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The Kitchen

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“What do you think?”

Ben asks it quietly and Rey turns to him.  The agent is in the other room, giving them both space.  They’ve worked with Maz enough for Maz to know that if she tries to push them into a sale, they’ll say “no, this isn’t right, let’s find something else,” and they’ll be back to square one.

As if house-hunting weren’t hard enough.  Neither of them has ever owned a house. Rey had never even dreamed of owning a house.  Dreaming had hurt more than the reality of everything sometimes.  But now she’s here in a beautiful house with Ben and he’s asking her what she thinks because she gets a say in her own future.  She has ownership of her own future. She’d never thought she’d have that either.

They’re standing in a kitchen.  It’s freshly painted and pristinely clean and Rey can already smell Ben cooking onions on the stove before adding whatever else he’s going to cook in the onions.  She can already see herself, sitting at the island, watching him cook, talking to him about her day.  She can already see where they’ll put the high chair, can imagine the baby burbling happily--never worrying about whether it’s loved, never worrying about whether it will have something to eat.

“We’re going to have the fattest baby,” she tells him.

He blinks at her.

“Yes?” he agrees, confused.  Rey’s starting to show, but it’s not like she’s showing early, or showing a lot.  She’s showing enough for his eagle-eyed mother to have noticed she’s showing and that’s about it.  

“She’s gonna make a mess in this kitchen.”  And his eyes get soft. He wraps his arms around her, tucking her head under his chin and holding her tight.  “She’s gonna eat so much in this kitchen.”

“Our fat little baby,” he says, his voice thick because he gets it now.  He gets it. His hands rub along the small of her back as he holds her and Rey sighs and lets contentment wash over her, lets safety wash over her.  

She feels safe with Ben.  She’s always felt safe with Ben, even when he was at his worst.  Even at his worst, she’d noticed how he never wanted to hurt her, how he was more a wounded animal than anything else.  And he’d felt safe with her, and had begun to heal.

“We’ll need a bigger fridge,” Rey says.  “That one’s not going to be nearly big enough.”

Ben nods.  “We were always going to have to get a new one,” he says.  “So that’s workable.”

“I like the placement of the island,” she says.  He nods too.

“The stove’s really nice,” he says.  “Six burners.”

“Six burners means more food,” Rey says.

“Exactly,” he smiles at her.  “More food for my hungry wife and my fattest baby.”

Rey grins back up at him and stands on her tiptoes and kisses him again.

“I think this one,” she says to his lips.

“Yeah, me too.”  He kisses her again, his hands stroking at her stomach and for a moment, Rey forgets that the house isn’t already theirs, that they have to go through the hellish process of actually buying the thing.  But she won’t worry about that right now.  Right now, it doesn’t hurt to let herself dream.