s apartment! That sounds like bullshit, Rey! Why didn’t Poe say anything?”

“Well, he tried a couple of times, but Paige was rather insistent. In the end he agreed with her and offered me to help collect my things.”

“I can’t believe it,” Rose squeezed her eyes shut for a moment and then turned back to Rey. There was not a trace of comforting expression Rey was so familiar with on her face at the moment. Rose looked angry, furious even. And her fury was directed towards Rey. “You are telling me, my sister whom I know since the day I was born, who is the closest person in the world to me, is actually some glorious sneaky bitch who was screwing her own friend’s boyfriend and who threw said friend out into the street? Do you really want me to believe you, Rey?”

“I know it’s hard to believe, Rose, but…”

“But what, Rey?” Rose smirked. “You know what? Paige also told me a story yesterday. She said, she came to Poe’s to collect the book she gave him ages ago and found you two having a fight. She said Poe caught you with another man. She said you tried to make him let you stay, but in the end, when you realized it was useless, you just told him to fuck off and left for your lover’s place… Paige told me you were the one to inform them both about that. You slammed the door behind you and left for your lover. And you know what I think Rey? I think you don’t look like someone who spent the night on the street. So, tell me, Rey, where did you sleep last night?!”

Rey stiffened. She could tell Rose about Professor Solo, of course, not everything, but some parts, but looking at her friend, Rey realized that in her current condition Rose could still not believe her story and that could endanger Solo too. She didn’t want to pull him deeper into this mess.

“That’s… That’s a long story, Rose,” she whispered.

“Is it? Well, I have time, you know…”

“Rose… Sorry, but I can’t tell you. It’s not how it looks like, I promise you, I just… I just can’t tell you…”

“Really, Rey?” Rose sneered. “You, however, had no problem with telling me all this shit about my sister! Rey, how could you, for God’s sake?! I never thought you were like that!”

“I am not! I am not like that, Rose! Please, Rose, please believe me! I have no one else, but you!”

“And what happened to this secret person you spent last night with, huh? What, it didn’t work and you came to me to ask for help and to lie about my sister? You know what, Rey? Fuck you! I don’t wanna talk to you ever again!”

“Rose, wait!” Rey rose from the bench, trying to catch her friend by the hand, but Rose pulled her hand away and rushed to the park’s exit.

Rey was standing alone, feeling the cold of the outside world reaching her bones. She sat back down on a bench and covered her face with her hands. She felt empty, there was not a single thought in her head anymore. She was tired of thinking. She couldn’t even cry, she just wanted to lie down somewhere and die.

Rey didn’t know how much time she had spent on this bench when something touched her. Opening her eyes, Rey saw Phasma, sitting next to her with her hand on Rey’s shoulder.

“Come on, girl,” Phasma told her, smiling calmly. “You have a shift tomorrow. I need to show you what to do.”

***

“So, tell me, Ben,” Phasma said when Rey left the apartment. “What makes you think you can go around telling me how to run my business?”

He rolled his eyes, knowing perfectly well that there was no way Phasma could just let him get away with it now.

“She is in trouble, that’s the only option,” Ben groaned.

“Maybe, but you still had to discuss it with us first, you had to ask me first, goddammit!”

They all fell silent. Ben knew perfectly well that Phasma was right. He acted on impulse, the urge to help Rey overwhelming him and making him lose control. The more he stayed around this girl the more complicated it was to distance himself from her. He couldn’t understand what was happening to him, much less explain it to his friends.

“He just won’t admit it, will he?” Hux smirked at Phasma.

“Oh no, he won’t,” Phasma sighed heavily.

Ben looked at his friends inquiringly.

“Ben, I don’t want to send this girl packing, you know. This is not about her, this is about you. All I want is for you to admit that you were wrong. Don’t get me wrong, Ben. I am not asking you to do it as a matter of principle. It’s just... Ben, I am worried... You seem distressed. And last time you behaved like that you were...”she stumbled, looking slightly perplexed.

“I was what, Phas?” Ben asked.

“You were turning into him...” Phasma whispered.

Ben froze. He knew perfectly well what she was talking about. They hadn’t raised this subject for years now. He had talked about it with Hux, but Phasma had chosen to stay out of it as soon as they were all fine and away from the danger. As soon as they were all away from Snoke.

“Love,” Hux seemed to understand Phasma’s worries as well as he put his hand on his wife’s shoulder, looking concerned.

“I am sorry, Phas,” Ben said, coming closer to the kitchen island. “I’m sorry, I was wrong. It’s just...”

“It’s just this girl, isn’t it?” Phasma smiled at him sadly.

Ben saw Hux frowning again, watching the two of them.

“We are... There’s nothing going on between us,” Ben said, lowering his eyes.

“But you care about here, don’t you?”

“I want to help her, Phas…”

“But... Solo!” Armitage was rubbing his forehead. “Okay, okay, I get it, her project is important. But... There’s something more, isn’t it? You care about her, not only about her project. And you never care about your students. Good ideas, possibility of scientific developments, this is usually important for you, but you never actually care about the person behind the project. No, no, you always give your students the chance, and all of them benefit from your cooperation, but you... you never actually care about them. You never did! But now you do, don’t you?”

Ben didn’t say anything, but both Hux and Phasma knew him too well to understand what the answer to Hux’s question was.

“Oh, for God’s sake, Solo!” Hux exclaimed.

“But is it so bad that Ben cares?” Phasma asked. “It doesn’t mean he will... do anything inappropriate... That’s Ben we are talking about here.”

“And you are talking about me like I am not in the room,” Ben groaned.

“Okay, okay, so... you are not going to...”

“Do anything inappropriate?” Ben smirked.

“Yes.”

“No, all I want is to help her and have her on my team.”

“Well, I don’t see a problem here. Do you see a problem here, Armie?”

Ben squinted, hearing Phasma’s tone. The woman sounded too cheerful for some reason. Hux, however, didn’t seem to notice anything.

“Fine,” he said. “Do what you want, Solo…”

Phasma nodded smiling and was already going to say something when Hux interrupted her.

“Listen. Ben,” he said, closing his eyes for a moment. “I am sorry I gave you a hard time. I think, you are right and I owe Rey an apology… But something worries me about this situation. I think she is probably a good girl, but… I don’t know. Call it the sixth sense, if you want. But I just can’t understand what is going on with you when she is around. I’ve seen you twice together and every time you were behaving oddly… I don’t know whether this is a good odd or a bad odd, but she affects you somehow. That worries me…”

“I am completely fine, Hux,” Ben was calmer now, though Hux’s words still troubled him. “There’s nothing for you to worry about.”

“I hope so,” Hux sighed. “I sincerely hope so…”

“Fine!” Phasma clapped her hands. “If you two are good, we have plenty of things to discuss at the moment!”

 

An hour and a half later the three of them entered “the Workshop” and Phasma asked BB to bring them all some coffee. BB was now a junior student who had been working in “the Workshop” since his first year in Takodana. The boy was fast and cheerful and Ben almost didn’t hate him as much as he hated other students. His actual name was Brownie Burns, and Ben could swear that Phasma had hired the boy because of his name. The blonde must had thought that it would be funny to hire somebody called Brownie Burns to work in the coffee shop that sold brownies. Now BB’s schedule became busier and he couldn’t work as much as he did before, so it gave a place for Rey to step in.

Ben had texted Rey, but she wasn’t there yet. Quietly, the three of them were watching the autumn landscape behind the coffee shop window when Phasma pointed at the two tiny figures in the distance.

“Is it Rey over there?” she asked.

Even at this distance he immediately recognized her. Blinking, he tried to see better what was happening there. Rey was trying to catch the second figure by the arm and then just watched it (Ben supposed the figure was Rose) going away. After a minute, Rey collapsed on the bench behind her and remained seated like that, not moving.

“That doesn’t look good,” Phasma murmured.

He was on his feet in a flash, waiting for Phasma who was blocking his way from the table to move away and let him go to Rey.

“Ben, sit the fuck down,” Phasma groaned, stopping him.

“She needs help.”

“I’ll get her. Sit down,” the woman ordered, and Ben remembered himself, sitting back to the table next to the frowning Hux.

“You are completely fine, huh?” his friend murmured, looking at Ben accusingly.

Ben closed his eyes and shook his head. Hux was right, he was in big trouble.

Rey was shivering when Phasma led her to their table. Her lips were slightly blue from the cold and her teeth chattered. Ben took his jacket off immediately to wrap it around her, and she thanked him quietly.

She wasn’t crying, but Ben could tell Rey was completely broken. Phasma made her the biggest cup of hot chocolate that was available, and Rey was sipping it with blank expression on her face. Ben’s whole body hurt from the way Rey looked. He would give anything to just be able to hold her closer and warm her up in his arms until she felt better. But Hux was still sitting next to him and so was Phasma, so he had to control himself.

It seems, the hot chocolate helped. Rey didn’t say much about what had happened to her (“It could be better” as the only thing she said) and was now listening to Phasma who explained her future working arrangements. Rey wouldn’t be paid much, but Phasma would let her take some food from “the Workshop” three times a day. She would also let Rey live in a small room above the coffee shop. The room had it’s own shower, but the toilets were in the coffee shop. The place wasn’t anything special, but it had a bed, a table, a chair and a closet to keep Rey’s things. Rey would have to open the coffee shop every morning, no matter whose shift it was and would have to stay behind the counter and do some cleaning. That was not too much, but Rey agreed to all conditions willingly.

 

Later that evening, Phasma dropped Hux at their house and gave Ben a ride back to his apartment. As he was climbing out from the car, the blonde stopped him.

“Look,” she said. “Rey’s jacket is lost forever, so I took one of my old parkas from our house,” she handed him a medium-sized package. “Can you go back to “the Workshop” in your car and give it to her?”

“Why didn’t you go straight to “the Workshop” from your house? We could do it together,” Ben squinted.

“Oh, I forgot about it completely!” Phasma shrugged. “And now I need to go back home and calm my lovely husband down.”

“What are you doing, Phas?” Ben frowned.

The blonde lowered her eyes.

“Look, Ben,” she said seriously. “I won’t interfere with your relationship with Rey. Truth be told, I don’t want to know anything about it. But for some reason, I like this girl. And I am happy that you care about her. It’s been a while since you cared about someone except for Hux and me. And Rey had an awful day, and I don’t know her well enough to offer her a shoulder to cry on. And she seems to trust you. And I could feel how hard it was for you to stay still when she was so distressed back in the coffee shop. Just go there and give her the parka.”

Ben looked at the package in his hands.

“She is my student, Phas,” he whispered. “And I don’t know anything about her.”

“I just want you to go there and give her this fucking parka.” Phasma smirked. “Don’t overthink this! Just go and talk to her, get to know her better, there’s nothing wrong with it. And in case you won’t change your mind on her account, you know that there are thousands of ways to break the rules, and don’t you dare go telling Hux I told you that.”

“This time breaking the rules can cost us everything.”

“Then just go, give her the parka and come back home. I am telling you to do it because I know you, Ben, you won’t be sleeping, you will be terrible to your students and you won’t be able to stand against Snoke if you don’t figure this out.”

Ben was silent for a few minutes before nodding to Phasma.

“Great!” the blonde said. “Now get out of my car, I miss my husband!”

***

Rey was lying on the bed, staring at the ceiling. Her head was empty and she was too tired to feel anything. She looked around her, and then suddenly it hit her.

This is my first own room…

She’d never had one, even as a child. There were always some other children in her foster families and when she entered Takodana, Rey never had enough money to rent an apartment on her own. She remembered dreaming of her own place. Now she had it, but she was completely alone and broken. She felt her eyes starting to water at the memories of Rose’s face from their today’s encounter, but someone knocking at the door interrupted her thoughts. Rey rose from her bed, concerned. It was already too late and “the Workshop” was closed.

“Rey, it’s me, Ben,” she heard from behind the door.

Her heart skipped a beat. What was he doing here? Her hands shaking, she opened the door.

Ben was standing there, his face lit only by the lamp from her room. He looked lost, and she was afraid he could hear her heartbeat as she was looking at him.

“I… I have spare keys from “the Workshop””,” he said. “Phasma asked me to give you this. May I come in?” he handed her a bulky package, and she nodded, letting him it.

“What’s that?” she asked, smiling uncontrollably for some reason, still not believing that he was in her room.

“It’s a… It’s a parka. It is one of Phasma’s old ones, so it will be probably too big for you, but it will keep you warm until you get yourself something better.”

The parka was navy with some artificial fur attached to the hood. Rey felt the tears starting to fall down from her eyes.

“Thank you!” she sobbed, and at that moment Ben’s arms wrapped around her.

“Don’t… Don’t cry, Rey,” he whispered.

“S… Sorry… This is just… This is just so nice of Phasma to give me this… All of this actually…”

“Don’t be sorry either…”

She sobbed, warmed by the feeling of his arms around her.

“That… That was such a shitty day…” she whispered.

Ben pulled her closer and, not thinking about what she was doing, she buried her face in his chest. His breath hitched and then he put his head on her temple. He was so huge that she felt like she was drowning in him.

“I am sorry, Rey. I am sorry you had to go through all this shit. I am sorry you will have to face more. And I am sorry for what I told you today.”

“What are you talking about?” she pulled back from him slightly to look at his face.

“You are not just an asset,” he stated. “Not to me. You are incredibly intelligent and kind, and I don’t know anything about you, but for some reason, I know that you are a wonderful person. I have problems with anger management sometimes, you might have realized that already after my classes…” she smirked knowingly, but Ben went on. “I got so angry with Hux… And I put it on you. I am so sorry, Rey. I am sorry that I told you that you were just an asset. You are not… Not to me.”

His body was hot like fire. Rey had been freezing before Ben came to her place, but now she felt warm. Warm and safe. Solo did it to her. It was the second time she was in his arms, and both times she felt like that. So very warm… So very safe…

“Rose didn’t believe me today,” she told him quietly. “She asked me where I spent last night. I didn’t want to pull you into this, and I didn’t tell her… She thought everything Paige had told her was true… She left…” Rey couldn’t contain her sob. “I never felt so alone…”

“You are not alone,” his whisper was barely heard, and it was like she didn’t hear it, but felt it with her whole body.

Rey looked Ben in the eyes. They were dark, almost black now. She could feel his heart beating under his skin, and she put her hand on his chest where the feeling of each beat was stronger.

“Ben,” she whispered.

“Oh, for God’s sake!” he murmured before his lips crushed on hers.

She opened her mouth and let him in immediately. He groaned, entering it with his tongue. Ben tasted of coffee and of chocolate cake, his lips were soft and plush and Rey couldn’t help but suck on his lower lip. She heard him growl and in a second she was pressed into the wall behind her, Solo’s body slamming into hers.

That felt incredible. Her hands were roaming his back and she could feel Ben's powerful muscles under his clothes. She had taken off her bra before Ben came, and now her nipples were hardening, piercing his chest. When Ben’s large palm cupped one of Rey's breasts, he gasped, feeling her pointed peak under his fingers.

“Rey…” he whispered into her mouth hoarsely.

She moaned and at that moment their lips parted, as they were both out of oxygen.

Rey looked at Ben’s face and realized that her Professor was looking at her with his eyes opened wide as she felt something large and solid pressing into her thigh.

Oh shit!

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 6.

 

Beautiful.

 

Oh shit! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Ben’s mind was screaming as he watched the girl in his arms looking at him.

 

And then, suddenly, she released the breath she was holding and he felt it touching his now swollen lips. Ben had years of experience with sex. All those endless faceless women he had been bringing home, only to forget their names as soon as they were gone. Some of them were gorgeous in bed, he might have forgotten their names, but he remembered their bodies and all those little sensations they’d managed to give him. Some of those women were very sensual and, truth be told, Ben enjoyed every single minute of their short encounters. However, none of his past experiences were as intimate as the one he had with Rey now.

 

He’d tried to suppress his longing for this girl.  It had been growing inside him since the moment he heard her speaking in his class, and now the dam was broken.   As soon as her sweet breath touched his lips, he pounced at her with a feral growl

She was so tiny in his arms. Pressing her harder into the wall, he wrapped her legs around his waist, hearing her moan as she rubbed his shaft in the process. Ben was already so hard it hurt and the sound of Rey moaning into his mouth made him lose it completely. He moved lower to cover her neck with wet kisses, tasting her glorious skin that smelled like the coconut body wash she had probably used before he arrived. He could feel her nipples, hard and sharp under the fabric of her clothes and couldn’t help but squeeze them tight in his fingers. She cried out at the sensation and Ben was afraid he’d hurt her, but when he tried to pull away from Rey’s face to look at her, she didn’t let him.

 

“Do... Do it again,” she whispered hoarsely into his mouth.

 

He felt dizzy from all the sensations going through his body at the sound of her voice. Roaring, he pinched her nipple harder before cupping her breast with his hand. She moaned so wantonly and loudly that Ben had to stop himself from ripping her clothes off and fucking her into the wall right here, right now. But instead of that he concentrated on the feeling of her breasts under his hands, kissing Rey in the process.

 

Her breasts were small, but they fit into his large palms so perfectly that Ben had almost come undone from the sensation. He wanted to touch her properly, he wanted to hold them without any clothes separating her skin from his. With one rapid movement he pulled her shirt up and reached for the bare skin of her stomach. Rey shivered when he touched her, and Ben cursed under his breath, realizing his hands were too cold for her. He tried to pull away, but once again Rey didn’t let him, pressing herself harder into his palms. When the temperatures of his hand and her body evened, he moved his palm higher to where her pointed peaks were waiting for him, hard enough to cut his fingers. This whole time they didn’t break their kiss, biting each other’s lips and fighting with their tongues. He could eat her, he realized. He could eat her whole and it would never be enough.

 

Rey gasped when he touched her breasts under her t-shirt and he caressed one of them. So soft... So soft and round and just perfect for his touch. He had to see them. He wanted to see her whole body, he needed to see her naked, laying underneath him and screaming out his name if it was possible. Rey was still wrapped around his waist and couldn’t reach his cock even if she wanted to. However, she was moving her thighs unconsciously, pressing her crotch tighter to him while her hands were roaming his back and shoulders. Rey was very warm, hot even. It seemed that where Ben’s body was usually cold for the touch, Rey’s was burning.

 

Finally, he carried her away from the wall and brought her to the small bed in the corner of her room. He tried not to drop her, but they moved so quickly that she fell anyway. As soon as her body touched the bed, however, she was pulling off his sweater and the t-shirt underneath. She froze for a second, looking at him with her eyes wide open when she saw his naked torso. He stopped as well, trying not to scare her off by the desire that was consuming him. She was so fragile and so tender.

 

Beautiful…

 

Rey sucked in a breath before pulling him back closer to herself. Her body was trembling and Ben felt the familiar urge to protect her, something he felt every time she was around.

Ben could tell Rey was nervous, and no matter how much he wanted her right now, he made an effort to stop This was all very wrong to begin with, but at that moment he couldn’t care less. What worried him, however, was that he didn’t want to push her into anything. And now, holding her in his arms, Ben could tell she was terrified. He had to stop. He had to get up now, apologize and run away. He had to, but he couldn’t.

 

“Rey,” he whispered, not moving his face too far away from hers, but looking her in the eyes. “Tell me to stop, tell me to stop and I’ll go. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do... Please.”

 

She looked surprised for a moment, but then the expression of surprise and terror on her face was replaced by something softer, calmer and so very beautiful. Ben stopped breathing looking at her.

 

Beautiful...

 

“I don’t... I don’t want you to stop... I am just... I’m just not good at this.”


Ben gasped when he realized the reason for her distress and it warmed his heart.  It made him want to smile and laugh as happiness washed over him in waves.

 

“Let me take care of it,” he stated, not looking away from her.

 

Slowly, she nodded, smiling shyly, and he reached over her to pull off her t-shirt. Rey let him, shivering slightly as the cold air of the room touched her burning skin. After a moment her t-shirt was in a pile on the floor and Ben was almost gasping for air at the sight of her. He was right, her breasts were perfect and round with small rosebud nipples pointed at him. Rey was beautiful from head to toes and it made the breathing process harder for him.

 

God, she is so beautiful...

 

“Ben?” she whispered and he remembered himself, literally jumping at her with a growl.

 

She responded immediately, moaning and arching into him as he was rubbing her tits so hard that at some point he started to worry that he would bruise her. Rey, however, didn’t seem to mind it in the slightest, devouring him with her kisses. He slid his arm lower from her breast and palmed her crotch, adding some pressure there and feeling her sucking in a breath at his action. Ben had to do the same as he suddenly realized that Rey was already so wet that he could feel it through the fabric of her leggings.

He pressed harder and harder, feeling her wet warmth through the fabric, and suddenly she was coming undone from the touch of his palm. Ben gasped, kissing her neck and losing himself in the feeling of her convulsing and moaning under him.

 

“Oh my God... Oh... Oh my God... Was it?..” she whispered, still half-conscious.

 

Ben’s eyes opened in shock. Had she never?..

 

“I never... I never had an orgasm before...” she murmured shyly, finally noticing his questioning gaze.

 

***


Rey

 

Rey was in heaven. She’d been so afraid that after their first kiss he would just go away that first minutes after he had started kissing her again she’d spent in a blur. She probably had to remember herself and stop, but she wasn’t able to.

 

She loved the way he reacted to her. Rey wasn’t too experienced in sex. Losing her virginity to some moron in high school whose IQ level had only been enough to buy a condom beforehand was bad enough to close the subject of sex for several years. Poe was her second and they had sex, of course. Actually, Poe required it quite often and at first it was nice, but not nice enough for Rey to want to have it every other day. There was probably something wrong with her, because she had heard Paige and Rose saying things about sex and she had never experienced anything close to what they’d been talking about. After a year with Poe she’d usually been dry when he tried something, and he had to moisten her with his saliva, making Rey feeling ghoulish. And of course they had had so many conflicts because of it, Poe often telling Rey that she was just frigid.

Truth be told, Rey had believed him because she was twenty and she had never had orgasm. She was quite desperate and after a year with Poe she didn’t want sex at all... Until today.

 

Ben was eager for her touch, she could tell, he acknowledged her every move, her every moan, her every touch. She knew he liked what they were doing and the fact that such a gorgeous man wanted her drove her crazy.

 

She had never felt anything like that before. Rey could literally feel her panties drenching. His every touch, his every kiss, the tiniest twitches of his muscles under her hands brought up some unknown feeling inside her that was growing with every minute.

 

She became terrified at some point that she would disappoint him and at that moment some part of her wanted to run away from him and all these feelings of embarrassment afterwards. Ben seemed to notice something, and what happened next almost crushed her.

 

Ben gave her a choice. He gave her an opportunity to stop him, to stop this, whatever they were having, and just make him go away. And the moment he did it, she realized that him going away from her was the biggest fear she had.

 

Her anxiety, however, disappeared almost completely as soon as she told him about her worries. Several minutes passed and she was in his arms again, this new feeling inside her coming back to her. It was when he touched her pussy (with her leggings still on) that Rey lost it completely, this new feeling overwhelming her and sending her somewhere out of her body. Her pussy clenched and her toes curled at the sensation and she almost fainted from pleasure, moaning under him.

 

Panting heavily, she came back to Earth.

 

 

“Oh my God... Oh... Oh my God... Was it?..” she whispered, not realizing completely what she was asking.

 

Ben’s eyes opened in shock and he was looking at her his mouth agape.

 

“I never... I never had an orgasm before...” she murmured shyly, acknowledging his surprised look  and finally realizing what had just happened to her.

 

Suddenly, he smiled. His smile was surprisingly soft, and Rey melted under his gaze. And then he kissed her. He kissed her warmly and softly and she could hardly contain a sob that came with the tears in her eyes. Never in her life had she felt so cared about.

 

“Shh, I’ve got you, sweetheart,” he whispered in her ear, and the sudden term of endearment made her heart skip a beat.

 

He kissed her further, the soft replaced by the more and more heated. Rey could feel Ben’s hard length pressing into her thigh and couldn’t help but gasp at the size of it. She had to see it to believe it but the feeling of it told Rey that Ben was huge. If Rey was right then Ben was so big he wouldn’t probably fit into her. She should have been terrified by this, but the prospect made her even more aroused and wet. She wanted to see the rest of him, not only his breathtaking torso, but also everything that was still hidden beneath his pants.

Rey reached for the button of Ben’s jeans, kissing the column of his neck, the action making him moan hoarsely. He bowed his head a little as she struggled with the button and, not thinking twice, Rey sucked his earlobe.

 

“Fuck…” the sound of Ben’s voice went straight to her pussy that clenched again, almost sending Rey to her second orgasm. “Rey…”

 

He got off her, pulled his jeans off, and added them to the pile of clothes on the floor, followed by his boxers.

 

Rey gulped, looking at him. She was right, Ben was huge. Involuntary, she compared the length she was facing now with what Poe had. Was Ben two times, maybe three times bigger? She couldn’t say for sure, but it was obvious which one of them was Alpha there. Rey shook the thoughts of Poe out of her head. There was no place for him there now.

 

Ben was watching her reaction, uncertain smirk playing on his face.

 

“Rey?” he asked quietly. “Are you okay?”

 

She came back to her senses and blinked several times before looking back at him.

 

“Yes, yes… I’m fine. You are just… I’ve never seen anything this big… Not that I have a lot of experience… I mean… I just,” she was blabbering now, unable to fight her confusion.

 

Suddenly, his lips were on her again.

 

“You are talking too much, sweetheart,” he whispered into her mouth. “And you are wearing too many clothes…”

 

In one swift movement he pulled her leggings off and she was now lying in front of him in her panties only.

 

“Beautiful…” he whispered, and Rey wasn’t sure if Ben realized he had said it out loud.

 

She smiled, feeling her cheeks burning, as he leaned into her and kissed her sensually once again.

All that Rey wanted now was to feel his body on hers. Trembling, she pulled him closer and he lay down, covering her face, neck and breasts with hot wet kisses. She could feel his cock against her skin now. So big, it was twitching every time she moaned, kissed Ben or sucked his ears, neck or lips into her mouth. Ben was so very close to her opening, and Rey was so aroused that she didn’t remember herself anymore. Everything she knew at the moment was Ben above her and his cock ready to enter her pussy. She palmed his length and stroked it, hearing Ben hissing through his teeth.

 

“Rey, oh God!” she could feel his cock hardening even more in her hand as she thumbed the veins swelling on it.

 

“Rey!” he sounded almost desperate, moving his hips towards her. He moved her panties to the side with one of his hands and found her clit with his fingers. He rubbed it fast, making Rey almost lose her consciousness. Rey spread her legs wider to give Ben better access, still touching him. She was so close, but she wanted more. She wanted him inside her.

Ben kept rubbing her clit, nuzzling into her neck and panting heavily. Rey was close again. She released his cock from her hand, drowning in the overwhelming sensation of her building orgasm and it pressed into her thigh, making them both gasp.

 

“Fuck! Oh, fuck!” Ben cursed suddenly, stopping himself and pulling slightly away from Rey to look at her.

“What’s wrong?” she started to panic immediately. Did she do something wrong? Was he having second thoughts now? Wasn’t she, after all, good enough for him?

 

As if he was sensing her distress, Ben smiled at her tenderly, removing a strand of hair that was covering her eye.

 

“I don’t have any condoms…” he whispered, kissing the corner of her lips. “I… I wasn’t planning… this…”

 

Rey gasped. Condoms… She didn’t think about those for a second… And just a moment ago she was ready to fuck him without any protection. What was wrong with her? It seemed, she couldn’t think straight when Ben was around.

 

“I don’t have any myself,” she whispered back. “I wasn’t planning any of this either.”

 

He smirked at her words.

 

“Do you… I am clean… Are you…” he stammered, and then just shook his head.

 

Rey couldn’t stop herself from kissing his cheek. He smiled at her and rubbed her nose with his.

 

“I am clean,” Rey told him. “I had a check-up at the free student clinic… I was clean and then I never had sex without a condom… I have never done it without protection… But I don’t have any insurance to visit a proper doctor, and I never had money to be buying pills… And I don’t have an IUD or something… I’m… I’m sorry…” Rey felt pathetic now and wanted to cry.

 

“Shh, sweetheart. What are you talking about?” Ben whispered into her ear. “There’s nothing to be sorry about, Rey. Just let me…” he didn’t finish. Instead of that he kissed her passionately, and rubbed into the sensitive bundle of nerves between her legs once again.

 

She wanted to object, wanted to stop him, but a few moments of Ben later all her thoughts disappeared from her head and she grabbed his huge cock again.

 

“For Fuck’s sake, Rey…” he bit her collarbone as she set up a pace of her strokes. “This is just your hand and you are fucking driving me insane already… Don’t stop, baby…”

 

Her eyes rolled into her head when she heard him calling her that. She was so very close, but the length in her hand was telling her that she could have so much more.

 

“God, Ben,” she wasn’t already thinking about what she was saying. “God, I want you inside me so badly! All of you… God, Ben, Ben, oh, please!”

 

He roared at her words, pressing his cock harder into her hand.

 

“Do you trust me, Rey?” he suddenly asked hoarsely.

 

She was surprised by his question, but his hand between her legs didn’t let her show it properly.

 

“Yes, yes, Ben. I trust you,” she moaned.

 

Suddenly, his hand stopped and Rey gasped, coming back to her senses.

 

“Rey,” he growled. “Do. You. Trust. Me?”

 

She looked at him in confusion, unable to realize what caused the question he was asking her. She let him in, she kissed him, she was lying naked under him. Why was he asking her such an obvious question?

 

“Of course, I trust you, Ben…” she whispered, running her hand through his messy silky hair. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”

 

Rey realized that Ben was holding a breath as he released it.

 

“Good,” he smiled softly, but Rey noticed that his eyes became dark. “Good.”

 

Suddenly, he thrusted into her, filling her to the hilt in one swift movement...

 

***

 

Ben was having an out of body experience. Everything about this situation was wrong, but everything about Rey was so perfect that he couldn’t care less. The way she blushed and looked embarrassed, the way she moaned under him, the way her body responded to his touches and caresses, the way she smiled at him in those rare moments when he pulled slightly away from her to catch some breath, the way she sucked his earlobe, almost making him cum, the way she begged for him to be inside her… The last one was his undoing. He wanted to make her come with his hand and he wanted to let her fuck him with hers. But there she was, moaning and begging for him, and he couldn’t resist. She was driving him insane just by touching his cock with her hot hand, and now, hearing her begging for him, he couldn’t stop himself.

 

It felt like his body was moving without asking him for permission. In one swift movement he was inside her, and she shrieked in shock.

 

He hadn’t had sex without a condom in ages, and the sensation hit him like a hammer. She was wet and hot and so very tight that Ben almost came immediately, but forced himself not to. He stopped and looked at Rey. Her eyes were wide open and he was trying to understand if Rey realized what he was about to do. And maybe he has hurt her?

 

“Rey? I am going to do it right, sweetheart, trust me. Tell me, am I hurting you?”

 

Finally her faced relaxed, she smiled at him softly and Ben felt the tension leaving his body immediately. However, he was still waiting for her response.

 

“This feels amazing,” she whispered. “You are not hurting me… But please, be gentle. You are just so big…”

 

He felt the man pride swelling in his chest. Slowly, he started thrusting into her, trying to make himself last longer. Rey was very tight. Her pussy stretched over his cock and Ben could feel every little edge of her insides rubbing into him. That felt surreal.

 

After a few thrusts she suddenly pressed herself into him, meeting his movement with her own. He groaned, feeling his climax starting to build. He didn’t want to cum so soon, he wanted to make Rey cum first, but she was so tight, so wanton and so very beautiful that he wouldn’t last much longer.

 

“Ben,” she suddenly whispered, sucking his earlobe again. “You can move faster now. Please… Please, I need you.”

 

With a feral roar, Ben thrust even deeper into her, increasing his pace. Rey was now moaning loudly under him, meeting his every move with her thighs. Ben realized that he was already on the edge.

 

“Rey… I want you to cum. Cum for me, Rey,” he moaned, and her pussy clenched around his cock while Rey thrust her nails into his back.

 

So good... This felt fucking incredible, fucking awesome, fucking surreal! He couldn’t last any longer. She was so narrow that Ben managed to pull out of her with a cry in the last very moment, his spent covering her flat stomach.

 

They were both panting heavily, and Ben could see stars. Never, never in his life had he felt so good.

 

 

“Don’t move,” Ben told Rey as soon as they both came back from their heights.

 

He went to the shower and brought a wet washcloth to clean her. She was dozing off already, and Ben smiled involuntary, looking at her peaceful face. Rey, however, managed to open her eyes and look at him.

 

“Don’t go,” she suddenly asked. “Stay… Please…”

 

Her voice was so quiet, and Ben was looking at her, hundreds of thoughts running through his head, He had just made everything so much more fucking complicated! He had to go now, he had to go back to his apartment and come up with some plan of how to make things right… But the truth was, he didn’t want to go away. He just couldn’t. He wanted to stay here, in this tiny room above “the Workshop” with this beautiful girl, whom he had known for only a week, forever. He still didn’t know anything about her, but for some reason he felt like she had been a constant in his life for ages already. He wanted to stay here with her and he wanted this, whatever it was, to last as long as it was possible. Sighing, he climbed into her tiny bed and nested near Rey. She curled into his chest, her breathing evening immediately. He looked down at her, smiling uncontrollably.

 

Beautiful… So very beautiful…

 

 

Her alarm clock went off at 5 o’clock in the morning. Ben opened his eyes and looked around, trying to understand where he was. He wasn’t at home and he always woke up in his own bed. He started getting angry as he always did in unfamiliar situations, but then the sweet familiar smell filed his nostrils, making him relax immediately.

 

Rey...

 

She was already reaching for her mobile to turn the buzzing thing off before coming back to his arms.

 

“I need to get up and get ready for work,” she whispered into his chest. “Phasma will be here in an hour and a half to show me everything.”

 

Right. Phasma. He had to go.

 

Suddenly, Rey looked up at him.

 

“Listen,” she said. “I know you will be thinking about this, and I don’t know what this all meant for you, but please, know that nothing has to change in class. No matter what, I expect to see the same Professor Solo I met one week ago. I don’t expect you to go easy on me, I don’t expect any help or some extra credit from you… I will be offended if you don’t treat me like you treat your other students… If you still want me in your class, of course… And on your team… No matter what we are outside the classroom, I don’t expect any privileges from you, do you hear me? I can move to another class if you want. We have a new teacher. I can move to Dr. Snoke…”

“No!” he wasn’t going to shout, but he couldn’t help it.

 

No, there was no way Rey could end up with Snoke. Ben would make sure of it.

 

As for other things… Ben admired Rey. He didn’t have guts to talk to her about any of this now, but she was bold enough to bring up the most uncomfortable subject. He smiled at her, feeling the already familiar tenderness blooming in his chest.

 

“I will be terrible in class…” he said.  “You won’t get any special treatment from me. Because there’s no use for you to study if you don’t meet any challenges. But, Rey, I don’t know what this is, but I don’t want this to be a one-night-stand. I wouldn’t use you like that. So, unless you want me to leave, I want… I want… I want you. This is all completely against my rules and I hate myself for breaking all of them at once. But I want to break them this time. So, if you want to try, we can try. And I can promise you, this will be my first and my last time with my student. No matter where we go from here. But, Rey... I will be terrible to you in class. I will ask even more from you than I am asking from my other students. And we can’t tell anyone. If this is going to work, next year you’ll be able to move to Hux’s class, but this year, you’ll stay with me, because you can’t go near Dr. Snoke.”

“What’s wrong with Dr. Snoke?” Rey asked askance. “They say, he is a legend.”

 

Ben’s teeth clenched.

 

“Someday I will tell you a story about him, Rey,” he murmured. “But for now I just want you to trust me and stay away from him. Do you trust me?”

 

He saw her blushing at his words as she was clearly remembering the previous night.

 

“Yes, yes, I do,” she said quietly.

“So tell me, Rey, what do you want?”

 

She looked him into the eyes, smiling softly.

 

“I want you,” she said. “I want to try this with you. I want to take a risk. I want you.”

 

***

 

Rey met Phasma at 6:30 in the morning just as the tall blonde had told Rey to. Today they would work together and Rey would learn how to run the coffee shop when she is with her other coworkers.

Ben left in the morning, giving her a kiss before saying goodbye to her and promised he’d check on her during the day. After a few working hours, Rey felt capable enough to make good coffee in the coffee machine and was completely fine with the cash register. Several early guests had already left some tips in the tip cup and Rey anticipated some extra cash by the end of her shift. She would probably buy some extra clothes for it. Speaking about clothes…

 

“Phasma?” Rey called her boss.

“Hmm?” the tall woman was slicing her famous chocolate cake to put it on display for the customers.

“Thank you so much for the parka you sent me yesterday.”

“Oh, so Solo visited you?”

 

Rey tried her best not to blush at the memories of everything she had to go through the previous night. She realized with embarrassment that she started getting wet again, remembering Professor Solo. She missed him already and she wished she didn’t. Rey was still unsure why on Earth Ben wanted to have anything with her. She remembered how furious he got when he was in class. He was so different from the Ben she had seen the previous night. This Ben was so tender and caring that Rey couldn’t help the warm feeling growing in her chest. This was the Ben she missed so much at the moment. But he was very controversial, and Rey was afraid of her feelings towards him. She had already been heartbroken and she was going to be careful this time.

 

She had to focus!

 

“Yes, yes, he did,” Rey stammered. “Gave me the parka and left immediately.”

“Oh, did he?” Phasma smirked. “Well, I hope he had a great night… sleeping at home.”

 

Rey gulped at Phasma’s words. Did Phasma know something? Rey wanted to answer, but the sound of the bell above the door indicated that the new customers had arrived. Rey turned to the door to greet the guests, whoever they were when she heard the voice she didn’t want to hear at all at the moment.

 

“Rey?!” Poe asked.

 

He was standing in front of the cash register now, Rose, Paige and Finn gaping at her from behind his back.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 7.

 

The connection.

 

“Rey?”

 

Oh, come on!

 

Poe was standing in front of her his mouth slightly agape.

 

“What the hell are you doing here?” he frowned.

 

Rey huffed inwardly at the sound of his tone. Poe sounded like he was about to scold her just like when they lived together.

 

“I am working here now,” despite everything, Rey managed to force a smile. “So, what can I get you?”

“Oh, you gotta be kidding me...”

“What happened to your previous job?” Finn asked, coming closer to the cash register.

“I... I quit,” she lied.

 

From the corner of her eye, Rey noticed Rose frowning.

 

“Oh, come on, Rey? Did your boss finally fired you?” Poe smirked evilly. “Well, good for you, there was no way you could work as a mechanic. After all, you were unable to find a job In another workshop.”

 

Why, after everything he had done, he was so evil to her? Why was it necessary for him to insult her like that now? She was out of his apartment, out of his sight and out of his life. Why was he so cruel to her?

 

“I left because I get paid better here, Poe. And I sort of need money. So, what can I get you?” this was so humiliating... Rey was close to crying, but managed to keep her face.

“Oh, we’ll take our usual. I’m sure you remember, Rey.”

 

Oh course, she did. She knew everything her friends... former friends liked by heart. Maybe she should have just lied. Told them she didn’t remember, took their orders properly and just went on with her day. But she was so taken aback by Poe’s words that she just nodded and went to fetch their order. She moved almost automatically, brewing coffee and making Rose’s favorite hot chocolate with marshmallows.

 

“That will be $22.75 in total,” Rey said after she had put the cups on a tray. “Cookies, cakes, maybe some granola bars?”

“Oh, I’ll take a piece of carrot cake please,” Paige smirked.

“One piece of carrot cake, anything else?”

“I’ll take the usual,” Rose murmured, watching Rey intently.

“I’m fine, thanks,” Finn waved, still looking surprised.

“Poe?” Rey tried to sound as conventional as possible.

“You know my order. Just add it to the check...”

 

Rey looked at him. Poe sounded contemptuous. Rey gritted her teeth and added Poe’s usual granola bar to the check.

 

“$35.75 please,” she said, frowning.

“I’ll get it,” Poe reached for his wallet.

 

Rey was glad that in a minute they would all be gone. She asked him to touch the terminal with his card and was waiting for the response from the machine when Paige spoke.

 

“And how is this new boyfriend of yours? He is probably not that rich if you have to work here,” she sneered.

 

Rey had to take a deep breath.

 

Don’t let her get to you...

 

“You know perfectly well that there’s no boyfriend, Paige,” she answered as calmly as she could.

“Oh, really? Already?”

“There was nobody, but Poe, and you know it perfectly well.”

“Or maybe he just dumped you?”

“Why are you doing this, Paige?” Rey couldn’t contain her pain anymore.

She looked at her former best friend, feeling her own eyes watering. “Why are you doing this? You came here and I served you. I didn’t talk to you, I was minding my own business. Why do you keep taunting me? What do you keep lying about me to everyone?”

“Lying? What are you talking about? Poe caught you with this guy! You cheated on your boyfriend. Can you imagine how broken he was after he had to make you leave his house? He was desperate!”

 

Suddenly Rey noticed that the elder Tico sneaked a look at Rose, and at this moment Paige’s motivation became clear to Rey. Paige was afraid. She was scared to the bones that her lie would become known. That was why Paige kept playing her game like her life was at stake.

 

“I see...” Rey smirked sadly. “Well... I’m sure you managed to... comfort him.”

 

Paige frowned and wanted to say something else when Rose interrupted her.

 

“Where are you staying, Rey?” she asked with something that sounded a bit like concern.

“I live here,” Rey sighed. “I have a small room upstairs. That was a part of the working agreement with my boss.”

“Well, look at you, I knew you would immediately find a way to care for yourself. Always so sneaky, aren’t you, Rey?” Paige laughed.

“I didn’t want to sleep on the street,” Rey lowered her eyes.

 

Why can’t they all just go away?

 

“Well, come on, guys,” Poe finally smiled. Rey raised her eyes to him before lowering them again. Poe almost looked sincere, but she knew him better. Something bad was coming. “It seems, Rey have a busy day today. I am glad for you, Rey. I honestly think that Engineering is just not for you. Don’t worry that Plutt fired you. This would probably finally make you understand that it’s better to do what you are good at. Maybe you should switch your academic course before it’s too late. You might be better... I don’t know... In this. You served us well, after all.”

 

Humiliation. That was all Rey felt at the moment. She winced, trying to fight back her tears.

 

“Dameron,” Ben’s low voice made Rey raise her head in a flash. She was so distracted that she didn’t see him coming in. “You are holding up the line. Will you be getting anything else? I would very much like my cake still fresh.”

 

Ben’s words weren’t that scary, but the look on his face was. He looked ready to kill. Rey gasped quietly, secretly happy to see him. She knew he’d promised to check on her, and it seemed he did. And now Ben was standing near Poe, towering over him. Why had Rey never noticed that Poe was that short?!

 

“Sorry, Professor,” Poe murmured. “I was just talking to... a friend.”

 

Friend?!

 

“Oh, were you, Dameron?” Ben smirked, his eyes getting dark. “I think Miss Johnson here is not being paid to talking to... friends.”

 

He sounded bitter, and Rey could think that he was annoyed by both Poe and herself. However, as she was looking at Ben, Rey could see traces of poorly controlled fury, directed towards Poe only.

 

“Oh, hello there, Solo,” Phasma’s cheerful voice cut the menacing silence that hung between Ben and Poe. “How are you today?”

“Phasma,” Ben nodded, finally turning away from Poe.

 

Poe turned in confusion and took the tray with their order from the counter.

 

“Miss Johnson,” Ben came closer to the cash desk, and Rey could swear that his lips curled into a quick smile for a second. “When is your shift over? I’d like to discuss your project for the competition.”

 

At this moment Poe dropped the tray he just started to pick up from the table.

 

“What?!” he hissed.

“Miss Johnson’s project caught my attention, Dameron. You will see it soon as long as you are on my and Professor Hux’s team as well. Your projects will be participating in the competition separately but under the same supervision. That will give us the chance to defeat our rivals and go to the State competitions. If one of you fails, they will help the other with their project and go to the State’s as a part of the support team.”

“But she is just a sophomore!”

“Yes, she is. And her project is quite fascinating, you’ll see. If the best case scenario plays out for Miss Johnson here... And we are all here to support each other, aren’t we? You might have the honor to be on the same team with the youngest participant of the State competitions in more than a decade... And you might be there as the second participant of the State competitions or as a part of Miss Johnson’s support team.”

 

Poe’s jaw clenched, but he didn’t say a word.

 

“Now, Miss Johnson,” Ben turned back to Rey, not paying Poe any attention. “I’d like my coffee. Phasma will make it for me, you just need to let me pay. And I’ll also take a slice of your chocolate cake, Phas.”

“Will do, Solo, take your seat.”

 

Rey asked him to slide his card into the machine, and Ben did so. He turned away to go to his usual place by the coffee shop window with nothing but a blank expression on his face. But, just for a second, before he walked away, Ben glanced at her, and Rey saw the small comforting smile touching his lips. Rey smiled back at him quickly and lowered her eyes. This time she didn’t want to cry.

Poe and the company finally went to their table, so Rey was left alone. Phasma went to Ben to bring him his order, and Rey could take a break and breathe. She closed her eyes and remembered Ben’s soft smile from just a minute ago. This memory brought back the other ones where she was wrapped around Ben’s waist and kissing him silly. Rey’s eyes opened in a flash, and she had to cover the moan she almost released with a cough.

 

“Hey, are you okay, honey?” Phasma’s hand lay on Rey’s shoulder.

“I’m fine. Just choked,” Rey lied.

“No, I mean about the earlier,” Phasma smiled gently. “Don’t mind those morons, Rey.”

“I’ll try... That’s just... not that simple. They were the only friends I had.”

“Thank God, you are not with them anymore, darling,” Phasma rolled her eyes. “You don’t need someone who treats you like that. If they behave like that now, it means they were never your friends. Friends wouldn’t betray you. Friends wouldn’t lie about you. And friends would know you better than to believe that shitty story that fucking bitch fed them.”

 

Rey smirked.

 

“I think... You are probably right,” she frowned a bit.

“You don’t really know what it’s like to be cared about, do you?” Phasma asked suddenly.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, you never had anyone to take care of you?”

“Well, I’m an orphan,” Rey shrugged. “I never had... anyone at all. Before I met those guys at least. But I think, I am aware of the concept, nevertheless.”

 

Phasma shook her head.

 

“Had you been really aware of the concept, you wouldn’t end up with someone like this asshole Poe. And all the more with this new fucking bitch of his. She was your best friend, wasn’t she? Well, best friend my ass. You didn’t know you deserved something better and you found someone who was just as bad to you as all those fucking foster parents of yours. You never had a good foster parent, did you? Ben told us, you were from Jakku. I guess there’s no one, but junkies to act like foster parents there...”

“Well, some children get lucky...”

“But you didn’t.”

 

Rey sighed.

 

“No, no, I didn’t,” she agreed quietly.

“Well, good thing you are here now,” Phasma smirked, leaning on the counter. “Do your job properly, and I will take care of you. And later, when you are on your feet and probably find a better job, we might even be friends. And believe me, there’s nothing better than having me around.”

 

Rey laughed, amused by Phasma’s self-confidence.

 

“Thank you, boss!”

The blonde grinned.

 

“Do you think you can keep an eye on the coffee shop while I chat with that gloomy moron over there?” she nodded at the table where Ben sat.

“Sure thing,” Rey smirked. “Your coffee shop is safe with me, I promise.”

“Good girl,” Phasma patted Rey on the cheek before going away.

 

***

 

Ben was trying his best not to rip Dameron apart. They were sitting a table away from Ben’s usual place, and he couldn’t help but listen to what this bunch of morons was talking about.

 

“I can’t believe she’s on the team...” Dameron said irritably. “She must have stolen someone’s idea or asked somebody for help. She would never do it herself, she is nothing.”

“Rey is good at Engineering...” Rose Tico tried to interrupt but was cut by Paige Tico, the girl Ben remembered from his class from two years ago.

“Oh, is she good enough to participate in the competitions? It’s almost impossible to catch Solo’s attention? Come on, Rose!”

 

Ben clenched his teeth. Such glorious friends Rey had had...

 

“I wonder, why this guy of hers left her?” Paige went on. “Probably was smart enough to realize that she was nothing, but a pathetic gold-digger. Good for him, I wouldn’t want anyone else to suffer like you did, Poe,” the girl put her hand above Dameron’s and smiled softly.

 

“Thanks, Paige,” the fucker, however, frowned and removed his hand from Paige. Ben grinned evilly, noticing the disappointment crossing Tico’s face. “But I still can’t believe it.”

“Oh, come on!” this Paige girl was unstoppable. “She will fail. The best thing that can happen to her is a trip to the State competitions as a part of your support team. She will serve you. And, from what I saw today, she is great at it. Serving, I mean.”

 

The elder Tico, Dameron and the other guy who was with them smirked. Rose Tico remained still, frowning at the three of them.

 

“Let’s not talk about her anymore,” Paige smiled too sweetly for Ben to believe her. “She isn’t worth it.”

 

“What a bunch of morons,” Ben heard Phasma’s voice from behind.

 

The blonde sat at the table next to him.

 

“Even if I wasn’t sure Rey was telling the truth yesterday, I would definitely believe her today. This girl friend of hers, you know, the older one. Paige her name is, I think. Well, she is a real bitch. One of the worst I’ve seen in my life. That’s why I never had any girl friends on my own. You never know which one of them will stab you in the back.”

“I’m not sure there are a lot like that Tico,” Ben grumbled.

“Oh, and that Dameron fuck?!” Phasma shook her head.

“You’d better not talk to me about Dameron,” Ben hissed.

 

The blonde looked at him slyly.

 

“Is it that bad?”

“Hmm?” he didn’t realize what Phasma meant at first.

“You are falling for her.”

“What?” now he knew what she meant. Phasma caught him off-guard.

“You know what,” the blonde rolled her eyes.

 

Oh yes, he knew. When he’d gone back to his apartment this morning, Ben had spent several hours pacing the kitchen. His emotions were overflowing and he just couldn’t sit in one place. He could still feel her in his arms. He could sense the smell of her hair and the musky scent of her arousal. She’d been so wet for him last night! So ready and so eager! Ben could also tell it was new for her. How surprised she had been after her orgasm. Ben couldn’t help but be proud of the fact that he’d given her her first. And, pacing the kitchen, he’d realized that he wanted to give her much more than just sex. What he was feeling towards Rey was not just plain lust. Every time he looked at the girl, he saw something familiar in her, like he had known her for his whole life. It was like there was a strange connection between them. Last night when she’d asked him to stay, Ben could almost feel the whirlwind of emotions inside of Rey. He knew what she felt. Knew the feeling of loneliness that had haunted her last night. He’d wanted to stay anyway, but the feeling of this strange, almost magical connection was pulling him even closer to her. Ben still knew nothing about the girl, but he didn’t seem to care anymore. Phasma was right, he was falling for her. And he was falling fast and hard.

 

Ben wasn’t fast enough to respond as the blond grabbed his arm.

 

“What does this prick want from her?” Phasma murmured, watching Poe walking back to Rey.

 

Ben almost jumped from his seat, but Phasma urged him to sit.

 

“Wait,” she hissed. “The guy might just want another granola bar or something.”

 

Ben gritted his teeth but stayed in his place. Phasma had a point. Taking a deep breath he watched.

 

***

 

Phasma left, and Rey had a few more customers to serve. “The Workshop” was a really popular place. Now, when all the students came back from the holidays and it was Sunday, the coffee shop was getting busier. Rey, however, turned out to be good at serving the clients, and the tip cup on the counter in front of her was getting fuller.

 

Poe is probably right, she smirked to herself. This can be my real Mission in this world. To serve people.

 

She shook her head, wiping the counter in front of her. She had to stop letting Poe’s words get to her or she’d be screwed.

 

In her head, she returned to their recent conversation. Rey realized there was a reason why Paige had been so terrible to her. But what about Poe? She had left his house, she had walked away from his life. Why couldn’t he just let her alone and at least try to be civil? Rey knew Poe well, and she could tell he was furious with her. The reason for this was still unknown to her. Rey sighed and frowned, watching Poe walking towards her.

 

Speak of the devil, she thought, preparing for the worst.

 

Poe, however, sounded nicer than she expected.

 

“Look, Rey,” he smiled, but she could see the smile was false. “I think I owe you an apology.”

 

Rey raised her brow, watching him in disbelief.

 

“No, no, I mean it. I was trying so hard to make you do something good with your life, and today when I saw you here... I had to encourage you today, but I insulted you instead of thaell, I was mad at you for the way you treated me... So...”

 

Rey couldn’t believe her ears.

 

“What?!” she exclaimed so loud that people at the tables nearby started turning their heads. Rey lowered her voice. “The way I treated you, Poe? Seriously? You fucking cheated on me with my best friend!”

“Oh, nonsense!” Poe waved her off. “You were using me for money, Rey! You...”

“Get the fuck away from me, Poe,” Rey whispered, lowering her eyes. She wanted to cry, wanted to scream, wanted to run away. But she didn’t. “Get the fuck away from me and go away unless you want to buy something else. Because that would be my job to serve you. Talking to you is not my job. Tell yourself whatever you want, lie about me to whoever you want, play your little game, but get the fuck away from me.”

“I am not here to let you drag me into this stupid argument, Rey,” Poe sighed. “I am here to make an apology, but you are not being civilized enough to have a proper conversation. Well, what I wanted to say was that you are doing great, Rey. There’s nothing to be ashamed about working here. You are a cashier but you are good at it. I mean it.”

 

His arrogance was overwhelming. Rey was so outraged, that was hard for her to breath.

 

“I am a fucking barista,” Rey groaned, looking Poe straight in the eyes. “Now, what can I get you? Or how about a steaming hot cup of get-the-fuck-away-from-me?”

 

Poe chuckled.

 

“Oh, same old Rey, I see... Thank you for your service, that’s all I wanted to say,” smirking, he took out a $100 bill from his wallet and put it into the tip cup.

 

He walked away and Rey was finally left alone. She was looking at the $100 bill in the box and wanted to cry. A hundred dollars was a lot. She could buy herself a proper parka or maybe new shoes. She also needed a warmer blanket and some new linens for her room. She had to pay for some books for her studies and she didn’t have enough money. But this bill, this bill humiliated her.

 

For the hundredth time this day Rey felt like shit. And all of it was coming from people whom she counted as her only friends. What was wrong with her? Why would she end up with people like this?

 

Hearing the sound of the doorbell, she raised her head and plastered the best smile she could manage to her face. The clients were coming and she had to finish her day. She would be able to cry in the evening, but now she had to work.

 

“Go take your 15 minutes break,” she suddenly heard Phasma speaking.

 

Rey turned around and saw her boss smiling at her sadly. Rey took a deep breath and nodded.

 

“Yes... I’ll be back in a minute.”

“Be back in 15 minutes,” Phasma smirked before greeting the customer.

 

Rey took several wide steps towards the exit door, but then turned back and headed to the tip cup next to the cash register.

 

***

 

Ben watched hatefully as Dameron was coming back to his chair.

 

“What did you do?” he heard Paige asking.

“Oh, nothing, I just thought Rey deserved some tips.”

“Oh, come on, Poe!” the elder Tico looked bewildered now. “Not again! How much did you give her?”

“Oh, just a 100 bucks, that’s nothing. She probably needs some new clothes. Hers look shitty.”

“After what she did to you...”

 

Ben tried his best not to listen anymore. Feeling a bit sick and completely furious, he turned back to look at Rey. Phasma was by her side, and after a few moments Rey was on her way out of “the Workshop”. He watched curiously as the girl turned suddenly on her heels and rushed to the tip box that stood on the counter. Rey pulled out a banknote from there and was outside the coffee shop in a flash.

 

Ben rose from his chair and went to the coffee shop window to get a better look at her. He couldn’t see Rey at first, but there was also somebody else by the coffee shop window. Ben winced at the sight of the local drunk, pacing back and forth just in front of his eyes. The woman was old and dirty. She was really short and wrapped in all kinds of rusty clothes. Ben could hardly see her face under all those layers and large goggles with thick lenses. He knew this tramp. Not personally, of course, Ben wasn’t even aware of her name, but the woman often came to “the Workshop”. She never walked inside, but Phasma often gave her some leftovers and sometimes when the weather was cold, made her a cup of hot chocolate. The woman probably lived in the park and wasn’t too pleasant to be around. The most repulsive thing was her smell. She smelled like a junkyard, and every time Ben had to pass her on his way to the coffee shop, he had to hold his breath not to puke.

 

Ben was watching in astonishment as Rey went to the woman. The coffee shop window was open, and he could hear Rey’s words from where he stood. From the corner of his eye, Ben noticed that the company at the next table stopped talking as well and was now watching Rey.

 

“Here,” Rey said, handing the $100 bill to the woman. “Take it.” 

***

 

“Here, take it,” Rey handed the money Poe put into the tip cup to the dirty tipsy woman in front of her.

 

The tramp looked at Rey with wide eyes.

 

“What do you want from me, girl?” she snapped.

“I want you to take this,” Rey was still holding the note in her hand. “This came from a very disgusting person,” she knew Poe and the company could see her and was sincerely hoping they could hear her as well. She didn’t want this money. She’d had enough of that shit, she didn’t want any of her former friends in her life anymore. “But you can make something good with it. Wash yourself, maybe buy some new clothes. It’s getting cold.”

 

The old woman still looked at Rey in disbelief, but the part of her face Rey could see softened a bit.

 

“Just one more thing...” Rey added, still holding the money. “You can do whatever you want with this, but, if I may ask, please, don’t buy any alcohol...”

 

The woman frowned, and Rey thought for a second that she wouldn’t take the money. But then the tramp nodded and reached for the money. Rey nodded back and, shivering from the cold street air, hurried back inside “the Workshop”. Turning, she caught a glimpse of Professor Solo in the coffee shop window. Her heart warmed in instant and the sorrow of the past hour washed away from her soul when she saw Ben smiling at her tenderly. And he looked proud. He looked proud of her. Poe and the other watched her in astonishment. Smirking, she entered the coffee shop and never looked back at them again.

 

 

Her shift ended in the afternoon, and Rey managed to go to the shops. The tips were generous and as long as Rey had been working with Phasma today, she was able to take all the money.

 

“Earned it,” Phasma smirked, handing her the tip cup.

 

Rey had bought a warmer blanket and spent the rest of the money on books she needed before heading back home.

 

“Home...” she thought to herself.

 

Having her own place was still a new concept for her, but after the day she had had, Rey wanted to curl into a ball under her new blanket and hide from the world till the morning. Tomorrow she would have to face Rose again. Tomorrow she would have to go back to the University and face all the challenges her life was going to give her. But that would be tomorrow. Today she didn’t want to cry anymore, she just wanted some time to be alone.

Rey, however, missed Ben. She was still scared at how quickly he had invaded her life. Part of her had been worried that he wouldn’t be interested in her anymore after what had happened between them. But then he’d showed up, and Rey’s worries melted away. He was there and that meant, they still had a chance to... To whatever. She didn’t know what she was hoping for. She was too scared to name it yet. But Rey realized, they had a chance to have whatever they wanted now.

However, after Ben had left the coffee shop, he didn’t call or text her. They had a class tomorrow and she would see him, but Rey was still a bit disappointed and nervous about the fact he hadn’t contacted her. She shook her head, trying to stop thinking about him. She had to stop being so clingy. After all, Ben was a grownup man, more than a decade senior to her. He could easily have other plans for the day and the evening than to spend it around her. Rey frowned and opened one of the new textbooks she’d bought today, but as soon as she lost herself in the fascinating world of “Advanced alloys”, she heard a knock on the door.

 

With shaking hands, she opened the door. Ben was standing in front of her, consuming Rey with his gaze. Her heart almost jumped out of her chest at the sight of him. He was dressed casually. She’d never seen him like that during the day, but as it was the third night in a row that they had seen each other, Rey started to associate his casual look with their closeness, and his look warmed her heart.

 

“Hi,” she whispered, stepping back to let him in.

“Hi,” he whispered back, entering.

 

As soon as the door was closed, Ben cupped her cheek with his hand and kissed her tenderly. The kiss wasn’t as heated as those they’d shared the previous night, but it made her feel so much closer to him and so much better! Rey was speechless as they parted.

 

“I’ve got something for you,” he suddenly smiled.

 

Only then Rey noticed the package Ben had brought with him. She looked at him inquiringly.

 

“Is it from Phasma again?”

“No,” Ben smiled, handing her the package. “This one is from me.”

“Ben, you shouldn’t have...”

“Johnson,” his tone was stern, but Rey noticed a trace of the smirk on his plush lips. “Just take it.”

 

She hesitated for a second, but nodded and opened the package. Inside of it was a nice knitted grey sweater. Elegant and very well-made, Rey gasped as she touched the fabric.

 

“Try it on,” Ben urged.

She pulled her hoodie off, noticing with light satisfaction from the corner of her eyes that he was watching her body as she changed. The sweater was so warm, Rey almost squirmed from pleasure.

 

“God...” she whispered at the sensation.

“Is it warm enough? Is it comfortable? Do you like it?” Ben started asking questions too quickly, looking slightly concerned.

 

Rey smiled at him, his anxiety for her making her heart melt. She came closer and hugged him.

 

“Thank you, Ben. You really shouldn’t have, but it’s perfect.”

 

He smiled, the tension going away from his body under her hands.

 

“It looks good on you. And I wanted you to feel warm. How are you?”

 

Rey looked up at him (he was so tall that she had to raise her head high), not realizing why he sounded so concerned. Then it hit her. Of course, her day had been shitty, and he had witnessed its worst part... Rey had forgotten completely about it when Ben arrived.

“I’m fine now,” she smiled. “Though, it will be hard to work on the same team with Poe.”

“You won’t be working together too much in the beginning,” Ben removed a strand of hair from her face. “At first we will patent your idea. We, of course, have to add a few adjustments to it, but they are mostly all minor. We won’t show it to Poe before that. Poe’s project uses another logic, so he can’t actually patent it and can show it to you. It’s really good. But yours... Yours is precious. But we have a lot of work to do.”

 

Rey nodded, still hugging him.

 

“Do you want to start now? You mentioned you wanted to discuss it with me after my shift.”

“Are you ready to start now?” Ben smirked.

“Yes, yes, of course,” she tried to pull away, but Ben stopped her, smiling viciously.

“I only mentioned it today to stop that Dameron idiot from insulting you,” Ben frowned for a second. “I wanted to tear his throat out when I heard him talking to you like that,” he kissed her forehead, and Rey closed her eyes in pleasure. “We will work tomorrow. Today I have other plans.”

Ben pulled her closer and touched her lips with his. Rey gasped at the feeling. While his whole body was cold, his lips were soft and hot. She couldn’t resist the urge and licked them. Ben growled and deepened the kiss immediately, running his hand through her hair. But then he stopped.

 

“Rey,” he whispered hoarsely. “No matter how much I want you right now, I’d like our next time to be more comfortable than the previous one. This time I didn’t take any protection with me just to be able to stop myself from taking you.”

“Like it stopped you the last time,” she murmured.

 

Ben smirked.

 

“Fair enough, and believe me, sweetheart, that was something to remember. But next time I want to make... to have sex with you at my place. And I want to do it properly.”

 

Rey’s breath hitched when she heard Ben’s reservation. Was he going to say “to make love to you”? Rey shook her head. It was too early for that, she was already thinking about him too much for her own good. But somehow, it still felt so nice to hear it.

 

“Okay,” she whispered. “So what do you want to do now?”

“I just want to feed you,”Ben smiled.

“Feed me?” Rey laughed.

“Yes, I made my favorite hot sandwiches with cheese.”

 

They were sitting on the floor by her bed with their sandwiches. Rey hadn’t felt so good for ages (well, except for the previous night when they were lying on the bed and she was orgasming hard under Ben). They spoke about everything, their conversation flowing. Ben was much older than she, but somehow she didn’t feel it at all. Instead of that, she felt connected. That felt strange and she didn’t acknowledge it at first. But as they spoke, she knew in advance what Ben was going to say. He was so much smarter and knew so much more. But when it came to the conclusions or to the understanding of discussed situations they were always on the same page.

 

“Tell me more about yourself,” she asked, resting her head on his shoulder.

“What would you like to know?” he kissed the crown of her hair.

“Everything,” Rey blurted, hearing Ben chuckling. “Well, you could probably start with basics. Maybe tell me about your parents?”

 

She felt him tensing a bit.

 

“That’s... That’s not an easy story to tell...”

“Sorry... I didn’t mean to pry...”

“No, no, it’s fine,” Ben was playing with her fingers now. “We are just... My father is dead, you see. And as for my mother... Well, we are not really close anymore. That’s a complicated story. And I will tell you eventually.”

“You don’t see her?”

“Haven’t for years...”

“I’m sorry...”

“Yes, yes... I am sort of sorry too... Actually, you remind me of her a bit.”

 

Rey grinned uncontrollably.

 

“Really?”

“Yes, really. She is strong and smart and very beautiful. Just like you.”

 

She blushed.

 

“Thank you... I would love to meet her someday,” she whispered.

 

Ben sighed.

 

“This will be complicated. I screwed up so many things in the past, and I doubt my mother would like to see me,” he ran his hand through his hair.

 

Rey pressed herself to his side, wrapping herself around his arm.

 

“I don’t really know how families work,” she murmured. “But I hope, you’ll figure everything out with yours, whatever it is.”

 

Ben leaned down to kiss her on the lips, and together they fell into a comfortable silence.

 

“When will I see you again?” she asked.

“You sort of have a class with me tomorrow. Did you forget, MIss Johnson?” Ben smirked.

 

She smacked his arm.

 

“No, I mean... like this.”

 

Ben frowned.

 

“We will have a lot of work to do next week, and we can’t risk meeting like this on campus. We will be seeing each other in my office though. But that will be professional only.”

 

He sounded dry, and Rey felt a sting of hurt in her chest. Well, Ben was right, after all, wasn’t he?

 

“Of course,” she said.

 

Suddenly, Ben turned to her and then raised her a bit and pulled her closer, making her straddle him. Rey gasped at the change of the position. She was looking at him from above now.

 

“If you’ll think for a moment, that it will be easy for me, I’ll have to punish you,” she gasped at his words, and Ben smirked, his eyes getting dark.

 

She was dizzy now, as she felt herself getting wet just from the feeling of him between her legs.

 

“Promise?” she whispered.

 

Ben roared, claiming her lips, their kiss deepening immediately. Rey loved the taste of him. With a moan, she sucked his tongue, moving then to kiss his lower lip.

 

“I promised you, I won’t fuck you here today,” he hissed.

“I didn’t hear you promise. I heard you saying you didn’t want to do it here today. You could change your mind,” she whispered into his mouth.

 

Ben growled and grabbed her backside.

 

“Rey!” Phasma’s voice from downstairs was like a bucket of ice on both of them. “Rey, are you upstairs?”

 

“Oh, shit!” Rey and Ben whispered in unison.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 8.

 

Of villains and monsters.

 

“Rey!” Phasma’s voice from downstairs was like a bucket of ice on both of them. “Rey, are you upstairs?”

 

“Oh, shit!” Rey and Ben whispered in unison.

 

 

Ben’s eyes slid to the side of the small closet in the corner of Rey’s room.

 

“Ben, you are over 30, you won’t be hiding in the closet!” Rey hissed. “You won’t fit there anyway!”

“Wasn’t this my line?” he groaned, helping her from his lap.

 

Rey rolled her eyes, rising from the floor.

 

“Did you just roll your eyes at me, Miss Johnson?” he frowned bewildered.

 

Ben wasn’t angry with Rey, of course, but Phasma’s presence just a few feet away from them wasn’t doing him any good.

 

“I’m sorry,” Rey groaned, closing her eyes in despair.

 

Ben took a deep breath.

 

“Don’t be,” he whispered. “We’ll figure this out, sweetheart.”

 

He put his hand on her neck and pulled her closer, pressing a tender kiss to her forehead. Rey nodded, closing her eyes before pulling away

 

“Yes, yes, I am. I’ll be there in a minute,” she cried out loud enough for Phasma to hear.

“I should probably just wait here. She probably won’t come upstairs,” Ben frowned.

“Okay, come downstairs, darling,” Phasma’s cheerful voice sounded a bit too cheerful for some reason. “I’ll make us some hot chocolate.”

 

Ben exhaled, relaxing a bit.

 

“And I’ll also make coffee for that Solo idiot of yours, honey,” Phasma added. “Bring him down here as well.”

 

Ben and Rey looked at each other in shock.

 

“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” Ben murmured.

  

Phasma was making hot chocolate when Ben and Rey came downstairs. All lights in “the Workshop” were off except for several above the cash register that filled the room with cozy warm light. Phas was humming something and looked completely relaxed, stirring the steaming mixture in front of her, but Ben was still tense.

 

“Well, look at you,” Phasma smirked, turning to them for a second. “Come closer, I won’t bite.”

 

Ben sighed and pulled Rey to himself, wrapping his arm around her shoulder. He could tell that Rey was terrified and wanted to give her some sense of comfort.

 

“Oh, come on, little thing,” the blonde rolled her eyes, pouring the drink into the large mug in front of Rey. “Would I make you the best hot chocolate on Earth if I were mad at you, huh?”

 

Rey smiled weakly.

“So, does this mean that you two are a thing now?” Phasma asked.

“Yes,” the words left Ben’s mouth so fast that he didn’t even manage to give it a second thought.

 Truth be told, he didn’t have any second thoughts at all. After he had arrived at Rey’s, they had spent this evening together talking, and he was sure that the connection he felt between them was real. This was all very new and very dangerous, but he was going to do everything right. He wanted to make Rey his.

 

“Yes, we are together now.”

 

From the corner of his eye, he could see Rey blushing and lowering her eyes, smiling shyly. Ben placed his hand on her thigh, squeezing and caressing it.

 

“Good,” Phasma stated. “But please, don’t define “together” for me,” she made quotes with her fingers. “Because “together” can mean anything and I don’t want to know more. Well, truth be told, I’m fucking eager to know more, but my darling short ginger husband doesn’t ship you yet, and I don’t want to lie to him.

 

Ben buried his face in his hands.

 

“Right,” he murmured. “Thank you, Phas.”

“Speaking about my husband and about all other possible haters of this little thingy you have here. It’s not wise to park you giant car in the empty parking lot by “the Workshop” where your little thing lives when the coffee shop is closed, Ben. I could come here with Hux, you know. He wanted to come with me today, but I knew you would be here. So I sort of told him Rey and I would discuss some girlish stuff, and believe me, that’s enough to scare my husband off,” the blonde laughed. “I didn’t lie, by the way. We are discussing your relationship. And that’s girlish stuff.”

“How very honest of you,” Ben rubbed his temples.

 

Phasma was right, he didn’t think, driving to Rey’s place and parking nearby. But he had never done anything like this before. He had never had to hide. So he had tried to adapt and failed. He needed to control the situation better in the future if he wanted to protect Rey and himself.

 

“You are right, Phas,” he finally sighed. “That was foolish of me.”

“Oh yes, it was. But never mind it now. Just be careful. Especially when… Snoke… is around.” Phasma gulped, pronouncing the bastard’s name, and Ben took her hand in his.

“Are you okay, Phas?” he asked quietly.

 

Phasma nodded rapidly and smiled.

 

“Yes. Yes, I am. I won’t let the fucker mess with our lives again.”

“What did he do?” Rey asked carefully, looking at them. “You told me today to stay away from him,” she was addressing Ben now. “What is he? What did he do?”

 

Ben and Phasma exchanged glances, and his tall friend smiled reassuringly at him.

 

“You are invading our lives way too quickly, hon,” Phasma smirked at Rey. “Go on like that and I’ll have to adopt you in the absence of other options to let you even closer.”

“I’m sorry,” Rey blushed. “I didn’t mean to push anything…”

“No, that’s fine. Ben should probably tell you his side of the story now. Well, at least some parts of it. And I think, someday I will tell you mine. I am feeling too well now to spoil my mood with those memories. So, you’ll have to excuse me.”

“You don’t have to either,” Rey turned to him, her eyes soft. “I can just avoid Snoke and stop asking questions.”

 He smiled at her involuntary. It seemed he couldn’t look at her without a stupid smile on his face anymore. She cared about him and she didn’t even notice how she did it. He pulled her closer into a hug and kissed her temple soundly.

“Oh, God,” Phasma covered her eyes with her hand. “I didn’t see anything, but, boy, you are too cute to handle.”

 

Ben rolled his eyes letting a now blushing Rey return to her place.

 

“I think it’s necessary for you to know some parts of the story,” he smiled sadly at her. “I will tell you the rest someday as well, but there is something you need to know right now. Snoke is around and when he realizes you are important to me, he’ll try his best to get to you.”

“I’m not afraid of him,” Rey said so confidently, Ben’s heart melted from the sound of her words.

 

My little warrior.

 

He froze for a moment, realizing what he’d just thought. He probably shouldn’t have thought about her like that, but he couldn’t help it. Their connection grew stronger, and Ben couldn’t stop wishing to have Rey around all the time. The more he knew her the harder he was falling. The problem was that after he told his story there was a very good chance that he could lose her. And that terrified him to the bones. 

He caressed her head and put his hand on her back, realizing the unbearable need to feel her warmth under his palm.

 

“You shouldn’t be afraid of him, Rey,” he told her quietly. “I won’t let him hurt you. But you should be careful. And aware. You should be aware of everything he is capable of.”

“I think it’s my time to go,” Phasma sighed. “Just wanted to check on Rey and give her this,” she pulled several large packages from under the counter to show them to Rey. “There is a warmer blanket for you and some warm socks. I know you have bought one warm blanket already, but the room upstairs gets very cold when the southeast wind blows. And it blows almost all the time in September and October. I also put a warm sweater inside. It’s one of my old ones, but you can wear it inside if it’s too cold. And the linens. There are also some linens.”

“Thank you,” Rey whispered, and Ben realized the girl was fighting tears.

He knew she didn’t want to be seen as weak. He knew she didn’t want to cry in front of him. But everything he wanted at that moment was to hold Rey in his arms and feel her crying her sorrows into his chest. He, however, gave her a moment to compose herself, staying beside her, but not letting himself any closer.

 “You are welcome, hon. I’d better be going before my husband comes here and I’ll have to explain to him why you are here, Solo. Open the coffee shop for BB tomorrow, Rey. He will be there for the morning shift. Then go to your classes, you will have an afternoon shift with Jar Jar. Keep an eye on him, he tends to be a little clumsy. BB will introduce you tomorrow.”

“Jar Jar?” Rey asked surprised.

“Well, his name is actually Jasson Binks. But he always forgets where the coffee jar is. If you ask him to bring you one, he will be running around, repeating “Jar, jar, where is this fucking Jar?” BB loves to prank the poor guy,” Phasma smirked.

The blonde was already about to leave when she turned back to Ben and Rey.

“I think that in the next few months you will have to find a way to tell Hux about this,” she pointed at him and Rey, and he sighed.

“I know. And I will, I promise, Phas. You just know him…”

“Yes, yes, you’d better find the proper moment to do it. Or there will be so much to mend… again.”

 

They said their goodbyes, and Phasma gave Rey a warm hug before leaving. Finally, they were left alone. Rey was looking at him waiting, and he ran his hand through her hair, controlling the urge to kiss her. Later. If she is still here. They had to talk now.

Ben looked around, trying to find the best place to do it. The story of his past usually made him feel vulnerable and he loathed the feeling. He would probably get angry in the process and Rey would be hurt or scared. Ben didn’t want that.

“Do you… Do you want to come back upstairs?” Rey suddenly asked. “You can tell me everything there. It’s cozier. And I have two warm blankets now, so we won’t be cold… If you want, of course.”

 It felt like she knew exactly what was going on inside his head, and the that scared him a bit. It seemed even if he wanted to close off from her, he wouldn’t be able to. Ben had gotten used to being alone. One week ago, before he met Rey, he would never let anyone so close. Even Phasma and Hux, his closest friends, were always kept at some distance. Rey let herself in without asking, and Ben couldn’t bring himself to ask her to leave. Truth be told, the scariest part of it all was that Rey could choose to leave him herself. And the thought of it was making him sick.

He closed his eyes, expelling unnecessary thoughts from his head.

“Do you think, we’ll be able to actually talk once you are in the same bed with me?” he smirked.

“Oh, come on, Professor,” Rey rolled her eyes. “I am not a horny teenager anymore. And no matter how much I want to continue what we had started before Phasma interrupted, I am capable of controlling myself,” her eyes became slightly sadder then. “And the story seems to be important to you… And really hard to tell, isn’t it?”

Hesitating for a moment, she took his hand in hers. Ben had noticed that Rey was still shy around him to initiate contact. This time, after she’d taken his hand, Rey also took a deep breath before looking back at him. His heart ached.

 “Rey,” he whispered. “The story I will tell you will show you who I really am… And this person is not good, believe me. I think you might want me to leave when I finish…”

“Try me,” she said, smiling softly at him.

 Immediately he felt more confident. He had to do it anyway, so why put it off.

“You are right,” he nodded. “Let’s go upstairs.”

 

They lay in her bed under the warm blanket Phasma had brought, and the girl was lying on his chest, tucked under his chin. Ben closed his eyes and took one more deep breath before starting.

 

“My family is sort of famous. Well, if you are in the field. I think you’ve heard about Luke Skywalker and his twin sister Leia Organa?”

“Of course! They were my idols when I lived in Jakku. Wait… Are you?” Rey raised her head from his chest in surprise.”

“Yes, I am. Leia is my mother. That makes Luke my uncle.”

“I thought they were cousins or something… Well, you know… Different surnames and everything.”

“Oh, no, no, they are not. They are twins, but there is a complicated story with their parents. It’s not discussed nowadays, as both Luke and Leia hired an army of lawyers to protect our family from unnecessary gossips. I will tell you one day. It’s just not that important now.”

“Right, I’m sorry.”

He kissed her forehead before going on.

“Well, that being said, you can imagine the environment I was growing up in. Luke is still a legend in the Engineering field and my mother is one of the most quoted women scientists in history. My father had never graduated from university. But he was a young genius who invented something unbelievable, wandering around the junkyards near Tatooine in his teenage years. He was a self-made man and achieved everything he did without any help from anyone. Later he received a patent for his invention and founded a company called “The Republic”. You might have heard about it as well…”

He felt Rey froze, holding a breath.

“Oh, you do know him, don’t you? Well, if you know Leia you should remember by now who her husband was.”

 Rey was still.

 

“Oh yes, you do. Han Solo was my father.”

“Oh, Ben, I’m so sorry…”

He was surprised, to say the least. Those few people whom he had told about whose son he actually was had usually started with something like “Oh, God, that’s amazing! I wished he was my father when I was a kid” or something like that. The public knew Han’s story, without the most crucial details, but everyone was aware of how he had died. Still, no one acknowledged it first thing when Ben told them about his parents. Some of them had remembered about it later and even apologized, but that had never been the first reaction to his words. Again, Rey was different. She kissed his chest and hugged him tighter.

“Yes… Yes, me too,” he sighed. “That’s why I want you to know the whole story…”

He made a small pause, pulling himself together.

 

“I was always an ambitious one. Everyone had high expectations for me. And I was talented, I really was. As my family expected me to be.

My uncle Luke founded the Academy for talented young people. You know it, the “Anch-To Academy for gifted youth."

“Yes, I tried to apply while in school, but it was impossible for people from Jakku to get there.”

“That’s true now, but it wasn’t like that in the beginning. At first, Luke was searching for talented students in the deepest, darkest parts of the country, and in other countries as well. But he had to change his policy: because of me.

I always wanted to be like my father. Truth be told, I admired Luke, but I loved Han more. I was talented and my parents were rich enough. I could attend any university I wanted. I could study at any private school I wanted. But all I really wanted was to stay with my parents in Alderaan. I actually never dreamed of going to university. I was already making money from the ideas I patented. And I thought I could just join my father’s company. Well, I probably wanted too much, too quickly, and thought I would become an equal partner once I turned eighteen. But he refused to give me any position at the company until I completed my education and that included getting a college degree. Han told me I had to study hard and work harder if I ever wanted to join him at all… I was fourteen, and I had some teenage problems. Now I realize I was a bit spoiled… But back then… Back then I was mad.

Han had never been good at expressing his emotions. He was good with anger, he was witty and smart, but when it came to love… He was never good at it. I know he loved my mother, I realize this now. And back then my mother was telling me that he loved me as well. But he didn’t show it. And he was also good at getting mad, just like I was. After all, he decided to send me to Anch-To and my mother supported him. The day they informed me about their decision I… I tried to ask them not to do it. I didn’t want to go, I could finish school in Alderaan. I sort of even begged… But Han told me he’d had enough of my shit. Told me to go to Anch-To and get my shit together. That was the turning point. I was so humiliated… Leia tried to talk to me afterwards, but I didn’t listen. I left and didn’t contact them for seven years.

Luke and I had always got along well. Being mad with my father, I found a new one in Luke. He tried to talk to me, tried to put some sense into my head, tried to make me call my parents. Once he told me he was going to visit them and I had to come because he couldn’t leave an underage boy alone for so long. I ran away that day. I ran away and was hiding in the Anch-To woods for several days. I was fifteen back then. Police found me, starving and dehydrated. Luke was terrified. I was afraid he would be mad at me, but as I came back to consciousness he was sitting by my bed, tired and worried. But happy I was alive. I recovered quickly.

I guess, he talked to Han and Leia after that, and Luke never spoke to me again about going to my parents. He just kept telling me things about them from time to time. He never stopped even though I never showed any reaction to his words.

Anyway, I was growing up and my temper wasn’t getting any better. I was still mad at my parents and I also started to dislike the way Luke taught. I was full of new projects, but he kept telling me to focus on basics and never wanted to discuss any of them. I was a sophomore at Anch-To when Luke announced that he would be selecting the projects for the State Scholar Competition. Everyone was able to apply, and I decided to participate. I showed him my project and he liked it. My project wasn’t connected with machine engineering back then. I actually invented a water cleansing system. I thought it had the potential to help people living in regions with low supplies of fresh water.”

“Like Jakku,” Rey whispered.

“Yes, like Jakku. Well, my intentions were not really that noble. If I had a better project that didn’t help people in need, I would choose it. But... Anyway, I also wanted to participate because I could be the youngest scholar ever to win the State Competition... I wanted to show my parents what I achieved. I wanted them to watch me and to regret that they pushed me away...

Anyway, at first, Luke’s program was supposed to cultivate young minds and prepare them to get into University. But then he decided that it was also required to teach his pupils to be... well... to be better people. He developed a moral code that everyone had to follow while also earning the best grades... And in order to participate in the competition, you had to meet these expectations... I didn’t. Luke told me I was too arrogant and too violent. We had started having arguments often before that, and then, when he told me I wouldn’t participate in the competition, I completely lost it.

In the heat of the argument, Luke told me my parents were right when they sent me away. He told me, I was hopeless. “Too much darkness inside me”, that’s how he put it.

Well, you can imagine what I was like when I heard it. You’ve seen me in class, after all, and back in my school years, I was so much worse.

I used to have friends in the Academy. I was too arrogant, so I always chose from the best. There was a school back in Alderaan that had become the worst rival of Anch-To Academy. Year after year they were trying to beat us and were getting closer. Alderaan High Tech School it was called. They are closed now... I’ll tell you why later.

Well, they had no moral code. What they needed was a bunch of talented pupils capable of defeating Anch-To.

AHTS wasn’t a good place, to say the least. They made their pupils fight each other, made them compete for the right to be acknowledged and to just be counted as worthy. There were no words of inspiration for those who didn’t fit their requirements. But I was good at Engineering. And ruthless. I decided that this time they would serve my purposes.

I instigated Luke’s two best pupils. One of them, Galen, was senior and the other, Mitaka, was in the class with me. Galen’s project was chosen by Luke to participate in the competitions, but I still managed to convince him to join me. I told him and Mitaka that there’s a brighter future for us in AHTS. I told them stories about how great it would be if we left Luke with his stupid moral code and switch to AHTS to be free and do whatever we want with our lives. Both Galen and Mitaka came from nothing. We were young, and they wanted to strive for greatness without any extra obstacles.

Together we contacted AHTS and made an offer to them. They would give us a scholarship and a place in their dorms, and we would bring them to victory. They agreed and we held up on our end of the bargain. They did as well. I was afraid my parents would interfere. They were still my legal guardians and I was underage. Galen and Mitaka didn’t have problems like that. Galen had only a father and his and Mitaka’s parents were drunks. It wasn’t too hard to sign all necessary papers for them. All they had to do was to find their parents and give them some money so that they could buy themselves a drink. I wrote to my parents. Told them that if they didn’t sign all necessary papers I would file for emancipation. I knew they wouldn’t have it. Back then I thought they were afraid it would spoil their reputation, but now I… I don’t know… Anyway, my mother tried to call me, but I didn’t pick up. I set up a deadline when I should have received the papers. They had to send it to the school mailbox. In my letter, I told my mother not to try and contact me. She knew me. I think she knew that had she tried I would make a scene. Anyway, they signed the papers and I was free to study in AHTS.

There was one more part of our agreement with the school. We had to explain to people why we had left Anch-To when we had been at the competitions. We smashed Anch-To that year. And we gave many interviews, telling people many bad things about the Academy. I haven’t seen Luke since I left Anch-To. He managed to save the Academy, restore its reputation. But we’ve never spoken again. He tried to talk to me when I was leaving, but I didn’t let him. After everything we did, after Galen and Mitaka betrayed him, Luke decided that people from the lowest of the low were too easily distracted by the material benefits and prospects of receiving more with less effort. He decided that he wouldn’t be accepting pupils from poorest regions of the country. Anch-To became an elite private school…”

 

Ben took a deep breath, trying to understand what Rey was thinking about his story so far. She was still lying on his chest and hugging him. That calmed him down a bit, and he was able to go on.

 

“Despite what I expected, two years in AHTS were the worst. Well, probably not the first one when we felt privileged because they were afraid to lose us. So for me and Mitaka, the worst started to happen during our senior year. For Galen, however, things started to get worse immediately. He was a nice guy, Galen. Yes, he wanted to achieve a lot, but he was never the vile one. So as soon as we started giving interviews and talking crap about Anch-To, he started to feel guilty. The guilt was eating him from inside and when his project had taken the second prize at the competitions (mine took the first), and he was offered the scholarship in the Alderaan University, he declined. He finished school and left. I don’t know where he is now, but I heard he has a farm somewhere.

I still don’t know why my parents didn’t take me from AHTS when I started ruining Luke’s life… My mother probably thought I was lost completely… I don’t know. She was still calling me from time to time, but less often, and I never picked up. Anyway, Mitaka and I moved into our senior year.

That was the time AHTS realized we had nowhere else to go. I gave up the idea of being on my own without education as long as my father didn’t want me in his company, so I had to attend university. That wasn’t the problem, but I still had to finish school. And they changed their tune completely. They told me that if I wanted to have a future in their school, I had to participate in the competitions for them once again. Mitaka also participated. They manipulated us, they pushed us to our limits. When the competitions were around the corner Mitaka and I already hated each other. My former best friend became my greatest rival and enemy. I hated him, I hated AHTS and I hated my life. The only thing that mattered for me was the victory in the competitions.

It seemed the same was true for Mitaka. That year I won the competition again. The project was good but not as good as the one I did the previous year. I didn’t even have to receive a patent for this invention. But I still won. That day Mitaka returned to the dorms and...” Ben’s breath hitched.

 

Rey rose from his chest and looked him in the eyes.

 

“Ben...” she whispered, whipping away the tears that were rolling down his cheeks. He didn’t even realize he was crying.

 

He shook his head.

 

“He hung himself... He killed himself, committed suicide... Mitaka had no one, his parents were a couple of drunks. It was easy for AHTS to hide the fact of his death...”

“God…” Rey whispered.

“I was... I was so shocked at first. I refused to accept he was dead. And then it hit me. I was the one responsible for his death. Had I not dragged him into this whole mess... I... I still... I still hate myself for that.”

 

His breath was erratic now. Ben wasn’t crying anymore, but it was hard for him to breathe. Rey rose from his chest again and pulled him closer, hugging him and leaning to the uncomfortable headboard. Ben curled by her side and laid his head on her stomach. She was running her hands through his hair and he was able to breathe easier as she calmed him down. She was still there. She didn’t go anywhere. She wasn’t reassuring him, and he was grateful for that. He couldn’t bear another “that was not your fault” now. Rey just kept touching his hair, waiting for him to go on with his story. And, relaxing a bit, Ben went on.

 

“I was feeling guilty and was suppressing it with the feeling of fury growing inside me. It was easier to hate everyone else than to hate myself. I finished AHTS and promised myself I would come back and destroy it one day.

I entered First Order Institute of Technology. You should know it. It is sponsored by Snoke’s company, “The First Order”. That was also in Alderaan, but not the one my mother taught in. You should know there are two technical universities nearby. I wonder why you didn’t apply there, to tell you the truth. Takodana is great, but Alderaan is much better...”

“The scholarship available for children from the foster system was hard to get. There was a bigger competition to enter Alderaan or FOIT... They didn’t accept me even though I was in the top of my class and my grades were perfect,” Rey explained quietly.

“I see... Well, they are a bunch of morons, though I am quite happy you are here... And I’m definitely glad you didn’t enter FOIT. I hope you’ll still be here when I finish...”

“Just go on,” Rey whispered and Ben obeyed.

“I was angry... But Mitaka’s death made me reconsider many things. I think that was the time I became less arrogant and more self-doubting. And that was when I met Hux and Phasma. I met them during my first year at the university and we got along well. Hux and Phasma... They were in love from first sight. They’d met each other several days before they met me and the first day we had classes together they were already planning their wedding... They both came from wealthy families and both weren’t close with their parents. Different reasons, same result. I was the only one of us who lived close to home, but I never visited my parents, so... We had our scholarships and I received some royalties from my patents. Hux and Phasma had to work part-time. Phasma was a waitress in a local coffee shop, and Hux managed to find a place in a local workshop store. The competition was not very strong in Alderaan, there were dozens of workshops looking for someone capable.

We were the best students in the program in the first two years in FOIT. And that is how Snoke noticed us.

He was teaching juniors and seniors and the three of us happened to be in his class. Snoke didn’t work only at FOIT, despite the fact that the university was and still is sponsored by his company. Many universities are happy to invite him to read some courses and he sometimes skipped years working in other places. But he was there when we met him. Or it’s better to say he invited us to meet him.

We met him in this fancy restaurant and he was paying us compliments.

We were flattered. Everyone knows “the First Order” even now. Everyone dreams of becoming a part of it... Well, it was completely the same all those years ago. And Snoke made his offer. He wanted us three to work as trainees in his company. Told us there was a possibility for us to become partners as soon as we graduate. He spoke so highly of us. Of course, we agreed.

It was fantastic at first. We felt like the kings of the world. That was when I met Snoke’s daughter... Bazine... I was often a guest in Snoke’s house, and he introduced me to her. She was beautiful. We started going out and I fell in love with her.”

 

Rey’s hand stopped running through his hair, and Ben raised his head to look at her. She watched him intently, her hand on her stomach now. Ben was so consumed by his story that he didn’t realize at first why she’d stopped. Then it hit him. She was there, in the same bed with him, and he was telling her about his ex.

 

“Rey, it’s long gone. She’s my past now,” he wasn’t sure if it was normal to excuse himself, but he felt he needed to do it.

“I know, I know,” she blushed in the light of the night lamp. “You don’t need to make any excuses. I was... I was just not sure that it was appropriate to do... this,” she showed him his hand. “While you... While you are telling me... that.”

“I wish you didn’t stop, Rey,” he smiled. “Let me finish the story, and if you still want, I will leave my head here so you could run your hands through my hair non-stop for weeks.”

“That’s kinda gross,” Rey smirked, and he lay back on her stomach.

 

“Bazine and I started living together and Snoke encouraged it. After almost a year with her, I was in my senior year and Snoke started to put his plan into action.

You know, Snoke has some Coruscantian roots... in his company he has the closest inner circle of partners that he calls “the knights of Ren”. Ren is what he calls himself. It means something like “Supreme Master” or “Supreme Leader”. Coruscantians address this title towards someone who is really important and superior to them. Hux, Phasma and I dreamed to be the knights of Ren, and during my senior year, Snoke started to call me that. Me, but not Phasma and Hux.

Now I know that Snoke’s company is a big fraud. The old bastard is smart and sly, but he can’t do anything alone. He is searching for intelligent young people and brings them to his web. He always watches a person for some time before hiring them. If he sees that the guy is weak enough to be manipulated, he invites them to the company. The latter depends on how smart and valuable the new employee is. If the person is smart enough, but not brilliant, Snoke makes them just work, making all the new inventions the property of his company. The longer the person works for Snoke the fewer connections to the outside world they have. This scheme applies only to middle and senior level engineers of course. Snoke has a lot of low-level employees and keeps them all quite happy until they are at least a little useful. And there are not so many middle-level engineers in the company, not more than twenty, but every single one of them is Snoke’s slave.

He is a powerful manipulator. He usually starts gentle, telling the poor guys how valuable they are and how poorly the people around them treat them. Then he pushes and pushes, finds a way to make a person burn all their bridges, the last straw is the trickiest one. Snoke pulls the poor guy into some dishonest scheme. He usually asks them to do something for him in the guy’s name. And then, when it’s done, he makes a person think that the mistake was made, a mistake that led to some sort of financial crime or something like that. Snoke generously offers to help, and the guy is on the hook. I know it because I’ve seen it. And, truth be told, not only have I seen it, I’ve helped Snoke to accomplish it a couple of times...

There was another road for those who were not just smart, but brilliant. The one I have already almost explained to you. That is a rare case, but if Snoke met someone he thought was worthy he would offer him a partnership. Such a man would become a knight of Ren. And that’s what he wanted me to be.

He fed my arrogance with his flattery. Told me I was the most intelligent student he’d ever met. I was so broken after my story with my parents that I believed him. And there was also Bazine. She admired me... or so I thought. She told me how highly her father thought of me. And I believed them both.

He started referring to me as Kylo Ren, Kylo meaning “the best of his kind” in Coruscantian. I liked it so much, I started calling myself that. My parents abandoned me, and I was glad to leave everything connected to them behind. Everything, including my name...

You might think my intelligence was the only reason Snoke wanted me that much, and you would be wrong. I had one more thing, and he wanted it most of all. Snoke needed my connection to my family.

You have probably heard in the newspapers about the sudden acquisition of “the Republic” by “the First Order.”

“Yes,” Rey whispered. “No one could understand what happened, but then your father...”

“Yes. They thought that my father’s decision to sell the company to “the First Order” was connected with... the latest situation,” Ben took a deep breath, feeling Rey squeezing his shoulder. “But the truth is... The truth is it was vise versa... Snoke wanted to make me cut every connection I had, wanted to make me think that I had no one, but him in the end, wanted my talent to be his... And he also wanted my father’s invention. He wanted to have the patent.

Snoke kept telling me how wrong my parents were, how cruel they behaved with me... And I got angrier and angrier with them every day. One day Snoke told me that my father’s patent was actually mine as well, that it belonged to me as I was the only heir of the Solo family. But I wouldn’t get it as long as my parents decided to throw me away. I believed him. Back then, I thought every word he said was true.

Snoke told me, he could get a patent for me, told me we could do something to make my father give the patent to Snoke’s company where it would be waiting for me. And when I graduated, Snoke promised me to make me a part of the company. And the part of the family. I had proposed to Bazine not long before that talk, and Snoke made me feel wanted and acknowledged... By that time I was already aware of the way he acted with middle-level engineers, but I approved of it because Snoke told me they were all lower and unworthy. The last straw was the way Snoke helped me deal with AHTS. I promised to destroy it and Snoke bought the whole school… He told me it was my wedding gift… I threw so many people on the streets, leaving them unemployed… That was an act of sweet revenge, and I trusted Snoke with my heart. By that time I was already a monster. I approved of his actions, and I didn’t think for a moment that he could act this way with me too.”

 

Ben had to stop to gather his composure. Rey was still caressing his hair, despite everything he told her.

 

“You are not a monster...” her whisper made his breath hitch.

“Yes... Yes, I am...” he sighed, fighting his tears. “You just need to hear the rest of the story...”

 

This was the moment Rey kissed him. Tender at first, she rapidly swept her tongue into his mouth, tangling it with his own. He wasn’t expecting this, but his body responded to her immediately. He rose a bit and turned them so that Rey was under him, her sweet taste invading his mouth and clouding his consciousness. However, she broke the kiss first.

 

“Ben,” she whispered. “I think you need to tell me the rest. I just wanted to let you know that I won’t be going anywhere even if the story is awful enough to kill.”

 

He didn’t know why she was doing it. Why she was ready to accept everything. Truth be told, part of him was scared that she just didn’t know what she was getting into.

 

“I hope so,” he murmured.

“Don’t hope so, just know that I won’t.”

 

He sighed and they settled into their previous position, his head back on her stomach.

 

“Snoke’s lawyers are the best you can find on this planet. They spent a week preparing the papers necessary to perform our plan. When everything was ready, I called my parents. That was the first call in seven years… Leia didn’t even know I attended the university in Alderaan. Our campuses were on the different sides of the city, so there was no way she could find me. And there I was, calling my parents. I called Leia first. I was surprised to hear her voice. She sounded… happy… She was crying into the phone, asking me to come back home and not giving me the opportunity to say a word. I told her I needed to discuss an important matter with her and Han, and we agreed to meet in their home… In my childhood home…

When I arrived, Leia didn’t let me say a word, she hugged me so tightly I couldn’t breathe. She was crying and I almost regretted what I was going to do. Han was standing behind her… I told you he had never been good with emotions… He didn’t seem glad to see me. Still, I held out my hand to him… I was watching his reaction, tried to read his face. Leia was so happy to see me that had Han showed any sign of joy at the sight of me, I wouldn’t have been able to perform Snoke’s plan. But he didn’t. And I got furious.

I put the plan into action. Told them I was there to give them back the apartment that had been bought in my name many years ago. I told my parents I wanted to give them back everything they had ever given to me, told them I didn’t want to have anything in common with them. I asked them to sign the papers for the transfer of the apartment back to them. I told them my lawyers would take care of everything. They were shocked and that was exactly what I needed. But to make things worse for them, I told them I was going to change my name. That was true, I was going to become Kylo Ren officially. But that was the last straw that broke my father’s back. He got furious, he was crying loudly at me, telling me I was an unworthy piece of crap to give up on my own family like that. That was exactly what I needed. Calmly, I handed Han the papers and he signed them without even looking… I left, not saying goodbye. Han didn’t know he signed the sales contract. Snoke bought my father’s patent for $100.

Next time I saw Han was when Snoke brought me with him to the meeting in “the Republic”. Han always ran the company alone. There were no board members or somebody else, he always did everything to avoid it. That’s why his signature was everything we needed to get his patent.

When Han realized what was going on he was furious. Never in my life had I seen him like that… But the thing was, without this patent or the possibility to use it, “the Republic” couldn’t do anything… Han’s invention, as you know, was the technology for improving the engine efficiency factor… Without it, all his inventions were useless… He didn’t have the right to produce anything anymore.

The rest you heard on the news… The price Han sold “the Republic” for was ridiculous… Snoke bought it… and that day my father closed himself in his office and.. shot himself… he shot himself… he shot himself in the head,” Ben had started crying when he was telling Rey about his visit to his parents and was sobbing uncontrollably now.

 

He hadn’t told this story to anyone in years. Not very many people knew about it. His former therapist, Hux and Phasma… And Snoke, of course… Ben thought he had accepted it, had thought that he would be able to live with this guilt forever. But now the feeling was crushing him, making him suffocate and curl into the ball on the small bed above “the Workshop”. In Rey’s lap…

 

She was still there. Rey didn’t say a word and Ben could feel she was tense, but she didn’t let him go. Suddenly she moved and for a second he was terrified she would stand up from the bed and ask him to leave. But she pulled his sobbing body closer.

 

This tiny girl was holding him like he was a child. He never would have believed that he could feel so protected in someone’s arms. Yet, for some reason, this subtle, little woman was still there, by his side listening to him.

 

“Shhh…” she whispered into his ear. “Calm down, Ben.”

“I… I killed my father, Rey…”

“You… You didn’t kill your father,” her voice was quiet but strong. “You did an awful thing, but you didn’t kill him. He committed suicide.”

 

He didn’t believe her, but his sobbing became quieter.

 

“Why…” he exhaled. “Why are you still here, Rey?”

“Because I know you are not a monster. I see how much you suffer. A monster wouldn’t suffer like that. And… I don’t have to have a reason to trust you. I know you would never hurt me.”

“How can you be so sure? After everything I’ve told you.”

 

Rey shrugged, still holding him.

 

“I don’t know. And I didn’t have a family myself… And your story makes me angry, to tell you the truth… Very angry… Maybe furious even. But I… I still want to be here. And I still want you to stay.”

“It’s true. I won’t hurt you,” he stopped crying and sat in bed beside her. He was himself again, the man thirteen years her senior. The strong one in their new couple. And he could tell, Rey could see the change.

“Tell me how you got away from Snoke,” she asked, cupping his cheek with her hand.

 

He kissed her palm before proceeding.

 

“Snoke miscounted. He didn’t think Han would end his life. My mother was calling me, but I didn’t pick up. I found out about my father’s death from the news. That was a turning point. The memories and realizations were overwhelming me. Mitaka’s death, Hux and Phasma whom I had left behind by that time, Snoke’s words, my betrayal of my own family, Han’s suicide. I was responsible for everything and it crushed me.

I ran to Snoke, demanding that he give the patent back to me. He was calm at first, trying to reason with me and telling me that as soon as I graduate and marry Bazine, I would become part of the company and part of the family. But I didn’t want it anymore. I wanted to leave. I wanted to take Bazine with me and leave Snoke forever. But he wouldn’t have it.

During the time I spent with him, he gathered so much dirt on me that I was also on the hook. I was going to become a knight of Ren, and there is only one thing that keeps the knights of Ren together. Mutual responsibility. Everyone has something on everyone.

When Snoke realized I wasn’t going to cooperate, he changed his tune immediately. He threw me out of the company and promised to charge me. He would and I wouldn’t be able to graduate because I would simply go to jail…

That day I went home and talked to Bazine… I hoped I would find some support there, but I was wrong… There was a situation with Bazine. One that I am not ready to tell you now. Not because I don’t trust you, but just because it too hard for me, I’m sorry…”

 

He felt Rey nodding and sighed, going on.

 

“Well, in short, Bazine left me and told me to get out of her apartment. I was on the street and without a job, but I couldn’t care less. My father was dead. And I saw my mother’s broken face on TV… I wanted to die.

I spent the following week in some junkyards. I didn’t even eat. Every time I fell asleep, I hoped I would never wake up again. That was how Hux found me.

We hadn’t spoken for a long time. At first, Snoke tried to make us rivals, but I always was better back then. When Snoke realized Hux was only good enough for middle management, he started to see Armitage as a problem. And Phasma was another one. In Snoke’s eyes, she wasn’t good enough for any position on the higher or middle level. But we were a group, and best friends, so he had to get rid of them, make me break up with them to get me alone.

Phasma will tell you her story someday if she is ready. I will only tell you that she had to go through too much pain. She’d almost died. She would have if it wasn’t for Hux. But that is not my story to tell. She left the company first.

Hux and I were fighting all the time we were in “the First Order”. At first, Hux was also trying to win the place by Snoke. That’s how the old bastard got some compromising evidence on Hux as well. When Snoke chose me, I helped him throw Hux out of the company. I guess, Snoke was afraid, Armitage would get to me eventually and turn me, so he decided to destroy him completely, pressing charges…

Hux almost got kicked out of the university and Phasma… Phasma was also in trouble. That’s why Armitage went to the only place that was left. He went to his parents. He and Phasma hadn’t seen their parents since our first year in the university, and the step was completely devastating for him. I don’t think he would do it if it wasn’t for Phasma…

Anyway, before Hux left “the First Order” he managed to copy some documents that proved some of Snoke’s dirty business. Hux’s parents contacted Phasma’s parents and their two families finally met… And brought their lawyers.

In short, they made a deal with Snoke. Snoke left them alone and they would destroy all evidence of Hux’s crimes. They signed tons of papers to protect both sides. Hux and Phasma were safe, but in the last moment, Armitage remembered about me.

As he told me later, he had asked around and found out about everything that had happened. He knew about Han, of course, but he didn’t know how I reacted. He found me and made me a part of the deal with Snoke. I gave up on the patent completely, but my name was clean…

One more important part of the deal was that we could graduate from FOIT that year. We passed the finals normally. There are plenty of adequate teachers there. After that, we were happy to move away from Alderaan as soon as we could. We moved here, to Takodana, to get our masters’ degree. Phasma, however, decided not to proceed with her education. She went through too much. She and Hux got married and as Armitage was getting his degree, she took a loan and opened “the Workshop”. We haven’t heard from Snoke until lately…

I don’t know what he wants to do here, but when I was leaving “the First Order” he promised to destroy me… I told you he was teaching outside FOIT from time to time. He could choose any university. But he came to Takodana to teach freshmen and sophomores. He has never taught freshmen and sophomores… Now he does. Because I do.”

 

They were silent for several minutes, still holding each other.

 

“Good for you, you have Hux and Phasma,” Rey said quietly.

“Yes, yes, I am really lucky,” Ben answered honestly. “But I… I am really worried for you, Rey… Phasma was right. If Snoke figures out you are important for me…”

 

Suddenly, he heard Rey giggling.

 

“What?” he asked frowning.

“Ben, I am really important for you?”

 

He sat up and faced her. Rey was watching him, still chuckling and looking at him in disbelief.

 

“Rey, yes, of course, you are important. I told you I want you to be safe.”

 

She was still giggling for some reason.

 

“What’s so funny?”

“Sorry,” she closed her eyes. “I guess, I’m just nervous. You’ve known me for a week only… I am not used to be important for someone… I am nothing…”

 

He cupped her cheek.

 

“But not to me.”

 

She stopped giggling and looked at him.

 

“I am worried about you too, you know.”

“Oh no, please, please. Don’t be. I’ll be fine,” he shook his head, but she put a finger on his lips.

“Why won’t you let me care for you? You told Phasma today that we were together, did you mean it?”

 

He nodded blushing slightly, but not looking away from her. He did. He definitely meant it.

 

“Then let me care for you, let me be worried about you, Ben. I know you are older and stronger and smarter. And I know you are capable of taking care of yourself. But please, please, let me also take care of you. You told me so much today. And your story is awful… But I… like you just the way you are. Because I saw you today. And… Well, just let me be here, will you?”

 

It was hard for Ben to let someone in. But the truth was, he didn’t need to let Rey in, she was already there, and he couldn’t close this door anymore.

 

He nodded. They were together now. There were two of them. And it was new, but Ben could tell neither of them was going to be lonely anymore.

 

“I wish I didn’t have to go…” he whispered.

“I wish I didn’t have to stay here,” she whispered back. 

“I want you to move in with me as soon as we are safe,” he blurted, not thinking straight.

 

However, as soon as the words left his mouth he couldn’t regret them. Rey was looking at him her eyes open wide.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 9.

 

Of passion and patience.

 

“I want you to move in with me as soon as we are safe,” Ben blurted, and Rey stopped breathing.

 

She was looking at him, her mouth agape and her head full of words that she just couldn’t put into sentences.

 

This day had already become a new milestone in their relationship. Though, which day hadn’t lately? Ben’s story shocked her. Truth be told, she was expecting something crucial, but what he’d told her was so terrible she was shattered. After everything that had happened between them in the last two days, Rey had forgotten that the Ben she had woken up with this morning was actually her terrifying Professor Solo. She’d remembered the day they first met, processed his story and for a second she was afraid of him. Ben had been lying in her arms and there was a moment when Rey was scared. Scared that had she upset him, he would crush her. She’d been there with Poe, and there was no way she would let anyone else hurt her like that again.

But then Ben had started to cry. She could never imagine this strong, menacing man crying his eyes out, lying in her lap. But there he was. This connection that had settled between them flared again and pulled her back from the depths of her doubts. She could feel him, could feel his emotions as if they were hers. She was probably going crazy. She was probably delusional. Completely insane. Utterly mad. But she could swear she felt what was going on inside him. And this utter fear, anxiety and guilt she was feeling were killing her. She could not pull away from him. She was completely lost, but there was one thing she was sure of. She wouldn’t leave him. She wanted him to be hers.

 

Rey knew it was too early for that. Too early to have anything but hope for a future together. But suddenly he was asking her to move in with him, and she couldn’t move. Was he serious?

 

“Whaaat?..” she asked in a whisper.

 

She probably looked completely blurred because Ben’s expression changed from confused to concerned. Still, he was looking her straight into the eyes.

Finally, he frowned, and Rey’s heart dropped. Did her reaction disappoint him? Was he already regretting what he had said?

 

Ben, however, cupped her cheek with his hand.

 

“I am sorry to scare you off like that, Rey,” he said in this low deep voice of his that made her toes curl. “I know it might be too much for you. You don’t have to decide anything now... or ever. Don’t ever think of doing something you don’t want when you are with me...”

 

“So you really want it?” she interrupted him her voice trembling. “You want me to live with you?”

“I know it’s too quickly,” he sighed, rubbing his neck and lowering his eyes for a moment. “And I realize that we’ve known each other for only a week... And I understand that I am acting like a possessive creep. But I want to have you with me. And you know my story now, which should be more than enough to make you want to run for the hills from me. But for some reason, you are still here. And no matter what, I am still this moronic professor of yours and I have a lot of issues. And I know I don’t deserve you. But the only thought of leaving you here today makes me fucking burn from the inside. I don’t want you to answer me now. And I’ll completely understand if you don’t want what I offered. But please know that I want... it.”

“But you don’t know me...” she whispered. “I may clog the shower drain with my hair…” she smirked. “I will drive you crazy. I’ve seen your apartment. It is so neat... And I couldn’t even make up my bed every day when I lived with Rose and Paige...”

“I will probably be mad at you when I find your hair,” Ben laughed. “But only until I see you in person. Then I will have to pretend I’m still mad so that we could have the best make-up sex in history.”

She smiled shyly at his words. Then, suddenly, she thought of Poe. Rey had moved in too quickly with him. And here she was now, an almost homeless employee of the student coffee shop. No, no Rey was glad that Phasma had given her a chance, but still… She needed some time to know herself better, to understand if she was actually worth something on her own. Rey knew Ben wasn’t like Poe. But she needed this time for herself, before she could live with him. After all, he probably wouldn’t want her very long. Truth be told, this thought scared her to death. And that’s why she needed some time to live on her own.

 

“We still have a year ahead of us,” she said quietly. “I need this time to figure myself out. Can we... Can we return to this conversation next year? If you still want me by that time, of course...” she smirked sadly, realizing how high was the possibility that he would just leave her like everyone else had. After all, everyone else left her one way or another. Why would Ben be different? Some tiny part of her was telling her he wouldn’t. But the other part, the louder one, the one that was terrified to be left alone again, this part was still stronger.

For a second, there was the look of hurt on Ben’s face, and Rey’s heart skipped a beat. But then he smiled at her.

“Of course, Rey. Take as much time as you need. You don’t have to answer me at all. But one thing I am sure of is that I will be here in a year. If you let me.”

A bit concerned, she looked at him. Ben was still watching her, his eyes turning deep chocolate color in the light of the night lamp. Rey remembered the first time she’d seen those eyes. Even then she was drowning in them. Now, when they were so much closer, she was consumed by his gaze, mesmerized by it. Those weren’t the eyes of a man who just liked her or was just having a good time with her. The emotions in them were so much deeper. And something was telling her that in her eyes he could see the same.

 

How much time does one need to fall in love? she thought suddenly.

 

Scared by the thought, she choked on air, her breath hitching. It was too soon to think about it. Too soon! She broke their gaze, coughing. Ben’s hands were on her back in a flash. 

“Sweetheart, are you okay?” he asked concerned.

“Yeah... Yeah, I’m fine,” she smiled, catching her breath. “Ben, can I ask you something?”

“Anything.”

“How can you be so sure?... You know... About what happens in a year... You barely know me...”

 

He frowned for a second.

 

“And how much time exactly does one need to realize he... cares about someone?” he asked, almost repeating her latest thoughts just as if he’d read them. She shivered at the sound of his words. “Don’t you think that all this bullshit about needing a lot of time is probably slightly exaggerated? I... care about you. And I don’t think this feeling will fade any time soon. I’m not one to let someone close, Rey, but call me crazy...”

Rey didn’t let him finish. She jumped on him, devouring his face with her mouth. She wasn’t just kissing his lips anymore. She kissed his eyes, his nose, the constellation of moles and beauty marks, covering him. He caught her lips with his own and pushed his tongue so deep into her throat that she almost chocked. However, that only made her hornier than she had already been. Rey’s body was relaxing, melting under his giant hands. Ben was older than her and obviously much more experienced. He knew exactly where to touch her to make her breathless. Rey could feel the horror that his story had brought to her melting away. Fifteen seconds and she was already panting heavily, straddling him.

 

“Fuck, Rey, you and your little body… I want to do so many things to you, you can’t even imagine...” Ben whispered hoarsely.

“Tell me,” she croaked.

 

She felt his hard cock twitching under her.

 

“I want to do so many things to you... Some of them might frighten you,” he was squeezing her breasts so hard they would bruise tomorrow, but she adored the feeling. 

“I’m not afraid. Tell me.”

 

He sucked in a breath before starting.

 

“I’ll start slowly. I want to consume you. To eat you out. I would suck every inch of your perfect little body, and when I get down there, I’ll eat out your soaking pussy...”

 

Rey couldn’t help but gasp. Her sexual experience was rather limited, and no one had ever gone down on her. She’d heard so much about it from Rose and Paige, but when she’d tried to talk to Poe about the possibility, he’d lost his temper, telling her that it was beneath his dignity to do it. Now the images of Ben’s head buried between her legs mage her slick run down her thigh. But Ben wasn’t finished.

“Then, when you’ve had an orgasm at least twice and are ready for me, I’ll fuck you on every possible surface in my apartment. I’ll do it hard, Rey, it might be a bit painful even, but you’ll love every single moment of it.”

His words should have worried her inexperienced mind, but they didn’t. Her wetness was running down to her knees already, and Rey was rubbing her pussy on his dick like she was crazy. Ben groaned, pressing his cock to her cunt.

 

“And then?” Rey whispered into their kiss.

“And then I’ll take you from behind. I’m gonna spank you hard, and you’ll receive it so well, like a good girl.”

 

This was new. Rey was scared for a second, the perspective of being spanked seeming ambiguous to her. She’d heard about all this BDSM stuff, of course, but had never tried it… Was spanking even a BDSM thing? She didn’t know, and her mind started racing. And at this moment Ben squeezed her ass and did what he’d promised. He spanked her hard. 

Rey squeaked in shock, but in a flash, Ben took the place he’d just spanked into his large palm and caressed it. She was still in her leggings, but the feeling of his touch soothing his previous hit was so erotic and pleasant at the same time that she couldn’t contain her moan.

 

“Sweetheart,” Ben whispered, leaving a mark with his mouth on her collarbone. “I won’t do anything you don’t like, and you will beg me for it, believe me.”

His hoarse voice and the things he was saying sent Rey over the edge. Her climax crushed her, and Rey’s body convulsed in Ben’s arms. He released a long, loud groan as she climaxed, pressing her closer to himself. Rey was glad he did so because she almost fainted from pleasure, and the additional support was clearly needed.

“Fuck, Rey,” he whispered. “Darling, you are so sensitive… You make me lose my mind, sweetheart…” she heard him whispering still feeling her pussy clenching around nothing under her panties.

*** 

Ben didn’t expect Rey to have an orgasm while they were still fully clothed. But there she was, convulsing above him and making him almost come into his pants. His girl was so responsive and sensitive. She wasn’t experienced, and he loved it about her. Her every touch was so unsure but so sweet and so hot at the same time, he wanted to devour her.

Ben was so hurt when Rey said she had to think about living with him. It was foolish, he knew. But the moment he’d told her he wanted it, he realized that he would do everything possible to convince her.

However, that wasn’t what occupied his mind at the moment. The girl clenching in his arms was driving him insane, and Ben couldn’t wait to do everything he’d promised to her. Ben enjoyed rough sex. Not every time, but it turned him on. And thinking of spanking Rey, making her climax while he takes her roughly from behind… Ben was so hard that his cock could tear his pants apart.

But he’d promised her they wouldn’t have unprotected sex. And he was going to keep his promise.

Truth be told, the thought of coming into her got to him for a second. He could get her pregnant and then she would be entirely his. Ben winced at the thought and drove the idea away from his head. That was something Kylo Ren would do… Rey clearly awakened his light side. He felt like he was a better person around her. But at the same time there was a darkness inside him, the darkness he thought he had beaten long ago. And this darkness wanted to possess Rey, wanted to make her his in every possible way without even asking her for permission. Ben suppressed the feeling quickly. He was Ben Solo. Kylo Ren had died a long time ago. He wouldn’t let this monster near Rey. Calming his thoughts, Ben inhaled Rey’s scent that was filling the room. He would recognize it among the thousands other now. And it would always balance him, make him feel better. 

“Ben...” Rey’s words came with the hot breath near his ear. “Ben, I want you... I want you inside me, please.”

His eyes rolled into his skull uncontrollably. Rey was almost impossible to resist.

“I know, sweetheart,” he bit her earlobe, sucking it gently into his mouth. “But I promised you I wouldn’t fuck you without protection... today.”

 

He heard Rey whimpering after his words and smirked.

 

“I promise you, I will find a way to do it again during the week, darling.”

“You’d better purchase the biggest pack of condoms available,” she hissed.

“Aren’t you overestimating me?” he smirked. “I am an old man, after all...”

“An old man that has a boner every time I touch him...” she was so adorably bold in her passion.

 

Ben knew already that Rey was actually quite shy when it came to sex. In the past two days, he had been catching her looking completely surprised by what was going on with her. Her every orgasm, her every realization of how much he wanted her. Everything made Rey surprised and shy, and Ben could see it in the tiniest micro-expressions on her face. But now, when she was straddling him and rubbing his shaft with her crotch, there was no trace of embarrassment on her face. Rey was pure passion, wild and unstoppable. She was like nature itself, awoken by the sudden need of being taken and claimed. So deliciously beautiful... Ben couldn’t wait to explore this side of her, to bring it to the surface to shine for him. And him only.

 

“Oh, sweetheart... You have no idea...”

 

In one swift movement, Ben turned them, and Rey was under him again, blanketed by his body.

 

“I won’t fuck you today, darling, but I’ll take care of you.”

 

Rey gasped as he moved from her, tugging her leggings and panties down. Her cotton leggings were soaking. They were wet from her knees and up to the place where they touched her cunt. Astonished, Ben traced her inner tight. Rey was drenched, and her slick was coming out of her with his every touch. He had never seen anyone so wet.

 

“Fuck...” he groaned, gliding up her wet thigh. “Rey, just look at you, baby...”

“I... I don’t know what’s happening to me,” she was blushing a deep red. “I’ve never... I’ve never even liked sex... before you.”

 

His chest almost exploded with pride.

 

“So, are you saying this is all just for me, sweetheart?” he whispered.

 

Rey moaned.

 

“No, no, tell me, darling...”

“Ben...”

“Say it!”

“Yes, yes, it’s just for you!” she cried out. “I’ve never wanted anyone this much in my life. I’ve never been this wet!”

“Oh, baby, then I should do my best to make you enjoy the process.”

 

He moved lower to the place from where he could kiss her knee. Rey shrieked as Ben spread her legs apart and kissed her inner tight. She smelled divine. So musky, salty and sweet at the same time. Ben would forget how to breathe if he hadn’t breathed her in every time he inhaled.

He started to move closer to her pussy that was gleaming from slick. Rey tensed and tried to move her legs, but he stopped her.

 

“Ahahah, sweetheart. Don’t hide from me.”

“You don’t... You don’t have to...” she whispered embarrassed.

 

He moved back higher to face her. She was looking at him not even trying to hide her confusion.

 

“I won’t do it,” he whispered, giving her a peck on her lips. “Only if you don’t want me to... But if you ask me,” he gave her one more kiss. “I would love to eat your perfect pussy. I want it so fucking much, I can barely control myself, sweetheart. I want it so much, it hurts, Rey. So tell me, do you want it? Because I do.”

 

She looked at him still shy and also very surprised. In a second she nodded.

 

That was everything Ben needed. Kissing his way back down to her opening, he finally buried his nose into her cunt. Rey was shivering at the sensation, arching her back immediately.

 

“Oh, God!” she moaned.

 

He sucked her outer lips, enjoying the taste of her slick on his tongue. He couldn’t help but lick her, his tongue flat on her pussy, fully covering her tiny opening. And then he sucked her sensitive bundle of nerves, squeezing it between his lips. She was gushing so much, and his whole face was wet. 

And Ben wanted more. 

He sucked and sucked her clit, the world spinning around him at the sound of her moans and cries. Suddenly, her pussy clenched in front of him, and he fucked her with his tongue while she climaxed.

 

“Ben! Ben! BEN!”

 

He pulled himself up closer to Rey, hesitating to kiss her. Ben didn’t know if Rey was comfortable with tasting his lips with her gush all over his face, but she pulled him closer, digging into him with her tongue. She groaned, clearly feeling herself on him, and Ben was close to fainting.

 

“I’m not done with you yet, sweetheart,” he whispered, finding her crotch with his hand.

He started with her clit, squeezing it between his fingers. Then, he moved lower, entering her with one of them.

 

“Aaaaahhhhhh,” Rey’s moans were becoming louder. He added one more finger, feeling her tight cunt wrapping around it.

 

Suddenly, her artful fingers unbuttoned his pants, and in a flash, Rey released his throbbing cock and took it into her hand. She started stroking him, and he responded immediately with the movement of his hips.

 

“Oh, baby doll,” he moaned. “You are so good to me...”

“Don’t stop,” she whispered, meeting the strokes of his fingers with her raised hips.

“Oh, I won’t... Oh, God...” one of Rey’s touches almost sent him over the edge. “I’m not gonna last, sweetheart... I want you to come again for me, darling... Will you be a good girl and take one more finger? What do you think?”

“God, yes, Ben, yes, give me more!”

 

She didn’t have to ask twice, adding one more finger. Rey’s moans turned into cries. She was so loud... He adored her for how responsive she was. Ben himself was almost done.

“Come for me, darling, be a good girl and come for me!”

 

She was finally climaxing. With a loud cry and the river of gush flowing from her, she came undone, and Ben followed her with a roar, covering her body in his thick spend. Ben fell next to her, pulling her closer to him.

 

“Oh my God...” she whispered, making him smirk.

 

Oh my God indeed... My tiny wanton Goddess...

 

”I guess, it wasn’t completely fair,” he whispered after several moments.

“Huh?”

“I promised you would come at least twice on my tongue.”

 

He heard her chuckling.

 

“I guess that means you owe me one now…”

 

They spent the next forty minutes in each other’s arms, and Rey was starting to doze off. He hated that he had to leave.

 

“Rey, sweetheart, I have to go now...”

“Noooo...” she moaned, warming his heart. “Let’s just stay here forever? Spend the rest of our lives in this bed.”

 

He smiled at her words.

 

“I will give you a much better bed and a much better place to live if you let me.”

 

He didn’t want to push and was afraid Rey’d think that was what he was doing. However, she just smiled at him, opening her eyes.

 

“I’ll let you feed me during the week if you want. And then you can eat me out again. In a much better place if you make it happen.”

“Oh, so I take it that you liked it, huh?” he smirked.

 

She blushed, lowering her eyes.

 

“I’ll make it happen, I promise... And, Rey,” he hugged her tenderly. “Tomorrow the classes start. I want you to remember this weekend, no matter how I behave in class...”

 

She just kissed him and nodded.

 

“And come to my office tomorrow after your shift here, we need to start working on your project.”

 

Never in his life had he hated leaving somewhere so much as he did today.

***

Of course, the morning came sooner than she’d expected. Rey woke up to the buzzing sound of her alarm clock, groaning. Ben had left late last night, and she barely had any sleep at all. Thinking of Ben, Rey smiled, feeling her cunt clenching at the memories of the previous evening. Rey had never imagined that sex could feel that good. She could never imagine somebody’s mouth on her. But there she was.

She would gladly spend the rest of her day in bed just thinking of him, but the duty called. Rey had to go open the coffee shop.

 

BB came right after she’d opened the door. He was a rather tall slim guy with black hair and green eyes. Rey could consider him pretty handsome, but the best thing about him was BB’s cheerfulness. He was so full of smiles that after several minutes with him Rey couldn’t imagine him in a bad mood. They got along immediately, preparing the coffee shop for opening. By the time BB’s coworker came to “the Workshop” her new friend was already pouring hot chocolate into Rey’s mug.

 

Rey took a quick shower and pulled on the sweater Ben had gifted her with the previous night. Her first class was with him, and starting from now they had four classes of Advanced Engineering per week. And no matter how worried Rey was about where their relationship would go when they were both on campus, the possibility of seeing Ben more often made her happy.

 

“Wow, you look nice,” BB commented when she entered the coffee shop again, ready to leave to her classes.

“Uhm, thanks,” Rey blushed, not used to the compliments.

“I mean it. So, do you have a boyfriend?”

 

Rey gulped from surprise.

 

“And you are really straight forward, aren’t you?” she smirked.

“I am. And you look nice. And you are sort of generally nice from what I saw in the morning. So if you are free any time during the week, I could invite you somewhere.”

 

He was grinning at her, and Rey couldn’t help, but smile back. His cheerfulness and boldness were actually quite lovely. And truth be told, Rey had never received so many compliments in her life as she’d received in the previous several days and that also added to her joy. However, she had to brush the guy off. BB was cute, and under other circumstances, she probably wouldn’t blow him off. But she could still feel Ben’s hands on her body and his deliriously good smell in her nose. BB didn’t stand a chance here.

 

“I... uhm... I sort of have just gotten out from the damaging relationship...” she said, and that wasn’t a lie. “I sort of... don’t want to rush into anything at the mo...”

 

With you, she added to herself. With you...

 

She thought BB would become embarrassed and confused, but he only smiled wider at her.

 

“No probs, girly,” he laughed. “I should have given it a try anyway. But I am a good friend material, so that you know. And you are nice, so we can easily become good friends. I always say that you shouldn’t let good people pass you by that easily.”

“How do you know?” she smiled.

“What d’ya mean?”

“How do you know that I’m nice?”

 

He looked at her in surprise.

 

“You just don’t look like a not-nice person. And you are sort of beaming with light. One could just look at you to know you are nice, don’t be silly!”

 

Rey laughed heartily.

 

“Well, with such faith in me I can only disappoint you, I think,” she smiled. “I don’t mind having a new friend, though. My old ones sort of...” she stammered, not knowing what exactly to say.

“Whoever hurt you, Rey, must be the biggest pricks in history,” BB smiled, looking at her kindly. “Someday tell me about what happened to you. I’d like to listen.”

“I will, BB,” Rey knew she had done nothing to earn such kindness from him, but BB was looking at her with his sincere eyes, and she knew he was speaking honestly to her. Rey's own eyes began to water, and she hurried to change the topic. “I sort of need to be going to classes. I’ll see ya!”

“What is that?” BB asked, looking at the parka she finally put on in confusion.

“What?” Rey inspected herself quickly. “This? This is my parka. It’s quite cold outside.”

“It’s like a hundred sizes bigger than you...”

“Don’t tell Phasma that,” Rey rolled her eyes. “This one was hers. I didn’t have one, and I lost my jacket. And I was also short on money and couldn’t buy a new one. She gave this to me, and I think it’s awesome, no matter what size it is.

“I see,” BB looked at her intently for a second. “Well, have a good day, girls,” he finally smiled.

“Girls?”

“Well yes, you and your giant parka!”

 

Rey laughed out loud, leaving the coffee shop.

 

 

She entered the classroom five minutes before the class began. Ben was facing the board, writing down some needed information on it and not looking in her direction. She suppressed her smile at the sight of him. He was wearing a grey three-piece suit, and his face was covered with a one-day stubble. Rey realized he must have overslept after their meeting the previous evening. She smiled inwardly and started looking for Rose out of habit. Rose was sitting at her usual place, and Rey was already going to join her friend when it hit her... Rose wasn’t her friend anymore. After her evening with Ben and the morning with BB, Rey had completely forgotten about everything that had happened to her last week. Rose saw her and was now looking at her in confusion.

 

Frowning, Rey turned away from her former friend and sat in the first row. This one was usually free during Ben’s classes, so there was a lot of space for her. That was the moment when Ben turned to the audience to start the class. He saw her immediately, and Rey could say that it took Ben all his willpower not to smile at her. He glanced at the students and eyed her once again. She leaned back to let him see she was wearing the sweater he had given her, and for a second even though he had averted his eyes from her, she could see the corner of his mouth curling into a smirk. Ben started the lecture on time, as always.

 

No matter what had happened between them on the weekend, in class Ben was still furious, just as he’d promised her. Not at her precisely, but at everyone in general. Ben started the lecture with the short quiz. His questions were valid, of course, and everyone had to know the answers to most of them. Or at least give it a try and answer using their brains and some common sense. But there were always those students who didn’t try especially hard to learn, hadn’t slept the night before or probably just were not that interested in the subject. Those students made Ben especially angry. His comments towards those poor guys and girls were cruel. And Rey was waiting for her turn to answer. She remembered what he’d said to her the previous night and the night before that. He would be terrible in class. He wouldn’t give her any special treatment. She had to study hard, or there was no point at all in getting her education. But he still cared for her. That’s why when he barked her name, Rey braced herself and prepared to answer.

 

“Miss Johnson!”

 

She raised her eyes at him.

 

“Would you be so kind to tell us when it is better to use the Coruscantian ores rather than the so popular Alderaanian steels in car production?”

 

This wasn’t such a complicated question. Rey was prepared for the lecture, and the topic on Coruscantian ores was in the syllabus.

 

“It’s better to use the Coruscantian ores in the production of those cars that will be driven at maximum speeds. Like race cars, for example. As Coruscantian ores are more firm than Alderaanian steels, though much more expensive.”

“When else?”

 

He sounded strict and was questioning her just like he had the other students. She liked that fact, though at some point she started getting worried. She’d listed all cases that were mentioned in the book, but he wasn’t yet satisfied with her answer.

 

“When else, Miss Johnson?”

 

She gulped at his harsh tone. She’d listed everything, she was sure. There was nothing else.

 

“I guess, that’s all, Professor,” she answered quietly.

“You listed all cases that were mentioned in the book,” he rolled his eyes, and her heart sank a bit. “But there is also one situation that wasn’t mentioned there. What is it?”

 

She hugged herself in a comforting gesture, not looking at him and tried to figure out the answer.

 

“I… I don’t know,” she finally whispered.

 

Ben exhaled sharply, making Rey tense.

 

“Coruscantian ores change their characteristics under highest temperatures, Miss Johnson,” he said looking intently at her. “In fact, if you heat them long enough, you’ll receive not a metal, but something like the most solid glass. The technology is costly and is not widely used. However, some of our military vehicles would not be made without it. You should know about this material's feature of Coruscantian ores, Miss Johnson. And you should have figured out where this technology could be used. There’s no need to learn the books by heart if you can’t use the things written there to think with your own mind.”

 

The words sounded hurtful, and Rey held her breath, trying not to feel this hurt. After all, he was right. She should have figured it out. But it still was hard to hear him speaking to her in such a tone.

 

I’ve asked him myself not to play nice with me… she thought, trying to suppress her ache.

 

“Sorry, Professor,” she nodded, lowering her eyes.

 

“You should always use your head, Miss Johnson,” he suddenly added, and Rey looked back at him in surprise. “If you are going to participate in the Takodana competition.”

 

The class around her exploded with hushed noise from the surprised students.

 

“Really?” she heard someone saying.

“He chose her project for a competition?”

“A sophomore, you gotta be kidding me!”

“What did she do to earn it?”

“Are they sleeping together? Solo has never chosen a project from a sophomore before.”

 

The last comment made Rey freeze. She turned back and tried to find the person who’d said that, but her gaze was lost in the sea of students’ heads.

 

“QUIET!” Ben roared, making every mouth in the audience shut. “That’s right, Miss Johnson is on the team. And every single one of you could be there had you opened a few engineering books and used your heads for something except consuming food or whatever shit with that you are stuffing your faces. I’ve asked you simple questions today, and just 10% of you were capable of answering them. And that brings us to the topic of our lecture today. We’ll talk about situations with the engines that can actually require you to use your brains.”

 

The rest of the lecture was not that bad. The topic was actually quite interesting, and Rey would have enjoyed it, had she not heard that fucking comment on her relationship with Ben. She knew it wasn’t true. Ben didn’t choose her project, hoping to take advantage of her. But the thought of it still sucked. Had they decided to open their relationship to the world, would people consider her a slut? A fucking no one who tries to climb the ladder of success, using her Professor? She knew those were corrupted thoughts. But they still hurt.

 

Her musings were interrupted by the sound of the opening door. She looked at the man who entered the class, and then at Ben. Rey gasped, watching Ben’s face turning completely white. She looked back at the newcomer. The man was gray and quiet old, but still rather handsome. He held on proudly and (Rey also could tell) a little bit arrogant. He was wearing an elegant costume that looked like it cost a fortune. Students around Rey were whispering excitedly like they had recognized the guest. Rey looked closer and felt her back freezing.

 

“Hello, everyone!” the old man greeted the audience, before turning to Ben. “Professor… Solo, hello! Long time no see, young man! I’m sorry to break into your lecture like that, I just wanted to… greet you and didn’t know where I could meet you better. Will you introduce me to your class?”

 

Ben was speechless. Rey saw his nostrils flare and his jaw working, but he didn’t say a word.

 

The old man smirked.

 

“Oh, well, let me introduce myself then,” he smiled at the students. “Doctor Andy Snoke at your service.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 10.

Stop it!

 

There were whispers all around the place. Rey could tell the people around her were excited to see the unexpected visitor. There was no surprise here. Snoke was a legend in the engineering field. Everyone dreamed of working in “the First Order”. Had the possibility to sign up for Snoke’s course been announced earlier, there would be a competition to get there.

However, before the school year had begun, there was another professor aside from Ben who was assigned to teach sophomores and freshmen. He was good, but Rey had checked him out and realized that if she planned to achieve something in Engineering, she had to sign up for Professor Solo’s class. It seemed her decision had been correct. After everything Ben had told her about Dr. Snoke, Rey’s back grew chill at the thought of the possibility of being in the old bastard’s class. The others, however, didn’t know what he was… And now Rey was looking at the old cheerful Dr. Snoke and shivered at the realization. They were all in danger.

But what worried her most at the moment was Ben’s state. Snoke had introduced himself to the audience, and Ben still hadn’t said a single word. He was standing still, his fists clenching and the piece of chalk broken in his hand.

“Your Professor here,” Snoke continued meanwhile. “Was one of my finest students years ago. I’m glad to see he is transferring his knowledge to the next generation of brilliant students. Here… At Takodana.”

Everyone around was whispering apprehensively now, and Rey noticed some of the students were watching Snoke in awe. The old man was looking back at them with apprehension, but as he mentioned Takodana, Snoke turned to Ben for a second. Rey knew no one had noticed it, but a trace of smirk crossed old man’s face. And this smirk… This smirk was evil.

It seemed this smirk finally threw Ben out of his trance. He put the broken piece of chalk back on the table next to him and slowly wiped his hands with a piece of wet cloth that was lying nearby. Rey was watching in terror how Ben’s eyes darkened as he moved towards Snoke. The audience seemed to realize that something was off. Everybody went quiet watching their Professor’s menacing figure moving towards the visitor. Ben hadn’t said a word yet, but everyone around tensed at the sight of him. Snoke turned back to the board, still smiling widely.

“What made you think it was appropriate to interfere with my lecture… Doctor?” Ben hissed.

He was now standing at the arm’s length from Snoke, and Rey knew that had Ben not contained himself, he would easily reach out and choke the old bastard.

How easy could it be? Rey stiffened at the realization. Had Ben snapped, Snoke would report him immediately. With the amount of students watching him in adoration, the old beast would be able to find someone who would admit Ben had often had angry outbursts during his classes, and it would be the first step to compromise him and take his job. That would be the first step for Snoke. He clearly was here for a reason.

Rey’s fingers clenched into the desk in front of her, her knuckles almost crackling.

Please, calm down… she begged Ben inwardly.

“Oh, but I just wanted to let you know I am here, Ben,” Snoke smiled, still almost spitting Ben’s name in his face.

Rey realized, the old moron was now mocking Ben. He was fucking laughing at him!

“And you know how interested I am in finding… fresh blood, so to say. For my company, I mean,’ Snoke chuckled, turning back to the students. People around Rey smiled and chuckled as well. It seemed they would already kiss the ground under his feet.

Rey could see, Ben was on the edge after Snoke’s final words. His eyes were open wide, and his mouth was twisted with rage. Rey knew he was one step from attacking Snoke, because she could feel him again.

She was already getting used to this strange connection, and it wasn’t overwhelming for her anymore. This time Rey realized that a single word from Snoke was enough to actually infuriate Ben. She was worried to death. Snoke had entered the room several minutes ago, and Ben was now one tiny step from getting into incredible trouble. Rey’s stomach turned.

She could see Ben starting to move towards the old man, clenching his fists so tightly that his nails would probably leave marks on his palms. She had to do something.

Rey could literally see the passing seconds materialize in the air in front of her. Ben wasn’t looking at the audience, and she couldn’t do anything to stop him from attacking Snoke. Rey looked at the old man and could see that Snoke hadn’t moved an inch. He was waiting. He was waiting for Ben to attack…

Not thinking straight, Rey rushed to the mobile phone in her backpack. It was forbidden for students to use their phones during the class, that’s why she usually kept it on the do not disturb mode and hidden among her student books and notebooks in her bag. She was good at avoiding conflicts. This time, however, she couldn’t care less if someone from her class noticed and reported her.

Rey’s hands were shaking as she unlocked the phone and quickly found Ben’s contact. She pushed the “dial” button and opened the messages app. As soon as the message was written, Rey pressed “send” and threw her phone back into her bag. That was the moment when Snoke was going to say something else to Ben when Rey pushed the books lying in front of her off the desk.

The sound of books hitting the floor cut the silence in the classroom, both Ben and Snoke flinching from the sudden noise. Rey could swear Snoke squinted at her with so much hate in his eyes that it could kill. At this moment she heard the buzzing sound of Ben’s phone.

Bewildered, Ben pulled the phone out of his pocket. Rey saw his eyes widening when he read the name on the screen. She had time to wonder how he had named her contact in his phone, but had no time to linger on the thought as Snoke neared her.

The old man picked up her books from the floor and put them back on her desk, smiling kindly at her. Rey, however, could see that this kindness was quite fake. Underneath the nice mask she could see another face. This face was furious and evil. This face belonged to someone who would gladly kill her at this very moment…

However, the trace of this expression on his face was short-lived. Snoke pulled himself together quickly and was now grinning widely at her.

“Here you go,” he purred. “I hope you didn’t hurt anything except for these books of yours,” Snoke chuckled, making Rey’s hair turn gray. “Be careful next time, you might miss something important from the lecture if you are so distracted, Miss…?”

“Johnson,” Rey murmured, unwilling to pronounce her first name as well.

“Well-well, Miss Johnson… What made you so… distracted?”

“She thinks that she may use her phone in class because she is on Professor Solo’s competition team this year!” someone cried out from behind the audience.

Rey twitched and turned to the audience to see who’d said that. Same sea of heads again, all friendly enough to drown her in a cold river in the middle of the night. Rey frowned, turning back to face Snoke. In the background she could see Ben getting even paler than before.

Snoke, it seemed, didn’t even notice the phone comment.

“The competition, really?” he snarled. “How interesting… That’s a big honor to be among the participants being a what… sophomore?”

Anxiously, Rey nodded.

“Well… I’m sure, Professor Solo’s choice was wise. He was always good at… choosing the right candidates… I know it from the time when he worked at my company… Speaking off that…”

“ENOUGH!” Ben’s raging voice interrupted Snoke’s musings. “I’ve got a lecture to finish, if you don’t mind, Dr. Snoke. And I have to ask you to leave now.”

“Jealous much?” Rey heard someone’s whisper from behind and frowned.

“You can make an appointment with me during my office hours, Doctor. Meanwhile, please, let my do my job and leave. Now.”

An indignant whisper filled the audience. Snoke chuckled and made an excusing gesture with his hands.

“Sorry, sorry, Professor! I didn’t mean to interfere with anything… I will of course make an appointment. We will be seeing each other a lot now.”

Snoke smirked and bowed his head before leaving the classroom. The students escorted him with admiring glances. As Snoke left, every student in the audience turned their heads back to Ben and were looking at him with hostility.

Ben didn’t look at her till the end of the class. His teeth clenching every time he wasn’t speaking, he continued the lecture. He wasn’t looking in her direction while he explained the tricky engine failures, wasn’t paying her any attention while he was answering the other students’ questions. Rey had even raised a hand to ask her own question, but Ben ignored it. She tried to suppress the feeling, but her heart was breaking into pieces.

She had probably overstepped the boundaries there, sending him that fucking message and calling him in the middle of the lecture. But, truth be told, Rey couldn’t care less. She didn’t regret stopping him from assaulting Snoke in front of the whole class. She would do it again if she had to. However, the sight of Ben acting so indifferently towards her was tearing Rey apart. By the end of the lecture, she was close to crying.

Ten minutes before the end of the class, Ben gave them a pop quiz. It wasn’t too hard, just a simple mini test to check their knowledge of the previous topic. When the class was finished, she was standing in the crowd of sophomores waiting for her turn to hand in her paper.

“Where should I put it?” she asked Ben, trying to get his attention.

He raised his eyes and looked at her, his expression blank.

“Put it there, Miss Johnson. It shouldn’t be that hard to figure out,” he murmured, showing her the pile of papers beside him and averting his eyes from her.

Rey nodded and hurried away from the classroom, trying not to burst into tears in front of everyone.

***

The moment he said the words, Ben regretted them and the tone they were spoken with. He looked back at Rey, realizing that she wasn’t there anymore. Cursing under his breath, he wanted to run after her, but stopped himself. There was no way he could do it now.

Truth be told, he was mad at her. Ben was mad at Rey for attracting Snoke’s attention. He knew Snoke would find out about Rey eventually. He knew that the old bastard would be interested in her as soon as he knew that she was on Ben’s team. He just expected they’d have more time before Snoke went public. But the old beast had always known how to strike unexpected blows. Ben was so angry with Rey for putting herself in danger that he couldn’t look at her… He was mad at her, but he also hated himself for letting it happen.

Ben wasn’t ready to meet Snoke so soon, wasn’t ready to face his past. The moment the old man entered the classroom, Ben was so furious that it was hard for him to breathe. Last thing he remembered clearly was Rey’s sweater he gifted her. She’d wore it to class today. That was something he remembered. Then Snoke entered the classroom and everything was a blur of hate, fury, anger, pain and grief. This bastard was being so nice to Ben’s students. And then he’d made it clear to him why he’d come… He’d been craving some fresh blood. Fresh blood Snoke wanted from his students.

Rey!

Rey was in danger. And Ben had started to lose control. Snoke had always known where to push… He’d pushed and Ben saw red… Ben had been ready to attack. He’d wanted to kill the man. How much easier could it be? Ben was bigger and stronger. He could crush the old bastard with one precise movement. Ben had started moving towards the bastard. And that had been the moment Rey had dialed him. She had dialed him and had pushed her books from the desk… He’d realized she did it on purpose. He’d realized it right after he’d been snatched from his trance and pulled out the phone from his pocket with the shaking hands. She’d been calling him… She’d been calling him and there was also a message from her…

STOP IT! the message from RJ said.

And now he kept turning the phone in his hands, realizing that his girl had saved him from the greatest mistake he could make. His anger swiftly replaced by confusion, Ben rubbed his forehead, trying to figure out what he should do. He’d lost it and overreacted. And he’d told her about Snoke last night, so now she should have been worried too… And he ignored her… What a glorious fuck he was! She was out there somewhere. Probably hurt and worried. Worried and upset.

Shit…

Several hours outside their personal bubble and he was already screwing it up. His need to run away and find Rey was getting stronger. But he had three more classes today and the next group of students was already gathering in the classroom. Rey had just two more classes, Ben knew. She wouldn’t be on campus when he finished. His head was aching from worry. Ben opened the messages app and started typing frantically.

Sweetheart, I’m so sorry. Come to our appointment today. We need to talk about what happened. And about your project. Forgive me, he wrote and pressed “send” before he could re-read what he had written.

He read through the sent message, and cursed inwardly again. He had never been good with words. Or with apologizing. Or with making things right. Sighing heavily and frowning, he added.

Where are you now, Rey?

Then, remembering that they had to be more careful he deleted her name from the text and sent it. The need to hide her name frustrated him. He wanted to show the world whom she belonged to…

Ben shook his head.

She didn’t belong to anyone, he had to remind himself.

Oh, fuck it!

She did belong to him. He wouldn’t have it any other way and there was no need to lie to himself about it. He wanted to have her, wanted to praise her, wanted to have her by his side all the time. And he wanted to show it to the world. He had to make things right with her today. Because he would never let her go. It was possessive, Ben knew. But he couldn’t care less.

Looking at the class in front of him, Ben groaned inwardly. The last thing he wanted to do right now was to teach this bunch of idiots. Before starting the lecture, Ben checked the messages once again for the reply from Rey. When he didn’t find one, he stopped himself from texting something else to her. She was probably in her other class already and couldn’t send him a reply. He had to stop being so clingy and paranoid. So instead of texting Rey he sent a message to Hux.

Snoke paid me a visit today. Come see me after your classes.

Putting the phone to his pocket, Ben frowned and started the lecture.

 

Ben didn’t receive a reply from Rey after his second class or after the third. He started to get worried, millions of options of what she might be thinking running through his head. Or maybe she wasn’t mad and something else had happened? Maybe Snoke got to her already. Stopping himself from running out of the building to find her on the threshold of his office, Ben decided to send her one more message.

Where are you? Are you okay?

And then, after several more minutes.

Please answer where you are or I’ll have to find you myself.

This one was too harsh, he realized, cursing under his breath again.

Please forgive me. I am just worried.

She finally replied after this one.

RJ: I’m ok. Working.

Ben frowned at the shortness of her message, but then his phone buzzed again.

RJ: I’ll come to our appointment in the evening.

Well, this was better than nothing. Sighing and finally relaxing a bit, Ben opened his laptop to get some much needed work done.

Hux entered his office, looking paler than usual, his ginger hair setting off his pallor even more. He collapsed into a chair on the other side of Ben’s table. Ben watched his friend as Armitage ran his hand through his hair.

“Did you see him?” Ben asked concerned.

“No.” Hux shook his head and looked out the window. “But when I got your message, I realized that the possibility of seeing him is quite high now… And, truth be told, it’s freaking me out… It’s like I didn’t realize that he was here for real until today.”

“He made it rather clear today why he is here.”

Hux gave Ben a questioning and worried look, and Ben described his interaction with Snoke.

“The old fucker,” Armitage murmured. “I’m glad you didn’t kill him right there… He was clearly trying to get to you.”

“Actually, I was quite close… I almost jumped on him…”

“Oh for fuck’s sake…” Hux closed his eyes before quickly opening them again. “How did you…? “

Ben frowned, realizing that he pulled Rey into the conversation. There was no way he could tell Hux what had actually happened.

“I got… distracted…”

“How so?”

“Oh, it doesn’t really matter! What matters now is for us both to be prepared. And we also have to protect this Dameron idiot of yours and… Johnson.”

Hux smirked at him inquiringly.

“You meant to say “Rey”.”

Ben groaned inwardly. Not fucking now.

“I meant to say we have to protect them. I’m sure about Rey, she won’t be tempted by Snoke’s lies, but that Dameron fuck…”

“You should really stop calling him that if we are going to work together this year,” Hux sniffed. “He is a good student with a good project. You’ve done what you had to do, now leave the kids alone to work out their problems, for God’s sake…”

No fucking way…

“And how can you be so sure Johnson won’t be tempted?” Hux went on. “You’ve known her for a week. She seems to be a good kid, but where does she come from? Jakku? Not a great place to live. A lot of motivation to do whatever is needed to achieve success. And she doesn’t know your story. And you can’t tell her, because should I remind you about the agreement we signed with Snoke? He’ll bury us if he finds out you told anyone… And he will do it legally. You can’t trust her. She is no one to us. My wife’s employee and your student, nothing else…”

She is not nothing… Not to me!

“I trust her,” Ben hissed, regretting immediately not cutting the conversation short. Hux squinted at him.

“Oh really?”

“You told me yourself, she seems like a good kid,” Ben tried his best to sound nonchalant.

“Ben… You never trust anyone… Just Phasma and me. What’s going on?”

Ben rolled his eyes, trying to find the proper answer for Hux, when Armitage’s phone buzzed.

“I should figure out how to prepare Phasma for Snoke,” the ginger murmured, looking at the screen and picking up. “Darling?”

His face became concerned as soon as he heard the voice on the phone.

“Miss Johnson?” he asked, and Ben tensed, feeling the panic running through his body.

Why was Rey calling Hux? From Phasma’s phone? Something was very wrong. Frozen from horror, Ben waited for Hux to end the conversation.

“I’ll be there soon!” Hux barked, hanging up.

“What is it?” Ben hissed.

“We need to get to “the Workshop”. Now, Solo! Snoke was there.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 11.

 

Good bad decisions.

 

Rey wasn’t usually one to cry. Throughout her time in foster system, she had learned to control her emotions. Tears didn’t help anything. Tears made her feel weak. And weak wasn’t something she could afford herself to be. That’s why, as soon as she’d left Ben’s class Rey managed to pull herself together. She tried not to think about what had happened, and managed to sit through the next class, keeping her head clear and focusing on the subject. By the end of the lecture, her psyche managed to adapt to the new situation and her sadness was replaced by anger.

 

Rey was angry with Ben. She’d spent the previous year with Poe, and the guy was often ignorant towards her. Poe had often gotten mad, and never told Rey the reason for his anger. Ben had promised that he wouldn’t hurt her… And yet…

 

Rey wasn’t upset with his attitude towards her during the first part of the lecture. Before Snoke came, Ben had acted like they had agreed. Yes, it had hurt a bit, but his criticism was valid.

 

She wasn’t upset with the reaction of the classroom to the news about her participation in the competition. She had reconsidered her first reaction to the words she heard from the students. Someone had assumed that she was sleeping with her Professor and that that was the reason for her success… So what? Truth be told, she was actually sleeping with her Professor, there was no point to deny it. But either way, Rey realized, the rumors would be the same.

 

Rey even smirked to herself. She had never been good with her self-esteem. She’d spent years in the foster system and she had never gotten lucky enough to get a foster parent who would really support her. She had been told that she was a piece of crap a million times and she finally believed it. Her relationship with Poe convinced Rey even more that everything she had been told in her childhood and adolescence was true. Now, after everything that had happened to her in the past few weeks, something in Rey changed. She saw how her former friends, whom she considered far superior to her, behaved like crap. They’d lied about her, they’d betrayed her, and they’d left her. Rey was probably self-conscious, but she could tell right from wrong. She knew she had done nothing wrong. She knew she’d been right. So, the realization that hit Rey was sudden. She wasn’t, after all, that bad, she realized. She deserved better. And shitty people would always talk, no matter what she’d done.

But what had actually made her upset and hurt her was Ben’s attitude towards her after she’d stopped him from jumping on Snoke. She’d been thinking about it during her second class for a bit, and realized that she’d done nothing wrong. And still, Ben hadn’t even looked at her... He could find a way to explain himself, could at least tell her they would talk about that later. But he didn’t.

Had he not promised to take care of her? But instead of that he’d closed off and ignored her. A lot like Poe had done during their time together. Thinking about it, Rey was getting more and more furious.

 

She received a message from Ben after her second class.

 

BS: Sweetheart, I’m so sorry. Come to our appointment today. We need to talk about what happened. And about your project. Forgive me.

 

He’d sent another one almost immediately after the first.

 

BS: Where are you now?

 

Her heart flipped in her chest. He was clearly worried, she could feel it. The feeling warmed Rey’s heart a bit and soothed her anger. However, he mentioned their appointment, like there was no way for her to avoid the conversation. Rey huffed. Of course she would go to their appointment. No matter if she was in a relationship with him or not, the competition was important to her, and Rey would never miss her chance. But she wouldn’t answer him. Not while she was still this angry. She headed to her final class, and after it was finished, rushed to “the Workshop”.

 

He can wait till the evening, she thought

 

BB was waiting for her behind the cash register, smiling widely.

 

“Well, hello there, beautiful!” he winked at her. “How are you and your giant parka doing this sunny afternoon?”

 

Rey smirked, punching the guy in the arm slightly.

 

“Hi, BB,” she smiled kindly afterwards. We are both perfectly fine, thank you.”

 

BB smiled even wider before turning to “the Workshop” entrance.

 

“Oh, here’s your new partner!” he smirked.

 

Rey turned to the door as well to see the tall and very thin guy entering the coffee shop. Her mouth opened in surprise. The guy was wearing a two-piece suit and a dark cape and his hair was long and wavy. Edgy and a bit clumsy, he still held his head high, like he was going to fight a dragon or some other fairytale beast. Rey almost laughed out loud at how amusingly bayronic the guy looked. Smiling madly, she turned back to BB.

 

“Oh, just you wait...” he whispered to her. “Jar Jar!” he then cried out to the guy. “So good to see you here, old friend! Pray tell, how are you?”

 

Jar Jar frowned nearing them.

 

“Good afternoon to you too, BB. I am completely fine, thank you. However, I would appreciate it if you didn’t use that foolish nickname for me... At least not until you introduce me to this fine lady at your side properly.”

 

BB raised his hands to the air in the surrendering gesture.

 

“Pray, forgive me, old fella! I forgot myself completely!” BB turned to Rey. “Rey, may I introduce you to my coworker and, dare I say, friend, Mr. Jasson Binks. An English Lit junior and a man of many virtues. Jasson, this is Rey Johnson.”

 

Jar Jar frowned at BB’s words about him, but still nodded at Rey. She couldn’t manage to contain her grin because his nod looked more like a bow.

 

“At your service, madam!” Jar Jar said.

“Hi!” Was all Rey managed to say without bursting into laughter.

“Well, technically you will be both at everyone else’s service today,” BB smirked. “Your shift is about to start.”

 

BB left Rey and Jar Jar and rushed to his classes, promising that Phasma would come later to check on them. The shift was running smoothly so far, and the sight of the tip cup was warming Rey’s heart. Today’s income will be less than the one she’d got on her first day. After all, she had to give Jar Jar his share. But she would still get her own money and Rey was incredibly glad because of it.

 

Jar Jar was the most amusing person she had ever met. The guy didn’t even notice the heroic pose he was taking every time he took an order. He was cleaning up the tables like one would be fighting enemies in some epic movie, making Rey’s cheeks hurt from the smile that was plastered on her face.

She was so taken by her work that she remembered to check her phone only a few hours after her shift had started. Laughing at Jar Jar, she managed to completely forget her conflict with Ben. Looking at her phone now, she didn’t see any new messages and her heart sank a bit. However, when Rey was already going to put her phone back into her pocket, it buzzed shortly, informing her about the new incoming message. It was from Ben.

 

BS: Where are you? Are you okay?

 

She bit her lip, hiding her smile. Truth be told, she was glad he was worried. She was still a bit angry with him, though, that’s why she hesitated with her answer. After several more minutes her phone buzzed again.

 

BS: Please answer where you are or I’ll have to find you myself.

 

She huffed slightly at the harshness of his tone, unsure of whether she should be glad he was that worried or mad at him for talking to her like that. But after several seconds one more message arrived.

 

BS: Please, forgive me. I am just worried.

 

Even not hearing his voice Rey could see the expression on his face. They still had to talk, but she didn’t want to hurt him. She had met Snoke today, after all. Ben had to be worried sick about what was going on with her. She was still a bit mad, but she typed her reply.

 

I’m ok. Working.

 

And then, after a few moments, willing to let him understand that she was still there for him, even though she was mad, she typed one more message and sent it to him. When he had his outbursts, he had to give her some time to calm down, but she didn’t want him to worry too much.

 

I’ll come to our appointment in the evening.

 

“Will I ever get served here?!” Rey suddenly heard a voice from over the cash register.

 

She jumped from the high chair she was sitting on.

 

For fuck’s sake!

 

She was so lost in Ben’s messages that she’d ignored the clients completely. One of them was standing in front of her, looking completely furious.

 

“Oh, I’m so sorry sir! What can I get you?” Rey tried to smile at him as politely as she could.

 

Her guest, however, didn’t seem to be moved by her smile at all. Rey looked at him again and shivered involuntary. The man was very tall and broad. He was wearing a grey rumpled coat and his face was covered in stubble that was at least three days old. He didn’t seem drunk, but smelled of fumes, and Rey couldn’t help, but wrinkle her nose as he spoke to her. He reminded her of someone she had known years ago. That fucking bastard was one of her foster parents, and Rey still remembered the years she’d spent with him as the worst in her life. Rey looked down and her heart sank. Next to the man, wrapped in a coat too light for the weather outside, stood a little boy. The boy was blonde, his hair slightly curly, but his brows were surprisingly dark and his eyes were brown. Rey managed to get a proper look as the boy paid her a short glance before looking back at his feet. He was slightly grubby, and clearly needed washing. Rey frowned at the sight of him.

 

“You could get your ass here faster, that’s what you could get me!” the man cried at Rey.

 

She froze, not prepared for such rudeness. The man’s loud voice caught Jar Jar’s attention. Rey’s partner was cleaning the tables on the other side of the coffee shop and as soon as Jar saw the man, he crossed the room in several long strides and stood by her.

 

“How can I help you, sir?” he asked politely, moving Rey aside from the cash register.

“I waited for her stop playing with her phone for ten fucking minutes!” the man cried, pointing at Rey. “She ignored me completely! That’s not the way to treat your customers!”

 

That wasn’t true. He had waited for several minutes at most. Rey’s cheeks flushed in anger. She had started getting angry far too quickly lately. However, she was good at avoiding conflicts and this was the perfect time for that.


“I’m sorry you had to wait” Jar Jar said calmly. “May I offer you a drink on the house for your inconvenience?”

“You must offer me one, you fucker!” the man cried. “Or I will contact your manager and get you fired.”

 

Rey was furious. She knew, she had messed up, but Jar had already offered him a free drink. The drink she would probably have to pay for now. How could this moron be so rude? And in front of his child.

She looked at the boy again and realized the little one had cringed and was trying to hide completely under his coat.

 

“We will make you a free drink,” Jar Jar said sternly. “But I have to ask you to behave. Please do not insult me or my partner.”

“Oh, I can do whatever I want. I am a customer, and the customer is always right. Ask your manager, you fucking maypole!” the man hissed.

“Talk like that again to any of my employees, and I will show you where to put your dirty little tongue,” Phasma’s voice was like a thunder in a blue sky.

 

Rey’s blonde boss was standing behind the man, looking menacing and Rey marveled once again at how tall Phasma was. This thug was a giant himself, but Phasma towered over him, making the poor guy gulp. He was clearly looking for words, but the blomde interrupted him.

 

“So, let me be polite here,” she smiled fake. “Will you get your free drink and leave my kids alone or do you need my help to get the fuck away from here?”

 

The thug was lost for words. He was huffing air with his mouth, obviously trying to figure out what to say, but was failing hard.

 

“Fine,” he finally hissed. “Just bring me my fucking mocha...”

 

Rey bit back her grin. Mocha, really?

 

“Small, medium or large?” she specified.

“Give him the fucking large,” Phasma waved her off. “He probably needs it.”

 

The man nodded, frowning, refraining from having another argument with the tall woman.

 

“Anything for your son here?” Rey asked, watching the kid looking at Phasma in awe.

“This scum gets nothing,” the man blurted, but then, noticing the accusing looks on Rey’s and Phasma’s faces, he added “I will give him some of my coffee.”

“Isn’t he too young for coffee?” Rey wondered, frowning.

“Since when is it any of your business?” the thug winced at her. “He’s... He’s fucking allergic to everything else.”

 

That was a rather shitty excuse, and Rey frowned deeper. However, to keep the kid at least a little safe she had to shut her mouth. She knew whom the thug would blame had she pushed him further, so she had nothing else to do but nod.

 

“Stay here and wait for my coffee,” the thug blurted to the kid, heading to the toilets.

 

Rey, Jar Jar and Phasma watched steadily as he moved away.

 

“I’d better go check the toilets to stop him if he decides to break anything there,” Phasma murmured, following the man.

 

Jar Jar left to clean the tables he’d had abandoned to help Rey, and she was left alone with the kid. Turning to coffee machine, she watched the boy from the corner of her eye. He was looking at the chocolate cookies on display and Rey noticed once again how thin the boy was.

Suddenly, Rey saw the boy gulping, and the world around her froze.

 

She wasn’t feeling well. Memories she’d tried to suppress, overwhelming her. She knew this look on the kid’s face. For so many times during her childhood she had seen this look on her foster brothers’ and sisters’ faces. The boy was hungry.

Letting the coffee machine finish the work, Rey came closer to the cash register.

 

“Hey kid,” she greeted, trying to sound cheerful. “What’s your name?”

 

The boy looked at her in fear, gulping and taking a step back.

 

“I’m Rey!” she tried to let him understand that she meant no harm to him.

“My name is Matt,” the boy finally answered in a tiny voice. “I’m six,” he added after a few seconds.

Ret smiled at him.

“It’s very nice to meet you, Matt.”

“It’s very nice to meet you too,” suddenly the boy’s face was lightened up by a smile, and Rey saw that Matt didn’t have two upper teeth.

“So, do you want a cookie?” she asked.

Matt looked confused.

“No,” he lowered his gaze.

 

Rey’s heart hurt even harder at the sight of this. She knew he was lying and she knew the reason why he did it. Shame of being poor and hungry was often her guest when she was little. At some point she had just gotten hungry enough to forget it. But she’d been a girl, and Matt was a boy. Boys were always harder to break.

 

“Oh, really?” she asked, trying to remain cheerful. “That’s a shame. I have some leftover chocolate cookies from yesterday, and I’ve had enough of them. I wanted someone to help me eat one or two, but now they will all be spoiled, I’m afraid,” she pouted, watching Matt from the corner of her eye. The boy hesitated, shifting from foot to foot.

“I can help you,” he finally offered. “My mother used to say I should help girls... You are a girl.”

“Yes, yes, I am,” Ret laughed out loud.

 

She saw Matt’s father coming back from the toilet and hurried to put a cookie from under the counter into a small paper bag.

 

“Here, hide it quickly!” she whispered.

Matt glanced at the man in the distance, and hid the cookie under his enormous jacket.

“He is not my father,” he whispered back.

 

Rey didn’t have time to respond to that as the thug walked closer to them.

 

“Here you go, Sir,” she smiled widely at him, handing him the cup. “Your large mocha.”

“Here you go, my ass,” the man grumped, taking his coffee from Rey’s hands and walking away.

Matt hurried after the man, paying Rey one final glance.

 

“Wow, what a dork...” Phasma huffed, walking back to the cash register.

Rey nodded, looking guilty at her boss.

 

“I’ll pay for his coffee...”

 

“Subtract the price from your share of the tip cup in the evening,” Phasma smirked. “I honestly hope the text message you received was worth it.”

 

Rey blushed, butting back her smile.

 

“Oh, I guess, I am right,” the blonde grinned, walking away from Rey.

 

The shift was going smoothly. The only thing that bothered Rey was the condition of that boy, Matt when he was leaving the coffee shop. She paid for the cookie she had given him, but was really sorry she hadn’t thought of putting something else into his bag. She’d never seen this boy or his “not father” in “the Workshop” before. They were probably just passing by. Rey sighed heavily, her mood souring. Well, what could she do now? She shook her head and smiled at the next customer.

 

“Good afternoon, Miss Johnson,” the sight of Andy Snoke in front of her caught her by surprise.


Rey shivered. Snoke was looking at her intently, the corners of his lips turned up in a pleasant smile. Rey, however, froze at the sight of it. She had to control herself and not show the anxiety, his unexpected visit awoke. Snoke didn’t know that Rey was aware of his story, so she had to act like it was true. He was a living legend, after all, she had to look at least slightly flattered by his presence and the fact that he had remembered her humble name...

 

“Doctor... Snoke,” Rey hoped that her concern looked like the nervousness of a fan. “Good afternoon, sir!”

 

She even managed to smile.

 

“What can I get you, Sir?”

“So you work here?” Snoke asked, completely ignoring her question.

“I... do, Sir.”

“As far as I understood, you are a brilliant student, Miss Johnson. Why work here when you can find a better place, something closer to your future speciality?”

“I used to work in a local Auto Repair shop, but I got fired...” it could probably help if she just pretended to be dumber that she was. There was a chance that he would just leave her alone, wasn’t there?

“Have you considered any internships? Maybe for the summer? My company hires talented students for the summer, you know.”

 

No, there was no chance he would just leave her alone. That was a bold move from him... Rey never expected Snoke to start acting so fast. She was already going to answer something when the sound of a broken teapot interrupted her.

 

Rey turned her head quickly and gasped at the sight of Phasma. The woman stood near the exit of the coffee shop kitchen and was as pale as a sheet. Rey noticed that her boss’s hands were shaking violently. In terror, Rey turned back to Snoke and saw that his face was spreading out into a smile. One could say that this smile was a happy one, but Rey saw Snoke’s eyes. His eyes were violent and evil, full of poisonous intent.

 

“You...” Phasma hissed. “You...”

“Oh, what a nice surprise!” Snoke exclaimed. “Miss Parnassos... Oh, forgive me, Mrs. Hux! It’s so nice to see you! I heard that you decided to drop your education and found yourself in something entirely different from Engineering. I heard that you opened a cafe, but I never thought that the most popular coffee shop on campus would belong to you!”

 

Phasma was still shaking. Rey watched the woman in dread, not knowing what she could do. Rey wasn’t aware of what Snoke had done to Phasma, but the blonde was obviously losing it, and Rey didn’t know how to help her.

 

Slowly, the blonde moved towards still smiling Snoke.

 

“Get out of here, you bastard,” she hissed. “Get out of here...”

 

Rey took a step back, letting the tall woman closer to the cash register.

 

“But Mrs. Hux,” Snoke said, faking puzzlement. “Pray tell me, what have I done to deserve such a treatment?..”

 

Rey huffed inwardly at the old man’s insolence. He was clearly here for a reason. He wanted to get to Phasma, and he was succeeding. The blonde was panting heavily, and Rey noticed drops of sweat on the back of the woman’s neck.

 

Suddenly Phasma lowered her hand under the counter and pulled out the “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” sign.

 

“Get out of here,” she whispered to Snoke, showing him the sign. “Now.”

 

Snoke huffed, but Rey noticed the trace of a satisfied smile on his old face.

 

“Well-well, Mrs. Hux. I don’t know what has come over you, but your behavior is ridiculous... I’ll leave though, if you ask me to... I don’t like to impose... I’ll see you on campus, Miss Johnson,” he nodded to her and headed to the exit. As soon as he was gone, Phasma sank to the floor, her body shaking.

“Jasson!” Rey called, but the guy didn’t seem to hear her from the other end of the coffee shop. “Jar Jar!” this had an effect. Jar Jar turned to her and was by her side in four long strides, looking at their boss with worry. “Take care of the customers, I’ll help Phasma”.

 

Rey was grateful to the Universe or whatever higher powers there were for the fact there were no customers near the cash register at the moment. “The Workshop” was usually full this time of the day, but right here right now Rey managed to drag Phasma into the coffee shop kitchen without anyone noticing them. The blonde was sweating and panting hard.

Rey knew a panic attack when she saw one. She used to have those when she was little. Nights spent on the streets, surrounded by garbage and some suspicious guys roaming around would do it to a person. She hadn’t had one for several years. Back in Jakku she’d been the only one to visit the library. No one liked to study there, no one liked to read. Rey still thought that she’d been the only one who was determined to leave the place. She always liked to read. And back in Jakku she had had the whole school library just for herself. And that was where she’d found out from one of the books that the panic that was making it harder for her to breathe sometimes wasn’t something normal and could be dealt with. She’d used the library computer to surf the internet and found out everything she could about panic attacks. Rey had no one to ask for help, so she had to manage everything by herself. It took her around two years, but finally she could deal with the panic if it struck her, and was in a bit more control of her life. And now, when Phasma was shaking on the kitchen floor in front of her, Rey could put her knowledge into use.

 

“Phasma, I need you to take a deep breath,” Rey said calmly, squatting in front of her boss. “You are having a panic attack, and I need you to breathe. We’ll get you through this, don’t worry. Come on, take a deep breath.”

 

Rey’s hand was on Phasma’s shoulder when the blonde finally inhaled deeply. Rey stayed by Phasma’s side until the woman started to breathe normally. Phasma was still shaking, though, and her forehead was covered in sweat. However, Rey knew she could now step back for a bit.

 

“Phasma, keep breathing. I need your phone. I need to call Professor Hux for you, will you give it to me?”

 

Phasma let out a shaky breathe at the sound of her husband’s name. She pulled her phone out of her pocket, unblocked it and handed to Rey.


“What is he called in your contact list?” Rey asked the blonde.

“Ginger bastard,” Phasma whispered and Despite everything Rey couldn’t contain her laugh.

 

She found the right contact and dialed.

 

“Darling?” this intonation of Hux’s voice was unfamiliar to Rey. Not that she’d met him often, but she could never assume he could sound this... tender.

“Uhm... Professor Hux,” she stammered, gathering her composure. “This is Rey... Rey Johnson...”

“Miss Johnson?” Hux sounded worried.

“Yes...” Rey froze for a second, realizing that she had to choose her words right. Hux didn’t know Ben had told her about Snoke, after all. “I’m calling you to tell you about... your wife. She is fine now, but she had a panic attack. I don’t really know... how to explain...” Rey had to figure out how to bring Snoke up... “Well, Dr. Snoke was here talking to me and...”

“I’ll be there soon!” Hux barked sooner than she managed to say something else and hung up. That went easier than she had expected.

 

Half an hour later Rey stood at the cash register again while Jar Jar was roaming around “the Workshop”, cleaning the tables. They left Phasma laying in Rey’s room, Rey leaving the woman only when she was sure that her boss would be fine alone.

 

“Miss Johnson!” Hux’s voice caught her by surprise.

 

Rey raised her eyes at the ginger professor walking towards her from the exit. She could barely contain her gasp. Ben was walking behind Hux, looking directly at her. The two of them must have been together when she called. Ben looked worried and concerned. Moving behind the now deathly pale Professor Hux, he was clearly trying his best to keep his pace and walk calmly. Despite the situation, Rey’s heart warmed at the sight of him. She was surprised to realize how much she’d missed him during the day.


“Where is she?” Hux asked.

“She’s upstairs, in my room. I made sure she was fine when I left her, and Jar Jar checked her ten minutes ago. I made her a cup of hot chocolate.”

 

Hux nodded and rushed to the stairs in the far corner of the coffee shop that led to Rey’s room.

 

“Solo?” he barked.

 

Ben looked at Rey one more time, stumbling a bit, but then gave Rey one more look and followed his friend. Rey followed Ben with her eyes, trying to gain her composure. Ben’s presence nearby was making her tremble. This whole situation with Phasma and Spoke got to her, and Ben coming together with Hux was just an icing on a cake.

 

“Jasson, can you bring me the coffee jar?” she cried to Jar Jar, noticing that they were running out of it.

 

Jar Jar was standing nearby, lost in his thoughts due to the absence of clients at the cash register. Rey’s request caught him by surprise. He started rushing from side to side, trying to figure out where the jar was. When Phasma had told her about the origins of Jasson’s nickname, Rey couldn’t imagine how close to the original the blonde had portrayed him.

 

“Jar... Jar... Where is this fucking jar?!” Jasson murmured. Rey laughed out loud.

“We are out of it, I wanted you to bring the new jar from the storage closet,” she smiled. “Don’t worry, I’ll get it.”

 

The storage closet was hidden in one of the side corridors in the back of “the Workshop”. Rey entered the narrow room and reached for the ladder to reach the coffee jar on the top shelf. That was the moment her back was pressed into something warm, massive and solid. Large palms cupped her breasts and started squeezing them tightly. Rey yelped, feeling soft hot lips on the column of her neck.

 

“Rey,” Ben whispered from behind. “God... Rey...”

 

***

 

(Ben’s POV)

 

Ben was moving rapidly behind Hux. Rey’s call put him on the edge, and he was trying his best not to groan out loud. That old bastard Snoke knew how to strike hard. In one day he managed to catch every single one of them by surprise with his sudden appearances. Now he also knew that Rey was not only a part of his team, but also worked for Phasma. It was inevitable from the very start, but Snoke still caught them all by surprise. Now they were all worried and, Ben hated to admit, pretty scared. Phasma wouldn’t take Snoke’s visit easily. Ben knew her story far too well to doubt that. Now he was watching his deathly pale best friend from the corner of his eye, and was getting angrier with each passing moment. By the time the two of them reached “the Workshop” entrance Ben was blazing with fury.

 

However, nothing had prepared him to the sight of Rey behind the cash register.

 

His reaction to her was ridiculous. She made his heart pounding in his chest. He was lost for words and had to gather his composure to look normal in front of Hux.

That was probably due to the fact he and Rey had had an argument earlier today and Ben was still feeling worried about it. Or maybe it was because he knew Snoke was around Rey when he himself wasn’t. But the moment he saw Rey, Ben felt the tension leaving her body. She was alive and safe. And that was everything that mattered at the moment. He cared about Phasma, of course. He was ready to give his life for his friends. But from this moment, he realized, this tiny girl behind the cash register was his highest priority. He didn’t know the reason for that, and this whole situation was utterly crazy. But he couldn’t care less.

 

Hux dragged him away from Rey to see Phasma, and Ben had to obey. The blonde was sitting on Rey’s bed drinking hot chocolate. She had to put the cup down when her husband rushed to her and claimed her into a hug.

 

Ben rarely saw Hux and Phasma acting tender with each other. He knew they did behind closed doors, but in public they were usually bantering and mocking each other hard. Now Hux’s concern worked on him and the ginger man couldn’t put his mask back on. Phasma buried her face into her husband’s neck and closed her eyes.

 

“I’ll give you guys a minute,” Ben murmured, leaving the room.

“Thanks, Ben,” he heard Phasma whispering.

 

This was for the best. Ben ran down the stairs as quickly as he could. Watching his friends comforting each other, he realized his need to be close to Rey was unbearable now.

 

Suddenly he saw her entering the storage closet on the other end of the corridor. In several wide steps he was at the door leading into it. The first thing he saw was her tiny frame standing on the ladder in that ridiculous “Workshop” apron over her working blouse and jeans, and reaching for something on the highest shelf. He exhaled sharply, took a step towards the ladder and grabbed Rey into his arms, pressing her backside to him.

 

Soft. Tender. So small, but so perfect. Her already familiar smell filled his nose and made his head spin. He was squeezing her small round breasts and kissing her neck, his desire to consume her overwhelming him once again. She yelped, making his cock harden even more and pressing into her backside. Ben was lost.

 

“Rey,” he whispered. “God... Rey...”

“Ben?” she gasped. “Ben… What… I…”

 

They had to talk. They had to discuss everything that had happened today. But right here right now Ben couldn’t talk. He had to claim her. He had to enter her and fill her with his cock. He had to make sure that she was real and that she was there safe and sound.

 

“Ben…” she whispered once again, obviously willing to stop him, but not able to. “Oh, God…”

“I need you, Rey,” he whispered hoarsely.

“I need you,” she repeated his words, pressing her backside to his groin and making him groan.

 

He reached to the button of her jeans, hugging her from behind, and pulled them down in one rapid movement. He heard her gasp again. She probably realized what he was about to do.

 

At least one of them had to be smart enough to stop it now. At least one of them had to be the responsible adult here. But it seemed, none of them wanted to play that part. Unfastening his own trousers, her felt her soft hot cheeks pressing to the skin of his arms. He squeezed one of the cheeks tightly, unbuttoning her blouse with his free hand and pulling her apron and the collar of her working blouse aside. Ben sucked into her skin where no one would see the hickey he left

.

Rey moaned, and Ben caressed the cheeks of her ass, moving his hands lower until he felt her wetness under his palms. She was drenched. Ben thought he would never get used to how wet Rey always was for him. She was so wet that her slick was literally dripping on his palms from her pussy, making him shiver with lust and want.

 

“Rey…” he groaned as she pressed herself to his ready cock. He was going to enter her bare again. They were together in a narrow closet, his friends were several feet away and Ben was going to fuck his student and his best friend’s employee from behind without a second thought or protection.

 

Licking the column of Rey’s neck, Ben spread the cheeks of her ass to the sides and thrust into her.

 

“Fuck,” he hissed. ”Oh, fuck, Rey.”

 

The position they were in was making her feel even tighter. He trusted into her once again, feeling his cock pressing into her uterus. It seemed she could hardly take his full length in this position, and the sensation was almost making him come undone. One more movement and Rey’s feet fell off the floor. Ben clasped her front, keeping her bouncing on his cock in the air.

 

“Grip the shelf, sweetheart,” he whispered hoarsely into her ear.

 

Rey obeyed, her hand pushing into the shelves in front of her and letting Ben move with Rey’s legs still not touching the floor.

 

He fit perfectly into her. He could unclasp his hands and Rey would still remain hung in the air, anchoring on his cock. The feeling of her warm wet pussy bare on him was driving Ben crazy. Rey moaned, feeling his movements and Ben felt her cunt squeezing him.

 

“You’ll have to be quiet, darling,” he whispered, not stopping his movements. “I wish I could make you come, crying out my name… I promise, I’ll make it happen soon, but now you have to be quiet…”

“Ben, of God, Ben…” Rey whispered. “You feel so good…”

“You like it, don’t you, sweetheart? Do you like bouncing on my cock, squeezing me with this tiny pussy of yours?”

“Oh, yes, yes, please!...”

 

Her pleas brought him closer to the edge, his movements becoming frantic.

 

“Rey… Fuck… I won’t last long… I need you to come with me, Rey… Come for me!”

 

She came hard at that, and Ben had to cover her mouth with his palm to suppress her cries. He was almost done too.

 

“Sweetheart, one day I will come into you. You will feel my cum filling you,” he hissed. “I will be coming into you until you are filled to the brim with my cum.”

“Yes… Oh yes, Ben! Yes!” she was still climaxing around him.

“God. Rey, you are so delicious, so fucking perfect…”

“Ben,” she whispered, “Come for me, please! I want you to come. I want to please you.”

 

That was unexpected, and Ben felt himself almost coming right inside her. He, however, managed to contain himself for a little bit longer. There was nothing better than the sight of his girl climaxing in his arms, he realized. And now, hearing her words, he wanted nothing more than to make her come once again.

 

“Oh, do you, baby girl?” he whispered. “Do you really want to please me?”

“Oh… Yes…” she whispered. “Yes, Sir…”

“Fuck,” he groaned, putting Rey back on the floor and pulling out of her as fast as he could. One second later Ben came, covering Rey’s clothes in his spend. “God,” he moaned, still coming and putting two fingers into her, thrusting hard. Two more strokes and Rey was coming as well.

“There’s my girl,” he lulled into her ear. “That’s my sweet baby girl…”

 

Rey’s pussy clenched around his fingers several more times before her body relaxed and went limp, making Ben catch her. He turned her to face him and kissed her passionately. After several seconds Rey remembered herself and kissed him back.

 

“Sweetheart,” he whispered into her mouth. “I’m sorry… I’m so very sorry for how I acted today. Please,” he was kissing her face now. “Please, forgive me…”

“That’s fine,” she answered, returning his kisses, messing with his hair in the process. “Let’s talk about it later, but that’s fine now…”

“I was worried... Tell me, we are okay.”

“Yes,” she whispered. “Yes, we are okay.”

 

He stopped kissing her and pulled her into a tight hug, feeling the warmth of her body under his hands and her breathe warming his chest.

 

“Oh, God,” Rey whispered. “How are we supposed to clean this mess?”

 

Ben frowned for a second, taking a step back from her and looking around. Good thing they didn’t break anything. However, Rey’s clothes were wrinkled and covered with his cum and there was some of it on the floor and on the shelves. Ben and Rey looked at each other in confusion.

 

“We have to stop doing this like that,” he grumbled.

“I wasn’t the one to start it!” she huffed.

“Well, you didn’t stop it either,” he smirked.

 

They froze, watching each other, when, after a few moments, Rey burst into laughter. That caught Ben by surprise, and he couldn’t help his own silly grin spreading on his face.

 

“That was such a bad decision...” he shook his head.

“Good bad decision...” she cupped his face and found his eyes with hers.

 

Ben could feel his expression changing from worried and a little bit annoyed to smiling and tender.

 

“Come on, hurry up, sweetheart,” he nudged her finally. “We need to clean this up.”

“Go into the coffee shop, I’ll clean up here and come after you. Otherwise, it will look suspicious…” she whispered, and he had to agree with that.

 

He put his trousers back on, removing her slick from them with the tissue he had in his pocket. Rey was already fully clothed and was now fighting the wrinkles on her blouse.

 

“Go!” she spurred him, smiling widely, and he left her in the closet, frowning at the need of distancing himself from her again.

 

“Ben,” Hux’s voice made the hair on his head stand on end as soon as he exited the narrow room. “Where were you? What were you doing in there?”

 

His friend was standing at the bottom of the stairs, leading to Rey’s room, eyeing him curiously.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12.

 

Of panic attacks and surprising stories.

 

“Ben,” Hux’s voice made the hair on his head stand on end as soon as he exited the narrow room. “Where were you? What were you doing in there?”

 

His friend was standing at the bottom of the stairs that lead to Rey’s room, eyeing Ben curiously.

 

Think...

 

Ben’s first intention was to fight back. That was something natural for Ben to do when he was cornered. Not that it had happened often lately, but old habits died hard, they said. He was good at fighting back, always eager to crush the opponent, but the problem was that Hux wasn’t his opponent. And, thank God, this though had crossed Ben’s mind before he started acting on his emotions. It was not only God who helped Ben. Truth be told, after his interaction with Snoke earlier today, when Ben had almost made the biggest mistake possible, Rey’s message appeared in front of his eyes every time he was starting seeing red. Had it not been for her, Ben would probably have started crushing things as soon as he heard that Snoke had paid Phasma a visit.

 

STOP IT! Rey had written to him, and stop he did.

 

Ben’s second intention was to start finding excuses. That was new for him. He had never needed to excuse himself, always confident enough in his actions whether they had been right or wrong. That had led him to great mistakes, but even then he wasn’t looking for excuses. He acknowledged his guilt. Excuses weren’t something he had ever been looking for and this line of behavior had always been relevant. Until now. Right now, under Hux’s gaze he felt like a fucking teenager in the need of finding some explanation to his actions… Ben hated the feeling.

 

No. I have no need to look for excuses! he told himself.

 

Well, it wasn’t completely true, was it? This single thought caused a whole chain of thoughts that followed it.

 

Truth be told, Ben knew that what he had done to Rey in this narrow storage closet was completely insane. Not only had he fucked his student in a public place, but also he did it without any protection. Again… Yes, yes, he had pulled out, but... For fuck’s sake! Had he no control over himself at all?! It seemed, Rey was doing something to him, something he couldn’t control…

 

After Ben had managed to get away from Snoke, he’d spent a lot of time in therapy. He’d learned how to take control over his life back to himself. His therapist had told him once that it was good that he was so capable of controlling things, but that he also needed to learn how to let things go, how to let them take their course. Ben didn’t want that. So, he had stopped seeing the therapist and was very proud of himself for his control abilities. He was fine, being able to control everything. But it seemed, that wasn’t the case anymore. Rey was driving him crazy. Even now, when he was facing Hux, the memories of Rey, bouncing on his cock in ecstasy of her orgasm, made him harden.

 

But it was not only sex that was pulling Ben to Rey. He still remembered the first night she had spent in his arms. That night he had slept soundly for the first time in years. No, no, no matter how much he desired her physically, the connection he felt was deeper. Truth be told, this still worried him a bit from time to time. He felt vulnerable when he was with Rey, and vulnerability wasn’t something he could afford. And the worst part of it was that his main weak point was the possibility of Rey deciding to leave. He could see she was attached to him already, but he couldn’t see the reason why... Rey was too young, she had her whole life ahead of her. Ben was almost fourteen years older than her, after all. Maybe she needed a parental figure, and all this mess was just a result of some twisted psychological issue she had… That was something Ben had been thinking about while he and Rey were apart, but as soon as he was near her, his mind stopped processing and he was consumed by this overwhelming feeling towards this girl. This feeling that he was afraid to name, couldn’t let himself name, so he refused to name, but he couldn’t stop himself from feeling it.

 

After all, he was in this relationship too. And he was just as drawn to her as she was to him, maybe even more. Ben had been teaching students for years now, he had definitely seen some beautiful girls in his classes, but he had never felt interested before. Rey was different. No, no, no matter why she had agreed to stay with him, he couldn’t let her go now. This battle against himself had been lost the day he had kissed her and made love to her for the first time...

 

Was it only the day before yesterday? It seemed like a lifetime ago now. So what in the end? He felt vulnerable near Rey, he couldn’t let her go and he was a control freak. That left him the only option: he had to control the situation enough to make Rey stay, meaning he had to keep their relationship a secret till it was safe to come out. And that meant that at this very moment Ben had to get rid of Hux. Hux, who was still watching him with confusion written all over his face.

 

Ben’s third intention was the one he decided to follow. Rey’s situation brought one more topic to the surface of his mind: Kylo Ren... It seemed his possessiveness towards Rey had awoken this beast. He was stopping himself from behaving like Kylo far too often lately.

 

Long ago, Ben had promised to himself that he would never lie to Hux. That was the moment when he had killed Kylo Ren, hoping to bury him forever in the debris of his past. And now it was essential to keep adhering to this course of action. Ben hadn’t told Hux about Rey yet, but he definitely intended to, of course... Later... When the time was right. But for now he would stick to the truth that was just not the whole story... And that was a good way out.

 

 

“Ben?”

“I was looking for Johnson. She was in the closet, I had to know she was fine after... after everything that had happened to Phasma...” Ben was glad that he was still wearing the coat that was covering his fly. He wasn’t sure that he had managed to clean his pants completely after the amount of gush that had been flowing out of Rey every time she came.

“And you were...”

“She said she’ll be back in a minute,” Ben interrupted. “How is Phasma?”

 

Thank God, Hux was distressed enough to be distracted this easily.

 

“She is better now...” Armitage ran his hand through his ginger hair. “Says, Rey helped her coping with the panic attack like she was some bloody professional. I haven’t asked too much about Snoke yet. I don’t want to push her.”

 

 

That was the moment Rey exited the cupboard with the coffee jar in her hands. Ben looked at her as briefly as he could, noticing that her blouse was still wrinkled. He hoped the apron would be enough of a distraction to keep Hux from suspecting anything. Rey clearly didn’t expect to see them both there.

 

“Professor Hux,” she stammered. “Wha... How is Phasma?”

 

Ben felt slightly guilty to feel relieved by the fact that Hux didn’t notice anything again because of his condition. Together the three of them returned to the coffee shop where Rey took her place behind the cash register, sending Jar Jar to take care of the tables. She was telling them about Snoke’s visit (Ben’s jaw clenching in the process) when Phasma joined them.

 

“Make me some more hot chocolate, girl,” she groaned, sitting on one of the high chairs by the cash register.

 

Then the blonde eyed Rey, raising her brow, and Ben thought Phasma wanted to say something, but reconsidered.

 

“Sure,” Rey smiled. “Do you want anything, Professor Hux... Professor Solo?”

 

Ben shook his head, trying to keep his face still while looking at her.

 

“He was clearly here for a reason,” Phasma said when Rey walked away to make hot chocolate. “He wanted to let me know that he is here... And that he remembers how we got away from him. I just fucking know it!”

“You were never in his way for real, Phas,” Hux murmured.

“Yes, but you fucking were! And I am your fucking weak spot, Armie!”

“Well, let’s face it, he can’t do anything to us unless we slip somewhere,” Hux put his hand on Phasma’s in a soothing gesture. “And we won’t... I won’t let it happen.”

“And what about the students? What about this Poe Dameron of yours? What about Rey, for God’s sake?!”

“Why does everyone seem so concerned about Johnson?” Hux groaned. “Don’t we have anyone else to worry about? Like us, for example? Why this Rey girl? It seems she has become important to every single one of you! For what reason exactly?! Yes, she has a great project, but she is no one to us! If you worry about her so much, just kick her off of your team, Solo! She’ll be safer without you! She’ll be able to participate in the competition next year when Snoke is probably not around anymore!”

 

Ben’s fist clenched.

 

She’ll be safer without you...

 

That was the truth Ben didn’t want to acknowledge... Hux was right... Ben’s heart sank.

 

“Shut up, Armie,” Phasma’s sudden voice was like a bucket of ice-cold water that pulled Ben out of his trance. “Whoever is on Ben’s team is in danger. Rey has a better chance of staying safe with Ben now. Because if he kicks her off of his team, Snoke will be the first to come for her. Even though Snoke doesn’t really respect girls, (and you know, he actually doesn’t) he’ll try his best to use Rey against Ben. And don’t you dare try pushing Ben, love! Because, if anything, I am also here for Rey. I would have died of panic attack today if it hadn’t been for her!”

 

“Rey?!” Jar Jar surprised voice made them all turn towards the kitchen door from where Rey was walking with a huge mug in her hands. “What happened to your blouse?”

 

Ben tensed, watching Rey’s face blushing red as his own back got covered in goose bumps.

 

“What do you mean?” Rey asked nonchalant, putting the mug in front of Phasma.

“It looks like someone chewed on you,” Jar Jar murmured coming closer to Rey. “Under your apron... You have probably tied it wrong, that’s why. It wasn’t that wrinkled before you went to the closet... Let me!”

 

That was the moment Hux finally paid Rey some attention. He squinted, watching Jar Jar trying to fix Rey’s blouse. From the corner of his eye, Ben saw Phasma smirking.

 

“Jar Jar, don’t!”’ Rey was trying her best to dodge the guy’s hands. Ben tried his best not to stand up and show this Binks moron where to put his fucking hands.

“But your blouse looks like a mess! Like someone was squeezing it on purpose! Unbelievable!”

“Jar Jar!”

 

Hux frowned, and Ben realized his friend was one step away from connecting the dots.

 

“Jar Jar! Leave the girl alone!” Phasma huffed sternly. “I sort of clung into her when I was panicking. Almost tore her blouse apart! She didn’t have time to change.”

“Really? I haven’t noticed before,” Jar looked confused now.

“You were probably busy finding this jar of coffee... Jasson,” Rey was still tense, but managed to follow Phasma’s line.

 

Hux relaxed and Ben followed, releasing the breath he didn’t know he’d been holding.

 

“By the way, how do you know how to cope with panic attacks, Rey?” Hux wondered.

“I... read about it in books,” Rey hesitated a bit before answering.

“I see,” Hux obviously decided not to push, but Ben couldn’t help the disturbing feeling in his chest.

 

Was Rey having problems with panic attacks? She had never mentioned it to him, but there was still so much for Ben to learn about her! He took a deep breath, remembering to ask Rey later. His inability to hug Rey and hold her close right now was killing him.

 

“Are you still okay with working on your project today, Johnson?” he asked, trying not to sound too concerned. “It’s okay if you are not, after... everything that happened to Phasma, but I’d like you to fill out the patent application as soon as possible.”

“Uhm... Yes, yes, of course,” Rey stammered, looking up from the cash register, first at him and then at Hux. “My shift ends at nine...”

“Your office hours are till six, Solo. When do you want her to come?” Hux asked in surprise.

 

Ben frowned.

 

“I can work extra hours for this... project.”

“Oh, can you?” Hux squinted. “Solo, are you going to spend some time alone with your female student in your office after hours?”

“It’s for the project!” Ben groaned.

“Solo... Snoke...” the redhead rubbed his eyes, stopping himself. “Listen, this is just not appropriate, okay? I know, you two are not a thing, but that won’t look good... And... Mentioning everything that’s... going on around...”

 

Ben cursed inwardly. Hux had a point.

 

“You could come here with the papers,” Phasma suddenly offered. “If you sit here, while we are closing the coffee shop with Hux, no one will suspect... I mean, think anything inappropriate... Will it be okay with you, love?” the last question was directed to Armitage.

 

The blonde looked sincere, but Ben noticed a trace of a light smirk in the corners of her lips. Ben looked at his ginger friend.

 

“Fine!” Hux groaned. “But don’t make a habit out of it. People always talk, you know…”

“Good, Rey still has her shift to finish,” Phasma smiled and that was the moment when her husband excused himself to go to the bathroom. “And that’s also probably the only way I can stop you two from fucking when you actually have some work to do.”

 

Ben heard Rey choking on her breath.

 

“Well... unlike my terribly distracted husband,” Phasma smirked. “I can recognize sex when I see it. Rey, no matter how hot your Professor here is, I will fine you next time you have sex in the storage closet of my coffee shop.”

 

Rey’s face blushed crimson.

 

“Phas!” Ben groaned, clenching into the counter in front of him.

“What is it, Ben? Have something to say?” his blonde friend was obviously on the roll, clearly enjoying every single second of this conversation.

“It won’t happen again, I’m sorry, Phasma,” Rey interrupted them.

“Don’t blame, Rey, Phas,” Ben said at the same time.

 

They looked at each other, finally capable of holding their gaze for longer than a second.

 

“Awwwwwww! Please, do go on, the both of you!” Phasma cooed.

“If anything, we were together in this...” Ben frowned at the tall woman. “Blame me. I should be the one responsible here.”

“Well... It doesn’t seem you are, Ben. You weren’t able to stop this time. And as far as I understand you are never able to stop when Rey is around,” the tall woman rolled her eyes. “So I guess, I have to count on Rey to keep everything under control.”

 

Phasma was grinning, and Ben couldn’t imagine Rey getting any more crimson.

 

“I said, it won’t happen again, boss,” Rey murmured.

“Good girl,” Phasma smirked. “Go get changed, by the way. I’ll look after the coffee shop. And it’s your time to go and bring those papers of yours here, Solo.”

 

 

***

 

Rey was sitting in front of Ben, looking through the papers he asked her to fill out. This would be her first patent. Something that she’d accomplished on her own, something that would move her closer to becoming a professional in her field. She was so excited!

 

However, she still trembled a bit after Snoke’s visit. Phasma’s outburst had brought too many bad memories to life, and Rey still shivered, remembering the scene. Every time she thought about the times she herself had troubles breathing, drowning in fear and anxiety, her hands were trembling.

 

“Rey, are you okay, sweetheart?” Ben’s soft quiet voice brought her back.

 

Professor Hux and Phasma were closing “the Workshop” for the night, and the two of them were able to have some sort of private time together. They were now sitting in the corner of the coffee shop, and Ben’s foot was touching hers. He found her under the table as soon as they took their places and hadn’t moved away since. It wasn’t too much, but Rey craved his touch so badly that she was happy with what she got.

 

Their sex in the closet was so fierce and fast that it had awoken her appetite. No matter how hard she came on his bare (again, they really had to stop doing it without protection!) cock, she needed more now. And his presence beside her was now equally pleasant and torturous. She had to focus, for God’s sake! However, Ben’s presence was also the only thing that was keeping her sane at the moment, not letting her sink into panic.

 

“Yes, yes… I’m fine…” she managed to smile at him.

“Rey, talk to me.”

 

She looked up at him in confusion.

 

“I… It’s silly, really… Just, this whole Snoke mess today was a bit too much, I think.”

“We could stop for today, if you want. We’ll have to work much more tomorrow, but if you are distressed…”

“No, no…” she looked back to see where Professor Hux and Phasma were and put her hand on his quickly. “I’m fine. This is something that has to be done… Don’t worry, I’m fine, I promise,” she removed her hand. “I guess, I have filled out everything. Will you check it?”

 

She handed him the papers.

 

“I’ll have a look now, and in the meantime I want you to read through this,” Ben handed Rey another document. “This is a contract for the competition. They are made between the teacher and the student. That’s the regular procedure to sign those. I want you to read through it carefully, Rey.”

“Is there something wrong with it?”

“No, but I want you to check it anyway.”

“Should I be worried that you are trying to swindle me?” she smirked.

“What if I am?”

“You wouldn’t do that to me.”

 

She was looking through the first page of the contact already when she realized that Ben hadn’t responded to her latest words. Rey looked up at him and found him watching her intently. There was some strange look on his face. Worried and yet strangely gentle.

 

“I… uhm…” Ben coughed. “I am glad that you trust me this much, Rey, but read through it… Please.”

 

She shrugged and turned back to the contract. There was a lot of legal information about all those rights and obligations of the parties. Boring… Everything seemed normal, though… Everything, but…

 

“Ben…” she frowned. “It is said here that you will own my patent if the project wins the competition… What… Is this right?”

 

He was smiling at her. And he looked proud. She liked this look on his face, but she still didn’t understand…

 

“My good girl,” he murmured, and her cheeks blushed red as she felt his foot caressing her calf under the table. “That’s right, Rey. There is a trick in this contract. And had you not noticed it, it could cost you your patent. Always read through all the documents you are given… No matter who gives it to you… That was a lesson. And you did well.”

 

Ben’s praises felt too good to her. No one had ever praised her like that. Except for some regular “good jobs” from her teachers and professors throughout her school years and her first year at the university, Rey had never received any serious acknowledgement from the people around her. Not like this, anyway. This was such a small thing, but it was still so new for her!

 

“Thanks…” she whispered.

“Here is the proper contract,” Ben handed her the papers. “But you’ll have to read through it anyway.”

 

They were done in half an hour. It was already half past ten, but everything was ready to be sent to the patent Bureau. Phasma and Hux had finished closing the coffee shop and the blonde dragged her husband to the little shed that stood by “the Workshop”. Rey had never seen it opened, but BB told her that there was some storage area inside where the Huxes kept some of their belongings. They could come back any second, but Rey still enjoyed being all alone with Ben.

 

“You’ll need to send it in the mail tomorrow,” Ben said, putting the papers into the large envelope and closing it. “By regular mail, I mean. That’s stupid really, but they still don’t accept electronic documents. If you send it tomorrow morning, we will be able to start working with Hux and Dameron in the evening. The send date is important. Even if someone finds out about your project and decides to steal it, they won’t be able to. We have to hurry up. Time is precious. Do you have classes tomorrow morning?”

“Starting at nine.”

“I could pick you up at 7:30 and drive you to the post office, if you want. It will be appropriate, as long as I will be helping you do everything right.”

 

His words reminded Rey that she would have to spend the night alone. This wouldn’t worry her that much (though she had slept much better those two nights Ben was with her), but today had been tough. She felt anxiety washing over her in waves again, but tried not to show it. She needed to deal with everything herself, she couldn’t rely on Ben every time she was distressed. She knew the panic would hit her as soon as she was left alone, but didn’t want Ben to know about it. However, her bravado didn’t seem to trick him.

 

“Rey?” he frowned.

“Yes?” she tried.

“What. Is. It?”

 

He seemed annoyed now, maybe even a bit angry.

 

“It’s nothing, I tell you,” she managed to smile. “Really.”

 

He groaned, running his hand through his raven hair.

 

“Are you having panic attacks?” he suddenly asked, looking her straight into the eyes.

 

She gulped, not expecting this question.

 

“No...”

“Rey...” he looked almost hurt now.

“I used to have them... Haven’t had one in a while. I...” her breathe hitched. “I learned how to cope with them...”

“You saw a therapist?”

 

She smirked.

 

“What? A therapist? No, God, no! I barely saw the doctor when I was a child. My foster parents never cared enough to give me any medicines unless I had some really high fever. And that has happened only once throughout my childhood. That was actually the first time I got transferred to another family. Those morons from the system couldn’t ignore the child who almost died.”

 

She saw Ben’s face getting pale. He looked furious now and for a second Rey thought that he was angry with her. She had already seen this expression on his face. When Snoke had paid them a visit this morning.

 

“Damn bastards…” he whispered hoarsely, and Rey felt relieved. No, no, he wasn’t angry with her… He was worried about her. Worried, because he fucking cared.

“Ben,” she took his hand in hers, loving the feeling of his palms (they were cold as usual, but felt soothing anyway to her) under her fingers. “Ben, don’t worry, I’m fine now. It’s all over.”

“You didn’t have to go through it,” he hissed, his eyes dark.

“You are right, but I did and it’s over now.”

“What caused the attacks?” the question was delicate, and Rey pressed her lips together, fighting the new wave of anxiety washing over her. “God, I’m sorry, darling, please forgive me… Don’t answer.” Ben hurried to stop her, closing his eyes in frustration.

“No, no,” she clenched into him, not willing to let him go, but clearly willing to tell him. He would be the first one to know. She’d never told anyone, afraid of remembering everything that had been haunting her for years, but was finally buried somewhere in the past. “I think, I think I’d like to talk to you about it, if you really don’t mind listening,” she whispered.

“Rey,” she didn’t know that he could grip her hand even harder, but he did. “I want you to tell me.”

 

“Okay…” she sighed, pulling herself together. “This story is not that long, to tell you the truth,” she lowered her eyes and was looking at their joined hands on the table. “One of my foster dads was a drunk. He was okay when he was sober, but when he opened a bottle... I used to run away just to avoid catching his eye. Once I had to run away and spent two weeks on the streets. I was only eight. And I was already going to school. I really liked it in there and I didn’t want to move, so I pretended that everything was fine at home. I used to sneak into the showers in the school gym in the mornings to keep myself clean. I had taken some clothes from home with me before I ran away... I was coming back to our house every day to check on my foster dad to know when I could come back, but... I had to spend two weeks sleeping in the junkyard in the outskirts of the town. I built a house for myself there. I actually liked to stay in the junkyards when I was running away from home. There were always tons of things I could build a house from, some old mattresses to sleep on and something I could use as toys even. And there was food there,” Rey could hear Ben gulping. She smirked sadly. “You have probably no idea how much food people throw away even in the poorest regions of the country... Well, that time I came to the junkyard and built myself a house there. But this time was different from the others. A new gang appeared in town. Those people were really evil... They were corrupting the streets, selling some really bad drugs and sometimes robbing small stores. And the worst part… The worst part was that they focused their business on children. They quickly noticed me on the streets. As soon as they understood I was practically homeless, their guys came after me. I didn’t know what they actually wanted. There were rumors. The rumors I wasn’t able to completely understand because I was too young for that… Rumors about what those bastards did to homeless children… Especially girls… I managed to get away from them when they cornered me. But I spent two weeks, not leaving my lair in the junkyard. I...” she fought away her tears. “I was more or less okay during the days, but at nights... I couldn’t sleep, waiting for them to come after me,” one tear finally burned her cheek, but it was Ben who caught it and wiped it away from her face.

“Sweetheart,” he whispered.

 

She was so afraid that he would pity her, but what she saw in his eyes was a pure anger, pure hatefulness, readiness to tear throats and crushing buildings. At the same time, Ben cupped her cheek with his hand and Rey leaned into it.

 

“I wish I could find them all… Find them all and make them suffer so badly they would be begging me to kill them…” his quite voice was hoarse and made Rey shiver. Never before had she seen Ben so enraged.

 

She reached for him and caressed his cheek with her hand.

 

“Ben… It’s all over, I promise.”

“It’s not over if you still have panic attacks!”

“Well, I told you, I haven’t had one in a while. I found some books in the school library. Found out what my condition was called. Read everything I could find on it... I managed to cope with them, I tell you… It’s just…”

“It’s just what?”

“It’s just today when I saw Phasma... So many things were brought back to life.  It was like I was alone again, dying from fear in that sticky junkyard...

 

His voice was quite, but it rang in the air.

 

“I told you, you are not alone anymore, and I’m telling you once again: you won’t face anything like that ever again, Rey.”

 

She closed her eyes. It was hard to believe him after she’d spent her life in complete solitude. Lonely, abandoned and wanted by nobody. She got used to it. It was better to not expect anything from other people just to avoid hurting later. But this had started to change lately. And right here right now, she wanted to believe Ben with every cell in her body.

 

“You won’t be sleeping here today,” he suddenly said. “You’ll come to my place. You need to wake up and go to the post office early tomorrow anyway. BB will have to open “the Workshop” alone. I’ll send the Uber for you as soon as everyone is gone from here, and you’ll come to my place.”

“Ben...” she tried to stop him, but he didn’t let her.

“No. You will come to my place today. End of discussion, Rey.”


It was moments like this that she wasn’t able to refuse him. Moments like this when he was so strong, so confident and so Alpha that everything she needed was to oblige him and to let him take care about her. It was overwhelming, really. It was scary. It wasn’t something she was used to. But she couldn’t fight it. Rey nodded, letting Ben caress her cheek with his thumb. He was looking her intently in the eyes and Rey felt shy suddenly.

 

“What is it?” she whispered.

“I wish I could hold you closer right now,” he suddenly said. “Maybe as close as I was holding you in the closet today, but just kissing you and having you near would be nice at the moment.”

 

Rey wasn’t sure it was possible to blush even harder.

 

“I sleep better when I am with you, you know... I feel... Calmer,” she murmured.

“Yes, I know,” Ben whispered back. “I can feel it too.”

 

“Ben, Rey, are you close to finishing?” Phasma’s voice came from the door in the back of “the Workshop,” making Rey jump in her place, and Ben removed his hand from Rey’s face.

“Yes, we are done. I was leaving already,” Ben groaned, rolling his eyes and giving Rey one more reassuring look. “Send me a message when they are both gone and you are alone,” he whispered to her and she nodded, smiling shyly.

“Solo,” Hux called Ben. “I have left my laptop in your office. I hate to tell you, but I have to send a paper from it to the editor today...”

“So what do you want me to do?”

“Well, could you give me the keys from your office and I will bring them to you right after I get my laptop from there?”

“You mean you’ll come to my place today?” Rey could hear the annoyed notes in Ben’s voice.

“Well, yes?”

“I was going to get some sleep,” Ben grunted. “I’ll have to pick up... Johnson tomorrow morning to help her send the patent application from the post office. By the way, Phas,” Ben spoke to the blonde. “I was told that she is obliged to open “the Workshop” every morning. Can BB or this idiotic Jar Jar manage to do it tomorrow?”

“Oh, hush!” Phasma huffed. “Don’t you dare go insulting my staff! I have enough idiotic customers during the day, don’t make it worse!”

“So?”

“Fine!” Phasma waved him off. “I’ll call BB, that guy never sleeps this time of the night anyway. And he has a morning shift tomorrow, so he’ll come here all the same.”

“So, Ben?” Hux asked again, sounding annoyed.

“I’ll go with you, I... forgot something in my office too. I’ll take the keys afterwards.”

“Whatever,” Hux shrugged, exiting the coffee shop. “Good night, Johnson!”

“Professor Hux, good night,” Rey nodded.

“Rey,” Ben raised a brow at her before walking away. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and typed something into it before walking away from the coffee shop. After a second, Rey’s phone buzzed.

 

BS: I’ll contact you as soon as I can today, sweetheart. I’ll be waiting for you at my place afterwards.

 

Rey smiled at the message and turned to Phasma. The blonde was closing the kitchen.

 

“Phasma?” Rey asked. “How are you feeling?”

 

Her boss turned to her, rubbing her eyes, and Rey was surprised to see the usually cheerful and gorgeous blonde looking that exhausted. One couldn’t usually tell how old Phasma was. The woman was always impeccably looking even in plaid shirts and seemed ageless. But now Rey could see that Phasma was actually much older than her. Her skin was pale, accenting the dark circles under the woman’s eyes. Phasma was clearly exhausted

 

“Do you mind if I make us some hot chocolate before I go?” she asked Rey.

“Of course,” Rey answered concerned. “Do you need help?”

“I need ears,” Phasma smirked, opening the kitchen again. “I think it’s time to share my story with somebody else besides my husband and my best friend... another friendly ear... Will you be able to listen? I’ll understand if you are exhausted, so tell me if you can’t listen now. I mean it, Rey.”

“I would love to hear your story,” Rey answered sincerely. And that was completely true.

 

 

“Well,” Phasma said, starting to make their drinks. “I wanted to tell you one more story about Snoke. And about me. And about Hux... And about our baby...”

“A baby?!” Rey asked surprised.

“Yes, a baby... The one I lost because of Snoke.”

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 13.

Of important realizations.

 

“Yes, a baby… The one I lost because of Snoke…”

Of all the things Phasma could tell her, Rey least expected to hear this. She didn’t know what to say, so she just climbed on the tall chair near the cash register and sipped on her hot chocolate, not averting her eyes from her boss. Phasma smirked sadly.

“Yep, stories about Snoke never end well, hon,” she sighed.

“What happened?” Rey asked quietly.

Phasma took a deep breath before beginning.

“Well, you see… When he got to us, Snoke quickly realized which one of us was the most valuable asset to him. Kylo Ren…” Phasma winced at the sound of the name. “Kylo Ren was the one who mattered. Snoke wasn’t sure about Hux at first, but as for me… As I realized later, the old bastard had decided that he had to get rid of me very soon after we had been hired. I was, of course, the least clever of the three of us (no, no, don’t argue here, Rey, it’s not about me, it’s about how brilliant Armitage and Ben are). And I also was a woman… You know that there are no women among the Knights of Ren? I guess, Snoke thinks that women are less emotionally stable than men, and that our actions are more difficult to calculate… You could say he is a bit afraid of our kind,” Phasma smirked.

“Long story short, he tried to find something he could use against me and found the easiest way possible: he used Armitage.

My husband and I… You know, I believe in soulmates, Rey… And that is something I think Armitage and I are. I had never loved anyone before him. I had had some short flings, but I had never suffered from a heartbreak and had never stayed with anyone for more than two months. It’s not that I had had a lot of relationships, but I had never been interested enough to stay. Until I met Hux.

You will probably laugh at me. He is like two heads shorter than I, but I lost my breath when I saw him for the first time. He was such a cheeky bastard, always so confident and witty. I fell in love with him as soon as I saw him. But, truth be told, I was quite self-conscious back then... I’ll tell you why soon. So, you can imagine my surprise when I realized that our feelings were mutual. We met in the afternoon, had sex in the evening and Armitage proposed the next morning can you imagine that?”

Rey smiled, imagining the usually grumpy Professor Hux doing something that crazy. Ben had told her that the relationship between Phasma and her husband had developed quickly, but now, hearing about it from her boss, she was pleasantly amazed once again.

“Snoke always knew the weakest points of his people,” Phasma went on, and Rey’s smile faded. “Had I not been with Hux, the old bastard would have just fired me, but I was with Armie and this old moron couldn’t just let me go. He didn’t know how much of his doings were known to me because of Armitage, so Snoke decided he had to destroy me… I wasn’t close enough to him to set me up like he had done to many of his people, so Snoke chose another strategy.

I told you, I was self-conscious. I had never got along with my parents well. I am their only child and they had always asked too much from me. That’s something Ben and me have in common. My parents are well-known lawyers, quite powerful in the region where I grew up. They always wanted me to follow their path, but I didn’t want it. We fought a lot and I never felt supported. I often thought I was stupid, no matter how good I was at school. You can also mention my incredible height that I have learned to embrace only several years after we got away from Snoke… I always doubted myself… And Snoke used it against me.

He started to make me think that Hux was cheating on me… While I was still working for “the First Order” he would often meet me in the hallways and tell me about his beautiful daughter, Bazine… I think Ben told you that they were engaged back then, but Snoke made me think that Hux was interested in her as well. That was believable because by that time Armie and Ben had become the greatest rivals and enemies. I wasn’t recognizing my boyfriend. He became so violent, so angry… Snoke hinted once that he’d heard Hux flirting with Bazine. The girl was really tiny and looked fragile and beautiful (unlike me, I thought), and Snoke made it sound like a joke, telling me that Hux seemed fascinated with her at one of the parties “the First Order” where she was also present… I didn’t want to believe it… I went to Hux, I tried to find out whether it was the truth… But Hux was so consumed by his conflict with Ben back then that he just brushed me off. We had a fight and didn’t speak to each other for a month. We rented a flat together, but Armie was working late and I barely saw him. I was also working for “the First Order”, but I wasn’t assigned anything important, so I had a lot of free time… I was constantly nervous… I was going mad. I tried to talk to Armitage again, but he was too angry to listen to me… Snoke kept meeting me in the hallways, praising Ben and Bazine and making jokes about how Armitage looked smitten with her every time he saw her.

“I would be worried about Bazine if I didn’t know that Mr. Hux has you,” the old bastard chuckled, and my back literally froze each time I heard that…”

Phasma took a deep breath and sipped on her hot chocolate.

“Well, I could believe it, because Hux was so obsessed with defeating Ben that he would probably want to take everything from him. Everything, including his fiancé… I spent a month suffering like that, I couldn’t concentrate on anything, I stopped eating… After a month I resigned from “the First Order”… Time passed and I saw Armie less and less, despite the fact that we still lived together. I didn’t know what was going on with him and I didn’t know that he had already gotten into trouble. He wasn’t talking to me. We had sex occasionally, but it didn’t feel right anymore.

Once I decided to visit Armie during his lunch break to talk to him. I arrived unannounced and tried to call him from the reception. They told me, he hadn’t been in the office that day… I was scared, I didn’t understand what was going on… And that was the moment I saw Snoke. I guess, that was the unluckiest coincidence possible. I think, he just saw me and took the opportunity to strike one last blow. He walked towards me, looking disgruntled and asked me to “do something” with my boyfriend. He told me, Hux was stalking Bazine… I didn’t know that at that very moment Armitage was being dealt with in Snoke’s office. They fired him that day. But I found out about it much later.

That day I left the building of “the First Order” and decided to go to a bar. You’d think that I had too much to drink and something happened, but I actually never even got there. I was driving when I felt a sharp pain in my lower abdomen. The pain was almost unbearable and so sudden that I lost control of the car…”

That was the moment when tears started to flow from Phasma’s eyes. Rey held her breathe in terror, anticipating what was coming.

“I woke up in the hospital two weeks later… with Armitage sleeping beside me, his head on my bed… They told me… They told me, I was too malnourished when they found me… I told you, I had stopped eating… I had a miscarriage and had an accident because of it… I didn’t even know…” Phasma was crying, and Rey grabbed her boss’s hand. “We got away from Snoke with the help of our parents, we survived… Hux… Hux is my life, to tell you the truth… We survived the loss of our child and we know now that we can survive anything… But it still hurts… And now, when Snoke is here… God, I hate him so much! I wish he died... I wish he died suffering!” Phasma exclaimed, and Rey rushed to her to embrace the tall woman.

“We’ve been trying to conceive since after our wedding…” Phasma whispered. “The doctors tell us that we are both fine, but… I have started to lose hope already... It’s been so many years...”

“Phasma… I am so sorry,” Rey was crying herself, the blonde’s story crushing her. “I wish… I wish I could make it better…”

Phasma backend away from Rey a bit and managed to smile.

“You already did, hon…” she smiled softly. “Thank you… And thank you for your help with my panic attack today… I never had an opportunity to thank you properly…”

“I hope it won’t happen again, but… anytime, boss…”

Phasma looked at Rey for a second, before smiling and letting Rey go. They finished their hot chocolate in silence, Rey processing everything Phasma had told her. Phasma pulled herself together with the last sip from her cup and smiled at her.

“Thank you, Rey,” her smile was sad. “I really feel much better now…” Phasma smirked suddenly. “You are paving the way into our hearts very quickly, sweetie. That Solo-boy is already smitten with you and I can’t help but consider you a friend,” Rey’s heart warmed at the sound of the blonde’s words. She looked up at her, unable to control the smile that appeared on her lips.

“You are a good girl, I wish those morons who treated you poorly have realized their mistakes...” Phasma said.

“Thank you, Phasma,” Rey’s eyes watered and she tried to hide it, turning from her boss to collect the mugs. Phasma’s mention of Ben being smitten with her warmed Rey. She wasn’t sure her boss wasn’t exaggerating, though.

“And suffered. I wish they all suffered at least a bit after everything they did to you,” Phasma’s small smile turned into the wide grin as she watched Rey chocking on air.

“How nice of you...” Rey smirked.

“I know, right? I am adorable!”

 

Phasma went home since it was already past midnight.

“Tell Ben, I said hi tomorrow,” Phasma winked at Rey. “Or should I say today?”

Rey raised her brow, looking at the blonde in confusion. Had this woman figured everything out about Ben’s plan already? How was it even possible?

“What?!” The tall woman asked. “It’s already half past twelve!”

Rey rolled her eyes, trying to hide her relief. Hopefully, Phasma didn’t know everything, after all.

“You know, the two of you remind me of Hux and me when we first met,” Phasma suddenly said.

Rey looked at her in surprise.

“I... I think it’s too early to compare...”

“Well, you don’t need very much time to realize you met the right person, honey. Believe me, I know.”

Rey didn’t know what to say, as Phasma winked at her again before walking away. Still slightly dazed and lingering on Phasma’s words, Rey hurried to her phone to find several messages from Ben. He was already at home, waiting for her.

After everything Phasma had told her, all Rey wanted was to see him. She couldn’t be alone right now. Phasma had seemed cheerful when she was leaving “the Workshop”, but Rey’s soul was still torn apart by everything her boss had disclosed.

 

She was driving to Ben’s, trying to concentrate on the soft music, coming from the radio in her Uber. However, her thoughts kept returning to Phasma’s story. She felt more and more anxious with every minute she spent alone in this fucking car. How much suffering this Snoke beast brought upon everyone who stood in his way. And for what? For power? For greed? Rey wondered sometimes if violent and evil people could actually be happy. Could a happy person be evil? She remembered Snoke’s hidden smirks that she had been catching every time the old man was doing something that hurt Phasma or sent Ben to the edge. Was what this horrible man felt at such moments even a little bit close to happiness? What was it that drove him along his life?

Why were cruel people actually cruel? What motivated Poe to act like he did, what made Paige do what she had done to Rey and behave like she had behaved afterwards? Rey had no answer to that. The problem was that, it seemed, the cruel people with power in their hands were harming this world much more than all the good people with power could balance. This made Rey feel weak. This made Rey yearn for protection.

Ben opened the door before she managed to knock or ring the doorbell. She sank into his embrace like her life depended on it, and he hugged her tightly, enveloping her with his arms. She breathed in his smell, feeling her tense body relaxing a bit for the first time in hours.

“Sweetheart...” he whispered, kissing the top of Rey’s head.

“I missed you,” she whispered into his chest. “I’m sorry... I know that I saw you an hour ago, I promise I am not clingy or anything, I just...”

“Shhh,” Ben pulled her face up, and Rey saw him looking at her with something close to awe written all over his face.

That was really strange. She still had problems believing this gorgeous, perfect man was able to feel anything towards someone like her, but the look on his face made her hope that he did. She didn’t want to be preoccupied with this hope, but she couldn’t stop herself when he was looking at her like that.

I can let me have this... she suddenly thought.

Fuck it! If he changed his mind eventually, she would probably be broken, but now she wanted this... Their connection was blossoming again, almost singing under their touches. And Rey could feel that at this moment he was as lost in her as she was in him.

She kissed Him, needing to feel the taste of his tongue in her mouth. Ben was a glorious kisser and Rey got wet immediately when he kissed her back. She was aroused, but she also felt the flow of overwhelming tenderness going through her. Rey’s still felt vulnerable, but at this very moment, when Ben’s arms were holding her so close to him, her vulnerability felt divine.

“Rey,” his hoarse whisper tickled the skin on her face. “What is it, sweetheart? You are shaking.”

She was. That was probably the consequence of her relaxation. The stress was leaving her body, making her shiver and shake. She pressed herself closer to Ben, using his body to anchor herself to this world. Ben lifted her up and she wrapped her legs around his waist, burying her face in the crook of his neck. He carried her to the kitchen and put her on the kitchen island to level her with him. He took a deep breath, placing his hands at the sides of her thighs. She was still holding his neck in her hands when he took a step back to look at her.

“Rey,” he said, leaving a small peck on her nose. “I can feel that you are worried. Is it still only about Snoke or is there something else? I think we should be done hiding things from each other already...”

She smiled at his words, as they were warming her better than the two blankets she had in her room.

“You are right,” she whispered. “And I don’t want to hold anything back, I promise. I just wanted to... to kiss you first.”

He smiled, nuzzling her face with his aquiline nose.

“So?”

“Phasma told me her story when you left... About Snoke and everything... About the baby she... she lost...”

Rey felt his body tensing, and for a second she was worried that it was, after all, a bad idea to tell him. But then Ben shook his head and smiled sadly at her.

“Well, good thing Phasma found you to talk to about it,” he sighed. “Hux and I... We were too involved... I guess, now, when Snoke is around, it’s safe to say we haven’t yet coped with everything that had happened... I hate to admit it, but...” he frowned, running his hand through his hair, the gesture Rey had noticed him repeating every time he was nervous or angry. “After everything that happened the three of us were too wrapped inside this personal bubble of ours that we created to protect ourselves. ”

“I wish, I could help... I told Phasma that I wish I could make it better... And to you too.”

“You are, Rey,” he smiled softly at her. “Phasma needed you today, I assure you... And I...” he stammered and his breathe hitched slightly. “I am so glad you are here, sweetheart.”

She leaned into him again, feeling him kissing her earlobe.

“I want to make it better for you too, you know,” he whispered into her ear. “You don’t have to carry everything on your tiny shoulders, Rey.”

“I am fine,” she murmured, smiling into his body.

“You are much better than you are supposed to be, mentioning the circumstances... But no matter how much I... like it about you, stop being so strong all the time... You are such a little warrior, Rey,” Ben pressed his forehead to hers. “But there’s no need to fight everything on your own anymore. I will take care of you, no matter whether you let me or not. I know you can do it yourself... But I won’t let you.”

She froze for a moment and then kissed his jaw, his words sinking into her. She was so scared to let anyone that close, but still...

“I will let you, but only if you let me take care of you as well,” she whispered.

His eyes were dark when he looked at her again. One second passed and his mouth was on hers, devouring and caressing her. Ben wrapped his arms around her and lifted her up again, carrying her to his bedroom.

***

Rey looked so tiny on his giant bed. Ben placed her in the middle and pulled off his T-shirt before kneeling beside her. She was sitting on her knees, watching him, her lips parted. He couldn’t help but notice the way she licked them when she saw him shirtless. He felt proud of how she reacted to him. He’d wanted to make them some tea, wanted to warm Rey in his arms, wanted to just go to bed and have some needed rest together, but the roller coaster of emotions that was brought to the surface by everything Rey had told him this evening made Ben realize they both needed something more.

Ben removed Rey’s bra, the air of the room making her shiver as it touched her already pointed nipples. He cupped one of her breasts and pushed her to lie back on the bed.

It took him just a few moments to pull off her jeans (he had done it already several hours ago in the narrow storage closet of “the Workshop” and the arousing feeling of deja vu made him even harder than he had already been. Ben undressed himself and was already moving to suckle on Rey’s pussy (the scent of it was filling the room and Ben was going crazy), but she stopped him.

“Ben, I love the way you do that,” she whispered, her voice sounding hoarse. “But I want you close... I want you...” she stammered and he found it completely adorable.

“You want me what, sweetheart?” he whispered, smiling a bit at her confusion and anticipating her answer.

“I want you inside me...” Rey whispered back shyly.

He could see the blush that was covering her face, neck and body. She was so lovely and so pure, but so overwhelmingly sexual at the same time!

“Whatever you need, sweetheart,” he smiled, reaching to the nightstand beside his bed.

This time he was prepared. He pulled out a condom and rolled it over his cock. Rey gasped, watching him nearing her. He laid between her legs, parting them wider. They had already had sex several times, but for some reason this time it felt like he was about to take her virginity.

“Are you ready for me, sweetheart?” he asked quietly and reached to her pussy. He would never get used to how wet Rey was every time he touched her there. “Oh, I think you are.”

“I am... I am, Ben, please...”

He entered her carefully, his cock slipping into her without any difficulty. They both gasped at the sensation.

“Oh, God, Rey...”

“Ben...”

This time there was no rush in their actions. He moved slowly, pulling out and entering her again and again, pressing her into his bed with his body that was so much bigger than hers. He wasn’t afraid he would crush her anymore as Rey met his every movement with her own, pulling him even closer to herself.

This felt divine, exquisite, inimitable... Their bodies were together as one, their pace found quickly. Rey moaned slightly with his every movement, and he was kissing her, tasting her glorious lips on his. He could hear them both breathing, could hear the sounds their bodies were making when colliding. This was supreme and he pressed his forehead to hers, not even thinking about stopping moving. They were looking each other into the eyes, and suddenly it hit him.

He had stopped himself from naming the feelings he had towards Rey, but it was completely foolish to deny it any longer. He was so in love with her... He loved her. He hadn’t allowed himself to love somebody for so long... Not that there had been anyone he would have been able to love anyway. He’d spent so much time alone that he wasn’t even sure now if he had ever loved anyone for real at all before now. But this... This was real. Scary and overwhelming, utterly crazy and impossible to resist.

The realization sent him to the edge. Ben wouldn’t last much longer. Rey’s moans were also getting louder and he could feel the first little squeezes of her pussy that were the first heralds of her approaching orgasm.

“Rey, sweetheart...”

“I am so close, Ben... God, you feel so good! You are so big, Ben!”

He groaned, increasing his pace. Rey had never said those words during sex before, and it was almost impossible not to come when she did.

“So you like it, don’t you, sweetheart?” he whispered hoarsely, looking her in the eyes again. “You like my giant cock inside you?”

“Oh, yes, Ben, yes! I can... I can feel every vein on your cock inside me. You are so big, so huge!”

She was so lost in her passion, so beautiful...

“When we have more time,” he whispered. “I will make you straddle me, I will make you ride my cock and I will make you come all over it again and again until you see stars, darling. And then I’ll fuck your glorious little cunt from behind. I will fuck you until you faint, Rey. And when you come back to your senses, I will do it all over again.”

She was screaming under him now, squeezing his cock with her pussy and sucking him in. The feeling of her orgasm did it to him, and he followed her, pulsing inside her. Ben hated the condom he was wearing. He wanted to cover Rey’s insides with his cum, wanted to feel her hot wetness without anything separating them. Once again the image of Rey, blossoming, pregnant with his child, crossed his mind, and this time he lingered on it for a bit longer. Then, when he came back to present, they were lying tangled together, trying to catch their breaths.

He loved her so much, it was almost unbearable. He felt so whole at the moment, softening, but still inside her. She managed to make the pain he had so gotten used to go away almost completely. And most importantly, he didn’t feel alone anymore.

He would tell her about his feelings. Not now, he didn’t want to scare her off. He still had problems believing this wonderful beautiful girl wanted to have anything with him for real. But he was going to do everything possible and impossible to make Rey stay. Stay and become his in every way possible.

They drifted to sleep, Ben never pulling out of her, their bodies and souls tangled together.

***

They had to wake up too early and Rey still wasn’t ready to face the day when she had to get out of bed. She had woken up, blushing at the feeling of Ben’s cock still inside her and hardening at the approaching morning. Ben cursed lightly when he had realized what position they were both in, but still kissed her tenderly and smiled at her, his eyes a but puffy from the lack of sleep.

Last night seemed surreal to Rey. Well, she could probably say every time she was with Ben was surreal, but last night was even more special somehow. She couldn’t really understand what had happened, but something shifted between them when they were in bed together. She could see it in Ben’s eyes, in the way he was pressing himself to her and kissing her. She felt so warm, but most importantly, she didn’t feel alone anymore. Not when they had both orgasmed, not when they had both woken up together, not later when Ben made them a glorious breakfast, this feeling of belonging wasn’t leaving her. It felt surreal, but it also felt incredibly right. Phasma’s words about “the right person” were going on the loop in her head, and Rey was looking intently at Ben now when he wasn’t looking, trying to figure out if her boss was right.

Their visit to the post office went smoothly and they managed to go back to campus without being seen together. Not that it would be so dangerous, mentioning the fact that Ben was actually helping her with her project, but Rey still felt safer this way.

She didn’t have a shift at “the Workshop” today and she spent hours after her classes, studying in the library. In addition to everything she’d discovered that her period had arrived when she was visiting the bathroom during one of her breaks. Rey was expecting it, but she still felt relieved when she saw traces of blood on her pantyliner. She had had unprotected sex twice with Ben. Yes, he was pulling out, but there was always a possibility... Her getting pregnant now was the worst-case scenario for the both of them, that’s why Rey was relieved immensely when she was sure that this time everything was fine.

Rey was feeling good. Her night with Ben calmed and sated her, and she had come to terms with Phasma’s story and with the fact that Snoke was around and dangerous. She was sure now they all could beat him. If they stayed together.

However, as the evening approached, Rey started to feel nervous. Today was the first day they were supposed to work together with her competition team. This meant she was about to see Poe. Rey tensed at the thought. She hoped that her ex-boyfriend would be decent enough to behave with civility. At least while they were in one room with their teachers. Rey frowned. She knew Ben wouldn’t let Poe mess with her again, but Rey didn’t want Ben to lose it. He was overprotective with her, and she adored the feeling, especially since yesterday, but Poe wasn’t worth getting into trouble. They had to be careful.

She entered the classroom where their meeting was scheduled ten minutes before the meeting time.

“Well-well, look who we have here,” Poe’s mocking voice made the hair on her arms stand on ends. “So, Solo didn’t reconsider having something to do with you, I see.”

Rey frowned.

“I don’t see why he would,” she tried to sound calm and almost polite. “Poe, despite everything that happened between us, can we leave it at the door of this classroom for the time we are working together? We are on the same team, after all, whether you or I like it or not.”

“Oh, come on, Rey,” Poe rolled his eyes. “I lived with you for a year, I know what you are capable of. You are a clever girl, of course, that had pulled me to you at first. But, Rey, you are a sophomore who was fired from some rusty workshop, unable to keep her job and now working at the coffee shop. Rey, I don’t know where your project came from, but there’s no way someone as mediocre as you could come up with something worthy enough for Solo to notice.”

“And you know that because...?” Rey couldn’t stand it anymore. One minute. One minute with Poe and he was getting to her again. He was really good at making her doubt herself. For a second she was the same old Rey, self-conscious and ready to do everything to avoid conflicts with anyone, especially with her friends. The friends who had betrayed her without thinking twice. No... No, she wouldn’t have it anymore.

“You never cared enough to look at my projects. I showed you a couple of them, but you brushed me off. We argued about Engineering like our life depended on it. You would say it was because I was stupid and “mediocre”,” Rey quoted the words with her fingers. “But I would say that was because you couldn’t stand me being right. What’s your problem exactly, Poe? If my project is not worthy, you’ll be able to take the prize and go to the State competition. So, tell me, What’s. Your. Problem?”

“Oh, Rey,” Poe smirked. “I used to brush you off because it was quite hard sometimes to listen to your jabber. I don’t mind your participation. What I mind is wasting time that would be better spent working on my project, rather than on someone on someone who fucked somebody to get on the team.”

“What?!” Rey couldn’t believe her ears.

“Oh, come on, Rey! You couldn’t come up with anything great! So even if your project is actually good, you either bought it from someone or fucked somebody to make them help you. Being a scavenger like you, I would bet on the latter. So, Rey, whom did you fuck to get on the team?”

“Say that again about my team member and you will have to gather your bleached teeth from the floor, Dameron...”

Rey gasped and turned to the sound of Ben’s voice. He was standing on the threshold of the classroom, Professor Hux was standing right behind him, frowning at the scene playing in front of his eyes. Rey tensed, begging the higher powers to stop Ben from doing something drastic. Poe had overstepped. What was wrong with him? Why did he hate her so much! He was the one who made her suffer! Nevertheless, that wasn’t her biggest problem at the moment, because Ben looked bewildered, and she had no way to stop him now, had he tried to hurt Poe.

“For God’s sake, Dameron!” Hux’s voice sliced the ringing silence that hung in the air of the room. “What’s wrong with you?!”

Professor Hux slapped Ben’s arm, glancing furiously at him. That seemed to do the trick. Ben pulled himself together, his face becoming slightly less angry. Hux threw a folder on a table in front of Rey. A piece of paper fell out of it and caught her attention. She gasped at the sight of it. That was a plan of Poe’s project, the one she would recognize anywhere. The one that used her idea. The idea she had given Poe long ago, while they had still been living together.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 14.

Ways of feeling closer.

 

Rey was looking at the sheet of paper in front of her with her eyes opened wide when the swift movement of Poe’s hand snatched the folder from under her nose. She blinked, coming back to reality and turned to him. Poe was eyeing her with so much hatred in his eyes that her heart skipped a beat. He looked so enraged at this moment that she was afraid of him. She stepped back, not daring to take her eyes from his face.

He was using her idea for the competition project. Of course, the main part of it was based on his layouts, but Rey knew that her idea was giving his project the key advantage to surpass Poe’s competitors. Even including her.

 

Poe’s project was a special engine patch for the Calrissian’s xRays. Calrissian was the most popular car brand in the country. The company offered the model range to meet the expectations of all types of clients and xRay was the most popular model. These cars were not too cheap and not too expensive and could satisfy the needs of all layers of the middle class customers as long as there were a lot of configurations available for different prices.  There was one main thing that made xRays so attractive for customers. The cars were easily tuned even by low-level mechanics. The main thing to be tuned was usually the engine. People were competing, inventing special patches for engines to improve their performance. Usually those patches increased the amount of horsepower by up to 100. The company was monitoring the market and if the patch was good, it would be implemented in Calrissian’s original workshops. Poe’s initial project gave the engine 150 additional horsepower, but with Rey’s improvement it gave 250-300 more. Rey gave Poe an idea of how to build a special pump into the patch that helped it to better collide with the engine. This idea had been rudely rejected by Poe , but later he seemed to reconsider his opinion on the subject. xRays were very popular. Poe’s project was brilliant from commercial point of view. Where Rey’s project was innovative and groundbreaking, Poe’s could give the immediate payoff to whoever used it.

 

Was that why Poe behaved like that with her? Was he afraid of losing his project because of her? If so, what did he think she would do, for God’s sake?!

 

The thought made Rey angry. However, she decided that the best tactic would be to pretend she didn’t remember herself giving Poe her idea. They had had this talk almost six months ago and Poe had never showed her his project. She’d found out about it eventually back when they were living together, but she had never known Poe was going to send it into the competition. She could have easily forgotten about it, after all.

 

Truth be told, Rey was completely fine with Poe using her idea for his project. She didn’t want to mess with her ex-boyfriend and was completely fine with it. After all, when they’d been talking about it, she wanted to help him improve something he was doing. Rey had done it for Poe’s benefit, and she had never regretted her decision. She would easily keep her mouth shut if Poe could be civil with her.

 

Rey decided to give it a try. To pretend that she had never seen this project before and that she didn’t remember  sharing any ideas about it with Poe. She had to be able to work in a room with him and was ready to pretend anything if that meant he would leave her in peace.

Poe was still looking at her with that hateful look on his face when they both were  pulled back from their trance by Professor Hux’s voice.

 

“Dameron!” he groaned. “I think, what you need to do is to solve all the issues that you have with Miss Johnson outside of this classroom. You absolutely cannot speak to her in that rude and insinuating way! Professor Solo here and I will let you get away with it this one time,” Rey saw Ben flinching in bewilderment, but Hux gave him a warning look and Ben stopped, still looking furious, but staying silent. “If I hear anything like that again, I’ll kick you off of the team and report to Holdo. Is that clear?”

 

Poe’s nostrils flared, but he still nodded.

 

“I have looked through Miss Johnson’s project as well as Professor Solo, by the way, and I found it worthy. So which one of us do you think she screwed?” Hux smirked angrily.

“I am sorry, Professor,” Poe lowered his eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath. “I got carried away.”

“You definitely did, Dameron. As for you, Miss Johnson,” Professor Hux turned to Rey, and she saw Ben watching the two of them with a trace of badly hidden concern on his face. “The Engineering world is tough for women, I’m afraid. If you want to succeed, you’ll have to learn how to avoid conflicts with whatever idiots that get in your way, no offense Dameron. I hope you’ll be able to stay professional, Rey.”

 

Behind Hux’s back Ben frowned, working his jaw in anger. She could almost feel it like it was her own. God, she was so furious herself! But Rey was also really good at avoiding conflicts, so she pulled herself together and managed to smile at the redhead.

 

“I will, Professor. I am sorry.”

“Good, let’s start now. We are almost fucking out of time!”

 

 

The meeting was going more or less smoothly despite everything that had happened between Rey and Poe. This was probably due to the fact that the group had already started working on Poe’s project. They had listed the materials and all necessary supplies they required to make the patch, but there was also a minor flaw in the blueprint. This flaw could be potentially dangerous for the whole piece; the pump that Rey had influenced Poe to build had some construction problems. It would work nine times out of ten, but there was the possibility of a massive breakdown that could not only destroy the part itself, but also break the engine. If it happened, the engine would not be recoverable.

 

It was already past eight in the evening, and they hadn’t even touched her project yet.

Rey was usually patient, but this time she was barely holding back. The problem was that Poe had made a mistake when implementing her idea. A minor one, but it influenced the whole project. It was not obvious if you didn’t know what to look for, that’s why Ben and Hux didn’t notice it. They had been puzzling over this issue for two and a half hours already and couldn’t understand what the problem was. Rey could tell them. She could point out the mistake in the blueprint and it would be solved. But had she done it, they would all question how she knew so much about Poe’s project. Only someone who knew the subject really well could find this mistake quickly. Maybe someone who had invented the whole thing in the first place. Poe would hate her for that. So Rey kept her mouth shut, trying to give everyone hints about where to look when she could. Poe brushed her off every time, and Hux and Ben were too preoccupied with their own ideas (the wrong ones!) of how to make things work to notice her hints. It was already nine in the evening when Professor Hux stretched his back and groaned.

 

“Oh, fuck it! Let’s finish with Dameron for today. Let’s think about it at home and have more discussion next time…”

“So are we free to go?” Poe asked, standing up and not even looking at Rey.

 

It was like she didn’t exist. Of course he would try to make everyone forget about her project. Rey huffed inwardly.

 

“Sit the fucking down, Dameron,” Ben hissed at him. “We’ve been working on your project for three fucking hours. Now we’ll have to have at least a quick look at Rey’s.”

 

Poe rolled his eyes, sitting back. Suddenly, he smirked.

 

“Well, it seems, Rey was of no use today,” he said, marking her name. “Not a single idea for three hours.”

 

Ben frowned, realizing that he had used Rey’s first name to speak to Poe, and had almost composed himself. Rey, meanwhile, noted that Poe looked much more relaxed now, mocking her inaction regarding his project. He  probably wasn’t suspecting that she remembered giving him her idea anymore. That was what she’d expected and now she was relieved. She would probably tell Ben where the flaw was later, then it would look like she had come up with the solution herself after the meeting. She considered just swallowing Poe’s mocking. Ben, however, was still annoyed.

 

“You’ve been working on this project and you still don’t know how to fix it  And neither do we. So sit and let’s have a look at Rey’s project!”

 

Poe rolled his eyes when Ben averted his eyes from him, and Rey sighed, pulling the schematics out of her project folder.

 

“… Well, basically, that is all,” she finished her explanation after half an hour. “The project is, of course, quite costly. But we could make a prototype in a smaller size, and that would save us three quarters of the original budget. We can list the needed materials next time. It is already too late now.”

“There was also a small flaw…” Ben started.

“In the inverter, yes,” Rey interrupted him, captured by her enthusiasm and not even thinking whether it was appropriate to cut him off like that. She caught herself after a moment and shut up, looking hesitantly at Ben. No matter what, he was her professor at the moment. And there was no way she could interrupt him like that. Professor Solo wouldn’t have it.

However, as she looked at him, she saw Ben smirking lightly.

 

“I’m… I’m sorry, Professor…”

 

The corners of his lips curled up for a second.

 

“Please, go on, Miss Johnson… I appreciate your… enthusiasm. Good thing you’ve noticed this flaw yourself. Any ideas of how to fix it?”

“I was thinking… of using Tatooinean copper instead of Yavin’s…”

“Tatooinean copper… I see… This is a good idea. It seems, Tatooinean copper helps you every time you confront me… Miss Johnson.”

 

He was referring to their first encounter. The one that had almost made her die of terror. How much had changed since then although they had met a bit more than a week ago… Good thing everyone was distracted by her project so no one noticed their little exchange. Professor Hux was rubbing his chin thoughtfully and when she looked at Poe, Rey could see barely-hidden disgust on his face. Something bad was coming.

 

“Well-well, Rey,” he smirked. “Of course, I expected anything, but I didn’t think, you’d stoop to stealing other people’s ideas...”

“What?!” Rey thought she misheard at first, but Poe dispelled her doubts.

“Well, did you honestly think I wouldn’t recognize my own idea I told you about a year ago? You, of course, improved it significantly, but one always knows his own idea when he knows where to look... No, no, I don’t mind, you can use it... But I knew you wouldn’t be able to...”

“Shut up!” Rey sounded so menacing that she shivered herself at the amount of fury in her voice.

 

However, she couldn’t care less. This bastard thought that she didn’t know he was using her idea for his project and now he wanted to discredit her project in the eyes of both their team leaders... Even if Rey had had a faint hope before that all that had occurred between her and Poe might have been some misunderstanding of epic proportions, it was completely destroyed now. How could she ever be so blind to be with him, to sleep with him, to let him make her live with him?! How could she not see how vile, envious and rotten he was?

 

For a second Rey wondered again what drove Poe to act like this, but she didn’t linger on the thought. She didn’t care anymore. She thought about Snoke again. If Poe had more power he would be just like him: powerful and violent. He would be ruining people’s lives without even thinking twice.

 

Rey used to be so alone before she met Ben and even one week ago she would probably be terrified by Poe’s behavior. She wouldn’t fight back. She would retreat and run away. But now, after everything that had happened between her and Ben, Rey didn’t feel alone anymore. And that made her stronger.

 

Something had changed in her. For the first time in her life she felt worthy. And she wouldn’t let Poe, Snoke or anyone else run over her. Not anymore.

 

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, gathering her composure. When she opened them she felt completely calm. Calm and confident. And ready to kill.

 

This feeling was new. She’d never been the violent type, always eager to stay away from a trouble and never wanting to get into a fight. But now, now the possibility of seeing Poe getting what he deserved made her tremble with anticipation. Part of Rey was afraid of what she wanted to do to him, of how much she wanted to see him suffer, but the other part was taking over. She was going to crush this bastard, first morally and then, if possible, physically.

 

Rey felt so much darkness rising up inside of her! It was consuming her, was tempting her to give in to it completely. For a second, she was going to do just that. She looked at Professor Hux, who was eyeing her suspiciously. Of course, he had every reason to believe Poe. No matter how good Rey was to his wife, Hux still didn’t know Rey and didn’t realize what she was capable of in Engineering while Poe had been the best student in his course the previous year... That made Rey even angrier. She was already about to crush Poe, but at that moment her gaze slipped to Ben.

 

She gasped, almost visibly. Ben’s eyes were dark. It seemed, one more second and he would jump to his feet and tear Poe apart. Ben and Rey would make a perfect tandem at the moment, giving in to the darkness in them they would both become so powerful! But that would crush them, Rey realized.

 

She had to stop. Rey remembered how she had stopped Ben from attacking Snoke. The situation was similar at the moment, but this time she was just as involved as Ben. She couldn’t let it happen. Rey took one more deep breath, considering the situation. No, she couldn’t let Poe get to her. But she couldn’t let him get away with it either.

 

“You know, that’s not true,” she finally said, her voice cold. “I’ve never shown this project to anyone, and I’ve been working on it since my first days at Takodana...” she lowered her head for a second, gathering her composure. Looking at Poe was making her sick. “However...” Rey took a folder with Poe’s project from under the Hux’s nose and retrieved the patch blueprint from it. “Look here...”

 

Her pencil was moving across the paper, making all necessary corrections. It took her twenty seconds to make all the needed improvements.

 

“There,” she said, showing the blueprint to Poe, Hux and Ben. “Everything is fixed now. You can start building a prototype...”

 

Hux was looking at the blueprint in astonishment. Poe was frowning, completely confused. An understanding expression crossed Ben’s face. Concerned at first, he looked proud now.

 

“I guess, there was an initial misunderstanding of how to implement the pump construction idea into the project. The flaw was hard to notice, I think, but one always knows how to fix it if he knows... where to look...”

 

She bit back her smirk, her face completely blank. Poe was watching her with hatred again, and this time she returned his look for a moment. She won this time. And she didn’t let him get to her completely and make her do something bad.

 

“Is it your project, Dameron using here?” Professor Hux asked her, frowning deeper.

 

You could say so... she thought, but refrained from saying it out loud. No, the initial idea was still Poe’s, so she wouldn’t act like him, she wouldn’t try to get rid of him like that. She had to play fair. Play fair and win fair.

 

“Oh, no,” she waved Hux off. “I just remember how Poe and I discussed this patch some time ago.  I was just a participant of this discussion and I remember telling him, he could definitely use this pump construction . I guess, it wasn’t the best option in Poe’s eyes back then. After that he must have returned to this idea and just... got confused, didn’t you, Poe?” she raised a brow at him, watching him suffering the need to admit his mistake.

“I... I did,” he hissed.

“But why didn’t you tell us from the very beginning, Johnson?!” Hux exclaimed.

“Oh, I didn’t know what to tell you back then,” she lied, noticing Ben raising a brow at her inquiringly. She would probably explain it to him later. Probably. When she was not so angry. “The thought crossed my mind just a minute ago...”

 

The silence filled the room. It seemed everyone was processing what had just happened. Rey wanted to leave. She had to calm down a little, had to spend some time away from Poe.

 

“I think, we can stop for today, can’t we? I told you about my project and as you said, we can discuss it more next time. Are we meeting the day after tomorrow? I can start searching for the needed materials in the time being. I would really like to go, I have classes early tomorrow...”

“Right... Right,” Hux was still looking at the blueprint in front of him, apparently satisfied with Rey’s explanation of her involvement into Poe’s project.

“Good,” she stated. “I’ll see you in the class, Professor Solo” she smiled at him, suppressing the sting in her chest from the need of leaving Ben today. She needed him now. But there was no way she could be left alone with him in this fucking classroom, and she couldn’t stay there with Poe even a second longer.

She turned on her heels and walked away, not saying goodbye to Poe and not looking back.

 

***

 

“I’ll see you in the class, Professor Solo,” she said and walked away.

 

Tomorrow? No fucking way...

 

Good thing he had managed to get distracted from her during their session with Dameron. Rey was always in the back of his mind these days, always present there, no matter whether he was awake or sleeping. Every time she was in the room, his focus of attention was on her. It distracted him, but he couldn’t fight it. Today, however, Rey was quiet while they were discussing Dameron’s project, and Ben was consumed by the task in front of him. Something was wrong with this patch and he couldn’t figure out what exactly.

 

However, as soon as Dameron had insulted Rey, Ben was on full alert again. He could see that something had changed in her. She wasn’t shy or scared anymore. She was furious... Ben could feel her anger, like it was his own. And, truth be told, had Rey acted on her fury, had she tried to tear this fucking Dameron moron apart, Ben would join her...

Thank God, Rey could manage herself better than he. Before Ben managed to destroy Poe physically, Rey had managed pulled herself together.

 

He had to discuss what had happened with her. But first of all, he had to deal with Hux and Dameron.

 

“It seems that she still has at least some use,” Poe smirked when Rey left the classroom.

 

Ben turned to the moron bewildered. He couldn’t believe this fucker could be that self-confident. Rey had just made it almost completely clear that the main advantage of his project was her idea. Yes, Hux had probably bought her explanation, but Ben knew better. And to say something like that in Dameron’s situation… This moron should have been completely insane…

 

“Dameron…” he had to take a deep breath just not to punch the guy in the face. “I will warn you just one more time. If I ever hear you implying… Miss Johnson is unworthy or that she stole someone’s idea, I will do my best to find out how strong her influence was on your project just to teach you a lesson.”

 

He saw Dameron’s face getting pale. This fucker was so easy to scare that it made Ben sick. Fucking coward... Thank God, Hux and Poe had already signed the agreement. This moron would be an easy prey for Snoke… Ben wondered if Hux realized that.

 

“I still think we spoke to her about that idea of hers!” Dameron exclaimed defensively. “I probably got confused and this idea is probably really hers. I had been just thinking about the similar stuff lately.”

“So, you invented the new type of solar battery and you just decided to... forget about it? How very thoughtful of you,” Ben smirked.

“Enough!” Hux annoyed voice interrupted their bickering. “Poe, I don’t care what happened between you and Miss Johnson, but you will put it aside when you are working together. Professor Solo will speak to her and will also make it clear that whoever of you starts to mess with another, I will kick him or her off of this team. Do you hear me?”

 

Poe gulped.

“Yes, Professor,” he said quietly, lowering his eyes.

“Good. Now go get some rest. See you tomorrow in class.”

 

Poe left, and Hux turned to Ben frowning.

 

“Solo, what’s wrong with you?!”

“What do you mean what’s wrong with me?” Ben hissed. “He insulted my student, claimed that Rey stole his idea and then it turns out that the idea he uses for his own project is actually from her! What do you mean “what’s wrong with me”, for fuck’s sake?!”

“Rey told us herself that she had just discussed this idea with Poe. She seems okay with him using it, she didn’t even remember it in the first place!”

 

Oh yes, yes she did...

 

“And you look like you are about to jump on Poe whenever he opens his mouth looking in her direction! You look like an overprotective boyfriend, for God’s sake! That’s why I’m asking, what’s wrong with you?!”

 

Ben stopped himself before he could say anything stupid.

 

“I don’t know what you are talking about...” he tried to wave him off.

“Oh, I bet, you don’t, Solo,” Hux huffed.

 

His ginger friend frowned deeper, obviously considering what to say.

 

“Ben, tell me... Are you somehow involved with that girl?..”

 

Ben looked at Armitage to see his friend watching him with concern spread over his face. Was it probably the good moment to tell him everything?

 

“I...”

“Because if you do, God help me, Ben, you’ll have to stop it! You will be putting every one of us in danger! I saw my wife yesterday… She looked calmer when we were leaving “the Workshop”, but she came back home in tears. God, Ben... She told me those were “the tears of relief”,” Hux made the quotes in the air. “Told me she’d thought about everything once again and felt better afterwards. But how can it be true, Ben? I... I can’t let it all happen again!”

“Hux...”

“I will report you, Solo. God help me, if you put us into danger again I will...”

“Armitage!” Ben could see Hux was losing it. Ben himself was hurting, unaware of how to make things right. The redhead was looking at him desperately waiting for Ben’s answer.

 

No, now is definitely not the right time to tell him the truth…

 

“I am… I am not involved with Rey, Hux. And I… have no feelings towards her. I just hate this Dameron prick because he acts like an asshole… Relax.”

 

Every word of what he said was wrong. He broke his promise to himself. He lied to his best friend, but what hurt him most was the fact that he felt he had betrayed Rey. He knew she would probably never know he said those words, but he felt like he was lying to her and the feeling was killing him.

Hux, however, seemed calmer.

 

“Okay,” he sighed. “Then try to keep it together, Solo. No matter what, Dameron is a good student and he is on my team. We have signed the contract and he has seen Rey’s project. Snoke will be interested in him…”

“And he will be an easy prey,” Ben groaned. “Can’t you see it, Hux? If Snoke offers him anything, he will accept immediately!”

“That’s why we need to keep Dameron before the Takodana competition. Our contract with him is valid till then. It can be terminated, but it will be quite complicated if he wants to terminate it before the competition. And if he wins it with us he will more likely continue to cooperate with us.”

“And what if he doesn’t? What if he wins and Snoke bribes him with something to hop on his team?”

“That’s why we need Rey’s project as well… Ben,” Hux sighed. “When I brought Dameron on my team there was no Snoke in the picture… And Poe was a good student with a good project. You and I… We could have a good contest like we always did. But now…” Armitage ran his hand through his ginger hair. “Now everything is a bit more complicated… And no matter what I told him when I was threatening to kick him off of the team, I can’t do it now… And you know why…”

“Snoke will come for him…”

“And Rey’s project will be also in danger…”

“And Snoke will be able to defeat us…”

“And that’s the worst part… I… I spoke to Holdo…”

 

Ben raised his brow in surprise. Deputy Holdo was a great professional and a nice woman, but as long as she knew Phasma’s parents Hux didn’t like to be around this purple haired woman too often. Armitage tried his best to keep his and Phasma’s private life unknown to his wife’s parents despite the relationship between them was better now than it had been years before.

 

“Holdo told me, our board hired Snoke for this year for a crazy amount of money. If he wins the State competition, Snoke wants to prolong his contract and they will pay him even more. Our board is ready to agree with it only if he wins the State… But if he does, someone will have to leave the department to make room for him. And knowing Snoke, he will do everything possible to make you the best candidate…”

 

Ben frowned, feeling anxious and bewildered.

 

“You know, Ben,” Hux sighed. “I don’t think we can save Dameron from Snoke in the end… That old fuck will find the way to get to him no matter whether he stays at Takodana or not… But if you are right about Rey… She probably has a chance.”

 

Ben heart raised at the mention of her. There was no way he could let Snoke get to her, he would kill the man if he had to. But this would ruin them. He remembered how he had lied to Hux about his feelings towards her, and guilt washed over him in waves again. He had to see her as soon as it was possible.

 

“Fuck...” Ben whispered.

“Yes, Solo…” Hux smirked sadly. “Yes… Fuck indeed…”

 

 

***

 

Rey was sitting on her bed, studying. It was already around ten in the evening and “the Workshop” had already been closed when she came back. She felt calmer now. At least about Poe. She couldn’t let him get to her. However, she felt anxious again, sitting in her room alone. She needed at least a couple of peaceful days to pull herself together and that was a luxury she couldn’t afford. That’s why she was trying to concentrate on the book in front of her and failed miserably, panic starting to get to her.

 

Suddenly someone knocked on her door… There weren’t many possibilities of who it might have been. Rey rushed to the door.

 

Ben was standing on her threshold, looking pale and angry. As soon as Rey opened the door enough for him to enter, his arms were around her and he was hugging her so tightly that it was hard for her to breathe.

 

“Ben,” she whispered.

 

He wasn’t letting her go, pressing her to himself even tighter.

 

“Darling…” she murmured.

 

It was new for her. She didn’t dare to call him that before. But this time it felt right for some reason. She heard him releasing a breath before he looked at her with worried expression crossing his face.

 

“I’m taking you home,” he grunted.

“What?”

 

Truth be told, she was so happy to see him and to feel him close that she was ready to agree to anything he would offer. However, she had to open the coffee shop tomorrow before heading to Ben’s class.

 

But Ben wasn’t asking her.

 

“You are sleeping at my apartment today. I will call an Uber for you and make you breakfast to take with you tomorrow.”

“I have to open “the Workshop” in the morning.”

“I know…” he closed his eyes. “I know, sweetheart. But… Please… I need to have you close.”

 

She blushed, looking at him. If he wanted to… she couldn’t.

 

“I… uhm…” she didn’t know how to tell him that.

“Sweetheart, what’s wrong?”

“This is really embarrassing…”

 

When she had been with Poe, Rey used to hint she had those days, and Poe would always look at her disappointed and slightly annoyed. She always felt embarrassed when she was having her period.

 

“Rey. Don’t start again,” Ben brushed the strand of hair from her face. “Tell me, what is it?”

“I can’t… I can’t have sex today. I’m having my period,” she blurted.

“So what?” he asked surprised. “Why would you… Oh… I see,” he squinted at her, and Rey lowered her eyes afraid of seeing the disappointed look on his face.

“Rey, look at me, sweetheart,” he lifted her chin with his hand so she could look him in the eyes. “Do you think that I am into you because of the sex?”

“I… No… I…”

“I am not,” he said strictly. “Of course, I want you so much that it hurts sometimes… But this is more than just sex, I thought you realized,” he sounded almost hurt now, and Rey wanted to bury her face in his chest. “It’s more than just sex for me. If you wanted to stop having sex now, I would still want to be with you… Though, my constant boner might kill me,” he smirked and she laughed together with him uncontrollably. Ben smiled at her. “Gather your things. We are going to my place.”

 

 

They were sitting on the couch in his living room watching a movie she had never seen before. Ben said it was one of his favorites and she could tell why now. She loved every single minute of it despite the fact that the plot consisted of the dialogue between people who sit in coffee shops and smoked. It was not about the plot, but about the atmosphere, about the mood you could feel watching those people interacting and about the intimacy of the discussion that made the hair on Rey’s arms stand on ends.

However, when she turned to Ben, Rey found him watching her intently.

 

“What is it?” she smiled softly.

“I need to tell you something.”

 

She tensed. “I need to tell you something” and “we need to talk” lines at the beginning of the conversation never bode well. Still, Rey looked at Ben inquiringly.

 

“I had a conversation with Hux today. After you and Dameron had left... Hux told me I was behaving like a jealous boyfriend every time Dameron looked in your direction...”

 

She couldn’t contain her smile. Ben definitely had a reason to behave like that with Poe, but Hux still had a point. Truth be told, she loved Ben’s protectiveness. However, he looked tense now.

 

“He asked me if we were... involved... I was going to tell him the truth, but he interrupted me, saying that if we were... he would report us... He is worried about Phasma now, because Snoke is around, so...” he sighed.

“So you didn’t tell him?”

“No, no, I didn’t...”

“But it’s alright. It was not the right time...”

“It’s not that... I... I told Hux I had no feelings for you...”

 

Rey’s heart sank. She didn’t know where this conversation was going, but she was worried sick now. Did he want to end things with her?

 

“I see,” she whispered.

 

It was a lie. She didn’t see anything.

 

“Rey,” Ben’s hand was on her cheek. “I want you to know that I had to lie to him for a reason. But I also want you to know that that wasn’t the truth. I have feelings for you... I... I can’t understand them properly. And I’ve known you for only a week, but... I... care for you immensely...”

 

She was looking at him, his words sinking into her. It took her a few moments to realize he wasn’t breaking up with her. He was actually doing completely the opposite. Ben looked so worried, so tense and so serious. She loved him.

 

The though hit her like a hammer in the chest. She. Loved. Him. She had never loved anyone in her life before him, she now knew. Not Poe, not anyone. Him. The difference between the feelings she had had for Poe and those she felt for Ben was that Ben was... irreplaceable. Now when she was with him she couldn’t imagine anyone else in his place. That was a terrifying feeling. One who had spent their life all alone could not accept the invincible need of someone that easily, but still she couldn’t fight it. He told her he cared about her. She didn’t know if his feelings were as strong as hers, and she was scared he would leave her. But she loved him. She loved him so much! And she couldn’t deny it anymore.

 

“Rey,” he whispered, waiting for her to say something.

“I care about you too,” she murmured, coming into his arms and sinking into his embrace.

 

As Rey settled herself, she felt Ben’s body relaxing.

 

“It’s okay. It wasn’t the right time to tell Professor Hux about us,” she whispered. “I know you care. I still find it hard to believe it, to tell you the truth... The fact that you care about me, I mean. But I believe you,” suddenly a thought hit her and she smirked. “Do you realize that I wouldn’t know about any of it if you hadn’t told me?”

“I didn’t want to hide it from you. I felt like I was betraying you.”

“You weren’t.”

 

She backed up a bit to look at him and then kissed him. She had missed him so much today. She needed him so badly.

 

“Sweetheart,” he whispered into her mouth.

 

He laid her back on a couch and covered her body with his. He felt delightful. She adored the way his body pressed hers into the couch, not letting her move.

 

“Baby,” he called her again, covering her neck with hot kisses. “I was going to spend this evening with you in my arms only as long as you said I can’t have you like that, so don’t tease me, sweet thing.”

 

She gasped at the term of endearment. Since the moment she had called him Sir in that storage closet, she was repeating the scene on loop in her head. That made her so aroused she could have come undone just thinking about it. She moaned into his mouth.

 

“Rey, I warn you, we have to stop now or I’ll fuck you no matter with or without your period…”

 

She arched her back, pressing herself into him. She just couldn’t stop.

 

“Ok, you asked for it, baby girl,” he groaned.

 

He reached for the button of her jeans and that made her finally stop.

 

“No, no, Ben, stop,” she squeaked. “Don’t… That’s repulsive, I don’t want you to… to feel disgusted…”

 

To her surprised he laughed out loud.

 

“What’s so funny?” she asked confused.

 

He nuzzled her nose with his aquiline one. She loved it so much when he did that! Her toes curled from pleasure.

 

“You are such an adorable creature, sweetheart,” he murmured. “I honestly don’t know what you could do to repulse me. If I had it my way you would be on my cock already, orgasming hard. What worries me is that you might be sore from your period, and I don’t want to hurt you. And I don’t want to make you do anything you are uncomfortable with. But if I had it my way…”

“You would have sex with me while there is… blood?” she was surprised to say the least. She wanted him so badly inside her. Yes, she was a bit sore, but she believed his cock would only make it better. But she couldn’t believe he was serious…

“I don’t care about the blood. I would love to fuck you every way possible, Rey.”

 

She was watching him her mouth agape. Ben eyed her curiously, smirking.

 

“Oh, I can see the idea seems attractive to you, after all…” he whispered, biting her earlobe.

 

Rey gulped nervously.

 

“Please, baby, let me have it my way…”

 

She released a breath she was holding, unable to put the words into sentences.

 

“Just say yes, Rey!” Ben groaned hoarsely.

“Yes,” she whispered, and he was on his feet in a brief moment.

 

He pulled her from the couch and wrapped her legs around his waist. Rey didn’t know where he was carrying her, but she heard the door opening behind her back and realized they were in the bathroom.  Ben put Rey on the sink and pulled her jeans and knickers with a pad attached to them off of her, throwing them away from them. Rey felt bare and a bit vulnerable, but couldn’t help the gush that was flowing down her thighs, mixed with a little bit of blood. Ben reached to the drawer behind Rey’s back and retrieved a pack of condoms from there.

 

“I have a stash in every room now, baby,” he said hoarsely. “Come on, sweet thing, let me take care of you.”

 

There was a spacious marble bath in the room, and Ben turned on the shower before pulling the rest of Rey’s clothes from her and stripping himself. He attached the shower to the wall and pulled Rey up to place her under the streams of water. He followed her and in a second they were standing under the warm spray kissing each other passionately.

 

“Baby girl, when your period is over, I’m gonna take a bath with you,” he groaned, biting the skin of her breasts and making her pussy clench. I will have you on all fours and will be fucking you with your little round ass showing from under the water.”

“Ben… Oh, Ben, please…”

“Turn around, baby doll.”

 

She stood with her back to him, her hands resting on the wall in front of her. He rushed to fetch the condom and in a second she felt his hands squeezing the cheeks of her ass.

 

“Just look at you, baby,” he groaned. “Standing so ready for me,” she moaned, arching her back and shivered as he suddenly slapped her.

 

The sensation was sudden and unexpected, but for some reason it made her so aroused that she almost came.

 

“Ben,” she squeaked.

“What is it sweetheart?” he asked, caressing her burning cheek. “Tell me if you don’t like it, baby.”

 

She felt more gush running down her legs.

 

“More…” she pleaded hoarsely.

 

Rey heard Ben sucking in a breath.

 

“My sweet baby…” he whispered hoarsely and his hand landed on her other cheek.

“Oh, God!” she cried out, lost in the pleasure of the arousing pain burning her ass. She would wonder what was wrong with her that she liked it so much, but all thoughts left her mind as Ben slapped her once again, thrusting into her at the same time.

“Fuck!” he cried as her pussy clenched around his cock as soon as he entered.

“Oh, yes! YES!” Rey cried as her orgasm hit her. “Please, please move! Oh, GOD!”

 

He started to move, prolonging her climax and making her clench around him even harder. She knew she stained him with her blood and that aroused her even more for some reason. She felt a bit sore, but the feeling of his cock inside her was so divine that she almost didn’t notice.

 

“Like that? Do you like it, baby girl?” he groaned.

“Oh yes, YES, SIR!”

 

Suddenly he stopped moving.

 

“Fuck, Rey, you have to stop saying things like that…” he hissed.

 

She tensed.

 

“Sorry, I thought you liked it…”

“I fucking love when you are calling me that. It just almost makes me come every time I hear it, sweetheart…”

 

She couldn’t contain her smile at his words.

 

“So… You like the way I… behave, Sir?” she moved her ass closer to him sliding over his thick cock.

 

Ben groaned so loudly that she shivered. Rey didn’t know where this wantonness came from, but she suddenly felt so sexy that she almost came again from the feeling. Never in her life could she imagine herself in such a situation. But she loved every second of it.

 

“Yes, little one, I like the way you behave. Move your little ass, make your Sir come,” Ben growled, and Rey moaned even louder.

 

She started moving, feeling his cock hardening even more. The sounds of their bodies colliding were filling the room, mixed with her moans that were turning into cries and his groans and growls that sounded more and more feral with their every move.

 

“Such a good girl,” he groaned. “You are taking your Sir so well. You please me greatly, with your perfect little cunt.”

“GOD! Sir… Spank me, spank me please, Sir!”

 

His hand landed on her ass again with his growl, increasing the pleasure she was receiving from their coupling. Rey was so very close.

 

“God, Rey, you are a Goddess!” he cried and she realized he was almost there as well. “I’m gonna cum into my sweet little girl. One day I will do it bare. I have already promised you that one day I will fill you to the brim with my cum. And then I’ll fuck your ass. And come there as well to mark you... To claim you! You will be dripping with my seed! Oh, fuck, sweetheart… Come for me, come on your Sir’s cock! I want you to come NOW!”

 

It was the moment when he put his finger into her puckered hole that Rey came so hard that she almost fainted. She could feel both his finger and his cock inside her, and the sensation was so overwhelming that she couldn’t remember who she was. She was crying loudly, squeezing him, and Ben followed her quickly, holding her by the waist and biting her shoulder. Pleasure increased by tolerable pain brought her the longest orgasm she had ever had.

 

“My wonderful baby girl,” Ben whispered into her ear when he stopped pulsing inside her. “So good for your Sir.”

 

She could only moan in pleasure. Everything that followed was a blur. Rey didn’t clearly remember how Ben washed her and himself, dried both of them and put her panties back on before carrying her to the bedroom and putting one of his T-shirts on her. She was already drifting to sleep when Ben climbed into bed and wrapped himself around her, playing the big spoon.

She dreamed of Ben kissing her nape.

 

“I love you so much, Rey”, he whispered into her ear. “You have no idea… I will never let you go.”

 

That was such a wonderful dream…

 

***

 

Ben was sitting in his office working. He had to wake Rey up so early this morning. She had to be at “the Workshop” before BB came, so he had gotten up even earlier to make her some breakfast to take with her before calling her an Uber.

 

They had talked in the morning and surprisingly managed to discuss a lot of things in such a short period of time. He had told her about Snoke’s possible plan and about what he and Hux thought of Dameron, and she had told him why she didn’t want to admit the idea Poe used for his project was hers. Rey explained her reasons and he had to accept them. He didn’t approve of it completely, but if she thought it was better that way, he wouldn’t say anything against. But he still promised himself to keep an eye on that Dameron fuck. Someday when Snoke wasn’t a danger for him, Rey or the Huxes anymore, Ben would crush this Dameron prick himself… But he could think about it later.

 

He still remembered how utterly beautiful and sexy Rey had been yesterday. He had to think of something very unsexy to stop his cock from hardening… Ben didn’t mind her periods. He even found it utterly intimate to paint his cock crimson as he was entering her from behind. This made Rey completely his. No one had had her that way. And no one ever would. Ben would make sure of it.

She was already sleeping and didn’t hear anything when he confessed his love to her… He would do it properly later. He was still too afraid to voice his feelings, afraid she would leave him. He couldn’t let it happen.

 

Ben was lost in his thoughts when someone knocked on his door.

 

“Come in!” he invited the visitor.

 

The door opened and Ben saw the purple haired deputy Holdo smiling at him from the threshold.

 

“Deputy Holdo!” Ben greeted her in surprise. “Good morning… How are you? How can I help you?”

 

Truth be told, Ben really liked Holdo. She was an adequate woman and a good professional. They had never been too close, but deputy Holdo was one of the few strangers whose presence he didn’t mind and even enjoyed sometimes.

 

“Professor Solo, hello! I’m fine, thank you, what about you?”

“Well… Same old, same old, I think,” he smiled politely. “How can I help you?”

“Oh, straight to the point, as usual,” Holdo smirked. “I like that in you. Never been a fond of small talk myself… Well, I wanted to ask you if you and Professor Hux had chosen the candidates for the Takodana competition.”

“Yes, yes, we did. As I informed you, we are on the same team with Hux. His candidate is actually Poe Dameron,” Ben frowned at the name.

“Oh, yes, Poe! I am not surprised. The best student in the course last year…”

“Well, yes. And my choice was Rey Johnson.”

“Johnson?” Holdo wrinkled her nose. “Can’t remember the name…”

“She is a sophomore Engineering student.”

“A sophomore, really?” Holdo looked at him inquiringly.

 

Ben hated it. How hard was it to believe that there could actually be worthy young students? He had faced these prejudices already back when he was young… He had managed to prove everyone who had doubted him wrong. But nothing had changed in the minds of people since then.

 

“Her project is very worthy. I helped Rey fill out a patent application.”

“A patent, really? How interesting! Well, I must say I like how it sounds… You see, our board members met with Doctor Snoke not long ago, and Mr. Snoke gave the board and idea of holding the dinner for future Takodana competitors. The students, their mentors and the board members…”

 

Ben tensed as he heard Snoke’s name and title. What did the old bastard plan?

 

“What are you saying, deputy?” he asked, frowning.

“You and your teammates have a dinner to attend… It will take place next Saturday. At Doctor Snoke’s house.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 15.

Something to remember. Or not...

 

When Holdo left, he pulled out his phone and called Hux. Ben was glad that the redhead had a break in his lectures at the moment because typing would be a problem for him. From the corner of his eye, Ben saw the new incoming message in his mailbox. The official invitation to the dinner party sent by Dr. Andrew Snoke himself. The fucking bastard!

 

“Solo?” Hux replied, his voice slightly concerned. Ben never called if it wasn’t something very important and usually preferred texting. “What’s wrong?”

“Did you see Holdo today?”

“Not yet… I was told she was looking for me… But you know how much I enjoy speaking to her. What is it?”

“Well, check your inbox. Now”

 

He heard some shuffling as Hux removed the phone from his ear and checked his e-mail.

 

“Oh, fuck! The fucking shitty bastard!” Hux growled into the phone a couple of minutes later. “What is he up to?”

“He probably wants to know more about Dameron and Rey and also to get to know other competitors…”

“Oh, dammit… And to hold the dinner in his house? How fucking kind of him!”

“We shall think about what to do, Hux.”

“Well, I guess, there’s only so much that can be done. The strategy should be the same. We don’t let him get to us.”

“We have our students to think about.”

“This is the same old story, Ben. We’ve discussed it a million times already. If they fail us, we’ll still have to stay as calm as possible. We can’t save them all if they decide to go to Snoke.”

 

Ben inhaled through his nose. The action made him feel slightly calmer. That was something his therapist had taught him ears ago. Now he would better use Rey’s scent to calm himself down, but he had to go with whatever he had at the moment.

 

“Will you come to the pub today?” Hux asked. “I think we all need a beer…”

 

It was their long-lived tradition to meet at a bar once or twice a week. Ben always enjoyed it. Their meetings made him feel better, made the constant pain in his chest fade away a bit. But now it would be better if he stayed with Rey. Ben frowned, remembering how tired she looked this morning. After all, their encounters took a lot of strength from her, and she didn’t get enough sleep. Rey had to have some rest. Ben had to give her this opportunity. She seemed calmer in the morning, and her panic attacks didn’t seem to be a problem at the moment. Someday she would live with him and he would make sure she was always well rested, full and sated. For now he had to give her an opportunity to have some sleep even if that meant he had to spend the night without her.

He shook his head at the thought. He was a grown-up man, for God’s sake! He had to stop being so clingy!

 

“Sure… Sure,” he answered to Hux. “At nine?”

“As always.”

 

After Ben hung up, he dialed Rey. She picked up her phone almost immediately.

 

“Ben?” she said quietly, and he realized that she wasn’t around anyone to eavesdrop on their conversation.

 

“Rey,” he had to stop himself from using any terms of endearments. After all, the walls had ears… “Have you checked your e-mail?”

“No… Just a moment. I’m at the library now… Good thing the librarian is away at the moment…”

 

Ben smirked, Rey’s voice calming his senses.

 

“Such a rule breaker,” he murmured.

“You should know it by now,” she whispered into the phone, making his cock alert. He could hear her smirk. “And it’s good that I’m here, otherwise I would not be able to check the mail…”

“Why?”

“My laptop is dying. I can work on it, but it just won’t connect to any wi-fi networks anymore. I don’t have any internet access at home,” she gasped suddenly, and Ben tensed. “Ben, I’m just telling you that so you wouldn’t be concerned when I am not answering your e-mails immediately… I check my e-mail twice a day from the library. I will fix my laptop soon, I promise.”

 

Ben cursed inwardly. There were so many things that he had to do for Rey that something always kept slipping from his attention. And she was concerned as usual that he would help her again... He was going to say something, but Rey interrupted him.

 

“Oh, shit…”

“You saw the message?”

“Yes, and I wish I didn’t. Is it the normal practice for Takodana to hold the dinners like that?”

“No. We’ve never had them before.”

“I see…”

“Rey… I don’t want you to worry…”

“I am not worried, Ben,” she interrupted him. “Well, at least not about myself. I am worried about you. You can barely keep it together when he is around.”

 

She was right. And Ben realized that Rey sounded much more mature than him at the moment. If there was anything that raised concerns in their current situation it was Ben’s ability to stay sane in Snoke’s presence. Ben frowned, realizing his vulnerability. He didn’t like it. He didn’t like it in the slightest!

 

“Ben,” Rey was probably concerned by the fact that he was keeping silent. “We can’t avoid it, but we’ll make through it, I promise…”

“You are doing it again,” he sighed.

“What?”

“Carrying everything on your little shoulders. Don’t worry, I won’t let him get to me. I have more than myself to worry about.”

“Yes, Professor Hux will be mad, I suppose…”

“I mean you, Rey.”

 

He heard her gasp when he interrupted her. They were silent for a minute, his words sinking into the both of them.

 

“Hux wants us to meet today,” Ben finally spoke. “We usually meet once or twice a week with him and Phasma to drink beer… I would love to see you tonight, but I think…”

“Oh, don’t worry,” he could hear her smiling into the phone. “I’m closing at eight today and I will try to study for a bit before I go to sleep. You don’t have to spend every night with me, you know.”

“I wish I could…”

 

He heard a sound Rey was making every time before she smiled shyly. He could picture it as if she was near him and the image made him crave being with her.

 

“Ben,” she whispered. “Don’t worry, spend some time with your friends.”

“Are you feeling okay? Does your anxiety still bother you?”

“No, no, I’m absolutely fine, I… I promise,” she sounded like she was smiling.

 

The image of Rey smiling, holding the phone close to her ear made his heart melt. The necessity of being away from her was tearing him apart.

 

“Are you warm?” he asked.

“I have my giant parka,” she laughed. “I am warmer than I was in the Jakku desert.”

 

Ben frowned at her mention of her former home.

 

“Text me if you feel bad or if you need my help. Rey, promise to text me if you need anything?”

“I will call you, I promise,” she whispered. “The librarian is coming back. I have to go…”

“I’ll see you later, Rey.”

“Bye, Ben.”

 

He hung up, turning to his laptop. After his conversation with Rey, Ben realized he had a few more errands to run before he could go and meet Hux and Phasma.

 

***

 

Rey was running towards “the Workshop”. She could make it on time to her shift, but she had to hurry. After her conversation with Ben she had to spend some time calming down. Snoke was never good news.

 

Rey’s thoughts turned to her conversation with Ben again. He was becoming so bossy sometimes, wondering about her wellbeing. One could say he sounded like her parent sometimes, but somehow Rey didn’t feel like that was the case. To her he sounded more like a powerful lover, someone who could take care of her. To her surprise, Ben’s concerns made Rey feeling aroused. She was replaying the previous night on the loop in her head. She had to feel embarrassed. No one had sex during their period, did they? But the memories of his cock in her swollen pussy made Rey almost moan out loud in the middle of the street. She shook her head, trying to get rid of the thoughts. She had a whole working shift in front of her and she had to stay focused. After all, she was okay with what had happened if Ben was okay with it. And he obviously was.

 

Rey worked with BB today, and the guy made her laugh like crazy. BB was extremely witty and funny and when they had to serve some difficult customer, he was making jokes after the man left that always improved Rey’s mood. The shift was nice and the sight of the tip cup made Rey feel happy.

 

“Excuse me, Miss Rey,” she didn’t realize where the voice was coming from at first. Rey leaned over the counter to see Matt, the boy who had accompanied his “not father” to “the Workshop” the day before yesterday, standing in front of the cash register.

“Oh, hi, Matt!” she greeted him, smiling. The boy’s face spread into the toothless grin when he saw Rey looking at him. “What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to have lunch,” the boy said proudly.

 

Rey looked at the clock on “the Workshop’s” wall. It was already close to five in the evening. A bit too late for a kid to have lunch.

 

“Okay, what can I get you?”

“What can I get for this?” Matt handed her the $1 bill and she took it, caught by surprise.

 

The bill was rumpled and dirty. It seemed, Matt had found it somewhere on the ground. Rey looked at the bill confused. The kid was still waiting for her response. His eyes roamed the cookies that were lying on display near the cash register. Rey gulped. Matt was obviously very hungry, but there was nothing she could get him for $1.

 

“Matt, do you know how much it is?” she asked as gently as she could.

“Why?” he sounded concerned. “Is it too much? I don’t usually have paper money…”

 

Rey frowned.

 

“You know what, Matt, you can tip me with this later,” she handed the bill back to the boy. “And now I have these leftovers from yesterday that just has to be eaten. Will you help me again?”

 

Matt’s face lit up with a smile.

 

“Will there be a chocolate cookie?”

“Yes, there will,” Rey smiled at the sight of boy’s excitement. “But tell me, Matt, what did you eat for… breakfast? Did you have anything afterwards before you came here?”

 

She could see the boy tensing.

 

“I wasn’t hungry!” he said defensively. “And I had some cereal and a granola bar for breakfast!”

 

Such a familiar diet it was…

 

“I am just asking this because we have some leftover tuna salad and a glorious bruschetta I would like you to help me with, Matt,” she hurried to explain.

“Okay…” the boy sounded suspicious. “What is the bru… brunetta?”

“Bruschetta! Oh, believe me, it is good!” Rey laughed. “Go take a seat somewhere. I’ll bring your lunch to you.”

 

Matt smiled at her again and ran off to find a place for himself.

“Leftovers, huh?” BB who came to the cash register in the middle of Rey’s conversation with Matt raised a brow at her.

“I will pay for this. Here,” she pulled out the notes from her wallet. Matt’s lunch was quite expensive, but Rey wanted to feed the boy. She also gave him her own tuna salad, to spare some money.

“Is this the boy Jar Jar told me about? The one with a bastard of a father who came here the day before yesterday and was mad at you?”

“That’s the one, but the guy is not his father. Listen, can I have my 15 minute break now?”

 

BB shrugged.

 

“Of course, go have your time.”

 

 

“Here you go,” Rey put a tray in front of Matt.

“Wow!” the boy exclaimed. “So much food! No wonder you couldn’t eat it yourself, Miss Rey!”

 

Rey had to bite back her smile.

 

“Well, we don’t always have so much, but you are right, I definitely required your help today. Help yourself, Matt. And, by the way, it is just Rey. No need to call me Miss.”

“Okay!” Matt agreed stuffing his face with bruschetta she brought him. “Wow, this is sooo tasty!”

 

Rey laughed.

 

“I’m glad you like it. I have my 15 minute break now, do you mind if I join you?”

“I don’t mind!” Matt shook his head.

 

She sat at the table across from him. Matt looked so thin and was consuming food so eagerly! She was worried about the boy and she wanted to know more about him.

 

“Can I ask you something, Matt?” she inquired.

“Hmm?” Matt’s mouth was so full that it was hard for him to talk.

“You said this man you came here with the day before yesterday was not your father… Who is he?”

 

Matt’s face became sad. He tensed again and Rey’s heart sank.

 

“He… He is my uncle,” the boy answered quietly once he swallowed his food.

“Do you live with him?”

“Yes… Since my mom died,” Rey’s chest clenched at boy’s words. He was silent and wasn’t even eating anymore.

“And… And your father?”

“I don’t remember him. Mom told me, he died when I was little…”

 

Little… He was still just a child… So, an orphan… An orphan just like her…

 

“I’m sorry, Matt,” she said kindly. The boy wasn’t looking at her. “I don’t have mom and dad either…”

 

The boy raised his eyes at her in surprise.

 

“Really?”

“Really-really,” she smiled sadly. “But I learned how to handle myself. And I am fine now. You will grow up and will be fine too, I promise.”

 

Rey wasn’t sure those were the right words to soothe the child’s pain. She had never heard anything soothing when she was a child. No one had tried to help her pain. But she had to do it for Matt anyway. Maybe, if she were kind to him, he would feel at least slightly better.

To her surprise, Matt smiled widely at her words.

 

“You think so?”

“I do!” Rey felt better from the way the boy looked at her at the moment.

“Good. Then I will be fine, grow up and marry you!”

 

She coughed in surprise.

 

“Excuse me?!”

“Well, you are beautiful! Mom told me that I would grow up and meet a beautiful girl someday. And she told me I would marry her. You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met! That means I will marry you when I grow up!”

 

Rey rolled her eyes and laughed. Immediately, Matt looked at her offended.

 

“Why are you laughing at me?” he asked pouting.

“No, no, I’m not laughing at you, kid,” she hurried to explain. “That’s just not how the things work. When you grow up there will be many more beautiful girls of your age around. And you will definitely marry one of them. I am too old for you, believe me.”

“Will they be as beautiful as you?” Matt asked incredulously.

“They will be much more beautiful, I promise!”

“Okay, but if they are not, I will marry you!”

“We’ll see,” Rey waved the boy off. He seemed too determined for his own good. “Tell me, Matt, isn’t it too late for you to be outside? Won’t your uncle be concerned?” she decided to change the subject.

 

Matt shrugged frowning, returning to his food.

 

“He is working late today… He won’t be home until…” suddenly the boy pulled out the pocket watch from his rusty coat. The watch looked very old and Rey had never seen anything like that before. One could probably find a watch like that in some antique shop. There was a chain attached to the watch, and Matt had to lift the lid that covered the clock face to look at it.

“That watch is beautiful, Matt,” Rey said as the boy struggled with the lid.

“This is from my mom. She said it was my father’s…”

 

Rey nodded, feeling her eyes watering and fighting the tears. She didn’t want to scare Matt off with them. The kid tensed every time she approached the subject of his current situation, so she had to be gentle about it. Good thing Matt was too occupied with the jammed lid to notice her distress.

 

“So,” Matt said when he finally lifted it. “He won’t be home until this little arrow is… here,” he showed Rey the number nine on the clock face.

“He won’t be home before nine?” Rey asked.

“Yes! Before nine!” Matt nodded, hiding the watch.

 

Rey frowned. She knew what it was like to live with someone who didn’t care about you. Matt’s uncle was leaving him alone and didn’t care very much about the boy’s wellbeing… Rey wished she could do something about it, but she knew all too well how the system worked. If she reported his uncle, someone would come to check if the information she gave them was true. This uncle of his was probably receiving money for having Matt with him. He would do everything possible to keep the boy with him and would make his life hell as soon as the Social Worker left. And even if Matt was taken from his uncle, there was no guarantee that he wouldn’t be sent to some worse foster family.

She was watching Matt eat when one more thought hit her.

 

“Matt…” she didn’t know how to be gentle about it. “Can you read numbers?”

 

He stopped chewing immediately and looked at her. Suddenly, an expression of embarrassment crossed his face. He looked down at his hands, and Rey noticed his lower lip trembling.

 

“Hey,” she said softly, taking his small hand in hers. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of, Matt.”

“I… I can’t,” he finally answered.

“Do you go to school?”

“I started this year… I am the oldest in my class… I didn’t go to school when I was with my mom.”

“Why?”

“She was sick.”

 

Rey squeezed Matt’s hand even tighter.

 

“They always say I’m stupid,” Matt sobbed. “Because I can’t read and don’t know numbers. My teacher explained how to count to us and how to read… But I… I don’t understand…”

 

Rey felt the tears finally starting to fall from her eyes. She brushed them off with her free hand and took a deep breath.

 

“Listen, Matt,” she said. “Look at me,” she waited for the boy to raise his teary eyes at her. “Sometimes things are hard for us to understand. Sometimes we don’t know what to do. But it doesn’t make us stupid. I am not very good with Literature, for example. I passed the necessary exams, but sometimes I just didn’t get it and was very happy when the course was over. And one of my working partners here is great with Literature, but he understands nothing when it comes to Engineering... Well, to the subjects I study. He even had to have a tutor last year.”

“Tutor?”

“A special teacher who helps you when you don’t understand the subject. My friend had to study with one guy last year.”

“He did?”

“He did,” that was true. Jar Jar had almost failed his exams the previous semester. He had managed to pass in the end, but it had given him some grey hair. “Why don’t you let me help you? You can finish your lunch now and then come to the tall chairs near the cash register there,” Rey showed Matt the direction. “I will try to teach you something in between serving the clients. What do you think?”

Matt was looking at her in disbelief. It was like he wasn’t sure if he had heard Rey correctly.

 

“You will help me?” he squeaked.

“I will try. I am not a teacher or a tutor, but I can try to explain some things to you. If you let me.”

“I will,” Matt’s toothless smile was so sincere and happy that Rey could literally feel the warmth emanating from the boy.

“Good,” she grinned back. “Then come to the cash register when you finish.”

 

 

Matt was sitting on the tall chair near the cash register, and Rey was joining him every time she didn’t have clients to serve or tables to clean. They started with the basics. Rey had bought a large package of M&M’s earlier to indulge herself with some chocolate in the evening. She had to spend the night without Ben, after all. She was fine like she had told him, but she needed some moral support for her night alone anyway, even if it was delivered in a form of M&M’s package. Now, however, it was put to a better use.

Rey formed twelve piles of candies on the table in front of Matt. The first one wasn’t even a pile as it consisted only of one candy. The second consisted of two, the third – of three and so on. Under each pile Rey put a piece of paper with a number written on it. It was time for Matt to learn how to read numbers properly.

 

“Good job!” she smiled at the boy when he finally learned and remembered each number. Now, I will switch them and you will tell me, what number it is without M&M’s.”

 

She smiled when she saw Matt’s face becoming sad at the sight of disappearing candies.

 

“Don’t worry,” she smirked. “I will be giving the candies back to you each time you give me the correct answer.”

“Oh, my mother used nuts to explain numbers to me,” BB who had been watching Rey and Matt for the past hour walked closer to them from the cash register. “Nuts also helped me to understand arithmetic very quickly.”

“I don’t understand arithmetic,” Matt frowned. “They also laugh at me at school when our teacher asks me to add or subtract something...”

“Well, now when you know numbers everything will be easier, I think,” BB smirked kindly.

“It’s my turn to work by the cash register and I will also clean up some tables, you’ve cleaned enough for today, BB,” Rey sighed. “Matt, repeat the numbers, I will come back to you soon.”

“I could help you with numbers,” BB offered. “I will be by the coffee machine anyway, and I know how to use M&M’s for learning,” he smiled at Matt. “What do you think, buddy? Can you earn some M&M’s by solving a few equations?”

 

Matt nodded eagerly, smiling so wide that Rey was afraid the boy would hurt his mouth. It was already seven in the evening, and “the Workshop” was filling with students and university staff when BB and Matt finally finished. Matt turned out to be a fast learner, so in the end he not only knew numbers, but could also solve the easiest equations. Rey’s chest clenched for the hundredth time this evening when she saw the happy expression on the boy’s face.

 

“Good job, buddy, here are your M&M’s,” BB smiled at Matt.

“Thank you!” Matt exclaimed excitedly, taking the candy from BB’s hand and putting it straight into his mouth.

“It’s already late, Matt,” Rey said. “You can’t stay outside at this time of the evening, kid. I think we can continue the other day. I don’t want you to have problems with your uncle.”

“Okay...” Matt’s expressive face became sad again.

“Look, kid, next time come here with your homework from school.” rey put her hand in his. “You’ll help me with the leftovers, and we will do your homework together afterwards, what do you think?”

“I’d like to come,” Matt smiled lightly and looked at Rey with hope.

“I’m working half of the afternoon shift tomorrow. I will be here from one to half past five, I can show you on your watch when you can come.”

“Or you can come here straight after school and start making your homework with me and my friend Jar Jar, and Rey will join us later,” BB interrupted before smiling at her. “After all, I know where we keep our... leftovers.”

 

Rey gasped, realizing what BB was offering. She smiled gratefully at her coworker.

 

“Really?! Can I come after school, Rey?” Matt asked excitedly. It was so easy to make this boy happy...

“Of course, if BB is ready to help, why not? Do you live far from here? Do you need someone to follow you home?”

“No, no, my home is... not far away!” Rey didn’t like how fast Matt refused her offer. “Bye, Rey! Bye, BB! See you tomorrow!” Matt ran away from the coffee shop faster than Rey could answer him.

“I guess, he just lied...” BB murmured.

“Yeah... I am worried to let him go just like that...”

“I don’t think we will be fast enough to catch him now. Next time we should make him let us follow him home.”

“But if we push him, he won’t come back, I’m afraid.”

 

BB looked at her concerned.

 

“Is he... having serious troubles at home?”

 

Rey sighed and told BB everything she knew about Matt’s story.

 

“They could take him from his uncle if we reported him, but I don’t think that it’s the best option... The system is rotten... He could end up in some really awful family very far away from here...”

“And you know that because?..”

 

She looked at BB, frowning. She wasn’t going to bring this up to him so soon.

 

“I... I spent my childhood in the system...” she finally confessed.

“I see...” BB looked at her and suddenly smiled kindly. “I guess, that’s one of those stories you’ll tell me when you are ready, isn’t it?”

 

Rey nodded, relaxing a bit. She had probably done something right in her life, because all the new people around her were somehow... better than before. BB, Jar Jar, Phasma... Ben. Her life was changing with them around. And now, when BB stood by her side, not pushing her into telling him anything, eager to know more about her, but giving her all the time she needed, Rey felt... right.

 

“Thank you, BB,” she whispered.

“No problem, beauty,” he grinned. “And this kid of yours... I want to help him too. He is a fast and grateful learner. And I’ll help you with the “leftovers” for him,” BB made quotes with his fingers. “I can’t let you give him your own food. You are too thin yourself!”

“BB, you don’t have to!”

“I know, I don’t. But I want to. Let’s split the cost 50/50, shall we?”

“Are you sure?”

“Stop arguing with me, babe,” BB grinned. “You need to learn to accept help! But I think we should better buy some bread, peanut butter and jelly at the grocery shop. PB&J is always a good idea when you are hungry! It will be cheaper than to buy him something from “the Workshop’s” menu.”

 

Rey hadn’t thought about it. That was a good idea to just cook for Matt!

 

“Yes, that’s a great idea, but just PB&J won’t be enough. The kid should eat normally.”

“Oh, look, you sound like his mom already,” BB laughed, making Rey frown. “Don’t be offended, honey, I know you care about him. We will buy some normal food. I wonder what his uncle might think if he finds out...”

“Let’s hope, he won’t,” Rey sighed. “Let’s hope, he won’t...”

 

 

She was fighting with her dying laptop, sitting in her room half an hour after she closed “the Workshop” when somebody knocked on the door. Well, “somebody” wasn’t the right word. The only people who had keys to “the Workshop” were Phasma, Hux, BB, Rey herself and Ben. And nobody except for Ben arrived unannounced. But wasn’t he supposed to meet his friends today? She opened the door, feeling her heart trying to jump away from her chest, as always when Ben was around.

 

He was standing on her threshold with two large bags in both his hands.

 

“Hey!” Rey stepped back to let him in. “God, what is that?”

 

Ben put the bags on the floor and turned to her. Rey was still looking at the bags in surprise when he walked closer to her and pulled her face to him with a tender touch of his hand. She smiled uncontrollably under his gaze. She was so happy to see him here!

 

“Hi,” she whispered.

“Hi,” he whispered back before kissing her.

 

She wrapped her arms around his neck, standing on her tiptoes. Even as he leaned over, she had to lift herself up to reach him. The kiss was tender. Ben was holding her as if he was afraid to break her. After everything they’d done the previous night that felt different, but still divine. However, after several minutes of tender kisses Rey pulled Ben closer to herself, deepening the kiss. Her action made Ben groan as he responded to it, pushing his tongue deeper into her mouth.

 

“Rey, sweetheart,” suddenly he stopped kissing her and took a step back still holding her in his arms. “I’ll have to go soon. And it will be very hard to explain my boner to Hux. I hate to say it, but we need to stop.”

 

Rey laughed.

 

“And I thought you reconsidered going out with your friends.”

“I am trying my best not to reconsider it now,” Ben growled. “I wanted to give you something...”

 

Rey remembered the bags on the floor. She had completely forgotten about them!

 

“Oh, right! What is it?”

“Go, take a look.”

 

Rey opened the first package and gasped. Inside was a box with a brand new laptop.

 

“Ben...” Rey frowned.

“Darling, listen to me,” Ben interrupted her. “You need a laptop that works normally. What if you write an important paper and your old laptop dies?”

“And what if it doesn’t?! Ben, you can’t just throw away your money! That costs so much!”

“This model is not expensive at all. I knew you wouldn’t accept anything expensive and I chose the most popular model for the average price. I have money, this laptop costs nothing to me!”

“And I don’t want to accept it! Ben! I am not your charity case!”

 

For some reason she was very angry. She knew Ben didn’t mean anything bad, buying her a new laptop, but for some reason his actions made her feel uncomfortable.

Rey remembered Poe when they had first met. He had also given her so many expensive presents and had mocked her with every single one if them afterwards. She knew, Ben was different... But all of this was just too much for her. Rey took a deep breath and looked at him.

 

Rey gasped. He looked so hurt. So confused and lost by her rejection. Then he frowned, shrugging.

 

“You know what, Rey,” he said quietly. “Do whatever you want with this, but I am not taking it back. I never thought of you as of a charity case. I respect you too much for that! But if it’s hard for you to believe my words, throw everything I brought you away. Do it if you don’t need it or if you are too proud to accept it, but that’s just foolish!”

 

He sounded angry and disappointed and his words stung. Rey’s eyes began to water at his intonation.

 

“What’s wrong with me trying to handle myself?”

“There’s nothing wrong with it, but there’s also nothing wrong with letting me buying you presents and taking care of you! You promised to let me yesterday, don’t you remember? What’s wrong with that? Please, explain it to me, I don’t get it!” he was almost shouting at her, and Rey felt so hurt that tears started to fall from her eyes.

“I wouldn’t be able to buy it for myself! And I am afraid to accept it! Because...” she couldn’t continue. Because what?

 

Because I’m afraid to depend on you, like I did on Poe? Because I am not used to somebody taking care of me? Because I love you and I am afraid that you will never love me back if I am too weak?

 

Her tears made Ben freeze in place. He tried to get closer to her, but Rey took a step back, seeing his face sinking.

 

“Because what, Rey? he asked her quietly.

“Because I don’t want to be weak!” She finally shouted. “I am afraid to be weak. I am afraid to be dependent... I used to be like that and I was left on the streets. I would probably frozen to death there if it wasn’t for you... And I’m afraid that it will happen again...”

 

She was crying now, and this time Ben didn’t hesitate to walk closer to her and wrap her in his arms. They stood like that for a couple of minutes, his scent calming her emotions.

 

“You are still comparing me to that Dameron fuck,” he stated, holding her close. He sounded hurt and suddenly Rey felt ashamed. He didn’t deserve it... “Please, darling, stop it. I would gladly kill that fucker for what he had done to you. I am not him. I am a little offended by the fact that I have to prove it, to tell you the truth, but I will do it if you need it.”

“No, Ben,” she whispered. “There’s no need, I know... I know you are not him,” she sobbed into his chest.

“Then let me tell you this, darling: I will keep giving you presents. I will do it again and again until you get used to it. Throw it away if you want, I will just buy you more. It’s okay to give something to the person you... care about, Rey. Adult people do it. You would do the same to me if you had an opportunity.”

“But I don’t have it...”

“And that doesn’t make you weak in my eyes... Rey,” he stepped back to look at her tear-stained face. “I love giving you things. I love seeing you using them or wearing them. If I had it my way, I would be buying you something as expensive as possible, because you deserve the best. You deserve the best because you are who you are. But you are also my woman, Rey.”

 

She gasped at his words, feeling them going through her, warming every part of her body.

 

“You are my woman. And I want to spoil my woman. And I haven’t even started yet, because what I brought you today are just some necessary things. I thought that we agreed to be together, didn’t we?”

“We did...”

“How do you imagine me behaving when I know that you need something basic that I can get you easily? Do you really expect me to ignore it?”

“I...” she didn’t know what to say. When Ben put it that way, everything sounded perfectly logical. She felt a bit stupid.

“I care about you, Rey. I know it’s hard for you to believe it after everything you’ve been through. But I am not going anywhere, sweetheart. If you let me stay. I am not one to say things like that without thinking twice. I spent years alone. I am serious about you, Rey. It’s okay if you are not for now, but as long as you let me stay by your side I will be taking care of you. Do you understand?”

 

She hugged him tighter, smelling him.

 

“I do, Ben,” she whispered. “I am sorry...”

“Don’t be,” he kissed her temple. “Just stop rejecting my attention and care.”

“Okay. Okay, I’ll try, just don’t buy me anything too expensive for the time being please. I know, I sound stupid, but I need to get used to it slowly,” she heard him agreeing with her. “And I am serious about you too, by the way, please, darling, don’t doubt it.”

 

Ben gave her a peck on the nose before letting her go.

 

“I would love to kiss you properly, sweetheart,” he smiled. “But I won’t be leaving you soon that way. And I need to meet Hux and Phasma. Check on the other things I brought you...”

 

Ben bought her a new phone... She shook her head, but didn’t argue. After all, her old one was also dying. She accepted the gift, and this time it was easier for her to do it. And then she opened the second bag.

 

“Ben, when did you buy all of it?!” she exclaimed.

“I ordered it today and made them deliver it quickly.”

“Oh my God... How do you know my size?”

“I checked it this morning when you were still sleeping.”

 

He bought her new shoes. They were of the same style she was usually wearing, but warmer. And he also bought her a new parka and one more sweater. The parka was in her size and the sweater was cashmere. It was of the warm coffee color. Rey had seen a sweater like this on display in the mall. It cost a fortune and was sold in the shop Rey would probably not be allowed to enter... Rey took a deep breath, trying to suppress the anxious feeling in her chest. Everything he brought her was so expensive...

 

“You told me you are afraid to be dependent...” Ben said, obviously realizing her hesitation. “But I think that’s a normal thing for a couple. To be a little bit dependent from each other. We both know we can survive alone. We spent years apart, after all. But now there is no need to live like that anymore. And probably my wellbeing depends on your wellbeing now, Rey, but I don’t mind it at all...”

 

Her heart finally melted. She was listening to him realizing that he was honest with her. Ben was right, of course. It was completely fine to be dependent from each other. It still surprised her that he could feel dependent on her, but she finally accepted it. He was sitting on her bed, and Rey walked closer to him and crawled into his lap, feeling his arms around her immediately.

 

“Thank you, Ben,” she whispered.

“Anytime, sweetheart.”

 

***

 

Ben was absolutely drunk. It seemed Hux wanted to drown all the stress this week had already brought them in the alcohol they were consuming. They had never drunk so much before. Ben was completely wasted.

Phasma was smirking looking at the two if them. She was also slightly tipsy, but her condition was not even close to the state Ben and Hux were in. It seemed that as soon as the blonde realized her husband’s drinking ambitions she decided to stay at least a little bit sober.

 

“You are a fucking witch, Phas,” Ben groaned. “Why didn’t you stop me when I went for my third glass?”

“Oh, the third glass was three glasses ago. I had to see how far you can go, Ben, just to blackmail you with it afterwards,” the tall woman smirked.

“Witch...”

“Don’t you dare winsulting my ife, Solo!” Hux exclaimed, hiccuping. “She means da world for me, I won’t let you speak to her like ‘at!”

“Oh, thank God I chose this bar,” Phasma rolled her eyes. “Too far from the campus to meet any of your students...”

“I love you, darling!”

“I know, I know, love. I love you too! But I think it’s time for us to call our Ubers. Give me your phone, Ben.”

“You know, Solo,” Hux didn’t let up. “I wish you found someone. You have us, of course. You are my best friend, man, do you know it?! But you are waking up in your cold bed alone every morning... That’s not good... You deserve to be happy. Just like Phas and I!”

 

Ben though about Rey. His mind was blurry, but her image was the only thing that was clear and bright.

 

“Let’s find you someone, Solo!” Hux tried to stand up from his chair to go searching already, but Phasma stopped him with one swift movement of her hand.

 

“Whoa, love! Take it easy! Let’s not make Ben happy right away.”

“But, love! He needs to find the love of his life! What if she is here, in this bra...”

“I hope you mean “bar”, honey... Because there is no way I will let you look for Ben’s sweetheart in somebody else’s bra,” Phasma murmured, finishing calling their Ubers.

“Bar... Of course, I meant bar! What if she is here? Waiting for Ben?!”

“What makes you think I haven’t found one yet, you ginger bastard?” Ben groaned, unable to listen to Hux’s jabber. He regretted his words as soon as they left his mouth.

“What? Do I know her? Who is she?! Oh, don’t tell me it is that fucking bitch, Bazine! She doesn’t deserve you!”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” Benn rolled his eyes. His head was starting to hurt like hell. He was still drunk but it seemed his hangover had already gotten to him.

“Well, who is she? Because if I didn’t know you, I would say that it was this girl of yours... Johnson!” Ben tensed. “You are behaving way too ooooooddly when she’s around, man!”

“Well, good thing our Ubers are here!” Phasma interrupted her husband. “Off we go! Come on!”

 

She dragged Hux with her and Ben followed.

 

“Solo, don’t screw your student, man, I warn ya! I will report us... I mean you! If you put us all in danger, I will report ya! Oh, I love you so much, man, you are my best friend!”

 

Phasma pushed Hux into the car and turned to Ben.

 

“I hope for your own good that you both won’t remember this conversation tomorrow,” she tried to frown, but laughed instead of that. “Oh, God, Ben, I will tease you with that forever! Come on, honey, let me help you into your car.”

 

He was barely standing, so Phasma had to support him. They were walking slowly towards his Uber when it hit him.

 

“Phas... I don’t want to be alone now...”

 

His friend stopped, turning her head to look at him.

 

“Ben, do you want to come with us? I will send your Uber away. You can hit the couch at our place... Well, not a couch, our guest bedroom...”

“No, no, I don’t want to go to yours, but I don’t want to be alone... Not now, not ever... Hux is fucking right, I don’t want to wake up alone anymore, I don’t want to live alone anymore, I don’t. Want. To be. Alone!”

 

Phasma was silent for a moment.

 

“Oh, fucking hell,” she sighed.

 

She put him into his car and asked the driver to wait. Ben was drifting off quickly and didn’t see where Phasma went. Then she came back, said something to the driver and leaned closer to him.

 

“Please, try to sober up a bit during you ride,” she said quietly. “Otherwise you’ll crush her.”

“Crush whom?” he murmured, but Phasma closed the door and told the driver to go.

 

Ben fell asleep and woke up abruptly only when the car slowed down sharply. His eyes opened wide and he looked around him. He wasn’t near his home. The lights of “the Workshop” sign illuminated the parking lot in front of the coffee shop. Ben got out of the car. His head was spinning, though he was a bit more sober than when he was leaving the bar.

 

“Ben?” Rey’s concerned voice made him almost jump in surprise.

“Rey?” He asked hoarsely. “What... What am I doing here?..”

 

She burst out laughing.

 

“Well-well, Professor Solo... Who could have thought...”

 

He was still looking at her in confusion, and she walked closer, putting his arm around her shoulder and supporting him. He tried not to lean on her too much.

 

“Phasma called me and explained the situation. She said she was too afraid to send you home in your condition. Asked me if I was okay with having you here like that,” Rey explained.

 

Nothing made sense to Ben at the moment, so all he could do was to feel grateful to the Universe that this marvelous, amazing, beautiful girl was by his side now.

 

“And what did you tell her?” he still asked, his tongue tangled.

“I told her to send you here.”

“You did?” he felt himself grinning like a fool.

“Of course I did,” Rey smirked.

 

She helped him to reach her room and put him on the bed. Last thing he remembered were Rey’s hands taking off his shoes. He felt so great. Rey was near him and he finally felt like home.

 

(Rey’s POV)

 

Looking at drunk Ben Solo sleeping on her bed, Rey thought that now she had seen everything... Phasma explained to her that this was not a common situation. She asked if Rey could look after Ben and of course she could. It was half past eleven now and Rey wanted to get some sleep as well. Ben smelled of beer, but she loved the smell on him. She had to pull his clothes off and then she was going to snuggle by his side and have some rest. She was happy to have him near, despite Ben being drunk as fuck. She had to talk to him about it tomorrow and maybe tease him a bit.

 

Sighing, she pulled his shoes off. Ben seemed to be soundly asleep already, but Rey had to wake him up to take off his jacket and the T-shirt. Jeans would be too hard to get rid of, so Ben could sleep in them, she decided.

 

“Ben, darling, wake up for a second. Let’s take your jacket off,” she whispered.

 

Ben moaned, but did as he was told.

 

“Rey, sweetheart,” he murmured, still half asleep.

“What is it, darling?”

“ Am sorry that um such a mess,” he whispered.

“It’s okay, Ben. You need to sleep now.”

“Stay with me, darlin’.”

“Of course I will,” she smirked. “We are in my room.”

“Okay... Okay... Rey, I never want to let you go. You are the most impor... important person in the world to me... I want to wake up with you every mornin’...”

 

Rey’s heart warmed despite Ben’s condition. He was probably just too drunk for his own good, but his words were still so nice to hear.

 

“You are my little sunshine, Rey,” he murmured, his eyes closed when she finally pulled his T-shirt off. “I love you so much, darling... You have no idea... You have no fucking idea how much I love you, Rey...”

 

With these words he fell back on the bed snoring lightly. Rey was standing with his T-shirt in her hands, her mouth agape.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16.

Ways of showing it.

 

His head hurt like hell. Something near his ear was making the most terrible noises possible, and Ben tried to turn his head to see what it was. He wish he hadn’t…

“Aaaaarhg,” Ben groaned, clutching his head.

“Ben, don’t move, darling,” Rey’s worried voice made him open his eyes wide.

She reached over to the nightstand by the bed and turned off the alarm on her phone. He was in her room… In “the Workshop”… What on Earth was he doing there? Rey climbed off the bed and grabbed the old sweater she was usually wearing at home from the floor. Ben reached for her hand, and she sat on the bed by his side, cupping his cheek.

“I’m afraid it’s time to wake up,” she said, not looking him in the eyes for some reason. “But you need to do it slowly. Phasma said yesterday that she would be the one to open “the Workshop” today, so BB will come later. But you have your lectures soon, and I think you need to change beforehand.”

She looked tense for some reason, and Ben felt panic washing over him in waves. What did he do yesterday?

“Rey…” he whispered hoarsely, squeezing her hand tightly. “Sweetheart, I’m sorry…”

“What for?” she finally looked at him in surprise.

“I came to you yesterday... like this… I should have gone home… You shouldn’t have seen me this way…”

Rey laughed heartily at this.

“Well, as far as I understood from Phasma’s words, that is not a common situation for you. And you were quite… amusing… So don’t worry, Ben, there’s nothing to be sorry about.”

Her laugh made the pain in his head strike back. He shut his eyes groaning slightly.

“Oh, sorry,” Rey bethought herself.

“That’s fine. I just need some ibuprofen… Phasma has it in the kitchen.”

“Get dressed and come downstairs then. I’ll brush my teeth and make you some coffee and ibuprofen.”

“God!” he moaned, raising off the bed. “Oh, fuck…”

“Oh, darling, you are so old…” Rey smirked, leaving the room.

Ben would slap her for her daring, but every action was causing him pain at the moment and he decided not to.

 

He walked downstairs to the smell of the coffee that Rey had brewed for him in an ibrik. He raised his brow at the sight of Rey using ibrik. Not very many people knew how to use it at all, but Rey seemed to know what she was doing. Usually, Phasma was the one to make him coffee, but the blonde was still not there. He thought that Rey would make him a cup from the coffee machine. It would be awful like all coffees from coffee machines were (Ben always hated it, no matter how good the machine was), but in his condition that would do. However, to his surprise Rey was using an ibrik…

“Start with ibuprofen, darling,” he adored it when she called him that. He even managed to smile at her. “I know you don’t like the coffee from the coffee machine, so I will try to make you something tolerable. And then Phasma can make you something else when she comes.”

“How do you know how to use an ibrik?” Ben wondered.

“I grew up in Jakku, remember?” Rey shrugged. “They often can’t afford coffee machines there. I used to make tea on the sand in an ibrik sometimes, and then I learned how to make coffee. When I got the chance to get normal coffee beans I would always make myself a cup.”

Ben wondered how many surprises were there still to discover in Rey.

“Thank you, sweetheart,” he smiled, shaking his head. She still looked tense and that worried him immensely. “Rey, what’s wrong?”

She looked at him.

“What do you mean?” she smiled, but he could tell that the smile was forced.

“Rey, I can see you are tense…” Please, don’t you lie to me, I will find out anyway…

As if she could read his mind, she took a deep breath and her shoulders sank.

“Do you… Do you remember what you told me yesterday?” she asked him, keeping steering the coffee.

“I…” the problem was he didn’t. Last thing he remembered was him arriving to “the Workshop” and falling asleep. “Not really… The whole evening is a blur… I think… I don’t know. I remember Hux telling me he loved me…” Rey burst out laughing at this. “And then,” he smiled, feeling ibuprofen working. “I remember you supporting me when we were climbing the stairs to your room…”

“I see.”

“Rey, what did I say?” this time he started to panic for real. “Was I rude with you? Did I say something wrong? Sweetheart, tell me!”

“No, no, it was nothing like that,” she smiled, pouring his coffee into a mug. “It’s just…”

She was hesitating and Ben didn’t like it. What did he do?!

“Rey,” he groaned, sounding almost menacingly.

“You told me I was the most important person in the world for you…” she suddenly said, raising her eyes at him. “And that you… never want to let me go…”

It seemed, he released the whole amount of available air from his lungs. Thank God! That was not something terrible to say! And it was true. He should probably never drink that much again, but there was nothing wrong with the things he said, right? Why was Rey so tense then.

“Little one, why are you so concerned? That is all true...” God, was it too much for her? Did he overstep?

“It is?” her face was surprised and somehow more relaxed after his words.

“Of course… I hope it’s not too much for you, and I’m sorry you had to hear that from me when I was absolutely wasted… But… I can’t fight it…”

Rey looked at her hands, smiling shyly and then frowned a bit again.

“Rey, was that everything I told you yesterday?” Why was she so tense?

“Yes, yes…” she was still hesitating about something, but that could be the consequence of what he had told her minutes before. “So… You really mean it?”

Ben reached for her hand, covering it with his.

“Rey, look at me,” she did as she was told and he smiled at her tenderly. “I meant every word. You are the world to me…And I will do everything to never let you go…”

He was ready to tell her he loved her right now, but he was hangover and gross, and Rey deserved something perfect when he would confessed his love to her. Not the disgusting morning breath he had at the moment.

She smiled shyly and finally looked at him as she always did: tenderly and without any tension in her eyes.

“You know, I’m so happy to have you in my life…” she said quietly. “No matter how crazy everything we are doing right now is, I still… couldn’t wish for more… in my man. You are mine, Ben,” she said quietly, but determined. “Mine.”

His heart was biting into his ribs. It was hard for him to breathe. His little strong amazing woman was standing in front of him so confident, claiming him hers. They were both still slightly puffy from the night sleep, but Rey was still overwhelmingly beautiful in her determination.

“Yours,” he said hoarsely.

“As I am yours,” she concluded, and for the hundredth time this morning Ben wanted to lay the world at Rey’s feet.

“Hey, lovebirds!” Phasma’s cheerful voice sounded too loud for him. “Stop doing whatever you do. Ben, your Uber will be here in 15 minutes, hon. You have to get home before your lectures. And I will make you some coffee now or you will be smelling of fumes. And Rey will fetch a sandwich for you to take away. Rey, give him…”

“Grilled cheese with extra cheese and ham, I know,” Rey smiled and went to the kitchen.

“Oh God... Marry her, Ben,” Phasma smirked, watching his girl walking away.

“I will,” he murmured.

“What?” the blonde turned to him, obviously not hearing him clearly.

“I said, Rey already made me a cup of coffee.”

“Oh, did she?” Phasma raised her brow. “You obviously haven’t tasted it yet, considering your good spirits.”

Ben smirked, finally sipping on his coffee. Truth be told, he didn’t expect anything good. He was too hard to please when it came to coffee. Only he himself and Phasma knew how to make a good cup. Especially in an ibrik. But when he tasted what Rey had made for him his world stopped spinning.

The coffee she made was very good... No, it was more... it was breathtakingly, gloriously, amazingly, mouthwateringly delicious! He’d never tasted anything like that before.

“Oh God…” he moaned, closing his eyes.

“Is it that bad?” Phasma frowned. “Give it to me, I’ll make you a good cup, don’t take it out on the girl…”

“Phas, try it!” he interrupted his tall friend.

Phasma took the mug from his hands in confusion and sipped from it.

“Sweet baby Jesus! This is fucking amazing!” she looked at the mug in her hands like it wasn’t real. “Rey!”

Rey walked back from the kitchen with Ben’s sandwich put into the take away bag, looking concerned.

“What on Earth did you put into it?!” Phasma exclaimed.

Rey tensed.

“Baby,” Ben hurried to comfort her. “This coffee is amazing! I have never tasted anything like that before. Phasma just wanted to know how you made it.”

“Really?!” Rey smiled happily. “Well, I added some Jakku thorn into it. I found some in the kitchen yesterday. People of Jakku put it into everything. Truth be told, it can make the sand taste good if used properly.”

“For God’s sake…” Phasma was so eager to have some more of Rey’s coffee that Ben had to tear the mug away from the blonde’s hands. “If I knew that you could use this shit for anything other than Jakku pie that I used to have on the menu in the summer, I would have bought more… You have to teach me how to use it properly.”

“I am not a good cook,” Rey shrugged. “But I used to live on tea, coffee or hot water for days when I lived in Jakku, so I learned how to use it for beverages. I will show you.”

Both Ben and Phasma frowned at her words, but Rey didn’t notice that.

“Go prepare for your day, honey,” Phasma smiled at her. “I will warm your daily breakfast sandwich for you. This Professor Solo of yours will have to go soon anyway.”

“I’ll see you in class today, Professor Solo,” she smirked before walking away.

“Bye sweetheart,” he smiled, watching her go.

“God, Solo, you are sooo smitten,” Phasma rolled her eyes.

He rolled his eyes, but then frowned thoughtfully. Phasma was right, after all.

“I am, Phas,” he nodded seriously and the tall woman looked at him with interest.

“God, are you in love with her?!” she squinted.

Ben sighed. There was no need to hide it anymore. At least, not from Phas.

“Yes. Moreover, I love her,” Ben rubbed his temples. His friend was watching him intently.

“Good for you, darling,” she finally smiled. “Good for you. She is a good girl…”

“She is so young, Phas…” finally, he voices his concerns to somebody and somehow it made him feeling better.

“Well, she still wants to be with you, doesn’t she?” Phasma shrugged. “Don’t overthink this. Age means nothing. Rey is more adult than many people that are older than the two of us. And she cares for you.”

“I haven’t even asked her how old she actually is,” Ben sighed. “Was too afraid to hear the answer, I suppose…”

“Well, she will turn twenty one this Saturday,” Phasma smiled. “I saw her docs when I was hiring her.”

Ben looked at his friend in astonishment.

“Oh God,” he whispered.

Rey had a birthday and he had no idea about it.

“Phas… I need your help,” he murmured.

“I bet, you do, Ben. I bet, you do.”

***

Rey was standing behind the cash register watching Jar Jar learning letters with Matt. When she came to “the Workshop” today, BB had already helped the boy with his homework and now Jar Jar was eagerly teaching the kid how to read. It seemed, all her coworkers were completely in love with the boy now.

Their schedules was  usually very shuffled. Phasma didn’t want to hire too many people that’s why, except for Rey, Jar Jar and BB, there were two other girls covering other shifts and Phasma worked a lot herself. Somehow, this system worked, because everything was flexible enough to be adjusted to the schedules of all the participants. Today, for example, Rey worked half of the afternoon shift with Phasma and then one of the other girls was coming in to cover the second half of the shift while Rey was meeting her competition team. Phasma hadn’t arrived yet. She left after BB showed up in the morning to have some rest and help Hux cope with his hangover before his classes started.

Rey’s thoughts drifted to the previous night when Ben told her he loved her… She didn’t know what to think about it. He was absolutely drunk… Even Hux had told Ben yesterday that he loved him, so Ben had probably been in the same condition of selfless love for everything and everyone when he confessed his love to Rey… She hadn’t told him about his confession in the morning because she didn’t want to scare him off. But on the other hand, he admitted that everything else he had said was true… So now Rey was so full of hope and so terrified at the same time that it almost hurt. And then there was this conversation they had had in the morning. The one that also felt like love confession. Rey was confused.

No, she wouldn’t tell him anything. If Ben wanted to claim his love to her, he had to do it… sober. And Rey wanted so much to hear those words from him… But she wouldn’t push it.

 “Look, Rey! I learned the alphabet!” Matt’s voice pulled her out of her trance.

“Oh, did you?” Rey grinned. “Let me hear it!”

“A,B,C,D, E, F, Geeee,” Matt started to sing, and Rey couldn’t help, but smile so wide that her cheeks hurt.

“…X, Y, Z!” Matt finished, and Rey clapped and cheered him together with Jar Jar. “I also know how to write some of them now!” Matt added proudly.

“I am so proud of you, kid,” Rey smiled and the boy’s face lit up even more.

“Oh, who do we have here?” Rey turned to Phasma’s voice behind her. Her blonde boss was watching Matt curiously.

“Oh, hi, boss... This is Matt. Matt is a friend of mine… and Jar Jar’s… and BB’s.”

“Rey, Jar Jar and BB are teaching me how to count and how to read. And they also always ask me to help them finish the leftovers!” Matt declared.

“Leftovers?” Phasma raised her brow, and Rey froze in place.

“I will explain, boss,” Rey whispered.

“Please do...”

After half an hour of explanation everything was settled, and Rey could only thank the higher powers for such a glorious boss.

“You can’t feed him with the food from the menu all the time. It’s too expensive... And I would gladly feed him for free, but it’s...”

“There’s no need, Phasma,” Ray hurried to say. “BB and I bought some food from the grocery store nearby. We are cooking ourselves for him. I only pay for his chocolate cookie and BB gets him a small cup of hot chocolate. Matt doesn’t eat too much.”

“I see,” Phasma rubbed her forehead. “So he is having troubles at home?..”

After one more hour, Jar Jar and Matt finally finished their studies. Rey would never believe that a six-year-old like Matt would be able to sit still for several hours, studying, but the boy did. And by the end of their class with Jar Jar, Matt moved forward so much in his reading and counting that Rey was surprised for real..

“Good job, Mathew,” Jar Jar said satisfied. “We can continue next time. You did a good job.”

“Thank you, Jason!” Matt grinned. “Look, Rey, I can read syllables!”

“Well done, Matt! I’m so proud of you!”

“And I can read this word here!” Matt pointed at the menu. “Look, cooooooo-ke!”

“Oh, just look at you!” Phasma’s voice reached her from behind again. “You are right. Here, take it!” she handed Matt the chocolate cookie.

“Wow, thank you!” Matt looked at Phasma in awe and suddenly Rey saw her boss’s eyes watering. “Rey,” Matt turned to her. “Can I stay for a bit more today? You promised to teach me how to read time...”

“Sure...” Rey started, but was interrupted by her tall boss.

“I can teach you, kid,” the tall woman said. “Hey, Jat Jar! Will you watch the coffee shop for me?”

When Rey was leaving “the Workshop”, Matt was still there, listening to Rey’s tall boss.

 

She was nervous, approaching the classroom where their competition team was supposed to meet. However, she smiled happily, seeing Ben sitting at the desk in front of the class.

“Professor Solo, good evening,” she smiled, putting her bag on the table and taking off her new parka. Ben raised his head in surprise and looked at her intently. She knew he was keeping his face in line, but Rey saw what was hidden behind the indifferent mask. He was happy to see her and even more happy to know she’d accepted his present.

“Miss Johnson,” he nodded, his lips curling up for a second.

“And where is my “good evening”, Rey?” Poe’s voice asked from the other end of the classroom. Rey saw Ben’s head lifting up at the sound as she turned to face her ex-boyfriend.

“I didn’t notice you, Poe,” she shrugged. “Good evening.”

“So, what are your plans for this Saturday?” he smirked. “Will you be working on your genius project all alone in your room?”

Rey scowled, looking at him. Poe knew perfectly well that it was her birthday this Saturday. But he couldn’t just leave her be.

“I need to study. My scholarship depends on it.”

“Well, aren’t you a diligent student, Rey?” Poe smiled fake. “And we wanted to go to the lake house with the guys, you know. I think Finn has it bad for Rose. And Paige is eager to come as well...”

“Good for you,” Rey hissed.

She knew what he was doing. He wanted to make her feel worthless, lonely and abandoned. She didn’t buy it, but he still got to her. Ben had never asked her about her birthday and neither had she asked him about his. She probably should have, but the subject of their age difference still seemed a bit tricky. Anyway, this birthday no one would know she was turning 21...

“Well, I hope you’ll do something good for your project. Maybe you could run a few errands for my project as well as long as you are free this weekend. We are on the same team after all...”

“Dameron, one more word and you will stay at home this weekend as well. Did you find everything you needed for your prototype?” Ben’s angry voice interrupted Poe’s jabbering. Poe shrugged and walked away from Rey.

She sighed, shrugging as well, as the incredibly pale Professor Hux entered the room. Rey smirked inwardly, realizing that the redhead was probably still a bit hangover. She pulled out the papers needed to work on her project and the work got started.

The rest of the meeting was uneventful. Both Poe and she moved forward with their projects and preparations for the competition were in full swing.

Rey stayed at “the Workshop” alone for the night. Professor Hux wanted to discuss something with Ben after the class, and Ben sent Rey a message saying that he had to stay at home today. It was alright. She would finally get some proper sleep. Alone...

Her bed smelled of Ben and Rey wrapped herself in the blankets to be surrounded by his scent. Despite everything she was telling herself, Rey was sad. Poe’s words got to her. She would turn 21 this Saturday. And no one would care. Well, Ben would probably care, but Rey didn’t know how to approach the subject with him. He had never asked her about her birthday. She didn’t know if he even celebrated his own. Most likely, the day was irrelevant to him. She would be glad to just spend some time with him though, as long as her schedule provided her with two full days without classes. Yes, to just spend some time with Ben would be the best present she could get for her birthday. Even if no one knew about it.

Her phone rang. She reached for it and felt the warmth spreading down her body at the sight of the two letters on the screen. BS was calling.

“Hello?” she smiled, answering.

“Sweetheart... Hello. Can you talk?”

“Yes, I am lying in my bed wrapped in the blanket that smells like you.”

She heard him smiling.

“I have never been jealous of a blanket before.”

“Did you discuss everything you needed with Hux?”

“I am never drinking with that ginger moron again,” Ben groaned. “He tried to remember what he was saying and doing last night. He passed out much earlier than me... You should have seen Phasma... That witch was having the time of her life laughing at us.”

Rey laughed out loud as well.

“I love it when you laugh,” Ben murmured, making her blush.

And I love you...

“Listen, sweetheart. Do you have any plans for this weekend?” Ben suddenly asked.

“No, not really. I am completely free. I have a morning shift on... Saturday. But I am absolutely free on Sunday,” she was hoping he would invite her over.

As if he was reading her mind he asked:

“Will you spend it with me then? The weekend, I mean. I will send an Uber after you on Friday evening... I will bring you back to “the Workshop” on Saturday, don’t worry...”

He didn’t need to ask twice.

“I will, Ben,” she quietly agreed. “I... I can’t wait.”

“God, little one, I wish I were there with you. Fucking Hux...” Ben groaned.

“You’d better fuck me, not Hux,” she whispered, not really realizing where these words came from. Suddenly, the images of Ben suckling on her clit invaded her head, and Rey started to get wet.

Rey heard Ben choking on air.

“Don’t tease me, baby girl...”

“Why?”

“Because if you do, I will punish you afterwards...”

Rey couldn’t contain her moan. Her hand reached to her already drenched pussy. She has never done it before. Sex was still terra incognita for her, she never knew how to do things right and was often ashamed of herself. This time, however, the action seemed the most natural thing to do.

“Maybe,” she whispered. “Maybe that’s exactly what I am asking for.”

“Fuck, Rey...”

“Yes... Sir?”

Rey was so aroused that her breath hitched at every word Ben said.

“Such a naughty little minx...” he said huskily. “Say, baby girl, are you using the phone I gave you today?”

“I am, Sir.”

“I will call you back in a second,” Ben hung up and Rey looked at her phone in surprise. What the hell?! She almost started to panic that she had done something wrong when her Phone buzzed again. Ben was calling her via FaceTime. Her old phone didn’t have this option.

“Ben?” his eyes looked dark on the screen of her phone. She recognized the white t-shirt he was wearing at home.

“Put the phone somewhere from where I can see your bed,” he ordered hoarsely.

Rey gulped, but did as she was told. It wasn’t so hard, after all. Her room was tiny, and one could see the bed from almost everywhere.

“Lay down on your bed.”

She obeyed without a word.

“Take off your leggings.”

The air of the room touched her bare skin as Rey did what she was told.

“Touch yourself for me, baby girl... I want to see you come.” Rey gasped, clenching the sheets under her.

She still had her period, but before going to bed she went to the shower and as long as there was never too much blood, she decided to go with a pantyliner for the night. She was glad that she did it now.

“I... I don’t know how to do it properly... I’ve never done this before,” she whispered, hearing Ben growl.

“So I’ll be the first to witness it?” he groaned. “I am so pleased, little one...”

She could not believe Ben liked her inexperience, but he didn’t sound disappointed by it at all and Rey felt even wetter than before at his words.

“Use your hand, Rey, push your little panties away so that I could see your pussy and you could touch your clit.”

From the place where she put her phone Ben could see her legs spread wide. She wasn’t sure about whether he could see her pussy, though. It was probably too far away...

“Fuck, I can see how wet you are even from here, baby girl!”

Oh no, no, it wasn’t...

“Squeeze your clit between you thumb and your forefinger. Rub it!” he was barking the orders now.

Rey did and her back arched uncontrollably. God, it felt so good!

“Are you wet for me, little one.”

“I am...”

“I don’t hear you!”

“I am, Ben, I am so wet!”

“Close your eyes. Imagine that these are my fingers touching your sweet pussy. Circle your little clit with your fingers, Rey.”

She was following his directions, feeling her lower abdomen tensing from the touch of her hands. It was different from the way he usually made her feel, but it still felt overwhelmingly good. She rubbed harder and harder, feeling the sensation increasing. Rey closed her eyes and imagined Ben, lying on top of her and using his fingers to make her come.

“Fuck, you look so good spreading your legs for me, baby girl! So utterly beautiful!” Ben moaned.

“Sir...” she whispered, her voice hoarse. “I don’t want to come alone... I want you there with me...”

“Fuck, Rey,” he whispered.

“I want you to touch yourself too, Sir...”

“Oh, fucking hell!” she heard the shuffling and opened her eyes to look at her phone. She could see him sitting on his bed now, his giant cock free from his pants and reaching to the sky as he laid down on his back and turned his head to look at her. “Don’t you dare stop, baby girl,” he groaned and she arched her back, feeling her orgasm starting to build. He was stroking himself, not averting his gaze from her and she could almost feel her slick covering her whole hand now.

“Does it feel good, Sir?” she moaned.

“Fuck, not even close to what it feels like when you are bouncing on my cock, baby,” he hissed. “I’m going to make you mine again pretty soon. But now. I. Want. You. To. Come!”

He looked so feral and so hot. Rey was so close, but it wasn’t enough to just touch her extremely sensitive clit anymore.

“Oh, God, my fingers are not enough!” she almost cried in desperation. “Nothing can compare to your hands and cock... God, Ben, I need you!”

He groaned so loudly that she was afraid her phone would fall down from the vibration.

“Add two fingers, baby. Fuck yourself with your fingers for me, Rey. And leave your thumb on your clit.”

She obeyed. There was probably some blood, but she couldn’t care less. However, her fingers were too small to replace his. She was on the edge, but couldn’t get there and that was driving her crazy.

“Sir, my fingers are not enough!” she moaned. “You are so much bigger!”

“Add one more finger, my sweet. Push it into your tiny wet pussy!”

It was much better. She could probably manage to come with that.

“I wish you were here,” she whispered.

“Tell me, what would you like me to do if I were there? Tell me, Rey!”

The words were flowing out of her uncontrollably. She wasn’t thinking twice about what she was saying.

“I want to sit on your cock, Sir! I want to ride you. I want to feel you inside me, I want you to fill me with your... with your cum.”

“Fuck Rey! I am so close! I’m going to mount you when I have you by my side. I will tear you apart with my cock, I will make you cry out my name as you come!”

She was almost there, just several more thrusts...

“Oh, God, that feels so good... That feels so good, Daddy!!!”

“FUCK!!!”

She heard him shouting out her name as her own climax hit her hard, making her cunt clench around her fingers. That felt so amazing!

Coming back from her heights Rey suddenly realized what she had called Ben just a few minutes ago. God... Was he fine with that?! She felt so embarrassed... What had come over her, for God’s sake?! Shaking she reached to her phone to see Ben panting heavily lying on his bed.

“Ben?” she called him in a worried voice and he turned to her immediately.

To her surprise he smiled at her.

“God, Rey, you are so amazing...” he whispered.

“Really?” she asked shyly. “Wasn’t... wasn’t it too much when I called you Daddy?..: Please, don’t...”

“Hush,” he interrupted. “I have no idea where it came from, Rey, but it was utterly astounding, sweetheart.”

“I don’t know where it came from myself...” she confessed. “I’ve never done anything like that before, and I was just... carried away...”

“I will have to learn how to get you carried away like that when I get to you, darling.”

Rey felt her blush burning her cheeks like a fire.

“I wish you were here,” she whispered.

“Me too, baby girl. Me too. Just two more days and you’ll be all mine. Now go get some sleep, you are too tired for your own good.”

“It will be strange to sleep without you...”

Ben looked concerned.

“Rey, sweetheart, do you want me to come to you? Or do you want me to call you an Uber?”

Truth be told, she wanted it. She wanted it so much that it hurt. But they both needed their rest.

“No, no, everything’s fine. We both need to sleep and if we meet up today, it will be hard to get enough sleep.”

“Are you sure? I don’t care what time it is. If you need me, I’ll...”

“Ben,” she interrupted him. “Everything is fine. Let’s go get some sleep. And I think the shower is waiting for you already,” she winked at him. “And for me as well,” her hands were covered in slick mixed with her blood.

“My little minx,” he smiled. “Rey, promise me, you will call me if you need anything.”

“I promise,” she smiled. “Good night, Ben.”

“Good night, sweetheart.”

 

On Friday evening Rey was buzzing with excitement. Matt had already left and wouldn’t be coming in until Monday. His uncle was at home, and the boy said that he “had to help him around the house”, but Rey could see that the kid was just afraid to leave home while the bastard was around. So now it was just her and Jar Jar, serving the remaining customers. On Friday everyone was usually going to bars, so “the Workshop” wasn’t very crowded.

She hadn’t seen Ben after classes since he had come drunk to her room that night. He had told her that he had some errands to run outside of town and promised her to make up for their lost time together on the weekend. She couldn’t wait.

Fifteen minutes before the closing time “the Workshop’s” door opened, and Phasma walked in. Rey wasn’t expecting her boss to come and was surprised when the first thing Phasma did was letting Jar Jar go.

“Go ahead, buddy. Rey and I will close the place.”

Rey frowned. If Phasma had some plans for her, she would have to go to Ben’s later. And Rey was dying to see him. However, as soon as Jar Jar left, the blonde turned to her smiling.

“I think I can manage closing the coffee shop by myself today, hon. Don’t you have somewhere else to be now?”

Rey’s face spread into uncontrollable grin.

“Phasma... Are you sure?”

“I’ve never been more sure, hon. Come on! Off you go!”

After five more minutes Rey was sitting in her Uber, texting Ben. He, surprisingly, met her near his house instead of waiting for her inside.

“Get in,” he opened the door of his car in front of her and Rey climbed into it, not understanding what was going on.

Ben kissed her tenderly as soon as he took the driver’s seat.

“Ben, what’s going on?” she asked confused.

“I talked to Phasma and you are having tomorrow off, sweetheart. She won’t be expecting you until Monday,” Ben smirked, turning the engine on.

“Really? And where are we going?!”

“Oh, it’s a surprise...”

She tried to ask him several more times, but he just smiled silently and shook his head, so she yielded. Their ride was so cozy, with soft music playing on the radio and their conversation flowing. They were discussing everything: Engineering, books, films and other situations from their lives. Ben made her laugh with his stories about his and Hux’s adventures in their first year at FOIT. Before Snoke got to them. And he told her about their competition throughout the years in Takodana. Rey laughed so hard that her eyes watered. She told him about some interesting stuff she’d managed to make out of garbage back in Jakku, about her dreams of traveling, and about how much she loved what she was studying. It was so easy to just talk to him. Ben always listened carefully and asked many questions about everything she was talking about. And it was also so interesting to listen to him!

Their ride was long and at some point Rey drifted to sleep. She woke up to the feeling of Ben’s hand caressing her cheek.

“Sweetheart, we are here,” he smiled.

They got out of the car and Rey looked around. It was already past midnight and she couldn’t see anything, but from the surrounding sounds she realized they were somewhere in the forest. Ben pulled out a flashlight from his pocket.

“Be careful, sweetheart,” he offered Rey his arm and she leaned on it.

Ben opened a door and they went through it.

“Just a second, darling. Don’t move,” he told her, before letting go of her hand and stepping aside. Rey heard some noises and then, suddenly, everything around her was lightened by the endless amount of small lanterns hanging around. They were standing in a yard that was surrounded by a tall fence and there was a small wooden house in the middle of it. Lanterns were everywhere and were working as the outdoor lighting. There were some trees growing around and Rey could also see some outbuildings. There was a swing, a fire pit and a woodpile nearby. Everything was very cozy and very well maintained.

“Come on, sweetheart,” Ben smiled, taking her hand in his.

They walked to the house and Ben opened it, letting her in. Rey gasped as they entered. There was a cozy warm living room in front of her. With wooden walls and a sofa in front of the big fireplace. Rey walked further into the room and saw the other one to the right from her. It was a dining room with a large wooden table in the middle of it. The table was set for two and there were candles lit and standing on it.

Rey turned to Ben in disbelief.

“Happy birthday, Rey,” he smiled tenderly at her.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 17.

Birthday baby doll.

“Happy birthday, Rey.”

Ben was watching her looking at him in disbelief.

“You knew?” she whispered.

He had spent the previous two days preparing this surprise for her. The owner of the house had left fifteen minutes before they arrived according to the message he’d sent Ben. Ben had asked him to set the table and lite the candles before leaving and now he and Rey had the place to themselves for the next two days. Ben couldn’t be happier. He wanted Rey to have the best birthday possible. Truth be told, he wanted to make her every day feel like the best birthday possible, so now he tried to read her face to understand her reaction.

It seemed, his beautiful girl was overwhelmed.

“Phasma told me…” he answered. “I was afraid to ask you… I am so much older than you. And I thought it might have scared you off.”

Suddenly, he realized Rey was crying. Big tears were rolling down her cheeks, and Ben rushed to her to pull her into his arms.

“Hey, what’s wrong, Rey?” he asked, his heart pounding with fear in his chest.

“Nothing… Nothing is wrong. It’s just… so perfect. No one has ever done this for me before. Ben… Thank you.”

His beautiful lonely girl. His precious Rey...

“Hey, sweet thing,” he whispered. “And I thought the lonely house in the woods with me attached would make you laugh with joy, not cry.”

Rey smirked into his chest, shaking from soundless laughter.

“You deserve much more than this, Rey. And every year  I will prove it to you by organizing birthdays beyond your wildest dreams.

“I think, I would prefer to just be locked in a cabin in the woods together with you,” she whispered. “I wouldn’t want anything else.”

Ben’s heart melted at her words when suddenly Rey’s stomach growled.

“Oh,” she blushed, stepping back.

“I think it’s time for us to eat, baby girl. I know it’s late, but I think you are hungry and I am famished myself. We can go to bed afterwards, but now we’ll eat.”

“I am actually not that tired,” Rey smiled. “I slept in the car and I am too excited right now to fall asleep. And we don’t have to wake up early tomorrow, so…”

“It feels like a dream…” he smirked. “Especially the not waking up early part…”

“And I thought you would be to have me naked on every flat surface in this house,” she raised her brow at him coyly.

He sucked in a breath and contained a feral growl that was coming out of his chest. Oh how he loved this new awakening sexuality of hers. He’d known Rey for two weeks, they’d been together for one and she was becoming more and more sexy, more and more feminine, more and more naturally beautiful every day. She looked like a flower that was starting to bloom and was opening its petals towards the sun. So beautiful and delicious… So his.

“Sweetheart,” he whispered into her ear, embracing her. “You have no idea how much I want you right now. And believe me,” he ran his hand down Rey’s neck, making her shiver. “I will use every minute we have together to savor you… But we have to eat first.”

It was so easy to make her shy. She was blushing crimson now, panting slightly. Then she gathered her composure and turned to the table.

“God, Ben, this looks so posh that I feel like I need to wear something fancy for this dinner,” she laughed and his heart filled with joy. How convenient her words were…

“Well, now, when you mentioned it, baby girl, I would like to show you the first part of your present.”

She looked at him inquiringly, her eyes open wide. Ben pushed her by the small of her back, moving Rey towards the room on the other side of the parlor. There was a bedroom there, and Rey gasped at the sight of a massive wooden bed that would be waiting for them later.

“Ben?” she asked in surprise, and he chuckled.

“Not now, sweetheart. I told you, we need to eat first. This way, please.”

He walked her to the room beside their bedroom. It wasn’t too large. During the daytime this room was lit by the natural sunlight, coming through the panoramic windows. Ben turned on the lights and heard Rey gasp.

There were clothes racks standing there. Racks full of clothes he had bought for her.

Throughout the years Ben had been earning money. He received money for his patents and for his publications, for his teaching in Takodana and for his work at “the First Order”. He had a lot of money. But the problem was, he had never needed very much. He had enough of everything, even with his love of quality clothes and fancy coffee beans. Ben was earning plenty, and the money continued to accumulate in his accounts. And now he could spend it on Rey.

He knew money couldn’t buy one happiness, and he never intended to buy Rey with it. But he felt deliriously proud when he could get her something she needed or something that could make her feel more comfortable or just… make her happy.

Ben was prepared to persuade her to take it all, knowing that she would probably be a bit angry about him spending so much money on her, but to his surprise, Rey just walked along the racks, touching the clothes with her hands and looking closely at each piece.

“Is this all for me?” she asked quietly,  finally turning for him.

“Yes,” he whispered hoarsely, holding his breath.

He had bought her everything she might have needed and even more. There were blouses, sweaters, blazers, jeans, coats, dresses, pants and everything else a woman could need. He watched her style intently during the time they were together. Even with no money at all to spend on her clothes, she still managed to have her own style. That fascinated him. So he took the courage to buy her everything he thought she might have liked. He had bought her not only clothes, but shoes as well. Boots, flats, sneakers even a couple of stilettos. And he had bought her lingerie. Not too much and nothing too provocative (though his mouth had watered a couple of times when he was looking at some sets in the shop and imagined her in them). He wanted her to have it. He wanted her to be warm and he didn’t want her to wear anything cheap and worn anymore. He chose clothing that was only the highest quality, but also tasteful and not too flashy. He knew they still had to keep their relationship in secret, so no one could know that the clothes Rey wore were actually costly. Everything Ben had bought her was basic and elegant, quite fashionable, but not too eye catching. The clothes were beautiful, just like her. The clothes were comfortable. And the clothes were warm. And Ben wanted his woman to feel comfortable, warm and beautiful. If only she would accept them…

Rey walked up to him and looked him straight in the eyes. Ben couldn’t read her expression. He tried to keep calm, he tried to realize what she was thinking.

“I know you asked me not to buy you anything expensive. And believe me, Rey, this was not expensive for me, I…”

She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him tenderly.

“Thank you, Ben,” she said into his lips and his heart skipped a bit.

“So… You accept my gift?” he asked, not believing his luck.

“I do,” she nodded calmly. “I don’t want to fight with you about it any longer. Before we came here I was still struggling inwardly a little bit with the fact that you wanted to spend your money on me. I am still not used to it. But you brought me here, you organized everything for my perfect birthday, and I feel so happy,” she smiled at him, and he reached to her to kiss her forehead. “I could easily live without any of it, and I hope that you know that I don’t care about your money... But these clothes are beautiful. And if my man wants to spoil me… I would be a fool to argue with him about it,” she shrugged.

Ben felt like he was flying. Rey was accepting his gifts and it felt like she was finally surrendering to him. That didn’t make her weak in his eyes, on the contrary, he felt so proud to have her by his side, to call her his. Rey surrendered, but he was the one to praise her for that. He leaned over to her and nuzzled her brows, inhaling her scent.

“Mine,” he whispered, feeling her shiver again.

He stepped back, not letting himself forget what they were doing here.

“I think, it’s time for you to change if you want to,” he whispered.

Suddenly, Rey looked at him in confusion, looking slightly lost.

“Right,” she whispered, turning to the racks. “I... I love it, Ben... But... I am not used to the dresses,” she was confused now, he could feel it clearly. “Will... Will you help me?”

She looked so fragile now, and Ben could see the conflict inside her. She had accepted his gifts, she had accepted his care, but Rey clearly thought that she wasn’t good enough for any of it. She didn’t know how to use all this extra stuff he was giving her. And the problem was, almost everything seemed overwhelming for someone who had spent her whole life surviving. This realization hit and shattered him. Rey was his world. She was his world and she still doubted herself.

“Rey,” he caressed her back. “Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with not knowing something.  I will take care of you. And you are a fast learner, darling. Look, do you like it?” Ben pulled out a green sleeveless dress from one of the racks.

“It’s gorgeous...” Rey whispered.

“Try it on.”

She was a vision. Slender and fragile, so very feminine. She looked at herself in the mirror and her eyes brightened at the sight. Then Rey caught his reflection and blushed.

“I think I can handle it from here,” she said. “Go get dressed yourself.”

He smirked, realizing that she had figured out what to do.

I love you...

“Okay,” he nodded. “Call me if you need anything, Rey.”

He could swear the room became brighter when she smiled at him.

 

Ben chose his favorite black two-piece suit accompanied by a white shirt. He liked the feeling of high-quality material on his skin and he liked the way he looked in it. He was never one to kill for some designer clothes, but he enjoyed it when he looked neat and stylish. His appearance used to be an issue for him when he was younger. His ears were too big as was his nose. Ben was often mocked in elementary school and even later for that. They had stopped mocking him when he had received his first patent and became a legend at his school, but he still didn’t like a lot of things about his appearance when he remembered to care about it at all. However, he had learned to compensate for his drawbacks long ago with a proper hairstyle and an emphasis on his advantages. The attention he had been receiving from women whenever he wanted to get laid also helped. He liked the way he looked now, and, truth be told, after everything he had been through, the question of his appearance wasn’t his highest priority at all. This time, however, Ben felt anxious. This was his first proper date with Rey, after all. And, of course, he wanted to make it perfect for her, he wanted to look perfect for her, but it was not the most important part. He was looking at himself in the mirror and saw someone different there. It wasn’t the Ben Solo who had been abandoned by his family. It wasn’t Kylo Ren, the beast who had been the  reason for his father’s suicide, it was not the Ben Solo who had risen from ashes when he had gotten away from Snoke and was spending his life, protecting his friends and trying to atone for his father’s death. Those Ben Solos and even Kylo Rens were still with him, but this time there was someone else looking at him from the mirror. And Ben knew this new part of him was brought to the surface because of Rey. He just couldn’t identify it yet.

Ben walked into the dining room and was already about to sit at the table and wait for Rey when she entered the room.

Good God...

She was a fast learner indeed. Rey chose a perfect pair of stilettos to match her dress and used a little bit of make-up. He bought it for her as well. He didn’t get much as he had no knowledge of this stuff and had to ask Phasma to help him with the basics. It seemed, he had bought just what Rey needed. She couldn’t know how to use the make-up properly. Ben had never seen her using anything at all before and he’d never seen any make-up in her room. So she had probably used what she could, some of these foundation cremes maybe and a little bit of eyelash mascara. But she looked breathtaking.

Rey was blushing, looking at him, and Ben stepped towards her, yearning to touch and to comfort her. Truth be told, he needed to calm down himself first, as his heart was beating somewhere in his throat.

“Rey, you look... stunning,” he said gently, caressing her arm with his knuckles.

“You like it?” he could give her as many confirmations as she needed and would never get tired of it.

“I do,” he kissed her temple. “Truth be told, I am torn apart between two options...”

Rey looked inquiringly at him.

“I don’t know what I would like to do more: to look at you in this dress all night long or to rip it off you and fuck you right here now on this fucking table...” not only was his heart beating like crazy, he was also hard as a rock now. Rey lowered her eyes gasping, and Ben took several deep breaths to pull himself together. There was no need to rush now. They had time. “But we definitely have to eat...”

After he sat her at the table this new feeling from before became stronger, but he still couldn’t name it. He poured champagne into the flutes that were standing on the table and handed one of them to Rey.

“Now you can finally do it legally,” he smiled. “To you, Rey. Happy birthday, sweetheart.”

“You know, Ben...” Rey stopped him. “I want to drink for us... This is my first flute of champagne after all. I’ve never tried it before. And I don’t want to waste this toast on me. Can we drink for us?”

He loved the fact that she was going through so many firsts with him. This bottle of champagne cost a lot, and he was happy with his choice. He would make sure she wouldn’t have anything less in the future.

“I can’t call drinking to you a waste of the toast, but of course, Rey,” he smiled. “To us.”

“To us,” she whispered as they clinked their flutes.

The following conversation was relaxed and easy. Ben loved to listen to Rey and enjoyed telling her stories. He had been worried that at some point they wouldn’t have anything to talk about because of their age difference. However, the more they talked the less he feared. Rey understood him perfectly well, and he found her so interesting that he forgot to eat sometimes when she spoke. Rey looked young, but her experience matured her from the inside. She was thoughtful and incredibly wise for her age. Moreover, they liked the same books and the same films, and if Rey hadn’t seen something from his selection, Ben was sure she would love it. They shared a passion for Engineering and Ben loved how curtRey was about everything new. He stopped being worried. He was in love with her. He loved her. And it was much deeper than his sexual desire for her. It was in his core. If only she had felt the same way towards him...

“So, how old are you, Ben? And when is your birthday?” Rey finally asked, raising her brow.

The question made him tense, but he suppressed the feeling. They had to discuss it eventually.

“I will be 34 in April,” he said. “The 5th of April to be precise,” he looked at her, trying to read her reaction. Rey didn’t seem too shocked by their age difference. She was watching him as well, probably also trying to read his face.

“Well, does our age difference still bother you?” she finally inquired.

“Well... Sometimes I think you should be with someone closer to your age,” he sighed, rubbing his forehead. “I am afraid that you might get bored. I am not young, after all. And I will be only getting older.”

Rey snorted, and then covered her face with her hand.

“God, I’m sorry,” she blushed, but then laughed out loud. It seemed the champagne had finally hit her. She looked adorable. “You sound like you are 70 years old, Ben. You couldn’t even be my father, only an elder brother. You are spending too much time with the students. It seems that you consider yourself much older than you actually are.”

“Well, the fact that you are my student doesn’t do me any credit as well,” he frowned.

“Do you regret it?” she asked quietly. “I mean, starting all of this...” she sounded so worried and vulnerable that his chest clenched from the look at her.

“God, no, Rey. No! I don’t regret anything. I would do it all over again if I had to choose.”

“Then why are we even talking about it?..” she was calm, but Ben could feel her anxiety starting to raise.

“Rey, please, listen to me,” he took her hand in his. Yes, the age difference was an issue for him. But not because she was too young. He had to explain it to her. “All I want for myself is you staying by my side. I am just worried. Because you deserve the world. And you are younger than me. You can find someone younger and stay with him, discover the world with him. And you will never be bored with him. You are so brilliant, Rey! The age difference worries me not because you are too young for me. You are so smart, and so surprisingly wise! The age difference worries me because I think that I may be too old for you. And I am worried because if one day you decide that you need someone younger, I will have to let you go... And that’s just not something I am capable of doing.”

There, he said it. It was probably too much for her, but they had to notice this elephant in the room eventually. It was not the proper timing, but the timing was never proper. However, Rey was looking at him frowning.

“Are you completely stupid, Ben?!” she suddenly exclaimed and Ben sat back, confused by her outburst. “What are you saying now? That I might get bored of you because you are what... Thirteen years older? Really? Ben, I spent a year with a guy who was one year older than me. He humiliated me and threw me out into the street. And we talked, but he never listened to me. He didn’t respect me and we argued all the time. And in the end I tried not to talk to him at all! It doesn’t depend on age. Well, at least not on my part. You say that I could get bored, but Ben... You have so much experience in everything! And I am only 21! It’s me who should be scared of boring you! And I am scared. Because, for God’s sake! I am sitting with a gloriously handsome man who is working in the field I am so interested in. He helped me when no one else would! He spoils me and we are having the most glorious, overwhelming sex in my life and I am completely... I like him so much that sometimes I feel afraid to wake up in the morning,” her stumble didn’t escape his attention, and Ben’s heart started beating faster. What did she want to say at first? “I am afraid that this is not real! That I will open my eyes one morning and find myself on the other side of Poe’s bed again!”

Mention of Dameron made Ben see red. His nostrils flared, but he stopped himself. Rey was telling him that she had the same concerns as he had. And he now realized that they were all completely foolish. He was drawn to her, he was interested in her. He loved her. The realization was overwhelming: for the first time in his life there was no need to be worried. Well, at least about their commitment to each other. That was new, he never trusted anyone enough to just calm down and live in the relationship. Even with Bazine it was different...

This part was also new... Ben realized that he hadn’t thought about Bazine even once for over a week... No, he didn’t love his ex-fiancé anymore, but there were still so many unresolved things between them... With Rey almost all of them finally seemed irrelevant... Then Ben looked at her intently.

... That I will open my eyes one morning and find myself on the other side of Poe’s bed!..

Not a chance...

He raised up from his chair and pulled her up from hers, lifting her bridal style off the floor. She gasped in surprise, all of her latest confidence and determination to chide him replaced with adorable confusion and shyness.

“Sweetheart,” he growled, carrying her to the sofa beside the fireplace in the living room. “I will make sure that the only bed you share with someone is mine.”

Her lips found his jaw as she moaned at his words. He sat on the sofa and Rey straddled him, moving her hips uncontrollably over his shaft. She tasted of champagne and made him feel drunk with every touch of her tongue. Her dress lifted, exposing her toned legs, and he ran his hand up her knee to her hot wet center, still hidden under her panties.

Rey was working fast with her subtle fingers, unbuttoning his shirt. Quickly he got rid of the jacket and shirt and pulled her deliriously gentle body towards him.

“I love this dress, baby,” he said hoarsely. “But I’ll have to pull it off of you right now or I will tear it apart to get to you.”

He unzipped the dress and helped her take it off.

His breath hitched.

She was wearing one of the new sets of lingerie he’d bought for her. One of the lacy black sets he had purchased in hope that they wouldn’t  be too much. She chose one of them...

“Baby girl...” he whispered. “You are so good to me...”

She leaned closer to him, whispering softly into his ear.

“Does my Daddy like it?”

That made him lose it. Oh, yes... Yes, he liked it very much...

“I love it, baby girl,” he said, sucking her neck. “Such a good girl... So eager to please her Daddy...” he caressed her naked stomach, his light touches making her shiver.

“Tell me, little one. What do you want from your Daddy?”

Rey gasped.

“I want... I want you...”

“Me? And what do you want with me?”

“Everything! Make me yours, Daddy.”

Where did she learn it all? He knew perfectly well that she hadn’t been aware of any kinky stuff before. It seemed, Rey was just natural with everything she was doing. How could he be so lucky? What did he do to deserve her?

“Oh, I will, baby. Daddy will make you feel so good...”

“Please, Daddy, I want to come on your cock so much!”

If Rey went on like that he would come undone before taking off his pants...

“Patience, baby doll,” he growled, pulling her bra down a little and biting her nipple slightly, enjoying her wanton moans. “Good girls should be patient. And they should listen to their Daddies... Are you a good girl?”

“Yes...”

“Yes what?”

“Yes, Daddy!”

“Good...”

He turned her and laid her down on the sofa, getting rid of his pants and boxers at the speed of lite. Rey tried to raise herself, but he stopped her, pressing his hand to her chest and returning her to her place.

“What did I say about patience, doll? Should I punish you for your disobedience?”

“No, Daddy,” she whispered. “I’m sorry, Daddy...”

“Next time this will earn you some spanking, sweet thing. Now spread you legs for me, baby.”

Rey did as she was told and Ben kneeled on the sofa, pushing the fabric of her knickers aside and inhaling the glorious scent of her drenched pussy.

“My good girl is always so wet for me,” he murmured. “I am so pleased, sweet thing. I want to eat you out, doll. Do you want that?”

“Yes, Daddy! I want it so badly! Please, Daddy!”

He licked her folds, touching them with the tip of his tongue at first. Rey moaned deliciously, arching her back and he buried his face in her wetness.

“God!” Rey exclaimed.

He was suckling into her, biting her clit and covering his face with her slick.

“God, God!!! I’m gonna come!”

He groaned loudly, sucking on her as Rey’s walls clenched and the wave of gush poured out of her. He left her clit and started fucking her with his tongue, trying to drink everything she was giving to him.

“My sweet little thing,” he purred, wiping her slick from his face with his hand and leaning closer to Rey to kiss her when she finished. “Daddy is so proud of you.”

“Thank you... Thank you, Daddy,” she panted.

Ben kissed her softly, cupping her cheek.

“God, it’s been so long,” she whispered. “It’s been three days without you, Ben.”

“I missed you, sweetheart,” he kissed her closed eyelids.

“I missed you too,” Rey opened her eyes and looked at him tenderly. “I guess, I missed you more than could be considered normal,” she smirked as her words warmed his heart.

“If it was up to me, I would never wake up without you, Rey. Or go to sleep without you.”

Kissing her was bliss. But he was still rock hard. Suddenly, Rey’s hand found his cock and stroked it carefully.

“My Daddy is still hard,” she purred. “I love your cock so much, Daddy. Will you give it to me?”

His eyes rolled into his skull. She was switching modes so fast that he couldn’t always follow her in time. This girl would be the death of him.

 “You are mistaken if you think that I am done with you, little one,” he groaned.

This time he sat on the sofa and pulled her to himself to make her straddle him. Rey hesitated for a moment above his erect cock.

“I don’t know... I don’t know how to do it properly...” she whispered embarrassed.

“Shh, baby. I will take care of you. Just sit down on my cock now.”

She lowered herself, still hesitating a little. Then it hit him. He was bare again.

“Wait a little bit, baby. Daddy needs condoms...” he stopped her.

“I hate them so much...” she sighed. “I love to feel you without them...”

He hissed a breath, looking at her.

My delicious girl...

“Do you trust me?” he asked her hoarsely.

Rey’s eyes were wide as she realized what he was asking.

“Always,” she whispered. “Always, Ben...”

He didn’t give her time to think. With one hard thrust he was inside her. Bare again, he felt delirious. They had to be careful, but there was no way he could use a condom now.

“I promised you I would make you ride me, sweetheart. Ride me now,” he growled.

Rey’s first movements were very slow and uncertain, but Ben helped her, moving his hips towards her. After a few minutes Rey figured out her comfortable position and was sliding up and down his cock so well that he could see stars.

“Oh, God, Ben!” Rey moaned as his cock hit the right place inside her cunt. “Yes, yes, right there, Daddy!”

He moved faster and Rey’s head fell back as her climax hit her. She was crying his name, and Ben had to pull her off his cock not to come inside her. He held back, putting two fingers inside her cunt and finger fucking her senselessly as she came.

Rey was catching air with her mouth with the last convulsions of her climax hitting her.

“Are you feeling good, baby girl?” Ben asked, kissing her earlobe.

“Yes, Daddy... Yes... But I want more... I want to make you come. Please, Daddy!”

Ben hadn’t been sure that after their long day and her two orgasms Rey would be able to ask for more, but she did, and he was going insane all over again.

“Oh, do you, baby girl?” he purred.

“Yes, please!”

“Whatever my girl wishes,” he whispered. “On your hands and knees! Your hands on the armrest. Lean down a bit.”

Rey gasped, but followed his command. She was on all fours in front of him with her backside high and waiting for him.

“Part your legs wider,” he ordered, reaching for his pants to fetch a condom.

She was so fucking delicious!

“Hold tight, baby doll,” he said and filled her to the brim with his cock in one swift movement. They both groaned when he did it.

Ben started to move fast, each of his thrusts able to tear her apart. Rey was crying out his new title each time he entered her. This Daddy thing drove him insane... He felt so possessive and so strong!

“Tell me, who you belong to, Rey. Tell me who you belong to!” he cried out.

“You, Ben... Daddy! I belong to you!”

“That’s right, baby! You are mine and you will never belong to someone else!”

She moaned in agreement.

“Tell me you are mine!”

“I am yours! I am yours, Daddy! Oh, Ben!!! I am only yours!”

“That’s right! You. Will. Not. Belong. To. Someone. Else!” He proved each word with a thrust of his cock into her.

And then she came shuddering around him. Ben groaned, following her immediately, crying out her name, his cock pulsing inside her.

He had to catch Rey as her body went limb under him. He pulled out of her quickly, turning her to face him. She was unconscious, and Ben panicked for a second, but then she opened her eyes.

“Rey, darling, how are you feeling?” he asked concerned.

“I feel divine,” she whispered. “I just... I remember coming hard and I was so high... And then everything went black...”

“You fainted, sweetheart...” Ben murmured.

“It was too much. And it was my third orgasm today, I think... I think I just lost it.”

He couldn’t believe she fainted from her orgasm. He promised her he would make her faint from pleasure, but to see it live was... glorious! Rey was so responsive... And probably also very tired now. Her eyes were still closed and he could tell she was drifting off already.

“Let’s carry you to bed, sweetheart,” he whispered, lifting her from the sofa and carrying her to their bedroom bridal style.

It was warm enough in the house to sleep naked, so he didn’t bother fetching one of her new night gowns for her. However, there was still some make up on Rey’s face, so Ben brought her to the bathroom adjoined to the bedroom first.

“Rey, darling, we need to wash your face. You’ll feel better without your make-up in the morning,” he whispered gently.

He took a piece of washcloth from the drawer and washed the make-up from her face carefully. When he finished, Ben carried Rey to bed. She was sound asleep as soon as her head touched the pillow, and Ben smiled at how peaceful and tender Rey looked. He showered himself before getting under the blanket next to her, pulling her closer.

He was tired and sated, but sleep didn’t come immediately. He was replaying their evening in his head, feeling Rey’s soothing smell calming him down. Suddenly, he remembered the strange feeling he couldn’t name earlier that evening. The realization hit him, and he almost laughed at how easy it was. Everything was so clear now. Rey was lying in his arms and Ben felt like she was the most precious thing in the world. She was not only his lover or his friend, but his soulmate and his... family. She was the one. And the feeling he had had earlier was about the need to protect his family, his partner. His future wife. At that moment, Ben realized he wanted to marry Rey. He wanted to make it official. He wanted her to carry his last name and his children.

Ben kissed Rey’s temple, feeling his eyes watering. It was probably too early for all of that now, but he could wait... He just had to tell her he loved her first.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 18.

 

Takodana Rainbow.

 

 

Rey woke up with a strange feeling. For the first time in a week, she was very well rested, full and extremely sated, all at the same time. The sensation was so uncommon, that in the first second she started to panic. It was too unusual to feel that good. The fact that she didn’t immediately realize where she was also didn’t help the matter. She tried to jump off of the bed, but was stopped by something large and solid wrapped around her waist.

 

“Rey?” Ben’s voice sounded hoarse and concerned behind her back. “What’s wrong?”

 

And then it hit her. Ben’s surprise, her perfect birthday, the house in the woods. She was safe. Her body immediately relaxed as she fell back into Ben’s comforting embrace.

 

“Nothing... I’m sorry I woke you up. I just didn’t realize where I was at first,” she mumbled into the pillow, feeling Ben’s kisses on her nape.

“So you decided to run?” he smirked.

“Old habits die hard...”

 

She was very good at it. At running away from the danger and conflicts. The difference now was that there was no need to run. Yesterday, looking at the racks full of her new clothes and watching Ben trembling in anxiety while he was trying to understand her reaction, Rey finally surrendered. She let him in, she opened for him, she accepted everything he was giving her and that felt delightful. The strangest part was that Ben had never asked for anything in return. Rey couldn’t help but remember his drunken confession. Could it be real after all? She very much hoped so...

 

Suddenly Rey remembered how Ben had offered for her to move in with him all those night ago. She wasn’t yet sure if it was a good idea to decide so quickly, but at that very moment she was almost ready to agree. Almost…

 

“There’s no need to run from anything anymore, sweetheart,” Ben pulled her even closer, and the skin to skin contact was just deliriously good.

 

Suddenly her stomach rumbled and Ben’s low chuckles made Rey blush.

 

“Don’t laugh at me...”

“I can’t help it. You are adorable,” she felt him turning to the nightstand. “It’s almost noon. I think I will get up and cook you breakfast.”

“No!” she was fast enough to grab his hand when he was already about to leave the bed. Ben turned to her, smiling inquiringly, his eyes still puffy from his sleep. “Don’t go. Stay. I am not that hungry...” her lies were interrupted by the repeated complaints from her stomach. Ben laughed hard.

“Your body tells me otherwise, sweetheart,” he leaned closer to her, kissing her forehead, the action making her toes curl. Only then did Rey realize that Ben was completely naked. Just like she was.

 

His body reacted to her presence nearby as always, the sight of his glorious cock making her rub her thighs together in anticipation.

 

“That can’t be comfortable,” she smiled, biting her lip as she nuzzled Ben’s temple and pointed to his groin.

 

Ben rolled his eyes with a groan.

 

“Don’t be a tease, sweetheart. I need to feed you first,” he growled.

 

All this Daddy/baby girl thing was very new for her and she wasn’t sure she knew what she was doing. Rey had heard once or twice from Rose and Paige about this kinky BDSM stuff, but always figured it was something quite repulsive. Never could she have imagined herself calling some man “Daddy” or “Sir”, but there she was…

 

With Ben it was something different. She felt so aroused every time she called him Sir or Daddy that she could come undone from his touches only. She behaved submissive when he was her Daddy, but surprisingly that didn’t make her feel weak. On the contrary, she felt like she had some power over him. She loved how dominant he was. Ben always took a good care of her, but after he was her Daddy, that felt even more divine. For some reason, in her submission she felt almighty. Almighty and utterly sexy.

 

“I don’t want to stay here alone,” she whispered.

 

In one swift movement, Ben lifted her, wrapped naked in a blanket and carried her to the bathroom.

 

“I need to brush my teeth, can’t torture you with my morning breath,” he smirked after he seated her on the rim of a giant bathtub.

 

They both did brush their teeth, Rey forgetting herself in pure adoration she felt towards this glorious man. She always admired at how fit Ben was. He was brushing his teeth and his muscles moved under his skin in front of Rey’s eyes with his every movement. Rey didn’t even notice when he finished until Ben caught her staring at him. Remembering herself, she lowered her eyes in embarrassment.

 

“See something you like, sweet thing?” he smirked.

“How are you so fit?” she smiled, looking back at him. “I mean... You are just gorgeous...”

“Well, thank you,” Ben smirked, caressing her cheek with his giant palm. “I work out in a gym. Well, not the previous week, of course, I was a bit distracted,” Rey grinned at that. “But mostly it’s just biology. Both my mother and father are naturally fit. I guess, the genes help. And I am extremely grateful for that. After all, I like when I catch you looking at me like that,” Ben winked at her, and Rey felt her cheeks getting warmer.

 

He was so natural with her, never embarrassed about being naked or about flirting when they were alone. It still took Rey some courage to behave like that with him. Truth be told, she was never that relaxed. However, the way Ben looked at her made Rey feel... pretty... beautiful even. She felt this irresistible pull towards him, the one that made her forget her self-consciousness and just... be herself. Yes… She could be herself. And she could take what she wanted from him.

 

Rey raised herself up from the rim of the bathtub, letting the blanket she was wrapped in fall to her knees. She noticed Ben gulping as their eyes locked.

 

“I think... I think, breakfast can wait, Ben,” she whispered, walking closer to him and pressing her hands to Ben’s bare chest.

 

She went up on her toes, licking his upper lip before entering his mouth with her tongue. She tasted the spearmint toothpaste and inhaled the smell of his skin, something she couldn’t name, but could recognize whenever she smelled it. Her pointed nipples pressed into his chest as Ben pulled her closer.

 

“You are so tall,” she whispered into their kiss, feeling her toes getting numb from the long standing on her tiptoes.

 

He smirked, lifting her up and seating her on the side of the sink they had just been using to brush their teeth, his erect cock pressing into her thigh. Ben backed up a bit, still holding her.

 

“What would you like me to do with you, Rey?” he whispered tenderly. “Tell me what you want.”

 

All she wanted at the moment was to feel as close to him as possible. So the answer was easy, really.

 

“Just... Just be inside me,” Rey asked.

 

She would never get tired of being surprised by his size. And she would always marvel at how easily he stretched her pussy, never hurting her. Ben entered her bare again. The occurrence was so common now that Rey didn’t seem to care anymore. She believed Ben knew what he was doing, so any anxious thoughts were suppressed and put into the back of her mind. They both let out a groan as Ben entered, and he froze, staying inside and kissing her face, lips and temples. God, he felt amazing...

 

“Ben, move, please,” she begged, clasping into his back.

 

She raised her head to look at him and gasped, realizing that Ben was watching their reflection in the large mirror behind Rey’s back.

 

“God, you are beautiful all over,” he murmured hoarsely. “You have no idea...” he made a move, sending the delirious sensation right into Rey’s womb. “How amazingly beautiful and gorgeous you are, Rey...”

 

He stopped again, panting heavily.

 

“Ben, what is it?” she moaned, eager for more.

“If I keep on moving, I won’t be able to stop and will cum into you, sweetheart.”

 

This thought was dangerously tempting, but Rey pulled herself together.

 

“Well, I don’t think the little Solos are a part of the plan at the moment,” she smirked, trying to stop craving his movements inside her cunt.

 

Ben groaned, biting her ear.

 

“Darling, you have no idea how much I want with you...”

 

She gasped at his words, her pussy clenching slightly around him. Ben took several deep breaths.

 

“You feel absolutely gorgeous every time we fuck,” he said hoarsely. “But for some reason I can’t keep it together at all right now, sweetheart. You are so delicious… gorgeous… overwhelming... Please, give me a second.”

 

Several moments passed and Ben started moving again. Rey looked down at the place where their bodies collided with a wet sound that made her head spin. The image she saw was so arousing that Rey could literally see more slick flowing out of her and covering his enormous veiny cock while she watched. She felt so full of it, so complete… She couldn’t take her eyes off of his cock entering her cunt, and, finally, Ben noticed what she was looking at and released a loud groan.

 

“God, baby… Do you like what you see?”

 

She couldn’t avert her eyes, watching Ben movements as he pulled out and entered her again and again.

 

“Yes… Yes, I do!”

“Rey, I am so close, little one. I want you to cum for me!”

 

One of his large fingers covered her clit, immediately starting to circle it frantically. She was already high from all the sensations he was giving her, so as soon as Ben touched her pussy Rey arched her back and came with a loud cry. She was trembling in Ben’s arms when, after several more deep thrusts, he pulled out and came, covering her body with his spent.

 

Ben pressed her closer, only a thin layer of his cum dividing their bodies now. Rey felt it spreading over her chest and stomach and couldn’t help but grin. If something like that had happened when she was with Poe she would have been sick. With Ben, however, nothing seemed unnatural. She loved the way he was marking her, the way he was claiming her. With his seed, with his bites with all the light bruises that covered some gentle parts of her body after he’d made love to her roughly. With the way he was fucking her with his thick bare cock. The last thing, however, made her feel a bit nervous every time.

 

“I think we might get into trouble if we don’t use condoms,” Rey murmured, her head lying in the crook of Ben’s neck.

“What trouble?” he sounded a bit delirious and that made her smile.

“You know, kids and everything...”

 

She felt him lowering his head as he tried to look at her from their tangled position.

 

“I will never call our child a trouble,” he said quietly. “I know that it’s too early to think about children, especially when Snoke is around and there is no possibility for you to change classes and avoid him. And I know that you probably don’t want kids now... Or maybe at all, and we need to talk about it eventually... But if you get pregnant, I will take care of you. And I will be happy as fuck to have a child with you...”

 

Rey’s brows seemed to reach her hairline. Off all things Ben could say to her this was the least expected.

 

“Are you serious?..” she asked him frowning.

“I am...”

 

She was so flabbergasted that the endless string of thoughts in her head stopped making any sense at all. Rey was looking for any traces of irony or mocking in Ben’s face, but couldn’t find any. He looked sincere and determined and his determination even scared her a bit. Rey didn’t want to have children yet. She had never even thought about it. Being raised in the foster system, Rey wasn’t sure she knew how to be a good mother or how to care about children at all... The thought seemed terrifying…

 

“I am not sure I want kids at the moment, Ben,” she murmured.

“You don’t have to want them now,” Ben caressed her jaw with his hand. “But in case something goes wrong, I will be there for you. That’s something I want you to be sure of...”

 

This was a bit too much for one morning. On one hand, Ben’s words soothed her like a healing balm, on the other, he was offering her so much that she couldn’t completely believe it was true. Or completely understand his reasoning. Her head was spinning.

 

“But, honestly speaking, Rey, I could always give you money to pay for a visit to the doctor... and cover all the expenses for the pills. If you want it,” Ben offered, holding her close. “The possibility to stay inside you when I come seems just too alluring, baby girl.”

 

The term of endearment made her smile and calm down surprisingly quickly. There was also something extremely soothing in this power game when Ben became her Daddy. However, inwardly Rey frowned. Ben offered her so much, yet he hadn’t told her he loved her, at least not when he was conscious. That was probably the reason why she felt so anxious. Rey lingered on the thought. All these presents, his promise to take care of her no matter what and his insatiable desire for her... All this talk of children was making her anxious. Rey knew Ben wasn’t like that, but still... What if this was all a part of some wicked power play?

 

But inhaling the smell of Ben’s sweaty body made Rey feel too good to think about it. It was her birthday. She could think about everything else later. Trust was a matter of choice for her. And now Rey was choosing to trust Ben. No matter what, she loved him. And she didn’t want to fight the feeling.

 

 

After they showered, Ben carried her to the kitchen. Rey felt so light in his arms, loving the way he adjusted the blanket after seating her at the kitchen table. She loved to watch him cook. Truth be told, she loved everything about him.

 

“So, do we have any plans today?” she asked, watching Ben making batter in his naked glory. The house was warm indeed...

 

“I planned to take you to the lake. There is a boathouse here, I want to take you on a boat ride. The forest around the lake is beautiful.”

“Oh, that’s great!” she exclaimed excitedly. “You know that I’ve never been to a forest before, let alone seen a real lake! Only ponds in Takodana’s parks. And I have never ridden in a boat.”

 

Ben eyed her intently.

 

“What?” she smiled shyly at him. “I grew up in the desert, have you forgotten?”

“You are beautiful, Rey,” he suddenly said, making her forget her words.

 

She felt her face burning as he neared her, kneeling in front of her. She lowered her eyes, too embarrassed to look at him, but Ben caressed her cheek with his thumb, urging Rey to raise her head.

 

“You have no idea how beautiful you are, do you?” he smirked.

“I... Well... Thank you,” she stumbled over her words. “I am just not used to somebody telling me that...”

“Too bad,” he whispered, giving her a peck on the nose. “We’ll need to change that.”

 

Rey shrugged a little embarrassed.

 

“I don’t know… It’s just... You are gorgeous. And you could have any women you liked. I just... Sometimes I just can’t understand why you chose me...”

 

Ben frowned.

 

“The only thing that bothers me in you, Rey,” he said. “Is the fact that you are completely oblivious to how great you are...” Rey lowered her gaze. “Look at me sweetheart...” Ben waited until Rey gathered her composure to look him in the eyes. “You say that you can’t understand why I chose you, but for me everything is just completely opposite. Sometimes I can’t believe I was lucky enough to find you...”

 

She gasped, feeling her eyes watering as his words sank into her.

 

“I... I know what you mean... I feel it every day,” she murmured.

 

Ben sighed.

 

“You mean the world to me, Rey,” he gave her a peck on the nose. “You are beautiful, you are smart and you are the most wonderful woman I’ve ever known.”

 

No, that could not be a power play... Rey didn’t know where this was coming from, but Ben was literally bathing her in tenderness and she felt slightly dizzy from the amount of warmth he was emanating towards her. Ben maybe hadn’t told her that he loved her, but nevertheless, she felt so... loved. She almost couldn’t believe it was all true. But the way he looked at her at the moment didn’t leave her any room for doubt...

 

She felt so happy... At that very moment it was quite enough for her to sit like that, naked and wrapped in the blanket, nose to nose with him till the end of her days.

 

However, her stomach rumbled again, the sound bursting into their personal bubble and making Ben chuckle.

 

“My little glutton,” he smirked and went back to the stove.

 

They ate in front of the fireplace, both naked and covered by only a blanket only, and Rey was so content... She could feel her happiness permeating every cell of her body.

It was already half past three in the afternoon when Ben finally rose from the sofa and urged Rey to go get dressed. It was time to go to the lake.

 

Rey looked at the racks with her new clothes and thought that never in her life would she be able to wear them all. She had never needed so much and it was so new to have so many options. However, realizing she had at least several sets to wear to the lake, Rey couldn’t help but grin. It was still a little embarrassing, but if she were completely honest with herself, she could get used to it.

 

Ben set the boat on the water quickly and helped Rey in, fastening the life jacket on her.

 

“I take it, you can’t swim, can you?” he asked.

“No, I have never had an opportunity to learn,” Rey frowned.

“Well, I will teach you how to swim in the summer,” he smiled at her. “But now it is too cold for that. Actually, this lake is not suitable for swimming even when it’s warmer. It lays in a deep crack in the earth’s crust. No one knows how deep it is and the lake is extremely cold. So stay calm while in the boat and try not to rock it, will you?”

“You sound like a parent,” she grinned at him, making Ben roll his eyes.

“I just want you to be safe. So behave, baby girl.”

 

She smiled blissfully, nodding in agreement. Summer... Next summer they wouldn’t need to hide anymore. If Ben did as he promised, they would come out to the world as a couple as soon as she passed her finals. If Ben did as he promised… The way she was accepting his feelings and his attitude towards her reminded Rey of a wicked rollercoaster. One day she believed everything was real with him, the next she was confused and doubting. It was tiring... She needed time to process everything. She was almost there. And no matter what doubts she had, Ben was always by her side, caring and promising to always be there for her. Rey’s anxiety brought up by their conversation about children earlier that day faded. Rey looked at Ben and tried to imagine this handsome and strong man with their child in his arms. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard. She had never dreamt about children. But this time her heart swelled at the image. She probably would think about that later. After all, the thought didn’t scare her that much anymore.

 

Ben was right, the forest around the lake was beautiful. Rey hadn’t known there was this much green in the whole galaxy. Now, in September, some leaves had already started to turn yellow and orange and everything looked gaudy. She forgot how to breathe, staring around her, her mouth agape.

 

“It’s beautiful…” she whispered.

“Yes… It is…”

 

Rey turned to Ben. His voice was hoarse and he watched her intently. They were in the middle of the lake now and that was probably the most beautiful point in the area. Ben wasn’t averting his eyes from her and his jaw worked like he was about to tell her something.

 

““What is it?” Rey asked concerned.

“Rey,” he released a breath he was holding. “I wanted to…”

 

At this very moment there was a splash of water nearby. Rey turned to the sound in surprise and grinned widely.

 

“Look!”

 

She pointed to the spot on the water surface not far from them. Something sparkled there and played all colors of the rainbow.

 

“What is it?!” Rey was so excited that she almost laughed out loud. The sparkling rainbows under water looked like a miracle from one of the fairytales she had read in her childhood.

“Those are Takodana Rainbow trout,” Ben smiled, looking in the direction she was pointing. “They are quite common for this area. However we are lucky to see them like that. They change their color only during their mating season… Which is now… Then they will spawn and lose their sparks,” he grinned. “Takodana Rainbow trout are a unique fish.”

“Really? Why?” Rey was very curious and couldn’t avert her gaze from the flock of rainbow colored fish.

“Unlike many other fish, they live a long time. They don’t have to many eggs when they spawn. And each trout finds their mate during one of these sessions you are watching now. And they mate for life.”

 

Rey turned to Ben surprised.

 

“Really?”

“Really. And when one of the trout from a mated couple dies, the other always follows. Therefore, they are considered a symbol of eternal love.”

 

Rey smiled at Ben and turned beck to the trout.

 

“I didn’t know... This is so breathtakingly beautiful…”

“It is… Not many are lucky enough to see them during their mating season… People say that if a couple sees mating Rainbow trout, the said couple will get married within a year or two…”

 

Rey turned to Ben at these words. She thought she would find him smirking or smiling amusedly at her, but he was deadly serious.

 

Her eyes went wide.

 

“Rey,” he started, but at this moment one more school of trout appeared at the surface of the lake by the side of their boat with a splash.

 

Rey cried out in surprise and jumped to the side of the boat, making it rock from side to side. She got scared by the amplitude and tried to catch her balance, standing up a bit on both her legs and trying to stop the boat under her from rocking. That was a mistake.

 

“Rey, stop! SIT DOWN!” was the last thing she heard before falling overboard.

 

The water was freezing. Rey didn’t know how to swim and she panicked. The life vest was keeping her above the surface, but Rey was so scared that she started to move frantically, making the ice cold water splash into her face. The cold was chilled her to the bones.

There was a loud splash nearby and in a second she was taken into two large arms.

 

“Sweetheart, calm down!” the sound of Ben’s voice managed to make her stop panicking so much. “We need to get out of the water. Come on! Wrap your arms around my waist. Come on, Rey, you can do it!”

 

She was shivering and her teeth clenched, but finally Rey realized that she wasn’t going under the water and that helped her to calm down. Rey did as Ben told her and they started to move towards the shore. However, the water was so cold, that after a minute Rey stopped feeling her legs. That was strange, but it felt like she was burning. The cold burned her body, making Rey moan in pain. Ben was strong and they were moving very quickly, but it was very cold…

 

“Sweetheart, we are almost there. Hold on, hold on, Rey!” Ben sounded desperate, but kept moving forward.

 

From the corner of her eye Rey could see the bottom of the lake near the shore where they could already stand. Unfortunately for them it went down very sharply, and where they were now even Ben couldn’t reach the bottom. The last thing Rey heard before the world around her went black was Ben’s voice asking her to hold on…

Chapter Text

Chapter 19.

Confessions and important decisions.

 

Rey couldn’t see anything at first. Someone was calling her name and talking to her, but she couldn’t make out the words. Then the voice became recognizable. Ben… Ben was calling her name, sounding desperate for some reason. Finally, Rey opened her eyes.

 

“Rey!” Ben was so loud, and she winced. “Love, oh, God… Rey, speak to me!”

“Ben…” she wanted to say more, but the words were lost on her tongue.

“Oh. God…” Rey felt Ben’s face burrowing into the crook of her neck, and suddenly she realized that her body was pressed to his and they were both wrapped naked into several blankets.

 

There was a fire in the fireplace and the room was almost unbearably hot. Consciousness was gradually returning to her, and Rey could finally speak again.

 

“Ben,” her voice sounded hoarse to her ear. “What happened?”

“You fell overboard,” Ben’s breathing was racing. “I got you ashore, but you fainted while we were in the water! I brought you home and did everything I could. I couldn’t manage to call the emergency number. My fucking phone died when I jumped in after you!” he was speaking through clenched teeth now, his body tense against hers. “Fuck, Rey… I thought I lost you…”

 

Ben clung to her and was now pressing her tighter and tighter into himself, so Rey was struggling to breathe.

 

“Ben…” she croaked. “I can’t…”

“Rey, I thought you would die!”

“I can’t breathe!” she finally managed to shout.

 

He let her go immediately. Ben got out from under the blankets and started pacing the room, running his hand through his hair frantically. Rey watched him, trying to recall everything that had happened on the lake. After a minute of Ben’s pacing and her struggling, Rey finally managed to remember it all…

 

There was no surprise that he was going mad… Ben didn’t stop pacing, and Rey was starting to feel a bit dizzy from his frantic movements in front of her eyes that were still a bit blurry.

 

“Darling,” she tried to call him.

“We need to get you to the hospital,” he turned to her. “Come on, Rey, I’ll carry you to the bedroom. You need to get dressed.”

 

He tried to lift her from the sofa she was sitting on, but Rey escaped his grasp.

 

“Wait! Stop!”

“Rey, you need to get dressed, we are going to the hospital! Now!” Ben was enraged and slightly scary. He looked ready to seize her and bring her to the fucking hospital in a sack.

 

She froze.

 

This was the Professor Solo she had met two weeks ago. Ben was so furious and Rey was a little bit afraid of him.

 

She gulped.

 

“Let me carry you to the bedroom and I will help you get dressed. We will go to the hospital and then, when I know that you are completely fine, I will bring you back to Takodana.”

Ben’s words hit Rey like a hammer.

 

“What?!”, she exclaimed, still fighting him as he tried to lift her to carry Rey to the bedroom.

 

“I shouldn’t have brought you here! I knew I would screw everything up eventually! I almost fucking killed you!!! We need to get you to the hospital and then bring you back home!”

 

That was the moment Rey’s heart broke.

 

“And then what?..” she whispered, fearing to hear the answer.

 

Ben froze in place, looking at her. It seemed that he had just come back to himself and the weight of her question collapsed on him.

 

“Rey…”

“Why would you bring me back home?” her initial fear was now replaced by hurt and anger. “Where is home anyway?”

“I will bring you back to “the Workshop” and make sure that you are alright afterwards…”

 

He looked so desperate and lost and Rey’s heart was beating in her chest like crazy, each beat hurting her rib cage.

 

She rose from the sofa, leaving the blankets behind and standing in front of him naked. Rey’s body was still limp, but she finally could stand on her feet. Ben rushed to her, obviously intending to seat her back, but Rey stepped back. Anger was boiling in her chest, the furry that Ben’s words brought to her washing over Rey in waves.

 

“Rey, you need to see the doctor,” Ben pressed.

“What I need,” she hissed. “Is to understand why is the man who was persuading me to believe that I was his woman is intending to get rid of me…”

 

Ben’s eyes opened wide. He gasped.

 

“Rey, I’m not…”

“Oh, yes, you are! You want me to go back to “the Workshop”… And where will you go then? Tell me, Ben!”

 

He looked hurt and confused and his body was shaking. Rey had never seen him like that. Ben took one more step towards her, but she stepped back again.

 

“I almost killed you…” he murmured, lowering his eyes. He looked defeated and so hurt that Rey was in pain, seeing him like that.

“You saved my life…”

“I was the one who was supposed to look after you!” Ben spitted angrily. “And I failed!”

“It was an accident!”

“There shouldn’t have been an accident! Not like that! Not when you could fucking die, Rey!”

“So now what?! You will bring me to “the Workshop” and break up with me?!” she didn’t know what was going on with her. They were shouting at each other, and Rey was ready to tear Ben’s throat apart for how he was making her feel at the moment. The old Rey would have simply run away. She would have hid somewhere and cried her eyes out. But not now. Now she was not going to run away. Ben had promised to be there for her. Ben had promised…

“God, no, Rey, no… Of course not…” Rey’s latest assumption spoken out loud made Ben look at her in horror. “I just want to figure everything out…”

“You want to figure everything out, leaving me alone in “the Workshop”?! What are you talking about, Ben?!” she walked closer to him and pushed him with both hands.

 

He barely moved from her effort, only clenching his teeth tighter and Rey’s eyes started to water, an ugly sob escaping her throat. Ben gasped, trying to reach her, but Rey only pushed him away again and stepped back, sobbing. “You promised to be there for me! And now you want to leave me alone on my fucking birthday! Why did you bring me here at all?! Why are you doing this to me?!”

“BECAUSE I FUCKING LOVE YOU!” he shouted.

 

They both froze in places.

 

And Rey’s world stopped moving.

 

“I need to figure out how to keep you safe… Because I love you, and I don’t know what to do if something happens to you, Rey!”

 

***

 

“I need to figure out how to keep you safe… Because I love you, and I don’t know what to do if something happens to you, Rey!”

 

His world was crumbling.

 

Ben thought he had lost Rey forever. She was pale and cold and her lips were blue when he had brought her to the house. He had torn her wet clothes apart, getting rid of his own in the process and wrapped them both in two blankets, starting to rub her body with his hands to make her warmer. Rey was so malnourished and her body wasn’t strong enough to stay in the cold water for so long…

He could feel Rey’s pulse, but it was weak and she was still unconscious even after several minutes they had spent under the blankets. He had gotten out from under the covers and wrapped them tighter around Rey, running off to start a fire in the fireplace. He had returned to the sofa after he was done.

 

She was still out and he was starting to go mad. He had promised to keep her safe, but failed miserably, and now Rey could die.

 

Only when Rey had finally opened her eyes did Ben feel like he could breathe again. And now he was standing in front of her, and Rey was speechless after his confession.

 

He didn’t mean to blurt it out like that. He wanted those words to be pronounced in some beautiful surroundings with Rey sitting (or standing) in front of him safe and sound. But now they were facing each other, panting heavily, both naked in front of the fireplace that was burning hot and making them sweat.

 

He had wanted to bring her back to “the Workshop” because he thought that the fucking coffee shop was the only safe place to keep her in for now. Ben had panicked and now, he realized that Rey had misinterpreted his intentions completely.

 

Truth be told, he couldn’t blame her. He had, indeed, sounded like a complete moron. The realization of his own fucking idiocy hit him hard, so he had blurted out the love confession as it was the only thing he could come up with.

Rey was standing in front of him in shock now, and Ben was going insane all over again from the thought that he might have rushed it on her. What if she decided to leave him now? What if...

 

“What?..” Rey seemed to finally pull herself together enough to form this one word in her mouth.

 

Ben shook his head, wincing and fighting the overwhelming flow of emotions (most of them terrifying) that was going through every part of his body. What was done was done and he had to at least explain himself to Rey.

 

“I know, it’s only been a week... Well, two weeks, to tell you the truth, because I now think that I had fallen in love with you the first night you spent in my apartment. I tried to deny it, I tried to fight it, but it was all in vain! Fuck, Rey...” Ben ran his hand through his already messy hair, sighing heavily. “There are millions of reasons why I could fall so hard... You are beautiful, you are incredibly smart, you are kind and... you are so fucking stubborn all the time... I love it so much about you, ” he smirked, shaking his head. “But that’s not why I love you. I guess, I don’t need any specific reason to love you, because... Call me crazy, Rey, but I sort of think that you were made for me... And I am completely aware of the fact that this feeling might not be mutual… And that I may sound like a creep to you now… But you asked me once why I was so sure that I would be around in a year… Well, the truth is, I can’t imagine myself with anyone, but you, Rey…” All this time Ben wasn’t looking at her, gathering his words together, his eyes roaming the wooden floor of the room. But now, when he finally lifted his gaze, his heart sank at the sight of his girl sobbing and wiping her eyes.

 

Rey’s body was shaking, and Ben rushed to her, seizing her tightly and raising her head by the chin.

 

“Sweetheart… Rey… What?... Why are you crying?..”

 

She looked so tender and fragile, and in the blur of his feelings Ben couldn’t understand the reason for her tears. Had he said something wrong? He knew his confession would have been too much for her, but love confessions weren’t actually something to cry over… Were they?

 

“Why… Why do you want to bring me back to “the Workshop” then?” she sobbed.

 

Ben winced.

 

“Sweetheart, I just wanted to figure out how to keep you safe… “The Workshop” is the only place that proved itself to be safe… And after you almost died today I just…”

“You fucking saved me,” she hissed. “It was one fucking incident! I could fall overboard somewhere where no one would jump after me!” the thought made him tense. “Can’t you understand that I am only safe when I am with you?! And if you actually mean what you said…”

“Of course I did, Rey,” he interrupted.

“Then stop fucking freaking out, Ben!”

 

She was still crying. Crying and chiding him, cursing so much that he almost wanted to scold her for that. She was chiding him and burying her face in his chest. He could fall apart from how tender and precious Rey was to him at this very moment.

“Rey. Calm down… I’m sorry, sweetheart…” no one on this entire planet could leave him so confused and overwhelmed with an interaction as Rey did.

“I love you too,” she suddenly mumbled, so quietly that at first Ben thought that he had misheard her.

“What?..” he whispered, praying to Gods that he had heard her correctly.

“I love you too,” she raised her head and looked him in the eyes. “I love you so much that it scares me sometimes.”

 

His old world was crumbling around him.

 

Ben was drowning in happiness, Rey’s words had brought. She loved him… This Universe definitely had a twisted sense of humor, bringing the two of them together. He thought again that never in his life had he felt like he belonged anywhere. Not with his parents or his uncle, not with “the First Order” or with Bazine, not even with Hux and Phasma, though those two were his closest friends and people he trusted most in his life. Only now, with Rey by his side, Ben finally felt like he was home.

 

“Don’t be afraid, little one” he whispered into the kiss that had started as chaste, but became heated very quickly. “Don’t be, I feel it too.”

 

Ben pulled Rey up, her legs wrapping his waist in the manner he knew so well by now. She was smiling, kissing him, filling Ben with joy from head to toes. Suddenly, he remembered that Rey had been out a few minutes before, the realization punching him straight into the guts. She had to have rest, for God’s sake!

 

“Rey, love, stop,” he tried to say, pulling away from the kiss.

 

Rey, however, had other plans.

 

“I won’t stop,” she stated, reaching for his lips and claiming them with her own. “I never want to stop. Not now!”

“Rey!” he laughed, turning her in his arms and holding her bridal style, secretly admiring her annoyed frown. “You were out several minutes ago. You need to rest for a bit!”

“I feel fine!” she pouted.

“Just let me do a quick check up, will you?” Ben smiled.

 

She hesitated.

 

“Only if you promise me to not take me to the hospital,” she finally murmured.

 

Ben shook his head. Well, that he could do, of course…

 

“If I find something suspicious, I will take you to the hospital no matter whether you like it or not,” he stated. “Otherwise, I will make you some hot chocolate and feed you.”

“I have a better idea of what we could do with our time…”

 

Ben rolled his eyes, smirking. His baby girl was insatiable. He couldn’t blame her as he himself was no better, but someone had to be responsible here. And unlike all the previous times when he couldn’t bring himself to be a responsible adult and they fucked bare time after time, this time Rey’s health could be in serious danger. And Ben intended to do everything possible to make sure she was safe and sound first, even if it took all his willpower to do so.

 

“Hush, baby girl!” he growled after Rey tried to capture his lips again with hers. “Be a good girl and let me do the check up.”

 

Ben laid Rey back on the couch and wrapped one of the blankets around her shoulders.

 

“Okay, Daddy...” his eyes slid to her face as his cock flinched at the words. She was smirking slyly and Ben realized that Rey was starting to be too good at teasing him...

“Show me your hands,” he groaned, taking a deep breath. “I have to see if your sensibility is fine.”

 

Only after Ben was completely sure that Rey was alright and had no lasting effects did he let her get out from under the blankets.

 

“Come on, Ben,” she smiled. “It’s too hot in here! Can we open a window and muffle the fireplace a bit?”

“Okay,” he agreed unwillingly. “But I am making you the hot chocolate and a snack that I promised you!”

“But I’m not really hungry!” Rey laughed.

“I don’t care. You are too thin and too malnourished. That was also a reason why you didn’t make it to the shore staying conscious,” he frowned and Rey sighed, rubbing her temples.

“Well, you are probably right,” she murmured, cupping his cheek with her hand. “But what are you planning to do now? Make me eat until I weight one million pounds?”

 

Rey shrieked as Ben pulled her up and took her to the kitchen.

 

“Whatever it takes, sweetheart. I will love your dimpled cheeks even if they are ten times rounder.”

 

He adored it when Rey blushed. She nuzzled his neck with her petite nose and kissed his cheek.

 

“I love you, Ben,” she whispered and it was heaven all over again.

“For that, sweet thing, I will be entirely grateful to the universe,” he whispered into her ear. “I love you too. Always.”

 

 

One hour, two large mugs of hot chocolate (for Rey) and coffee (for Ben) and several PB&J’s later, they were sitting at the kitchen table, Rey laughing loudly at the story of Ben and Hux sneaking into the girls’ cloakrooms in the FOIT.

 

“Why on Earth did you decide to do it?!”

“Well, I challenged Hux and he couldn’t stay away,” Ben smirked.

“Wasn’t he with Phasma back then?”

“Oh yes, yes he was... And, believe me, he had no interest in any of those girls, just in winning the bet. Phasma made his life hell for a month after that... But Hux never even looked at anyone after they had met.”

“They are very close, aren’t they?”

“Well, they used to be the only proof that soulmates existed to me,” he murmured, caressing Rey’s cheek with his thumb.

“Used to?” she looked so pleased right now, obviously enjoying every single moment of their time together.

“Until I met you.”

 

She blushed deeper and lowered her eyes, smiling lightly.

 

“I still have problems believing it’s true,” she whispered.

“Rey, come here...”

 

She was sitting across from him and had to corner the table before he could pull her to himself, sitting her on his lap.

 

“I love you,” he said, kissing her on the nose. “And I intend to do everything possible to, first, make you believe me and never doubt my feelings, and, second, make you utterly, overwhelmingly happy. Just like you deserve, love.”

 

He didn’t even care if that sounded cheesy. That was true, Ben was ready to give her everything. He was almost terrified by how much he was ready to sacrifice for her. Ben knew Rey was young. She had to see the world, she probably needed an opportunity to change cities or even countries. Ben was used to solitude. He had thought he never needed anyone to stay too close for too long. Hux and Phasma had been the only exceptions, and they had a family of their own. But Rey... For the first time in his life, Ben was ready to follow someone anywhere. He was even ready to leave his job if she decided to move elsewhere. Ben loved Engineering. He hated his students, but his work in academics and the chance to do something worthy in the scientific field for was his life. His whole world was in Takodana, but if Rey decided to leave the town someday, he would follow her without even thinking twice. If she would have him.

 

He didn’t want to push... But Ben was not sure it was possible for him to let Rey go if she decided to leave him. So he had to do everything within his power to make her want to stay with him... And Ben hoped with all his heart that Rey felt at least slightly the same.

 

She kissed the crook of his neck.

 

“I don’t think you have to try so hard to achieve it,” her soft whisper caressed his cheek. “I am already utterly happy, Ben.”

“Is that so?” her words melted his heart completely.

“Uh-huh,” Rey teased demurely and Ben’s body responded to that like it always did: by hardening his cock.

“What are you up to, baby girl?” he growled hoarsely.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Rey purred. “I am full and warm now... And I think I was a bad girl earlier...” Ben’s brows started to move towards his hairline. God, just when he thought she couldn’t be more perfect, Rey suddenly made or said something that sent Ben to the edge.

“Oh, were you?” he groaned.

“Yes, yes, Daddy...” she stretched in his arms, her subtle body making every part of him aware and ready to act and claim her all over again. “I feel so bad for disobeying you... And for behaving so... poorly...”

 

She was so light. It was so easy to throw her over his shoulder and carry her to the bedroom that Ben didn’t hesitate. She shrieked as he grabbed the cheeks of her ass in the process, but Ben just squeezed harder.

 

He threw her on the bed and Rey bounced on the mattress, gasping and watching him intently.

 

“On your knees,” he ordered, enjoying the way her mouth popped open in surprise.

 

Rey, however, obeyed and was now sitting on her knees in the middle of the bed.

“Crawl to me and turn around. Stay on all fours.”

 

He hadn’t done this in ages... Last time someone called him “Daddy” he was with Bazine and the experience had left a bitter aftertaste. He never planned to repeat it again.

 

With Rey, however, his past with Bazine didn’t matter anymore. Now Rey was his baby girl, and she was nothing like his ex-fiancé. Nothing at all. Ben though he would never enjoy this stuff again, but Rey’s little mouth had brought a new meaning to the old words. And Ben craved her.

 

Rey was kneeling on all fours in front of him, the sight of her little ass making it impossible to avert his gaze from her. Such a divine little creature she was! And all his... He wanted to start slowly. There was no need to do much today. And Ben was going to make Rey enjoy every single minute of it. She asked for this herself and now he had carte blanche.

 

“So, tell me, baby girl... What did you do wrong today?” he asked in a calm, strict voice, watching Rey arching her back a bit.

“I teased my Daddy and disobeyed his orders...” she whispered.

 

His sudden slap on her ass made Rey cry out in surprise. Ben caressed the place of the impact with his palm immediately, but Rey didn’t seem to mind the action at all. Suddenly, she pressed her ass into his palm, and Ben almost lost control.

 

“Hush, baby girl,” he groaned, stilling her. “Don’t move unless I tell you to...”

“Sorry...”

“Sorry what?”

“I’m sorry, Daddy.”

 

She wasn’t making it any easier for him.

 

“You are right, the disobedience and teasing should be punished, little one,” he went on. “But since it’s your first punishment and you are taking it willingly, I won’t go too far with it... We’ll start with six spanks, you are going to count them and thank me for each of them. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Daddy.”

 

Good God...

 

Ben kneeled near her and put one of his hands on Rey’s neck, gripping it carefully, but tightly to fix her position. And then he slapped her, soothing the place where his palm landed right afterwards.

 

“One,” Rey whispered. “Thank you, Daddy.”

 

Delirious... That was just fucking delirious! Rey arched her back and closed her eyes. Ben slapped her again, feeling his precum leaking from him.

 

“Two, thank you Daddy.”

 

By the sixth time he slapped her, Rey’s ass was red and Ben’s cock was so hard that he could hammer nails into wooden boards with it. He caressed her delicious ass every time he slapped her, and to his greatest surprise by the third slap Rey had started to moan...

“Such a good girl,” Ben murmured. “Taking your punishment so well... And do you know what the good girls get?”

“A reward?”

“Yes, a reward... However, you seem to enjoy your punishment way too much,” Ben ran a hand from Rey’s pussy down her inner thigh, his hand gathering the slick that had dripped from her.

“No, Daddy, I will be good, I promise. Please, give me my reward.”

 

Ben decided to stop questioning Rey’s natural abilities to submit to him in such a deliriously wanton way. For the first time in his life he felt like he deserved it, and he lingered on the feeling.

 

“Oh, I will, baby,” he groaned, placing himself behind Rey and entering her.

“Oh, God!” Rey exclaimed.

 

Ben was seeing stars...

 

“My good girl... Such a perfect little slut for your Daddy you are, aren’t you?”

 

For a second Ben was afraid that he had overstepped. Rey’s body tensed a bit. He was close to completely losing control, but was still sane enough to realize his little girl needed some reassurance.

 

“You are a Goddess, Rey,” he hissed, thrusting into her. “You deserve the best and you are a Goddess among men... But you are my little slut when we are in bed together and you are such a good girl to behave like that for me. It is only for me, isn’t it, Rey? Tell me!”

“Yyes... Yes, it’s only for you, Daddy!” she cried out, clenching into the sheets, her tension fading.

“You are meant for me, Rey! Everyone will kneel before you, because you deserve it. And the only man you will be kneeling before will be me! Do you understand? Say it!”

“Yes, I will do it only for you!” Rey cried out.

“Good. Girl! Now come on my cock, baby! Come on my cock Rey! I want you to come and I want to cover you with my seed afterwards!”

 

At this she clenched around him with a loud cry that tore him apart.

 

“Daddy!!!”

 

Ben pulled out with a roar, covering Rey’s back with his seed.

 

“FUCK!” he groaned, spilling a river of his cum on her. Oh how he wished all of it had just stayed inside her.

 

Panting, they both fell on the bed, Ben pulling Rey close immediately.

 

“I love you sweetheart! I love you, I love you!” he was repeating this like a mantra, not letting her go, never able to let her go.

 

Suddenly, he heard her sobbing again. Panic hit him.

 

“Rey, darling, what is it? Did I hurt you?!”

“No, no! Nothing is wrong... That was just so overwhelming,” she smirked through her tears.

 

And he was happy.

 

 

Two hours later they were still lying in bed in each other’s arms, when Rey suddenly laughed.

 

“What is it?” Ben asked.

“Do you know that you had already confessed that you love me before today?”

“What?!”

“When you were drunk. You told me you loved me very much... When I was undressing you.”

“I did what?!” hand running through his hair, Ben closed his eyes and sighed in frustration. “Fucking shit, I’m so sorry, Rey...”

 

She laughed out loud.

 

“Language, Professor Solo!” her finger traced the side of his jaw. “What on Earth are you apologizing for, Ben?”

“You deserved a better confession” he groaned. “Oh, I am never drinking with Hux again! Shit...”

“Well, I had a better confession today... Truth be told, every love confession is perfect when it’s coming from you... And when I know it is actually true.”

“Why on Earth didn’t you tell me?!”

 

Rey smirked.

 

“Ben, how do you imagine that conversation going? When you asked me in the morning about what was wrong, I got scared. I didn’t know if you meant what you had said, and I was afraid to scare you off... That’s why I told you some of it, but not everything...”

“I meant every word I told you,” Ben turned Rey so that she was lying under him now. Suddenly, a thought hit him. “So... You lied to me, Miss Johnson?” he smirked, his intonation strict, but Rey gasped in his arms arching her back.

“Yes... Professor...”

 

Ben had to clench his teeth at the feeling of blood running down from his head to his cock, leaving him slightly dizzy.

 

“Such a bad girl... I think I didn’t punish you enough, Rey.”

 

Her wanton moan was the only confirmation he needed to proceed with their little game.

 

***

 

Rey was seeing stars. Ben organized the best birthday possible for her and she was so happy that sometimes it was hard to breathe. He loved her! Rey still couldn’t believe it was true, but here he was, looking at her in adoration and barely letting her walk on her own feet, preferring to carry her around the house in his arms.

 

They had more sex, they ate, they talked, they even played some board games Rey found in the living room, they talked more and they had more sex. Then Sunday came and the both of them spent the first half of it moving between their bed and the kitchen again. Unfortunately, it was time for them to return home. Rey’s cover story for this weekend was that she went to another city to buy supplies for her competition project. The supplies were already bought by Ben, of course, but Rey still had to return home a bit earlier not to raise anyone’s suspicions.

 

“I don’t want to go back,” she whispered, kissing the column of Ben’s neck sitting on his lap in the kitchen.

“Me neither,” Ben sighed, his warm breath burning Rey’s skin. “So, do you like this house?”

“Oh, I love it! Not only because you are here, which is obviously an advantage,” she smirked. “But it is just so cozy and warm! I wish we could come back here some day...”

“I’m buying it then.”

”What?!” her eyes opened wide in surprise, her heart starting to beat faster. “Are you serious?!”

“I am,” Ben removed a strand of hair from Rey’s face. “I like it. And we made a deal with the owner that if I like this house during the weekend, we will sign all necessary papers and the house will be mine... I think we might need a secret hideout for us. Some place we could go to and just be together. What do you think?”

 

Rey shook her head in disbelief. All of that reminded her of some fairytale, and yet somehow she was the main heroine of the story.

 

“I think you are amazing, Ben, and that I am the happiest woman on this planet.”

“Well, I might need to buy houses more often then,” he laughed as she punched his arm. “You can leave part of your new clothes here. I don’t think they will all fit into your room anyway.”

 

Rey nodded, agreeing with him, still having trouble believing everything that had happened to her.

 

“I have something else for you,” Ben smiled when they packed their bags and were ready to leave.

“If you are going to give me one more present, I will be completely spoiled... Officially...” Rey rolled her eyes, adoring the sound of Ben’s laugh.

 

He was laughing a lot with her. During their first week together in Takodana, Rey had noticed that Ben smiled rarely, let alone laughed. He was usually collected and controlling. He smiled, of course, when they were together, but as soon as they left their personal bubble, Ben became serious and tense. So here, hearing his laughter, Rey felt her own heart jump with joy.

 

“Oh, no, he said... I didn’t want to give you a present,” he walked towards the sofa she was sitting on, letting Rey crawl to him as soon as he sat beside her.

 

Rey wrapped her arms around Ben’s torso and looked at him inquiringly.

 

“I didn’t want to give you a present, I wanted to give you presents,” Ben smirked.

“Oh, come on!” Rey shook her head, smiling.

“It’s my aim to spoil you, Rey. And I wanted to give you a present every day that we stayed here, but yesterday we were... distracted...”

“Which was a present itself,” Rey murmured.

 

Ben frowned.

 

“Rey, My attention and time are not presents,” he sighed. “You’ll always have them. Come on, little one! Here.”

 

Ben handed her two small boxes and one was slightly bigger than the other. The bigger box was a little brown leather cube, and the smaller one was oblong and velvet.

 

Rey opened the brown cube first.

 

Inside was a wide bracelet made of leather that was of the same rich brown color as the box. The bracelet had clasps made of yellow metal and there was a strip of the same yellow metallic color, crossing the adornment from clasp to clasp. Rey put the bracelet on her wrist and gasped at the sight. It was quite simple, but stylish and suited her beautifully. She had never had any jewelry or adornments in her life, even Poe had never given her anything, and now she was out speechless

 

“This one is nothing special, of course, but I wanted to give you something that you could wear whenever you wanted without any risk. I will buy you a lot of beautiful jewelry when we don’t have to hide anymore, but for now we have to be careful.”

“It’s perfect, Ben, thank you!” she gasped, feeling the happy tears burning her eyes again.

“Hush, Rey, don’t cry. You need your eyes dry to see another present.”

 

There was a thin metallic chain wristlet in the second box and Rey frowned, looking closer at it.

 

“Ben, is it....?”

“Tatooinean copper,” Ben smirked.

 

She gasped.

 

“But it costs too much!”

“Forget about the price, Rey. I owe this material too much to just pass by this wristlet.”

 

Jewelry from tatooinean copper were rare and costly. But Rey knew all too well why Ben had chosen this exact piece to give her. The tears started to run down her cheeks.

 

“Thank you, Ben...”

“You can wear it around,” he whispered, pulling her closer into his embrace. “Just be a bit more careful with that for the time being. I don’t think many would recognize the material so easily, but if they do, they might start asking questions.”

 

Rey nodded, agreeing.

 

“And one more thing,” Ben whispered, pulling a little velvet sack from the pocket on his chest and handing it to her.

“Ben...”

“Open it.”

 

On a thin silver chain there was a small pendant in a form of a gear.

 

“Oh, that’s beautiful!” Rey exclaimed.

“This is made of silver and it made me think of you when I saw it. You are my little gear that helps me to work so well.”

 

She felt breathless. Rey kissed him with all the passion she had in her, biting Ben’s lips and exploring his mouth with her tongue.

 

“I love you so much!” she whispered. “So much, Ben! Thank you for everything!”

“I love you too, Rey. And I will give you the world.”

 

 

 

He dropped her off several blocks away from “the Workshop”. The weather was nice and she wanted to take a walk anyway. Smiling and remembering the past weekend, with a bag full of new clothes, Rey was nearing the coffee shop when she heard someone calling her name.

 

“Rey!” she turned around and tensed at the sight of Rose Tico, walking towards her.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 20.

 

Old friends, new friends, jealousy and some mortal enemies.

 

“Rey!” Rose was walking towards her, and for a second Rey considered turning around and running away.

 

After the weekend spent with Ben, she was so happy that whatever Rose wanted from her could easily wait till another time... Or just be avoided. However, Rose used to be her best friend, her first friend in Takodana and ever. Rey had been immensely hurt by her rejection, but, truth be told, she still missed the girl. Moreover, Rose had already seen that Rey noticed her, so to walk away now was just... impolite.

 

“Hey,” Rose smiled, looking slightly confused.

“Hi,” Rey managed to smile back.

“Um... How... How are you?”

“I’m fine, thanks,” this conversation was too polite for its’ own good. “How are you?”

“Oh, great! Great... I have just returned from the boathouse Poe had rented for all of us for the weekend...” Rose stumbled over her words, looking up at Rey with guilt. ”Um... Sorry...”

“Oh, don’t mind me,” Rey said through the greeted teeth.

“No, no, I’m sorry... I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“Rose, what do you want?” Rey finally sighed. She was patient enough and didn’t want to get into a fight, but Rose was making her angry, sad and annoyed. “I am tired, and I want to get home...”

“Oh, right... Right. Where were you?” Rose eyed the bag with clothes that was hanging over Rey’s shoulder.

 

That’s none of your business...

 

“I went to Theed for the weekend to buy supplies for my project,” Rey lied. She never liked lying, but this time she wasn’t regretting it in the slightest.

“I see... I’m sorry.”

“Why?” what was the problem with Theed?...

“Well, it was your birthday... I’m sorry you had to spend it alone...”

 

Right... Rey almost smirked at her former friend’s pity. Oh, Rose, if you only knew...

 

“Oh, no worries. It was fun. I’ve never been to Theed before. Fantastic city.” Truth be told, Rey had no idea what Theed looked like. She had to probably google it later.

“Oh, I know, right?!” Rose suddenly exclaimed and for a moment Rey saw the same girl she had made friends with one year ago. Her chest clenched. “Did you like the sight of the State Museum? Amazing, isn’t it?!”

 

Right... Thank God, Rey knew how the State Museum looked like, it was one of the most popular art deco building in the country after all. But this conversation had to be cut short.

 

“What did you want, Rose?” Rey repeated her question. It probably sounded too harsh but was definitely required.

 

The girl frowned.

 

“Uhm... Well, I wanted to give you this,” Rose handed Rey something wrapped into the gift paper.

“Well… Thanks,” Rey took the gift, frowning. “What is it?”

“Happy birthday…”

 

There was a bench near them, and Rey took a seat on it, Rose following her. Unwrapping the present, Rey tried her best not to burst out laughing. Inside the paper, there was a plain black longsleve and a pair of black cotton socks. Rey eyed Rose inquiringly.

 

“Well, I thought you might need it. Poe said that you had left some clothes in his house and as long as your boyfriend left you, I thought…”

“There was no boyfriend,” Rey hissed. “I am tired of repeating it over and over again.”

 

One week ago this longsleve would have helped her immensely. Rey could probably even buy it herself, considering the price-tag that was still there. Rey knew the shop. It was the cheapest mass-market brand and she used to buy clothes there as long as their prices were more than moderate. However, given to her like that, this longsleve made her feel humiliated.

Rey had accused Ben of treating her like a charity case. Now she could see the difference. What Ben was showing her with all his behavior was nothing but respect. This, however… This was charity… She smirked at the thought of all the beautiful things that were now packed into her bag. Ironic…

 

“Rey, okay, okay… Maybe there was no boyfriend! I don’t know what to do or whom to believe… Can we please talk?” Rose pleaded.

“We are talking, aren’t we?” Rey wanted to find the strength to brush Rose off, but wasn’t able to do it.

“I just… We went to this boathouse… And Poe and Paige… They are dating… They say that they have just started, but Paige… She seems to know him too well… It’s like they don’t look like a couple that has just started seeing each other… And they keep saying those awful things about you…”

“Oh, do they?” Rey gritted her teeth.

“Yes…” Rose was jabbering, not noticing Rey’s anger. “Poe says that the boyfriend you cheated on him with dumped you because you were screwing someone to help you with the project for the competition…”

 

Rey took a deep breath.

 

“So… What do you want me to say? Or to do?” she finally asked.

“Please, tell me it’s not true… I don’t know whom to believe! But Poe says things about you and you know… I believed your stories about him… But I see how he treats Paige now and I can’t see anything you told me about in him,… But I also believed you… We were friends… I still think you are a good person, Rey…”

“You think I am a good person?..” Rey interrupted Rose’s mumbling The dam was broken, she couldn’t take it anymore. “You think?!”

 

Rose gulped looking at her.

 

“Please, Rey, I am so confused…”

“And what do you want me to do, huh?!” Rey threw the gift back to Rose, raising from the bench. “You come here and say that you think I might be a good person! You think that I might have not screwed anyone for the help with my project. You think!”

“Please, Rey… Paige is my sister… And Poe seems so nice now when I know him better… I am just confused…”

“Leave me alone.”

 

Rey couldn’t take it anymore. She turned on her heels and marched towards “The Workshop”, leaving Rose behind. She wanted to cry.

 

Rose wanted her to prove that she wasn’t some gold-digging bitch, who was ready to sleep with anyone for money and success and even for a place to sleep. Rose… Of all people… She had to do her best and not burst into tears until she was in the safe space of her room.

 

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

 

Rey didn’t notice how she had opened the door to the coffee shop and walked inside, lost in her thoughts. However, now she was standing in front of a large crowd of people who had a “Happy birthday, Rey!” banner stretched above their heads. A cake was in front of her, and Phasma, BB and Jar Jar were looking at Rey, grinning widely.

 

“Wow…” Rey whispered.

“We were planning to do this the whole day yesterday! We prepared everything so today we had to just spot you outside to greet you properly, Rey!” Phasma explained, giving Rey a tight hug. “How was your… trip to Theed?” she smirked.

“It was fantastic,” Rey grinned, her latest sorrows forgotten.

“Oh, I bet it was,” the blonde woman winked.

 

It wasn’t a party per se. “The Workshop” kept working and Rey even changed into her uniform to help BB and Jar Jar serve the customers. But Phasma was giving a free slice of cake to everyone who entered the coffee shop and asked them to wish Rey happy birthday. And everyone did. Rey was on the edge of tears. She was so touched… so happy... BB, Jar Jar and Phasma all gave her small presents. She received a set of little homemade cupcakes baked by BB’s mother, Phasma gave Rey some fancy eye shadow and Jar Jar brought her his favorite book. The edition was old and filled with beautiful illustrations. Rey loved books and had never read this one … It was beautiful.

 

She was replaying her encounter with Rose in her head... Rey’s life was clearly changing. And now, standing at the cash register and looking at all those people who were now... her friends... Rey finally completely accepted the fact that it was changing for the better.

 

“Happy birthday, Miss Johnson,” Professor Hux’s voice pulled Rey out of her trance. “Let me wish you the greatest success in this year’s competition.”

“Thank you,” she smiled, turning to the redhead and shivering at the sight of Ben standing behind him.

“Let me wish you the same… Miss Johnson,” Ben nodded his head with the hint of smirk caressing his lips that Rey knew only she had noticed.

 

Her toes curled at the memory of the last time she was in Ben’s arms in the cottage. Their cottage…

 

“Professor Solo,” it was so strange to call him that and stand so far away from him when they were in the same room together. “Thank you.”

“I heard you were in Theed for supplies for your project?” Hux asked her. “The journey was successful as far as I’m concerned, wasn’t it?”

“Oh, yes… Yes, it was. I informed Professor Solo today.”

“Yes, Ben told me. Can I see what you have purchased?”

 

Rey froze in place. This was not good.

 

“Hux, give it a rest,” Ben groaned. “It can wait until tomorrow. We have our project team meeting anyway.”

“Why not now?” Hux shrugged. “We are both here, we could check if Miss Johnson here needs to find anything else… You were never against doing everything possible for your competition projects.”

“Darling, can you and Ben please go over there,” Phasma who had suddenly appeared by Rey’s side pointed to Ben’s favorite table that was still empty despite the amount of people in the coffee shop. “Remove the “reserved” sign from there and wait for the coffee that I am going to make you. Leave Rey alone. Please. Ben, he was horrible during the weekend. Mumbling something about your projects and trying to call you from time to time. I was a bit jealous, you know. He has never been that insistent trying to reach me. I guess it has something to do with your drunken confessions in the pub last week,” the blonde grinned widely.

 

Rey bit back her laugh. Phasma had obviously just saved her from complications with Professor Hux as there was no way he would stay near the cash register for long after what his wife had said. Hux was a professor after all.

 

“That’s because you are always available, darling,” Hux rolled his eyes. “Okay, if you stop embarrassing me in front of the students I would gladly do as you have told me. Would you make us your perfect coffee?”

“Oh, haven’t you heard, Professor Hux,” BB’s cheerful voice said from behind Rey’s back. She turned to the guy and saw him grinning. “Rey makes coffee for Professor Solo now, or so I was told. Boss said that her coffee is a modern version of ambrosia. I have never tasted it myself, but it was something Mrs. Phasma has been talking about constantly. Is it really that good, Professor?”

 

Rey’s cheeks were burning as Hux eyed Ben suspiciously, raising his brow.

 

“Oh, is it really that good, Ben?” he smirked, frowning slightly.

“I must say, Miss Johnson’s coffee is not bad indeed,” Ben was, however, able to stay calm and act nonchalant. “What was it that you out into the coffee? Jakku thorn as far as I remember?”

“Yes, yes, that was it,” Rey mumbled.

“Well, I guess, Phasma will be able to do the same thing with my coffee in the future,” Ben shrugged, and Rey had to stop herself from huffing at his words.

 

She knew he was saying that to distract Hux, but how dared he?!

 

“Well, you may keep Mrs. Hux, and I will keep Rey to myself,” BB grinned, suddenly hugging Rey. “She doesn’t know it yet, but I am seriously planning to marry her!”

“Oh, for God’s sake, BB!” Rey shrugged the guy off, rolling her eyes. “I told you that’s not going to happen!”

“What you said, beautiful was that you’d just got away from a complicated relationship and didn’t want to hang out for a while,” BB laughed. “But I am patient enough, ya know! I will make you get to know me better, I intend to become your best friend, and then, when you trust me enough, I will just throw you over my shoulder and carry you to Canto Bright to get married.”

 

BB was on the roll. Rey wanted to say something to him but was interrupted by Ben’s voice.

 

And that voice didn’t sound nice.

 

“Will we eventually get our coffees or should we wait until you get married?...” Ben’s growl sounded menacing, and Rey gulped, looking at him.

 

His jaw was working, his teeth clenched. Ben’s nose was flaring and Rey shivered a bit at the look in his eyes. Ben’s state scared Rey to the bones, but it was the look he gave BB that made Rey turn to Phasma and pay the woman a pleading look that asked for help.

 

“Oh, Solo, I bet your trip to wherever you went didn’t end good, did it?” Phasma’s ability to their asses out of troubles seemed almost magical to Rey.

 

Hux was already eying him suspiciously, and BB tensed, not realizing what was going on. Phasma’s question, however, made Ben rememberer himself.

 

“I... Yes, yes, I’m sorry, I suddenly remembered... something... About the papers... For the house...” Ben, murmured, running his hand through his hair and taking a deep breath.

“Is it crucial?” Hux frowned.

“No, no, just... annoying.” Ben was looking in BB’s direction, and Rey knew he was enraged. He gave her a quick glance as well, and it wasn’t kind or comforting. Rey felt hurt.

However, Hux seemed satisfied with the explanation Ben gave him.

 

“Okay, Solo, then there’s no reason to jump on BB here, especially when he is trying to win Miss Jackson’s attention,” the redhead smirked.

“Right... I’m sorry,” Ben hissed and BB shrugged, still obviously confused by the whole situation.

“What house?” Phasma rose her brow, insensibly resting her hand on Rey’s shoulder. Rey relaxed a bit at the feeling of her boss’s comforting touch.

“Oh, that’s a story to hear! This mor... Professor Solo here suddenly decided to buy a house! Come to our table, Phas and...”

“I’ll bring you your coffee... Okay, love, go take a seat.”

 

“He is a bit insane...” BB murmured. “He has always been grumpy, but this... What came over him?”

“I have no idea,” Rey murmured, watching Ben walking away.

“Well, I guess we were interrupted... I still mean it. I want to take you out sometime.”

 

***

Ben saw red. He could literally feel his blood boiling. How dare this fucker touch her? How dare he ask her out? How. Dare. He?!

 

He realized, of course, he realized that no one except for Phasma knew he and Rey were a thing. But the sight of BB flirting with Rey drove him mad. BB was a nice guy, Ben could give him that. Rey didn’t seem to be interested in him, but still... He was the same age and it wasn’t a problem for them to hang out and have a relationship. Unlike it was for Rey and him.

 

Fuck...

 

He couldn’t let it happen.

 

“So, what about the house?” Phasma smiled, squeezing his shoulder tightly.

 

Ben winced at the sensation, realizing that he had been staring at Rey and BB who were still chatting behind the cash register.

 

“Right,” he growled, removing his friend’s hand and trying to make it look less suspicious to Hux. “Well, I am buying a house...”

 

Hux rolled his eyes.

 

“Solo, you are fucking unbelievable! You were always the one who said your apartment was more than enough for you. You fucking talked us out of buying a house when we were going to do it! And can you imagine, love,” Hux leaned against the table and looked at Phasma intently. “He wasn’t even going to tell us about it! I sort of found out accidentally when I went to his place today. The papers were lying on the kitchen island!”

“I was... I was going to tell you,” Ben lied, groaning inwardly. Telling Hux about his new house that he had bought for himself and Rey hadn’t even been on his mind. “It’s just... still under construction. Still lots to be done.”

“And why did you decide to buy a house all of a sudden?” Phasma smirked, smiling slyly.

“I wanted a place to be away from you!” Ben groaned.

“We will be spending every weekend there as soon as it is ready, Solo,” Hux rolled his eyes, standing up from the table to walk to the bathroom. “I’ll be right back.”

 

Ben rubbed his eyes with a loud groan as soon as Hux left.

 

“Well, Benny-boy... I guess my husband is the last person you want to see in yours and Rey’s house, isn’t he?” Phasma grinned.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake!”

“Ben, don’t you think you are moving things to the next level way too quickly?” the blonde tilted her head, looking at him.

“I bought the house for myself...”

“Of course you did...”

 

Ben frowned.

 

“Phas, you and Hux knew each other for a fucking day when you decided to get married,” he hissed. “Are you telling me to think twice?!”

“And what, are you going to propose?” the tall woman smirked.

“I am.”

 

Phasma’s eyes opened wide in surprise.

 

“Riiiight...” she drawled. “Oh, God, Ben,” suddenly the sly smirk on her face was replaced by light confusion and then a sincere smile. “Well... I don’t know what to say... I knew you were smitten, but...”

“Phas, I’ve never been more sure,” Ben rubbed his temples. “I just hope Rey agrees...”

“Well, did you at least tell her you love her?” the blonde smirked. “That would be a good thing to start with.”

“I did. And she says she loves me too.”

“Well, I didn’t have any doubts on that part...”

“Did you?” Ben asked still hesitating. Truth be told, Rey telling him she loved him back still seemed too good to be true.

“Of course, I did. I know a woman in love when I see one,” Ben’s heart warmed at Phasma’s words. “But as for the proposal... Please, don’t rush it, Ben, she might need more time than you. Moreover, the girl is under a lot of pressure these days. With Dameron and Snoke... and my lovely husband. When are you going to tell him, by the way? I hate keeping something from my ginger bastard, you know...”

 

Ben groaned, rolling his eyes. Phas was right on all accounts. But how could he?

 

“He threatens to report me every time he suspects something...”

“Well, figure it out, Solo,” the blonde frowned.

“Figure what out?” they didn’t hear Hux coming back and Ben had to come up with the answer as fast as possible.

“There are some complications with... the renovations... A lot might need to be replaced in the end if I don’t... come up with something...”

“A lot indeed...” Phasma sighed, kissing her husband tenderly. Ben only wished Rey was this close to him now.

 

 

The three of them spent an hour together, and Ben was constantly stealing glances at Rey. She was still behind the cash register and BB obviously wasn’t leaving her alone. Ben’s fists clenched under the table. He was hardly following the conversation with Hux and Phasma despite the fact that they were discussing the upcoming dinner at Snoke’s.

 

“Ben, for fuck’s sake!” Hux groaned. “Are you even listening?!”

“I am,” he turned to the redhead trying to look as calm as possible after he saw BB giving Rey one more “friendly” hug.

“Really? And what did I just say?!”

“That we shouldn’t... let Snoke get to us..?”

 

Well, the whole conversation was about it, he couldn’t be wrong.

 

“Oh, really?” Hux smirked evilly. “I said we should probably talk to our parents... Ask them to cooperate with us against Snoke. Maybe their lawyers can find something else against him. But that doesn’t matter to you, does it? You are much more interested in Miss Johnson there!”

“Love, keep it quiet,” Phasma frowned. “There’s no need to be the one spreading rumors, shouting out these accusations... ”

“Why do you keep protecting him, Phas?!” Hux hissed, trying to keep it quiet, but failing. “He brought her home, he let her sleep in his guest bedroom. And I hope it was the guest bedroom! He is always too protective of her!”

“I don’t see anything wrong with any of the things you mentioned,” Phasma shrugged. “I would do the same if I were him.”

“Yes, but you are not him! Ben!” the redhead turned to him. “You never care about your students! Not that much! Never this much!”

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Ben answered through the gritted teeth.

“Right,” Hux smirked. “Hey, BB!”

 

Ben turned to see the smiling guy walking towards their table.

 

“So, did you manage to persuade Miss Johnson to have dinner with you?” Armitage gave the guy the widest smile possible, and Ben felt his nails cutting the skin of his palms. Then suddenly he felt Phasma kicking him under the table. The woman wasn’t looking at Ben but was clearly doing it on purpose. He took a very deep breath.

“Not yet, but I am getting to it. I tell you, one day I’ll marry her,” BB smirked.

 

Ben was ready to kill the guy. One more second and he would lose it and break BB in half. He tried his best to look calm but wasn’t sure that Hux bought it.

 

“Rey has too much on her plate already, BB,” Phasma’s voice sounded uncommonly cold. Ben turned to the blonde and found the woman frowning at her employee. “Her life wasn’t easy. Moreover, she has to study hard and prepare her project for the competition. I think Rey has told you about it. Quit playing with her unless your intentions are serious, because, I warn you, BB, you hurt Rey and you’ll have to deal with me.”

 

It was Ben’s words to say, and it was killing him to not be able to speak to BB himself. However, he was grateful to Phasma for saying it out loud.

 

BB gulped.

 

“Don’t... Don’t worry, Mrs. Phasma,” he stumbled. “I... I got carried away, of course. Believe me, I like Rey and I won’t do anything that she is not comfortable with even if that means that I remain kept in the friend-zone forever.”

“Good,” Phasma nodded, and Ben also relaxed a bit. “You may go now, kid.”

“One can hope though,” BB winked, walking away and grinning widely. “And, by the way, you are not so old, boss, there’s no need to call me “kid”, you know,” he added, turning over his shoulder.

“Did you see that bastard,” Phasma huffed, smiling at Ben and Hux.

“Which one of them?” the redhead smirked looking intently at Ben. “Dammit, Solo,” Hux rubbed his eyes. “I hope for our own good that you won’t fuck everything up and that BB will get into Johnson’s pants earlier than you.”

 

Had it not been Phasma’s hand that caught Ben’s arm, he would have punched Hux in the face. Ben hadn’t even noticed how he had taken the redhead by the collar. The two of them were glaring at each other now and for the first time in years, Ben was ready to beat the shit out of his friend.

 

“That’s enough, both of you!” Phasma groaned. “Let him go, Ben, people are staring...”

 

Ben released Hux’s collar and sat back a bit, panting heavily. Several people indeed averted their gazes as soon as he caught them staring.

 

“Now I see how much you “don’t care” about her, Solo,” Hux hissed, making quotes in the air with his fingers.

“Shut up!” Phasma interrupted before Ben was able to say anything. “Armitage, I love you more than my life, but shut the fuck up! That’s what Snoke always does to us! He divides us. He makes us enemies. We can’t let it happen!” Hux frowned but didn’t interrupt this time. “Even if you are right and Ben cares about the girl, so what? I care about her too, and you’ll have to deal with it. I won’t choose her over you, of course, but I will do my best to protect her from any harm. And, truth be told, I am terrified to admit it, but she is... She’s my friend, okay?”

 

Ben was staring at the spot on the table in front of him while Phasma was speaking, but at her last words, he turned to her. It’s been a while since the blonde woman called anyone but him a friend. Actually, Ben wasn’t sure if Phasma had had any friends before the three of them met. Her words warmed him. Rey was changing lives and she didn’t even realize she was doing it. The rage was still boiling inside him, but now Ben could at least contain it.

 

“So, love,” Phasma went on, looking intently at Hux.“Stop harassing Solo. You know perfectly well that if you care about somebody, you can’t fight it. And I didn’t see him... doing anything wrong.”

 

Ben knew that was only a half-truth. He knew how hard it was for Phasma to say it to Hux. Ben realized he owed the blonde so much, and he was immensely grateful.

 

“I am not asking him not to feel,” Armitage growled. “I just want him to keep it to himself. Solo, please, don’t do anything stupid! We will all be harmed! Leave Johnson to BB or to some other nice guy her own age. Okay, you want to protect her, I don’t mind! But don’t... do anything stupid, Ben!”

 

It was a little bit too late for that.

 

“Don’t worry,” he murmured through his greeted teeth. “I won’t let Snoke get to us.”

“I hope so, Ben,” Hux sighed.

 

The redhead wasn’t shouting anymore, he didn’t even look angry. He looked tired and a bit aged. It was like his worries were draining life from him.

 

“I am sorry, mate,” he smiled sadly at Ben. “I am sorry it should be like that for you... Well, being your student, Johnson would be unavailable in any case scenario, but still...”

 

He preferred not to answer. Ben knew Hux was worried about Phasma, he was aware of the feeling too well. But he couldn’t do as his friend asked. Now he had his own family to protect. Rey was his family, and if Ben had to fight the world for her, he would. She came first.

 

Unconsciously, his head turned to the cash register again. BB was circling around Rey and she was smiling and rolling her eyes at him. Jealousy hit Ben, making his fists clench all over again.

 

Mine, he thought. She is mine, goddammit!

 

Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes for a second before standing up from the table.

 

“I need to go,” he blurted, starting to walk away.

“Come on, Ben, stop, let’s have more coffee,” Hux tried to stop him. “Phas will bring you another piece of cake.”

 

Ben smirked evilly at that, going away and leaving the Huxes behind. Cake? Have a cake instead of loving Rey? Have a cake instead of living your life happily? No, no... If they wanted BB to stay alive and the whole place to remain intact, Ben needed to leave and he needed to leave now!

 

***

 

Rey was worried sick. After she saw Ben leaving not even looking back at her she tried to text him, but he didn’t respond. Then she tried to call but was sent to his voice mail. Then she tried to text again. Everything was in vain.

 

Suddenly, the door to her room opened and Rey shrieked in surprise. And then Ben’s mouth was on hers.

 

He didn’t knock this time, he didn’t speak. Rey barely noticed how he crossed the room before his body crushed into hers. His lips were everywhere, on her neck, on her shoulders, on her breasts. Ben was pulling her clothes off and Rey was mirroring his actions.

 

“Ben...” she whispered, searching for at least some explanation.

“Mine,” he groaned, sucking any words she wanted to tell him from her mouth. “You are mine, Rey!”

 

She was already naked and pressed into the wall of her room when he told her those words. In one hard thrust he filled her to the brim with his cock, pinning her to the hard surface behind her. Their coupling was violent, animalistic even, and Rey was lost in the sensation.

 

“Tell me you are mine!” Ben sounded angry, but desperate at the same time, his hoarse voice making her shiver.

“I am yours, Ben, of course, I am yours,” she whispered and there was nothing kinky in their interaction this time. Only two bodies trying desperately to become one.

 

“Fuck…” Ben pulled out with a groan and took several deep breaths, still pressing Rey to the wall, before reaching down to his jeans that were hanging over his ankles. He fetched the condom out of the pocket and tried to roll it over himself with his shaking hands. Watching him struggling, Rey helped him, her touches as gentle as she could manage. And then he was inside her again.

“I love you, I love you so much,” Ben whispered into Rey’s ear when she clenched around him, crying out his name. “I love you.”

 

“I love you too,” she smiled softly at him, finally feeling calm again. “Ben, where were you? I tried to call...”

 

Ben sighed heavily, carried Rey to bed, lying beside her, and started talking…

 

 

“So, you basically got so jealous that you almost killed BB and hit Professor Hux?” involuntarily Rey smirked.

“That’s not funny,” Ben murmured.

 

It probably wasn’t, but Rey still grinned at him. The realization that Ben loved her that much warmed her to the bones.

 

“It isn’t funny,” she nodded, tracing his jaw with her finger. “But somehow it feels nice...” she sighed. “Ben, don’t be jealous. I... I guess it is useless to tell you that I am too deep into you, considering the fact that I had confessed my love to you and you still almost tore BB apart... But, please...”

 

Ben nodded.

 

“I can’t promise you anything, but I’ll try to behave,” he sighed. “I hate to say it, but I have to go now, sweetheart… You need to sleep, and I have to prepare for tomorrow’s lectures. I wish I didn’t have to…”

 

Rey’s heart ached at the realization of the fact that she had to stay alone tonight. She could go with him, of course, Ben would never mind, but she had to get some sleep.

 

“Do you still want me to move in with you next year?” she suddenly asked, surprised by her own words. She regretted them immediately, not being sure that Ben still wanted it and never willing to push him into anything.

 

Ben’s face, however, lit up by a wide hopeful smile.

 

“Of course, I do, Rey.”

 

Oh… thank God…

 

“I agree,” Rey exhaled, relaxing in his arms.

“Really?” Ben sounded overwhelmed.

“Really,” she smiled. “Truth be told, I wish I could do it today already...”

“God, Rey...” she knew she would never be tired of the feeling of his lips on her face and body. “I promise, you won’t regret it.”

 

And she didn’t even doubt it anymore.

 

 

The following week passed by very quickly. Since Hux was now watching every Ben’s move when Rey was around, they decided to spend some time apart. Rey missed Ben every second she didn’t see him, but the dinner at Snoke’s was coming, and Hux was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Ben and Rey hoped that he would calm down a bit after the event, but now the redhead professor was calling Ben every time he was worried about anything and asked to meet up. There was also a possibility that he might just turn up at Ben’s apartment unannounced. Hux didn’t look himself lately.

 

 

One Wednesday morning Phasma entered “the Workshop”, looking absolutely exhausted.

 

“Hey, boss,” Rey smiled, but then frowned, noticing how unwell the blonde looked. “God, Phasma… What's wrong?"

 

The tall woman walked to the cash register and groaned, sitting on the tall chair.

 

"Make me some hot chocolate, girl," she asked, rubbing her temples. Rey rushed to the kitchen.

 

Several minutes later, she returned with a steaming cup of Phasma's favorite drink only to almost drop it from the surprise of seeing Ben sitting next to the blonde by the cash register. It was still very early, and there was no one else in the coffee shop, and Rey's heart skipped a beat from the look of her man. What on Earth was he doing here?

 

"Ben, he stopped eating, for fuck's sake!" Phasma stopped talking, noticing Ben looking away from her. "Oh, here's your sweetheart, good. I need you both here."

"Jesus, Phas..." Ben rolled his eyes. "Hey, love," he smiled at Rey.

"And that's exactly what I was talking about!" Phasma frowned. "Hux has stopped eating. He is worried sick, and I haven't seen him like this since that... situation... with Snoke," she gulped, and Rey hurried to give Phasma her cocoa. "I'm fine, I'm alright," the blonde waved her off. "But, guys, please... He is going insane..."

"What do you want us to do?" Ben frowned.

"Maybe we should try spending some time apart,” Rey whispered. “Professor Hux might be able to relax if he knows that you are not with me and there will be less chance of Snoke finding out," Rey whispered.

"No." Ben's answer was fast and strict.

"Ben, please," Phasma pleaded. "I don't want you to break up or anything... Armie... Just, please... Until this fucking dinner with Snoke, it will be easier after."

 

Ben's fists were clenched now, and Rey realized it was the best time to interfere.

 

"Phasma, will you be able to look after the coffee shop, please... I think we need to talk," Rey asked, and the blonde nodded.

 

Several minutes later they were in her room, Rey sitting in Ben's lap, inhaling the scent of his body, her head placed in the crook of his neck.

 

"Ben, we could wait a bit," Rey sighed. "It would probably be better for everyone."

 

She hated to tell him that. Every part of Rey's body hurt from what they needed to do, but it had to be done.

 

"Just until the dinner, then I will be spending time with you again."

"I will go mad, kitten," Ben whispered into her ear.

"We can talk whenever we can... By phone, I mean..."

 

It was going to be difficult, but it had to be done for their both sakes.

 

 

Good thing Matt was coming over almost every day. Things had become a bit easier for him at school and the boy was gradually improving his grades. To Rey’s surprise, Phasma volunteered to help Matt with his homework every time she was around. The boy was a bit shy around the blonde woman at first, but Phasma was patient. Patient and very gentle. She explained things to Matt again and again in case he didn’t understand something, and finally the boy became relaxed and happy around her, the sight of the two of them together making Rey smile involuntary.

 

It was a pleasant sunny September afternoon and Rey had a shift with Jar Jar at “the Workshop”. Phasma was also there, working on her laptop sitting on the tall chair beside the cash register. Suddenly, the door to the coffee shop bust open and Rey saw Matt running inside. She smiled at the boy, but her smile faded quickly as Rey noticed the tears running down the boy’s face. She ran towards the kid, opening her arms to embrace him. Matt slammed into her and buried his face in Rey’s chest, sobbing loudly.

 

“Hey, kid,” Rey greeted him quietly. “What happened?”

 

Jar Jar was already there, standing two steps away and frowning.

 

“They… They mocked me,” Matt was choking on tears. “They were mean, Rey…”

“Hush,” Rey pulled the boy closer, trying to give him as much comfort as possible. “Who mocked you, Matt?”

“The boys in school! They say I am ugly! They say my teeth will never grow back! Is it true, Rey? Will they never grow back?”

 

Rey pulled away to look at Matt’s face.

 

“What are you talking about, kid?! Of course, they will! Everyone loses teeth eventually when they are kids. They always grow back. And you are not ugly at all!”

“I am,” Matt looked so hurt, that Rey felt the urge to go to his school and deal with everyone who hurt him… She didn’t care who the kids were, she wanted to go there and kick their asses.

“No, you are not. You are very handsome, Matt!” the kid was nice, he was just a child and his appearance would change, but Rey was sure he would by no means be ugly. And Rey wanted to do everything possible to make Matt believe that. The boy smiled at her weakly. “I tell you what, let’s make you some hot chocolate, what do you think?”

“I’d like that,” Matt grinned, tears still shining in his eyes, but starting to dry.

 

Rey led Matt to the tall chairs where Phasma was already waiting, concern written all over her face.

 

“What’s wrong?” she asked tensely.

“Matt was bullied in school. The kids offended his glorious teeth that are on their way to the surface, but haven’t arrived yet. Stupid fools,” Rey patted Matt’s shoulder and smiled at him reassuringly before walking over to the coffee machine.

“Oh, don’t mind them, kid,” Phasma gave the boy a tight hug. “The teeth will grow back and you will also grow into a handsome lady killer, I tell you.”

 

Rey smirked at the blush that covered Matt’s face.

 

“I was bullied in school too, you know,” Phasma went on.

“Really?! What for?” his tears forgotten, Matt was looking at the blonde woman in surprise.

“Well, I was very tall. The tallest in my class. They called me ugly too.”

“But you are beautiful!” Matt exclaimed.

 

Rey put the mug of hot chocolate in front of him and turned to Phasma smiling. Her boss, however, didn’t smile back at her. Her mouth slightly agape, Phasma watched Matt and Rey realized that the woman was fighting her tears.

 

“You think so?” she finally asked, clearing her throat.

“I do! You are very pretty! Not like Rey, of course,” at that both Rey and Phasma smirked, Rey rolling her eyes. “But… I don’t remember my mom very well now…” Matt frowned, taking the mug in his hands. “I only remember that she was very pretty too… I hope she was like you.”

 

Rey hurried to caress Matt’s head, averting his attention from her boss. There was no need for the boy to see the blonde wiping her tears away. It took Phasma a minute to pull herself together.

 

“Drink your hot chocolate,” she smiled, her lips trembling slightly. “I will bring you a piece of cake before we start with your homework.”

 

It was moments like this that Rey was sure that Snoke couldn’t beat them. Not when they all were capable of taking care of each other so well…

 

 

 

No matter how much Rey dreaded Saturday, she was glad it finally arrived. After all, they didn’t have to attend dinners at Snoke’s on the weekly basis and, hopefully, she would be able to spend some time with Ben soon; if they managed to survive this evening. Yesterday Ben had told her he was going to spend the night at Hux’s, and, truth be told, right now she wouldn’t mind being in his arms just to calm down a bit.

 

She put on one of the dresses Ben had bought for her. A plain black one, it wrapped around her curves nicely. It was also decent enough to wear to a dinner party where all the deans of the university would be present. Rey also wore the gear pendant Ben had given her and the leather bracelet. The feeling of the accessories on her made Rey feel a bit closer to him. Finishing her look with a pair of elegant shoes, Rey looked at her reflection in the window of her room. She didn’t have a normal mirror yet, so she had to use whatever she had to check herself out. She looked nice. So nice that she wasn’t used to seeing herself like that. But her look would definitely work. And as long as one couldn’t see the labels on her clothes, no one would assume how much it cost.

 

Still, she felt very nervous. Her hands trembled slightly and Rey hesitated for a moment before pulling her phone out from her purse and dialing a number.

 

“Sweetheart?” his voice sounded quiet and concerned. “Is everything okay?”

“Yes, yes, I… I just wanted to hear you. I’m sorry… Am I interrupting something?”

 

She heard him walking, some doors opening and closing before he spoke again.

 

“I am at Hux and Phasma’s. Everyone is tense, I wanted to call you earlier, but couldn’t find the right time.”

“It’s okay, I probably shouldn’t be keeping you…”

“No, no… I was actually desperate to hear your voice…” she didn’t know how he managed to sound so tender with her when he was so harsh with everyone else.

“I miss you so much, Ben…”

 

She heard him taking a deep breath.

 

“I promise you, I will make it up to you as soon as this fucking evening is over…”

“Language, Professor,” she smirked playfully, trying to soothe the nervousness in his voice.

“Hm… Don’t tease me, baby girl,” he tried to sound strict, but Rey heard him smiling.

“Or what?”

“Or I’ll have to teach you a lesson, sweet thing.”

“I think I desperately need a teacher.”

 

She heard him groan on the other side of the line.

 

“Sweetheart, if you don’t stop it now I will have to lock you in my apartment for a very long time and have my way with you.”

“Oh really? And how long will that be?” she smiled.

“Forever.”

 

Rey’s breath hitched.

 

“Hm… I guess, it is long indeed, won’t you be tired of me?” she asked, trying to remain playful, but trembling inside.

“It will never be enough, sweetheart.”

 

Suddenly Rey remembered the school of Takodana Rainbow trout they had seen in the lake during the weekend they had spent together.

 

People say that if a couple sees mating Rainbow trouts, the said couple will get married within a year or two…

 

Rey shivered. Why did she remember it now? Ben didn’t mean that… Did he? Wasn’t it too early to think about it?!

 

“I mean it, Rey,” Ben whispered into the phone. “I want you always.”

Ben, where the hell are you?!” she heard Professor Hux’s muffled voice.

“I AM COMING!” Ben yelled. “Sweetheart, I have to go now…”

“Yes, yes, of course, see you later.”

“I love you, Rey,” he hurried to say, before hanging up.

“I love you too…”

 

Rey looked down at her phone. Okay… She could think about it later. They had to deal with Snoke first. Sighing, Rey put on one of her new coats.

 

 

 

It seemed the old bastard had rented the most expensive house in Takodana. Three-story, with huge windows, it looked like a mansion from a historical TV-show. Rey ascended the stairs to a large, pillared porch and knocked on the massive wooden door. It opened with a squeak and the butler let her in.

 

Of course… The butler… I am surprised he isn’t wearing a wig, Rey thought to herself.

 

Ben promised to find her as soon as possible, but he obviously wasn’t there yet. Rey felt completely out of place looking at a wide stairs that led to the upper floor where she could hear the sounds of people’s voices.

 

“Miss Johnson,” she heard from upstairs. “You are finally here! I am so pleased to welcome you to my house.”

 

She felt the goosebumps covering her back. Dr. Andrew Snoke was descending the stairs, walking towards her with an ominous smile on his face.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 21.

 

The best offer.

 

“Miss Johnson,” she heard from upstairs. “You are finally here! I am so pleased to welcome you to my house.”

 

It was probably the first time that Rey managed to examine Snoke properly. He was old, deep wrinkles covering his face, but his movements were quick and precise. He didn’t possess the posture of an old man at all and was actually quite fit. The first two times that Rey had seen him, she had thought Snoke was tall. This time, however, Rey realized, Andrew Snoke wasn’t much taller than her. It was something in the way he held himself that made him look taller. Rey didn’t know if it was because she knew what the man was like, but he seemed intimidating.

 

“Doctor Snoke,” as always, Rey hoped that her smile looked at least a bit sincere. “Thank you for inviting me! Your... Your house is... great...”

 

“Great”? Really?

 

“Oh, but the pleasure is all mine, Miss Johnson!” Snoke’s face broke into a smile that made Rey shiver. “I am always happy to meet such promising students!”

 

Of course, you do, you fucking bastard...

 

“Well, as long as you are here alone, let me walk you into the room and show you around,” he tried to offer Rey his elbow to lean on, but was interrupted by the sound of someone knocking on the door. A trace of a frown ran across Snoke’s mouth, before a welcoming smile appeared on his face. “Oh, Mr. Dameron! I’m so glad you arrived! Welcome, welcome!” Snoke walked over to Poe who had just entered the house and was now looking around.

 

Poe whistled.

 

“Wow, Dr. Snoke, your house is something… Well, that’s no surprise considering who you are!” he shook the old man’s hand eagerly. Thirty seconds into the house and Poe was already looking Snoke in the face, catching every word the man could tell him.

 

Rey winced in disgust. Again and again, Poe proved how lucky she was to have been dumped by him. Rey wondered if she would have seen it by now, had he not cheated on her. Would she be aware of how rotten Poe was or would she still be suppressing this information into the back of her mind? She wanted to use Poe’s appearance as an opportunity to sneak away from the hallway but was stopped by Snoke’s silky voice from behind her back.

 

“Miss Johnson, where are you going if I may ask?” he looked disgustingly bemused now, and Rey swore from under her breath.

“I… I didn’t want to disturb your conversation with… with Mr. Dameron.”

“Oh, come on, Rey!” Poe smiled at her falsely. “What has come over you? Where did this “Mr. Dameron” come from?” he turned to Snoke. “Rey and I are good friends, Dr. Snoke.”

“Oh, is that so?” the old man smiled, raising his brow as Rey frowned. “And you are working on one team! Well, then, I think, we can kill two birds with one stone and I can show you both around. There are so many exciting people I would like you to meet! Please, follow me, Mr. Dameron…”

“Oh, just Poe is okay,” Poe interrupted.

“Well good then, Poe,” Rey saw Snoke smiling and the smile made her guts turn. Poe was obviously trying his best to capture Snoke’s attention. And it wasn’t good… “Then follow me! Miss Johnson?” he offered her his elbow again and this time Rey didn’t have any reason to decline the offer. Together, the three of them walked up the stairs to the room where the most important people of the university were having a good time.

 

Where are you, Ben?...

 

 

They were walking around an enormously spacious hall that reminded Rey of the rooms she had seen in the pictures in romantic novels she had discovered once in the library back in Jakku. Those stories took place in old mansions where men were walking around rooms in frock coats and dancing with ladies in crinolines. Snoke was courtesy itself, walking from one guest to another and presenting Poe and Rey to every single one of them. There were deans of the university and old professors whose names were heard all over the country. The treasury of Takodana’s minds, the best of the best at the university. There were also some people Rey had never seen or heard about, but they looked rich. Rich and powerful. This evening was not a small gathering for the people connected to Takodana only. It was a gala... There was no place for anyone who wasn’t important. For anyone who was... useless to Snoke. Rey scanned the room in search of Ben, but he was running late. She had started to get worried a while ago, but now Rey was having difficulty, keeping her face calm. Snoke was introducing her to everyone as “Professor Solo’s young student”. For some reason, that way of introduction made some of the people she met smirk.

Something caught Rey’s attention. In the crowd of people they were passing, she heard Ben’s name. Rey turned her head to see a fat old woman dressed in a black velvet dress with a diamond necklace talking to the group of people around her.

 

“Have you heard the rumors?” The woman whispered loudly enough for Rey to hear. “I heard today that Professor Solo… yes, the one whose students win grants from our funds annually… well, this Professor Solo is the grandchild of who do you think?! Anakin Skywalker! Yes, Darth Vader’s grandchild! Well, I am not saying anything, after all the son doesn’t have to pay for the sins of the father and everything... But that story was awful! That Padme Amidala! Oh, how much I hated her when everything happened...”

 

Rey didn’t hear anything else as Snoke pulled her further along to introduce them to another big shot. Good thing Rey had just put her half-full glass of champagne on the tray a waiter in white uniform had offered to her. There was no way she could hold something with her hands shaking so drastically.

 

“Dr. Snoke!” Rey didn’t know Amylin Holdo very well, but now the sound of her voice was like a balm for Rey’s terrified soul. Perhaps Professor Holdo could distract Snoke, and Ben would finally appear.

“Professor Holdo!” Snoke grinned widely. “It’s so good to see you here today! I hope you are enjoying the evening!”

“Oh, I am, thank you, Dr. Snoke,” the purple-haired woman looked fantastic in her evening dress. Rey, however, noticed that no matter how polite Holdo sounded she was still keeping her distance from Snoke. All the other guests seemed to be ready to throw the world at his feet after he treated them the way he did. Holdo, however, was friendly, but calm and strictly professional. For a second, the woman’s reaction to the old piece of shit who called himself Andrew Snoke warmed Rey’s heart. “The deans of the university and I wanted to discuss something with you. Could you please follow me? It won’t take you long,” Suddenly Professor Holdo looked at Rey and Poe, and for a moment the younger woman thought that she saw a trace of concern on Amylin’s face. Rey raised her brow for a moment and hoped that Snoke would finally leave. Then she could finally go somewhere and send a message to Ben. And then she could...

 

“Miss Johnson, Mr. Dameron, please, wait for me here, I am not done with you yet,” Snoke meant it to sound like a joke, but Rey still tensed. “I mean it,” he suddenly said very seriously. “Stay here please.”

“Of course, we will!” there was nothing that could upset or tense Poe at the moment. The living legend was not only speaking to him, but praising his mind and abilities. Rey realized well enough that Poe’s ego was now the size of Mount Everest. Snoke’s face stretched into a satisfied smile and the old man walked away from them.

 

Poe smirked.

 

“I bet you never thought you would be spending the evening breathing the same air as someone as great as Dr. Snoke, Rey. You should be happy you were invited, I think.”

 

Poe’s arrogant comments still hurt and made her angry, but Rey wouldn’t give him the pleasure of seeing her reacting. She was trying to come up with some sort of reply, but the conversation held by two men not far from them stopped her thoughts.

 

“Anakin Skywalker? That cannot be… But, Solo… Yes, yes, of course… Solo is Leia Organa’s son… Well, no surprise he has a temper…”

 

Rey didn’t hear any more as the two men walked away. There it was, the familiar name Rey had heard from the woman in a black velvet dress.

 

“Do you know who Anakin Skywalker is?” she asked Poe absentmindedly. Rey wasn’t listening to what he had been saying and now the guy was slightly confused by the sudden change of a subject.

“The Vader? The retro mob boss? Of course, I do, why?”

 

Mob boss?!

 

“Just heard people talking about him around the hall,” Rey shrugged, already regretting raising the subject with Poe.

“Why would they?” Poe looked around.

“I have no idea…”

“Well, I am not surprised you don’t know about him, you always were a bit of a space cadet, and the story is quite old… I know it because my grandma enjoyed gossip too much.”

 

Well, if Rey had to spend time around Poe, she could at least get some information from him.

 

“So who is he?”

“Anakin Skywalker was also known as Darth Vader. He was one of the worst mafia bosses of his time. He and his mentor organized a large syndicate that corrupted Mustafar at first, but then spread out to every corner of the country. They say, it was the most powerful criminal organization in history. They controlled governments, police… Well, even you should know about the Empire, Rey,” Poe huffed.

 

Rey gasped. Of course, she knew. The Empire was brought down decades ago and was now more of an inspiration material for novelist and filmmakers, but in the old days, it was a plague that devoured the country. Rey remembered now where she had heard the name “Vader”… Was he… Was he Ben’s grandfather?... She remembered now that Ben had told her that his mother and uncle did their best to keep their personal life out of the public’s attention. Now she could clearly see why… If the books and movies were true, the Empire had murdered people, had been involved in human trafficking, drug distribution and also controlled the prostitution business. They had corrupted everything they touched and had literally controlled the whole country.

 

“Yes, yes, I heard about it, but never realized that those stories actually happened in real life…”

 

Poe smirked.

 

“Well, the funniest part, as far as I remember my grandma’s words, is that people still feel sorry for Vader.”

“Why?” Rey was so surprised that for a moment she forgot everything that had happened between her and Poe and was just listening to him.

“The thing is, Anakin Skywalker had been married before he became Darth Vader. His wife’s name was Padme Amidala and she was much older than him. Well, not that much… I guess, it was around 10 years or something, but they started dating when the guy was around 15… He was underage and she was like 25, and they kept their relationship a secret. Padme was a young politician, so that was a smart move, I think,” Poe chuckled unpleasantly. “Well, they got married as soon as Anakin turned 18… They say that when Vader turned to the Empire, that Padme woman was already heavily pregnant. She didn’t approve of Vader’s choices, so they got into a fight and he killed her. Later, when the members of the Empire were on trial the investigators touched upon this subject as well. Vader had been killed by then, but his mentor, Palpatine, wasn’t. He was protected by the best lawyers. They tried to create a good image of him... Like it was possible… Anyway, the world heard the story about a corrupted teenager that had been seduced by an elder woman… Palpatine claimed that all the Empire’s doings had been initiated by Vader. And that Vader had been so rotten because of Padme. Corrupting the underage, childhood trauma and all of that… That didn’t help Palpatine, of course. He was killed in prison by someone who sought revenge, but the society boiled for a while. Everyone was talking about whether all of Vader’s doings had been Padme’s fault. It was the most discussed subject between my grandma and her friends when they gathered in our house,” Poe rolled his eyes. “Lots of them acquitted Vader and blamed Amidala,” Poe suddenly smirked. “You know what, I’ve never thought about it, but now I remember that there was a big scandal when it was revealed that Vader’s children had survived their mother’s death. They were separated and sent to different corners of the country to be hidden from Vader. One of them was the famous Luke Skywalker, you know, the one who didn’t accept you to that “Anch-To Academy for gifted youth” of his,” Poe grinned evilly. “And the other was his sister, Leia Organa, the one that you adore so much,” Poe frowned, thinking about something, and Rey tensed. If he could remember Ben’s mother and uncle there was always a possibility that… “Oh, my God!” Poe exclaimed excitedly, making several people turn in their direction frowning. “And Leia Organa was married to Han Solo from “the Republic”… Oh, God… No surprise he is so feral, that bastard…”

“Who are you talking about?” Rey whispered, realizing too well what dots Poe had just connected.

“That Professor Solo bastard of yours is Vader’s grandson!” Poe whistled, shaking his head. “I wonder if he ever killed anyone…”

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Rey hissed, unable to control herself.

“Why? Who knows what runs through the family,” Poe grinned widely. “Maybe he killed someone to get his position and all those patents of his and is now threatening one of the deans to keep his place,” Rey rolled her eyes at that. “Or maybe he loves his young students, just like his grandmother and his father did,” Poe’s last words made Rey furious.

“Oh, shut up!” she groaned.

“Why? Maybe he has some underage girl chained to a battery in his closet?” Poe’s grin became even wider and Rey had to take a deep breath. Well, the only thing that she definitely knew was that she was definitely not chained to a battery in Ben’s closet. Her fists clenched. She hoped that Poe had finished his musings because she was barely restraining herself.

 

“You know what?” Poe’s voice suddenly became flirting and Rey turned to the guy in surprise. “You look… nice today, Rey. I’ve never seen this dress. Is it new?”

“It is,” maybe she could just leave after all. Standing there with Poe was starting to feel unbearably disgusting.

“I guess, the tips are good in “the Workshop”, it looks… too nice for something you could buy,” Poe reached to Rey’s shoulders, trying to touch the material of her dress. She took a step back to avoid the contact.

“I bought it in a thrift store,” she lied defensively.

“Of course, you did,” Poe smirked. “But it… suits you anyway… Not a rusty scavenger anymore, are you?”

 

His tone was strange, and Rey frowned. Suddenly, Poe reached to her cheek and tried to caress it, but Rey almost jumped away from him.

 

“What on Earth are you doing?!” she hissed. “Have you lost your mind?!”

“Oh, don’t be like that, Rey,” Poe rolled his eyes. “We used to have so much fun, you and I! You are still a pain in the ass with everything you are trying to do to get everyone’s attention, but sometimes I even enjoy it! Don’t tell me you never miss me.”

“I never try to get anyone’s attention!” Rey was literally boiling now. It had to be a fucking nightmare. She had to pinch herself and wake up. There was no way this could be happening! “Don’t come any closer!”

“Oh, Rey, despite everything, we still could have so much fun together! You look… delicious today.”

 

She didn’t believe her ears.

 

“Wouldn’t Paige mind?” Rey smirked angrily.

“Oh, she is quite liberal,” Poe shrugged.

“I guess you told her I was also “liberal” when you fucked her for the first time.”

“No, she actually didn’t even ask…” the sight of Poe’s face was making Rey want to vomit.

“Well, I wonder what she would tell you if she knew how liberal you think she is. Fuck off, Poe!”

 

The angry expression crossed Poe’s face for a second.

 

“Well, that’s your loss, scavenger,” he shrugged annoyingly. “Don’t crawl to me on your knees when you have nowhere else to go.”

 

Was he completely delirious? What was he thinking telling her that? What did he want to achieve? Rey knew that Poe hated to be declined, but did he honestly expect that she would agree to anything he offered?! Fucking piece of shit!

 

“I tell you what, Dameron,” Rey fumed. “You leaving was the best fucking thing that could have happened to me. Never, I repeat, never speak to me again, unless it’s about our teamwork! You stink, Poe, you are the most disgusting person I’ve ever met, don’t speak to me again...”

“Or what?” Poe’s smirk was angry this time, the guy was clearly mad at her for talking back. “What will you do to me, junk rat?”

 

This was too much. Anger hit Rey so hard she almost inflamed, standing in her place.

 

“Or I’ll fucking crush you,” she hissed. “You know you are using my idea for your project. I know I refused to claim it’s mine, but, behave, Poe, or I may reconsider.”

 

Rey’s teeth were clenched as she saw Poe watching her in fury. His jaw was working and he watched her intently with hate in his eyes enough to kill a large crowd of people. Rey, however, didn’t avert her eyes from his face.

 

“I’ll fucking destroy you,” he finally hissed.

 

Rey smirked. So much had changed between the two of them, shifting the power dynamic and finally balancing it. She wasn’t weaker than Poe anymore, she could feel her newfound confidence and strength straightening her spine.

 

“We’ll see,” she smiled coldly.

 

“Miss Johnson, Mr. Dameron,” Snoke’s voice made Rey turn on her heels. The old man was standing in front of her accompanied by a tall grey-haired tawny middle-aged man in a designer suit. “I’m sorry we were interrupted. But look whom I brought you!”

 

Rey and Poe both managed to smile politely at the stranger.

 

“Miss Johnson, Mr. Dameron, I am happy to present Mr. Malak. Mr. Malak is one of our leading engineers in “the First Order”.”

 

A knight of Ren…

 

“Oh, isn’t it great?” Snoke chuckled as Mr. Malak shook their hands. “I heard about your glorious course work last year, Mr. Dameron. The one that earned you the best student in course title,” Snoke stressed the word “glorious”, and Poe’s face spread into an arrogant smile. “I wanted you to talk to Mr. Malak. We have a lot of offers for such brilliant students as you.”

“Oh, I’d be honored, Dr. Snoke, Mr. Malak!” Poe looked like he was ready to kiss the ground under both men’s feet. Mr. Malak gave Snoke and Rey a dry smile and led Poe away from the corner they were standing in, Poe paying Rey a derisive glance before going away. That should make Rey even madder than she had already been, but instead of that, all she could feel was dread. Poe went to Snoke and Malak like a moth to flame, endangering every single one of those Rey cared about.

 

“So, Miss Johnson,” Snoke’s polite request made her even tenser than she had already been. “I hope you are enjoying the evening?”

“Oh, yes, I am, sir,” calm... she had to stay calm. “I am... very much.”

“Good, good... I wonder where your Professor is, though? He is late and so is Mr. Hux.”

 

Oh, Rey wished she knew it herself...

 

“I don’t know, sir. Professor Hux,” Rey stressed the word “professor” unintendedly. “They don’t usually inform us of their locations. But if you want, I could call one of them and...”

“Oh, no, no, there’s no need,” Snoke assured her, and once again Rey cursed inwardly. “Ben... Professor Solo, I mean, has always been very precise with his appointments time... I’m sure he has a good reason to be late...” Snoke was obviously waiting for Rey to say something, but she hesitated. “Do you know that your Professor used to work for “the First Order”, Miss Johnson?”

 

Oh, there it was...

 

“I think you mentioned that the first time I saw you in Professor Solo’s class...”

“Oh, of course... You know, I still regret that I let him go back then... He was one of the most brilliant engineers “the First Order” had ever known.”

 

She had to play dumb... she had to play dumb...

 

“Oh, really?.. Why did Professor Solo decide to leave then? Some greater projects called for him, I suppose?”

“Oh, I wish...” Snoke made a sad mysterious face and Rey realized he was waiting for her to keep asking...

 

Well, too bad for him.

 

“Oh, I see,” she sighed thoughtfully never continuing the conversation.

 

Snoke’s expression was puzzled, to say the least. What did he expect, for God’s sake?! That Rey would jump on him, fishing for some naughty personal life details about her Professor? Did people do that? Well, after how Poe was behaving, Rey couldn’t say she understood people any longer.

 

“Well, truth be told,” Snoke finally pushed. “I think, that might have been due to his disastrous break-up with my daughter Bazine… She was so devastated, the poor girl…”

 

Rey tensed. Was this old bastard completely crazy, revealing something like that to someone he didn’t know?

 

“He left her so heartbroken… But, he had his own… reasons… I suppose…”

“With all due respect, Dr. Snoke, I don’t think it’s my business to discuss Professor Solo’s personal life,” she probably sounded harsher than she intended. Snoke squinted at her.

“Right, of course, I beg your pardon, Miss Johnson,” he smiled politely. “I got carried away… It’s hard not to when my family is involved, you see…”

 

Rey smiled at him but didn’t say anything.

 

“Anyway!” Snoke’s changes of intonation were so rapid, that Rey had to stay alert all the time. “That was not something I wanted to discuss with you. I have a proposition for you, Rey.”

 

When did they switch to the first name basis?

 

“I wanted to offer you an internship,” Snoke suddenly said. “For the summer. It’s remarkable that a sophomore managed to enter Takodana’s competition. That speaks for itself. What would you say if I offered you to work as a trainee for “the FO” and then we could discuss your future based on the results of your work?”

 

He was watching her, clearly expecting a positive answer. She should have been thrilled, after all… That was a dream-offer… But…

 

“I don’t think I can accept it, Dr. Snoke,” The expression on his face was changing from confused to distrustful and then, finally to suspicious. Rey lowered her eyes. She had to find an excuse as fast as possible. “I… I wouldn’t want to leave Takodana for summer… I have… I…” she was failing miserably.

“I see,” Snoke squinted. “And what keeps you here, if I may ask? A boyfriend? Because, let’s face the truth, there’s no way you could get a better offer than the one I have just made.”

“No, no! There’s no boyfriend…” she hurried to assure him. “I just… Can’t explain, but I have to decline,” could he finally think that she was just some stupid girl and leave her alone?...

“Hm… Well, consider my offer, Miss Johnson…”

“I…”

“You don’t understand what you are missing,” suddenly Rey realized that Snoke was barely holding himself together. “I checked your background, you see. Quite a remarkable one, I must say… I know you’ve seen… bad times… Were lonely your entire life… “The First Order” could be your new family one day, but… had you agreed to accept my offer, I would also make it my personal task to assure that your parents are… found…”

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 22.

 

Drastic times call for drastic measures.

 

"You don't understand what you are missing," suddenly Rey realized that Snoke was barely holding himself together. "I checked your background, you see. Quite a remarkable one, I must say… I know you've seen… bad times… Were lonely your entire life… "The First Order" could be your new family one day, but… had you agreed to accept my offer, I would also make it my personal task to assure that your parents are… found…"

 

Rey froze. Cold sweat was running down her spine. Snoke was looking at her frowning, and she couldn't say a word.

 

She knew he was lying to her. She knew that even if Snoke had really managed to find her parents that it would come up with a price. A price that she wouldn't be able to pay. Snoke was the devil himself, and the devil played smartly. She had to save her soul. She had to...

 

However, Rey hesitated for a second. She would never accept his offer of course, but the realization of how tempting it was hit her like a hammer in the chest. She had spent so many years wondering why her mother and father had left her to die in the desert. She had spent years hating them, and she had spent years dreaming of revenge. Then things had changed. Rey had always been so lonely... When she was fourteen years old, and her puberty hit, she felt a longing for something that she couldn't name. Rey wanted to be loved, she wanted to belong... And then she had started thinking about her parents differently. Maybe, they had had their reasons... Perhaps, they were going to come back for her. Years had passed, but Rey still hadn't gotten any answers. She had gotten angry again and had suppressed every thought about them to the back of her mind where she kept them... Until now. God, was she in pain!

 

"Miss Johnson?" Ben's voice pulled Rey out of her torturous trance. He was standing on the threshold of the balcony, and Rey could see his jaw working in fury.

"Professor Solo," Rey whispered. "Good... Good evening..."

 

Behind Ben's back, Rey could see Hux standing with his face white as a sheet. She hoped that she was wrong, but it seemed Hux was trembling.

 

"Oh, Professor Solo!" Snoke clapped his hands. "So good to finally see you here! Welcome to my house!" the old man grinned, and Rey could see that Ben had difficulty keeping calm. "What took you so long?"

"What are you doing here, speaking with a member of my team all alone on the balcony?" Ben ignored Snoke's question.

"Oh, oh..." Snoke smirked but pretended he was shocked by Ben's question. "I assure you, Professor, that I was not discussing anything competition-related with Miss Johnson here," Snoke smiled sweetly. "I was just trying to persuade her to accept my offer of an internship at my company."

 

Behind Ben's back, Hux gasped and then clenched his teeth. Was he now looking at Rey? It seemed, he was. And his gaze was filled with hate...

 

"However," Snoke sighed. "She refuses for a reason I can't understand."

"I think Miss Johnson knows best what she needs," Ben hissed.

"Oh, does she?" Snoke squinted at Ben. "How interesting... Well, Rey," she saw Ben's fists clenching as he heard Snoke calling her by her first name. "Please, consider my offer... After all, wouldn't you like to meet them? After all these..."

"With all due respect," her voice sounded harsh to her ear, cracked and dry, and Snoke raised a brow when Rey dared to interrupt him. "But what makes you think that I am interested in meeting people who left me to die under the burning sun in the middle of nowhere?" she smirked. "I said, I don't want this internship. And I repeat, I will have to decline your offer. Thank you very much, Dr. Snoke."

 

Ben moved towards her right after she had said the words about her parents. He looked furious and was now standing by her side, towering over Snoke. Rey frowned inwardly. He didn't touch her, but Rey was afraid that his worry was way too obvious... Hux was standing still, looking at the scene in front of him. It seemed, he couldn't say a word but his fists were clenched.

 

"You know," Snoke raised his brow, looking at them. "Sometimes you need to be strong enough to let the past die and kill it if you need to... And sometimes it does you good to... look the people who hurt you in the eyes..."

"And make them pay? That's what you are talking about, isn't it?" Rey smirked, surprised by her boldness.

 

Snoke looked at her intently, as if he was trying to read her better.

 

"I see," he smirked, looking at her and Ben standing side by side. "Well, what can I say... This is all so very interesting. I am sure you have your reasons to decline my offer, Miss Johnson," he looked at her intently again. "Well, enjoy your evening! The dinner is about to start," with that he headed towards the balcony exit, making Hux step aside. "Oh, and Professor Hux," suddenly Snoke turned over his shoulder and smirked at Armitage. "I hope you enjoyed my little present... I... Felt so nostalgic, you know..."

 

It took Rey a second to process what had happened. Ben was by Hux's side in a flash and managed to grab the redhead, not letting him jump on Snoke. Rey was so shocked that she didn't notice the old man watching her. Rey looked up at him, and Snoke averted his eyes.

 

"Calm down, Professor Hux," the old man smirked, leaving the balcony. "I'll see you in the dining room."

"Miss Johnson," Ben murmured, but in the buzzing silence of the balcony, Rey heard him perfectly well. "Please... Let me and Professor Hux have a moment," he turned to her, looking Rey into the eyes. "Wait for us in the room. I think it's better if our team sits together."

 

She nodded, giving him a polite smile. This would be a very long evening.

 

 

Hux was looking better when he and Ben had left the balcony. The moment they entered the room, Poe also appeared. It seemed, he had already discussed everything with Mr. Malak and was now practically beaming. It was probably a good thing that Hux hadn't seen his student talking to one of the Knights of Ren. The redhead was already distressed enough.

 

"Where were you?" Rey murmured when Hux joined Poe, walking several steps ahead of her and Ben.

"Hux had a nervous breakdown..." Ben explained quietly, and Rey looked at him in surprise. "He received... a gift... from him," Ben gulped, taking a deep breath. Rey was waiting for him to go on, sick with worry. "It wasn't anything special... Just his and Phasma's badges from "the First Order"... And Hux lost it."

"Bastard..."

"Rey, I am so sorry, I wasn't here for you," Ben looked up at her. "My phone died… I am so sorry."

"Don't worry about it," she managed to smile. "Please, love... Try to stay calm."

"That's not your part to calm me down," Ben frowned.

"We are here for each other, aren’t we?"

 

The smile on Ben's lips warmed her heart.

 

"I love you, Rey," he whispered.

 

She wished she could squeeze his hand or just touch him somehow, but just smiled instead.

 

"Poe spoke to Mr. Malak today," she murmured.

 

Ben's eyes opened wide.

 

"He's here?"

 

Rey nodded.

 

"For fuck's sake..." and that as the moment they entered the dining room.

 

 

Of course, their seats were right next to Snoke’s. Rey almost growled looking at the smirking bastard sitting across from her. Their table was filled with the best people at the University, and Poe had almost orgasmed when he saw the Dean sitting next to him. Amylin Holdo was also here, and so was Mr. Malak. Hux wasn't eating, and Rey noticed Ben switch the redhead's glass of wine to a glass of water when no one was watching.

 

It was when the dessert arrived that everything went south...

 

"Oh, I am so pleased to have you all here today," Snoke gushed, smiling at Holdo who, to Rey's satisfaction, only nodded her head politely. Snoke looked at the Dean then. "You know, these young people here," Snoke pointed at Poe, Rey and a guy from his own team who was also sitting at the table. "Are the future of Engineering for our country. They are so young but already so confident and smart. They know how to handle their lives, you know. Can you imagine? Miss Johnson here," Rey sensed Ben tensing by her side at Snoke's mention of her name. "Refused my offer of an internship in "The First Order" this summer!" People around the table gasped in surprise, turning to her.

"Are you fucking crazy?..." Poe murmured by her side, but Rey ignored him.

"I am sure she knows what she is doing..." Snoke chuckled. "You know?" he clapped his hands. "I can bet that her love interest is involved!"

 

People around the table chuckled, shaking their heads, and Rey had to stop herself from grinding her teeth. She didn't have time to respond, though, as Snoke went on.

 

"But, anyway," he said. "I am glad to see you all! Professor Solo here," Snoke pointed at Ben then. "Used to be my favorite employee... I am still upset he decided to abandon "the First Order". I guess I still miss my favorite apprentice!"

 

She wanted to grab Ben's hand and never let him go. She was so fucking terrified! But to her utter relief, Ben managed to stay calm.

 

"I prefer teaching," Ben said through the gritted teeth.

"It's amazing, Professor," one of the guests at the table smirked. "Did you really not like to be rich and powerful?"

 

People around them laughed.

 

"I love Engineering. And I have enough money," Ben cut the man short, and everybody felt a little bit confused at the harshness of his tone.

"Well, to each his own," Snoke smiled at the man. "The Solos are famous for their impulsive decisions, I must say."

 

People around the table went quiet, and Rey almost gasped in terror. It was quite clear what Snoke was referring to. Han Solo's suicide... The death of Ben's father. Snoke was doing everything possible to drive Ben wild. Rey shivered.

 

Please, please, love... Stay calm.

 

"You know, I talked to Ben's mother once," Snoke went on, and it seemed that no one had noticed how he switched to the first name basis. People were glad that Snoke had changed the subject somehow, but by Rey's side, Ben sat frozen. He couldn't do anything. Not if he didn't want to ruin everything. "Leia Organa-Solo, such a remarkable woman! I was fascinated by her, I still am! She is competing this year again, you know? Her team is participating in the Alderaan University competition as far as I am concerned," By Rey's side, Ben shivered, looking up at Snoke. Leia Organa had refused to participate in any competitions many years ago. Rey was aware now that it had been due to the situation with her brother's Academy. The situation that had been caused by Ben... It seemed that Leia had decided to come back finally, and that Ben had no idea about it.

"Oh, it hasn't occurred to me, Solo, that you were the Solo..." one of the University's big shots smirked. "The nephew of Skywalker, huh?"

"Oh, Ben doesn't like to mention his family. Believe me, he has achieved everything all by himself," it seemed that people around the table weren't that convinced now. They were looking at Ben smirking, and Rey had to suppress her fury not to splash a glass of water into Snoke's ugly face. "Anyway," the old bastard smiled again. "I talked to her once, and she told me a story about how she met her husband. Leia was younger than Han, you know. Ten years or more? I don't remember. She told me it was love at first sight. Han Solo had never graduated from University. But he was invited to a lecture once, to tell the story of his success to students... Leia was a sophomore back then... They married in a month, can you imagine?!" Snoke laughed. "I always urged Ben to get married when he was working for me. But after all, I started to think that he also needed someone younger... Like father, like son, you know. Runs in the family."

 

What was going on? The things Snoke was saying were impolite, and it wasn't a proper conversation for the occasion, and Rey could see he was making things up. Snoke had never met Ben's mother, Rey was sure, let alone heard the story Snoke had told the people around the table. However, to Rey's surprise, everyone seemed to be interested. It was only Holdo who was frowning at the old man's words. Everyone else was watching...

 

Rey tensed.

They were watching her.

 

"Leia told me that Han had offered her a place in his company at first, but then decided to let her have his heart instead, can you imagine?!" Snoke laughed, and people around the table chuckled again. They were staring at Rey smirking now. Something was so very wrong.

 

"You seem to know too much about my family," Ben finally spoke, and Rey shivered. It was not the voice of Ben Solo she knew, her Ben whom she loved so much. It was different. Cold, distant... violent. Ben sounded like as if he was made of ice. "Funny, because I know for sure that Leia Organa refused to meet you every single time your assistant called her.”

"Oh, but we did meet!" Snoke exclaimed. "It was a year after you left "The First Order," Ben. Why would she not meet me, after all? Anyway," Snoke changed the subject abruptly. "I am happy to see a sophomore student participating in the competition! You must be brilliant, and I can't wait to see your project, Miss Johnson. I'm sure you will do everything you can to ensure your victory. You got on the team, after all," Snoke was smiling nicely, but people around the table were smirking at Rey.

 

Snoke changed the subject again, and everyone finally turned away from her. She was still trying to process everything that had happened when the sound of Poe's voice made her shiver.

 

"Well, well, Rey... Who would have thought?..."

 

She turned her head to him and saw an ugly smirk on his face.

 

"What?" she hissed.

"Well, I knew you were a slut, Rey, but to sleep with your Professor to get on the team... I have no words..."

 

Rey froze. She had hoped that she had misunderstood the situation. She had hoped that she had gotten it all wrong. Rey looked at Poe's face, trying her best not to slap him right there right now. The smirks on people's faces around the table had finally become clear to her. Snoke didn't have to accuse Ben of having a relationship with her. Truth be told, they didn't even have to have a relationship. But people would talk anyway. Everyone got the idea... They all started to think that Rey had screwed her Professor to get on the team... Rey dared to look at Ben. He was staring blankly in front of him.

 

***

 

Were his palms sweating? It was impossible to think, it was impossible to breathe, it was impossible to function properly. All Ben saw was red.

 

Snoke had gotten to Rey. Rey had to spend God knows how much time with the bastard, and Ben didn't know what had happened during that time. The only thing he was aware of was that Snoke had offered to find her parents for her. To make them pay... Oh, Ben would have taken the man's offer if he were her. He had taken the same bait all those years ago, after all. Rey was different, he knew. But she was hurt now, and that was more than enough for Ben to start killing.

 

But he had to keep calm. Snoke had almost gotten to Hux today and had Ben not caught Armitage, had he not stopped him, they would have been doomed. Snoke would make sure they both were thrown out of the University, but the bastard wouldn't stop at that. Ben knew how Snoke acted. He was good at making mountains out of molehills. Ben and Hux would have gone to jail for assault... Ben had had to pull himself together.

 

And then there was the dinner and the impossible conversation that would not have been possible had it not been Snoke who initiated it. This was officially a disaster. Not only had everyone finally realized whose son, and most importantly, whose grandson Ben was, but Snoke had put a worm of doubt into those people's heads. And they were quick to give in to it. Several seconds had passed before everyone was looking at him and Rey differently... They were so screwed...

 

They needed to get out of here as soon as possible. Ben was barely holding himself together, and Hux was on the edge of another nervous breakdown. However, Rey was still here. And there was no way he could leave her. From the corner of his eyes, Ben saw Armitage's hands shaking.

 

"Professor Solo, Professor Hux," Amylin Holdo's voice made Ben's friend pull himself together. Never in his life had he been more grateful to her for turning up.

"Dr. Holdo," Ben nodded, still watching Armitage from the corner of his eyes.

"I've noticed," Amylin frowned, obviously looking for words. "I've noticed that Professor Hux is not looking well. I think there is an infection going around..."

 

Ben raised his brow at Amylin, and she frowned at him. Ben had heard nothing about an infection... Holdo was now looking intently at Ben’s friend.

 

"I think it's better for you to get going now. Go get some rest, Armitage..."

 

Ben knew perfectly well that Amylin had never called Hux Armitage in public. His friend, however, was too distressed to notice anything. On wobbly legs, he headed towards the balcony door. Ben, however, hesitated...

 

"I wanted to talk to Miss Johnson today, Professor Solo," Amylin suddenly said, looking Ben straight in the eyes. "But Dr. Snoke had occupied too much of her time. I think she wouldn't mind driving home with me now."

 

Ben was confused and angry. Amylin was looking at him intently, and he didn't know what that meant. His fists clenched.

 

"I just wanted to offer her a part-time job for the winter holidays," Amylin smiled as if she had read Ben's feelings. "I am glad she didn't accept Dr. Snoke's offer to tell you the truth..."

"Are you now?" Ben squinted at Holdo, trying to read her as well. The whole situation was hard to understand. Ben's body was shivering with nervous energy. Amylin clearly had something on her mind. Was she a friend? Was she an enemy?... Could Ben leave Rey with her today?

"I am," Amylin took a step towards him. "And I assure you, Ben, you need to get Hux out of here as soon as possible. And then... Then try your best to make the insinuations we've all heard today remain unproven... For our all's sake..."

 

Ben froze, looking at the woman in front of him. Holdo was watching him frowning, and he couldn't understand what this all meant. However, Ben realized he had no choice but to leave now. Following Hux, he exited the manor and headed to his car. He would see Rey later, he would not spend this night without her, no matter what they had agreed.

 

***

 

"CAN'T YOU SEE WE ARE DOOMED, SOLO?!" Armitage had lost it the moment they'd entered the Hux's apartment. He had sagged on the floor, and it was only Phasma who had managed to stop her husband from falling on it completely.

 

Now, Hux was shaking and shouting like a madman, and Ben couldn't stop him.

 

"Armitage," Phasma pleaded. Ben had managed to tell her the brief history of how the dinner had finished, and the blonde was now trying to calm her husband down. "He had no proof of anything... He can do us no harm if we remain calm... He..."

"HE IS AFTER US!!!" Armitage threw the glass of water that Ben had given him at the wall, and the thing shattered into a million pieces.

"Armitage!" Phasma huffed.

 

Hux was pacing the room back and forth, running his hand through his hair.

 

"We'll figure something out," Ben tried to stop him.

"He was watching her after he made me jump on him, Solo!" Hux ran his hand through his hair.

"Who?"

"Johnson! He made me jump on him and then watched her reaction!"

"Why would he do it?" Ben asked, realizing the answer to his own question. Snoke wanted to see if Rey would react. If something gave her away. If something gave them away.

"I don't know, Solo!" Armitage cried. "I fucking don't know! And you fucking walked to her to defend her! Fuck, Ben..."

 

Ben was watching his friend trying to come up with a plan. He knew that Armitage would calm down eventually, but it would be a temporary distraction only.

 

"I know what we have to do!" Hux suddenly hissed, pointing at Ben. Phasma walked closer to her husband, and Ben hoped for a second that everything calmed down, but oh, how wrong was! "I want you to throw Johnson off of our team. She is too dangerous to have around!"

 

For a second, Ben froze.

 

"That's out of the question," he hissed.

"Oh, is that so?" Hux smirked. "Because this girl is the one who will help Snoke bring us down!"

"Armitage!" Ben growled.

"QUIET, BOTH OF YOU!" the tone of Phasma's voice made both men jump. It had been ages since Ben last heard her speak like that. She hadn't sounded so harsh and dry since the three of them had joined "The First Order" all those years ago. Now, Phasma Hux was Phasma Parnassus again. She had probably never been as good in Engineering as her husband or Ben, but the woman was strong. Strong and fierce. Even in his drastic state, Armitage closed his mouth and shut up. "Rey is staying on the team," the blonde pronounced. "But we will have to discuss our strategy now. And, Ben, it will probably be for the better if you avoid "The Workshop" for a little while..."

 

Ben's jaw was working as he looked at Phasma.

 

No fucking way...

 

"We will have to make sure people know that nothing is going on between you two," Phasma pressed. "And now, let's sit down and discuss our plans. I will make us some coffee. We have a long night ahead of us."

 

***

 

Rey was lying wide awake in her bed. She had come home hours ago, but still couldn't sleep. Rey had read a message from Ben that he had sent her the moment he had left Snoke's manor and replied to it. She knew that Ben had to go because of Hux. Amylin had told her that.

 

"I was going home already," Holdo sat at the table next to her after she'd returned from the balcony where Ben had led Hux. "I know you are living above "The Workshop". Would you like to stay here, or do you need a ride?"

 

And just like that, Rey had found her salvation in the coziness of Amylin's car. They drove in silence for some time.

 

"That's a strange decision, not to accept Dr. Snoke's offer on the internship, you know," Holdo smirked.

"I... had my reasons..." Rey stammered, not really wanting to explain anything.

"I bet you did... Anyway, I am glad you didn't say yes."

"Are you?" Rey asked in surprise.

"I am... I... Wouldn't like to lose any more students..."

 

Rey was looking at Holdo her mouth agape.

 

"What I want to tell you, Rey," Holdo suddenly looked at her for a second before returning her gaze to the road in front of her. "Is that you have to know that if you need anything... Anything... You can come to me... But please, be careful. Because some things can be hard... to fix. And I won't be able to help you if you do them."

 

What was this woman talking about? Was she...? Rey froze. Was Amylin referring to their relationship with Ben?

 

"Anyway, here's your place," Holdo suddenly smiled. "I wanted to let you know that no matter how things go with the competitions, you'll have an offer from me for a job in the library for the winter break," Amylin went quiet then. "Just don’t do anything that could prevent you from remaining a student..."

 

These last words were spoken when Rey was already getting out of the car. Rey was so surprised that she didn't manage to respond because Holdo nodded at her and drove away quickly.

 

And now, Rey was lying in bed, worried sick. She had no classes the following day, and it was her day off in "the Workshop", so she would have time to get some sleep, had she managed to close her eyes... She couldn't, though. Suddenly, her phone bipped.

 

BS: Are you asleep?

 

No. Are you okay?

 

BS: Come to my apartment. I'll call you an Uber.

 

Is it safe?

 

BS: Today, yes.

 

And just like that Rey found herself on Ben's couch, covered by his massive body.

 

"How is it safe?" she asked through Ben's heated kisses.

"Phasma drugged Hux to make him sleep. I'll have to bring you back to "The Workshop" tomorrow morning... Fuck, Rey, I missed you so much!"

 

He bit her jawline lightly, and Rey arched her back at the feeling of Ben's fingers squeezing her nipple under her shirt. They could talk later. She hadn't had him for far too long.

 

"So wet for me," Ben whispered hoarsely, pulling her panties aside under the skirt she had chosen to wear. "My sweet juicy little cunt! I'm going to ruin you today, Rey."

"Ah..." she was delirious from his touches. "Show... Don't tell..."

 

Her daring made Ben go insane. Rey loved how experienced he was. How massive and strong. She could see their age difference when they had sex sometimes. Ben's body was fit and so beautiful, but it also had something that no young man's body could have. The way he was built, the way his muscles worked under his skin. She felt so fragile in his arms, and it made her so fucking aroused!

 

Rey's clothes were now a pile on the floor, and both she and Ben were lying on the couch absolutely naked.

 

"I should probably indulge you with foreplay first... But I am too selfish today, sweetheart," he lifted her from the couch and Rey shivered, realizing that he was taking her to his bedroom. "What do you think, kitten, will you be able to take me just like this?"

 

He knew the answer to his question. Rey was soaking wet for him.

 

"Please, Ben," she whispered hoarsely. "Please, fuck me, Daddy!"

"What my baby asks, she gets!" he growled, throwing Rey to the bed and jumping on her, after rolling a condom over his erected member, tearing her cunt apart with his cock.

 

It's been a while now, and the sensation was a bit painful. However, Ben didn't stop, and Rey loved it. This pain brought her even closer to the edge.

 

"Mine!" Ben growled. "You are mine, and mine only, Rey! Do you hear me?!"

"Yes... Yes!"

"I will make up for every day you had to live without my cock!"

 

What he promised, he gave to her. Ben's giant dick was filling Rey to the brim, and she was crying out loudly every time Ben entered her. It was bliss...

 

Their two naked bodies were one on Ben's enormous bed, and Rey could feel how the muscles on Ben's fit ass were moving under her palm.

 

"So fucking tight, baby! I'm gonna cum soon! Come with me, kitten! Come, Rey!"

 

She climaxed so hard that her cunt would be recovering for a week after, and Ben followed her growling.

 

Rey came back to her senses only after several minutes, feeling him covering her face and neck with hot chaste kisses.

 

"I love you... I love you..." Ben repeated like a mantra. She caught his lips and kissed him back passionately.

"I love you too," she whispered.

 

***

 

"Ben," Rey remembered when they were lying in his bed, sated and cuddling next to each other tenderly. "I had a strange conversation with Holdo today..."

 

He looked at her frowning.

 

"Tell me your story, and I'll tell you mine," he grumbled.

 

***

 

"So what do you think, is she a friend or a foe?" Rey asked worriedly.

"I can't tell," Ben frowned. "But we can't let her know we are together..."

 

Rey loved the way he put it. Ben never said "dating" or "having a relationship". He always said that they were together, and Rey felt that it was entirely true.

 

"Rey, sweetheart, "suddenly, Ben turned her head to him, and Rey shivered. His gaze was filled with worry, and she tensed in his arms. "We need to talk."

 

Rey's heart skipped a beat. Talks that started with "we need to talk" never ended well. Ben kissed her tenderly, and she felt just a little bit calmer.

 

"I want you to listen to me now. Hux is going insane, and with Snoke around Phasma had offered the only option to help Armitage keep sane... It would also keep us safe, and I want you to listen to me and remember that once it is all over, I will never let you go from me."

"Ben..." he looked so tense and worried now, and suddenly Rey got scared. "What is it?"

"Rey, Phasma had come up with a plan, but we won't be able to see each other outside our classes until the competition is over, sweetheart..."

 

Rey pulled out of his arms and sat on the bed.

 

"We are not seeing each other already," she frowned. "What do you want us to do?!"

"Rey," Ben frowned. "I'm afraid that the following month or so we will not be able to see each other at all. Only on campus. Only in classes."

 

Rey's heart shattered to pieces.

Chapter Text

 

Deep shit.

 

Rey had a headache. She was moving through the campus, not paying attention to the people around her. She hadn't seen Ben in a week, except in classes and during their competition team meetings, and felt utterly miserable now...

 

A week ago.

 

"No!"

"Rey, please, listen to me," Ben pleaded. "We need it to stay safe, sweetheart."

"I said no!" she knew that Ben was right, and yet, she felt like he was abandoning her. She felt lost as if she was in one of her foster homes again.

"Sweetheart..."

 

She jumped off of the bed.

 

"Why did you call me here at all?! Why did you fuck me if you are telling me now that you are dumping me?!" she had been so nervous today, and now she was losing it. Ben looked at her desperately, getting off of the bed as well.

"Rey, please, stop it," he pressed.

"Why should we depend on Hux at all?! It's not us who are causing problems! It's him!"

"Rey, he can't be helped now... He had to go through a lot..."

"Didn't you?" she crossed her arms in front of her chest and looked at Ben, raising her brow.

"Rey, this is the only way for now!"

"I won't do it!"

"YOU FUCKING HAVE TO!" it was the first time he sounded this irritated with her, and Rey felt her eyes burning with tears. She had to stop it. She had to be understanding, and yet...

 

Rey had gotten used to be alone. Then Poe and the guys had appeared in her life only to throw her away like trash. And then she had met Ben. And he had promised to be there for her.

 

Rey needed him now. After everything that had happened today, she needed her man... And of course, now he couldn’t be there for her.

 

"Rey," Ben obviously regretted his outburst as he moved towards her, looking at her apologetically, but she didn't let him touch her.

"Fine," Rey shrugged, waving him off.

 

In a flash, she gathered her stuff and rushed out of the apartment.

 

"Rey, where are you going?!" Ben exclaimed, trying to stop her.

"You wanted to be alone, and I am giving you this opportunity!"

"Rey, it's late! Stop, please!"

 

She wasn't listening. Rey had never used a bus to go home from Ben's apartment, but she had noticed a bus stop near his house earlier. She was already outside, and a night bus was just arriving. Rey increased her pace, knowing that Ben was following her, and hopped on the bus, leaving him running. She didn't know where she was going, but she didn't care...

 

It took Rey several hours to get home. Unfortunately, Ithe bus was going in the opposite direction of "the Workshop", and she had had to spend an hour waiting for another bus at a bus stop somewhere. Ben had left a hundred messages on her mobile phone, but Rey ignored them. She had been exhausted when she finally got home and passed out the moment her body touched her bed.

 

In the morning, Phasma had been the one to open the coffee shop. The blond called Rey, and the girl walked up to her boss, hesitatingly.

 

"Darling, you should know that he is losing his mind now, right?" the tall woman raised her brow.

 

Rey remained silent.

 

"I am sorry, but knowing Armitage, you are both in great danger, honey..." Phasma sighed. "Things will change soon, I promise. Please, Rey, at least answer his messages."

 

She knew that her boss had a point, and yet, Rey was so lost and hurt that she couldn't look at Ben's messages at all right now.

 

"I need to go, Phasma... I need to study in the library," it was Sunday, but Rey didn't want to stay at home. She had to get away. Somewhere where she could forget about everything that had happened to her the day before.

"Okay," Phasma sighed. "I'll let him know that you are fine then."

 

Rey looked at the woman and then nodded, leaving "the Workshop".

 

She had spent her day in the library, forgetting to eat, and realized that she was starving only when she entered "the Workshop". Rey cursed under her breathe, her hunger not helping her to improve her already spoiled mood. However, what she found on her threshold surprised her.

 

There was a "the Workshop" branded bag, and at first, Rey had thought that Phasma had left it for her. But then, inside the bag, she saw a note.

 

"Sweetheart," the note began, and Rey felt a lump standing in her throat. "I gave Phasma money to buy you this, and I hope it will still be fresh when you come back from the library. It was quite a complicated task to write this note to you because Armitage is literally following me everywhere now.

 

Rey, I love you. I love you so damn much! Please, understand our situation, and please forgive me for making you cope with it. Please, call me sweetheart. I miss you, and I am worried sick about you.

 

Yours always,

 

B.S.

 

P.S. I didn't go to the library today only because Phasma insisted she would check on you in the evening. She was there, but you didn't notice her. Rey, call me, please."

 

Rey unwrapped her sandwich as soon as she entered her room and took a bite. It was her favorite, of course. Ben knew her so very well...

 

She missed him so damn much!

 

With shaking hands, Rey pulled out her phone from the pocket and dialed Ben's number.

 

"Rey!" his voice sounded concerned and tired. "Are you all right?"

"Yes," she whispered, feeling tears starting to burn her cheeks. "Ben, I'm sorry..."

"Don't be..." he sounded relieved now. "I love you, sweetheart, and I miss you... Rey, I am so sorry... That I raised a voice at you. I shouldn't have..."

"That's fine. I wasn't easy on you either."

 

Ben sighed, and Rey could almost see him frowning.

 

"How was your day? Did you eat?" he finally asked.

 

They spent hours talking to each other, Ben hanging up and redialing her at some point so that she wouldn't have to spend her money.

 

"I miss our house," Rey murmured.

"Really? "Ben smirked tenderly. "I will take you there as soon as this is all over, and we will spend at least a weak there."

"Preferably in bed..." Rey whispered, and on the other side of the line, she heard Ben's breathing hitch.

"Sweetheart," he growled.

"I miss you... Daddy..."

 

She didn't know when she had gotten this aroused, but the sound of Ben's voice made her hand reach under her panties. Rey closed her eyes, feeling a warm liquid covering her fingertips.

 

"Baby girl, you shouldn't tease me," Ben warned, his voice hoarse.

"I am not teasing you..." Rey breathed. "But I miss my Daddy so much... I want your cock inside me so badly..."

"Rey..."

"Preferably bare..."

 

She could hear him groan on the other side of the line.

 

"Baby, I had to stay in Hux's guest room today..."

"But I am so wet, Daddy..."

 

She could hear Ben inhale on the other side.

 

"What are you wearing, baby?" he finally asked, and Rey bit her lip.

"Nothing special. Just jeans and a sweater you bought me. The cashmere one."

"You look so cute in it, baby."

"Am I? Is my Daddy pleased when he sees me in it?"

"Immensely," Ben groaned. "You can leave the sweater on, but take off your jeans and put the phone on speaker."

 

Rey did as she was told, imagining Ben's giant form laying on the bed in Hux's guest room. She was so drenched now...

 

"What underwear are you wearing today, baby?" Ben asked when she whispered that she was ready.

"Um... The brown lacy one..."

"Oh, baby, I haven't seen it on you yet... What a pity... I bet you look delicious for your Daddy."

"I think I do..."

"I am sure of it. Now, rub your clit, little one," Ben ordered, and Rey arched her back at the power his intonation held. "Do you feel good? Tell me!"

"I do, Daddy... Oh, God, it feels so good! But not as good as your hands on me..."

 

It was true. Rey was touching her sensitive pearl, and her every touch was sending sparks into her lower belly. She could feel the warmth starting to spread over her stomach, but still, her fingers weren't enough. She needed her Ben.

 

"Rub harder," he growled. "Do you like it when I touch your pussy, baby?"

"I do," Rey moaned. "I do, Daddy!"

"My perfect little one. I will devour you when I have you. But now we need to take care of you. Insert one finger into your lovely pussy."

 

Rey obeyed.

 

"Don't stop rubbing your clit, sweet thing," Ben ordered. "How do you feel, baby girl?"

"My fingers are too small..." Rey moaned.

"Of course, they are... You are so tiny, baby... You should have seen yourself riding my giant cock. I am sometimes afraid of tearing you apart. Your tiny lovely hole, baby... I would give so much to be there now. Insert two more fingers. Now, Rey!"

 

It was closer to the feeling of Ben, but not close enough.

 

"Daddy, I need you so badly," she moaned, arching her back. "I am not enough..."

"Oh, baby girl," Ben purred into her ear. "Just imagine me there with you. How I will make you look down at my cock as I enter you, sweet thing. How you will squeak, feeling that I am too big for you. How you will take everything, I give you... God, Rey..."

 

She could hear him losing his breath for a moment, and the image made Rey arch her back.

 

"Are you touching yourself, Daddy?" she asked hoarsely. "My hands are never enough to grab your cock. You are so big, Daddy..."

"Oh, I do, I do, baby..." Ben whispered, and Rey heard the ruffling noises he was making while jerking off. The image of Ben touching his giant dick, his eyes closed in bliss, sent her over the edge, and Rey climaxed around her fingers, hearing Ben growling as he followed her. "God, Rey," he panted. "My... Mine..."

"I miss you," she sobbed, still convulsing, her tears suddenly choking her. "I don't want to be alone now!"

"Honey," Ben sounded clearer now as if he had come back to himself the moment he had heard the change in her intonation. "Kitten, I am so sorry... I promise you, I will make up for every second we spent apart. Please, little one, be strong for me. Please, Rey..."

 

She nodded, forgetting that he couldn't see her. She had to calm down. She understood that they had no other choice.

 

"Okay, Ben... Okay, I will..." she whispered, listening to his breathing.

 

Now.

 

Rey hadn't touched him in a week, and they only managed to get some private time speaking on the phone. Hux was following Ben everywhere insisting that his friend spent more nights at their place. The redhead was also constantly watching Rey and Ben when they were in the same room.

 

Rey was going insane.

 

"Oh, look at her!" she was pulled out of her trance by the sound of Poe's voice. He was standing with Paige, Rose, and Finn, and they were all watching her. Rose seemed confused for some reason while Paige was grinning evilly at Rey.

 

She tried to ignore them, but Poe blocked Rey’s way to the classroom where her class with Ben was about to start.

 

"What do you need, Poe?" Rey asked tiredly. She felt sick and couldn't get into a conflict now. She was too tired.

"Oh, I was just telling guys how low you fell, Rey," Poe shrugged. "Screwing your Professor to get on the team..."

 

It took Rey a moment to realize what Poe was talking about, and then, suddenly, all she could see was red. Finn, Rose, and Paige were looking at her in accusation, and she heard a guy from her class smirking at Poe's remark as he was passing her.

 

"Whore..." Rey heard him murmur.

 

How far did it go? Poe was popular enough to make the rumors heard. And he intended to crush her...

 

Rey lost it.

 

She jumped on Poe in a fury, scratching his face and punching him afterwards. The guy didn't expect it. With a cry, Poe fell on the floor, covering his face in a cowardly gesture. From the corner of her eyes, Rey could see a crowd of students who started to gather at the sight of the fight. Yet, no one interfered.

 

Rey was furious.

 

After a minute, Finn was the first one who came back to his senses.

 

"Rey, stop it!" He cried and rushed to her and Poe to drag the girl away from his friend.

 

It was all in vain as Rey didn't know what she was doing. She was beating the shit out of her ex-boyfriend, and if she hadn't been this furious, she would have noticed that both her knuckles and Poe's nose were now bleeding.

 

"Miss Johnson, stop it!" suddenly two massive hands took Rey, and in a flash, she was away from Poe, finally feeling the pain in her hands that was caused by her punches. "Calm down!" finally, Rey was able to focus, and when she did, there was a worried frowning face of Ben who was holding her by the shoulders and shaking her lightly. "Calm down..."

"What's going on here?!" it was another voice now, and it made Rey shiver. Turning to the source of it, she saw Dr. Snoke standing in the hallway.

"She fucking attacked me!" Poe whined.

"Language, Dameron!" Ben growled, but Snoke interrupted him.

"Miss Johnson. Mr. Dameron, follow me to Dr. Holdo's office, now!" he ordered, turning on his heels.

 

Rey gulped. None of them could disobey.

 

"I will go with you, Dr. Snoke," Ben hissed. "After all, both of them are on my competition team."

"As you wish, Professor Solo," the old man smirked. "However, I think that they won't stay on it for too long. This behavior that Miss Johnson here showed is unacceptable for a student of Takodana University. I intend to inform Dr. Holdo that I demand Miss Johnson's expulsion."

 

Poe smirked by her side, and Rey froze, looking at him in terror. She was in very deep shit.

Chapter Text

 

An unexpected realization.

"So, Professor Holdo, I demand Miss's Jackson's immediate expulsion!" Snoke boomed, and Rey almost burst out in tears at how ugly the old bastard had made her behavior look.

It was as if she had just jumped at Poe out of the blue, and the poor baby couldn't even fight her back because she was… a woman? Did she hear that correctly? She couldn't believe her ears…

Holdo sighed heavily.

"I see, Dr. Snoke," she rose from her chair, paying Rey a glance. "So, do I understand correctly that Miss Jackson attacked Mr. Dameron when she saw him with his girlfriend, Miss…?"
"Tico," Snoke nodded. "Exactly!"
"I see…" Holdo shook her head. "Is it true, Miss Jackson? Did you attack Mr. Dameron?"
"Well," Rey stammered. "Yes, but…"

Holdo raised her hand in a stopping gesture.

"That won't do… Dr. Snoke here is actually right… This behavior is unacceptable for a student of Takodana University," by her side, Rey heard Ben growling. She knew he was close to jumping on Snoke, and that terrified Rey even more. "However," Amylin suddenly added. "It won't do to hear only one side of the argument, don't you agree, Dr. Snoke?"
"What else is there. Dr. Holdo?" Snoke huffed. "The picture is clear as a day, and I have just described the situation to you in every little detail!"
"I will disagree," Amylin shook her head. "If we expel Miss Jackson here, she should at least have a word."

The ugly grin on Poe's face faded when he heard Holdo's words.

"We are talking about justice here, aren't we? Isn't it what you demanded when you entered my office?" Amylin raised a brow.

It was true. Snoke burst into the room theatrically, raising his hand and demanding justice, and even in her distress, Rey had thought that it was slightly over the top.

"Well, I guess you are right, Professor Holdo," the old man hissed.
"Okay then," Amylin shrugged. "So, tell us, Rey, why did you attack Mr. Dameron?"

Rey gulped.

"Whore…" she remembered the student from her class saying behind her back.

She didn't want to talk about it. She didn't want to raise the subject, it was just too painful, but Holdo didn't leave her a choice.

"Poe harassed me," Rey whispered, hearing Ben moving behind her back.
"Harassed you how?" he growled, and Rey noticed Holdo throwing a short warning glance at him.

What could Rey say?

Actually, some things that Poe had mentioned were true. No, she hadn't screwed anyone to get on the team, but Ben was her lover. She had to be careful…

"He told me that I…" Rey stammered, feeling the tears starting to burn her eyes against her will. She was so fucking tired... "He said that I screwed someone to get on the team… That I used… sex," there she was, finally pronouncing that word out loud with the most influential people of the University in the room. "To get on the team… He has been harassing me for weeks after his and mine projects were both chosen for the competition… And he has spread rumors," Rey frowned, her distress finally replaced by fury and anger. "I heard a guy from my class calling me a whore today, and Poe and his friends just laughed at me… I did attack him, and I am very sorry that I couldn’t stop myself… But I was in shock and under pressure."

Holdo frowned, her eyes full of anger. She looked up at Poe, nailing him with her gaze.

"Is it true, Mr. Dameron?" she asked sternly.
"It… I…" Poe stammered. He was too much of a coward to lie unprepared when asked direct questions.
"I can confirm Miss Jackson's words," it was Ben talking from behind Rey's back now. "Several times, I have heard Mr. Dameron accusing Miss Jackson… I stopped him when I heard it, and I thought that he finally dropped the subject. However, it seems I was mistaken."

Rey knew perfectly well that Ben had to muster all his willpower to talk so calmly, and she was grateful that he had managed. However, the situation was far from being resolved.

"Of course, he didn't do it!" Snoke exclaimed.
"She couldn't get on the team by herself!" Poe shouted at the same time.

The room was silent.

"I see," Holdo smirked, looking at Poe evilly now. "I think Mr. Dameron has just spoken for himself," she looked at Snoke inquiringly. "So we have a student attacking another student here…" Amylin looked at Rey. "But we also have a man accusing a woman, an equal in his field, I must add, in breaking the rules by having a sexual relationship with someone in exchange for getting on the competition team…."
"She is screwing someone, her Professor, I just know it!"
"Dameron, you say one more word…" Ben started, taking a menacing step towards Poe.
"Stop it immediately!" Holdo shouted, and both men turned to her, panting heavily. "Do you have any proof, Mr. Dameron?" she asked, squinting at the guy.
"I… I don't…" Poe murmured.

"Then how dare you accuse one of the most respectable Professors at our University?! You know what?" Holdo closed her eyes for a second. "I hear those accusations all the time. It seems, men nowadays just can't swallow the fact that women can be just as good as them. Maybe even better sometimes. I despise those men, Mr. Dameron…" Poe gulped and lowered his eyes, too embarrassed to look at Amylin. "So, Dr. Snoke, if you demand we expel Miss Jackson here, I think we should also expel Mr. Dameron. Because his behavior was equally unacceptable for a student of Takodana University," Rey gasped, but for a second she felt a touch of Ben's hand on her wrist.

She turned to him abruptly, both Poe and Snoke too busy looking at Holdo to notice it. Ben shook his head, showing her to calm down.

Rey took a deep breath.

"This is unacceptable," Snoke shook his head, looking at Poe.
"But don't you think they both deserve it?"
"I…" for the first time since she'd met Dr. Andrew Snoke, Rey saw him hesitating and lost.
"Or we could just give them both a warning," Holdo shrugged. "And if something like that ever happens again, they will both be expelled. And I repeat, it doesn't only concern the attack, Miss Jackson, but also the harassment, Mr. Dameron. What do you think, Dr. Snoke?"

The old man was furious. He had pulled himself together already, and was now looking at Rey with so much hate in his eyes that the girl shivered.

"Fine," Snoke hissed. "But I will be watching you, Miss Jackson… Consider yourself lucky."
"Oh, I think we will be watching them both from now on," Holdo shrugged. "You are free to go. I think it is already time for your class, Professor Solo."

They all exited Amylin's office, with Holdo following them.

"Poe!" Paige was there to hug her boyfriend, looking at him in concern. "Are you okay, darling?"

Then something happened. It was barely noticeable, but Rey was so stressed that it hadn't skipped her attention. As soon as Paige jumped on Poe, Snoke paid her a hateful glance that Dameron didn't miss. It was a strange reaction coming from Snoke, but immediately, Poe shrugged Paige off.

"I'm fine!" he hissed and then paid the old man a strange short look.

Rey couldn't believe her eyes… That look… She had seen it on Poe back when the two of them had been together… Poe used to look at Rey like that when he was sorry… It was warm. It was apologizing… It was… longing…

"Baby…" Paige whispered, but Poe didn't pay her any attention. Rey was watching both of them in astonishment.

It had all ended faster than it began, and probably no one except for Rey had noticed anything.

"I'll see you later," Snoke nodded to Poe before looking at Rey. "And I warn you, Miss Jackson, this was your final warning."
"You already gave all your warnings, Dr. Snoke," Ben hissed at the man. "And I warn you, Dameron, this was your last warning as well."

Turning on their heels, all of them parted ways.

 

They were passing the corridor quickly, Rey trying to catch up with Ben who was obviously boiling. Turning one of the corners, he suddenly dragged her along, looking around before doing so.

"Ben," Rey whispered, realizing that they were now in one of the narrow secret passages for which Takodana University's buildings were famous.
"For how long has it been happening?!" he growled, pressing her into the wall behind her back.
"What?"
"The harassment?!"
"Ben… People always talk…"
"Why didn't you tell me?!"
"And what would you do?!" she hissed. "Would you kill Poe? Or Snoke?!" she was getting furious rather quickly. "I would probably have told you had you not insisted that we not see each other because your friend can't pull himself together!"

Ben growled at her words, his mouth claiming Rey's. The kiss was urgent, and she melted into it immediately. It had been so long…

"I'm gonna kill him," Ben growled into the kiss.
"Whom? Hux?" Rey smirked evilly into his mouth.

Ben bit her lip.

"Rey…" he murmured.
"I fucking miss you!" she exclaimed, her shriek drowning inside Ben.
"I know, sweetheart, I am so sorry… Rey… What are you doing?!"

She didn't know the answer to his question, but her fingers were rushing down his zipper.

"Rey, stop…" he whispered, but she didn't follow his command.

Her hand found his hard length, and Ben gasped under her touch. Rey wasn't gentle, giving him the first stroke.

"Kitten!' Ben growled, finally pulling her hand out of his pants.

They were panting heavily, their foreheads pressed together.

"We have to stop…" he whispered. "I need to be an adult here finally."

Rey almost sobbed in disappointment.

"I hate it!" she whispered.
"I know…"

They spent several minutes in the dark narrow passage, inhaling each other, feeling one another's presence.

"I hate to say it, but we need to get going," Ben murmured.

Rey nodded. He was right, they had to go… Nothing could happen here today… Not after Rey had almost gotten expelled.

"Did you notice?" she suddenly remembered. "Did you notice the way Poe looked at Snoke today?'
"What?..." Ben obviously had no idea what Rey meant.
"Never mind…" she shook her head.
"What did you see?" this time, Ben's voice made Rey look up at him in surprise. He sounded harsh and tense, and for a reason, Rey shivered.
"There was this look in his eyes," she murmured. "I have seen it on his face before…"

Ben squeezed her hand for a second, urging her to go on.

"He looked like that at me… When he was… When he was apologizing for some shit that he had done to me… It was back when we were still together. But… It is so strange… That was not the way a student should look at…" she stopped.
"At whom?" Ben pressed.
"At… his Professor… Ben?"

What surprised Rey most in this situation was that Ben didn't look very surprised. What she was assuming was impossible, and yet…

"Watch the two of them closely if you see them," Ben hissed.
"Ben?... But Snoke… He has a daughter, doesn't he?" Rey regretted mentioning that woman immediately as Ben's face shuddered for a second. "I'm sorry," she whispered.
"No…" he pulled back from her, taking her face in his palms. "There's nothing to be sorry about here… I am actually not sure if there is something into what you saw… But, sweetheart, next time you see them, I think there is a reason to pay them closer attention…"
"Is Snoke? Is he... homosexual?"
"I have no idea… I have never seen him with a man, and he was always too secretive about his private life. But there were rumors… And he also…"

Ben gulped, and Rey shuddered at the realization.

"Ben… Did he try anything with you?"
"No." Ben shook his head, but his face was absolutely pale now. "At least, he never forced me into anything, but when I think about it now… I was always too straight… And when he approached me, I took his every action for granted… I thought he was supportive… Oh, God…" Ben ran his hand through his hair.
"You think he was grooming you?!" Rey exclaimed, closing her mouth with her hand afterwards.

Ben waited for a second before nodding.

"But you didn't?" Rey started.
"No."
"Okay… But…"
"But we need to watch him closely."

She kissed him tenderly.
Everything they were discussing right here right now was impossible. Nothing made any sense. Rey remembered Paige. Were she and Poe not happy now? Poe always claimed they were. However….

Rey was examining her man's features, watching the realization falling over him. She couldn't believe it herself, and, it seemed, neither could Ben.

"Love… Are you alright?" she finally asked quietly.
"I am," he smirked and then cupped her cheek again. "I am okay, sweetheart, I am sorry. I just feel stupid. We will talk about it, I promise, I am not closing out from you."
"Okay," Rey whispered, feeling his lips on hers.
"We need to go now, sweetheart."

Rey nodded, and they exited the passage, following the way to the classroom.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 25.

 

Halloween.

 

Ben felt totally stupid and so fucking angry! First of all, there was the situation with Rey, and he was absolutely incapable of doing anything about it. He still didn’t know what to make out of Holdo. She had obviously taken their side, but Ben still couldn’t be sure what her intentions were and whether or not they could trust the woman.

And then there was Snoke…

Ben remembered too well how they had met. The man was polite and so very nice at first. Ben had thought that the old man could replace his father someday. The bastard had been warm and always pleasant. Sometimes he had touched Ben’s hand here and there or even hugged his shoulders, but Ben had thought that those were just comforting gestures.

He had been so blind that when he had once heard rumors about a guy who had committed suicide in the basements of “the First Order”, Ben had brushed them off… Things like that happened in the company, but Snoke was good at hiding them, and so was Ben.  Back then, he couldn’t have cared less about those losers who couldn’t pull themselves together. But people were saying things… Things Ben hadn’t wanted to hear and ignored.

Ben had heard that that guy, who had killed himself,  “was not to the boss’s liking” and had been thrown out of the company. People had smirked evilly talking about the man, and Ben hadn’t wholly understood their irony back then… And then those people who had been gossiping had been fired too… Ben had never heard about them again. Now he was able to connect the dots… And what he had found out terrified him…

After the situation with Rey, Ben was ready to kill Dameron. Yet, Hux was still losing his mind and actively looking for any reason to kick Rey off the team. All of this was making Ben feel crazy. 

He didn’t know what Snoke’s relationship with Poe was, but at least Poe couldn’t legally bring the competition project to the old bastard before the competition occured… And yet, Ben knew that Snoke was getting to Dameron…

October was coming to an end, and Ben was also going crazy without Rey. He knew that she missed him just as badly, but they just couldn’t be together. They were talking on the phone every day, and Ben was afraid that his palms would be soon callused after the amount of wanking he was performing every day.

The only relief was the days when Hux took him to “the Workshop” to see Phasma. Those were rare occasions. Ben had managed to visit the place several times, and on every occasion, Rey was not there. However, Ben noticed something, and it warmed his heart.

Matt was in “the Workshop” very often. Rey had told Ben that she was helping the boy with his homework, but it occurred that so did Hux and Phasma. The boy seemed to like the family very much, and Ben couldn’t believe his eyes when on one of his visits, Hux had brought a baseball ball with him.

“Do you want to play catch, kid?” he asked Matt, and the boy agreed willingly, running after the redhead to the coffeeshop yard.

“The kid’s coat is too thin,” Phasma frowned, looking at the child from the window.

“You are talking like his mother,” Ben smirked.

Phasma rubbed her eyes.

“He won’t tell us where he lives. And he avoids any questions about his family. I wanted to call juvenile services, but Rey is right, it is a bit dangerous… They can take him away and never bring him back… And I look after him. He is not being hit. And we feed him… Maybe, there’s no other way… I don’t know…” Phasma shook her head.

“And if there was a way?” Ben asked. “Would you take the child?” 

The blonde looked at him worriedly. Ben knew that the answer was probably yes, but it was a complicated decision… Phasma had always wanted a baby, she desperately wanted to be a mother… And yet… Decisions like this were never easy…”

“There’s no need to answer this question now, Phas,” Ben covered the tall woman’s hand with his.

Phasma smirked sadly.

“You are right,” she nodded. “However, I feel like a coward…”

They spent several minutes in silence.

“Anyway,” Phasma finally smiled. “I am going to throw a Halloween party in “the Workshop”, and you are, as always, invited!”

Ben growled.

“I will probably, as always, skip the occasion.”

“Even if your beloved was here?” Phasma raised her brow. “I could get Armie so very drunk, and you and Rey could leave the party together, you know…”

Ben looked up at his friend. This thought had never crossed his mind before.

“Oh, I can see the wheels in your head turning,” Phasma smirked.

“I’ll be there,” Ben rolled his eyes. “Now, could you make me a cup of coffee?”

“By Rey’s recipe?” the blonde smirked.

“Totally.”

 

Ben hated Halloween. There was absolutely nothing exciting about people dressed in stupid suits. However, as soon as he entered the crowded coffee shop, he saw something that changed his mind about the holiday entirely.

Rey was standing at the counter, wearing a Little Red Riding Hood costume.

Ben growled, feeling the need to adjust his cock in his pants.

Oh, for God’s sake…

She was delicious. So innocent and wanton at the same time.

“Try not to fuck her with your eyes so obviously,” Phasma smirked from behind his back. “You should have seen her stockings under that Tyrolean dress.”

“Did you help her?” Ben growled.

“Oh, I wanted to make up to you for every inconvenience my husband caused you,” the blonde winked. “I promise you, there is a lot under that wrapping.”

“Phasma…” Ben groaned.

“Go say hi!”

 

“Hello, Miss Jackson,” he greeted Rey politely, seeing a student gathering his order from the counter.

“Hi… Hello, Professor Solo,” Rey stammered, surprised by his sudden appearance. She looked down at herself then and blushed crimson.

Here, closer, Ben could see the corset of her dress that was pulling her peachy tits together, the sight of Rey’s cleavage was capable of raising someone from the dead.

“This is a very nice costume,” Ben smirked, enjoying his girl’s blush. The student left, and Ben and Rey were left alone for a little while.

“I… I was waiting for my wolf to come and eat me… out,” she whispered, still blushing, and Ben coughed at her words.

“Oh, did you?” he murmured.

“I did…” she smiled more confidently at him this time. “And where is your costume, Professor?”

“I hid my tail in my pants,” he murmured.

“Oh, you have a very… long and thick tail, as far as I know,” Rey bit her lip, and Ben was ready to come in his pants at her words. If he stood here any longer, there would be no question about how much he wanted to devour her.

“Solo!” Hux’s voice came from behind his back, and at this very moment, Ben was ready to kill his friend. “What the hell are you doing here?!” the redhead looked at Rey suspiciously.

“I wanted to order something,” Ben growled.

“There’s no need. There is a table served for us already. Come!” he then turned to Rey. “Miss Jackson, you are welcome to join us after you close the coffeeshop. Phasma says you can serve the last customers and then come to our table,” it was clear that Armitage wasn’t happy about that, but Ben realized that his friend knew better not to confront his wife this time.

Ben sat at the table, and Rey joined them in fifteen minutes. Phasma was true to her word, refilling Hux’s glass every time she could, so the redhead didn’t notice when Rey sat next to her Professor.

“Rey!” Matt was also there, and he was happy to show Ben’s girl his costume. The boy was dressed like… a sunflower? Ben growled at the sight. He liked the boy, but the outfit was utterly ridiculous.

“Oh, look at you!” Rey exclaimed, clapping her hands. “Aren’t you adorable?!”

“I am a sunflower! Mrs. Phasma made this for me!”

Oh, of course, she did… Ben growled inwardly. Phasma loved Halloween!

“Oh, I can see that,” Rey laughed. “Isn’t it very late for you to be here, Matt?” she asked, concerned.

“No,” Matt shook his head, his expression fading. “Uncle is working late.”

“I will go home with you this time,” Phasma stated. “It’s too late to walk alone. It’s dark outside.”

“I…” Matt tried to argue, but the blonde didn’t let him.

“It is late, darling,” she said calmly. “Let me take care of you.”

“Okay,” Matt murmured, and at this moment, Ben’s heart was filled with warmth. Phasma had made a choice, he realized. And, obviously, so did Hux. 

Today could be the first day of Matt’s new life.

However, the feast was still awful to his liking, and Ben growled, looking at Jar Jar at the other side of the table wearing a space adventure costume.

“You don’t like Halloween, do you?” Rey smirked, caressing the side of his thigh under the table.

“I don’t…” he murmured, smiling at her. “However, this party is so much better with you by my side.”

“The kids like it, though,” Rey shrugged nonchalantly.

“We have no kids,” he murmured.

“For now,” this was something that made Ben’s heart skip a beat.

“Are you…?!” he asked, his eyes opened wide.

“God, no!” Rey laughed. “We haven’t had sex for a while, and I have just had my period… However, a girl can dream…”

Ben gasped as Rey put his hand on her bare thigh under her skirt. No one could see it under the table, so he moved up her thigh, gasping as he reached the uncovered warmth between her legs.

Rey wasn’t wearing any underwear.

“Kitten…” he murmured menacingly.

“Surprise, Daddy,” she bit her lip again, making his cock twitch.

“You naughty little tease…”  Ben started, but suddenly a rough drunk voice interrupted him.

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?!” Matt’s uncle was standing on the threshold of the coffee shop, looking absolutely wasted. “Come here, you little brat!”

Ben watched, as Matt shivered, trying to gather his things quickly.

“I’m sorry…” he murmured, tears rolling down his face.

“Come over here!” the man yelled.

“Matt!” Phasma exclaimed, trying to catch the boy, but he was too fast.

“I’m sorry!” he cried.

“Don’t touch the boy!” Hux was drunk but still soberer than Matt’s uncle. He rushed to the man, trying to take the boy from his hands.

“Get off of me!” the drunk cried, punching Armitage and making the redhead fall on the floor. “He is my fucking property! Don’t you dare come near him again, you hear me?!”

With that, the man dragged Matt out of “the Workshop” and pushed him into a taxi that was waiting for him outside.

“MATT!” Phasma cried, running after the car, Ben and Rey following. Hux managed to stand up and walked out of the coffee shop too. 

The four of them were watching the taxi riding away… No one knew Matt’s address…

“FUCK!!!” Hux cried, punching a can that was lying on the ground next to him. “OH FUCKING FUCKING FUCK!!! FUCK!!!” 

Phasma was now openly crying, and Ben rushed towards his friend to hug her by the shoulders. Hux was obviously in no condition to do so.

“Hush,” he whispered into the blonde’s ear. “It’s alright… We’ll figure this out.”

“I… I failed him…” Phasma sobbed. “I failed him, Ben!”

There was nothing he could say to the tall woman, and it was tearing Ben’s heart apart.

“Calm down, Phasma,” Rey’s voice sounded by Ben’s side.

Rey stood next to them, her hand on Phas’s shoulder.

“Tears won’t help us find him… Let’s all go inside and calm down.”

“We need to come up with a plan,” Ben whispered, supporting Rey. “Let’s go, darling.”

Together, they went into the coffee shop, Hux swearing drunkenly behind their backs.

 

It took everyone a while to calm down. Hux got sober, and was now with his wife, trying to support Phasma as well as he could. Ben, however, knew that it was impossible. He had spent several hours with the blonde, and it was as if she had lost her child again.

Ben walked out to the yard where Matt and Hux had played not so long ago just to find Rey sitting on a bench in the corner. He looked closer to find out that she was sobbing quietly. In a flash, Ben was by her side, hugging her tightly.

“Sweetheart,” he whispered. “You need to calm down.”

“I failed him,” she sobbed.

“I’ve heard that today already,” Ben sighed.

“But I did! We all did! Ben! I was there! It is hell!”

“You were where?” Ben hadn’t realized what Rey meant at first.

“In the system!” Rey cried out, bursting out in tears. “And it was fucking awful! God, he will suffer now because I didn’t do anything!”

“Rey, you couldn’t do anything, don’t blame yourself!” her words about the system made him see red again. She barely spoke about it, and Ben never pushed, but he always knew that there was still a lot of unrelieved pain connected with the subject. Now it was all coming out.

“I FAILED HIM!”

He kissed her to make the pain stop. He didn’t think about anyone or anything, but soothing his girl’s pain. There was no one in “the Workshop”, but Hux and Phasma now, anyway.

However, Ben should have thought better.

“What the fuck, Solo?” Hux sounded too calm now, and Ben turned to his friend to find the redhead looking at him with so much distaste in his eyes that he almost lowered his eyes.

“Hux…”

“You told me that there was nothing between you two! So Dameron was right, after all, she screwed you to get on the team?”

“You know perfectly well that Rey is more than capable of winning that competition, she never screwed me!” Ben yelled, standing up.

“Oh, yes?! Then what the fuck is it?!”

“We are together, Rey is my girlfriend!”

Hux smirked.

“Fuck you, Solo! I knew I couldn’t fucking trust you!”

“Armitage…”

“Oh, go to hell! I am going to fucking report you as soon as I can get to Holdo!”

Ben froze watching Hux’s back disappearing inside “the Workshop”. Phasma walked out to see what all the noise was about, and was now standing still, watching Ben and Rey together.

They were so screwed…