Chapter 1: Dance Dance (We’re falling apart to half-time)
Everybody knew that Poe Dameron had lost it at the 61st Annual Amateur Ballroom Dance Finals. The rumours spread like wildfire. They said that Poe Dameron got boxed in by his rival, Kylo Ren, and through his anger, Poe forced his dance partner Selina into an unreasonable situation that would affect her entire future dance career. That Poe Dameron did not care about his partner in the moment it occurred. That Poe Dameron had planned to ruin both his and Selina’s dancing careers. One rumour was true. Poe Dameron had danced non-federation regulated dance steps during the live finals in front of the former greatest dance champion in the universe, Supreme Ballroom President Snoke. Selina broke up her 10-year partnership with Poe right after the event. She did not want to be associated with the egotistical maniac any longer. After all, she had what remained of her reputation to think of.
Some people called it an outrage. Poe’s mother, Shara Bey-Dameron, called it mortifying. He had simply thrown both his and his mother’s dream away. That Poe one day would be the Amateur Champion in a way she never was. His mother screamed. Poe had thrown all of their hard work down the drain because he couldn’t get it into his head that you can never win dancing your own steps that over-excited the crowd. There was a reason everyone followed the federation steps. You can’t teach non-federation steps to anyone and if you can’t teach, there is no livelihood. Of course, Poe’s mother had nothing to do with Poe’s breakdown at the finals. Like any good parent, she discouraged any sort of deviation Poe showed on the dance floor from a young age. No son of hers would disgrace her, or so she had hoped. This madness of Poe had come out of the blue. Just a blip in the system. He was still young, still probably experiencing the last of the teenage hormones at the age of 32. She wouldn’t give up on her son. She wouldn’t throw away their shot of greatness. She refused to do so. All they had to do was find a new partner who a thousand times better than Selina, and make sure that Poe did not deviate again. It was that simple. Her son would win the National Open Amateur Championship. He would become the greatest dancer known across all of time and space. Greater than Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly combined.
They had 8 weeks. It was plenty of time, especially because the embarrassment of the whole ordeal would make sure Poe would never dance his silly steps again. After all, Poe wouldn’t be stupid enough to throw away both their dreams, would he?
Chapter 2: Would you dance if I asked you to dance?
Finn discovers Poe dancing alone in his mother's dance studio.
It was 3 days after the disastrous finals. Poe Dameron finally had his mother’s dance studio to himself after what seemed to be an endless teaching of dance classes. It was always busy on Thursday, the last class of the night had only just finished 10 minutes earlier. Poe gazed at his reflection in the floor-length mirrors that lined the furthest wall in his mother’s dance studio. He saw a sorry-looking man waiting to be released from the invisible shackles that wrapped around his wrists and ankles. Those shackles were forged from a lifetime of dancing for the federation. Dancing ran through his blood. It was his mind, body and soul. Poe couldn’t imagine a life without dancing.
However, Poe felt that the federation’s regulated dance steps limited his dancing to something he no longer associated with. All the pettiness and criticisms of minor faults in the search for the ultimate perfection that did not exist. It wore Poe Dameron down. He just wanted to dance because of the spark of passion it created, not because it was the right step at the right time. Dancing the regulation steps tarnished the spark and ultimately at his soul. He felt nothing. Surely this was not how dancing was meant to feel like. Why couldn’t the others understand this, especially his mother?
Poe practised a bogo pogo and watched himself in the mirror. He saw exactly how he felt on the inside. He knew he couldn’t dance his own steps from a young age from how low they scored at competitions and his mother’s embarrassment. Points were scored for creativity and flair that had already been already approved by the federation. Poe’s creativity and flair gained no points from the judges and gained his mother’s permanently disapproving glare. He had secretly started experimenting with his own dance moves in his teens. He would practise in the studio after everyone had gone home, like he was doing tonight. The only other soul was his best friend and pet corgi BB8. His mother took it as a sign he was dedicating himself to the craft, and technically he was. He slid, spun and whirled until the bruises on his body resembled galaxies in the sky, perfecting the new steps until he felt confident they could be approved one day.
If only somebody took the chance on him. Like that was ever going to happen, Poe scowled. He’d been an idiot to think that he could change their stuffy ways or the least understand that it was the only way to stop himself and Selina further failing at the finals.
The next track started playing on his speakers. Death on Two Legs by Queen. Poe smiled. It was the perfect song to encapsulate how he was feeling. Full of rage blended with passion and a hint of fire and spite. Poe started dancing along with much anger and gusto. He didn’t think about what steps he was dancing, he let his body take over. There was a mixture of Paso Doble with a flare of flamenco with a touch of contemporary for that dramatic flair. He even added some jive steps in. Poe danced without a care, dancing whatever steps simply felt right at the time. He leapt through the air to quickly drop into a knee spin. He dramatically rolled across the floor and then bounced back onto his feet. Poe spun around which led into a quick staccato kick. He stamped his feet quickly and created some matador shapes with his arms sharply. He ran through a third of the studio and then suddenly dropped to his knees and slid. He had perfectly timed the knee slide to coincide with the end of the music. Breathing heavily, Poe stood up. He heard somebody clapping.
Startled, Poe turned around towards the clapping. There was a very good-looking young man with short black hair stood in the doorway wearing baggy grey jogging bottom and an off-white tee. Poe recognised him. The guy had signed up to his mother’s beginner’s class about a year ago. A boyish grin lit across the man’s face.
“That was amazing!” the man beamed.
“How long have you been here?” Poe asked sharply. The question erupted out of his lips like an avalanche running down the side of a mountain.
The man’s face scrunched up with confusion. “1 year and 4 months” he replied.
“I’m sorry buddy, I meant how long have you stood in the doorway?” Poe felt his cheeks flush.
“Oh! Not that long. I was downstairs cleaning the reception because Mrs Dameron asked me to and this little fella wanted me to follow him. He wouldn’t stop pulling at my trousers until I did”. The man pointed to the Corgi with the angelic face sat up straight. BB8 wagged his tail with glee.
Poe blushed. BB8 was a very good boy and very wary of new people but would often have his own agenda that he would happily follow. Usually when someone had food. “I’m so sorry! He never normally does that!”
The man laughed. “It was rather cute.” He paused for a moment. “I’m sorry to have distracted you from your dancing. Were you working on anything special?”
Poe shrugged. “That was nothing.”
The man stared at Poe. If he opened his mouth any wider in shock, his jaw would hit the floor with a thudding echo. “That was nothing?! But that was amazing! Like how you danced at the final. It was stunning and exhilarating to watch! I had never seen anything like it before! The crowd was going wild for it! I was going wild for it!”
“Everybody else was saying that it was my downfall.”
The man smiled softly. “Then they’re all idiots and clearly blind”
Poe called BB8 over to him, hoping to god that the man couldn’t see his cheeks burning a deep crimson. BB8 jumped up and lolloped over to Poe. “Anyway, thanks for following BB8. It helps his confidence, ya know.”
“His name’s BB8?” Bafflement was etched into the man’s face.
“My 8-year-old cousin named him.” Poe laughed “He was obsessed with robots at the time!”
“It’s a good name. A good, strong name.” The man smiled. He awkwardly played with his hands. “Anyway, uh, I better head back downstairs. Glad you and BB8 are reunited” He turned and headed out of the doorway.
BB8 frantically started tugging at Poe’s trousers. He bent down to calm him. “Hey buddy”, he soothed. “What’s up?” BB8 yipped and faced the door. The man had returned.
“A life lived in fear is a life half lived”, the man quietly mumbled to himself.
“I wanna dance with you, Poe.”
The man looked nervous. He swallowed and tried again. “I wanna dance with you. You dance with such passion and spirit that reflects how I feel when I dance. I mean, I haven’t been given a partner yet and you currently don’t have a partner and I thought, what’s the worst could happen?”
Poe was caught off guard. His mind was swirling with all the ridicule and gossip this would surround the Federation. This would scandalise the Federation for years. His mother would disown him in a heartbeat. Poe crossed his arms. “You’re wanting to dance with me? Let me get this straight buddy, you’re a beginner who wants to dance with me; who’s been dancing since I was 6 years old?”
The man nodded. “Yes, you’ve got the experience but you could teach me! I’m a fast learner!”
“And you wanna dance my way? The Federation won’t exactly approve.”
The man nodded enthusiastically. “More than anything. I make up my own moves from time to time.”
“And you wanna dance with me at the championships that are 8 weeks away?”
The man looked sheepishly at Poe. “I mean, if we do well, then why not? Like I said, I’m a fast learner and I think I’ve got the same passion and drive that would match yours.”
Poe pondered for a moment and uncrossed his arms. “Ok buddy, prove it. You ever done the rumba?”
The man shook his head. “Mrs Dameron hasn’t got past teaching the cha cha. She says that the rumba isn’t for beginners.”
Of course, she would say that, thought Poe. Poe held his hand out and the man tentatively took it. Poe placed his free hand lightly on the man’s bicep and the man placed his free hand gently on Poe’s shoulder blade in return. Poe gazed into the man’s eyes. His eyes were a beautiful rich brown colour. So dark you couldn’t see his pupils. The man gazed back at him. Poe quickly shifted his gaze to the man’s ear lobe. “You got a name, buddy?”
“I’m Finn. Finn Organa.”
“Finn? I like that name!” Poe beamed. The surname seemed familiar for some reason that Poe couldn’t place. “We’re gonna start with the basics, Finn. What we’re gonna do is the box step. So, what I want you to do is slowly step forward on the count of one.”
Poe called out one and Finn automatically stepped on Poe’s foot. Poe winced in pain. “I’m so sorry!” Finn blurted.
“Other foot,” grimaced Poe. “Again, one”. This time they successfully stepped together in the same direction.
“That’s it, buddy!” Poe nodded. “Now, what I want you to do on two is step quickly to the side with your right foot. Two!” They stepped to the side.
“Good. Now, quickly bring your left foot back to the right one on three, then you’re gonna shift the weight from one foot to the other as this creates the hip movement necessary for the rumba because it’s a dance about sensuality. So, bring your left heel down and bring your right heel up.”
Finn brought his feet together and shifted his weight. Poe beamed. “Good job, buddy. You’ll now find that you’re in the perfect position to do the same again, but in the opposite direction. So, on your right foot, I want to you step back on one, step left on two, bring your feet together on three and shift your weight on four. You got that, buddy?”
Finn nodded and enacted the steps with Poe. He watched his feet as they danced to make sure he didn’t step on Poe’s feet again. Poe called out again and started the counts to practise it all again. Forward. Side. Together. Shift weight. Backwards. Side. Together. Shift weight. Poe lightly lifted Finn’s chin so that he was no longer looking at his feet. Forward. Side. Together. Shift weight. Backward. Side. Together. Shift weight.
“That’s it, Finn!” Poe beamed. “You’ve got that step. Now, let’s work on some more steps so we can bulk out one step into a dance.”
Poe taught Finn the basic rumba walk, the leaning ins and the pull aways that added to the story of the dance. He even threw some cucarachas in which made Finn practically giggle when he explained that it came from the Spanish word for “cockroaches”. Never had Poe seen anything more adorable.
True to Finn’s word, Finn picked up the steps pretty quickly. Poe wondered why Finn had never progressed from the beginner’s class to the intermediate class. He shrugged, probably because Finn never particularly stood out during the lessons. There were plenty of characters in the class who were all fighting for the attention of his mother. For example, the elderly couple, Mrs Jean and Barbara Fairweather. The first was obsessed with Agatha Christie and always giggling like a new bride in May, while the later was more reserved yet was ready to defend her wife at a moment’s notice. They had never missed a dance lesson at Madame Dameron’s School of Dance for 4 years.
Then there was the newly engaged couple, Sam and Andi, who wanted to learn how to dance for their first dance as a married couple, and kept asking questions and for critique on the simplest of steps, as everything had to be truly perfect for their wedding. There was also old Mr Henderson. Poe wasn’t sure why he kept turning up. He complained about everything and was the first to make his unpopular opinions known. Finally, there was Susan who often flirted with both himself and his mother, and giggled whenever she got a step wrong, which was approximately 82% of the time. Poe now remembered seeing Finn in the class whenever he helped his mother to teach the beginners. Finn was often seen near the back of the class, silently taking everything in.
After an hour of teaching, Poe selected some music and told Finn that they were going to dance the rumba and that he had to trust Poe and follow his lead. Enrique Iglesias’ Hero started playing on the speakers. Poe started off with the basic steps and Finn followed through, adding little flourishes here and there. Soft armography that continued the flow created by their hips. Poe smiled. Finn danced with his whole body. He quickly gained confidence when they danced, his arm up to let Poe spin under. Poe cucarachaed out and spun into his chest. With Finn in front, they swayed for a bit before Finn spun out. Poe stepped closer and boxed-stepped with Finn gazing at his face. It was simply extraordinary. Finn had managed to master the look of longing and wanting naturally to such a point that Poe was confused as to whether it was acting or real. Poe was never this good when he first started dancing. Although it probably gave Finn the advantage with Poe being devilishly good-looking and charming as he was. After all, it was very difficult to rumba with Trevor, a tiresomely childish boy, who used to stuff Poe’s shoes with dead mice as a practical joke. He never found it funny. After 20 years, Poe still despised Trevor.
Poe swayed for a moment, trying to figure out what to do next. Finn needed something to challenge him. “I know,” Finn whispered before slowly walking away from Poe. His hips moved in a figure of eight. What happened next took Poe’s breath away. Finn barrel-jumped twice in succession before sliding on his knees towards Poe. He then lightly held Poe’s hips in his hands and slowly got to his feet.
“How did you do that?” Poe marvelled.
“I can show you if you like!” Finn replied.
“I would like that very much,” Poe beamed.
They continued for another half an hour or so, trying out different steps for the rumba before Poe’s mother called, asking him to come round and sort her laptop out as it wouldn’t switch on.
“I’m sorry about this, buddy,” Poe apologised. “We were doing so well!”
Finn’s face crumpled into a smirk. “We?” Finn even had the audacity to waggle his eyebrows.
Poe’s cheeks turned a crimson colour once again. “I, er, meant you? We? Did I say we? I’m sure I said you!”
“Poe Dameron, you may be the best dancer in the galaxy but you’re also the worst liar!”
“I was hoping you wouldn’t have noticed, Finn” he muttered. Poe pulled Finn into a friendly embrace. “You did well, buddy!” He then patted Finn on the back and released him. Poor Finn was somewhat dazed and confused.
“I’m sorry” Poe apologised again. “I’m a hugger. If it makes you uncomfortable I’ll stop.”
“No, it’s fine! I just wasn’t expecting it!”
Poe breathed a sigh of relief. “Do you, uh, want to do whatever this was again, same time tomorrow?”
Finn smirked again. “Does this mean I get to be your partner?”
Poe smirked back. “It means you’re in the running.”
Finn smiled. “I’ll see you tomorrow then Poe.” He headed out of the room, stopping by the door to wave at Poe to then continue on out.
Poe turned to BB8 and smiled. “Well, I thought that went very well. Don’t you, buddy?”
Chapter 3: Mother Knows Best
Shara Bey has different ideas of who her son should compete with.
As it turned out, his mother’s laptop worked perfectly well. When he asked his mother about it, his mother claimed to be innocent and said she asked Poe round for dinner and blamed Poe’s selective deafness for the confusion. After all, she had been very clear on the phone. She then claimed that she had made Poe’s favourite dish and that he absolutely could not turn it down because she had worked hard on it. It slowly dawned on Poe that this had all been a ploy for “The Lecture”.
Poe slumped down in the family dining room and was served steamed chicken and beans. This was not his favourite meal. Not by a long shot. It was as bland as ever. His mother carefully cut up her steamed chicken into barely bite-sized pieces and proceeded to chew each chunk for thirty seconds. Poe rolled his eyes and let out a heavy sigh. His mother had once read in Woman’s Weekly that chewing each mouthful for at least thirty seconds was guaranteed to burn more calories and maintain your perfect figure. After all, it was scientifically and theoretically proven!!! This was going to take forever. Poe cut a chunk of chicken and slipped it under the table for BB8 without his mother noticing.
Between mouthfuls, Poe’s mother explained how it did not matter that Poe had thrown both his and Selina’s chances of winning the championship and becoming the people’s idol. Despite what had happened, she was rambling about finding a new partner for Poe. Someone who could keep him on the straight and narrow. Selina was too silly to be taken seriously. She should have not ended the partnership so quickly. They would find someone a hundred times better than her. Someone with natural grace and style, a dash of pizazz and je ne sais quoi. Someone like ‘Captain’ Phasma. Poe rested his head on his hand, trying to maintain a look of ‘totally listening’, hoping for the meal to end as soon as possible.
His mother glared at him with a look that felt like a thousand daggers. “Elbows off the table, dear! We brought you up better than this. You’d never dine with the queen at this rate!”
“I would rather dine with just a corgi!” Poe muttered, taking his elbow off the table and leaning back in his chair. He shared a glance with his father. His father completely ignored him, pretending to be very interested in cutting his chicken up.
“Aren’t you going to ask me why I asked you over, Poe?” His mother arched her perfectly plucked eyebrow.
“Clearly not because of IT issues!” Poe retorted.
“I told you that you really need to get your hearing tested. You seem to be mishearing a lot of things, I tell you.” She paused to chew another cube of chicken.
“Why did you invite me over, oh darling mother of mine?” Poe interrupted quickly in order to avoid another lecture.
Shara swallowed the chicken she was eating and beamed. She missed the hint of sarcasm that left her son’s lips. “I’m glad you asked, darling, because there’s been some exciting gossip on the dance floor!”
“Micah Le Bon is retiring after being the top champion for the last ten years, so that he can focus on his digital application business venture!” Mrs Dameron squealed with excitement.
Poe looked blankly at his mother. “Uh, good for Micah?”
Mrs Dameron rolled her eyes and sighed heavily. “When did I get such a dim-witted son?” she muttered loudly. She looked up at Poe and plastered the fakest smile she had ever mustered. “It means that ‘Captain’ Phasma is without a partner!”
“That’s a shame for her! She’s a good dancer. She’ll soon find somebody to partner with.” Poe replied.
His mother sighed even heavier. She’d put her cutlery down and massaged her temples. “For goodness sake, Poe Errol Dameron!” she barked.
Shara pointed aggressively at her son. “You’re without a partner. She’s without a partner. You both need a partner!”
Poe was taken back. “Wait, you want me to dance with Phasma?”
“Oh, darling!” His mother squealed again. “What a wonderful idea! I hadn’t even thought of that! I’ll phone her first thing in the morning to see if she’s interested!” Shara leapt from her seat and kissed Poe on the forehead, leaving a pink smudge on his skin. She started marching towards the kitchen, her bright pink six-inch heels clicking against the tile floor. She had left at least half of her dinner on the plate, all chopped up into tiny pieces. “I’m making margaritas to celebrate!” she called out.
Panicking, Poe leapt up to his feet. “Mother!” Poe called out. “I’m not sure that Phasma and I would be a good match. She…”
“Is the best dancer to date!” his mother interrupted alongside the cacophonous rumpus of glasses banging on the counter. “Phasma’s won all the major championships. Some of them twice!”
“That’s the thing, mother. Maybe Phasma’s too good for me!”
“Nonsense!” his mother shouted. “You’ll learn a lot from her! She will make you great again!”
“You two are destined for each other! You had your funny turn and Micah’s retiring at the same time. It’s written in the stars! Now, that’s the end of the matter!”
Poe sunk dejectedly into his seat.
His father leaned over and patted Poe on the shoulder gently. “Nice try, son!” he whispered.
Chapter 4: Breaking Free
Fluffy training chapter
It was a nearly week to the day when Poe started dancing with Finn. Poe climbed the steps up to the studio two at a time, wondering whether Finn would return or not. It was rather a silly and anxious thought. Finn and Poe had trained most evenings that week, depending on Finn’s work schedule. They trained in secret after the last dance class for the day. Poe told his mother he was practising for the championship which pleased his mother. After all, he wasn’t lying as such, just omitting parts he knew his mother wouldn’t exactly approve of.
However, the thought of Finn not returning still lurked in the back of his mind. He silently prayed that Finn would, he felt something he couldn’t exactly put a word to. It was almost as if they shared a soul when dancing. Poe laughed. No that wasn’t it, he’d been watching too many of those cheesy dancing rom coms that the couple fell in love over a shared dance. Real-life did not work like that. Heck, they’d only danced together four times.
All of a sudden, Poe heard BB8 barking. Panicking, Poe raced up the remaining steps and barged through the dance studio. He sighed in relief. BB8 was lolloping around the room waiting to be chased by none other than Finn. Finn hunched his body and held his hands above his head. He crept behind the corgi with exaggerated long steps like a Scooby-Doo villain. Every few lollops, BB8 stopped to check that his playmate was still following him and then would continue. Poe watched on gleefully, folding his arms and leaning on the door frame. Finn had not noticed Poe’s entry as his back was to the door.
“Fee, fi, fo, fum! I smell the blood of a little dog!” cackled Finn.
A laugh exploded out of Poe’s lips. He couldn’t keep it to himself. This startled BB8 and Finn. BB8 bounded over to Poe barking merrily in welcome. Poe dropped to his knees with his arms wide open.
“BB8! Buddy!” he gushed. BB8 sprung into his arms and started licking Poe’s face excitedly, wagging his tail with much gusto. Poe excitedly rubbed BB8’s belly. Over and over again Poe gushed the words every dog loves to hear “Who’s a good boy? You’re a good boy!”
BB8, once having enough, jumped back on his feet and rushed over to the plush orange dog bed next to the single radiator in the room. He pulled out a pushy racoon toy and carried it as if it was a prized item. He plonked it by Finn’s feet. BB8 bent his back legs and straightened his front legs. He gazed expectantly at Finn. Finn sheepishly picked the toy up. BB8 barked eagerly, bounced up and excitedly spun around. He tentatively threw the toy across the other side of the room. BB8 barked happily and raced to bring racoon back. He dropped the toy by Finn’s feet and wagged his tail.
Poe’s heart fluttered at the sight of the two playing. “Racoon’s BB8’s favourite toy. Only special people are allowed to play with them!” he exclaimed.
Finn blushed and smiled sheepishly “I bet you say that to everybody!”
“Would I ever do that?”
Finn nodded “You’re a nice guy. You always go out of your way to help people out. Especially in the beginner’s class.”
“That’s only because we’d lose the business if I didn’t. Clients never pay good money to be verbally abused!” Poe laughed, gently reaching out for Finn’s forearm and touching it lightly. He then placed his hand on Finn’s shoulder smiling. “For the record, BB8 is usually quite shy around new people so for him to let you play with Racoon, the OG of all his toys, it means a lot. And if my dog likes you, then you’re okay in my books, buddy” Poe beamed and patted Finn’s shoulder.
They played with Raccoon for another twenty minutes until BB8 grew tired. He plodded over to his basket, carefully carrying Racoon by the ear in his mouth to his orange squishy bed by the radiator. BB8 jumped on the bed and circled around for the prime comfy position. He then curled up fast asleep around his favoured cuddly toy. After cooing over the sleeping animal, Finn and Poe got to work.
They did a quick warm-up and recapped the steps Poe had previously taught. Poe quickly decided that Finn really needed to learn the more complicated steps because the basic steps were now too basic for Finn. He had seen how alive Finn became when they had danced together, without a worry for the strictly ballroom steps that Supreme Ballroom President Snoke insisted everyone dance uniformly. Poe had to choreograph the perfect routine for the perfect dancer Finn would become in time. Sure, he was wobbly at first when he learnt the new dance steps but true to his word, he picked things up quickly. Finn was purely emotive when he danced. That was something you could not train in someone, not for a month of Sundays. Fate had offered Poe the perfect student and Poe was not going to turn away potentially the best thing to have ever happened to him. He saw it as his mission, at least to get Finn out of beginners because he really deserved to be elsewhere. This routine would alight both their souls and bring a tear to the eyes of even the iciest hearts. Finn had that extra special spark that Poe was looking for. Together they would change the whole amateur dance scene forever.
Eventually, the wrong steps became more and more prominent and so it was mutually decided that it would be a good idea to stop. Especially to prevent any more accidents happening. Poe’s toes were crushed several times from Finn stepping on the wrong foot and Poe had tripped over Finn’s legs and nearly face planted the floor, had it not been for Finn’s fast thinking as he grabbed Poe’s shirt before it was too late. They were both very tired and lost time of how long they had been dancing. Looking out of the window, it was pitch black with the street lights lighting up the city night. They both packed their dance bags in silence.
Finn was the first to be ready. He dashed off towards the door muttering his thanks. Poe hollered him back over.
“Great work today, buddy!” he exclaimed. Beaming with a smile, he pulled Finn into a hug. “And you thought you could just leave me without saying goodbye? The shame!” Poe teased.
Finn patted Poe’s back and they let go from their hug. Finn smirked. “I couldn’t let your ego inflate anymore otherwise there wouldn’t be enough room for the four of us!”
“The four of us huh? Who’s the fourth person?”
“Your ego!” Finn chuckled.
The realization hit Poe’s face, and he pulled the grumpiest scowl he could muster. “Oh ha ha! Very funny” replied Poe sarcastically. He playfully punched Finn lightly on his upper arm.
Finn chuckled and sighed pointing to the door awkwardly “Anyway, I better get going!”
Poe shoved his hands into his pockets. “No worries, buddy!” he lightly punched Finn on his upper arm again. “You were absolutely amazing again today, buddy!”
Finn shrunk in stature. “I really wasn’t!” he mumbled.
“Of course you were!”
“I kept stepping on your toes Poe and then I nearly took you and BB8 with that disastrous knee slide!”
“That happens to everyone! You should’ve seen my first knee slide. I ended up giving it too much gusto and ended up with a bloody nose.” Poe laughed. “Everyone’s bad the first time they try something new. That’s how we learn! Anyway, there are so many worse dancers than you, Finn. You were absolutely brilliant!” Poe gushed whilst giving Finn the goofiest double thumbs up.
Finn blushed. “As I said, you’re too kind Poe!”
“Bah! That’s not me!”
Finn smiled. “Anyway see you perhaps tomorrow?” he asked hopefully.
“You betcha, buddy! Tomorrow can’t come soon enough!” Poe waved.
Finn laughed and headed out of the door.
Poe’s face dropped in horror and he slowly melted into a Poe sphere with his head in his hands and crouched on the floor. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough?! A double thumbs up?! Gah! He truly was the cringiest man to have ever cringed.
BB8’s bark brought Poe out of his cringe-fest.
“What’s up buddy?” he asked.
BB8 was stood next to an empty clear purple water bottle. Finn had been drinking from it the entire session. The easiest thing would be to leave it in the studio in a location Finn would see during his next dance lesson. However, when did Poe ever do things the easy way? A plan formed in his mind. Poe grabbed the bottle and BB8’s lead, hoping fate would be smiling once more upon him. He called BB8 over and together they ran out of his mother’s dance studio.
Chapter 5: On the Street Where you Live
Poe returns Finn's waterbottle and ends up walking him home.
Luckily for Poe, Finn had only turned out of the building when he called out to him.
“Finn! Buddy! You left your water bottle!”
Finn stopped in his tracks and turned around. Poe ran up to him with BB8 at his heel. He handed the bottle over.
“Thanks, Poe!” said Finn. “You didn’t have to go all the way to this length. You could’ve left it for me back at the studio. It’s the beginner’s class again tomorrow.”
Poe shrugged and beamed his charming grin. “My pleasure!” he replied. After pausing for a moment Poe added: “Which way are you heading?”
“Towards Broadlands Park” answered Finn.
“What a complete coincidence! We were planning to go to the park for BB8’s walk! You wanna walk together?” Poe asked. “Unless you don’t want to and that’s completely fine if…”
“I’d love that!” Finn beamed.
“Great!” smiled Poe. He felt his heart flutter a little, the guy had a really sweet smile with dimples. The sort that could make the hardest of hearts melt into a deluge of love and happiness.
They wandered down the road. The trees had started to lose their leaves. The fallen leaves had already started to block the drains causing puddles to grow alongside the road. BB8 padded alongside his ever-faithful friend, stopping occasionally to sniff around and let nature take its course.
“So you’ve been dancing at Madame Dameron’s for the past year and four months did you say?” asked Poe.
Finn nodded. “That’s right!”
“Why did you decide to start learning, buddy?”
Finn shrugged and looked at the ground sheepishly. “It sounds kinda silly”
“Nonsense!” cried Poe “There’s no such thing as a silly answer!” He punched Finn lightly on the shoulder.
“I’m pretty sure there is!”
Poe batted that comment away. “I ended up learning how to dance because I was obsessed with Gene Kelly movies as a kid!”
“Seriously?” Finn looked at Poe with confused wonder, not knowing whether Poe was pulling his leg.
Poe nodded. “It’s all true! I was obsessed. Specifically Singin’ in the Rain. I even learnt the dance routines from persistently watching the videotape. Well, unfortunately not ‘Make them laugh’ because Donald O’Connor is an insane madman in that that no one can compete with. I’ve gone off track. Anyway, my champion winning ballroom mother took this as a sign that the dancing genes had passed on and that I was a born dancer. She took me to my first lesson and I’ve been dancing Ballroom and Latin ever since. Although thinking about it, it might have been a ploy to limit how many times I watched Singin’ in the Rain!” explained Poe.
Finn laughed. “Betcha you can’t remember the dance nowadays!”
“You daring me, Finn?” replied Poe coyly.
Finn smirked. “You’re gonna prove me wrong now aren’t you?”
Poe beamed. “You betcha!” He handed BB8’s lead over to Finn and looked around on the pavement nearby, looking for something he could use as a substitute umbrella. “Aha!” he called out when he found a long stick that had been blown down from one of the nearby trees. Stopping for a moment, Poe pondered to himself. “How does it go again?” he mumbled. “Aha yes! I remember now!” Poe held his hand out checking for the non-existent rain and shrugged.
“I’m singin’ in the rain!” sang Poe.
“You don’t have to sing as well!” smirked Finn.
Poe waggled his eyebrows and sung louder. Despite the routine being fairly simplistic, it had been a good twenty years since he had done the routine as a whole. It was amazing how easy things deemed so important at one point, were easily forgotten. As a small child, he learnt that if in doubt, stroll it out to the count of eight. Add an air of confidence and people watching would be none the wiser. He leapt onto a nearby lamppost and spun himself around. Ah yes, it was all flooding back to him. Jumping down, he strolled musically pretending his pretend umbrella was a ukulele. He continued heartily dancing, singing the tune in a form of “de di dahs” when he had run out of words to sing. He skipped merrily down the pavement. Next, he started spinning around with his pretend umbrella in a large circle. He spotted a fairly large puddle nearby and took a running leap. He landed heavily in the puddle causing a small tidal wave of a splash which soaked Poe’s trousers up to his knees. Poe kicked the water in the puddle dramatically. Water soaked through his shoes and socks.
“Poe!” cried out Finn but it was too late. A heavy hand landed on Poe’s shoulder.
“What’s going on here then?” a gruff voice uttered. Poe looked up at who the hand belonged too. It was a brutish looking police officer with a thick red beard. He had deep brown eyes and a nose that looked like it had been broken several times.
“Charlie! Long time, no see!” cried Poe with excitement. “How you doing, buddy?”
Charlie’s face broke into a beaming smile. “Poe Dameron! Still out causing trouble are we?”
Poe chuckled. “You bet I am!”
Charlie laughed and pulled Poe into a tight hug.
After they let go, Poe groaned. “God! I’ve forgotten that intense bear hug. What brings you here, buddy?”
“City innovative to prevent drunk and disorderly behaviour on the streets. You’re not drunk are you, Dameron?”
“Nope. Just dancing!”
“Well that’s alright Dameron, otherwise I would’ve had to arrest you and I wouldn’t want to deal with your mother again!” laughed Charlie. He stopped laughing. “Just remember that you are in a residential part of the city and it is past 10 pm” he added.
Poe nodded. “Will do, buddy.” Poe turned his head checking on Finn and BB8. Finn looked somewhat shell shocked.
“Let me introduce you to my friends, buddy,” said Poe. “BB8, you already know”
BB8 barked and wagged his tail. Charlie bent down to fuss the excitable corgi. “Hello BB8!” greeted Charlie. “Long time no see!”
“And this is Finn. He’s my dance partner” introduced Poe.
“Dance partner?!” sputtered Finn.
Charlie stood back up and shook Finn’s hand so firmly that Finn’s fingers started cracking.
“Nice to meet you, Finn!” Charlie turned back to Poe. “New dance partner huh? What happened to Selina?”
“You know how it always happens, buddy. Creative differences.” Poe shrugged nonchalantly.
Charlie patted Poe’s shoulder. “Sorry to hear that mate.” He then wrapped his arm around Finn. “Word of advice mate. If Poe comes up with a hair-brained scheme, call him a bloody madman or an idiot, whichever you prefer, and don’t listen to him otherwise you’ll have a busted up nose like me!” He pointed to his crooked nose for extra effect. “I only did one of those things!”
“In my defence,” argued Poe “You wanted to go down Cardiac Hill on a tea tray when it was covered in black ice!”
“That’s what he tells himself to ease his conscious!” mock whispered Charlie, covering his mouth with his hand.
“Oi!” cried Poe and elbowed Charlie. Charlie guffawed.
“Anyway, I better get back to drunk watch. Which reminds me, we should have a proper catch up over a pint sometime in the Nag’s Head!”
“When our schedules align!” joked Poe.
“You dancers are all the same!” Charlie smirked. “Anyway lovely meeting you Finn, and I hope the dancing goes well for both of you! See you around mate!”
Poe and Charlie hugged once more before Charlie headed back to his duties.
“That was an interesting turn of events wouldn’t you say, buddy?” said Poe laughing over the absurdness of it all. He stopped when he noticed Finn still looked shell shocked. “What’s the matter, buddy?”
“Dance partner!?” sputtered Finn for the second time.
Poe’s eyes went wide with shock. “Did I say dance partner?”
Poe sighed and rubbed his the bridge of his nose. He then hid his face behind his hands. “Oh man!” he muttered. “I was waiting for the big reveal!”
“The big reveal?” asked Finn.
“I was gonna give this big speech after we had danced together for a week. I was gonna write the best speech about how that you’ve really shown yourself and that you dance with such a flame that I couldn’t see myself dancing with anyone else. I mean there’s still a bunch of things we would need to work on but that’s perfectly normal and we’d have seven weeks before the championships and that’s plenty of time.” explained Poe.
“You’re not pulling my leg?” asked Finn.
“Why would I ever pull your leg?”
“We’ve only danced together a few times this week!” replied Finn.
“Most days this week.” corrected Poe. “And yet I’ve felt this spark from the moment we started properly dancing together like we were meant to dance together, in my gut and my gut is usually 82% accurate. You’re a good dancer, Finn!”
“Really?” beamed Finn.
Finn yelled his cheer and pulled Poe into a tight hug. Finn was literally bouncing. Poe could practically feel the excitement course through Finn’s veins.
“I’m so happy I could kiss you Poe Dameron!” cried Finn.
“You can if you like!” replied Poe.
Finn released first from the hug and patted Poe’s shoulder. “You’re such a joker!” laughed Finn.
“Yeah!” Poe smiled through gritted teeth and laughed awkwardly “That’s me!”
Disappointment bubbled through the pit of Poe’s stomach. Poe knew it was a joke right? That’s what dance partners did, have a joke and a laugh. Then why did Finn’s comment hurt so much? Unless Poe was at the start of a crush with Finn. He immediately shot that thought down. He didn’t have the time or energy to start getting so obsessed with a boy only for it to end in tears. Yes, Finn was kind and gentle and had a smile that lit up the night sky but Poe knew hardly anything about him. He could be one of those psycho axe murders for all he knew. He was also most likely to be straight so there was no worth getting all worked up just to have his heart broken over a mere fact that he couldn’t change his sexuality. Poe Dameron was absolutely, positively, definitely never going to fall in love with Finn Organa. No questions asked.
They continued walking towards the park. Finn excitedly asked Poe every single question he could think off. Whether he needed to bring anything special. What was expected of a dance partner? Most importantly, when did they get to design their outfits? Poe smiled and eagerly answered every single one of Finn’s questions. Eventually, Poe even managed to slip his own questions in.
“You never told me why you wanted to learn how to dance at Madame Dameron’s!” stated Poe. “I held up my side of the bargain!”
“You did!” replied Finn “I’m just embarrassed by it.”
“Can’t be as embarrassing as nearly being arrested for being drunk and disorderly whilst dancing in the streets!”
“True!” laughed Finn. He paused for a moment taking a deep breath in. “I wanted to learn how to dance as a way to bring my family back together. My parents and my uncle used to dance with me, my sister and my brother all the time when we were little. It was such a big thing for us even though we did it in the mundanest of places because it just sparked joy. But you know, things can’t be happy all the time and eventually, we all stopped dancing. Mom lost her position, dad kinda lost his job during the recession and set up his own carpentry business which there isn’t a big call for. My brother Ben fell out big time with my parents and my uncle and it’s caused a huge rift. We’ve not seen my uncle since it happened. Then things were okay kinda but then my little sister, Rey moved out to join the RAF. I thought that if I learnt how to dance properly, maybe it would re-spark that joy again for my family. Maybe it would fix things. My godfather always said that a life lived in fear is life half lived so I booked into the first beginner’s class that came up on Google when I first thought of the idea and that’s how I came to Madame Dameron’s.”
Poe patted Finn on the shoulder. “That’s really noble of you, buddy! I bet your parents are proud of you”
Finn shook his head “Not really. They don’t exactly know about it.”
“You’re sneaking out to learn how to dance? What 80s movie are we trapped in?” Poe teased which resulted in a jovial elbow shove from Finn.
“I’ll tell them, soon. I just don’t want them to worry!”
Eventually, they reached the white suburban houses with small plots of gardens in front. They stopped in front of one with a silver people’s carrier parked on the driveway and a small fish pond. Finn pointed to it with his thumb. “Uhh… this is me. We’ve completely missed the park I’m afraid.”
“The park? The park! No worries, BB8 down here looks like he’s enjoyed his walk nonetheless! Haven’t you, buddy?”
BB8 barked and wagged his tail. He bounced up at Finn pawing at this trousers. Finn bent down to stroke BB8 and received a big wet lick from the corgi.
“I could never say no to a dog!” Finn laughed. He gave BB8 one final fuss. “I gotta get going, buddy!” he whispered. “My parents are probably getting worried.”
BB8 let out a small whimper, not wanting to leave his friend. Poe stroked his head. “You’ll still get to see him tomorrow, buddy!” Poe lifted the corgi in his arms to allow BB8 to lick Finn on the cheek on final time. Finn giggled.
“Bye bye, BB8,” Finn looked at Poe “Thanks for everything tonight Poe! It means the world to me and I promise I won’t let you down!”
Poe gently placed BB8 on the ground. He pulled Finn into a hug. “You’re welcome… Partner. You absolutely deserve it!” he beamed.
They separated from the hug. Poe patted Finn’s arm.
“Goodnight, Poe Dameron!” smiled Finn.
Poe watched Finn let himself into the house. He stopped and waved at Poe. Poe nodded and lifted his hand into the air and set about the long walk home. His head was spinning with the adrenaline from the giddy rush the evening brought. He smiled and sung the only four lines from “On the street where you live” he actually knew and then hummed the rest of the song. Well, it seemed only appropriate to Poe.
Chapter 6: Shut Up and Dance
Jean Fairweather senses that something is going on between Poe and Finn
Jean Fairweather was the first to notice that something was going on between Mrs Dameron’s son, and the rather anxious looking student who didn’t have a partner yet. Call her Miss Marple’s protégé, it was obvious that something had happened since last week’s class. Last week, Poe was still upset from that dreaded dance competition. Everyone knew that little miss stroppy pants, Selina, had left the partnership. Poe wasn’t as attentive towards the beginner’s class as he normally was. It was as if he was ashamed. Finn, as normal, blended into the background like the wallflower he was. This week, however, Poe practically bounced into the room with such positive energy that he nearly knocked several people out. Finn seemed more self-assured. That he had every right to be in the room. There had to be something going on between the two of them. She was absolutely sure of it. It was obvious from watching their body language. It was how they suddenly did not know how to hold themselves around each other. Poe, who would usually eagerly help all in the class, was suddenly very hesitant to go anywhere near Finn. It was how they kept looking at each other, catching gazes between each other and giving each other secret smiles that nobody else saw. Well, other than Jean.
Jean came every week with her wife, Barbara, to the beginner’s Ballroom and Latin dance class at Madame Dameron’s. They had been coming for the past 4 years and it brought back many fond memories for them. After all, they first laid eyes on each other in a dance hall on Old Barnaby Street in 1951, when rationing was still going and people were searching for better times ahead. Jean and Barbara were chalk and cheese to each other. Barbara was tall and slim built with very angular features. She preferred darker colours and her clothes tended to be plain and practical. Her long white hair was always perfectly clipped black with a long tortoise-shell hair clip. Jean was small and dumpy and her short hair was permed within an inch of its life. Her clothes were colourful and gaudy with that touch of sparkle, often with a cardigan that Barbara had lovingly knitted for her.
Jean leaned closer to Barbara’s ear as they danced the foxtrot. “They’re fucking!” she whispered gleefully.
“Poe and Finn!”
“How do you know this?”
“It’s a hypothesis, but it’s so obvious. You can practically feel the romantic tension between the two of them radiating out!”
Barbara sighed. “Jean, you simply cannot ferry two real-life people together. It is not proper!”
“It’s ship, Barbara and I’m not shipping anyone. Something’s going on between them and it’s the only logical explanation! Look at them!” Jean spun her wife round so that Barbara could face Poe who was tentatively pushing Finn’s arms into the correct ballroom hold.
“He is just doing his job, Jean”
“But they’re acting so awkward around each other!”
“Jean, I know you have read all the Miss Marple books six times and practically live and breathe the woman but hypothesis or not, you cannot go round spreading gossip whether two people are being intimate with one another!”
Jean mischievously looked up at Barbara. “I bet you they are!”
“Mrs and Mrs Fairweather! Will you both stop gossiping and concentrate on the foxtrot! This is a dance class, not a tea social!” shouted Shara.
Barbara pulled a face of mock shock. Jean could not look at her wife and bit her cheeks to stifle her giggles. Barbara waited for the other students to stop staring and for Mrs Dameron to focus her ever smiling attention on to one of the other beginners. She leaned closer to Jean’s ear.
“It’s a deal,” she whispered, “Loser has to do the washing up for a week.”
“Done! So long as you swear on the life of Agatha Christie that you will not push the two of them together if they are not intimate.”
“I would never do that!” quibbled Jean
Barbara raised her eyebrow in disbelief.
“That was one time! Fine,” she sighed. “I swear on the life of Agatha Christie that I will not push them together if they’re not fucking each other!”
Old Mr Henderson in his best suit, a faded tweed jacket and brown trousers foxtrotted the middle-aged Susan in her fitness gear. “Are those two ladies still talking about Agatha Christie?” asked Mr Henderson.
“So what if we were?” hissed Barbara.
Mr Henderson sighed dramatically and moved his attention to his partner, whispering loud enough for the whole class to hear. “It’s all they talk about. Agatha Christie this. Agatha Christie that. It got boring after the first week. Dear gawd, the little one practically idolizes Miss Marple. Goodness knows why! She is the most boring detective and does the least amount of work. Give me John Frost any day!”
A flick switched in Barbara. She marched up to the man, practically barging Susan out of the way. She grabbed the lapels of the tweed jacket and pulled him close in a fit of anger.
“How dare you insult us! And how dare you for belittling my wife over her favourite character!” Barbara snarled.
The music was stopped. The whole class was staring at the commotion. The sound of heels clicking against the floor filled up the room. Shara marched up to Barbara seething in anger.
“Mrs Fairweather! Will you please let go of Mr Henderson? This is an esteemed dance studio that the Supreme Ballroom President helped to set up. Not a bloody discotheque!” she shouted
“He provoked me!” Barbara scowled.
“I did no such thing!” shouted Mr Henderson
“I don’t care who started it. I’m finishing it!” Shara sucked her cheeks and placed her hands on her hips. “I can’t believe that the oldest members of this dance class are acting like such children! You want to act like children so be it! Mrs Fairweather, go outside and come back in when you’ve calmed down.” She pointed one of her perfectly manicured nails to the door and tapped her foot impatiently.
A cry caught it Barbara’s throat. With dignity, she brushed down her sensible blouse and skirt. She walked out of the dance studio calmly, with her head held high. Jean quickly followed after her wife.
“Mrs Fairweather, I did not mean you!” warned Shara.
“Then you should have been clearer, dear!” Jean smiled sweetly at the woman before swiftly heading out of the room. The door slammed shut with a loud crash.
Shara rubbed her temples. “Old people” she muttered. Suddenly she plastered the fakest smile on her lips. She looked as if she was a Cheshire cat with stomach cramps. “The Foxtrot,” she cooed. “Don’t mix up your slows with your quicks!” She laughed. Her fake laugh echoed around the room. She switched the music back on and Tony Bennett started crooning about a stranger in paradise. The other students started dancing again pretending that the last few minutes had never happened.
Poe glanced towards the door. He looked back at the newlyweds Sam and Andi who had finally grasped the simple left turning box step. They no longer needed him for the time being. He headed out after Jean and Barbara. His mother caught him before leaving the room.
“Where do you think you’re going?” she barked.
“I’m helping out as you asked me to, mother” he replied curtly. He headed out of the studio to find Jean and Barbara. BB8 followed him faithfully.
He found them in the waiting room downstairs. Barbara was curled up against Jean, her face pressed into her shoulder. Jean cradled her wife, gently rubbing her back and slowly rocking from side to side.
“That was quite the exit, Barbara!” commented Poe.
Barbara mumbled something into Jean’s rainbow cardigan.
“She says she’s so embarrassed about it!” Jean translated. “Normally she wouldn’t lose her temper like that so quickly over something so petty. It’s just that Archibald, our deaf cat who’s nearly 13 is ill at the moment. We’re both so worried about him. He’s part of the family!”
“I’m so sorry to hear that. I’d lose my mind if anything happened to BB8! Can I get you both a cup of tea or coffee?”
Jean smiled. “That would be lovely, flower. Two cups of tea, please. Barbara has two sugars. We both take milk.”
“I’ll bring you them straight over!” Poe smiled.
He soon returned with a tray of hot drinks in mismatching mugs. Poe laughed. Within the few minutes he had been gone, BB8 had nestled himself between the two ladies and receiving a scratch behind the ears and the ultimate belly rub from the two ladies. BB8 had found heaven.
“I can’t leave him alone for five minutes can I?” laughed Poe as he placed the drinks down on the coffee table.
“He’s an absolute sweetheart!” laughed Jean. “Thanks, poppet!” She took the drinks off Poe and placed them carefully on the coffee table in front of them.
Barbara dabbed her eyes with her pristine white handkerchief. “I feel so stupid!” she mumbled.
“Don’t be!” replied Jean. “Mr Henderson deserved what he got!”
“Well, nobody insults my wife.” Barbara smiled weakly.
“That’s my Barbara!”
Poe leaned towards the two women. He looked around, carefully checking that there was nobody around to hear what he was about to say. “Between you and me, Mr Henderson’s a bit of an arse and likes to think his opinion is law. Nobody questions him and it was only going to be time before somebody flipped. Hopefully, it will teach him a thing or two!”
Barbara chuckled quietly. “I’m more than happy to teach him more lessons.”
Poe smiled. “I’m glad you’re feeling better, Mrs Fairweather. I believe we’ll be finishing the class with a waltz if you would both like to join us? I know you’re both particularly fond of Norah Jones. I could choose one of her songs for you. Being in charge of the music has its perks!”
Barbara shook her head furiously.
“It’s alright, poppet,” Jean interpreted her wife’s reaction. “I think we’ll just head home once we’ve finished our brews.”
“That’s fine,” smiled Poe reassuringly. “I’ll speak to my mother and explain everything. Just to warn you though, you’ll probably receive a stern word from her!”
Barbara blew her nose daintily. “Your mother is no match for me!”
“Fighting talk! That’s what I love to hear!” Poe beamed. He held up his hand to Barbara for a high five and was met with a glare. He turned his high five to Jean who enthusiastically high fived in return.
Poe pointed at Jean. “Now that’s what I’m talking about! Anyway I should probably get back to the class before my mother starts to worry that I’ve run off”
“Thanks, petal!” Jean smiled “We’ll wash these mugs up once we’ve finished.”
“Nonsense!” Poe cried. “Leave them on the side and I’ll wash them up for you.”
“Are you sure?” Barbara asked.
Poe nodded. “I insist!”
“Thank you very much, Poe,” said Barbara.
Poe stood up, ready to head back into his mother’s class.
“Oh! Before you go, can I ask a personal question?” asked Jean.
“Jean!” hissed Barbara. She glared at Jean. “It’s not your place!”
“But how else are we going to know for the bet?” whispered Jean.
Barbara rolled her eyes.
Poe laughed awkwardly. “I can do my best to answer any questions you have. I don’t have many secrets to hide!”
Jean smiled knowingly at Barbara. She turned to Poe. “You don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to but… is there something going on between you and Finn perchance?”
Poe felt the heat rise to his cheeks. He hoped that Jean and Barbara wouldn’t see. “What gives you that idea?”
“It’s just all of a sudden you don’t know how to act around Finn. A couple of weeks ago you’d happily help Finn because he was one of your mother’s students but this week you seem awkward around Finn like you don’t know where to put your hands or when to look at him without arousing suspicion. Am I correct?”
“Yes… Is it that obvious?”
Poe sighed. “We were trying to keep it a secret for the time being. We didn’t want anyone to know just yet...”
“That you’re…?” prompted Jean.
Jean beamed so brightly she practically blinded all close by. “And how long have you two been… partners?”
“Officially since last night… but we’ve been dancing together after classes finish almost every night for the past week. We were planning to tell people before the championship but it depends…”
“Depends on your mother?”
“Yeah… You’ve seen how traditional my mother is and I know she’s not gonna like it one bit. The fact that I want to dance with a beginner and dance my own steps, it’s for sure something my mother will despise. But for once in my life, I feel so sure about something that I can’t… won’t let my mother bully me into doing what she wants. I know when I dance with Finn everything just clicks into place and it feels right, ya know?”
Jean looked blankly at Poe for a moment. “You’re dance partners?”
“Yeah. I know it’s hard to believe as Finn’s a beginner but he’s got this hidden talent for dancing that nobody has seen because all they see is Finn the beginner and won’t give him the chance.”
Jean paused for a moment. “Is there anything going on romantically between the two of you?”
“Jean!” Barbara hissed. She turned to Poe. “I’m so sorry about my wife’s impertinent question. She can be rather forthright at times.”
Despite the apology, the damage was done. Poe’s face flushed pink in embarrassment.
“We just dance together,” uttered Poe “Just that. Nothing more nothing less. Possibly friends at a push. I mean Finn is so kind and generous and one of the bravest people I know and I admire him for that but I absolutely don’t have any romantic feelings for him!”
Jean and Barbara shared a knowing glance and a slight smile between the two of them.
“Anyway, I should be getting back to class. I hope Archibald feels better soon.”
“Poe, I’m sorry to have caused any offence!” said Jean.
“You didn’t Jean. Anyway, I’ll see you both next week?”
“Absolutely! Oh and Poe?”
“The heart knows what it wants and listening to it does a lot of people good. It may even surprise you in a good way!”
Chapter 7: It's (not) Just a Little Crush
Poe Dameron does not have a crush on Finn Organa.
Poe Dameron was absolutely, positively, definitely not crushing on Finn Organa, regardless of what Jean and Barbara Fairweather inferred the evening before. Their statement had made things somewhat awkward when he danced with Finn later that night. He spent the entire session overanalysing every single move, just in case he was giving ‘I’m crushing on you’ vibes. However, Finn would unfairly smile so beautifully that would make his gay heart melt. Yes, Finn was attractive no questions asked, but Poe was not crushing on him. So what that Poe had spent the last few days pondering about Finn, but this was important for any budding relationship. Okay, so maybe he spent more time thinking about silly trivial things like what Finn ate for breakfast or what his favourite movie was. He even thought about how Finn would always share what snacks he had brought and how he beamed when they finally got a step right. He even contemplated what Finn’s favourite music was but this was purely so that he didn’t force Finn to dance to something he hated. Poe was a very thoughtful dance partner after all. All these thoughts were important for any relationship, after all, a happy comfortable couple were what made the greats great.
Unless, of course, if Supreme Ballroom President Snoke also discovered his talent and forced Finn on the soulless path Poe’s mother intended for himself. He would whisk Finn away with the lure of a high salary and the possibility to appear on Strictly Come Dancing as one of the new professionals. Not that any of Snoke’s posy had yet to make their TV debut. He would still get piles of luxurious gifts as thanks for promoting whichever D-List celebrity’s new fitness video which had just come out. Poe would be reduced to having those awkward “We must arrange some time to have drinks but never have time!” chats with Finn at every regional championship. Finn would be so busy that they wouldn’t even have time to reminisce about the time they secretly danced together in his mother’s dance studio. Poe could not let that happen. He would not. Nobody would take that joy that Finn brought away from him.
A young mother pushing her toddler around in a pushchair stopped and stared at Poe. It was only then when Poe remembered that he was in the middle of Tesco Express. His spiral of thoughts had left Poe gripping a bottle of water so tightly his knuckles were white and he was paused between taking the bottle from the refrigerated shelves and putting it into his basket. He smiled awkwardly at the woman.
“Just checking how firm the plastic bottle is,” he laughed nervously. “You know how it is when you’re thirsty and squeeze the bottle too tight and then you got water in your face!”
The woman quickly looked elsewhere and pushed her child away from the strange man in the food-to-go aisle.
Poe sighed. He picked up a couple more bottles of water. Finn always forgot to bring enough water and would traipse into the kitchen to refill his bottle. He’d be grateful for a spare. Poe also picked up a bunch of bananas and more dog treats for BB8. He wandered down the chocolate aisle and selected the biggest bag of magic stars he could find. Finn always snacked on the little bags of magic stars before training. Poe figured that they were his buddy’s favourite chocolate. Either that or a strange addiction. Either way, Finn would be happy to see them. Or so he hoped.
He wandered aimlessly down and around the shelves with his basket, wondering whether there was anything else he needed. When Poe finally decided that there wasn’t anything else, he headed towards the self-checkouts which were practically empty. Either Poe had timed his trip to the shops just right or something was suspiciously wrong with the checkouts. He scanned the items through with no issue apart from the loose bananas. The bananas floored his ego. He selected the lookup icon and desperately searched for the loose bananas. There was no logic to their location. Eventually, he managed to find them on the fifth page of the fruit and veg section that was not in alphabetical order as he’d hoped. Where was the logic in that? He selected the banana icon and placed the bananas into the bagging icon, only for the machine to start flashing red. A stern but bored robotic voice told him that there was an unidentified object in the packing area and that assistance was required. Poe muttered several curses under his breath and shook his fist at the machine. He cursed the very day that the machine was ever created.
“It happens all the time!” a friendly but familiar-sounding voice empathised.
Poe turned around and was shocked to see Finn behind him smiling. He was wearing the navy blue Tesco uniform. Poe found his heart racing at the sudden unexpected sight of Finn.
“Finn, buddy!” Poe smiled. He tried to suppress the surprise in his voice. “Didn’t expect to see you this morning! What brings you here?”
What brings you here?! Poe died a little as soon as the words left his mouth. Why did he never stop to think before he opened his big goddamn mouth?
Finn leaned towards Poe slowly. “Sometimes I pretend I work here so that I can find out crucial information for the MI5” he mock-whispered. “Turns out you can find a lot about a person if you look in their shopping basket!” Finn laughed.
Poe politely laughed back, praying to anyone out there listening that his cheeks weren’t betraying his embarrassment. “Yeah… ask a stupid question!”
Finn touched Poe’s shoulder gently and smiled. It wasn’t a cruel smile, it was one of compassion. Poe legitimately did not know whether Finn ‘Cinnamon Roll’ Organa was capable of being cruel. “It’s not the most stupid thing I’ve heard today!” He took his hand off Poe’s shoulder and stepped closer to him and the flashing machine. They were so close that Poe could smell Finn’s personal scent. Poe felt his brain overload with information about how close Finn was. This wasn’t fair! They had danced together for the past week with no problems, but suddenly after Jean Fairweather’s comment, everything was in turmoil. He couldn’t be developing yet another boyish crush and he wasn’t. They were buddies!
Finn stepped back. “That’s it all sorted! The machines sometimes have a mind of their own!” he laughed.
“Thanks, buddy! Don’t know what I would’ve done without you.”
“I think you would have coped, Poe Dameron. You are the best dancer in the galaxy after all!”
“Ah but not the best self-checkout operative so it seems!” Poe laughed. His cheeks flushed with Finn’s previous comment. Why did Finn have to be so damn nice? It just wasn’t fair!
“Anyway, I think the boss is giving me the evils for hanging around chatting. I’d better get back to work. Still up for tonight?”
“As always!” Poe Dameron beamed a little too enthusiastically.
“Great!” Finn smiled before pulling Poe into a hug. They hugged briefly before Finn left to go back to work. Poe walked out of the shop with his bag without looking over his shoulder because that would make it look like he had a crush and Poe didn’t have a crush. Obviously. As he walked past the window he glanced into the shop. Finn was stood on the checkouts and caught eye contact with him. Finn waved goodbye. Poe waved back. It would have been rude not to, even though it was clearly an accident. Understandably.
Poe took a few breaths to compose his fluttery stomach. With his receipt in hand, Poe Dameron checked it as his mother taught him to. He noticed a small reduction in the overall total. That son of a gun had given him a 10% employee discount on his shopping. And his bag was free! How dare this absolute angel of a man be the kindest being in all existence? Finn Organa was making it increasingly difficult for Poe to not fall hopelessly head over heels in love with him was too much agony and misery for his poor soul to bear. Unfortunately, his heart never listened to logic.
Later that night, Finn and Poe danced the rumba in the studio. The magic stars had gone down very well although, the chocolate did not last five minutes after they had opened them. They slowly danced the rumba they had carefully choreographed throughout the week. It was still a mix of their favourite dance steps and experimentation. That was the thrill of dancing with Finn. There was an adrenaline rush of not knowing what would happen next but with trust that they were creating something spectacular together. He felt safe when he danced in Finn’s arms. It felt like dancing at home in your underwear when nobody is watching and your favourite song comes on. It was fun. It was exhilarating. Most of all, it was freeing.
Poe kept glancing at their reflections in the mirror whilst they danced. It blew his mind every time. It was starting to become difficult to pinpoint who the beginner was. They both had worked hard over the past week for sure. They had squirrelled away hours whenever they had the chance yet, Poe was certain that there particular things that came naturally to Finn that often took years to master. The delicate positioning of every body part. How he danced with his whole body, from the tips of his fingers to the soles of his feet. The beautiful lines he created with his whole body. How gently Finn held Poe.
Finn extended out and Poe mirrored the move, holding hands in the middle. Poe quickly spun back into hold. He stumbled, losing his footing. It was a rookie mistake! Poe fell into Finn’s arms.
“You okay there, buddy?” asked Finn anxiously as he helped Poe regain his balance.
“Uh-huh,” mumbled Poe as he locked eyes with Finn. He was immediately transfixed by Finn’s truly beautiful dark brown eyes.
Finn rubbed around his mouth. “Is there chocolate all around my mouth?” Finn flustered.
Poe crashed back into reality. “What? Sorry! I zoned out. Now that you say that, actually you do” Poe pointed to the left-hand corner of his mouth. Finn immediately reached for his own left, the exact opposite Poe meant. Poe shook his head. “No other side.”
Finn reached for the right corner of his mouth and brushed his mouth. “That got it?”
Poe shook his head again. “Not even close!” He lifted his hand closer to Finn’s cheek. “You uh… want me to get it for you?”
Finn smiled gratuitously. “Yes please, Poe!”
Poe gently wiped the offending chocolate away from the corner of Finn’s mouth with his thumb. He felt the beginning of Finn’s slightly coarse stubble which was balanced out with the softness of his skin. Poe’s skin prickled with excitement. He felt flutters in his stomach. He gazed into Finn’s eyes again, smiling enjoying the brief blissful moment. He felt himself slowly leaning closer to Finn.
All of a sudden an aggressive mooing came from somewhere. Poe leapt back. “What is that?” he laughed.
Finn looked flustered and embarrassed. “That’s my phone!” he mumbled as he dashed over to his purple rucksack on the other side of the room.
“Hello?” Finn frantically glanced at the clock. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t realise what time it was! I’ll be straight out!” Finn hung up his phones and frantically collected his stuff. His strewn hoody, his empty bottle, his keys. He ran towards the door.
“Uh, dance shoes, buddy!” reminded Poe.
Finn glanced down and discovered he was still wearing his shiny black dance shoes and that his trainers were on the other side of the room, where he had been moments before. He raced back towards his bright blue trainers. Kicking off his dance shoes, he rushed putting his trainers on, not bothering to tie the bright green laces. Finn was a brave man. Poe knew immediately had he done this, he would have face planted the floor exactly three steps into his run. Finn shoved his dance shoes into his rucksack and raced back towards the door.
“See you tomorrow, Poe Dameron!” Finn called out, stopping briefly to give BB8 a quick goodbye chin scratch.
“Be seeing you, buddy!”
As Finn crashed down the stairs like an elephant caught in a stampede, Poe wandered over to the window that was directly above the entrance so he could wave goodbye at Finn. He saw a girl in biker leathers stood next to a red motorcycle. Poe didn’t know his types of motorcycles but it almost looked like a Harley Davidson if you squinted a lot. She was slender with her brown hair pulled back into three buns behind her head. She was clutching two helmets and seemed not best pleased to be waiting. Her face changed to instant relief when Finn dashed towards her. The girl thrust a white helmet towards Finn’s chest. She joking pretended to smack the back of his head before they both put on their helmets and jumped onto the motorbike. The girl was upfront whilst Finn sat behind clutching her tightly so that he would never fall off. She revved the engine and they sped off into the night.
Questions filled Poe’s mind at an alarming speed. Who was this girl? It was clear from their interaction that they were close to each other. Perhaps they were work colleagues or close friends or even, boyfriend and girlfriend, he quickly concluded. Poe told himself to calm down and not to rush to rash conclusions. It didn’t even matter to Poe whether Finn was single or not. It’s not like Poe had an actual crush on the guy. Although, he did think, if Poe and the biker were dating, it was understandable. Poe would marry anyone just to have a spin on a motorcycle.
Chapter 8: Careless Whispers
Misunderstandings and miscommunication.
It was hard to dance the rumba when you felt your heart was breaking into a million tiny pieces. The brown-haired mystery biker had turned up every evening at exactly 9.30 pm for the past week. Finn would glance at the clock and run off like Cinderella running from the ball so that we would not be late, like the first time it had happened. There was clearly something going on between the two of them. Was this Finn’s girlfriend? Not that he had ever told him about having one. Poe had once tried to get a good look of the woman by looking out of the window. The woman quickly turned around and spotted him. She glared at Poe in a way that could be read as “Back off he’s mine!” or “Stop staring at me, you creep!” Poe quickly pretended that he was, in fact, looking at the fish and chip shop at the other end of the street. Who knew that they sold both haddock and cod?
It was weird that Finn had never mentioned his girlfriend. Maybe it was a new relationship and that was why she was insistent on picking him up? Or maybe it was a long term thing and she was jealous Finn was spending so much time dancing? Whatever it was, Finn never spoke about her. Not that Poe wanted him to. He might as well mark the exact location for one of those blue plaques commiserating the very spot that Poe Dameron, Amateur Championship Dancer, 3 times runner up, had died upon because his handsome and kind dance partner spoke about his girlfriend. Whatever this feeling was, it was over. Poe Dameron could not be crushing on someone who could not return his feelings.
Okay, maybe the small crush he thought he had was actually bigger than he thought it was. This was pretty painful. Of course, he was going to fall for the guy with beautiful lines, the infectious enthusiasm and the heart-melting smile. He had inflicted it on himself. Who the hell chooses the dance of love to teach to a complete stranger?! Looking back at Poe’s track record, it was always the Rumba that destroyed him with immense crushing feelings for guys who didn’t deserve Poe’s time. It was, after all, the reason why his mother insisted on him dancing with a female dance partner. He couldn’t fall in love with them.
Poe Dameron’s dear dear mother had not helped the situation either. Shara-Bey gleefully told him that according to the dance hall gossips, ‘Captain’ Phasma desperately wanted Poe Dameron as her new partner and this had been approved by the big man, Supreme Ballroom President Snoke, himself. How much of this was actually true however, Poe did question whether it was his mother projecting her wishes on to the gossips.
Poe had tried to tell his mother about Finn. He managed to tell her that she was dancing with someone special. He had prepared a list of arguments about how the amateur scene was for everyone regardless of how long people had been dancing and that Finn was a brilliant talented dancer. Anyone who could not nor would not see that were blind. He would argue that his dance partner was his choice and he would not easily be swayed. Yet, Poe had not factored one thing into his plan… how difficult it was to interrupt his mother during her vivid daydreams. She seemed happy when Poe said he would dance with someone 100 times better than his previous partner Selena. Poe would tell her in time. There was still a whole month before the championship.
Poe glanced at the clock on his phone and saw that it was time to train with Finn. He climbed the stairs to the studio and entered. He saw Finn hastily pack his dance bag up, throwing things back into the bag when he would usually take the time to fold his kit with immense precision. Clearly, something was wrong with Finn, Poe could sense it.
“Leaving so soon?” Poe joked.
Finn looked up at Poe and his brow scrunched with disgust. He grabbed his water bottle and threw it into his bag before he marched towards the door. Poe quickly moved and blocked Finn’s pathway. He copied Finn’s sidesteps, blocking him further.
“Get out of my way, Poe!” Finn cried.
“Not until you tell me why you’re angry!”
“It doesn’t take a genius!”
“I don’t understand, buddy?”
“Buddy?! That’s some high praise coming from you, you dirty backstabber!”
Poe’s chest felt tight and he desperately wanted to cry. He didn’t understand what he had done to hurt Finn. His mouth was dry.
“Finn, what’s this all about?” he felt his voice cracking. Whatever he could do, he could not cry otherwise he would not be able to form a coherent sentence and that made it worse for everyone. That, and it made his face look blotchy.
Finn sighed, rolling his eyes. He could not bear to look at Poe. “It’s about you going behind my back and partnering up with ‘Captain’ Phasma for the championship!” his voice wobbled. “The least you could have done is tell me to my face that I’m not good enough…”
Poe shook his head profusely. “You’re not! You’re absolutely brilliant! I’m not dancing with Phasma. Where did you hear that?”
“I went downstairs to refill the water bottles and I got cornered by your mother. She gleefully boasted about a secret she couldn’t share but said anyway. That you’d be dancing with Phasma for the championship and how the partnership will bring you both much honour and glory!”
Poe’s eyes widened in disbelief before he rubbed his face in frustration. He peered over his hands. “My mother!” he mumbled. He ran his hands through his hair and then dropped them by his side. “I’m so sorry, buddy! She must have actually been listening when I told her I was dancing with someone special. She must have assumed that it was Phasma. Either that or it’s because she’s got this wild daydream that Phasma’s dancing with me but she never asked if that’s what I want… which it isn’t!”
Finn raised his eyebrows “So you’re not dancing with Phasma at Blackpool?”
Poe shook his head. “No!” he cried “I wanna dance with you! You are the most dedicated and amazing dancer I know. Why would I wanna give that up? Your skill and dedication match no other dancer I know and they all take for granted the hundreds of dance lessons they have as a kid. You’ve proved that you can learn some of the harder Rumba steps under a week. That’s impressive! And not once did you moan about it! You’re also so passionate when you dance. It shines through your entire body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes! That’s something you can’t teach and you have it naturally. It’s beautiful… You’re beautiful and that’s why I wanna dance with you Finn and not some girl who has more titles than she knows what to do with them! I wanna go to the championships in Blackpool and I wanna dance without restrictions and I wanna dance with you” Poe paused momentarily “That is if you still want to?” He held his hand out to Finn.
Finn looked at Poe’s outstretched hand and then at Poe’s dance. He broke into a smirk. “You think I’m beautiful, Poe Dameron?”
“I meant when you dance!” Poe hastily corrected. He could feel his cheeks turning a horrific shade of crimson. Surely Finn would see it. “This would be strictly ballroom. I promise. No funny business!”
Finn looked down at Poe’s hand again and looked up with one eyebrow raised. “In this for the long run?”
Poe nodded. “In this for the long run!”
Finned smiled and shook Poe’s hand. Poe sighed with relief. “Now that we’ve got that sorted, I think we need an angry dance. Have you ever danced the Argentine Tango?”
Finn shook his head.
“Then you’re in for an absolute treat, buddy!”
Chapter 9: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
*insert angry violin dance montage*
Poe set up the blue tooth speaker to his phone and scrolled carefully searching for the right song with enough staccato to help the overall drive of the dance. He came across Santa Maria by the Gotan Project, the one that appeared in that dance movie with Richard Gears and J-Lo. It had been a while since he had seen the movie but from what he could remember they did not end up as a couple so therefore this song did not exude sexual desire. Just strictly ballroom, like he promised. It was better than his first choice, Roxanne from Moulin Rouge, despite it having an incredibly angry violin opening, Poe thought that maybe a song about prostitution was not the best idea given the situation.
“The Argentine Tango is the mother of the tango we know today. It was first danced in the working-class areas of Argentina and Uruguay in the 1880s and it has a beautiful mixture of all sorts of dances from the native Argentinians and Uruguayans, and the European immigrants. Eventually, dance troops toured the tango throughout Europe and the USA during the early 20th Century. The tango craze was born. However, the dance had to be adapted to European taste because the original dance was deemed too sexual and so that’s how the tango was born” explained Poe. He gently took Finn into ballroom hold. They leaned back into position. “Ballroom hold is used for the tango. See, I’ve got my own space and you’ve got yours and we never cross into each other’s space.”
Poe led Finn around the room for a brief 3 counts of 8, twisting sharply and leading each step from the ball of his foot. Finn matched every step Poe made perfectly.
Poe smiled. “Good!” he complimented. “As you can see the tango is sharp, clean and calculated whereas, the Argentine tango is more intimate, passionate and ferocious. This all down to the hold.”
Poe shifted his hold so they were practically chest to chest. He could feel Finn’s warm breath on his skin. He gazed deep into his dark brown eyes. “See? More intimate!” explained Poe.
Finn nodded. Poe let go of Finn and stepped away so that he could show Finn the basic step. “Right. Just copy what I do. Step back on your left foot, then sidestep on to your right. That’s it, buddy! Now shift your weight back onto the left and two quick steps forward. Sidestep on your right and forward. That’s it!”
Poe marvelled at how quick Finn picked up dance steps however, he noticed the look of concern on Finn’s face.
“Could we go over it again? I just want to make sure I fully got it” asked Finn.
Poe nodded. “Of course!”
They repeated the steps slowly and then again but faster. Finn smiled. “I think I’ve got it now!”
“Wanna try it in hold, buddy?”
Finn nodded and they got back into the intimate ballroom hold and danced the steps without music. Poe loudly counted the beats out whilst they tangoed sharply across the floor. They repeated it several times. Poe beamed at Finn. “That’s it, buddy! Now you know what makes the Argentine tango special?”
Finn shook his head.
“It’s all about the flicks, tricks and lifts you get to do.”
Poe demonstrated with fast kicks from his left leg around Finn’s calves. He then flicked his leg to wrap briefly around Finn’s knee before quickly flicking it out. Finn smiled like a schoolboy full witnessing the single coolest thing to have ever happened to him.
Finn tentatively slid his foot up Poe’s calf to his knee before attempting a flick similar to what Poe had just demonstrated. He was too slow and lost his balance. He stumbled into Poe’s chest. “I’m so sorry!” he mumbled.
“It’s alright, buddy! Like all dancing, it’s about maintaining good frame, posture and balance throughout. It makes stumbles and slip-ups less likely to happen.”
Poe smiled. “Really nice slide up the inside of the calf! Did you know that step came from the ladies dancing checking how much money the Gauchos had on them as they used to keep their money in their sock suspenders so it was less likely to be pinched?”
Finn laughed. “No, I didn’t actually!”
“The more you know!” Poe teased. “Anyway, we’ve done enough talking. This is meant to be our angry dance and since you have proved you know the basics, let’s dance and see what happens! This dance is all about feeling so it doesn’t matter if it is the right step, just do what feels right!”
“So what we normally do?” smirked Finn.
“Smartarse!” muttered Poe loudly enough to make Finn cackle with glee.
Poe briefly let go of Finn and wandered over to his phone. He turned around and stuck his tongue out at Finn before pressing play. The room filled with angry violin music. Poe walked back over to Finn and the two both took the intimate ballroom hold. They crossed the floor with sharp staccato steps and angry intense glares. They switched direction seamlessly as they danced around the room. They kicked and flicked their legs, mixing softer step backs that had a lingering tease with quick sharp flicks. Finn dropped out of the ballroom hold to hold Poe’s waist lifting him into the air. Poe kicked his legs out one after another. Finn gently spun Poe around in the air. It felt like flying. Finn gently placed Poe back on the ground and they sway as Poe regained his balance. Poe lifted his arm and Finn spun underneath. They went back into hold and tangoed the basic steps once more. Poe dropped Finn into a dip. Finn extended his whole body beautifully with the perfect placement of his elegant outstretched fingers.
There was a loud pitchy scream. Finn dropped with a loud thud on the floor. Poe bent down to see if Finn was hurt but a loud familiar click-clack of heels distracted him. Poe looked up. He saw his mother marching over wagging her perfectly manicured finger. This was not a good sign.
“Poe Dameron!” she cried “What the hell are you doing dancing with one of the beginners?!”
Poe held out his hand to Finn and helped him to his feet. He stepped in front of Finn. There was no way his mother would harm Finn that he was certain of. He looked at his mother, ready to respond and that was when he noticed that their performance was not only viewed by his conservative mother but an entire troop of dancers and their entourage of helpers. There was Supreme Ballroom President Snoke, that slimy Kylo Ren and his smug partner Armitage Hux and ‘Captain’ Phasma and her manager. Even his father was stood at the back, left carrying everyone’s coats. What the hell were they doing here? He glanced at Phasma who had worn a silver jumpsuit which made it incredibly difficult for Poe’s eyes to not naturally gaze at her. Her manager in the crisp grey suit and shortly cropped grey hair was perpetually scowling. She held a thick document in her hands. It looked like a contract. It slowly dawned on Poe why they were there.
Shara thrust her angry finger into his face. She had gone for a deep red colour which matched her lipstick and the colour her face was slowly turning in front of Poe. “He’d better be paying a pretty penny for these private dance lessons outside of office hours?!” she yelled.
Poe squared his shoulders. He was not going to let his mother have an easy victory over him. “He’s not paying for extra dance lessons, mother”
“Not paying?! What do you mean he’s not paying?” She gave Finn the once over with a cold hard glare. She turned to Poe “I thought you had grown out of developing silly crushes on the students?” she hissed.
“Mother!” Poe warned.
Shara Bey-Dameron was undeterred. She focused her attention on Finn. “Did he tell you that he’s never seen anyone dance like you? That you’re special?”
Finn shrunk in stature looking at the floor. “Maybe” he mumbled.
She wagged her finger at Finn. “Don’t think you’re the first one he’s told that to! He tries to cohort men into sexual relations, with his pretty words and his cocky persona, claiming he’s teaching them to dance! It’s why he’s only allowed to dance with women.” She moved her finger back to her son. “And what were you thinking?! He’s paying us to learn how to dance and not to play tonsil tennis in the studio after hours! I am ashamed, young man!”
“Mother!” Poe cried. “You’ve got completely the wrong end of the stick! That’s not happening here!”
“So what’s happening then?” she screamed.
“He’s my dance partner!” he erupted.
There was a loud gasp from the audience. Poe immediately regretted telling his mother this way but it was out now. There wasn’t anything he could do about it.
“Dance partner?! Please tell me this is a warped joke? ‘Captain’ Phasma is here” his mother hissed.
“I’m dancing with Finn.”
“Have you lost your mind?! How long has this supposed partnership been going on for?”
“About three days after the regional.”
“THREE DAYS?!!!” Shara shrieked like an angry bird of paradise.
Poe’s father tentatively stepped forward “I’m sure Poe will explain his reasoning if you just calm down and listen to him, Shara…”
“Shut up, Kes!” she exploded. “He’s gone behind MY BACK when I’ve been doing what every LOVING MOTHER would do, working DAY AND NIGHT for the past MONTH to find my ONLY SON a suitable partner for the championships because he was too reckless to listen to the rules and danced his own BLOODY STUPID STEPS at the regionals, FORCING his previous dance partner to leave him!! And what thanks do I get for all my hard work?! He stabs me in the back, when I finally convince Phasma on board, by dancing WITH A BLOODY BEGINNER!”
Poe rolled his eyes and folded his arms. “It’s not like I asked you for any help mother!”
“I thought I’d brought you up better Poe!” his mother sobbed, “I thought my only son would have the decency to tell his mother he was mucking around with a beginner of all people!”
“You can tell he’s a beginner” muttered Armitage Hux loudly. “He overstepped the dip and his posture was all out. No wonder he lost his balance. Classic rookie mistake!”
“Best to leave the competition to the real dancers!” hissed Kylo Ren.
Finn quickly darted towards his bag and shoes. He was close to tears but didn’t want to give anyone in the room the satisfaction of seeing him cry. Their comments stabbed into his heart, especially Kylo’s. They were all right. He wasn’t a real dancer - why was Poe dancing with Finn of all people? Poe would be better off with Phasma. He was naive to think otherwise. He grabbed his stuff and raced towards the door. It was the coward’s way out but it was the only route he knew. BB8 yipped at Finn.
“Finn wait!” Poe cried and was ready to chase after him until his mother grabbed his wrist preventing him from leaving.
“Don’t you dare follow that waste of space!” his mother snivelled.
“Let go of me, mother!” Poe growled. “You’ve already caused enough hassle!”
“He’s not like you Poe! He’s not like anyone of us!”
“I should hope so!” Poe replied curtly.
Kes Dameron stepped forward. “Uh son, I think what your mother is trying to get at is why don’t you try dancing with Miss Phasma before ruling her out? After all, both she and her manager have travelled up from London after your mother has worked very hard to secure this meeting for you. You don’t know until you try!”
Poe yanked his arm free “But I don’t wanna dance with Phasma… I wanna dance with Finn!” he quickly turned and looked at Phasma “No offence” he quickly apologised.
Phasma scowled. “And I wouldn’t be seen dead dancing with you too!”
Poe turned back to his mother. “I’m dancing with Finn and there’s nothing you can do to change my mind!” Poe whistled at his loyal corgi and motioned at him to follow. They ran down the stairs chasing after Finn. He hoped they would not be too late.
Mrs Dameron screamed and continued sobbing a bucketful of tears. ‘Captain’ Phasma’s manager turned to the distraught woman.
“This has been an official waste of both Phasma’s and my time. Your son is a hot-headed, egotistical megalomaniac and has proved himself to be an unworthy partner for Phasma. Please do not waste my time again Shara Bey-Dameron. Good night to you!” Phasma and her manager marched towards the door‘, grabbing their coats from the startled Kes.
“It looks like Selina is the only possible option for my partner,” concluded Phasma. “Poe Dameron is anarchic scum.”
Shara howled, pulling the rest of the coats out of the arms of her husband and wrapping her arms around him. Kes looked scared and didn’t know what to do. He patted his wife’s head three times. “There there! These things always end in tears.”
The Supreme Ballroom President Snoke gently placed his hand on Shara’s shoulder and smiled. “I may have something that will help out this… situation.” He handed her his white silk handkerchief. It was embossed with his initials in golden thread.
She looked up. “How?”
Supreme Ballroom President Snoke motioned towards her office with a crooked smile. “‘Will you walk into my parlour?’ said the spider to the fly.”
Chapter 10: Gotta Get Thru This
Poe chases after Finn.
Poe charged down the street with BB8 alongside. There was absolutely no sign of Finn. They stopped in front of the park. Poe frantically looked around.
“Where are you, buddy!” he muttered. It was already dark out thanks to the autumn nights drawing in. He had to find Finn but the urge to give up gnawed at his belly. BB8 tugged at his trouser leg to gain his attention.
“What is it, buddy?” he asked.
BB8 jumped up at his leg barking, trying to get his attention about something over there in the distance.
“What are you wanting, buddy? Food? Do you need to go? Is it that vicious little dachshund from Flat 32 b? If it is I will give the owner a piece of my mind…”
BB8 barked more. What did he want? All he could see was the lamppost and why would BB8 infer the lamppost. Maybe he needed to relieve himself so he wandered over to the lamppost. BB8 wagged his tail in contempt but made no efforts to use it as a toilet. What was about this lamppost? It was your everyday sort of lamppost. The sort that was on every street corner and pavement in the city and surrounding suburbs and paved light to everyone walking home. The only thing that made this particular lamppost any special was that it was the one Charlie had mistaken him for a drunk when he danced like Gene Kelly. Because Finn dared him. When they were walking home. That was it! Finn would’ve gone home after being shamed in front of the President and his posy.
“You brilliant dog!” Poe exclaimed. He bent down and gave BB8 the biggest fuzz imaginable. “Who’s a good boy! You are! Yes, you are!” BB8 happily lapped up all the fuzz. He really was a good boy!
They continued running down the street, Poe was full of hope that Finn would be home. He imagined everything he would tell Finn. That he was so sorry for what his mother had said. That he should have told his mother sooner and not let her become obsessive about dancing with Phasma. That Finn was the best dancer he had ever seen and that wasn’t because he fancied him. He would coherently explain Finn the incident his mother brought up, how when Poe was a cocky 16-year-old he had tried to woo a boy of a similar age on holiday in Magaluf. He thought that teaching the boy how to dance in the games room of the hotel was a sure-fire way to get kissed but all it resulted in was his mother screaming at him. The boy in question didn’t see Poe in quite the same light. Poe would ask Finn to stay dancing with him. He hoped that by strategically planning everything he was going to say would prevent Poe from becoming an incoherent mess. There was, after all, an 83% chance of that happening anyway with how fast the thoughts in Poe’s head pinging around his head at a gazillion miles per hour.
Poe suddenly stopped running. He looked around. He did not recognise this part of the neighbourhood, the houses looked similar to the house Finn lived in but the gardens and cars parked outside did not look right. Drat. He’d taken a wrong turning somewhere. If only he had been paying attention. That was the problem when you’re trying to find someone’s house. The city always looked different when you were trying to low-key impress someone and when you were frantically trying to find them. BB8 was also nowhere to be seen by his side. Panicked, he frantically looked around calling out BB8’s name before noticing the dog was standing on the street corner behind him barking for Poe’s attention. Poe sighed with relief. There was the turning he should have taken. BB8 was yet again on the ball.
“Well done, buddy!” Poe cried “Let’s find Finn!”
They raced on down the road to Finn’s house. Poe recognised Finn’s house immediately. It was the one with the little apple tree and little fish pond in the front garden. It had a silver minivan parked on the van which had a ‘Millennium Falcon’ sticker on the back. There were various cars parked on the street in front of the house. Maybe this was the wrong house. Maybe he should leave? He hovered on the driveway unsure whether to leave or not. No. He had run all this way. He was not going to back away now. And besides, if it’s the wrong house, the people who live here might have some idea where Finn was. It would be a low chance but still, there was some hope. He breathed heavily catching his breath. He felt his lungs were finally collapsing on themselves. Why did he think it was a good idea to run all the way here?
Poe knocked on the front door and heard dogs barking. Finn did say he had two dogs so that was a good sign that he was at the right place. He crossed his fingers and silently prayed.
The door opened and there was a middle-aged woman with her grey hair pulled back into an intricate chignon style. She wore a navy suit with gold round earrings and a matching gold brooch.
“You’re not the pizza delivery guy!” she remarked.
Holy hell. Leia Organa, the ex-president of the ballroom federation was stood at the door. The very woman who fought for equality in the ballroom scene who had ensured that same-sex couples could dance together before Supreme Ballroom President Snoke got his slimy mitts all over the regulations.
It slowly dawned on Poe why he thought Finn’s surname felt familiar. God, he was stupid! Poe’s brain blanked, buckling under the presence of dancing royalty. If you could hear Poe’s thoughts at this very moment all you would hear was white noise of broadband dial-up. Leia looked expectantly at Poe. She was waiting for a reply. He physically felt his brain rebooting.
“No, I’m not” gasped Poe. “Does Finn Organa live here?”
“You’re extremely lucky!” Leia remarked. “My son just got home about five minutes ago. He’s not in the best of moods.”
“I know. I need to speak to him and apologize and make things right!”
Finn’s mother looked Poe up and down and gave him a questioning look. “You’re Shara Bey’s and Kes Dameron’s son?”
Leia paused for a moment, working out the best plan of action. “You better come in. You look like you’re about to collapse. Did you both run here?”
Leia stepped back letting Poe and BB8 enter. Poe politely wiped his feet on the doormat. Gazing around the hallway, he saw the coat pegs filled with various coats and the mirror that hung above the set of drawers on the other side of the room. He heard the various party noises; the chattering, the laughter, the clinking of glasses. He was truly interrupting on a party. Two dogs were smelling him and BB8, a rather boisterous lakeside terrier and an anxious-looking golden retriever who was two steps back and not wanting to get too close. BB8 looked up and wagged his tail welcomingly at the new dogs. The lakeside terrier barked and wagged his tail in return. He then allowed Poe to pet him.
“I’ll just call Finn down and I’ll grab you and your dog some water. Looks like you both could do with some!”
“That would be most appreciated. Thank you Mrs Organa” Poe added quickly.
“Please, call me Leia. I never was a Mrs Organa” She grabbed the railings for the stairs. “Finn!” she called.
There was a muffled ‘What?’ that floated back down the stairs.
“A hot sweaty guy is asking for you downstairs!” Leia shouted.
Poe was startled by this comment and felt his cheeks burn. He quickly turned towards the mirror and gazed upon the monstrosity that was his reflection. His face was flushed red from all the running and his curls were plastered to his forehead with sweat. He tried to run his fingers to smarten his hair back up, but it only made it worse. He heard footsteps on the stairs and turned away quickly from the mirror. He felt so sorry for Finn. He would have to deal with the mess in front of him.
Finn stopped on the last step. “Uh… hi”
There was an awkward silence that passed between the two of them. This was quickly solved by Leia bringing a pint glass and a dog bowl, both full of water. She handed the drinks over and Poe and BB8 greedily gulped down the fresh cool water as if they had just spent the last 40 days in a desert with very little water to survive. On finishing his glass, Poe sighed and wiped the water droplets from around his mouth with his hand.
“Thank you so much for that… uh… Mrs… Leia”
“Just Leia, I insist!” Leia looked down at the corgi who was now wagging his tail at the golden retriever “Who’s this?” she asked.
“This is BB8.”
She bent down next to the corgi. “Hello BB8! Would you like a treat?”
BB8 barked gleefully and wagged his tail. The other two dogs whined. Leia laughed “The horror of it! As if I wouldn’t forget about Artoo and Ceepio?” she clapped her hands. “All three of you, let’s go and have a look in the treat cupboard!” There was a cacophonous noise of barking and Artoo and Ceepio raced into the kitchen and BB8 followed suit in an excited confused haze. Leia chuckled to herself and followed the dogs. She stopped and turned around and looked back at her son. “If you need anything…” she began.
“I’ll give you a shout” finished Finn. He looked at his feet. Leia nodded and continued onto the kitchen. The awkwardness returned. Everything Poe had planned to say left his brain through the escape hatch without saying a word or leaving a helpful note. He tapped the sides of his legs like a crazed drummer desperately missing his drum kit.
“So…” Poe began. He forced himself to stop tapping and his brain went blank for the third time. The silence returned. This was so awkward that it was getting ridiculous. Something had to be done.
“Let me explain!” they both uttered at the same time before apologising profusely.
“I insist Finn, you go!”
Finn took a deep breath. “I’m sorry for running away before… I was just so embarrassed and scared that running away seemed like my only option. I didn’t know what else to do. I mean your mother is right. You shouldn’t be dancing with me. I’m not as good as you say I am and I completely messed up that dip at the end…”
“Only because my mother’s screaming startled you! Anyone would’ve done that in your situation.”
“But still it was one of the basic steps I messed up. I’m just a beginner and…”
“You’re clearly not. You’re the son of one of the greatest amateur ballroom couples of all time! Why didn’t you tell me that at the start?”
Finn shrugged. “I just wanted you to judge me for me and not who my parents are. Most of the time people don’t believe me because… because well I look nothing like them and I don’t want to be pitied for being an orphan because I don’t remember much of the foster home. I was only 5 when my parents adopted me and Rey. Rey remembers less than I do. She was only a toddler.”
Poe took a step closer to the step “I didn’t know but I completely understand Finn! If I could hide my parentage, I would in a heartbeat. All those things my mother said, I’m embarrassed on her behalf. She shouldn’t have said any of it!”
Finn shrugged. “It’s true though.”
Poe aggressively shook his head. “No Finn. I’m so sorry about everything my mother said to you. I’m not dancing with you and telling that you’re good because I want to get in your pants. The incident my mother told you only happened the once when I was a cocky 16-year-old with a massive crush on the German boy in the next suite when we were on holiday in Magaluf.”
“You don’t have to tell me this, Poe!”
“But I want you to know the truth. My mother walked in before I had the chance to kiss him and I received a lecture for my blatant disregard of the ballroom moves and under no circumstances I was to dirty the dance. After that, she decided that my partners would be all female and she found Selina and we were partnered up and I fell out of love with dancing the regulated steps. But when I dance with you Finn that love of dancing has returned and I’ve been drowned by the tidal waves of it all. I enjoy dancing with you Finn because you’re the best dancer I’ve ever come across and you’re not afraid to be pushed or push me into what can be achieved with ballroom dance. For the first time in my life dancing was fun!”
Finn looked bashful and smiled sheepishly. “Yeah, it was”
“I would love to continue dancing with you, that’s why I ran all this way. I couldn’t lose you. That is if you still want to?” Poe gushed “I will completely understand and respect your decision if you don’t want…”
“I still wanna dance with you, Poe Dameron!” interrupted Finn
A smile broke out on Poe’s lips. “Oh really? Wow!”
Finn nodded and smiled. Poe lifted his arms excitedly but he stopped himself from pulling Finn into a hug. He shook Finn’s hand firmly. “Everything will be strictly ballroom, I promise.”
Finn let go of his hand. “So you mean we won’t be friends?”
“I thought we were already!”
“Oh… I just thought that because it looked like you were going to hug me and then you acted awkward about it.”
“Oh!” Poe sighed. “I didn’t know whether a hug was inappropriate or not.”
Finn laughed “You can be an idiot sometimes, Poe!” He pulled Poe into a hug.
A deep voice made them both jump. “Finn, are you going to introduce your friend to us?”
Finn pulled away from Poe quicker than a whippet at the starting line. “Uh, Dad! I didn’t know you were there!”
Poe looked in the direction where Finn looked. In the doorway, to what Poe would assume was the front living room, stood the living legend that is Han Solo and another taller man. Han Solo looked older than he did the last time he had seen him, which admittedly was roughly twenty years. Poe had been a small child when he had last seen him perform at the championships in Blackpool. Yet, the silvery hair had given him a more refined look. He was wearing a smart white shirt tucked into a pair of dark blue jeans. He also wore a brown leather jacket and brown shoes. The man next to Han Solo was a good head and shoulders taller than him and rather broad in the shoulders. He filled the door space quite easily. The man had long shaggy brown hair and a beard and wore mostly dark biking leathers with studs on the shoulder for decoration. It was styled with a white tee-shirt with the word ‘WHAM!’ in bright pink flamboyant lettering. The taller man was casually carrying an entire platter of cocktail sausages and cheese and pineapple sticks which were reminiscent of childhood birthday parties. The man selected one of the sausages (which looked like food big enough for fairies in the man’s huge hands) and popped it in his mouth.
“Je pense que nous les interrompons!” whispered the tall man.
“That’s precisely the point, Chewie!” Han whispered back loudly. He turned back towards Finn and Poe, possibly fake smiling. Poe wasn’t a hundred per cent sure but his smile seemed too wide for his mouth. This was a bad sign.
“So who’s your friend, Finn?” asked Han.
“Dad, this is Poe!” Finn motioned towards Poe. Poe held out his hand and politely shook Han Solo’s hand. He tried not to freak out. He was shaking Han Solo’s hand because it was his dance partner’s father. The same father who did not know about his son’s involvement in ballroom dancing. Keep cool, he told himself. Han Solo gave Poe a strange look. Poe released his hand. Oh heavens, he shook Han Solo’s hand longer than socially acceptable. God. He looked like a massive idiot. He had to compensate somehow. He plastered his best smile onto his lips.
“Han Solo! What an absolute…”
Han Solo crossed his arms and scowled. “Don’t you think that charm is going to work on me! You’re trying to sell something? ”
“Dad!” cried Finn.
“I’m not selling your son anything! We’re uh friends from… the gym” said Poe.
Poe glanced at Finn, wondering what the hell was happening. Finn looked as bamboozled at Poe felt.
Han raised his eyebrow. “A friend from the gym? That’s a new one isn’t Chewie?”
“Il pourrait dire la vérité Han. Finn rentre tard chez lui ces dernières semaines. Peut-être qu'il va à la gym maintenant” commented Chewie.
Han turned around and looked at Chewie. “Yes, Finn could use the gym now but I don’t trust this kid’s face. There’s something about it I don’t trust!” he hissed.
The door suddenly slammed open. The girl with the Harley Davidson barged in looking angry. “Where the hell have you been?!” she cried. “I’ve been waiting outside Madame Dameron’s for the past half hour waiting for my sodding brother who doesn’t use his sodding phone! I left you like a billion messages! Why are you shaking your head at me, Finn?”
“Is this Madame Dameron’s dance studio on Padme road, Rey?” Han asked. His eyebrow was arched.
Rey, who was Finn’s sister and not his girlfriend as Poe had so wrongly thought, turned white. Her eyes were wide with shock. “Uh hi, Dad! I didn’t realise you were stood there!”
Finn sighed. So much for keeping things a secret. There was no point in hiding things anymore. His dad had probably worked it out anyway.
Han pointed at Poe. “You’re Shara Bey’s and Kes Dameron’s son aren’t you? Stop smiling, I don’t know why you’ve got any reason to be happy at the current moment!”
Poe blushed and stopped smiling. He hadn’t realised that he was smiling about Finn not having a girlfriend. He quickly changed his expression, trying to look like he was taking everything seriously and he was absolutely paying attention. What Poe didn’t realise is that it came out as a scowl.
“I’m learning how to dance Dad.” blurted Finn.
“You’re learning how to dance?” Leia’s voice filled the room. It made Poe jump. How long had she been there? Poe glanced at Finn. The poor guy, he thought. Finn looked terrified, like a deer caught in headlights on the M25. He knew his time had come. Finn swallowed. His hand reached out for Poe’s. It startled Poe momentarily but he squeezed it briefly with as much encouragement as his could. It was a thrill to hold his hand. Poe let go quickly before anyone thought they were together. That would have made things more awkward.
“Yeah…” Finn’s voice wobbled “It was going to be a surprise for both of you. I thought… I thought it would bring us all back together after you know with Ben…”
Leia marched forward and pulled her son into a loving embrace that only a mother could give. “Oh my sweet child!” she uttered. “How long have you been keeping this a secret?”
“Since spring last year.”
“That’s like almost a year and a half?! How the hell did you manage to keep that from your mother?”
Leia looked up from Finn and raised her eyebrow. “Han!” she warned.
“What?” quibbled Han “I just want to know how he managed that because it’s difficult to get anything past your mother!”
“C’est parce que tu es babillard! Vous ne pouvez pas garder un secret, Han Solo!” chuckled Chewie.
“Hey! I too can keep a secret! I kept your secret about breaking the washing line, Chewie!” Han argued.
“I thought you said that the wind blew it over last week?” replied Rey with a smirk.
“Did I say washing line? You’re right it was the wind and not Chewie!” Han faked laughed.
Chewie rolled his eyes and sighed. “Bon exemple!”
Leia shook her head and sighed. Unbelievable! She let go of her son. “So you’re learning to dance at Madame Dameron’s School of Dance? You know she charges the best part of £150 a term! You should have asked me or your father you teach you.”
“Wait… £150 a term! That’s £12.50 a week! Shara Bey is making an absolute killing!” Han cried.
“That was quick!” remarked Poe.
“C'est seulement parce que de l'argent est impliqué!” Chewie chuckled.
“Hey! I was the top of my class for math!” Han argued. He then pointed at Poe. “I bet Fred Astaire over here is trying to make sure that Finn won’t stop coming! He’s never home! Clearly, he’s paying for more sessions.” He placed his hands on his hips “That’s a nice little killing you and your mom have got there!”
“I’m not charging him extra…” Poe began. If only he could explain!
Han Solo started pacing. He was on full rant mode and nothing could stop him. “You and your beastly mother are scamming your customers for barely adequate dance lessons! What’s more, your mother doesn’t know the true meaning of dance and wouldn’t know it if it hit her stiff cardboard body square on the jaw!”
“I’m not charging extra for sessions… It was coming out of my own time too!”
“Own time! As if! If there’s a way to not dance and make money out of it, Shara Bey was there. No wonder she sided with that power nut Snoke!”
“He’s my dance partner!” Poe exploded. His hand quickly covered his mouth as soon as it escaped his big fat mouth but it did not stop the stunned silence. Why did he never think before he spoke? This was Finn’s moment and Poe jumped in with both feet making everything worse.
“Dance partner? This dancing idiot is making it up, right?” asked Han
Finn shook his head. “No Dad. Me and Poe are partners. We’re planning to go to the President’s championships in Blackpool.”
“How lovely sweetheart!” Leia gently touched her son’s face and kissed his forehead.
Han crossed his arms. “And how much did he spend for that privilege huh?”
“Arrêtez de tout faire avec l'argent, Han!” hissed Chewie.
“I’m not making everything about money!” retorted Han.
“I’m not charging him! I’m not my mother!” argued Poe.
“Prove it!” snarled Han. “Dance the Paso Doble!”
Poe was astounded. “What right here? Right now?”
Han rolled his eyes in exasperation. “Not right here, Sherlock. There’s not enough room. Outside in the garden” He turned to Chewie. “Grab the guitar. We’re going to need it.” He pushed past Chewie and headed back into the front room and the garden Poe assumed. It was hard to see where he was stood.
Leia softly patted Finn’s arm. “You know what your father’s like. He has to have his say. But his opinion does not matter as much as he thinks it does. I’ll make sure he remembers that!” she chuckled before following Han. Chewie stepped out of the doorway and rubbed Finn’s head.
“Je te dis merde!” he smiled before following Leia.
Rey grabbed Finn and pulled him into the tightest hug possible. “I’m so sorry!” she gushed, “I said I would keep your secret but because I blunder in full of anger everyone now knows! I’m such an idiot!”
“You’re not solely to blame!” admitted Poe “I did quite a good job of barging in on your family’s party unannounced and blurting everything out when given the chance. I’m sorry, buddy.”
A hand grabbed Poe’s hand and Poe was pulled into the hug. He awkwardly placed his arms around Finn and Rey. Rey moved her arm and draped it around Poe’s back. It was nice to know that Poe was not the only one who was awkward about the whole thing.
“Things would have only come out anyway” Finn admitted as he slowly released them from his embrace. “I’m sorry I worried you, Rey. I should have told you I’d left earlier.”
“Is everything okay?” she asked.
Finn nodded. “They are now. I’ll tell you about it later. After all, the show must go on!”
Rey nodded. She punched her brother’s upper arm gently “Knock them dead!” she encouraged “You’ll be great!” She smiled and saluted him before heading outside to get a prime position.
Poe attempted to leave but Finn stopped him by holding his hand again.
“I’m scared, Poe!”
Poe looked at Finn. His eyes were wide with fear. Poe squeezed his hand reassuringly. That seemed to have helped last time. “It’s gonna be okay, Finn!” Poe soothed.
“It would have to be the Paso Dad wants us to dance!” exclaimed Finn in panic. “We never covered the Paso in the beginners class… it was just mostly the waltz and the foxtrot with a touch of Cha Cha thrown in the mix. I mean I know the basic steps from when Dad showed me but that was when I was little.”
“It’s gonna be fine, Finn. You know what the dance should look like and you know the basic steps. They’ll come back to you! Just like riding a bike!”
Finn shook his head “What if I mess up badly? Everyone I ever know is out there! I don’t think I could live with the humiliation!”
“I get stage fright all the time!”
Poe nodded. “You know what I do when I get stage fright?”
“Pretend they’re all naked! Every single audience member!”
Finn laughed. “I thought that’s just what they tell kids before they have to give a big speech!”
Poe laughed. “I guess I’ve just never grown up then!” He squeezed Finn’s hand again and looked Finn deeply in the eyes “Finn, I promise you that I won’t let you fail out there. Just follow my lead and we’ll just do what we normally do!”
“Make shit up?”
Poe beamed. “Precisely! We’ll just make shit up! Anyway, a brave man once told me that a life lived in fear was a life half lived!”
Finn smiled sheepishly. “You remembered that?”
Poe nodded “I remember everything you say, Finn.”
Finn sighed, smiling bashfully. “You’re one hell of a motivational speaker, Poe Dameron!”
Poe laughed. “You say that!” he tilted his head towards the living room door. “Ready?”
“More than ever!”
Chapter 11: Never Gonna Dance Again?
Poe and Finn must perform the Paso Doble in front of Han and Leia's guests.
They walked out into the garden with their heads held high. There was a small crowd gathered in front of the wooden decking. This was to be their dance area. It was a lovely garden, Poe noted. It was large enough that dogs could easily run around which was always the most important thing he looked for. Various shrubbery surrounded the land, they varied in shape colour and flowers. There was a large willow tree at the bottom of the garden that hid the garden shed with its long branches. It was obvious that that was the entrance to the fairy realm of some sort. Colourful rainbow lanterns were hung all around the garden giving the garden a peaceful welcoming vibe for the party.
A small cheer came from the audience, mainly from Chewie. At least he was excited by it all. Finn squeezed Poe’s hand. He could feel Finn’s heartbeat ricocheting through his body. Or was that his own? It was difficult to tell. There were more people than Poe had been expecting. Breathe, Dameron, Poe reminded himself. This was important for Finn. He could not mess this up.
“You ready, buddy?” Poe whispered.
Finn nodded meekly. Poe asked Chewie for a four-bar countdown and then smiled reassuringly at Finn. Fake it till you make it, right? Chewie started strumming an old Spanish song with lots of rhythm and staccato.
They were off.
Poe held Finn in the Latin hold and marched Finn around the decking. The heels of his dancing shoes clacking against the wood. He really should have changed his shoes before running after Finn but there was no time. His shoes would be ruined! That was another expense he had to add to the list.
Finn acted as the cape to Poe’s matador. Poe lifted one arm and let go of Finn’s waist. Finn spun under Poe’s arm rapidly as they took several steps moving back across the decking. It looked like Poe was spinning Finn as fast as a tornado ploughing through a valley. Finn stopped spinning and he accidentally stumbled out of hold. He grabbed for Poe and pulled himself up. There was a laugh from the audience. Poe sensed Finn’s increasing discomfort. He squeezed his hand again and smiled. It’s gonna be okay, buddy he tried to say through the flash of his smile. They marched around the decking once more before Finn let go to do some heelwork that could only be described as manly stomping. Poe took this opportunity to do a full jeté leap. Poe landed and turned it into a spin. The laughing of the crowd grew louder. Poe tried to ignore the crowd. Their laughing rung in his ears. He took Finn back into hold but he felt as tense as an ironing board. Finn avoided Poe’s eye contact. It was clear that Finn was not coping. The laughs from the crowd were now raucous.
Poe stopped abruptly and spun to face the crowd. “What?!” he yelled angrily “What’s so damn funny!”
The crowd went silent. Poe gazed upon the faces in the crowd. He hardly recognised most of the faces. Han was nonchalantly crossing his arms and glaring back at Poe. Leia looked disappointed, Chewie had a look of fear on his face, Rey was practically seething with anger and Kylo Ren had the smuggest grin on his face. Oh, how he wanted to punch that smug son of a bitch in the face. Wait… Kylo Ren was at the party? How the hell had he got here so quick? The last he had seen his sworn enemy was at his mother’s studio? Another question popped up in Poe’s brain. How did Finn know Kylo Ren? Why would he be here of all places?
Han stood up and pointed at Finn. He did not look happy. “First of all, I’ve never seen anyone look so terrified whilst dancing and would help if he knew what he was actually doing!” He then pointed at Poe. “And you. You’ve got jack shit rhythm. I can tell it was your mom who taught you! I’ve never seen anyone as flat-footed as Shara Bey… well until tonight that is!”
“That’s enough, Han!” Leia scowled. She marched over to Poe. Poe prepared himself for a punch up if it came to it. He clenched his fists and squared his shoulders. If the stories were true, Leia was once disqualified from the 1984 amateur championship for getting into a fistfight with Brendol Hux because he was sabotaging the other competitors by putting small drawing pins in their shoes, lessening their grip and balance.
Leia stood in front of Poe. “Where do you feel the rhythm?” she asked calmly.
“Uhhhhh….” Poe’s mind was blank. Her question had thrown him off and if he was completely honest, it was something he hadn’t thought about. He cha cha-ed a couple of steps.
Leia shook her head. “Rhythm should always come from the heart. It’s the base of all dancing, if the rhythm is off, the whole dance is off.” She lifted her hands to Poe’s chest. “May I?” she asked.
“Uhhhhh…” Poe replied. He glanced at Finn who shrugged back at him. “Sure.”
Leia started drumming a beat slowly on his chest. One two three and four. One two three and four. Daa daa da da da. Daa daa da da da. She sped up her tapping to the Paso Doble tempo. Her taps were sharp and staccato. Poe closed his eyes, nodding his head to the rhythm. Leia stopped and Poe opened his eyes. The light of the party lanterns looked off. He blinked a few allowing the colours to reset back to normal.
“Now, try doing that simple Cha Cha step again for me.”
Poe focussed on the rhythm in his heart and did the Cha Cha step. It felt different from how he did it before. He hoped that it looked different. That he had rhythm.
“See!” Leia exclaimed excitedly “Much better! Your dancing is coming from the heart now.”
Poe bashfully smiled. “Thank you!” He glanced over at Finn who gave him a cheery thumbs-up.
Leia smiled gleefully. “Now what would you say about seeing how a Paso is really done?”
“I would be honoured!” smiled Poe.
Leia turned to the audience and called Han out. “Come on you know you want to!”
Han shifted uncomfortably looking at the crowd of family and friends who had come to the party. “I don’t know… We haven’t danced together for a long time and you know how my knee keeps on playing up at the moment…”
Leia crossed her arms and raised her eyebrow.
“Okay, my knee’s not been playing up since I started using that Volterol but I don’t know where my Paso jacket is and I can’t dance the Paso without it. It’s not right!”
There was a triumphant cry from the patio door. Everyone turned to see Chewie proudly lifting a black jacket with golden tassels and embroidery above his head as if it was a prize catch.
“Hey! Where did you find that?” cried Han.
“Dans votre garde-robe avec tous vos autres costumes de danse” replied Chewie with a mischievous grin.
Han rolled his eyes. “I wish I had never told you about that wardrobe, Chewie.”
Chewie laughed and handed the jacket over to Han. Tentatively, Han swapped jackets and put the Paso jacket on. He swung his arms to check that the jacket still fit enough for him to dance comfortably without tearing the fine craftsmanship. It moved like a dream. Han had forgotten how good this jacket was. Rey handed her father a glass of his favourite Dutch courage, straight whiskey. He gulped the dram down contorting his face momentarily as the whiskey burned his throat before enjoying the warming aftermath. He smiled and rubbed the top of her head lovingly. Leia beckoned Han up to dance. Han nodded at Chewie and he started playing the guitar again.
They slowly walked towards each other. Han made strong masculine shapes for he was the bullfighter and Leia was his cape. She made soft circling shapes with her hands and wrists, slowly bringing her hands above her head. The music picked up in tempo when they reached each other in the centre of the decking. With a dash of flamenco, Han and Leia went into hold and it became impossible to tell who was leading the dance. Poe felt goose pimples on his arm and forgot to breathe at times. It was so spectacular. Leia and Han danced with passion and precision. They magically spun a tale of the bullfighter and his fight with their bodies and their moves.
Someone nudged Poe in the ribs. Poe glanced up and saw Finn beaming proudly “They’re so good aren’t they!” he whispered.
“More than good, they’re spectacular! Why didn’t you tell me who your parents were?”
Finn shrugged bashfully. “I didn’t think it mattered.”
Rey elbowed Finn sharply. “Ow!” he hissed “That hurt!”
“Mum and Dad have nearly finished! Stop flirting and watch!” she teased playfully.
Finn immediately stopped smiling. “Not front of Poe!” he mumbled. He then stared intently on the decking where his parents dancing. Leia and Han spun around quickly in hold before Leia spun out of hold. Han held on to her arm and so she spun back into his arms before dropping to the floor. Han caught her and spun her around. He landed her back on her feet before they finished. Chewie finished his song with a dramatic flourish of guitar strumming. The party guests whooped and hollered. Rey whistled so loudly, it stung Poe’s ears. Han and Leia bowed with beaming smiles.
“Now that’s how you do a Paso!” Leia exclaimed.
Han touched Leia’s cheek softly with his finger and gently stroked it. “You’ve not lost it.”
Leia looked up at her husband and smirked. “I know!” She squeezed Han’s hand and led him over to where their children and Poe were stood.
“You were amazing mom!” Finn beamed as he hugged Leia.
“Thanks, sweetheart!” When they had finished hugging, Leia turned to Poe. “You think my son is good enough for the President’s Championship?”
“Yes. I honestly think he could even win it!”
“And you’re not saying this because both you and your mother are earning a lot of money from my son?”
“As of this evening, I think the contract I have with my mother is somewhat… terminated. Besides,” he added quickly. “I have never charged your son anything… not even a single penny for the extra dance lessons.”
“Is that true?” Han asked Finn.
“Am I right in thinking that the championship is about 6 weeks away?” Leia asked.
“5 weeks away.” corrected Poe.
“And where are you going to train?” inquired Han.
“We’ve been using the studio after hours so people wouldn’t find out…” Poe paused. He had been an idiot to think that his mother would be happy them both to return to her studio and train. His mother looked so betrayed when he had last left her moments ago. Damerons could hold grudges for lengthy times. He doubted whether either of them would be able to put their pride to the side so that Finn and Poe could train once more. Not that Poe wanted to return anyway, but it did make finding a suitable training location more difficult. Hiring a large enough room for how long they would need would work out to be expensive and Poe would feel guilty on relying on Finn’s low income to support their partnership. Poe had some savings that they could use but eventually, he would have to get a proper job. He could no longer rely on working at his mother’s dance studio for his income.
“Why don’t you train here!” Leia announced cheerfully. “We can train you the proper way!”
Poe was brought out of his inner monologue with a start. Had he heard Leia correctly?
Finn looked as surprised as Poe felt. “Really?”
Leia nodded with a smile. “I can’t let my son embarrass himself by dancing those silly corporate steps!”
“Does this mean we have to help Mr Anton Du-Beke over here?” asked Han with a hint of annoyance.
“Thanks.” Poe smiled.
“Don’t take it as a compliment kid!” uttered Han.
Leia stared at Han with her hands on her hips. “Han!” she warned.
Han looked confused. “What did I say?”
“Don’t be ridiculous Han!” she sighed.
“We gotta get something out of it, especially since buckaroo over here has been paying for dance lessons behind our backs. It’s only fair that we get something in return for Shara’s kid!” quibbled Han. He crossed his arms in annoyance.
“Han!” cried a shocked Leia. “We can’t ask for…”
“Humiliation galore!” interrupted Poe.
“Excuse me?” Han raised a confused eyebrow at Poe.
Poe could sense Finn’s pleading eyes begging him to stop but the words flowed out of his mouth like a waterfall. “Humiliation galore!” he repeated. “It was Snoke who voted the casting vote in ’92 that kicked Leia out of the presidency and then proceeded to change everything Leia and yourself had worked hard to reform. This means that the past 27 years have all been Snoke’s tutorage and what Snoke deems ‘proper’ dancing.”
“Don’t rub it in!” chided Han sourly.
“It’s so long that none of the competing dancers knows of a time when people would use to create their own steps. Snoke wants to keep it very much that way. If Finn and I go to the championships and dance how you and your wife used to dance and I dare say even win… well, Snoke would be so humiliated that this would ruin him.”
Han cackled and quickly grabbed Poe’s hand before he could change his mind. “Welcome to the team kid!”
Chapter 12: Have a Drink On Me
Poe stays for the party and challenges Rey to shots.
Leia invited Poe to stay for the rest of the party, which Poe soon learnt was for their wedding anniversary. She insisted, after all, she had overbought on the booze and nibbles because she knew what Han and his friends could be like. Poe found himself on the best side of the party. He hung around with Finn and Rey playing with the dogs. Great company, great dogs, great drinks, what wouldn’t make Poe even happier. Well, there was one thing which meant he would have to admit certain feelings and there was absolutely NO WAY IN HELL Poe would ever do that.
BB8 wagged his little tail ecstatically around his new friends. His tail wagged so quickly that it had become an orange blur. Poe quickly realised that Ceepio was the rather anxious dog, always thinking about everything and slow to introduce himself. When Poe had finally proved he wasn’t an intruder, with the help of a handful of treats, he had perked up but still kept his wary distance. Artoo, on the other hand, was rather spunky and adventurous. He was always ready to play fetch but on the rules of ‘only throw, no-take’ which made their games of fetch rather interesting, to say the least. Luckily the Organa’s had more than one ball to throw. BB8 was the quickest of the dogs, sprinting past his new friends to catch the ball. He was successful 73% of the time. Or at least that was Poe’s rough guesstimation. BB8 promptly dropped the ball by Finn’s feet with the happiest wag and goofiest grin, ready to run again. The game of catch ended when Artoo caught the second ball whilst the first ball was still in his mouth. He looked like a chipmunk and he refused to be parted with either ball. Finn, Rey, and Poe chased the dogs around until they were all tired. The humans sat down on the decking, whilst the dogs lolloped and lounged over them. Well, mostly Finn and Rey. BB8 had managed to bagsied the best spot between Rey and Finn and was receiving all the strokes every good dog should. Poe felt betrayed, to say the least.
They sat on the decking trading their most hilarious stories. Their bellies ached with laughter and Finn at times couldn’t physically breathe at times which make it all the funnier. Rey told amazing stories about the RAF which set his little plane nerd heart aflame. She had even trained in a BAe Hawk 2000. How cool was that?! Only thing was ruining Poe’s possibly perfect evening. Kylo Ren was still here and Poe could swear that he was angrily glaring at him. To test his theory, Poe glanced over at Kylo who looked like he would murder Poe on the spot without stopping from drinking his gin glass. He glanced back over to Finn (where else would he look) and back to Kylo. He was still glaring. The bastard.
“Geez, what’s his problem!?” muttered Poe.
“Who?” Finn glanced around at the party, desperately searching for the person spoiling Poe’s night.
“Kylo Ren!” Poe motioned over to where Kylo was with his head.
“Yeah, Ben is an absolute arse at times!” admitted Rey.
“No no no! Kylo Ren. The one stood there looking like a gothic hipster and looks like he’s sucked a lemon and hated it. You know, Snoke’s right-hand man and 6 times the President’s Champion! My arch-nemesis!”
“Yeah… That’s Ben. Our brother. Kylo Ren is his stage name.” reiterated Finn.
“No way his name’s not actually Kylo Ren?! He’s your brother?!”
Poe felt the rush of new information his brain was receiving explode with vigour in his brain. How had he been so dumb to Finn’s family? And how had he been so dumb to think Kylo Ren was his real name. It was so obviously a made-up name. Poe had just thought he had one of those parents who named their child something unique by randomly smashing letters together.
Finn laughed. “Bet you weren’t expecting that tonight, huh?”
Poe shook his head.
“And it’s not like any of us want to admit we’re from the same family!” laughed Rey.
“You said that there was some family drama with your brother?” said Poe.
Finn and Rey looked at each other. Rey gently nudged her brother. “You should tell him!”
Finn looked down at the ground. “Mom and Dad always thought Ben would be their legacy, especially when Mom retired from dancing so that she could focus on being the Ballroom President and to help bring up her family, including two newly adopted kids. She wanted us all to be dancers to keep the family name strong, I guess. Uncle Luke helped out by teaching Ben and Ben became a better dancer under his tutoring. But then things got awkward when Mom was voted out by Snoke 6 months later. She couldn’t believe that a totalitarian had taken away the thing she loved the most. Dad was furious and was plotting revenge plans he would never enact. Ben later, fell out with Uncle Luke over something to do with dancing and how he never became a champion because Uncle Luke was butchering his chances on purpose. You know how stroppy 17-year-olds can be. I was only 10 and Rey was 6, we were too young to fully understand. We adored our parents and our Uncle. They were our heroes. Out of spite, Ben left home and turned to Snoke’s side. Snoke trained Ben in the new oppressive ways of dance. Ben’s always been competitive and a sore loser but we never expected him to turn away from our family like this. It was painful for all of us. Mom said that it was the biggest kick in the teeth she ever felt and her passion and drive for dancing slowly died over time from that moment on. Uncle Luke disappeared altogether with shame. We have never seen him since.”
Finn sighed heavily. Poe pulled Finn into a side embrace. “I’m sorry to hear that, buddy. Must have been a tough time for your family.”
“It was.” Finn agreed.
“Families eh? You love them 100% unconditionally but there’s always that one member who’s a complete pain in the arse!”
“Sounds like you speak from experience!” added Rey.
“You haven’t had the pleasure of meeting my mother!” he laughed. Poe looked over to his empty glass. “I think I need another drink. Can I tempt you both with another?”
Finn smiled and untangled himself from Poe’s embrace. “Yes please, buddy. Another glass of red for me” He handed over his wine glass to Poe. Their hands gently brushed against one another. Poe felt an explosion of electricity course through his veins causing his cheeks to flush. He hoped they weren’t blushing red. In a panic, Poe yanked the glass so hard from Finn’s hand he almost dropped the glass.
“Sorry!” he mumbled. He leapt up and grabbed Rey’s glass. “What about you Rey?”
“Another mojito for me, Poe!”
“Coming right up!” Poe smiled. He started to head towards the kitchen for refills.
“Not too heavy on the gin! I don’t want my baby sister getting too drunk!” called out Finn.
Rey shoved Finn. “Pffftt. I can drink you under the table and you know it!” exclaimed Rey. “I bet I could even drink more than Poe!”
“Nobody can drink more than me!” boasted Poe. “I could out drink a fish!”
Rey smirked. “They don’t call me the Hotshot Queen for nothing!”
“Is this a challenge I’m sensing?”
“Only if you want it to be!”
“Guys…” warned Finn. “I don’t think this is your best idea.”
“Very well Rey, I accept your challenge whole heartily!” Poe smirked.
Rey leapt up. “Brilliant… I’ll get the shots!”
The night wore on and Poe was starting to feel quite tipsy. He had made a grave mistake. There was a reason why Rey was officially the Hotshot Queen. However, the increase of alcohol in his bloodstream wasn’t hindering his enjoyment of the party. Yet. At least he wasn’t curled up in a plastic garden chair like one guest. At one point Poe picked up Chewie’s guitar and started strumming the only Coldplay song he knew most of the words to. Something about Jerusalem’s bells ringing. His voice was silky and smooth. When he got to the end of the song there was a cheer from the small crowd that had surrounded him, which he thought he didn’t deserve because as there seemed to be a lot more la la las in the song than he remembered. Chewie then decided that he was going to play a selection of George Michael’s greatest hits on the guitar. Poe was the first to sing along, surprising himself of how many of the lyrics he remembered. He guessed it helped that he practically grew up on George Michael’s back catalogue thanks to his mother being the second greatest fan. Chewie was clearly the first. Something that also surprised Poe was the singing voices of the younger Organa siblings, despite their father’s seagull like warbles. Rey and Finn sang beautifully. Rey’s voice was high and sweet whereas Finn was beautifully rich and deep. Their voices blended together beautifully. There was no end to their endless talents.
Eventually, the party wound down. The guests slowly drabbled away home. Poe collected BB8 and wobbled over to Leia to thank her for letting him stay for such an amazing party and that he had a wonderful time. And did he stay that it was an amazing party?
Leia smiled. “Don’t worry about it! It was great to meet you, Poe.”
“Thank you for letting me have your son!”
“I’m sorry?” Leia was incredibly confused.
Poe stared at Leia in embarrassment. “Oh god, I didn’t mean that! As a dance partner! That’s what I meant!”
Leia laughed. “I thought that’s what you meant, Poe.”
“Thank you for allowing me to dance with your son,” Poe gushed. “Thank you for agreeing to train us, I’m so grateful for the opportunity. And I’ll happily pay my share for the lessons… it’s not fair on you and…”
“Poe, you haven’t even started training yet!” she laughed. Leia bent down to BB8 and scratched him behind his ear. “I’ll see you again, sweetheart!” she cooed.
BB8 wagged his tail heartily and barked happily.
“Wait!” Finn cried. Poe turned round and saw Finn rushing over.
Poe smiled. “I wasn’t gonna leave without saying goodbye, buddy!”
Finn bashfully smiled. “I can offer to walk you home… if you like?”
“Oh. It’s okay. It’s a long way and you’d have to go out of all your way and you’ll get to bed super late and and and I don’t want to bother you if you don’t have to. And I got little tracker McGee with me… I’ll be fine”
“Says the person who got lost coming here!” Leia muttered.
“I’d like to walk you home… it would be my pleasure!”
Poe felt his cheeks flush. Goddamn it. Why was Finn so nice? Naturally, he wanted to spend more time with this gorgeous generous man but he didn’t want to inconvenience him. It just seemed unfair for him to trek all the way back to his apartment. But he did say it was his pleasure. “As you wish!” Poe beamed “After all, I’m sure BB8 will love spending more time with you and you can’t deny him that pleasure!”
“Naturally!” Finn smiled back. Poe felt his heart gush. Finn Organa had a beautiful smile.
“Just don’t stay out too long!” Leia called out. “Training starts first thing tomorrow morning. 10 am sharp!”
Chapter 13: What Makes You Beautiful
Finn walks BB8 and a drunken Poe. Conversations are had.
They wandered on to the street. It was so cold, they could see their breaths visible in the night air like puffs of smoke. Poe breathed out long and giggled like a small child.
“Look, Finn! I’m a dragon!” he cried. He breathed out again producing a long smokey puff to prove his point.
Finn shook his head and laughed. “You’re such an idiot, Poe!”
You’re an idiot!” replied Poe. He playfully shoved Finn with his shoulder in retaliation. He slightly misjudged and stumbled. Finn quickly caught him before his face planted the tarmac. Poe slumped in Finn’s strong arms. It felt nice.
“Poe. You’re drunk!”
“You’re not my mother!” slurred Poe.
“We don’t want you actually arrested for drunk and disorderly behaviour this time!” reminded Finn. “We’ve got a competition to win!”
“’ Salright! Charlie’s my buddy!”
“I don’t think that will help you this time you legless hooch!” Finn laughed.
“Okaaaay Mr Knotty Knickers… I’ll be fine. I won’t get arrested!” He playfully tapped Finn on his nose. My, Poe thought, Finn sure had a pretty face. Finn helped Poe back on to his feet. Once back on his feet, Poe wobbled until he got a better wider stance.
“Thanks, buddy!” Poe smiled.
“It’s a good job I agreed to come with you, Poe!” Finn laughed again. “Who knows what would’ve happened if I hadn’t!”
“I once stole one of those big fishes you find in posh people’s ponds and released it into the canal. I think it survived?”
“How the hell did you manage that?” asked Finn in awe.
“I dunno…” he shrugged, “I think I was drunker than this. I think!”
“You’re pretty drunk at the moment, Poe Dameron”
“Pfffft…” Poe swatted the statement away like a pesky fly. “I’m just tipsy and anyway my plan worked! I get to see your beautiful face for longer!”
Finn laughed shyly. “Bet you say that to everyone!”
“Not true!” Poe quibbled. “I only say it when it’s true and Finn Organa you have an extremely beautiful face!”
“I think you might be mistaken by the low wattage of the street lamps” Finn sighed.
Poe jabbed Finn in his bicep with his finger hard. “Don’t say that! You’re putting yourself down. It’s like you’re scared of the truth!”
Finn squirmed and sighed. “That’s because I am. I know I’m a coward who will never amount to anything and unworthy of all affection. People never see what I truly am, worthless.”
Poe grabbed Finn by his hoody jacket with both his hands and pulled him closer. Their lips and noses were nearly in touching distance. Finn looked like a startled deer in the headlights. He didn’t know what was about to happen.
“I want you to repeat after me, buddy, I, Finn Organa” instructed Poe.
“What?” Finn stared in a confused haze.
“I, Finn Organa, repeat!” Poe smiled. He hoped he looked encouraging and not threatening.
“I, Finn Organa…” mumbled Finn.
“I really don’t want us to get arrested. It is quite late…”
Finn sighed. Poe didn’t give up on things. It was easier to just have it over and done with. “I, Finn Organa…” said Finn.
Poe beamed. “That’s it, buddy! I, Finn Organa am not a worthless pile of shit!”
“I, Finn Organa am not a worthless pile of shit”
“I am bold and daring and an excellent dancer!”
“I am bold and daring and an excellent dancer…” Finn sighed a little. This wasn’t too bad…
“I am so god damn beautiful!”
There is was. This was kind of embarrassing. He knew he wasn’t well he hadn’t been told that by anyone else. Well, maybe his mom when he was little but that doesn’t count. Poe was drunk and it was very clear that he was one of those drunks that clearly spoke whatever came to his head. Although come to think of it, Poe did that anyway when he was sober.
“I am so god damn beautiful” Finn mumbled. He felt his cheeks burning.
“Sorry I didn’t quite catch that!” Poe pointed at one of his ears before holding back onto Finn’s hoody.
Finn rolled his eyes and sighed. The god damn cheek of it. “I am so god damn beautiful” stated Finn.
“Better!” Poe beamed “And I am the bravest guy in the god damn universe!”
“And I am the bravest god damn guy in the universe.”
“Yeah, you are!” Poe cried. He let go of Finn’s hoody and the heartily slapped Finn on the shoulder. Poe then pulled Finn into a side embrace. “Now just chant that whenever you find yourself doubting yourself and all that self-insecurity will float away!”
“I really don’t think that will happen anytime soon.”
“Pfffft! Nonsense! I’m drunk. Anything can happen!” Poe laughed nearly tripping over BB8 “Oh shit! I’m so sorry, buddy!” he gushed bending down to check that BB8 wasn’t hurt. Finn picked up the corgi.
“He seems okay! Might be better if I carry him from now!”
“Good idea, buddy!”
They continued along the route back to Poe’s flat, Poe drunkenly gushed about it how it was to meet Rey and how cool it was that she was in the RAF and how it must be so nice that she was home on leave for a week for his parent’s anniversary. Finn smiled. He was pleased that Poe got on so well with his sister, despite their dumbass influence they seemed to have on each other. He would have to keep an eye on that. It was clear that Poe wouldn’t be able to cope if tonight was anything to go by. Poe started gushing about his favourite planes.
“I didn’t know you liked planes so much!” Finn admitted.
Poe nodded furiously. “Yeah! I always wanted to be a pilot!”
“Why didn’t you train as one?”
Poe shrugged. “The RAF didn’t want me. I failed the tests and was deemed too reckless and impulsive. I wasn’t what the RAF was after.” Poe shrugged again trying to make it obvious that Poe didn’t care like it was a meagre detail. “Besides,” he added “Mother always needed an extra you know pair of hands with the studio. Something about inheritance and that other thing…” Poe stopped talking. He was talking for the universe, thanks to his drunken haze. It wasn’t fair on Finn. “I’m going on about me again. You know you can stop me talking, right buddy?”
Finn smiled. “It’s okay. I like hearing you talk!”
Poe shook his face furiously “But I don’t know much about you! And you know practically my entire history! It’s not fair!”
“You know everything about me. I don’t have this interesting life that you think I have. I work at Tesco Extra, I was adopted in a family of dancers, my sister flies for the RAF and I like dancing with you, Poe Dameron!” Finn gently nudged Poe.
“Suck up!” Poe cooed. He prodded Finn with his finger “I wanna know about your likes, your dislikes, your favourite childhood holiday! Whether you’re single… Wait are you single?”
Finn laughed. “You sound like my colleagues. They can’t wrap their heads around the fact that I’ve never had a girlfriend… or boyfriend for that matter.”
“Oh right,” Poe paused pondering. “Are you after a relationship? Or are you asexual? Because if you were that’s cool...”
Finn took a deep breath. “Yes,” he answered.
“So uh… do you want a relationship or are you asexual?”
“Both I think?” Finn answered. “I’ve never had any sexual attraction to anyone but I’m not 100% sure because I’ve had a few crushes on guys and girls. It’s like I see people I’m attracted to and the most I wanna do with them is just kiss their lips or hold their hands or play with their hair. The idea of sex grosses me out but I don’t know if it’s because I’ve never done it and I’m just being anxious…”
Poe smiled. “You’ll figure it out, buddy”
“Thanks, Poe” Finn bashfully smiled. “A relationship would be nice but I’m scared that my partner wouldn’t like me for being possibly asexual and they would end up leaving me because they think I’m making it up and lying to them.”
“Have you ever tried asking someone out?”
“God no!” Finn laughed awkwardly “Usually I panic and look like a rabbit caught in headlights if they ever look my way! And and and there are so many factors like that person also liking me back and I would have to actually talk to them and what if I mess up because I’m so scared!”
Poe smirked, “What about a life lived in fear is a life half lived?”
“Now you’re just using my family motto to make me feel guilty!” exclaimed Finn.
“Maybe!” Poe cheekily stuck his tongue out. Finn retaliated and blew a raspberry. Poe laughed. Finn smiled back. They held eye contact for a few moments. Finn quickly glanced away and sheepishly started rubbing the back of his neck. It wasn’t fair that Poe was naturally so handsome and so flirtatious with everyone.
“So… uh… How far is it to your place?” asked Finn.
“Not too far… I think!”
Eventually, they reached Poe’s apartment in an old Victorian building that had been adapted for apartments sometime in the 90s. Poe was on the third and final floor. They climbed the creaking wooden steps as quietly as they could muster. They were not going to be hired by MI6 any time soon. Finn carried BB8 up the steps as his little legs were slightly too small for the wooden steps.
“You seriously didn’t have to come all the way up here, buddy!” gushed Poe.
“It’s okay” Finn shrugged. “I wanted to make sure you got home safe!”
“But you’ve got a long trek back!”
“It’s ok. It’s not that long. It’s only half an hour!”
They reached the door to Poe’s flat. After the third attempt, Poe managed to unlock the door.
“These damn keys! They all look the same!”
“That’s what you tell yourself!” Finn laughed.
Finn plopped BB8 on the floor and BB8 rushed through the door and darted through to Poe’s bedroom. It had been a long day for the little dog. They lingered in the doorway to Poe’s apartment. Poe pointed behind himself with his thumb. “Do you want a cup of coffee or something? Not to boast but I can make a mean cup of Joe!”
Finn shook his head. “I better be getting back.”
“No worries, buddy. See you tomorrow?”
“Remember, it’s at 10 am, first thing!”
“Pfffft. I can still get a good solid 6 hours of sleep in!”
“Good. I don’t want you late!”
“I promise I won’t be late, buddy!” Poe pulled Finn into a hug and kissed him softly on his cheek. “Goodnight Finn!” he murmured.
“Uh… yeah… goodnight, buddy!”
They realised from the hug but Poe still had his hand on Finn’s shoulder. He held it gently staring into Finn’s dark brown eyes. “For the record, buddy, I wouldn’t have no bother if my partner was asexual. I’s be more concerned about making them feel uncomfortable like I wouldn’t want to force them to do something they don’t wanna do. If there’s anything I do that makes you feel uncomfortable just tell me and I’ll stop right away, no questions asked.”
“Thanks, Poe. And uh… likewise.”
“Cool cool cool. G’night buddy” Poe let go of Finn’s shoulder and took one last look at Finn. He smiled goofily and threw Finn a quick salute. He then turned and entered his apartment. The door closed and Finn heard the door lock. Finn gently felt the cheek that Poe kissed with his fingers. Touch wise, it didn’t feel different but nonetheless, everything felt different. He smiled, remembering the wave of electricity that throwaway kiss felt like. He knew he had a long walk ahead of his but that kiss lit up his heart. Maybe the dashing Poe Dameron did like Finn. The walk also granted Finn something else. A chance to indulge in the showreel of Poe Dameron that his brain had stored up for the past few weeks. All undisturbed. After all, Poe Dameron was one hell of a dancer.
Chapter 14: 5, 6, 7, 8
Poe trains with Han.
“What do they teach you at these poncy dance schools? You’re meant to be a bullfighter, not a pansy blowing in the breeze when they’ve issued an amber wind warning!” Han Solo cried in disgust.
Poe stopped dancing. He placed his hands on his hips and caught his breath. He was pretty sure by now that Han took great joy in criticising Poe’s dancing. It was pretty much 78% everything of what came out of Han’s lips. Or at least, that was his theory anyway.
“You need to puff your chest out more and stand straight! Be the peacock, not the pansy!” Han felt Poe’s shoulders. “God, you’re tense! Shoulders should never be worn as earrings!” He pushed them down, surprisingly gently. Poe was not expecting that.
“That’s better!” Han’s lips twitched. Was that almost a smile from Han Solo?! “Now the arms.”
“What about them?”
“Your lines are all over the place like a toddler’s drawing! Call yourself a dancer?”
Poe moved his arms. He held one in front of his body and the other by his waist. He was strong. He was stoic. He was…
“Not like that!” barked Han. “Now you look like a puppet with its strings cut! Come here.” Han Solo manually moved parts of Poe’s body what felt like minuscule angles. Han stepped away from his masterpiece, admiring his handiwork. “See, there you go! Shoulders down, nice long neck, right angles in your arms. Much better!”
Poe felt like one of those dolls in a music box and that he should be twirling mechanically to a tinny tune, constantly being peered at and still in the same position. His body itched to start dancing. That was after all why he was here. That and to see Finn. The thought of Finn made his stomach churn slightly. He had the vague feeling that he had embarrassed himself but he wasn’t entirely sure how. He couldn’t remember much from the walk home last night apart from kissing Finn’s cheek goodnight after he came out as asexual. Was that leading him on? He didn’t know. They hadn’t spoken since Poe arrived at 10.07 because Leia thought it would be best that they had one on one teaching. Poe had been learning with Han as his teacher for the past couple of hours in the garden. Despite the criticism, this was the best dance lesson he had ever received. Han was less prone to screaming about how much of a waste of space he was and sulking for hours on end if he got a step wrong.
“Let’s try it all again,” commanded Han. “Follow me once more.”
Han started counting the beats out loud and they started dancing the Paso Doble. Poe tried hard to copy Han’s shapes and moves as perfectly as he could muster. After a while, they managed to be in sync. They flicked their invisible capes, teasing any potential bulls to come closer towards them. They even did some flamenco heelwork. They finished with a flourish of arms and legs. Han placed his hand firmly on Poe’s shoulder.
“That was much better, Rudolf Nureyev! Just don’t look so god damn scared all the time. This is supposed to be the dance of the bullfighter, not the dance of the sugar plum fairy! You have to project anger, confidence and power! Show me your Paso face!”
Poe pulled what he thought was his perfect Paso face. Serious whish a hint of charm and a dash of… Poe stopped. Han did not look impressed. He crossed his arms.
“I think my bunny slippers just ran for the hills because they were so god damn bored! Give me more aggression!”
Poe scowled his face. This was surely more aggression.
Han sighed. “Now you just look like you can’t see me without your glasses. Don’t scrunch your face! That’s it!”
With his face now correct, Poe and Han practised dancing the Paso one on one some more until Chewie and Rey came out carrying trays of triangular-shaped sandwiches and a large jug of homemade lemonade that rattled with ice cubes. They placed them on a picnic blanket he had laid out with plates of scotch eggs, crisps, and half an emptied pack of mini sausage rolls.
“Nous pourrions aussi bien manger les restes de nourriture de la nuit dernière” said Chewie with a smile. “Bon appétit!”
Han smiled. “You read my mind!” He called Leia and Finn over. There were cacophonous barks as the dogs bounded over to the food. BB8 made his way for Poe. Poe stroked his head and sat down on a corner of the tartan blanket. He reached over for a ham sandwich and started to remove the ham from the bread and fed it to BB8. This, unfortunately, caught the attention of the other dogs. They too wanted their taste of the succulent ham and mugged Poe. Poe started to remove some more ham from one of the sandwiches. Artoo greedily guzzled the meat down before Poe had any chance to offer it. Ceepio whimpered anxiously until Poe also gave some ham to him. Artoo leapt up at Poe desperate for more.
“Alright, buddy!” Poe laughed “I’ve not had any lunch yet!”
Chewie whistled at the dog’s and waved a tug toy. Artoo and Ceepio dashed over to Chewie in full excitement. Poe continued to stroke BB8’s head who was lying loyally on Poe’s lap.
“We all know where BB8 would rather be!” laughed Rey. It was so annoying how chipper Rey seemed. Poe still had a hangover from the night before. She was probably one of those people who never had a hangover from a night of heavy drinking. How unfair was that?
“How’s it going?” asked Finn as he sat down beside Poe.
“Apart from being somewhat hungover and your dad is being a hard taskmaster, surprisingly pretty good.”
“You did challenge me to shots!” Rey teased.
“You should have stopped me, Finn!”
“I did! You didn’t listen.” Finn playfully nudged.
“Oh…” Poe paused. He didn’t know how to word what he wanted to say. He had to know. It was plaguing him. “Things are a little blurry from last night… Did I do something stupid? I have this vague feeling I did something stupid!”
“Other than challenging my sister to shots and drinking 3 pints of Chewie’s homebrew?” he smirked.
Poe curled up into a ball, bringing his knees up. He clutched his bicep and looked down. Finn quickly pulled Poe into a side hug. “Oh, buddy.” He sighed. “You didn’t do anything stupid last night!”
Poe glanced up at Finn. “No?”
Finn shook his head. “You told me a lot of cool facts about planes and you out sang Chewie to the songs of Wham and you played with my dogs.”
“I just had this vague feeling that I had done or said something wrong that hurt you!”
Finn squeezed Poe slightly tighter. Poe’s heart raced more. “You would know if I was upset with you!” Finn smiled reassuringly at Poe. God. It was a beautiful, heartfelt smile.
Poe moved away from Finn’s hug. How long was it before hugging was considered too gay? Of course, he had a crush on Finn. He had spent the past week repressing that thought that he and Finn could be something more than dance partners. Repressing it made things worse. It made the crush balloon into an insurmountable size that he could no longer control. If Finn ever discovered Poe’s true feelings, Poe would have to emigrate the country and set up his own farm in the countryside to prevent dying from the whole mortification of it all.
Finn’s watch bleeped twice. He looked down at his watch and leapt to his feet. “Oh, man! I’m gonna be late for work” He grabbed a sandwich and shoved it in his mouth.
“Don’t look at me kid,” warned Han. “I’m dropping your sister back at the station!”
“I can give you a lift if you like, buddy?” Poe offered.
Finn’s face lit up with relief. “Oh, would you?! Thanks, buddy! That would be such a great help!”
Poe stood up and shrugged nonchalantly “No big deal! You’d do the same for me!”
“Yeah,” interrupted Han “If he ever learnt how to drive!” Han laughed loudly until the silence of the others drowned it out. Leia glared at Han.
“What?” Han huffed. “Nobody else find it funny?”
“Vous venez de gâcher le moment!” Chewie muttered bitterly.
Chapter 15: Hungry Eyes
Han and Poe have a tete a tete about his son.
They followed the same routine for the next couple of weeks. If Finn had the morning shift, they would train all through to the night with the cries of “Go home, Dameron! I need yourself and Finn to get 8 hours of sleep!” from none other than Leia herself. If Finn was working the afternoon shift, they would dance until lunch and Poe would drop Finn off at work after a car ride full of karaoke to the greatest cheesy hits. They trained under the tutorage of Leia and Han. Sometimes together, sometimes one on one. Poe preferred it when Leia taught him. She was firm but fair. She would tell you what had gone well and what needed improving constructively. Her tips were incredibly handy. On the other hand, Han only pointed out the negatives with metaphors that could hit or miss with their ease of understanding. Poe spent the majority of his waking moments thinking about their dance and about Finn. If he was being truthful, it was mostly about Finn.
Poe stood in Han’s small study wearing tight black trousers, a white shirt and his black and gold Paso Doble jacket he wore for the championship two summers ago. His arms were out straight whilst Han and Chewie pinned various bits of material and tassels.
“Whoever made this made a right pig’s ear of this jacket!” Han exclaimed with a heavy, frustrated sigh “It barely fits him properly!”
“Vous êtes un pour parler!” smirked Chewie with a mouthful of pins.
“Really Chewie? At least I know the concept of sewing unlike whoever created this monstrosity!”
The playful bickering washed over Poe’s head. Poe had positioned himself so he could see out of the window where he could watch Finn train with his mother. Leia was showing Finn some intricate flamenco shapes. He watched carefully, copying Leia’s exact movements. They slowly sped up the steps until Leia stood watching whilst her son danced, carefully watching his attempts. Poe desperately wanted to throw off the cumbersome jacket that pinned him metaphorically and figuratively to this room and leap out of the window so he could dance with Finn. If only Han and Chewie would drop their concentration enough for perhaps a minute, maybe Poe could make his…
“So when are you going to ask my son out?” asked Han abruptly.
“Like you know… on a date?”
Poe’s body froze. He felt the heat flush in his cheeks. What did one do in this situation? He had to play it cool. Hide his tracks. “What?! No!” he flustered “I absolutely do not see your son... your darling boy in that way and…”
“You clearly do!” interrupted Han exasperatedly.
“C'est la façon dont votre visage s'illumine quand il entre dans la pièce!” smiled Chewie.
Poe sighed defeatedly. He wasn’t fooling anyone. “I do.”
Han stood up and placed his hand on Poe’s shoulder. “It’s obvious you both have a thing for each other. Heck, do us all a favour and just ask him out already? Otherwise, we have to put up with your sickening simpering looks that are painfully drawn out. I’m not going to stop two hearts in love…”
“Très poétique!” muttered Chewie.
“Uh… thanks, Han! That means a lot…”
“Just remember,” warned Han “I won’t care if you break my son’s heart but his sister will hunt you down and use your innards to make garters for the next RAF company production. And his mother… well, the least said soonest mended.”
Han patted Poe on the shoulder twice and smiled. He then helped Poe to take off his jacket so that he didn’t accidentally impale himself with the many million pins holding the garment together.
“We’ll add more gold tassels along the arm and make it look more Spanish. For god’s sake remember to wear your black underpants! If your pants tear when you’re dancing nobody wants to see your damn glow in the dark ghostbuster underpants! And believe me, the whole audience will see!”
Han left the room to let Poe dress back into his normal clothes. Chewie paused, deciding not to follow Han straightaway. He turned around and looked at Poe.
“Désoilé.” he apologised, patting Poe’s shoulder. He paused. “Une vie vécue dans la peur est une vie à moitié vécue!” he smiled encouragingly. He left Poe and closed the door behind him.
Poe stood alone in the room, clenching his clothes in a mixture of shock, fear and cringe. His cheeks felt they were a bright crimson red as his brain reminded himself exactly what had just happened in precise vivid detail. This was one for the movie reel of Poe’s cringiest moments that would torment him when trying to sleep. Poe shook himself and told himself firmly to pull it together. He changed back into his white tee-shirt and the orange joggers that had seemed like a good idea at the time when he had bought them. He loved the colour but it was very difficult to match it without being eye stingingly clashing.
After a few moments, Poe headed downstairs to join Finn in the garden. Finn was dancing with his mum. Leia was the first to notice Poe and stopped suddenly. She waved her arms.
“There he is!” Leia cried “Let’s see how much you’ve both picked up!” she ushered Poe towards Finn who had stopped dancing and was fully beaming at Poe.
Finn gently brushed Poe’s fingers and gazed into Poe’s eyes. A jolt of electricity went through Poe’s body. “You okay, Poe?” he whispered.
“Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine” Poe smiled meekly. “Come on, let’s dance, buddy.”
“I’d thought you’d never ask, Poe Dameron!”
Leia started clapping the beats out. One two three and four. One two three and four. Finn and Poe slowly lifted their arms, circling their hands very slowly. The beats of the claps sped up and off they were dancing the Paso Doble. Their mirroring was almost perfect. Their shapes were strong and full of passion. They danced the difficult flamenco steps with exact timing and precision. Poe spun Finn like a cape before they went back into hold and leapt dramatically.
The clapping came to an end. Poe and Finn finished with a dramatic flourish as they stared into each other’s eyes.
“That was much better!” praised Leia.
Poe quickly let go of Finn’s hands sheepishly. He glanced at Finn through the corner of his eye. Finn was beaming happily. He was so goddamn beautiful.
Leia wandered closer Poe which brought Poe crashing back into reality. She stood in front of him. “Poe, you still need to work on your balance and your core strength when dancing.”
Poe nodded like one of those nodding dogs for your dashboard. This was why Leia’s teaching excelled over his mother. Despite not knowing what to say to criticism, Leia wouldn’t mollycoddle. For once in his dancing career, he felt he was learning and not second-guessing his apathetic mother. Finn had bloomed under Leia and Han’s tutorage. Poe doubted whether Finn would have got there with just his tutoring. Poe had quickly realised he was not the dancer he thought he was.
“That’s given me an idea,” added Leia “are you doing anything this afternoon, Poe?”
Poe shook his head.
Leia smiled. “I think it will be something just up your street!”
Chapter 16: One Day Leia Was Walkin' and She Found This Big Log...
Leia trains Finn and Poe in the woods. Poe shows off.
That was how Poe Dameron ended up in the back seat of a people carrier with three dogs all demanding attention and friendly pats on a magical mystery tour. Han, Chewie, Leia, Finn, Poe and the dogs clambered into a 1996 silver 7 seater Renault Scenic known fondly as the Millennium Falcon, which had seen better days. Not that it was something that Poe would comment. The car was Han’s pride and joy. Leia muttered something about Han coming about it in not the most legal of ways.
As soon as they had set off, George Michael’s greatest hits started blasting from the tape cassette player in the dashboard.
Han sighed. “Do we have to listen to this rubbish?”
Chewie was sat in the navigator seat and folded up the large foldaway map that covered half of the windscreen. He smiled the biggest shit-eating grin that Poe had ever seen. Han sighed and muttered under his breath but George Michael continued singing about keeping the faith and remained singing for the rest of the journey.
Leia turned around and looked at Poe. “You doing okay back there?”
Finn beamed. “Of course he is, mom! He’s got three dogs for company. He’s in complete heaven!”
“It is pretty good” admitted Poe. BB8 lay in his lap snuggled close to Poe. “I can’t believe you pulled a sickie to do this, Finn!”
“Spend more time with you? It was a no brainer!” laughed Finn.
Poe caught the look Han and Leia shared in the rearview mirror. He did not like what they were insinuating.
Artoo and Ceepio leapt up at the back window and barked in excitement. Poe looked up and saw they had pulled into the carpark for the park.
“I don’t understand, why have you taken us to a park?” he asked.
Leia tapped the side of her nose. “All in good time!” she smirked.
It had been decided that Han and Chewie would walk the very excited dogs around the park whilst Leia trained Finn and Poe in her magical mystical ways. Poe had stroked BB8 and reassured him (if not just for Poe’s sake) that Chewie and Han would take very special care of him and that they would be back together soon. Poe had watched BB8 bound off with the others towards the duck pond.
Leia, Finn and Poe headed into the wooded area of the park. It was quite large which had surprised Poe however, he was used to public parks being a square of lawn with a playground and footpaths that intertwined and were full of city people walking their canine companions.
“I still don’t understand what we’re doing!” remarked Poe.
“Have you ever seen the movie Dirty Dancing?” asked Leia.
“Obviously my mother hated it. She said that mixing sex with a dancing movie is a sure-fire way to cause teen pregnancies. With that logic, naturally, I sneakily watched it as many times as possible whenever she went out… wait.” Poe paused. “I see where you’re going. Do you want me and Finn to practice lifts in the duck pond? I don’t have a change of clothes and I’m pretty sure that the water would barely come to my knees”
“I’m also sure it’s pretty illegal!” added Finn.
Leia stopped in her tracks and turned round to Poe with a puzzled look. “Why would you think that I would make you do that? I don’t want my son to catch pneumonia!”
“Then why did you bring us to the part and why did you reference Dirty Dancing?”
“I see your confusion, Poe.” She pointed across to a fallen tree trunk across a small ditch. “I want you to dance the Charleston swivel step on that”
Finn and Poe shared a silent look of bafflement. Leia climbed on to the tree trunk. She jumped up and down with much vigour. The trunk did not budge an inch. She smiled and clambered down. She motioned towards the trunk. “Alright boys, it’s your turn!”
Poe and Finn glanced at each other. Had Leia actually lost it? Finn shrugged and climbed onto the trunk and held out his hand. Poe gladly took it and climbed onto the fallen trunk quickly. He lost his footing as he clambered up and stumbled. Finn grabbed his shoulders quickly.
“I got you, buddy!”
Poe sighed with relief and steadied his balance on the trunk. He slowly rose his arms out in ballroom hold. “Shall we, Mr Organa?”
Finn smiled. “Of course, Mr Dameron!”
Finn took Poe’s hands and held them. They both wobbled momentarily.
“It’s a lot harder than it looks, boys!” Leia called up.
Poe looked deep into Finn’s eyes calmly to reassure. “Shall we take this slowly, buddy?”
Finn took a deep breath and nodded. They stepped forward slowly and took a tentative step backwards in hold. Poe found himself wobbling again but quickly regained his balance. They gained momentum to step forwards and backwards over and over along the trunk. Sure enough, after a short time, they managed to speed up and not wobble.
Finn beamed. “We’re doing this!”
“That’s it, boys! Now see if you can add some swivel!” Leia called out.
Poe shrugged. “I suppose we should better do this properly.”
Finn nodded. They started twisting each step as if they were cleaning the trunk with their feet. Poe watched each step with fascination and hesitation.
“Look up Poe! You’re dancing with Finn and not his shoes!”
Poe looked up at Finn. Finn smiled goofily at Poe and it made his heart flutter manically. He wobbled again but didn’t fall thanks to Finn’s firm hold. Get a grip, Dameron, he told himself. They continued doing the step a couple more times before Poe felt that he was confident what he was doing. After all, it was pretty easy once you knew what you were doing. And not obsessing about how beautiful your partner is. It was time to take it to the next step and really show Leia and Finn what he could do.
Poe smiled cockily at Finn “This is too easy now!” He let go of Finn’s hands and stepped backwards swivelling his feet. Pah. Easy, he thought before stepping again and entirely misjudging the edge of the trunk. He fell spectacularly from the trunk square on his back onto to a pile of leave mulch below. Leia rushed towards Poe and started checking him over for any injuries. Finn jumped down from the trunk.
“Oh my god, Poe! Are you okay?” gushed Finn “Is there blood? Are you hurt?”
Poe groaned. “I’m okay!”
Leia finished checking him over before offering to help him up. “I think it’s his pride more than anything that’s hurt.”
Finn sighed in relief as Poe jumped up. “You’re such an idiot, Poe Dameron!”
“But I’m your idiot!” Poe clicked his tongue and fired finger guns at Finn. Finn shook his head. He was such a nerd.
They collectively decided that they had enough tree dancing for one day and headed toward the information centre to find Han, Chewie and the dogs. Poe rubbed his backside and muttered under his breath about the little pain he was still feeling. His butt was sore! He had every right to complain.
“Maybe you shouldn’t fall off tree trunks then!” teased Finn.
“It’s alright for you to say that!” Poe muttered.
They wandered back along the path and soon the information centre was in sight. It took some time to spot Han and Chewie, which was rather difficult since Chewie loomed over most people and could easily be located in a crowd and Han was never more than a foot away from his best friend at any one time. Eventually, they spotted them coming back from a walk from the other end of the park with three very excited dogs. A very muddy BB8 barked loudly and sprinted towards Poe. Poe opened his arms out and embraced the excited dog who had launched himself into his arms. Despite the mud on his clothes and hands, Poe rubbed his sides and BB8’s tail wagged so hard, it was creating a waft of cold air.
“It’s as if we’ve given him the worst walk of his life!” grumbled Han “He found a muddy puddle and thought Christmas had come early and we couldn’t drag him away from it!” He motioned to the large mud patches all over his clothes.
“Il vaut mieux ne pas demander!” added Chewie.
“He just knows where I keep the treats, that’s all” laughed Poe.
Chapter 17: Be Our Guest
Jean and Barbara Fairweather invite, Poe, Finn and BB8 to their cat, Archibald's, 13th birthday party, because why not.
Training after the tree trunk lesson was pretty normal after that. It depended on Finn’s ever-changing work schedule but they found time to train each day. This was, naturally, helped by Poe’s non-existent schedule with his mother’s dance school. Poe helped where he could and gave Finn a lift to and from work every day. It quickly became his favourite part of the day.
Poe pulled his car into the carpark closest to Finn's work. He had tried stopping directly outside of the Tesco express but it had caused too many angry drivers since he may or may not have been holding up the entire one-way system. He didn’t particularly hear what the other drivers had called him since his windows were up. However, from what he could lip read, it was something to do with his sex life or how his parents were not married when they had him. Obviously, these drivers did not know Poe or his parents.
He sat in the car listening to the 80’s power ballad CD that had somehow miraculously appeared in his car a few weeks ago. It was something Poe couldn't explain but it made for a welcome addition to the Queen's greatest hits album that had been in there since the dawn of time. If the traffic warden came, Poe would switch the ignition and go round the block a couple of times pretending that he was leaving all along. Not that the warden ever came at this time. They were sent to the carparks closer to the schools, ready to catch the reckless parents who were desperate to pick up their children and had a blatant disregard for the rules.
"Till now, I always got by on my own, I never knew how much I'd miss you!" crooned the CD.
"Same, Heart, same!" Poe mumbled before joining in with the chorus, dropping the greatest air drum solo that Eastgate Carpark had ever seen.
Unfortunately, his drumming career was short-lived. Poe was quickly brought back to reality by BB8’s excited yipping and pawing at the window. Poe looked up and scanned the carpark to see the source such excitement.
"What is it, buddy? Have you seen a squirrel?"
He saw Jean and Barbara Fairweather, the elderly couple from his mother’s dance class, across the other side of the carpark. They were enthusiastically waving as if the Beatles had started an impromptu performance in Eastgate and were the only people there to see it. Well, Jean did. Barbara politely nodded and raised her hand in that ever so polite British way that Poe didn't entirely understand. Poe waved and jumped out of the car, carefully letting the excited corgi out of the car but still keeping a hold of his lead so that he wouldn't be run over by an unseen car.
They walked over to Jean and Barbara. Upon reaching the two ladies, BB8 leapt up at Barbara's long charcoal pleat skirt and received a polite head pat. He moved on to Jean and was fully embraced by her. BB8 enveloped her in all of the licks. Jean giggled delightedly.
"Lovely to see you, Poe!" exclaimed Barbara with a genuine smile. "To what do we owe this pleasure?"
"I said I'd pick Finn up from work so that we can get some more training in the afternoon" replied Poe.
"I do believe he works at Tesco! We often see him when we're doing our shop."
"He's ever so good!" chirped Jean "He always leaves the best yellow sticker items on the side for us and he often gives us staff discount on top of it!"
Poe nodded in agreement "He's good like that!"
Jean smirked at him.
"Finn eh? It's clear you're smitten with him!" Jean teased.
"Jean!" hissed Barbara "You can't just go about making bold claims!" She turned back to Poe. "I do apologize for my wife's inability to keep her mouth shut when it's inappropriate."
"It's alright" muttered Poe with pink cheeks from blushing. The damage was already done.
"We heard about the incident," added Barbara. "I just want to say well done for sticking to your guns and finally doing what you want regardless of what your family says. Trust me it takes a lot of guts!"
Jean nodded. "Her parents didn't want her joining the police, wanting her to find a nice husband and raise kids. But she wouldn't have met me if she'd listened to her parents!"
"Unfortunately!" Barbara added with an overly dramatic eye roll. Jean elbowed Barbara playfully.
"I'm not that bad!" she chuckled.
Barbara turned her attention back to Poe. "I must admit your mother has not taken it well. She's refusing to acknowledge your existence to the other beginner learners."
Poe sighed. "I thought that would be the case."
"It's no fun without you Poe!" admitted Jean "Mr Henderson keeps finding more ways to annoy everyone!"
"I'm so sorry, Jean. I hate to leave you all like this but I can't dance with Finn if my mother won't allow it. I have to be able to do this on my own terms." He smiled sadly at Jean. He did genuinely enjoy teaching the beginner’s class. He glanced at BB8 who was having the best time being cuddled by Jean. He reached out and stroked his fur gently.
"How's Archibald doing?" Poe politely asked.
Jean beamed. "He's doing marvellous, poppet! The vet said that it was just an ear infection!"
"Which reminds us," added Barbara "We were wondering whether you and BB8 would like to come to Archibald's 13th birthday party a week on Thursday, the same Thursday before everyone goes up to Blackpool for the championship."
Poe smiled. "We would be honoured!"
"Great!" Jean beamed. "I'll send you both your character information through Facebook. I'm getting quite savvy with this technology! And remember, fancy dress is a must!"
Poe saluted Jean jokingly. "Yes, sir!"
Jean giggled. "I'm so excited, we're inviting everyone from beginner’s class! This is going to be Archie's best birthday!"
"Jean's even written the murder mystery herself" added Barbara proudly. "I've read it and I must say it's very good. She's got a knack for writing..." She paused for a moment looking at a figure entering the car park. "I say, isn’t that Finn over there?"
Poe felt his ears prick up at the mere mention of Finn's name and looked up. Finn was walking over. He smiled and waved. Poe's heart lit up with pure excitement.
"Coo-ee! Finn! Over here!" cried Jean with an excited wave.
Barbara shook her head and sighed playfully. "We can't take her anywhere twice!"
“Only to apologise!” laughed Jean.
Finn wandered over grinning his dashing debonair smile. "What are you three witches plotting?" he chuckled.
Finn was surprised by the reaction. Jean and Barbara started reciting the witches’ speech from Macbeth with excitement and gusto.
"I should not have a said that!" uttered Finn with a chuckle.
Barbara and Jean laughed. "We're quite into Am Dram" explained Barbara "And the Scottish Play is my absolute favourite play by the bard."
"It's because it's the play where she met me officially!" gushed Jean "LADOS' 1951 production of Macbeth. Barbara was witch 1, I was witch 6. There were too many actors for the available roles available that year"
Poe smiled. "That's adorable!"
They shared a laugh and Jean invited Finn to also come to Archibald's birthday party, insisting that there ain't no party like a Finn Organa Party because a Finn Organa Party ensured that there would be fine food and plenty of people to play the characters and everybody liked Finn and a Finn Organa Party was where it was at.
Chapter 18: The Way You Look Tonight
Thursday night rolled around quickly. Naturally, Poe offered to drive to Jean and Barbara’s party since they were training at Finn’s all afternoon. It also meant that Poe would get to spend an extra hour in total with his faithful hound, Freddie Mercury and the man that he was hopelessly in love with. That was depending on traffic. Poe silently prayed there might be some road works that would slow them down.
Poe stood in the hallway waiting for Finn to finish getting showered and dressed for the party. He was proud of the last-minute costume he had managed to pull together for groundsman Mark Hunter; a white Henley shirt with the sleeves rolled up tucked into a pair of charcoal trousers with a pair of black shoes. He had also managed to find the grey flat cap that his friend Charlie had gifted as a joke. Not that he could remember what the joke was now.
He played fetch with Racoon and the dogs as he waited for Finn to make his grand entrance. All of a sudden, the wooden stairs started creaking. Poe looked up to where the sound was coming from. Finn descended down the stairs like a noisy elephant desperate to get to the waterfall but the sight still made Poe feel giddy. He was wearing an iridescent purple suit that glimmered like a Christmas bauble with a black shirt, black bowtie, black gloves and shoes. There was a white silk scarf draped around his neck. Poe’s mouth dropped open. He couldn’t take his eyes off him. Finn looked like a prince! A Hollywood star! The list didn’t end to the comparisons that Poe’s mind spun off.
“You look so beautiful!” gushed Poe before he realised that he had spoken out loud.
Finn smiled bashfully. “Thanks, buddy!” he murmured.
“De toute beauté?” teased Chewie.
Poe spun around and to his horror, he saw that the Organas bar Leia had made their way into the hallway to see Finn. Holy crap! This couldn’t get any worse. He felt the heat rise to his cheeks and desperately wanted the ground to swallow him up.
“Uh… beautiful in the artistic muse kind of way… like Mona Lisa to Leonardo. It’s mostly the purple suit that makes your eyes pop… like a ‘pizzazz’ I have eyes kind of way. More people should wear colourful suits don’t you think?” Poe finished the statement with an additional awkward laugh.
Oh my god just shut up, he thought. He felt his cheeks burning so hard that he was worried they would have to ring 999 at this rate. He absolutely could not have any more Organas know that he had a supermassive crush on Finn. They were dance partners. They were friends. Poe wasn’t entirely sure if Finn also liked him the same way or just as friends. He knew that not all asexuals were aromantic but he didn’t want to put unnecessary pressure on Finn if that was the case. He didn’t want to ruin the one good thing he had going.
Rey patted Poe’s arm. “Stop digging yourself into a deeper hole, otherwise you’ll reach the other side of the world.” She laughed. Rey had managed to get leave from the RAF for the weekend for the championship. She turned to her brother. “I think what Poe’s trying to say is that you look lovely Finn!”
Finn smiled. “Thanks, Rey. I wasn’t sure if the purple would be too much…”
Rey scowled at her older brother and crossed her arms.
“What did we say over Skype last night, Finn?” warned Rey.
“That I’m awesome and I look awesome and that if it suits the wearer then bugger the starer?” muttered Finn.
“Precisely!” beamed Rey. She pulled Finn into a hug. “You know I’m borrowing that suit when you’re finished with it.”
“Hah. As if it would fit you!”
“I’ll make it fit! Chewie’s taught me how to take stuff in!” she teased gently.
“In your dreams!” Finn retorted.
She released her brother from the hug and smoothed the bumps out from her scarf. “Anyway I gotta dash- Mum’s coming with the camera and I don’t think my tatty jammies want to be put in the album for generations to see… and there’s some Phish Food ice cream in the freezer with my name on it!” She dashed away cackling.
“That’s my ice cream!” muttered Finn sadly.
“Darling!” cried Leia entering the hallway. “Just look at you! You look so beautiful!”
“Elle n'est pas la seule à avoir dit ça ce soir!” smirked Chewie. Han rolled his eyes and elbowed him in the stomach. Chewie clutched his stomach as if he had a fatal wound.
“C'était pour quoi?”
“Stop being such a baby!” hissed Han.
Leia pulled out her phone from her pocket with a triumphant flourish. “I think we should get some photographs for the album!”
“Run. Save yourself!” whispered Finn to Poe.
“I heard that Finn Organa! Now if we can get a nice photograph with all three of you. Yes… with BB8. If you could lift him up and stand on the staircase that would be lovely! Say cheese!” she instructed. The camera shutter noise went off and the bright flash went off moments later blinding both Finn and Poe. She then proceeded to take another three photographs before suggesting that the wall might offer a better background instead.
Poe pulled his phone out of his pocket, pretending to check the time. “Look at the time!” Poe exclaimed rather too cheerfully “We’d better get going otherwise we’re going to be late!”
He grabbed Finn’s hand and darted towards the front door.
“Absolute lifesaver!” whispered Finn
Poe smiled. “Anytime, buddy!”
Chapter 19: Clue(do) Me In
Poe and Finn attend Archibald's murder mystery party and work together to solve the mystery (because why not?)
The Fairweather residence was out in the suburbs. It was in a fairly nice middle-class neighbourhood which people would move to, to start a family but still be close to commute into the city for work. It was rare if a house didn’t have access to a garden. Jean and Barbara lived in a small detached bungalow with a small pebble-dashed wall. Their garden was full of plants and bushes. Some had shed their leaves in the autumn changes but some still brought a dash of colour to the garden. There were also a couple of apple trees that were ready to pick, you just had to avoid stepping on the squishy apple remains that littered around the tree. Poe did not know an awful lot about plants and gardening but it was clear that the garden was well looked after and was the pride of the Fairweathers. Finn and Poe clambered out of the car. Poe remembered to bring the red gift bag with him as they made their way to the party.
“Oh god! I’m so nervous!” admitted Finn as they walked towards the cherry red front door of the Fairweathers. It had a large oval stain glass panel of a kingfisher sat on a riverbank.
“I was always terrible at drama in school. I would freeze when we had to perform in front of the whole class. I hope we don’t have to stay in character all night. The only information Jean sent me was that I am Lord Bentham, the seventh lord of Earlchester Manor and that I have a secret to hide. That’s not much to go off!”
Poe squeezed Finn’s hand reassuringly. “Usually there are scripts to these sorts of things and clues are thrown in so you can work it out. There usually isn’t much improvisation required and all the characters have bare minimum information. Jean only told me that I’m Mark Hunter, loyal groundsman who likes taking long walks at night with his dog. I bet I’m the murderer!” laughed Poe. Poe glanced at Finn and saw how nervous his friend was. “What about a life lived in fear?” he teased.
Finn smirked. “I regret ever teaching you that, Poe Dameron!”
“Ha! You wish!” Poe gently squeezed Finn’s hand again. “You know that you can stick by me all night buddy if that would help?”
Finn smiled gratefully. “That would help a lot, thanks!”
Poe quickly let go of Finn’s hand. “No problems buddy.” He stepped forward and rung the bell. A light behind the door switched on. It made the kingfisher a dazzling blue colour. A figure walked towards the door and opened it. It was Barbara. She was wearing a long navy skirt with a matching jacket with brass buttons on, white shirt and black tie. On her head was a wide-brimmed bowler hat with a police badge on. She bowed politely “Lord Bentham, Mr Hunter. What a pleasure it is to meet your acquaintances. I am Inspector Elsie Lemm. Please do come in!”
BB8 barked excitedly and bounded in with as much energy as a young child meeting Santa. Finn and Poe followed behind. The corgi leapt up at Barbara and demanded a fuss. Once satisfied, he rushed past her and into the house to make sure that everyone said hello to him.
“I’m so sorry about that,” laughed Poe. “BB8 just really likes you guys! And before I forget, we’ve brought some wine and some chocolates to say thank you.” He handed Barbara the sparkly red gift bag filled with tissue paper because in reality, who has time to neatly wrap awkwardly shaped gifts. Barbara rummaged past the tissue paper and pulled out a bright yellow fish tickle stick.
“That’s for the birthday boy!” pointed out Poe.
Barbara smiled. “Seen bribing a police officer! Mr Hunter, things are not looking well for you.” She focused her attention on Finn. “Lord Bentham, how kind of your gifts. How very generous of you”
Finn looked blankly at Barbara. “Uh… anything for you Mrs… Inspector Lemm!” he smiled awkwardly.
“See you’re a natural!” whispered Poe.
Barbara directed them towards the study. There was a small handful of people, some from the beginner’s class but a few faces Poe didn’t recognise- family members and friends from outside Madame Dameron’s school of dance, all amiably chatting and sipping drinks.
“Remember” Barbara added “If you receive a fairy cake with a green butter icing filling, that is poison and you are unfortunately the first murder victim … so please act the part!”
Old Mr Henderson from the dance class was not best pleased to be the first murder victim.
“That’s not fair!” he cried stubbornly. “I only just got here!”
“I’m sorry Mr Henderson, this is just how these things go” Poe tried to sooth.
There was an angry flash in his eyes. He pointed one of his long bony fingers at Barbara “I bet your wife had something to do with this!”
“It was all luck of the draw! Everyone had an equal chance of being killed! You can still join in helping to figure out whodunit…” Barbara politely explained.
“By buggary and damnation! Your wife has always despised me, wanting to seek her revenge… all because I don’t like Miss Marple. Your wife really needs to grow up and stop acting like a perpetual child!”
Something inside Barbara snapped. “Have you heard the absolute poppycock that has been dribbling out of your mouth?!” she exclaimed. “You are an invited guest in our home. If you continue to utter another bad word against my darling wife, I will personally frogmarch you out of this house! Do I make myself understood?”
Mr Henderson grabbed a bottle of red wine from the table where the drinks were. “No bother, I’ll see myself out. It’s not like there are other places open where I can get pissed.” He marched out and slammed the door on his way out. The door slam was so heavy that the other guests felt the vibrations ripple through the floor.
Barbara took a deep breath and reposed herself by flicking a single strand of hair out from her eyes. She handed out the evening’s first scripts, it wasn’t as if they actually needed a murder victim. There was a polite knock on the door to the study. Barbara walked over and opened the door and Jean entered carrying a large ginger fluffy cat and ball of knitting. She wore a tweed jacket with a smart skirt and blouse.
“There seems to have been a murder!” exclaimed Jean.
Finn wandered through the Fairweather’s house lost and confused. He was looking for clues that would help solve the case and every guest had a piece of information that may, or may not, help solve the case. There was a titbit given to him by one of the other guests that Reverend Grun knew who had access to the poison. If Finn had that information he would be extremely close to working out who the murderer was.
Glancing around, he saw Poe sat on a sofa as BB8 cuddled up closer to him. He smiled. It was such a cute image. Poe suddenly glanced up and spotted Finn staring. He smiled brightly and motioned for Finn to come over. “My Lord Bentham! Buddy! Would you care to join me?”
Finn nodded gratefully and wandered over. He leaned closer to give BB8 a stroke, smelling Poe’s cologne. It was a woody fragrance that Finn found soothed his anxious soul. He leaned back, smiling awkwardly gazing into Poe’s beautiful dark brown eyes. Poe gazed back before quickly looking away. “You… uh seem lost, buddy,” said Poe. “Is there anything I can help with?”
Finn’s brain stalled at first. Conversation.exe was not loading quickly enough. “Uh…. I don’t suppose you’ve seen where Reverend Grun has got to? I’ve been told they’ve got access to who bought the poison in the first place because someone confessed in confessions.”
“Reverend Grun? You’ve just missed them… they’re taking a break outside for a… um nicotine break?”
“They’re smoking outside?”
“Yeah. I was trying not to break character. I have no idea if reverends can smoke!” laughed Poe. “They said they would be back in 5!”
Finn relaxed. “I can wait for them. Have you found anything out Marcus…?”
“Mark Hunter,” politely corrected Poe. “Well, I have some very important information I’ve found out… We’re likely suspects!”
Poe gleefully imparted his knowledge to Finn. “Well, according to Angie the Cook, I was caught by the victim climbing through a second-floor window with a grappling hook.”
Finn made a face of mock surprise. “Mr Hunter! What do you think you were doing? I hope you weren’t stealing. I’ll dock your pay!”
Poe laughed. “No, this is where it gets interesting. The window I was seen climbing through was your very own bedroom window…”
“It’s still very suspicious. You still could be stealing from me!”
“I doubt it. I was seen clambering into your window at 12.55am but then spotted leaving your room at 5.20am by one of the servants who was on fire lighting duty.”
Finn flicked quickly through his script book. “Earlier someone said that I have a wife but she knows that I have a secret relationship with somebody but not whom…” Finn felt his cheeks feeling warmer at the thought. “Does that mean… we are… you know… romantically involved?” he whispered bashfully.
Poe nodded with the biggest smirk on his face.
“Don’t start!” warned Finn.
“There are a lot of worse people that you could’ve had a secret relationship with! At least it’s not Mr Henderson … or I guess I mean your uncle!” Poe teased.
Finn laughed. “True… How are we the top suspects to have murdered my uncle?” he quickly changed the subject hoping to quell his rapidly beating heart.
“Ah well, you see according to Miss Marple, Mr Henderson was supposedly your elderly Uncle who knew about our relationship and was using it to blackmail you to give him a nice little house in the country.”
“Yes. Now we just need to find out who had access to the poison to find out if it was us or somebody else.”
Across the room, Jean handed the Lady Bentham a gold envelope. Another clue had been released! Lady Bentham opened up the envelope and screamed. “I can’t believe I’ve just found my husband in bed with the groundsman!”
The room playfully gasped and tittered wondering what revelations would come next.
BB8 lolloped towards Poe with a gold envelope stuck in his collar.
“What’s this, buddy?” Poe asked whilst pulling the envelope out. He ripped it open and read the information it beheld.
“Wait a minute… this changes everything! Miss Marple! Inspector Lemm… I think I’ve solved the mystery!” he shouted with giddy excitement coursing through his veins.
The party went deadly silent as everybody stopped talking to hear who had supposedly killed Mr Henderson. All eyes were on Poe. Poe felt the anxiety bubble in his stomach. He hoped he was correct. He cursed himself for not properly thinking it through. He had been overcome with such a rush of adrenaline that he simply had to solve the mystery despite how he was 68% sure he was correct.
“Who do you think did it?” asked Jean
“It was Lady Bentham!”
The crowd gasped and tittered. This was a bold claim… Lady Bentham did not have a bold motive for murdering Lord Bentham’s Uncle.
“Why do you say that, poppet?”
“Because the card that BB8 was carrying stated that Lady Bentham actually knew that her husband was having an affair with the groundsman since Christmas therefore not tonight, the day of the murder, as she claimed” explained Poe. “We also know that the murderer had access to the rat poison bought by Angie the Cook. Either she had the keys being Lady of the house, or could use her influence to make one of the maids to do it for her.”
“It’s all very sound logic so far,” agreed Jean. “Do you have anything else?”
“Well, we know that Lord Bentham’s uncle wasn’t actually meant to be murdered that it was an accident but it works out perfectly. I think she knew about the blackmail and used it to cover her tracks. If Lord Bentham was arrested then he would finally be without a cheating husband but still live in the life she was accustomed to… am I right?”
“Let’s see what Lady Bentham says,” Jean replied handing the final golden envelope to Lady Bentham. Lady Bentham opened the envelope.
“I murdered Lord Bentham’s uncle!” cried Lady Bentham and pointed her finger at Poe. “And I would’ve got away with it if it wasn’t for you and your dumb dog!”
The other party guests clapped loudly. Poe smiled with relief. His hunch was correct.
“Since it’s still only just turned 10 pm, why don’t we crack open some more bottles of wine, crank the music up louder and let’s really celebrate Archie’s birthday in style!” exclaimed Jean.
The guests cheered wildly.
“I’m glad you said that!” beamed Jean.
Chapter 20: Shall We Dance?
Things really get going at Archibald's party once somebody gets the music blasting.
‘Build me up Buttercup’ played on the record player at full volume. The chairs and tables had been pushed to the sides to create a makeshift dance floor. Poe found an empty sofa and sat down watching the other party guests booging with glee. He watched Jean with a smile. She had Archibald in her arms and danced, gently swaying from side to side. A body slid in and sat next to him. Poe turned his head and smiled warmly. Finn smiled handing Poe an orange drink that bubble and fizzed softly.
“A penny for your thoughts?” he asked.
“I was just thinking that I needed a drink from an exceedingly handsome waiter!” Poe playfully teased, nudging Finn in the shoulder.
Poe laughed. “Thanks, Finn! What is it? A Fanta?”
“Something even better!” boasted Finn. “I like to call it a Virgin Buck’s Fizz.”
Poe raised his eyebrow. “Oh yes?” he asked. “What’s in that?”
“Basically, orange squash but instead of being mixed with water it’s been mixed with Sprite.”
“Well, it certainly sounds interesting.” He raised his glass and nodded his thanks to Finn. He took a sip. His face contorted. “Jesus Christ!” he gasped “That’s so much sugar!”
“I’m so sorry! Is it too much? I can get you another drink…”
Poe grinned delightedly. “I love it!” he exclaimed. “Why have I never thought to mix the two together before?”
Finn playfully nudged Poe “Because you sir, have never experienced this excellent drink made by a close family friend who believes in giving a child all the sugar, to become an absolute legend to the child!”
“Chewie invented it?”
“I’m not entirely sure if he did invent it, but my mum hit the roof when she found out.”
“I bet she did!” laughed Poe. “My mother never allowed anything sugary in the house, so naturally I rebelled and would snaffle sweets wherever I could get them.”
‘Build me up Buttercup’ finally came to its gradual end. One of the party guests, Sam from the beginner’s class rushed over to the record collection and selected a new song. Trumpets blared and tooted a jolly tune, giving an air of the 1920’s and speakeasies.
“I can’t believe it’s Glenn Miller’s ‘the Charleston’!” Poe leapt to his feet and held his hand out to Finn. “Would you care to have this dance, Mr Organa?”
Finn took his hand. “With pleasure!”
They found a place on the dancefloor. They started dancing the Charleston in the tight space they had created for themselves. They scissor stepped in time perfectly mirroring their swivels. They waved their arms high and low. They hopped and spun around. Poe nodded at Finn. He jumped into his arms, stretching out straight like a plane. Finn spun Poe around.
The music stopped. It abruptly changed to a much slower song. Finn gently placed Poe back in the floor. They bashfully smiled at one another. Poe held out his hands. “I’d be rude not to, I guess.”
“I guess so,” Finn replied holding his hand and placing his other hand on Poe’s back. They slowly swayed ironically in time to the music.
“I’m not in love…” sung the record.
Dread churned in Poe’s stomach. Oh no, it was a love song. This changed everything. He didn’t want to make things awkward between them, especially if everybody thought they were romantically linked.
“Um… do you want to keep dancing?” asked Poe.
Finn smiled kindly. “It’s not as if we’ve not slow danced before. The rumba’s pretty slow!”
Poe laughed quietly. “That’s true. It just feels kinda awkward… like high school dances!”
Finn laughed. “If it was I’d be doing this,” He gently draped his arms around Poe’s neck and stepped closer. Their cheeks became close, barely touching. Poe could feel the warmth of Finn’s skin. Poe couldn’t lie to himself. This felt pretty good.
“I would be wearing a fluorescent green suit!” blurted Poe.
Finn tilted his head and looked at Poe with bemusement. “You’re kidding, right?”
“We all make our own mistakes.”
Poe watched Finn’s face crumpled into laughter. He felt his heart feel like it was a million times lighter by shooting beams of sunshine into the ether. Poe was truly under Finn’s magical spell. He silently prayed that Finn was oblivious to how much power he held over him. Poe would do anything for the absolute cinnamon roll he held in his hands. One simple two-letter word was all it took to destroy Poe. It would tear him apart. This power also worked the other way. By not telling him the truth, it was slowly destroying Poe on the inside. It was the constant longing and agony when Finn wasn’t there or the anxiety about what if he’d read the signs wrong. His impulsive brain longed to be rid of the pain. He glanced at Finn who looked so blissful and serene swaying along. Just kiss him. Kiss him you damn fool and end this agony, the voice in his head told him. He leaned closer to Finn. Their lips were millimetres apart. He stopped.
Chapter 21: It Must Be Love?
Poe has to face the music sometime or later.
Poe let go of Finn’s waist.
“I just need to get some air” he whispered.
He strode out of the room and through to the kitchen where the back door was conveniently unlocked. There was a small porch with a black plastic garden table and four plastic chairs. He sat in one of the chairs and ran his hands through his hair. This was the absolute worst! Not only was Poe too scared to kiss Finn, but he was too scared to face the consequence. He could be a cold-hearted bastard sometimes.
He sat there and nervously fidgeted with his hair, unknowingly messing his hair up so bad he looked like he had decided to wear a bird’s nest as a hat. He had to back inside and apologize. It was, after all, the right thing to do. The only issue was getting his body to respond.
“Come on, Dameron!” he muttered to himself. “You can do this. It’s not hard.”
He counted to three. He counted to three again. On the third attempt, he stood up. He turned around.
Finn was stood in the doorway with a face full of concern. “I was checking if you were okay?”
“Yeah, sorry buddy. I’m… okay. I’m just being silly. I’m sorry about before, that was a major dick move on my behalf!”
“You know… leaning in close, almost kissing you and then running away. I’m sorry Finn. The thing is, I like you, Finn. Like a lot. Like more than a friend like. Like you, like you!” he gushed without thinking.
The words rolled away from his tongue so quickly, he couldn’t stop them. He felt his cheeks flush. This was so awkward but the words were out there now. There wasn’t anything he could do now. He watched Finn’s reaction. He looked shocked and confused. Oh no, this was very bad. He had to abort.
“So yeah… Anyway… uh… I’d better go and look for BB8. I think he’s with Barbara…” He quickly turned away and started stepping towards the garden.
“Poe! Wait!” Finn called “You’ve left something!”
Poe stopped and patted his trouser pockets down. Phone, key, wallet, poo bags. Nope, not them. They were all there. He turned around. Before he could go anywhere, Finn gently took hold of his shoulders and pulled him into a kiss. Finn’s kissing was as soft and as gentle as his embrace. Once the shock had disappeared, Poe closed his eyes and melted into the kiss. After a few moments, Finn pulled away. Poe blinked back into reality. His brain was struggling with processing what had just happened.
Finn bashfully smiled. “I like you too, Poe. I really wanted to kiss you before. I was so worried that I had made things awkward.”
“You didn’t make things awkward. I made things awkward!” Poe took Finn’s hand and stroked the back of his hand with his thumb. “I was worried that I had ruined things between us by being stupidly reckless and impulsive again. You’re one of the best things I’ve got in my life and I would do anything to protect it.”
Finn smiled again. “Likewise!”
A smile grew across Poe’s lips. “I’m so pleased that you like me too. I was very afraid that you wouldn’t but I’m so pleased that you do. You like me! You actually like me…?”
“Poe?” interrupted Finn.
“Shut up and kiss me again!”
Poe smiled. “As you wish!” he whispered, wrapping his arms around the boy who danced like he was made of fire and starlight and pulled him into another kiss. Finn draped his arms around Poe’s shoulders. He ran his fingers through Poe’s thick curly locks. It was an indulgent but passionate kiss that they both melted into. It was like soft crashing waves under a clear but starry night sky. Poe ran his hands slowly down Finn’s back, etching his silhouette with his fingertips. It was both magical and special.
“Lovely night isn’t it?” remarked Jean.
Startled, they pulled away quickly from the kiss and turned around. They saw Jean with the biggest shit-eating grin on her face. Poe felt his cheeks flush deeply again. Well, this was … awkward.
Poe rubbed the back of his neck and bashfully looked at the floor. He laughed awkwardly. “Yeah… yeah, it is, Jean,” he mumbled.
Finn gently took hold of his hand with a gentle squeeze. It’s okay, I’m with you, the squeeze conveyed. Poe smiled a small gracious smile at Finn.
Jean clasped her hands together. “I’d better leave you two love birds to it. Don’t stay out too long without a coat, there’s a bit of a chill in the air!” She opened the backdoor and stepped through. Even though the door had closed it was still possible to hear her.
“Barbara!” she cried “You better get your marigolds ready! You’ll never guess who I saw snogging on the porch!”
“I have a feeling that someone has been trying to set us up!” laughed Finn.
Poe buried his face into Finn’s shoulders. “If we stay here, do you think anyone will find us?”
“Unfortunately, I think that my purple suit will stand out too much.”
“That’s a shame,” Poe mumbled as he cuddled closer to Finn. “You’re so comfy!”
“We’ll have to face the music sometime.”
Chapter 22: Good Mornin'
Finn and Poe are rudely interrupted from their goodnight (technically good morning) kiss.
Poe drove Finn and BB8 back to the Organa residence. He was fully elated to be finally spending some alone time with Finn again. The rest of the party, surprisingly, was not as bad as Poe had envisioned. Although, it was vastly improved by holding Finn’s hand for the remainder of the party. As it turns out, a majority of the beginner dance class had been placing bets on when they would get together. Jean was very gleeful in the fact she was also twenty quid up. It felt so absurd that a majority of the beginner’s class could be more observant than both Finn and Poe combined, who had spent all their free time for the past 8 weeks together.
“I can’t believe that in less than 24 hours, we’ll be in Blackpool! Finn smiled. “I’m so excited but I’m also so scared… I’ve never danced in front of so many people and there’s going to be a lot of people. What if I mess up?”
“That’s the beauty of what we do, buddy,” replied Poe. “If we mess up, we’ll pretend that it was all part of the performance. They won’t be able to compare federation approved steps to what we do.”
“You’re right! They can’t tell us what to dance!”
Finn smiled and watched the lampposts race past his window. “I’m pleased that the beginner’s class are also competing at Blackpool. It’s nice that we all started together and celebrate the competition together.”
“Even the Fairweathers?” joked Poe.
“Especially the Fairweathers! If it wasn’t for them, we’d still have awkward crushes on each other.”
“Who’s to say I don’t still have an awkward crush on you!” laughed Poe. “I still can’t believe you like me”
“Of course I do, you muppet! What’s not to like?”
“Do you want the list?” joked Poe.
Finn rolled his eyes. “No self-deprecating humour tonight! I’ve just decided that it’s not allowed.”
“Aw,” Poe sighed sarcastically “that’s like half my best material!”
“Well tough, it looks like you’ll just have to find better material then!”
“Okay, okay I got one… Did you hear about the magic tractor?”
Poe smiled with a huge shit-eating grin and paused for dramatic effect. “It turned into a field!”
Finn groaned. “That’s worse!”
Poe cackled delightedly.
They pulled up outside Finn’s house.
Finn sighed taking off his seatbelt. “I swear the journey going was much longer. I don’t want to say goodnight yet!”
Poe glanced at the clock on the dashboard. It glowed an eerie blue 2.08 am. “Technically, it should be good morning.” He started whistling Good Morning from Singin’ in the Rain.
Finn laughed. “You’re such a dork!”
“But I’m your dork!” Poe grinned cheesily.
They both laughed and sighed. There was an awkward silence between them.
“Thanks for the lift again.”
“No problems, buddy” Poe replied.
Finn leaned forward towards Poe. “Good morning, Poe!” he whispered.
Poe smiled looking at his lips and leaned in closer for a kiss. Finn gently placed his hand on Poe’s cheek and kissed him back. They stopped but didn’t pull away. Their foreheads and noses still touched.
“I don’t think I could ever get used to kissing you, Poe”
Poe looked deep into Finn’s dark brown eyes and smiled back “That’s good buddy, because neither can I!”
Poe softly kissed Finn’s temple and then the corner of his mouth. Finn smiled and kissed his cheek in return.
The moment was ruined with a loud crash and angry vomit of swear words. Finn and Poe broke away to look at where the noise was coming from. There was a dark figure flopped over a wheelie bin near the side of the house. There was garbage all over the drive. The figure furiously jumped to their feet and started throwing full bin bags at the wall. The bin bags tore on impact and spread even more rubbish across the drive.
Finn quickly opened the door. “I have to go, Ben always get rather aggressive when he’s drunk!” He leapt out of the car and dashed towards his brother. Poe watched, Finn trying to place his arm around the drunken man’s shoulder but Kylo Ren started spewing more insults and aggression at his supposed brother. It was clear he did not want help from a lowlife backstabber like Finn. On instinct, Poe clambered of the car and rushed over to help Finn.
“Come on, Ben!” pleaded Finn “You’re gonna wake everyone up!”
“My name’s not Ben!” he yelled “It’s Kylo Ben…Ren you wart!” He swung a punch at Finn but Poe was just in time to grab Kylo’s furious fist before any damage was done.
“Hey! Did your mom ever tell you not to hit your brother?” snarked Poe.
Kylo waved his hands dramatically in the air. “Of course, he’s here!” he slurred. Kylo widened his stance to regain his balance. He threw a punch at Poe’s face, hitting him square in the jaw. Poe stumbled back, nearly stumbling over the wheelie bin. Stars, that hurt! His hand automatically went to his lips, checking if there was any blood. There didn’t seem to be any blood, not to Poe’s knowledge but holy hell, it was sore. He’d be lucky if there was only a small bruise in the morning.
“Ben!” hissed Finn “What the hell did you do that for?!”
“He shouldn’t be here!” Kylo snarled. He lurched forward for another attack but Finn grabbed his shoulders. Kylo yanked from his pull. “Let go of me!” he cried.
There was a cry of dogs barking and the lights in the Organa household switched on. Han marched out in his dressing gown and slippers. “Who’s making this racket at this time in the night?” he paused, stopping in his tracks when he saw Kylo Ren wriggling free from Finn’s grasp. He wobbled and regained his balance.
“What are you doing here?” Han asked.
“I know what you’re planning!” slurred Kylo.
“Well, obviously!” sighed Han exasperatedly “You were there at your mom and mine’s anniversary. Does your dance teacher not approve?”
“He offers an ultimatum. Stay away from Blackpool and the championships. All of you! He says that if you’re not dancing federation steps then the federation won’t dance for you!” Kylo jabbed one of his stubby fingers into Finn’s chest “This competition is for big boys only!”
“You can’t stop us that easily!” snarled Poe.
“Look, Ben just come inside, I’ll drive you back home in the morning!” said Han firmly.
“It’s Kylo!” he shouted. He shoved Poe of his way and into the wall then he ploughed through the garbage on the drive. He continued stumbling away from the house loudly muttering.
Han sighed and shook his head. “That kid is going to be the death of me, one of these days!” he muttered. Han Solo bent down and picked up the tipped over wheelie bin and then started picking up the rubbish.
“Surely we should help him get home?” asked Finn.
“There’s no point! He doesn’t want our damn help so why should we give him it?” replied Han.
Han picked up more pieces of rubbish and angrily threw it back in the wheelie bin where it belonged. Finn and Poe helped clear up the rubbish on the driveway and soon the remnants of Kylo’s visit had been quickly tidied away to recent memory.
Han yawned and rubbed his face. “I’m going to head back in and try and get some sleep. I suggest you both say goodnight. We’ve got a long drive first thing!” Han turned back towards the house and headed inside.
Finn immediately turned and looked at Poe with concern “Are you hurt?” asked Finn.
Poe rubbed his arm. “It’s not anything I’m not used to. Just a little bruised, that’s all”
“I’m sorry about Ben hurting …”
Poe held Finn by the shoulders. “You shouldn’t apologise for your brother. He’s the massive jerk. Not you!”
“I know but he’s still my brother. Anyway, thank you for your help.”
Poe let go and shrugged. “I just had to make sure you would be okay.”
Finn smiled and took his hand and squeezed it. A jolt of electricity burst through his hand and made butterflies circle warm feeling in his stomach. Was there ever going to be a time that Poe would not feel like both internally combusting and melting into a puddle when Finn held his hand? Probably, over time, but right now, everything was tingly and new. The most beautiful guy in the universe liked Poe. He was simply giddy with joy thinking about it. The night felt long and the future seemed full of possibilities. However, there was still a long drive to Blackpool.
“I should probably go and actually get some sleep” sighed Poe.
“You should! We don’t want a crabby sleep-deprived Poe Dameron if we can avoid it!” Finn playfully prodded Poe in the chest.
“Do I still get my goodnight kiss?” teased Poe.
“Don’t you mean good morning?” laughed Finn
Finn gently brushed Poe’s curls with his spare hand. He leaned in and kissed Poe. He pulled away and smiled adorably. “Good morning, Poe Dameron!” he whispered.
“Good morning, buddy” Poe whispered back. He stroked Finn’s face with his thumb. “Call me when you get to Blackpool?”
Poe smiled gratefully and leaned closer to kiss Finn’s forehead. He then pulled away and started slowly meandering to his car, goofily stopping to wave at Finn every so often. After a while, Poe eventually climbed back into his car and waved one more time before driving away. He switched the radio on. I Believe in a Thing Called Love started playing so Poe cranked the volume up and sang along heartily. Poe had a feeling that Blackpool was going to be absolutely fantastic this year.
Chapter 23: Have a Nice Day
Poe bumps into someone he doesn't want to.
Hills of the British countryside rolled past Poe’s car windows. It reminded him of the Shires and how pleasant it would be to live in a hobbit hole. This was probably because he was listening to the Hobbit audiobook on his car’s CD player. Not that he was listening to it. Poe found his mind musing about Finn and the night earlier only to be brought out of that pleasant thought because the ogres were about to have dwarf for supper.
He drove along the M6 which had become a living hell since some politician decided that turning the motorway into a ‘Smart Motorway’ would be a smashingly good idea. It was not. Poe wasn’t entirely sure what a ‘Smart Motorway’ was- it wasn’t a technological revolution but seemingly more about ripping the hard shoulder up and turning it into a fourth lane for the motorway. He chugged down the infuriating piece of tarmac, following what seemed like the entirety of Manchester, barely reaching over 40 miles per hour only to find that some idiot would undertake him.
When Poe got the chance, Poe stopped at several service stations so that both himself and BB8 could have a toilet break and stretch their legs. At the Charnock Richards service station, Poe headed inside briefly to pick up some more water for BB8 and the most sugary and caffeinated coffee he could find, hoping that it would help him stay awake for the last leg of the journey. Last night had been one of the best nights he had ever experienced which meant that Poe was not able to sleep with all the excitement it had created. He was also desperate to see Finn again and would rather not die in a horrific accident on the motorway just because he fell asleep when driving.
Poe finished stirring the last of eight packet sugars into his triple espresso when he looked up and caught the eye of a blonde-haired woman with the most shimmery, mesmerising golden dress paired with a leather jacket. Oh god, it was Selina. Poe quickly grabbed his coffee and started to head towards the exit, hoping that Selina wouldn’t recognise him.
“Poe?” Selina called. Too late.
Poe turned around with a fake smile plastered to his face. “Hi, Selina.”
“Funny running into you like this!” she cooed.
Poe tensed up. “It is. Well, it’s been lovely talking to you but I have to make sure BB8 is okay,” he laughed awkwardly. He tried side-stepping her but Selina blocked his path. She wrapped her fingers around his wrist, almost flirtatiously. Her sparkly golden manicured nails sparkled like diamonds underneath the artificial light. Selina’s touch was so gentle that he could barely feel them but Poe knew Selina well enough to know that Selina wouldn’t allow Poe to leave until she said so.
He sighed. “What do you want Selina?”
“What? I don’t want anything!”
Selina rolled her eyes. “You know what? Fine. I got dropped by Phasma last minute and I need a dance partner and I guess I’m trying to say that I suppose I forgive you for the finals.”
“You suppose you forgive me?!” spluttered Poe in disbelief.
“Look, can we stop this silly argument and go back to how we were before the finals. Blackpool’s not going to be the same without you,” she whined.
“Because you’ve got nobody to dance with otherwise!”
“You’re being cynical!”
“And I’ve got every right to be cynical! You decided to leave our partnership and to dance with Phasma because of what happened at the finals.”
“Because you left me no choice! You totally humiliated me dancing those bloody silly steps!” she cried. “You danced non-federation steps and you forced me to comply because I am the follower. I don’t lead the dance!”
“We were boxed in by Kylo Ren and Armitage Hux! If I had barged them away it would have been an instant disqualification!”
“Well, you got us disqualified anyway!”
“Only because Snoke is a rat-faced lily-livered arsehole!” Poe shouted. The rest of the service café went quiet. Poe mumbled a sorry and stepped closer to Selina. “He’s had his own way for far too long and you can’t regulate dancing in such an extreme way as he does” he whispered.
“Poe, sweetie, calm down, you’re making a scene!”
Exasperated, Poe took a swig of his coffee. “I hope you enjoy your coffee, Selina” he politely said before leaving. He felt every single pair of eyes that watched his every move as he left the café in the service station. He tried to act that the whole event didn’t bother him, after all, Selina wasn’t worth his time especially if she was going to act like that.
Chapter 24: Seaside Rendezvous
Much seaside fun in Blackpool before the competition.
“I can’t believe she said that!” laughed Finn.
Finn, Poe and Rey had immediately met up as soon as they’d all reached Blackpool. Poe had dropped BB8 with Chewie, Han and Leia, who were going to spend the afternoon taking the dogs to the beach and walk along part of the 7-mile golden promenade. The young ones, as Han had called them, were hoping to catch some of the rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
Poe had Finn and Rey in fits of laughter with his pretty accurate impression of his former dance partner. He had, after all, 10 years of practice. Their laughter helped dissipate his anger. It also helped pass the time as they waited in the long queue for the Big One, Europe’s tallest rollercoaster.
“I still can’t believe you say you love rollercoasters but have never been on the Big One!” Poe teased Rey.
“The last time we came here, we were both knee-high to a grasshopper. Finn lost his tooth on the old Noah’s Ark ride and he got so upset that the tooth fairy wouldn’t come so mum had to tell him that he would just have to write a letter to explain where the tooth was!” replied Rey.
“I remember that,” Finn joined in. “I also remember that you also wrote a letter despite not being old enough to have any wobbly teeth. You got jealous that you wouldn’t get any money from the tooth fairy!”
“It worked!” Rey smirked proudly. “I got 20p from the tooth fairy!”
“Well I got 50p for actually losing a tooth so ner!” he stuck his tongue out at his sister. Rey waggled her tongue in retaliation.
Poe laughed. “I can’t believe you two!”
They eventually reached the front of the queue and were lucky enough to grab the front seats of the rollercoaster. It was, naturally, the best seat of the ride whatever people claimed. The overhead clasps locked them into their seats. Poe glanced over at his two companions. Rey looked stoked and so excited that she could probably burst out from her seat. Finn was the complete opposite and looked rather anxious. He took hold of both Poe’s and Rey’s hands for comfort. The sirens blared announcing that the rollercoaster was going to start.
“See you on the other side!” Poe shouted over the sound of his loud beating heart.
The coaster pulled back into the docking area where they had started. Finn’s knuckles were nearly white from how tightly he clenched Rey’s and Poe’s hands.
“Oh my god, Finn! Are you okay?” anxiously asked Poe.
Finn didn’t answer immediately away. It took some time for him to word properly. “That was… AMAZING!” he gleefully gushed.
Poe sighed with relief. “Thank goodness! You were screaming so loud I thought you were in pain!”
“Or that you weren’t strapped in properly!” added Rey.
Finn shook his head. “I wanna do it again!”
“Maybe, we can ride it again later, buddy? I’ve still got to win you the biggest soft toy on the tin can game yet!”
“Not if I get there first!” Rey smirked.
“We are so on, Organa!” exclaimed Poe. “You may be the hotshot queen but I am the king of the arcade games! The stars are looking down on me!”
“It’s three o’clock in the afternoon, Dameron!” replied Rey smugly.
“Just because you can’t see the stars doesn’t mean that they’re not there! I’m so gonna win this!”
They wandered back down the promenade as the sun was quickly setting in its autumnal hurry. The twinkling lights of the illuminations were starting to be switched on and helped guide their way back to their hotel rooms. They carried their wins. Finn was carrying a very large child-sized Scooby-Doo plushie. Rey held her comically large squeaky inflatable mallet over her shoulder. Poe threw away the empty packet of fun-sized Haribo Starmix in a nearby bin.
“I swear those machines and games were fixed!” exclaimed Poe bitterly.
“You’re just jealous that I won the Scooby-Doo toy first try!” smirked Rey.
Finn rubbed Poe’s back consolatory. “At least you did win something in the end!”
“Only because we barely scraped enough tickets together from the arcade games to win the smallest bag of sweets that I have ever seen!”
Rey laughed. “There’s always next time.”
Poe started muttering and mumbling under his breath as if he was Muttley the dog.
Rey laughed harder. “You’re so dramatic, Poe!”
They eventually reached Finn and Rey’s hotel, Burracombe House. It was one of the many seaside boarding houses that lined the promenade. This particular one looked like it had been last redecorated in the 1970s with gaudy flower carpets and lime green walls with matching interior. Leia, Han and Chewie sat in large velvet green sofas by the gas-lit fire in the dog-friendly lounge. Poe immediately spotted the three hounds, curled up close to one another fast asleep.
“Looks like you’ve worn them all out! How far did you take them?” remarked Poe.
Han shrugged. “A few kilometres.”
“It was more than that!” argued Leia “We got lost and added 3 miles to the already long walk!”
“You said you wanted to take the scenic route and we went the way the map told us. You decided to cut a corner off!”
“J'ai dit que nous aurions dû tourner à gauche au tourniquet!”
“Hey, don’t you start!” cried Han.
“You’re being ridiculous Han Solo” sighed Leia.
Leia shook her head. It was clear. Han Solo was an idiot. One thing was certain though, Han Solo was her idiot.
“I’d better get this sleepy little pupper back to my hotel room. Thank you for looking after him!” said Poe as he gently scooped up the sleeping corgi in his arms.
“It was our pleasure!” smiled Leia.
Poe bid his goodbyes and started heading towards the exit.
“Wait!” called out Finn “I’ll walk back to the hotel with you. We can’t have anything happening to the world’s greatest corgi or the third-best dancer in the universe?”
“Only third best?” teased Poe
“Mum and Dad are joint first, obviously.”
“Obviously!” smirked Poe in retaliation.
They walked along the promenade. It was late evening and now fully dark outside. It seemed that there was a handful of stars out, but on closer inspection, they were actually aeroplanes. The bright and colourful lights of Blackpool illuminations lit their way. The lights brought joy and comfort to even the iciest of hearts during the darkest part of the year.
The illuminations were Poe's favourite treat when he was little. When it was the night before the championship, Poe would sneak out with his father and they would drive along the entirety of the promenade to watch the bright lights speed past their windows. There were flying pies, art deco mermaids and everyone's favourite McDonald's characters (that nobody could remember their names other than Ronald). Since Poe's mother wasn't there, Poe got to sit in the front seat and was, therefore, the best seat to watch the lights Poe's favourite, however, were always the ginormous scenes with animatronics. There was an Alice in Wonderland one with a huge caterpillar sat on the mushroom blowing out letters in smoke, an ancient Egypt inspired one where a rotting mummy jumped out of the tomb scaring passers-by and even a garden one with a colossal worm popping out of a flower pot. When they had driven along the entire route, Poe's father would always pull into McDonald's and they would have a sneaky McFlurry. Poe's father always had the plain dairy milk one and Poe always had the Smarties one. Poe and his father would then sneak back into wherever they were staying and pretend that nothing would happen, after all, Poe's mother did not support and vulgar tourist traps or sugar and fast food chains.
It felt magical just being back under the millions of lightbulbs even if they were walking along part of the promenade. The lights twinkled alongside streams of traffic slowly making their way down. Of course, thought Poe, it may be because darling Finn was also there. Poe dropped one hand to his side, carrying BB8 in his other arm. He silently prayed their hands would brush together. Finn wrapped his fingers around Poe's and squeezed his hand. Poe felt his heart explode with excitement.
"God, it's like you've got a crush on me or something!" teased Finn playfully.
Poe stuck his tongue out. Finn laughed. They continued walking along the prom, hand in hand and talked about everything and nothing. Eventually, they reached the bed and breakfast that Poe had booked into.
"Do you want to come in for a drink ... Not in a have sex with me way!" Poe laughed awkwardly as he realised what he had said. "As in I've got some sachets of hot chocolate smuggled into my case I was hoping we could share?"
Finn shook his head and laughed bemusedly at Poe's rambles. "As much as that sounds amazing, I really should be getting back. I'm absolutely shattered!"
"Completely understand, buddy. We've got a long weekend ahead of us and we both know that your mom will kill me if you're too tired to compete!"
Finn laughed. "She can't be swayed from the thinking champions get 8 good hours of sleep! Not that I got any last night."
Finn smiled bashfully. "I was terrified that last night was all a dream!"
Poe gently brushed Finn's cheek with his finger and softly kissed his lips. Finn smiled and gazed into Poe's eyes.
"Does this feel like a dream?" said Poe with as much suaveness and cockiness as the old Hollywood leading actors had.
Finn burst into a fit of giggles. "That was super cheesy, Poe!"
Poe laughed along and took Finn's hand in his spare hand. He squeezed it lightly. “I can't promise you many material things, but I can certainly promise as much cheesiness as you wish, buddy."
Finn smiled. "I couldn't ask for anymore!"
Poe smiled fondly back at Finn.
"No, I couldn't ask for any more... You're making me sick with all this mushiness!" joked Finn.
Poe shook his head. "That was such a bad joke!"
"Only the best for you, Poe!"
Finn leaned in closer and kissed Poe on the cheek.
"Goodnight, Poe," he whispered. He stroked the slumbering BB8's head.
"Goodnight, buddy!" Poe replied.
Chapter 25: Tradegy
Supreme Ballroom President Snoak intends to dissuade Poe from dancing with Finn. Will he get his way?
Tw: slight homophobia and violence mentioned
Poe entered the bed and breakfast he was staying in. The décor was perhaps not the best that Poe had seen. The owner had seemed to go on a "50 Shades of Brown " theme where despite everything, from the tiles on the floor to the walls to even the lampshades and decorations, were in varying different shades of brown but looked like they still didn't entirely match and look right together. Still, it was cheap and it would be the last place he would bump into anybody from the amateur dance scene. Especially his mother. She would be staying with everyone else, in the swankiest hotel in Blackpool.
There was a bored-looking teenager sat behind the desk. He wore the brown polo shirt uniform and had shocking pink hair. He looked up from the chunky archaic computer that was loudly sputtering showing it still worked, just about. "Are you in room 2?" he asked.
"Yes, I am" replied Poe cautiously.
"Your uncle's waiting for you in your room. He came earlier when you were out."
Panic built-in Poe's stomach. "My uncle?"
The boy nodded as if Poe was stupid. "Yeah, your uncle. He said it was meant to be a surprise but we have a policy of telling guests so no heart attacks occur. We don't have the insurance to cover that."
"That's so good to know," Poe added sarcastically. "I thought there would be a policy against inviting strangers into guests’ rooms!"
The boy shrugged nonchalantly. It was clear that this was not worth his pay scale and couldn't be bothered. He turned back towards his computer and started clicking keys furiously creating tinny dings. Poe wasn't going to get any more information from this pinball playing teen.
Poe raced up the stairs with his thoughts spinning. Who was in his room? Why had the idiot on the desk let them in? This went against so many safeguarding issues that he thought hotels would be accountable for. For once, Poe was pleased that Finn had declined his invite earlier. At least he would be safe. His worries led to the sleeping dog in his arms- what if they harmed him? He gently shook the corgi awake.
As much as he felt guilty for waking BB8 up, his logic remained true. If BB8 was awake, he would be able to run away from the first instance of danger. He placed the confused dog on the floor. BB8 could sense that there was something up and stayed near Poe’s heel.
Now for something to use as a weapon. He glanced around, surveying his options. What about one of the large potted plants on the window still? No, he would have one chance and then there would be a lot of cleaning up afterwards for the poor cleaner. His sturdy boots? He would get two chances but them if he had to run down the street he'd figured he wouldn’t have much chance from the tarmac on the road. There was a cleaner’s cart which had been left outside one of the rooms but it was packed with clean towels and fresh bedding. He couldn’t exactly smother the perpetrator. There was, however, a mop in a bucket, blocking the door to the shared bathroom to indicate that the floor was still drying. Poe looked around and could see no other alternative. He grabbed the mop and brandished it like a two-handed broad sword. He slowly walked along the small corridor to his room. BB8 softly padded along by his heel, his ears pricked up. It was clear that the door was slightly ajar as there was light from the room flooding out from the crack. They reached the door. Poe could hear a conversation on the other side of the room. There were at least two people in his room.
He signalled to BB8 to stay where he was and took a deep breath to settle his rising nerves and his racing heart. He shoulder barged the door open and flailed his mop around like a maniac. There was a cruel laugh. Poe hoped he had got the right room. He stopped flailing and looked around. It was his room but there was Kylo Ren sat by the desk drinking something out of his mug. He had a smirk on his face. On the bed, Supreme Ballroom President Snoke was propped up with pillows. His sparkly gold suit glinted irritatingly in Poe’s eyes. Poe’s nose stung with the sheer amount of aftershave that Snoke wore. He felt a headache brewing from it.
“Thank you, dear Kylo!” Snoke acknowledged with a sick smile. “You’ve certainly proved yourself tonight! Why don’t you take the rest of the night off? Take in the sights? See what Blackpool’s nightlife has to offer, huh?”
“I’d rather stay with you, master.” Kylo snarled.
“But you’ve been working so hard recently! You deserve it!”
Kylo glared at Poe. “He’s rather a slippery piece of work! He’s got my entire family round his disgusting little fingers!”
The Supreme Ballroom President held up his hand. “I insist Kylo. Have the night off!” he hissed.
Anger flickered in Kylo’s eyes. He stood up and drained the remnants of whatever was in his mug before smashing the mug with a heavy hand on the desk. Pieces of ceramics flew across the floor. Kylo marched towards the door and grabbed BB8’s collar dragging him into the room. BB8 yelped. Kylo stormed out of the door, slamming it so heavily behind him that the room shook for a few moments after. Poe felt anger bubbling in his stomach. He was ready to follow him. How dare Kylo treated his dog like that! He would make him pay!
“Oh to be young and so full of emotions,” Snoke sighed wistfully.
Poe spun back round in disbelief to what he had just heard. Snoke smiled. It was an unpleasant sort of smile, one that reminded Poe of those china dolls that are always prone to get possessed in the movies. Snoke patted encouragingly beside him on the bed.
“Why don’t you join me, Poe?”
Poe found himself sitting tentatively on the furthest edge away from Snoke. He looked around the room. To his absolute horror, he found that the desk and bedside tables were strewn with used coffee and sugar sachets, cast-off teaspoons and teabags, and empty UHT milk pots. The one remaining mug was in Snoke’s hand. There was a pile of empty biscuit packets and crumbs where Poe leaned back and placed his hand. Poe’s anger intensified, those were his free biscuits!
Snoke noted the look on Poe’s face. “I would offer you some refreshments but I’m afraid they got used up waiting for you.”
“Like they were yours to start with,” Poe muttered.
Snoke smiled, pretending he hadn’t heard Poe’s last comment. He sipped his drink with a loud slurp. “I suppose you’re wondering why I’m here Poe?”
“It’s not as if the thought’s crossed my mind.”
Poe’s sarcasm seemingly bounced over the Supreme Ballroom President’s head like an Olympic pole-vaulter clearing the highest bar and setting an all-new world record.
“How’s your mother, Poe?”
“She’s doing fine!”
Snoke sighed. “We both know that’s a lie, Poe. Everybody knows that since your little … disagreement, your mother has not been coping well. She’s had to cut dance classes since she doesn’t have enough staff to cover lessons and it’s heavily affected the business’ profits. If it keeps going at the current rate she may lose the dance school. That dance school has been her ultimate dream“.
Guilt churned in Poe’s stomach. He hadn’t considered this when he stormed out. Losing the business would break her.
“And don’t get me started about your father!” added Snoke. He shook his head sadly. “Such a shame what’s happened to him!”
“What’s happened to my father?” demanded Poe “Is he hurt? Has he relapsed? Has my mother left him?”
“Heavens! No!” cried Snoke “Your mother would never do such a thing! She’s too much of a traditionalist! But you are correct, your father has had another bout of depression because you left.”
Poe felt sick to the core. “No,” he whispered.
“It’s true Poe. You see Poe, you and your father are two peas in a pod. In fact, he was the greatest dancer I ever knew. He could have even been professional!”
“We both know that’s a lie,” argued Poe. “My father doesn’t dance!”
Snoke shook his head. “I would never lie to you, Poe.” He pulled his iPhone 10 out of his pocket. The golden case dazzled Poe’s eyes as much as the suit did. Snoke scrolled through his phone before pausing on what he was looking for. He smiled and handed his phone over to Poe. “One from the archives.”
Poe looked at the phone aghast. The photo featured a couple in ballroom hold. There was a man in a black suit with long tails and a woman in a bright red poufy full-length dress. Although the woman has long brown hair cascading in curls down her back rather than the bleach blonde short hair she had now, it was clear that it was his mother dancing. The man’s face could be seen from the profile. His hair had the same unruliness as Poe’s did and similar facial features to Poe apart from this man’s face had a sharper nose and a rounder chin. Like his father. Poe found it difficult to believe that this was a picture of his father, the man in the picture had a twinkle in his eye. Poe’s father never had such a twinkle. He pottered through life hoping to never be noticed. However, the evidence before Poe’s eyes disagreed.
“I don’t understand!”
Snoke took the phone away from Poe. “Your father was the greatest dancer this country had ever seen. It was an absolute disgrace that he never won the ballroom championship. He could dance any dance with such grace and precision. He was a beauty to watch and with your mother they were unstoppable. They were the ones to beat after Han Solo and Leia Organa retired from ballroom dancing so Leia could focus on being the ballroom president. Your mother and father were the favourites to win. That’s when you’re father got cocky.”
“My father is not like that… he would never say boo to a goose!” quibbled Poe.
“That’s what I thought! He threw caution to the wind and recklessly danced his own steps that day, thinking he was better than the federation. Unfortunately, I won the championship that year.”
“I don’t understand, if this was when Leia was the President surely he would have won?”
Snoke laughed. “You believe because she’s helping to train you to dance your own steps she would have approved of your father’s dancing? You’re so naïve! You know the reason why Leia Organa was forced out of the Presidency?”
“You voted her out!” argued Poe.
Snoke shook his head. “We voted her out because she was accepting bribery from dancers and bending the rules to ensure her favourites would win. She was the most corrupt President the Ballroom federation had known. We had to do something to stop her and when nobody else would step up to lead the federation that’s when I decided to hand in my dancing shoes and step in to lead. Without my firm changes to the rules and tighter regulations, the federations would be in ruins. Just look at what going against the federation did to your dear father!”
“What did it do?”
“Your father got disqualified from dancing and it completely broke your father. He went into a decade long depressive episode. But do you know what brought him out of it?”
Poe shook his head.
“It was you, Poe!”
Guilt continued to bubble in Poe’s stomach.
“Seeing you dance the federation steps and winning titles brought his spark back,” continued Snoke. “He never won the championship but then he dreamed that his darling boy would do what he could do. It absolutely destroyed him on the night ‘Captain’ Phasma came to trial and you were not only dancing non-federation steps but dancing with the adopted son of the corrupt President. It was as if he failed the championship twice.”
Poe glared at the Supreme Ballroom President. He was 78% sure that the man was lying. “Why are you here, Snoke?” he snarled.
The president chuckled. “Goodness me, I nearly forgot with this trundle down memory lane. I have a proposition for you. Come back to the federation and dance with Selina.”
Poe crossed his arms. “As if that’s going to happen.”
“But think about it, Poe,” murmured Snoke. “You were one of the most dedicated dancers the federation has ever taught all thanks to your mother’s diligent tutorage. You were one of the few worthy dancers for the championship.”
“What would I get if I agreed?”
“You could win the championship and correct all the mistakes you’ve made in the past 8 weeks. You’ll save your mother’s business because everyone will want to train where the champion did and your father will feel like he’s finally done something right. Selina would be happy to be able to dance again and it’s a crime to keep such a pretty young thing from the bright lights and the shining trophies.”
Snoke sat up from the pillows and swung his legs over the side of the bed where Poe was sat and edged closer to him. He wrapped his arm around Poe. Poe squirmed but could not escape the President’s iron-clad grip.
“After you win, you could dance with whoever you want!” Snoke whispered.
Poe tore Snoke’s arm off his shoulder and leapt up from the bed, distancing himself from the ballroom president. “But what about Finn? This would kill him. I won’t dance with anyone but Finn!”
“Who’d have thought that the adoptive son of Han Solo and Leia Organa would take up dancing after they drove their real son away by plotting their revenge on the federation? I suppose they had to shape somebody to do their evil bidding and he was just sitting around working for a supermarket. He’s too much of a coward to say no to mummy and daddy. Still, a dancing puppet would do the same job as dancing how he dances…”
“Finn Organa is not a coward and is one of the best dancers I’ve…”
“Ever danced with?” Snoke interrupted. “Give me a break, Finn Organa bends over backwards to please you and his parents by dancing… unique steps. Don’t argue with me Poe, my spy keeps me well informed. Which reminds me to congratulate your new budding romance.” Snoke paused to ponder.
“Oh it’s nothing!” replied Snoke “It’s just a shame that nobody else sees it that way.” He brought up his phone again, tapping frantically on the screen. “Aha, here it is… isn’t the free Wi-Fi wonderful here.” Snoke smiled his sickly sweet smile again before handing Poe the phone. Snoke had brought up the Ballroom Federation’s web forum which was actively visited by all the members of the federation. It was the hive for all federation gossip. He saw a grainy photograph of two men kissing inside a car. Good heavens, it was of Finn and Poe from last night.
The thread read:
Disgraceful Poe Dameron seduces corrupt ex- president’s adoptive son in a bid to win the championship.
Poe felt sick to the stomach. He knew it wasn’t true and knew that the forum was full of lies and misinformation. He knew he shouldn’t read every comment, that it would just make it worse, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away.
FleckleFickle: (6 hours ago)
Poe Dameron is an abusive piece of shit praying on Kylo Ren’s adoptive brother just to get back at him for winning at the finals! Competitive rivalry is all good and fun but this is taking it too far! He needs to see a doctor!
FieryStace: (6 hours ago)
authoritative_armitage: (5 hours ago)
It’s all true! I saw them at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. He couldn’t keep his hands off him. Disgustang!
Capt.Phasma: (4 hours ago)
WHAT UTTER DIRTY DIRTY DANCING! AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE TO THE NAME OF BALLROOM DANCING AND THE FEDERATION! THEY SHOULD BE ASHAMED! I’m glad that I saw the light before I signed the papers. Who knew how manipulative he could be?
mrbogopogo: (3 hours ago)
The federation is the victim here! Finn has jumped up the ranks too quickly and it’s all gone to his head. He’s never even danced in a competition before for crying out loud. We all know what happened to Poe in the finals, it’s absolutely wrong of him to seek his revenge this way. Whatever happened to good sportsmanship and playing by the rules????
Swing_King_55: (30 minutes ago)
Not to be homophobic but this is unholy! This is what happens when we let the gays dance together! I was all for same-sex couples with Kylo Ren and Armitage Hux showing how classy and refined it can be but this is too much! They shouldn’t force their sexuality down our throats… Think of the children! They are ruining their innocence. They should burn in hell!
Poe quickly wiped a tear from his eye, hoping that Snoke would not see. He felt his heart racing as he handed the phone back to the President.
"I hate to have to show you that but needs must!" sighed Snoke. "As president, it's my duty to protect every federation member and imagine how they would react if they saw you dancing together at the championship."
An image flooded Poe's mind. An angry mob ripping him away from his arms and beating him bloody.
"Finn's reputation would be blackened by it. He'd be stuck working in... Where is it again... Oh yes. Tesco's. I'm sure you'll agree, he's far too good for it but you'd be the reason why he's stuck there. He would resent you for that."
Poe knew that Finn hated where he worked but it was the only job he could get. Then again, he had plans to get out. Poe didn't want to completely destroy his future.
All of a sudden, Snoke clasped his hands together.
"I've digressed!" he exclaimed loudly. "I really ought to be getting back. Got a lot to prepare for the big competition!" Snoak laughed manically and stood up from the bed. He headed towards the door, stopping just before he opened the door. He turned back and smiled at Poe.
"I know it's a big decision for you but I'll trust you'll make the right decision!" Snoke opened the door, closing it softly behind him.
Poe curled up into a right ball on the bed and sobbed. The comments from the forum echoed in his ears and mixed with images he saw if his unemployed mother sadly staring at his father who was having one of his depressive spells. The image changed quickly to a bloody and bruised Finn.
His breathing was hitched and hiccupy as he felt the panic rise through his body like a demon rising from hell.
A snuffle and a kick on his forearms brought Poe out of his panic. He opened his eyes to see a very concerned looking corgi. BB8 scrabbled closer to Poe, forcing him to sit up. He buried his face into BB8's fur and continued to sob as he stroked his loyal friend's soft fur. BB8 wiggled closer. He licked away the tears on his face.
"What would I do without you, buddy?" remarked Poe as he wiped the remaining tears away with his hand. He kissed BB8's forehead gently and scratched him behind his ear. The corgi gazed upon him with huge brown eyes. He seemed to be pleading.
"I'm so sorry buddy, I need to do this."
Poe pulled his phone out of his pocket. Dread filled his belly as quickly as the high tide filling a bay. BB8 whimpered. Poe stroked him. "Shhh. It's gonna be okay!" he soothed.
He pressed dial on the screen and waited for what seems like an eternity for the other end to be picked up. Eventually, he got through.
"Hi. Selina? I've been thinking about what you said early and was wondering if it was not too late to get the old team back together?"
Chapter 26: It Must Have Been Love (But It's Over Now)
The day of the competition finally dawns.
It was the day of the competition. It had seemed like everybody who was anybody had descended upon the esteemed ballroom in the Blackpool Tower. As a famous dancing TV show once put it, it was the "home of ballroom dancing". The floor was roughly 30 metres in length and width, you could easily fit a whole heard of elephants in there. The shiny floorboards were so tightly sprung that it felt as if you were dancing on thin air. Huge chandeliers and intricate paintings of cheeky cherubs and local landscapes adorned the ceiling. Each painting was surrounded by intricate golden painted carvings. It gave the impression that it was a grand palace ballroom from years gone by. Around the ballroom, there were two highly decorated balconies for members of the public to eagerly watch. There were several rows of stackable red velvet chairs that surrounded the dance floor for the competing dancers and their families. In front of the large ornate stage at the end of the room was a large table with a crisp white table cloth. Centre to the table was a large bouquet of golden sunflowers. This table was clearly for the judges. There was a full band on stage including a drummer, several guitarists and brass players. A jolly man on the Wurlitzer organ played cheerful hurdy-gurdy music to entertain the audience as they entered the room. So far, he had lost track of how many times he had played I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside. It was at least 3 times. However, the audience has seemed too polite to say anything if they had even noticed.
Behind the scenes, Poe adjusted his pristine white bowtie the best he could without a mirror in the corridors to the changing rooms. Selina knocked his fidgeting hands away from the tie and fixed the crooked bowtie herself. She then smoothed down the lapels of his suit.
“Cheer up, Poe!” she cheerfully ordered. “You look like you would rather be at a funeral!”
“I would rather be at a funeral than here” Poe muttered tersely.
Selina scowled and crossed her arms like a stubborn child. “You’ve not said one nice thing to me since we got here! You’ve been Mr Sourpuss and act like it wasn’t as if you asked me to get back together! I could’ve said no because of how you treated me but I could see how much you needed me. I’ve got a heart of gold!”
“Sure you do”
“You’ve even not said anything about my new dress!” Selina twirled around, her white dress flew out and the silk skirt danced elegantly around her like ripples in the water. A sob caught in Poe’s throat. All he could think about the first time he’d danced with Finn, how he’d spun into his arms after opening out from a Cucaracha. Poe knew from that moment that Finn could be his partner.
“You look lovely, Selina” he managed to make his dry lips utter.
Selina’s peach painted lips parted in a smile to reveal her unnatural clinically white teeth. “Aw, thanks, hun … Stay right there!” she demanded, “I’ve got to go powder my nose!”
She pranced off like an excited imp. Somebody put a tender hand on Poe’s shoulder. He flinched, glancing round to see who had impended his personal space. It was his mother. She was in her full regalia, a lime green trouser suit that Poe hadn’t seen before. It was matched with a black lace crop top and pair of gigantic sparkly silver stilettos. Her blonde hair had been perfectly coifed into curls that showed off the large lime green tassel earrings.
“Don’t worry, it’s only us!” Shara-Bey Dameron beamed. Poe’s father lurked behind her wearing the black suit he always wore for special occasions but with a new lime green tie so he could match his wife. He held his phone up, capturing Poe’s every movement on video forevermore.
Shara-Bey held Poe’s hands in her own. “I’m so happy you came back to us! We all knew that you would never break up the Dameron team!”
Poe couldn’t bear to look at his mother’s gloating face. So much of a team, he thought, it was a dictatorship to the cult of the Supreme Ballroom President Snoke.
Shara-Bey let go of her son’s hand and held his cheeks in his palms. She rubbed her thumbs endearingly against them then forced Poe’s head up so he had to gaze into her brown eyes that had been encircled by black eyeliner and smokey eyeshadow.
“I’m so proud of you!” she gushed. “Snoke even says that you’re still with a shot of winning the championship despite everything that has happened in the past few months! It just shows the testament of my teaching!”
Poe had enough. He snapped his mother’s hands away from his face and walked away down the corridor.
“Poe, where are you going?” cried his mother.
“I’m going to see how the beginner class is faring in the beginner’s competition!” he growled back.
His father quickly jogged after him and reached out for his hand, stopping Poe in his tracks.
“Son, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you…” he started.
“Not now, Kes!” wailed Shara-Bey.
Poe turned to his father. “It’s okay, Dad. I know all about what happened, I’m doing this for you.”
He quickly removed his arm from his dad’s hold and left before he could say anything else. He wandered closer to the ballroom. The Blue Danube was playing. It got louder with every step closer to the ballroom. He entered the room quietly, lurking at the back as to not distract the dancers on the floor. The audience was packed. The beginner’s competition was in full swing. The chosen dance was the waltz. Poe’s eyes desperately searched the room for Finn. His stomach lurched with guilt when he finally found him. Finn was wearing the grey suit he had planned to wear for their planned night out after the competition. At least, was once planned. He danced with Jean who was looking lovely in a beautiful teal dress that was so iridescent that it magically changed colour under the lights. The echoes of Finn’s sobs on the phone rang in Poe’s ears. He absolutely hated himself for destroying the dreams of the most beautiful man in the universe. Poe hadn’t realised that he was staring until Finn spun around in hold and caught Poe’s gaze. There was a glimmer of anger in those perfect eyes. Poe desperately wanted to run on to the dance floor and beg for forgiveness. He reminded himself, despite how much pain his heartbreak was creating, it was for the best. He was protecting the love of his life.
The agonizing dance came to an end, the couples bowed towards the judges. The gaudy announcer gleefully declared that the prizes would be revealed later in the show after the Open Amateur finals. The couples started leaving the ballroom, Finn was one of the first to leave. Poe dashed back over to the exit hoping to catch Finn so he could explain.
“Finn, buddy, wait!” he shouted.
Finn stopped abruptly and turned to face Poe. “Whatever happened to a life lived in fear is a life half lived?” he snarled.
“Finn, it’s not what you think…”
“No?! Then why couldn’t you tell me why you dropped me at the last minute to dance with your ex-partner?!”
“I have to protect you…” started Poe. His voice wobbled. He was trying desperately to not burst into tears.
A voice trilled Poe’s name. “There you are, Poe! We’ve gotta go and dance!” Selina had suddenly appeared out of the blue. She grabbed hold of his hand, linking her bedazzled fingers with his. “We’re going to miss the competition, silly!”
“Don’t let me hold you up. You got to go and dance with your partner!” he hissed. He looked Poe up and down, shaking his head. “I thought you were different, but you’re a no better coward than the rest of them!” he muttered before leaving Poe with a broken heart on the dance floor.
Chapter 27: Suspicious Minds
Jean notices something is off pt 2.
Something was off, Jean was certain of it. You didn’t have to be a genius to figure out that something had happened between Finn and Poe. Especially since they were incredibly happy leaving the party a couple of nights before. Since it was in everyone’s best interest, specifically for Jean as she had orchestrated their happiness in the first place. That and the fact she had several bets with her fellow beginner dancers that she was keen to keep hold of. Jean had to know what had happened.
Finn had told her earlier when he asked to dance with her for the competition that it was due to a conflict of interests. Now, it was true that she had never seen them officially train together and was going off their interactions in the beginner’s class, however, it seemed that Poe would bend over backwards to make Finn happy. She had spotted Mrs Dameron before the beginner’s final and she seemed the happiest that she had been for a long while. She had never seen the woman smile so much especially since there had been a lot of conflicts after Mrs Dameron discovered Poe dancing with Finn. Whatever it was, Jean was determined to find out what had happened in such a short time. Only where would it be best to start?
The greenroom, she concluded. Dancers were a gaggle of gossipmongers and this was the biggest scandal of the year. There was bound to be somebody eager to spill the tea, as the kids would say these days. Jean walked along the corridor formulating the right questions guaranteed to gain the most information without seeming too suspicious. It was, after all, what Miss Marple would do in a similar situation.
She heard laughing and she stopped in her tracks. It was coming from behind the door with the golden glittering star. There was a sign underneath for the Supreme Ballrom President Snoke.
“It was so easy!” boasted a gravelly voice that sounded very much like the President’s “Like taking sweets from a baby who is diabetic.”
This sparked further laughter. Jean couldn’t tell how many people were in the room with him. Jean, accidentally, found herself pressing her ear closer to the door to listen in to their conversation.
“Dameron was a tough cookie when I told him about how badly his parents were taking it but as soon as I mentioned Organa’s adopted son… he fell straight into my trap. The poor boy would have done anything to save his darling love. It’s a shame I didn’t think of anything more diabolical.”
“It was just vomit-inducing, how they were acting. You’d think as if Dameron’s never had a boyfriend before!” replied another voice.
“Of course,” Snoke continued, barely acknowledging his fellow conversers. “The icing on top of the cake will be that Poe Dameron will place bottom in the scoring. To have the championship title torn away from his grubby hands and passed over to his sworn enemies, Kylo and Armitage. Not only that but I’m thinking of even banning Organa’s adoptive son from ever competing again. It would kill him!” he chuckled gleefully. “Finally, it will show once and for all that anyone caught dancing non-federation steps will be severely punished!”
Jean gasped audibly. She quickly covered her hand over her mouth but it was too late.
“There’s someone at the door!” a deep voice cried and swung the door open with force. Jean had not been a young woman for a long time – she couldn’t run away. She tried to desperately get away before being dragged in inside by the jumped-up young man with long black hair, Kylo Ren. Did he wear anything other than black, she wondered.
“We have a spy!” Kylo snarled. He held Jean’s bicep so tightly, she felt the blood drain from her arm. Whatever she did, she simply couldn’t shake the brute off. She glanced around the room. She was right, the Supreme Ballroom President was there. There was a pale man with slicked-back red hair and wore the matching scowl as Kylo Ren. It was Armitage Hux.
“What did you hear?” Kylo snarled.
Jean did not like the tone of voice. Surely his mother had taught them better! Suddenly an idea popped in her head. She had age over them, she was probably the same age as all three men combined. If it was effective, she could get away and still be able to warn Finn and Poe in time before the Open Amateur Final.
“Barbara?” she whimpered “Where’s Barbara?”
“Barbara’s not here! What did you hear?”
“Barbara?” she tried again.
“There’s nobody here called Barbara!” cried Hux.
Jean stifled a fake sob. “I want Barbara! Barbara said she would wait for me here!”
“Don’t you know where you are, you daft bat?” shouted Hux “This is the Supreme Ballroom President’s personal dressing room!”
“No, it’s not! It’s… the Café Bonbon!” she panicked.
Snoke looked blankly at Kylo Ren and Hux. Jean felt sweaty- she hoped that she hadn’t gone too far. Barbara was always telling her off for being too fanciful with her acting.
“I don’t have time for this!” sighed Snoke.
“I suppose we should find this Barbara… Clearly, she’s just a demented old cow” said Hux.
“Very well volunteered, Hux!” Snoke bent forwards Jean and smiled. “Hux over here is going to help you find Barbara!” He spoke very slowly and very loudly as if he was an English tourist abroad asking for English food and not this ‘foreign muck’ he was being served.
Snoke pushed Hux closer to her. “It’s more important that you’re back for the competition. If after 5 minutes you can’t find this Barbara, just dump her in the corridor. She’s just an old deluded lady, what harm can she do?”
Hux rolled his eyes and took hold of Jean’s other bicep and pushed her through the door.
“Come on,” he said with a heavy sigh “let’s go find Barbara.”
The corridor was full of busy dancers getting ready for their next dance.
“Where are we going?” asked Jean.
“We’re finding Barbara.”
“But Barbara said she’d meet me at the Café Bonbon. We were just there”
“That was not the Café Bonbon!” argued Hux. Agitation rattled in Hux’s voice.
Jean paused for a moment wondering how long it would take to make this fellow crack. After all, it wasn’t as if Hux was entirely innocent. He deserved it for his treatment towards her. National Champions were meant to figureheads to the rest of the federation and not jumped up little bigots who thought themselves better and refuse to remove the large stick shoved up somewhere where the sun doesn’t shine.
“Where are we going?” asked Jean again.
“To find Barbara!” he sighed heavily.
“But Barbara’s said she’d wait for me at the Café Bonbon!”
“That was the Supreme Ballroom President’s personal dressing room!”
“It’s not the Café Bonbon?”
“It’s the Supreme Ballroom President’s dressing room.”
“But Barbara said she’d wait…”
“IT’S NOT THE CAFÉ BONBON YOU STUPID OLD COW!” yelled Hux.
Silence erupted in the corridors. All eyes were on the national champion and the old woman he was frogmarching. His cheeks turned a beautiful shade of beetroot purple. Jean had to bite her lip in attempts not to laugh at the silly bugger. Hux, ashamedly, dragged her around the corner.
What they saw next made Jean’s heart explode. It was her knight in sensible marks and Spencer’s tailored navy suit and flat brown lace-ups. Barbara! She marched towards Hux ready to fight anything in her path, like the guide leader she was destined to be.
“Jean Elsie Fairweather, I have been looking everywhere for you!”
“Finally,” muttered Hux. He handed Jean over to her. “Please keep a better eye on your dementia ridden friend. It’s despicable you left her wandering the building.”
“Excuse me, but Jean is my wife!” Barbara exploded. She stood to her full height and glared up at Hux. She just about reached the tip of his nose. “And I think a far worse reputation would be from manhandling innocent women, don’t you think young man?”
“You have no authority over me!” Hux snarled.
“Perhaps I don’t but I’m also a retired police officer who still has regular connections and I dare say that having a criminal record would look good on any application especially on, say, Strictly?”
Hux sighed heavily. “I don’t have time for this!” He complained before sucking off like a badly behaved toddler.
“That showed him!” smirked Jean “Barbara you were absolutely terrific! Have I told you how smitten I am with you?”
“Yes. Several times. Now, where on earth have you been? Have you been playing Marple again?”
“I have and I don’t have much time to explain! We need to find Finn and Poe immediately! This affects them!”
“Well, it’s a good job that I still have Poe’s mobile phone number from that time Madame Dameron’s dance studio was closed due to the power cut from the flooding in the basement. Do you remember Jean? I kept it just in case…”
“Ring him!!” Jean shook her wife’s arm impatiently. “We don’t have much time! It’s 10 minutes until the Open Amateur Latin final!”
Chapter 28: The Final Countdown
Poe discovers Snoke's plans but will he be in time for the championship.
Poe stared at himself in the mirror hanging on the wall of the cramped men’s changing rooms. He was wearing what he called the ‘Big Bird on steroids’ outfit that Selina had chosen last season so they would ‘stand out’. His arms were clad with the biggest bright yellow ruffles imaginable. It could hide at least 50 ferrets in each sleeve and out dazzle Supreme Ballroom President Snoke with the gold sparkly trousers that chaffed in all the wrong places. There were two humiliations this outfit brought:
- His parents had planned to bring this monstrosity in the first place and had brought it just in case.
- That it still fit Poe.
Poe yearned for his teenage years. Yes, they were the most hormone ridden socially awkward years of his life but at least he still had the potential of outgrowing hideous costumes by a whole new growth spurt. The reflection in the mirror was one of a fool and Poe knew for sure he would be the biggest fool around. Still, he was doing it for Finn and that was all that mattered.
There was a cacophony of distraught sighs and mutterings. Poe saw Selina slinking up to him in the mirror’s reflection. She smirked with all the attention she received.
“It’s not like I’ve not seen it all before!” Her hand crept on to Poe’s shoulder and she turned him around. “Are you ready tiger?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be” he muttered.
Suddenly, the room was filled with loud sounds of the Spice Girls singing Spice Up Your Life. Poe quickly grabbed his ringing phone from the pocket his discarded jacket on the bench. Selina rolled her eyes.
“You really need to change your ring tone!”
“I need to take this, Selina.”
Selina rolled her eyes again. “Don’t be long, they’re calling couples soon!”
He politely waved at Selina and darted out of the changing rooms into the corridor.
On the other end of the phone was Jean’s frantic voice. She spoke at the speed of sound. Her voice was scatty and it was difficult to understand what she was saying but he heard Finn’s name. Poe’s anxiety kicked in and created a whole movie reel of all the things that could have happened.
“Slow down Jean. What’s happened to Finn?”
Jean burbled on. She mentioned how he’d been set up and how this was all part of Snoke’s grand plan. That Kylo Ren and Hux would win regardless. That he needed to find Finn and dance with him in the competition.
Poe murmured a quick thank you into the phone and hung up. He frantically found Finn’s number on his phone and pressed the dial button. The phone rang. And rang. And rang. It contained to ring, but Finn wasn’t picking up.
“Come on, buddy! Pick up!” He frantically gushed.
The phone kept ringing.
A hand gently touched Poe’s shoulder. It made him jump.
“I’m sorry to bother you son, but can I have a word with you son?” asked his dad politely.
“Not now, Dad! I’m busy!” snapped Poe. The phone stopped ringing and he reached a smug automatic voice. “Gah! Voicemail!” he cried. Kes grabbed hold of his son’s hand and pressed BB8’s lead into his hand.
“I know what Snoke told you, but it’s not true!”
Confusion exploded in Poe. “Wait, what?”
“Yes it’s true, I wanted to dance my own steps at the championship with my beautiful wife but Snoke got his slimy mitts involved. He told your mother there would be no chance of winning because the judges were changing the rules to make non-federation steps illegal. Therefore, her career would be ruined and she would have no future and wouldn’t be able to teach. Your mother dropped me to dance at the championship. She should’ve stuck with me- for better or for worse. That’s why I lost it, son. Don’t be an old fool like me! Dance with him!”
Poe was knocked sideways with the truth. Of course, he still had questions but it all made sense. Poe did something that he hadn’t done in a while. He hugged his Dad.
“Thanks, Dad!” he whispered.
His dad pulled away from the hugs and wiped a stray tear from his son’s cheek. “Go, you silly sod, or you’ll miss him!”
Poe fumbled around for his pockets to put his phone in, in a frantic fashion, forgetting that his ridiculous outfit had no pockets. He was going to burn this thing on a bonfire when he got the chance. His dad held his hand. Poe thrust his phone at him before dashing down the corridor with corgi in hand.
“Thanks, Dad!” he cried over his shoulder.
The sound of Poe’s heartbeat, his dance shoes slapping the tiled floor and the jangle of BB8’s collar echoed in his ears. They ploughed their way through excited and nervous couples waiting for their grand announcement on stage before the competition. They barrelled their way through double doors that lead into the foyer for the ballroom. The foyer was empty, nobody wanted to miss the action happening in the ballroom. Poe’s eyes glanced across to the elevator. He saw the doors slowly closing in on Finn and his family. It seemed like slow motion.
“Finn!” Poe yelled desperately. “Hold on!”
He sprinted across the foyer but to no avail. The doors closed fully before he could reach them. Poe frantically pressed the elevator button, what seemed like a gazillion times.
“Please, please, please!” he prayed silently.
The elevator dinged and the metal doors whirred open. Poe looked up. He was surprised to see Finn and his family clamber out. Their scowls met his gaze. Chewie and the dogs were the exceptions to the rule. At least they were excited to see BB8.
“BB8! Mon amie!” exclaimed Chewie putting a black holdall by his feet and picking up BB8 to cuddle him. BB8 returned with excited glee and licked Chewie all over the face.
“You’ve got a nerve to be stood here, son!” scowled Han.
“I’m going to feed you to the sharks, Dameron! You broke my brother’s heart!” hissed Rey.
“I know,” replied Poe, looking directly into Finn’s eyes “I’m here to apologise to Finn. I’ve been an absolute arsehole!”
“Yeah, you have.” Finn agreed, crossing his arms.
Poe gushed on, the words spilt out of his mouth. He explained how Snoke had snuck himself into his room last night, pretending to be his uncle to the bed and breakfast staff. How he had blackmailed him and Poe did what he did to protect him because Finn was the most important person in his life. However, it had all been a trap that Snoke intended to disqualify Finn and make Kylo and Hux the champion winners. Poe had mercilessly fallen for it and thus destroyed the only beautiful thing he had in his life. Finn pondered the wave of new information that he received. It was the slowest, most painful minute in Poe’s life.
Eventually, he spoke. Finn looked into Poe’s eyes. “It’s a shame that we’ve missed the competition because of this.”
“I’m so sorry buddy, this whole mess is my fault!” Poe gushed.
Leia leaned forward. “Not to interrupt this sorry scene, but they’ve only just started making the announcements. You could still make it if you’re quick!”
Poe looked at Finn. Finn looked at Rey who gave him an encouraging nod. He looked at Poe. The possibility was there. Finn shook his head looking down at his white tee-shirt and grey suit trousers. “I didn’t bring my costume!”
Chewie promptly gave Han the corgi he was holding and started unzipping the black holdall that lay by his feet. He pulled out two immaculate Paso Doble jackets.
“C’est une bonne chose que j’ai apporté ces alors!” Chewie smiled gleefully.
Han scanned Poe’s golden ruffled ensemble with scrutiny. “It’s a good job there’s gold in your jacket!” he muttered.
Poe desperately looked for emotions on Finn’s face. Finn smiled and squeezed Poe’s hand. His heart exploded with joy.
“Where’s Snoke’s dressing room?” asked Han. “We need evidence that this has all been a setup.”
“I think I saw it before, Dad, it’s just past the competitor’s dressing room. You can’t miss it. I’ll show you where it is” said Rey.
“Let’s show them that they can’t scare us! As they say, a life lived in fear is a life half lived” Finn smiled.
“Exactament!” cheered Chewie.
Poe felt like he was going to burst into tears. “Thank you all so much! This means so much to me”
“Don’t think you’re easily forgiven, Dameron,” smirked Rey. “I’m still going to punch you so hard for breaking my brother’s heart!”
Chapter 29: You Can't Stop The Beat
The championship finals.
“With no show of a partner, I’m afraid that’s an instant disqualification for couple number 42!” The gaudy announcer tried to hide his glee in his voice. He lived for the drama that the amateur dance scene was famous for.
Selina screamed Poe’s name once more before storming off the dance floor. Supreme Ballroom President Snoke leaned back in his cushy leather chair smiling. His plan had worked better than expected! Not only was Poe Dameron too ashamed to show his face, but this act could get him a lifetime ban. He would see that the board would not stand for any blatant disregard of the federation. Snoke had crushed two generations worth of rebellion from the Damerons, one who was a threat to winning his title and one who was a threat to his way of life as Supreme Ballroom President. The blare of trumpet filled the ballroom. Snoke glanced gleefully at the confused expressions of the competing couples. Nobody had expected a Paso Doble for the Latin championship… well apart from Kylo Ren and Armitage Hux. He would decline to say whether they had received a generous tip-off and helped spread the rumour that the samba was going to be this year’s supposed dance. Snoke smiled. It was the icing on the cake to Kylo and Hux’s inevitable win.
All of a sudden, a man with dark curly hair slid across the dancefloor on his knees. He was wearing a black and gold Paso jacket and gold sparkly trousers that could put a disco ball to shame. No. It couldn’t be! It was that fiend, Poe Dameron!
The crowd erupted into loud cheers. Poe Dameron smiled goofily at the crowd. He held his hand out to introduce his partner. It was Leia Organa’s adopted son wearing a matching red and gold Paso jacket and grey trousers. They bowed, got into hold and started dancing around the floor. Snoke could not believe his eyes. They were dancing non-federation steps! The crowd lapped up their showy flicks and tricks. It was utter garbage! The crowd could not tell the difference between a finely crafted and precise art with the complete flashy drivel that the pair seemingly made up on the spot. This would not do! The reputation of the Amateur Ballroom Federation was in absolute ruins.
Snoke tried to signal to the conductor to cut the music but she didn’t notice. She was too busy conducting the band like an insane marionette puppet. Snoke tried again but with the announcer. He was clearly enjoying the whole debacle and was winding the audience into a tighter frenzy of applause. Snoke managed to catch the announcer’s eye and mimed to cut the whole thing by drawing his finger across his neck. The announcer paused for a moment, pondering the situation before shaking his head, refusing to stop. The insubordination! Snoke pushed his chair back, leapt out of his seat and marched toward the announcer.
An elderly woman in a navy trouser suit blocked his path and refused to budge. Snoke took a step to the left. He took a step to the right. The woman stepped whichever way Snoke intended to move.
“Get out of my way!” he snarled.
The woman crossed her arms “Rule 346 of the Amateur Ballroom…”
Snoke yelled and tried to barge himself past. The woman wrestled herself in front of Snoke.
“Look here!” the old woman cried “My wife, Jean, is filming all of this!” She pointed behind her. As true as her word, Jean was stood behind pointing a chunky handheld digital camera at Snoke. She smiled and wave. It was the senile old lady that was lingering outside his dressing room!
“As I was saying… Rule 346 clearly states that no one must interrupt the championship dance unless...”
“Unless there is there is an emergency!” interrupted Snoke angrily. “I’m the Supreme Ballroom President, sweetheart, I make up the rules and I declare this an emergency!” he barrelled past.
“What an unquestionably awful man!” muttered Barbara.
Snoke pushed on and clambered onto the stage. He snatched the baton from the conductor’s hand and snapped it in half. The music stopped abruptly. Snoke scuffled with the announcer who didn’t want to give the microphone up. He elbowed the announcer in the stomach and snatched the microphone from his hand. The couples dancing stopped and watched the commotion unfurling on the stage.
“Mr Poe Dameron and partner you have been disqualified from the competition and the federation! Please leave the floor!”
The crowd booed and hissed.
Poe and Finn looked at one another. Poe held out his hand and Finn reached out for it and gently squeezed it. They remained firmly on the dancefloor.
“I’ll ask again!” shouted Snoke. “Will Mr Poe Dameron and partner leave the dancefloor?”
Again they stood firmly refusing to leave. The crowd cheered, their thunderous claps pounding.
“It looks like they’re not going anywhere!” commented the announcer.
“Shut up! You’re fired!” yelled Snoke.
“And you think it’s that easy? As if I get paid for this!” muttered the announcer sarcastically.
Snoke turned his attentions to the audience. “They’ve been playing you! They’re not dancing federation steps and it’s against the rules! And competing with a beginner… it’s damnable. It’s everything that the federation strives to eradicate!”
“Et pour Kylo et Hux?” heckled Chewie from the audience.
“Yeah! What about them?” Han chimed in. “You had them set to win! I think there has been some foul play that the federation would not approve of.”
“You have no proof!” snarled Snoke.
Han Solo smirked. “What do I know?” he took a gold envelope from Rey’s hands. “My daughter found this on your desk. You had the results ready before the couples danced. That was very organised of you, Snoke! Shall we see what it says?” He paused for dramatic effect and opened the envelope. “What a surprise! Kylo Ren and Armitage Hux are the championship winners!” Han waved the slip of paper around allowing the audience to see the words printed on the paper.
Kylo and Hux looked shiftily uncomfortable at one another.
“This is the first I’ve heard of this… We’ve had nothing to do with this!” claimed Kylo.
Hux nodded along. “I didn’t know about it either.”
There were mutterings of disbelief that rumbled through the room.
“It is true!” shouted Kylo. His anger seethed in his face. He looked like he was ready to smash up the entire room into a thousand million tiny pieces.
“Get off the dance floor, Kylo!” somebody heckled.
There were cries of “Fix!” and “Cheat!” that rippled through the audience. Others started booing and hissing.
“I TELL THE TRUTH!” yelled Kylo Ren before angrily sweeping out. Hux looked around before slowly slinking away from the limelight and out of the ballroom, like an injured lone wolf licking its wounds.
Leia stepped onto the stage. “Step down Snoke. You’ve caused the biggest embarrassment the federation has ever seen.”
Snoke laughed hysterically. “You can’t tell me what to do, princess! You have no proof! I have been framed by your delinquent husband. Besides despite your best efforts, they’re still disqualified for breaking the rules! They can’t even finish the dance with no music!” He laughed triumphantly.
Somebody started clapping, slowly to the beat. One. Two. Three. Four. One. Two. Three. Four. People looked around seeing where the clapping was coming from. A man slowly walked towards the dancefloor, clapping slowly and continuously. It was Kes Dameron. People started joining in with the clapping. Slowly, the whole audience was clapping out the beat.
Poe smiled at Finn. “Shall we dance, Mr Organa?” he asked.
Finn nodded “After you!”
Poe leapt and spun in the air. He landed on his knees, holding his arms wide open. Finn spun in, stopping in front of Poe. He stamped his heels in a flamenco staccato. Finn helped Poe to his feet and continued their Paso Doble dance together. The band struck up again from where they had been rudely interrupted. The audience erupted in raucous applause.
Now if this was a movie, the story would end with everyone dancing to a well-known 80’s pop love song and white words scrolling across the screen revealing what happens to everyone after the credits roll. It would be Kes Dameron who starts off the dancing. He holds out his hand to Shara Bey-Dameron, inviting his wife to dance with him for the first time in over 30 years. Shara Bey-Dameron is full of tears, but they are seemingly happy ones. It would be revealed that they will continue to run the dance school with their son. They venture into a new business, setting up a nightclub called Pathfinder’s that celebrates the ultimate joy of dancing. They continue to work on their marriage but are happier than they have been in a long time.
The camera pans to Jean Fairweather leading her beloved wife, Barbara, onto the dancefloor. The recent events of the past couple of months will inspire Jean to write the bestselling cosy mystery novel ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’, which will delight readers across the continents and will be published in 16 different languages. Barbara will become the newest judge for the Amateur Ballroom Federation, ensuring that all the rules are fair and being kept. She helps to vote the Supreme Ballroom President Snoke out. Jean and Barbara will continue to hold many more murder mystery parties to celebrate their beloved cat, Archibald. They are happy.
As a juxtaposition, the camera reveals Kylo Ren and ex-Supreme Ballroom President Snoke leaving Blackpool Tower. As the incidents quickly unfurl themselves after the 61st Amateur Ballroom Federation Championship, it is revealed that the ex-Supreme Ballroom President Snoke had been laundering membership money to pay for many things including (but not exclusively) a brand new BMW, a floating duck house and a packet of Jammie Dodgers. He is caught trying to catch a flight to Patagonia and given a 5-year jail sentence, only to be forgotten about in jail. Kylo Ren, however, will be talent-spotted by a sleazy reality TV producer and becomes the star of ‘Bring It Up Blackpool!’ Unfortunately due to the high saturation of reality TV available, it fails to capture the public’s imagination and it is cancelled after only one series. Kylo Ren is destined to appear as a celebrity that nobody has heard of on spin-off celebrity quiz shows that he never does well on. Kylo is angry and desperate to regain his fame. Snoke isn’t happy but there’s not much he can do in jail.
We go back inside and see Selina talking to Armitage Hux inside the foyer for Blackpool Tower’s ballroom. They are discussing their futures, especially since ‘Captain’ Phasma has taken early retirement. They become a new partnership for the next championship and place in the middle of the leaderboard. They become disillusioned with the Federation and quit. They are rather bitter about this and not happy.
The camera goes back into the ballroom itself and focuses upon Leia dancing happily with Han Solo. Leia reassumes the presidency once more and sets about making the federation more democratic and open to all its members. She removes Snoke’s strict dance step ruling. The federation gains a 12% increase of memberships in the following year. Han Solo continues to run his carpentry business with his best friend Chewie. He learns to cook delicious meals that await his wife after a long day at the presidency. He also gleefully brags that he was the one to bring about Snoke’s humiliation at every possible moment. They are happy.
Chewie slowly sways to the music, holding the leads of three dogs. As well as working with Han with his carpentry business, Chewie sets up a side business altering costumes for dancers. He continues to annoy Han with constantly listening to George Michael. He is happy. Artoo, Ceepio and BB8 all excitedly wag their tails. For being very good boys, they will receive many dog treats and big fusses from their many adoring family members. They continue to have playdates together. They are happy. Rey leans over and hugs Chewie. She bends down and picks up the excited corgi and dances with BB8 in her arms. She punched Poe hard in the bicep after they had finished with their Paso Doble for breaking her brother’s heart and warns that if it happens again she will hunt him down and gut him like a fish. Rey will go on to have a full and defined career as a squadron leader. She is happy.
Finally, the camera slowly zooms in on Finn and Poe. They are completely unaware of everyone around them, each other is the only thing that is important as they dance cheek to cheek with one another. Finn brushes his against Poe’s cheek and tucks a rogue curl behind his ear. He leans in and kisses Poe in a long, slow, passionate kiss. Due to what happened, another couple wins the championship this year but Finn and Poe win the year after. And the year after. They then start competing (and continue to compete for many years) in the professional league, bringing much pride to both their families. One night, in the dance studio where they met, because of a corgi who knew better, they agree to unite their families and create their very own. They are very happy.
Thank you so much for reading this fic! :D I hope you enjoyed this fic! It came from a gif of Poe from ep 7 that my tired brain thought Poe was dancing the Paso Doble and I was not only obsessed with FinnPoe but with a cheesy dancing movie and so the idea for this ridiculous fic was born! :)