There are two kinds of heat in the world. There’s the dry heat of the desert, the sun scorching your skin, the air baking off the sand and rock around you. There’s oven-dry heat, baking your cakes at 375, baking your pizza in an open-mouthed brick-oven thing with flames in the back to make sure that it’s crisping the crust just right.
And then there’s I’m trapped in this conference hall and the air conditioning is broken heat. There’s there are a good five thousand people in this room and I’m not near an air vent heat. In short, there’s hell.
And Rey is trapped in hell.
And she has to smile.
“Hello, can I interest you in a butterfly cupcake?”
“No, ma’am, we don’t use any food coloring in our red velvet.”
“We’ve been open since 1958. Family run business.”
“And are you part of the family, dear?” the woman asks her and Rey wishes desperately that there wasn’t sweat running down her spine right now. At least her laugh is genuine enough, and warm, even if the question reminds her of her complete and utter lack of family.
“No, no. I’ve just been there for just over a year.”
The woman hums and disappears onto the next table, and then the next one appears, and then the next, and Rey has to smile and offer their vanilla-vanilla cupcakes to a very blonde woman with a rock on her finger the size of Lake Tajo.
“What do you think, Wilcoll,” the woman says after taking the smallest possible bite of the cupcake and passing it to her bored looking fiancé. He eats the rest.
“Delicious,” he says, his mouth still full.
“We definitely cater weddings,” Rey says. “On our website, we have some examples of what our wedding cakes—” the woman walks away and Wilcoll trails after her, “—look like.”
They didn’t even take a card.
She sighs and leans back against the wall for about four milliseconds before the next person appears, looking curiously at the display.
Rey doesn’t think of herself as an angry person. Heat doesn’t usually make Rey angry. She’d grown up in a desert, she’s a baker and if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen. It’s the humidity that she doesn’t know what to do with, making the air hang heavy all around her, making it feel like it’s harder to breathe. This room is humid from all the bodies in it and all Rey can think about is just how much she hates it.
On top of that, she’s getting tired and her voice is starting to wear down from all the talking. Poe had warned her this would be exhausting. And he was right.
Leia’s somewhere on the second floor, schmoozing with other bakery owners, and Han’s on the third floor, networking with caterers. And Rey’s stuck on the showroom floor. She barely even has time to say hi to Finn when he shows up with more cupcakes, all in insulated boxes so that the icing doesn’t melt in this horrible heat. He’s there to deposit more boxes and then head back to the truck, where there are more waiting because god knows the show floor didn’t give on-floor storage for the cakes and cupcakes.
“Yes, we can absolutely make that the size of a full-sized cake.”
“No, wedding cakes don’t have to be one flavor. We can do different ones for different tiers.”
“Nope—we’re only in two locations. On the Upper East Side and then down in Soho.”
“I need a break,” she hisses to Finn when he shows up next.
“I can spell you for twenty minutes probably,” he replies, resting his hand on the base of her neck and rubbing because he knows she gets tense there.
“Yeah—let me just—water and bathroom. I’ll be back soon.”
“Right,” Finn says with a brave smile and he turns to the next curious potential patron, a woman with about seven strings of pearls around her neck. “How can I help you, ma’am?”
Rey sneaks her way through show floor, passing display after display of bakeries. Some have patisseries, some have savories, some have doughnuts, and cakes, and pies, and tarts, and cakes cakes cakes, so many cupcakes. All colors, all shapes, all decorations. Chocolate work, sprinkles, candied flower arrangements—each more artistic than the last. Maybe one day, Rey thinks wistfully, an image of herself in her own bakery flashing before her eyes.
One day, but she’s not in any immediate hurry. She likes Naberrie. She’s learning loads at Naberrie. And who knows, if she sticks it out—
Well, she doesn’t let herself dream about that. Not while everyone still talks in hushed voices, as though it hadn’t been six years ago that it happened. They’re not looking for an heir to the empire right now. And it’s not like—even if they did look at her and go Ah, young Rey, the cupcake talent of all time and the perfect symbol of our future let us train you to carry this burden that it would be a replacement for—
There’s a line outside the bathroom that’s about nine miles long because of course there is. Rey takes a deep breath and texts Finn. I might be a while. The line for the bathroom is frightening. She doubts he’ll get to see the text until she’s back. If his experience at the booth is anything like hers, he won’t have time to breathe, much less check his phone. But at least she warned him.
And of course there’s no line in the men’s room. There’s never a line at the men’s room. Because men have huge bladders and don’t mind peeing in front of one another or something like that.
That’s the thought that makes her realize just how tired she is, just how much her feet hurt, just how much the humid hellish heat of several thousand people in that show room is getting to her.
So maybe that’s why she does it—walks towards the men’s room and cracks the door and says loudly, “Anyone in here?”
There is no reply, so she steps in. It’s blessedly empty. And cool.
Turns out there are in fact stalls in the men’s room. Also urinals, but Rey beelines for a stall and locks it and sits down on the toilet and sighs happily as she begins to relieve herself. It’s the cool, more than the pissing, that makes her feel like she’s herself again. This bathroom is beautifully air-conditioned, probably because it’s easy to climate control a bathroom. There’s max like ten people in it. Except this is a men’s room, so there’s max zero people in it, while the line to the women’s room stretches on and on and on.
Rey is wiping herself when she hears the door open. The sound of the throngs of people making their way through the hallway fills the bathroom very briefly before silence, then footsteps, then the sound of a zipper, then the unmistakable sound of pissing and an accompanying sigh.
Shit, Rey thinks to herself. Or rather, thankfully, not shit, because he’s not in a stall so he’ll be quick about it and then she can sneak back out.
She waits for him to finish, hears him wash his hands, and then hears the door open again. When it’s closed, Rey flushes, and exits the stall, planning to hurry to the sink and wash her hands and then high-tail it back to Finn.
Except the second she opens the stall door, the man who’d been pissing—who had been looking at his phone and had apparently not left the bathroom—turns around. He is very tall, and dark-haired, and wearing a dark shirt that has sweat stains around the pits. He, too, bears the signs of hell. Only then does she notice the little red starburst embroidered on his shirt pocket, and she’d recognize that branding anywhere. Snoke’s.
“This is a men’s room,” he says, his voice deep.
“I noticed—the line to the ladies was just—” He doesn’t seem to care.
“So? This is the men’s room.”
“Gender isn’t a binary, and gendered bathrooms are a waste of time and space,” she snaps back at him.
His eyes go wide for a moment as though he’d been completely blindsided by the comment and has no response prepared at all. Which is probably why he lands on, “Yeah, but that’s still cheating all those poor ladies waiting in line outside.”
Rey snorts. “Oh please—like you care about any of them.”
“You cut the line.”
“I was a visionary and I am on the clock and don’t have time to wait nine years to take a piss. So if you’ll excuse me,” she hurries to the sink, washes her hands. He holds the door open for her and she exits, hoping to get past him nice and quickly on her way back to the booth. But he’s tall, which means he has stupidly long legs and keeps pace with her easily. “Can’t you have the decency to let me flee in peace?” Rey snipes at him as they enter hell again. “Although I suppose that would have been too much to ask for anyone who works at Snoke’s.”
The man then does something more frustrating and takes a longer-than-necessary step so that he’s in front of her, landing her with an annoyed gaze.
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” he demands.
“Everyone knows Snoke’s a villain who steals and cheats his way to success. And you’re one of his lackeys.” She pokes him in the chest. She really just wants him to go away. Can’t she just go off and forget about this whole thing in a few days, or let it turn into a funny story she drunkenly tells when she thinks of bathrooms and is reminded of that time she went to the men’s room at a work convention.
“Who are you calling a cheater, given where you were just—”
“I wasn’t cutting the line. There was no line to any of those toilets. Not one. I checked. That’s a hell of a lot less offensive than cupcake thievery.”
The man snorts. “Cupcake thievery? What’s this bullshit?”
“Oh come on,” Rey says rolling her eyes. “Everyone knows he stole the Naberrie icing recipe. That was Padme’s grandmother’s recipe.”
The man’s eyes look up in an I can’t believe I am having this argument again sort of way and—truth be told—neither can Rey. They’ve made it into the main show room and it’s really hot in this convention room. She misses the bathroom.
“Snoke did not steal the icing recipe and you can tell Luke Skywalker to stop spreading lies or else Snoke’s gonna sic a bunch of lawyers on him and grind the last of the Naberrie bakeries into the ground where they belong.” He ends up shouting the last few words, the veins in his neck sticking out a bit, his ears going a bit red. A few convention-goers give him surprised and scandalized looks.
“Needed to get that out?” Rey asks him.
“Yep,” he replies, before his eyes harden again. “You’ll be out of business before the end of the year,” he says. “And then you’ll have to change your tune about Snoke’s unless you want to work at any of the other piece of crap bakeries in this city.”
“Snoke’s is a piece of crap bakery,” Rey fires back. “Which I knew even before I met the snakes who worked for him.” She pushes past him.
Behind her, she hears him call, “I’m right! Skywalker’s an old fraud!” but she doesn’t care. She weaves her way back to the booth with the skill of someone who has to navigate New York subways at rush hour.
The Old Fraud himself is standing behind the display and from the look on his face, Rey can see that her short break was not well-received.
“Where have you been?” he snapped.
“For twenty minutes?”
“There was a line—what would you have preferred, that I piss myself in front of all the—”
“You have breaks scheduled. This is an important—”
“Hello!” Rey says brightly to the elderly woman behind Luke who is looking at one of the chocolate glaze cupcakes. “Those are some of my favorites.”
“You must have a taste for goodies at this point,” the old woman chuckles.
“Are they all your favorite?” the lady asks with a wink.
“Those are my particular favorites.”
“I’m back,” she hisses at Luke when the lady has gone off.
“You missed the rush, and we needed you,” he says. “Now they’re all off down the way at Snoke’s.”
“Yeah, well Snoke gives his employees bathroom breaks, so—”
“So you want to lose our business to a lying, thieving, fraud like that?”
“We’ll get them back,” Rey says. “They’ll come back. It’s a long rest of the day.”
“We better,” Luke says. “We better, or you’re gone. Got that?”
Rey won’t blame the hurt in her heart on the way that Luke berated her. She doesn’t let herself get hurt, even if it’s Luke Skywalker, who is a bit of a mentor to her, for all he’s grumpy and set in his ways. She knows he won’t really fire her if the day is less than successful. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a black pit in her stomach that makes her want to cry for the rest of the day.
No, she’ll blame the heat of the room. The humid hellish heat of a million bodies, all hyped up on all the sugar they are trying. That’s the only explanation for how she ends up in the men’s room again with the tall man who works for Snoke’s who has literally lifted her off the ground because his legs are so long and he wants to rub his groin against hers.
“Stall?” she suggests as she sucks on his neck. She doesn’t know who’s going to come into the bathroom.
“Stall,” he agrees and he doesn’t even put her down as he carries her towards the closest one—ironically the one she had peed in earlier—his hands fumbling with the lock as his lips devour hers. He’s got really plush lips, she’d noticed that before, and they feel so very good against hers.
Which only makes her angrier.
“You feel—” he starts to groan into her skin but she cuts him off.
“No talking,” she growls and he pulls away. He’s got her pinned by the groin to a stall door in a men’s room and his dark eyes blaze into hers.
“Fine,” he says and that’s the last of it, he just ducks his head down and kisses her harder than he had before, and she thinks that he’s angry too. Good. This is hate sex. This is blowing off steam sex. This is trying to make yourself feel things again sex. This isn’t a time for sentiment, not a time for him to try and verbalize what she can tell just by how hard he is getting: that he likes this. That this is happening.
“I don’t have a condom,” he says and there’s a defiance to his voice—as though he’s unsure whether or not this falls into the category that has been pushed aside by Rey’s forceful no talking, but he’s pushing on anyway.
Rey reaches down into her pocket—a tricky angle while her legs are wrapped around his hips—and fishes her wallet out. She tugs a foil packet out from behind her credit cards and hands it to him.
Something flashes in his eyes—recognition, respect, disrespect—it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that he lets her down and gives her a once over.
“Your pants are going to be a problem,” he comments as he undoes his own and eases the latex onto his—Rey gulps; God that’s bigger even than the oversized vibrator she’d gotten herself last year on some Valentine’s Day sale. She undoes her own belt and begins to shimmy them down her legs and is halfway towards toeing off her shoes when he has swept her up again with a squeak, her back once again against the stall door, her feet flat against the door with her hips spread wide open with his hands under her ass, holding her up as he fumbles at her entrance.
“You’re going to have to fuck me because I can’t do anything in this position,” she tells him as his fingers trace her slit and goose bumps erupt across her skin. She wraps her arms around his neck for support because she doesn’t much like the idea of falling flat on her ass in a bathroom stall.
He snorts. “I can manage.”
His fingers probe her briefly, and then he looks down, trying to see what he’s doing even though there’s no way from this angle. It takes him longer than either of them want but when he’s in her, he’s in her and god this is—the way he pistons his hips against her like he’s on a sugar high, the panting and groaning and the slap of his thighs against the undersides of her ass and hamstrings, the way he’s pushing into her hard and fast and her heart is racing.
It’s not making love, it’s not even having sex, it’s fucking just fucking fucking, raw and dirty.
Rey’s tits—small as they are—are bouncing in the sports bra she’s wearing under her work shirt because of how fast they’re going and her fingers are digging into his broad shoulders. He is too far away to suck on his neck or try to kiss him, so she lets her head rest against the stall door and lets him just go because sometimes it’s nice not to have to do anything, it’s nice to just get fucked.
Which is why she’s surprised when his fingers fumble at her clit. She hadn’t had any expectations that he’d try to make her come. She doesn’t even think she needs to come, she needs to just feel this feeling of his dick pumping into her over and over again. And what’s more is he finds it, despite the weird angle, despite the fact that she’d called him a snake earlier and that she thought he worked for an evil cupcake thief, and he’d told her she was naive and—and—
And she’s coming on his dick with a whimper and—more embarrassingly—she does what she always does when she comes and tears start to leak out of her eyes. She hates it—how she cries at the drop of a hat, not because she’s emotional or anything it’s just that sometimes her body cries. He pauses, clearly a bit disturbed that she’s crying on his dick.
“Oh shut up and keep fucking me,” she tells him, and he does while she wipes her tears away and lets herself sink into the warmth of just having come until he lets out a guttural moan and goes still inside her.
Slowly, he pulls himself out of her, twisting and disposing of the condom in the toilet, even though Rey’s fairly certain you’re not supposed to do that. It doesn’t matter. He carefully helps her down from the stall and wow her hips had gotten stiff like that. She flinches slightly as she straightens her legs and tugs her pants and underpants back up her legs.
Then, before he can say something, she unlocks the stall door and leaves the bathroom without a word.
She doesn’t want cuddling, or confessions of whatever the fuck. It was just a hard fuck in a bathroom is all.
Her blood’s flowing, her head’s clear, and she has to get back to the floors.