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Cupcake Wars

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Finn texts her right as she gets on the A.

 

Finn: I’m running late.

Rey: I’m on the train already.

Finn: Sorry—late night.

He sure looks like it when he arrives at the brunch place an hour later. His eyes are bloodshot, his face is more than a little hangdog and he winces because the music is too loud. Rey digs some ibuprofen out of her bag and hands three pills to him, which he downs with water without looking at the menu.

“Remind me,” he says quietly, “never to go to Lando’s parties ever again without an exit strategy.”

“Rose wasn’t your exit strategy?” Rey asks him. She’s looking at the menu and has a sneaking suspicion that she’ll be ordering food for the both of them. When Finn’s hungover, he loses most of his decision-making capacity.

“She was,” Finn says. “But she got a little too drunk and so she had her sister come pick her up. She’s spent the morning vomiting her guts out.”

“Never drink anything at LCJ’s—you did warn me about that.”

“I warned her too!” Finn says a little too loudly because his face splits in pain. “She just didn’t listen. And then Paige came and got her. Which I should have helped with but…”

“But you were too drunk.”

“What gave it away?” He gives her a wry smile. “I was browning out, I think. That tall guy—Lumpy? He makes an even stiffer drink than LCJ. Probably because he has the constitution of a mountain.” Finn shudders and takes a sip of water. “Nice guy, though.”

“Yeah, I only spoke to him for a moment,” Rey says, remembering the selfie that Lumpy, Ben, and LCJ had taken together right as she’d learned that she’d fucked Ben Solo.

“What can I get for you?” a perky waitress asks, appearing out of nowhere.

“I’ll have the waffles,” Rey says, “He’ll have the biscuits and grits with an egg sunny side up. And lots of coffee, please.”

“Thank you,” Finn groans when the waitress goes to take their order back to the kitchen, putting his face in his hands. “I’m never drinking again.”

“I’ll believe that when I see it,” Rey says, patting him on the shoulder. “I’m surprised that Rose drinks a lot.”

“She didn’t, she just has no tolerance and Lumpy and LCJ are a menace,” Finn says. Then, he takes a deep breath and Rey feels her heart pick up the pace because she knows—she just knows—what he’s going to say. “She kissed me. At the party.”

Her face splits into a delighted grin. “Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. I think she was too drunk for it to count? But I also think it counts. Does it count? How does consent work in moments like this?”

“You both were shitfaced, right?”

“Yeah?” Finn says.

“I think it’s fine? But I’d make sure to check with her before you kiss her again.”

“I was planning on doing that anyway,” Finn says. Then he takes a deep breath. “Yeah. She kissed me. She kissed me.”

“I told you it was something special,” Rey says smiling. Her own smile warms her far more than she expects it to. It’s not that she’d been possessive of Finn—though it’s jarring as all hell that there’s someone he’s interested in because he’s never been interested in anyone—but something had frustrated her about his and Rose’s new thing. She’d never really known what. She’d never really wanted to know what, afraid of what it would say about her and her friendship with Finn if she was able to pinpoint something bad. But whatever that frustration had been, it’s not there now as she watches him smile shyly at the mere concept that a girl he met completely by accident had wanted to kiss him—and that he wants to kiss her back.

“So when you said she’d been puking her guts out this morning, I assume that means you texted her?” Rey asks, shifting in her seat and leaning forward so that she’s a little closer to Finn.

“Yeah,” he replies. “Just to check in and make sure she got home safe and that she was feeling ok. Which she isn’t. But not because of me. If she’s feeling better we’re going to see a movie tonight.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah,” he grins nervously. “The new Star Trek movie. She likes it a lot and I’ve never seen it and she promised she’d give me an intensive background for it over dinner.”

“Well someone was bound to turn you into a nerd,” Rey grins.

“Shut up,” he replies and considering his hangover, it’s almost playful.

“I call dibs on your wedding cake,” Rey says as the waitress arrives with their breakfast.

“As if I’d go to anyone else,” Finn says darkly. “I miss you in that kitchen.”

“It’s only been a few days,” Rey says. A few days that have felt like a lifetime, a few days where she’s spent hours trying to understand how on earth Han Solo’s head works because god knows his order system makes no sense at all. She’s considering rebuilding it, if Luke and Leia are ok with that. They did give her the job, after all.

A few days where it felt like she’d barely seen Finn at all, and now he has someone else he’s going to start going to movies with.

“Yeah, but it’s not like you’ll necessarily be back anytime soon, right? Like they’re not gonna demote you unless you fuck up majorly, and I don’t think you will. You’re too good at everything you do.”

Rey feels her face heat and sets herself to smearing butter on her waffles and pouring as much maple syrup on them as she can manage. “I’d still rather be baking,” she says. “I warned Bebe that I might bake her everything I can’t do at work anymore. She said she’d just bring it into the office.”

Finn nods understandingly. “Maybe it’s for the best,” he says, “That way you can actually be creative in the kitchen. Like, you were saying you were too tired to bake after work these days, so maybe this’ll help you get back to doing it.”

“I guess,” Rey says. The prospect is still daunting. She sighs and eats her waffle and immediately feels better. It’s sort of silly how much eating makes her feel better about things. She looks at Finn. “How’s the head?”

“Getting there,” he says taking a sip of coffee. Then, his eyes widen. “I forgot to tell you. Ben Solo was apparently at Lando’s party last night.”

Rey’s mouth goes dry. “Yeah—I—” but he keeps going.

“They’re apparently childhood friends. And he fucked some girl in Lando’s bathroom and then left. Asshole.” Finn adds with a roll of his eyes. “Didn’t even stay long enough to eat the cake that Lando asked him to make.” Finn rolls his eyes. “Fucker. He definitely stole that icing recipe for Snoke.”

“Yeah,” Rey says. Her mouth is still uncomfortably dry so she takes a sip of her water. “Yeah, he definitely did.”

“You couldn’t pay me to eat a Snoke’s cake,” Finn says. He definitely seems to have more spirit now that he’s got coffee and painkillers and hangover food in front of him.

“How do you know the icing’s the same, then?” Rey asks.

Finn gives her a look. “I have made how much icing at Naberrie? You think I can’t recognize it when I see it? You think my body doesn’t react to it whenever I’m in a twenty-foot radius?”

Rey snorts and keeps eating.

“Wonder who he fucked,” Finn says. “He’s sort of weird looking—how’d that happen so early?”

“No clue,” Rey says as she takes another bite of her waffle. It doesn’t taste as good as it had before.

“That smells good!” Rey hears Bebe call as she closes the door behind her. There’s the sound of her dropping her keys on the coffee table, her bag hitting the ground with a heavy thunk before she makes her way towards the back of the apartment and the kitchen.

“Taste,” Rey says, pushing batter towards Bebe.

“Salmonella?” Bebe says, a little anxiously.

“If you get it, I get it too. Taste.” Bebe dips her fingers into the remnant batter, swipes along the edge of the bowl, and then pops the batter into her mouth. She pauses as she looks at Rey.

“Is that…”

“Rosewater.”

“I was wondering…”

“Too strong?”

“Don’t make the icing too sweet,” Bebe says and Rey grins at her.

When she and Bebe had first moved in together, Bebe had had no taste for baked goods. Not much of a sweet tooth, was how the petite redhead had phrased it. Now, though, she has learned Rey’s rants of you can’t have an icing too sweet and a cake that’s too sweet you’ll overwhelm everything if you do that enough to at least be able to nod and smile and, apparently, suggest a not-too-sweet icing.

“Here,” Rey says and she hands the icing bowl she’d been working on while her cupcakes baked to Bebe.

“Is that green tea?”

“Matcha.”

Bebe’s eyes roll in delight as she tastes the icing. “This is unreal,” she moans. “When do you open your own bakery?”

Rey flushes. “I’m not going to open my own place,” she says. “I don’t have anywhere near enough cash for that.”

“Then at least sell these at Naberrie. Rose and matcha cupcakes? Are you insane? Every food instagram on the planet will be lining up outside your door.”

“I need to get the balance right,” Rey says. “If there’s too much rosewater in the cupcake…”

“Well, I will happily be your test vehicle any time you want to test your balance,” Bebe says with a wink. “And I’m sure Poe and the rest wouldn’t say no to leftovers if you start overflowing the kitchen.”

Rey grins. “Duly noted. Work was ok?”

And Bebe sighs and launches into a rant about specs that Rey can’t even begin to understand. Bebe’s clever, though anxious, and being the only woman on her floor—much less her team—frequently makes her feel like a token hire, which only spikes her imposter syndrome. “Artoo’s good, though,” she says. “I’m glad he’s looking out for me. He always has my back. Even when Niney starts trying to take credit for my ideas.” She makes an expression, and looks down at her hands. “You don’t mind my taking some of these into work?”

“I thought they were going to Poe and his den of thieves,” Rey responded at once. She’s barely seen Poe since he stopped working at Naberrie, but Finn still texts him a fair amount. They have trouble seeing one another, though, because of Poe’s new schedule—something that Finn tries not to let on how much it frustrates him. Bebe ends up at his place most nights, and sometimes Rey wonders if they’ll get married one day. They seem so devoted to one another.

“I want to make them like me more,” Bebe says. “And we all know the best way to someone’s heart is through their stomachs, right?”

“I’ve got your back, girl,” Rey says winking, and Bebe beams at her. That’s them, though. Even when Bebe doesn’t need protection, Rey does her best to protect her. There’s something that seems so breakable about her sometimes, or maybe that’s just projecting.

Rey’s timer goes off and they open the oven together, the scent of rosey-cake wafting out of the oven and the heat of it all making Bebe’s glasses steam up. Rey pokes the cupcake first with her finger, then with a toothpick and decides they’re done enough and takes them out of the oven.

“When was the last time you baked at home?” Bebe asks with a frown when Rey pops the tray of cupcakes onto the rack by the window to cool. “It’s been a while.”

It has been. When Rey had been working in the trenches, or in the kitchen at Naberrie, she had stopped feeling the need to bake all the time. She baked plenty at work. Now that she’s not in the trenches anymore, though…

She misses it—baking. The extra money is good but dealing with crazy customers via phone, email, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, Uber Eats, and whatever fucking delivery system the tech industry comes up with next isn’t the same as being in the trenches with Finn, making sure that each of Padme’s perfect cupcakes has been iced delicately and to standard. She had liked that more than she’d realized until she wasn’t doing it anymore.

“Need to scratch the itch,” is all she says to Bebe with a shrug. “Don’t get enough of it done at work anymore.”

“Open your own bakery,” Bebe tells her. She tests the cupcake. Still too warm to ice.

“Maybe one day,” Rey says. One day is her go-to, the vague nebulous future in which everything is right, where her parents come back for her, where she’s surrounded by food she’s baked, where she has her own bakery and a whole host of friends at her side, where she feels settled in her life.

“Do you want to use the bathroom, or would you actually like a bed this time?” he asks her dryly when she comes through the door of Snoke’s and she stops dead in her tracks, staring at him.

“How close is the bed?” she asks. He raises his eyebrows.

“What, are you on the clock or something?”

“No, but if you’re going to drag me halfway across the city, I’d just as soon fuck you in the bathroom.”

He rolls his eyes. “Just across the bridge,” he tells her.

Which is how she ends up on her way to Brooklyn Heights in the back seat of a cab with Ben Solo.

She hadn’t really intended to do this. But she’d had an irate bride call her about an order that Rey had gotten wrong from Han’s incomprehensible order system, Finn had told her he was going to see a movie with Rose, Bebe was working late, Rey hadn’t baked anything since the cupcakes—too much rosewater, too much matcha, she’ll get it better next time she tries—and her paycheck doesn’t come through until Friday so she can’t go and buy the ingredients she needs to try making the lavender lemon bars that had walked into her head while the bride had shrieked at her about how the cake was supposed to be decorated with violets and not roses.

And she hadn’t wanted to go back to the empty apartment. Rey has spent too much of her life in empty apartments.

They don’t talk in the cab. Rey stares out the window at the dull orange lights of New York City as the cab drives across the bridge. She doesn’t know what Ben’s doing. Probably playing angry birds on his phone, or something equally obnoxious. You don’t have to like him to be fucking him, she tells herself. He is a grown adult who is capable of deciding whether or not to reject or accept your propositioning him.

And he’d accepted. So there it was.

“Up here on the left, right at the corner,” Ben tells the driver, who pulls over and Rey unbuckles her seat belt and gets out of the cab while Ben swipes his card in the reader. She goes to stand on the curb and a moment later, Ben joins her. “This way.”

He leads her into an older looking building that has a very narrow staircase. For a moment, Rey wonders if his shoulders don’t bump against the siding of it because they’re so broad, but he navigates just fine. He leads her up to the third floor, where he unlocks the door and holds it open for her.

When he turns on the light, the apartment is bigger than Rey had expected. Not huge or anything, but still bigger. Or maybe that’s because he’s sparse when it comes to furnishing and decoration. Either way, when she turns to look at him, to double check that they’re here and doing this, he asks, “Want something to drink?”

Which is how Rey realizes how thirsty she is. “Water would be great.”

And he goes into his tiny kitchen while Rey hovers and looks around. There are no photographs anywhere, no sign of anything sentimental. What were you expecting—he did walk out of his family’s life. She wonders if he knows that Han had left a photograph of him on his desk.

“Here you go,” he says and he presses a glass into her hand. She downs half of it in one. “What, don’t they let you drink in that bakery?”

“Today was an anomaly,” Rey grumbles. Then she looks up at him. “Are we doing this?”

He gives her a steady look and she wonders if she’s ever noticed just how expressive his eyes are before. One moment he’s looking politely concerned, then there’s a moment of derision, a moment of annoyance, and then there’s nothing there at all.

“Yeah, sure,” he says and he passes her, walking briskly towards the bedroom and tugging his shirt up over his head as he goes.

Rey freezes.

She’s seen muscular guys before. Not like—a lot—you don’t tend to go into baking if you want a ripped bod—but she’s seen them. She’s seen underwear ads, and Instagram posts, and guys at the gym.

She wasn’t expecting the way his back muscles rippled when he took his shirt off. Not even a little.

“What?”

She blinks. She’d been staring, her mouth slightly open. He’s turned towards her, now, and his chest is positively meaty, dark nipples that pop out of muscles that look like they’re fake because no one actually has muscles like that, do they?

He smirks.

And disappears into the bedroom.

Rey puts the half-finished glass of water on a side table and follows him into the bedroom, where he’s already taking his pants off in a business-like manner.

He has an eight-pack.

Well at least she knows how he’d been so easily able to fuck her against two bathroom doors.

She can feel saliva pooling in her mouth as she looks at him, can feel her breath coming a little shallower. He’s sort of weird looking, Finn had said over brunch. Finn can be wrong about things sometimes.

Rey’s not fully aware of how she gets out of her clothes. She doubts it’s elegant. Her shirt ends up on the floor, followed by her pants, which she takes off at the same time as her shoes and socks because she hadn’t thought this through. Ben’s just sitting there on the bed in his underwear, watching her silently. We should have done this in the bathroom, she thinks when her ankle gets stuck in her jeans because her sock didn’t want to come off properly.

When she stands up straight again, she sees his eyes go wide because she’d taken off her underpants with her jeans but she doesn’t waste a moment on the mild twinge of satisfaction that gives her because she’s tugging her sports bra up over her head, feeling what tits she has bounce a little in their newfound freedom.

Then she leaves the room.

“Hey, where are you—” he calls after her and she hears the bed shift as she calls, “Condom,” back over her shoulder.

He doesn’t follow her out and when she goes back into his room, he’s lying on the bed and his underwear is gone. He’s palming his cock a little bit, half-hard and he’s been in her twice already at this point, but whatever saliva had been pooling in her mouth is gone now. Her mouth is bone dry—which is ironic because she can feel how wet she’s getting just by looking at him like that.

“Are you coming over?” he asks her as she stands there, rooted to the ground.

She does with a half-glare, clambering onto the bed and straddling him, dropping the condom onto his chest for when he’s harder. His hand leaves his cock and is immediately at her hips and a moment later she feels him guiding her slit along his shaft. He lets out a half-groan of relief and she keeps sliding herself along him. His eyes are open, and hooded as he looks up at her. She’s sort of surprised that he’s staring at her face and not her tits, but then again her tits aren’t much to write home about.

She’s more surprised that she’s staring at his face and not his chest.

And suddenly he’s sitting up and grabbing the condom. He rips open the foil and she clambers off him so he can put it on a little more easily. He has huge hands, she notices as he rolls the latex down his shaft. Huge cock, huge hands, huge everything.

“Any preference for position?” he asks her.

“Anything,” she says, which is how she ends up on her hands and knees, pressing her face into his pillow as he fucks her vigorously from behind. His grip on her hips is firm, and this angle makes her stretch around him even more than she’s used to. Her heart is racing in her throat and she can hear him groaning and breathing heavily, can hear the smacking of their skin together, can hear the way his pillow muffles her own cries because this feels better than a perfectly balanced cupcake.

Has anything ever felt quite as good as the smooth way his cock sliding into her feels?

As if he’d read her mind, he grunts out, “Fuck this is perfect,” and Rey bucks her hips back towards him and his balls hit her clit right as his cock hits perhaps the deepest point it’s hit just yet and then her head is spinning and there are tears in her eyes as she comes harder than she’d come in either bathroom stall.

She’s still aftershocking as he pumps into her. His grip isn’t quite so tight now. One of his hands has moved from her waist to her spine, rubbing it up and down as though trying to soothe her. “I’m fine,” she tells him, though even to her own ears, it sounds watery. “Just—”

“Fuck you. I got it.”

But his hand doesn’t leave her back even as he picks the pace up again. He picks up the pace a lot, actually. Rey’s tits are positively jiggling on her chest so intense is his rhythm, and before Rey even knows what’s happening her body is convulsing again and she’s letting out another choked sob.

This one hits harder. Her clit is too sensitive every time his balls strike it and her heart is roaring in her ears—or maybe that’s Ben. Because he goes very still and she feels heat through the condom and she knows he’s done now too. Her cunt is still quivering around him, clenching and uncontrollable. He slowly extricates himself from her and gets off the bed. Rey lets herself fall forward completely, flattening herself against his comforter and letting herself breathe.

The tears have stopped flowing at least. The pillow is wet under her face, but the tears are done.

The bed shifts underneath her and a moment later, he’s lying there next to her. He doesn’t rub her back again. He doesn’t cuddle against her.

The problem with fucking him in his own bed means that there’s no real exit strategy. Both of the other two times, she’d just been able to leave and that was that. But now she’s naked, and it’s his house, and she should probably at least say thank you but right now she’s feeling too fucked to really think of anything to say.

“You can stay over if you like,” he says after a moment. “Or not. Up to you.”

She lies there for a few seconds. “Thanks.”

“Sure thing,” he says.

She does mean to get up. She does mean to get dressed and walk her way over to the nearest A station—not far from here, from the few times she’s been in the neighborhood—and take the train back to her empty apartment.

But instead, she feels warm, and content, and she doesn’t even notice when he finds another blanket because they’re both on top of the comforter, she just slowly, warmly, falls asleep.