“Are you sure?” Rey scowls at the hotel’s check-in agent, a bright-faced young man whose expression has become a rictus of horror as he stares at his computer screen. Her Japanese is rusty as long-abandoned farm equipment, and her jaw tightens as though in speaking the words she’s giving herself lockjaw. “ One bed?”
The agent gestures helplessly at his screen, as though expecting it to hop up on the counter and defend him. “Mrs. Solo—”
“ Miss Johnson ,” Rey snaps. Her heart trembles in her chest as she spares a glance at the lanky, dark-eyed man behind her, but he’s glued to his phone, deaf to the agent’s slipup.
“My apologies, Miss Johnson. But…” The man scans the dense crowd behind her, as though Rey is somehow insensate to the crush of people all here for the same thing. They both know the hotel sold out long ago, but she hadn’t noticed her booking error until now, thousands of miles later, with just over twenty-four hours left before the keynote speech.
To be delivered by her boss, Professor — and renowned doctor of robotics — Ben Solo, of course.
“There is a couch in the suite,” the young man ventures, but Rey has had enough. She’ll have to tap her rainy-day fund, of course — the life of a grad student is anything but luxurious — but she’ll find another room nearby. It won’t be pretty, but she’s resilient. She’ll survive.
Most of all, she won’t let Dr. Solo down.
“Fine,” Rey sighs, swiping the room keys from the flustered agent. The couple behind her grunt in satisfaction as she steps aside, but she has to tug on the professor’s sleeve to get him to follow her out of the slow-moving queue. If it wasn’t for Rey and her rudimentary Japanese, he probably would’ve ended up in the middle of the Bering Sea instead of at the conference.
He’s carrying his own luggage in an oversized backpack and his omnipresent messenger bag, but she rolls the carry-on-compliant bag holding his laptop and presentation materials to a stop in front of him.
She can’t bear to meet his eyes, instead staring down at the rectangular plastic keys and partly-crumpled confirmation printout. The one she’d been too excited to read carefully. “Here are the keys to your room, and everything you need for the presentation is in this bag. My cell number is in my email signature, so if you need anything just text me. Otherwise, I’ll see you tomorrow morning at the brunch.”
“Wait — you’re not staying here, too?”
He doesn’t take the documents she’s proffering, forcing her to squint up at his hulking silhouette. The electric jolt of something still ripples down her spine as her brown gaze meets his darker one, just as forceful even after all these months of being his TA. Nearly a year now.
Nearly an end to their time together.
Love isn’t an easy thing to come by in this world — Rey’s known that for as long as she can remember. From the abusive alcoholics who spawned her (honestly, who dumps a five-year-old at a fire station on Christmas?) to her emotionally ascetic foster family, her life seemed like a testament to the futility of caring.
Then she met Dr. Solo.
A TAship was little more than the academic version of an arranged, year-long marriage — but as soon as she’d seen the willowy, dark-haired giant at the orientation mixer, Rey had been smitten. His huge physique was so perfectly counterbalanced by his gentle, rumbling voice that it proved unsurprising lovelorn undergrads (and other professors) began to crowd his schedule as soon as classes started during fall term.
Yet somehow or another, he’s always had time for Rey. She has enough confidence in her own abilities to recognize that she’s one of his brightest pupils, but it still astonishes her whenever he goes out on a limb for her.
Like this conference. He could’ve chosen any of his assistants to accompany him on this globe-spanning adventure, but he picked her .
And now she’s gone and fucked it all up.
Rey shakes the door key and reservation confirmation, the paper flapping at the end of her arm like aspen leaves. “Please, Professor … I’ll just jump on my phone and find a hostel or something nearby.”
“Hostel?” Dr. Solo’s dark eyebrows crook in confusion. “Wait, I’m confused— Can you back up and explain this all from the beginning?”
Rey’s cheeks burn with consternation. Isn’t it bad enough she’s screwed up without having to go over it again in excruciating detail? “I got the reservation wrong — it’s for one room, not two.”
“And all the other rooms are booked?”
She nods, utterly humiliated. “Here, I mean. I’ll find someplace, it’s not like every room in all of Tokyo can be taken.”
“I really don’t like this.”
“I’m so sorry, Professor Solo, it’s all my fault,” she gushes in an embarrassed flood. “I’ll be here bright and early in the morning, we’ll have plenty of time to prep for your speech—”
“No — Rey, I mean…” He frown, shaking his head like she’s missed some obvious solution. “I don’t like the idea of you staying god-knows-where. I’ll sleep on the floor.”
The idea of the Engelberger Award-winning professor sleeping on the ground thanks to her is so godawful that Rey actually feels queasy. “No, Dr. Solo, you can’t —”
“Rey. Please.” His expression is way too kindly than she deserves. “It won’t be the first time. But I’m not going to have dragged you all the way to Japan just to make you wander the streets like a stray cat.”
“I’m not a stray cat,” she grumbles mutinously.
“And you won’t become one on my watch.” His crooked lips curve in a faint smile. “Just spare me a couple of pillows, I’ll be fine.”
“They told me there’s a couch,” Rey reluctantly admits.
“Even better. Why didn’t you lead with that?”
He carefully slides one of the electronic key cards out of her hand, leaving her with the spare key and the confirmation printout.
Rey’s heart shudders with guilty pleasure. It’s not fair that she should be rewarded for her mistake rather than punished, but she’ll have to roll with it now — and she stares at her boots, clamping her lips together to keep from smiling as she ushers him toward the elevator.
The opening night speeches are as fascinating as Rey could hope, and she spends several hours delightedly rubbing elbows with the international elite after the first day’s presentations draw to a close. Evidently Professor Solo doesn’t bring sidekicks to these sorts of events very often; her presence on his arm (figuratively if not literally) draws all sorts of nibbles of attention.
Most are curious about the professor, or the dissertation Rey’s undertaking to earn her own doctorate. A few, the ones that make her flush self-consciously, are the ones who whisper to her about how beautiful she looks in her silver dress, the one that clings to her curves like mercury.
If only Dr. Solo would see her that way.
Rose is the only one who knows about her desperate crush — Rose who encouraged her to splurge on this stupid thing, as though a bit of metallic fabric and bared skin could make him see her like that . It’d be a violation of the university’s code of conduct, of course, but something dark and hungry within her had hoped that here, thousands of miles from home, things might be different between them.
Finally at 10 p.m. local time, she can’t contain her yawns any longer. Some napping on the plane notwithstanding, Rey and the professor have both been going nonstop since Boston — but he seems immune to exhaustion. He’s engrossed in conversation with some colleagues so deeply that she has to tug his sleeve three times to get his attention.
Message delivered, Rey fumbles her way back upstairs. The surging of the elevator is vaguely nauseating as it stops to collect and deposit passengers, exacerbating the headache that’s been gnawing at her since this morning’s mix-up.
If she was home right now she’d claim the bathroom for a solid hour and take a bath — but what if Dr. Solo comes back? She doesn’t want to be occupying the room if nature is calling.
Another option — one that’s simultaneously riskier and more feasible — occurs to Rey as she re-enters the suite.
The professor had blinked in surprise upon seeing the hot tub on the room’s private balcony. Rey had forgotten all about that feature until the concierge brought it to their attention — at which point she had made a great show of fussing with her phone, lest either he or the quiet robotics genius get the wrong idea about Rey.
Or the right idea, as it happens.
She didn’t even think to pack a bathing suit, but Dr. Solo seemed thoroughly engaged downstairs. It’ll probably only take fifteen minutes or so under the jets to unknot her protesting muscles. Surely that isn’t too much privacy to ask for.
Then again, there’s a part of her that’s thoroughly unsurprised to hear the electronic trill of the door being accessed from without. Of course Dr. Solo would come back five minutes after she’d shucked her slinky cocktail dress, undergarments, and crept into the hot tub naked.
The idea of some perv creeping on her through a telescope from one of the surrounding buildings is bearable. The idea of Dr. Solo seeing her in her altogether, on the other hand—
Any hopes of him overlooking the open patio door are soon dashed as his familiar outline eclipses the light from within. “Rey?”
She scoots into the seat facing away from him; if she’s lucky, he’ll just think she’s wearing something strapless, but she crosses her arms over her bare breasts anyway. “Y-Yes, Dr. Solo?”
“Just wanted to make sure that it was you.”
“Who else would it have been?” she ventures.
“Good point.” He pauses — and though she’s certain it’s because he’s noticed that she’s naked, he only adds, “I’m going to go take a shower, if that’s alright with you?”
One bathroom. Right.
“Yeah, I’m good,” Rey calls over her shoulder, and her racing heartbeat only eases when she hears the bathroom door clunk shut. Is there anything he’s inconsiderate about? She highly doubts it.
Rey creeps out of the hot tub and into a plush towel easily enough, but then comes a conundrum: what to wear to sleep? She’d brought the short red satin nightgown assuming she’d be spending tonight and tomorrow night alone in her own room, pining and maybe even badtouching herself at the idea of Dr. Solo just a few walls away. But she hadn’t imagined this — and she self-consciously drags on the shirt she’d brought for downtime.
She doesn’t have any boxers, but the couch is far enough away from the bedroom that she should be able to do a skirt check on the hem of the nightgown if she hears him coming. Just in case she gets self-conscious, though, she stuffs a pair of her clean cotton panties into the case of her pillow. Better safe than sorry.
Rey’s already made herself a comfy nest on the couch by the time the distant hissing of the shower cuts. A few minutes later the bathroom door pops open, and she hears Dr. Solo moving around across the threshold in the bedroom.
She clutches at the light blanket, pulling it tight around her legs like a mermaid as she scrambles into a sitting position. Dr. Solo’s standing in the bedroom doorway, still wearing his wire-rimmed glasses, but his plain white shirt and pinstripe pajama pants are too. Heckn. Much.
Her heart wants to erupt through her throat, and she audibly gulps, trying to keep her gaze from the only place it wants to go. Thank fuck his eyes are so hypnotic; she can get lost in them as she stammers for English syllables. “Y-Yes, Dr. Solo?”
“Seriously, Rey.” Is he blushing? Surely not. “I’ve known you all year, call me Ben.”
“Ben,” she mumbles. It tastes like delicious sacrilege.
“I actually think you’re in my bed.”
“The couch. I was going to sleep there. Remember?”
Rey clutches the blanket to her collarbone, hoping the light fabric is tented loosely enough to cover her breasts. Fuck , why does he have to be so distractingly hot? “No, it’s all right. I don’t mind, Professor.”
“ Ben ," he insists firmly. “And I won’t be able to sleep at all knowing I’m comfy in a bed while you’re sleeping on that thing.”
“You’re too tall for it.”
“I’ll make do.”
Rey snorts derisively. “If I have to scrunch, you won’t stand a chance.”
“So you’re scrunching, then.” Dr. Solo — Ben — lowers his chin to level that obsidian gaze of his at her. It’s the same look he gets when he’s sprung a logical trap on some unsuspecting volunteer during one of his lectures. “Sounds uncomfortable.”
“I'm like, half your size. I’ll make do.”
“Rey, I keep telling you, I didn’t drag you halfway around the world to make do .” He looks genuinely upset, and rakes his elegant, too-long fingers through his raven hair. “Please, I won’t be able to relax knowing you’re uncomfortable.”
“Neither will I!” she insists, stubbornly refusing to cede the couch.
“Then we’re at an impasse.” Ben folds his arms over his chest, and Rey has the damndest job not getting distracted by the corded muscles beneath his thin shirt. Soft-spoken, gentle Dr. Solo is ripped . “Since neither of us is willing to let the other take the couch, I suppose we should share the bed.”
“Dr. Solo!” She sounds appropriately outraged, but the demonic lust in her heart chants yesyesyes .
He holds up both his hands like she has him at gunpoint. “I swear, you’ll be perfectly safe. I’ve bunked with Armie Hux before, and he can attest to that.”
Rey sincerely doubts Armie would ever wear something this short and satin, but she’s not the judging kind.
Thank Cthulhu she’d had enough functioning neurons to throw on a t-shirt — and Rey pulls the blanket up with her as she stands, wrapping it around her waist like a sarong. She probably looks like an idiot, but at least she doesn’t look like a naked idiot as she tentatively shuffles into the palatial bedroom after Ben.
He’s not wrong, there’s definitely room for both of them on the sprawling mattress, but the fact that she’s fantasized about this kind of thing happening before is what makes it indescribably weird.
Oh no, Dr. Solo. I couldn’t possibly, Dr. Solo. Oh, Professor, how dare you touch me like this. No… No… anything but that...
Rey curls up on the bed facing away from the shockingly handsome man, only speaking to mutter a goodnight in response to his own. The light vanishes soundlessly as he swipes the bedside lamp off, and then it’s just the two of them lying silently in darkness.
Her heart hammers at her ribs like an unceasing anvil.
His low tenor is almost a whisper, but she twitches in fright nonetheless.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“You didn’t,” she lies.
“Are you…” He pauses a moment before trying again: “Are you alright?”
“Yes.” Another lie, but how can she admit the truth?
“It’s just that the bed’s shaking, like your heart’s beating super fast.” Another pause. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
She can’t take it anymore — and she darts out of the bed, rabbiting toward the safety of the couch without even remembering the spare blanket.
Ben’s faster than she is, and she spins on her heel, shoving the short satin skirt down with both hands as he swipes the light back on. She blinks at him, caught, as he pulls his glasses back on and squints at her. “I’m so sorry— wow-”
He breaks off, and Rey shivers as his onyx gaze takes in her bare legs. It’s undeniable; he’s shocked to see her like this, at the very least. Anything beyond that is surely her imagination.
“Um, I mean…” He forces his gaze back up to meet hers. “I was trying to say I’m so sorry if I did something wrong. The last thing I wanted was to make you uncomfortable … which I suspect I’m doing right now.”
He does make her uncomfortable, her dear Dr. Solo — but not in the way he means.
“It’s my fault. I have a hard time sleeping in strange places.” It’s easier telling him the truth, the words coming as a panacea to her white-lie deceptions. “Please, I promise you, this will be better for both of us.”
Ben swipes a pillow from the bed and beats her to the doorway in a few lanky strides. “Take the bed. I’m begging you.”
“Why do you keep calling me that?” Maybe it’s just her imagination, but he seems even taller from so close, like a Byronic, bespectacled ent. “I’m just a few years older than you, it’s ridiculous to stand on ceremony. Just call me Ben.”
“Ben,” she murmurs, and god it feels so good.
“I thought so, you’re shaking.” He frowns, his dark gaze scanning her like an error report. “What’s wrong?” He tosses the pillow aside, but she falls back as he takes another step toward her. “Rey… I’m not going to hurt you.”
It’s like her sex knows that there’s nothing between them but air, and the sensitive bundle of nerves at the apex of her thighs sparks to life as she clamps her knees together. “That’s not what I’m afraid of.”
“If not me, then what?”
His beautiful eyes are dark with concern, his hands flexing at his sides like he wants to do something, even if he’s not sure precisely what. She’s never seen him this agitated before.
“Ben, I just…” Rey’s mouth is suddenly so dry, and she swallows hard, wincing as her vocal cords crack. “It’s me , alright? That’s what I’m afraid of. That I’ll … like … do something to you in my sleep.”
“Are you … uh, used to sleeping beside someone?”
She shakes her head. “I’ve never even— that is I—”
Holy fucking shit , is she on the verge of telling the gorgeous professor with the fuck-me eyes that she’s still a virgin? That she’s imagined night after night that he’s the one to change that?
“Rey, it’s okay,” he tells her, and his voice is husky with something she’s never heard from him before — an odd tenderness. “There’s very little you could do to me that I wouldn’t aggressively welcome.”
She gapes at him. “You can’t mean that.”
“I shouldn’t.” He looks like he’s shivering ever-so-slightly too, but Rey quickly realizes it’s his heartbeat, galloping with the same fierceness as her own. “God knows I’ve never crossed the line with a student before, or even wanted to, but you…” Ben trails off and simply gazes at her for a few eternal moments before continuing: “Rey, I know I told you earlier that you’d be safe in my bed, but looking at you now I honestly don't think I can say that anymore. I’m sorry. I feel like I’m letting you down.”
“Don’t be,” she implores, feeling beyond wretched for what’s unfolding between them.
He nods firmly, his mind made up. “I’ll sleep on the couch.”
Rey tries to scamper past him to claim the smaller spot, but the lithe man catches up to her as she tries to take a shortcut over the back of the glorified loveseat. One moment she’s midvault and then his arms are about her waist, imprisoning her. Everything is a whirl of gravity and stray limbs, and when sense reasserts itself Rey finds herself slung over Ben’s shoulder, staring down at the ground in a fireman’s carry.
“Whoa— Ben, no —”
The dark man tries to dump her back on the bed, but Rey fights like a wildcat, clinging to him and bringing him down on top of her so hard that her ribs ache.
“Why can’t you just take the damn bed, Rey?” he rasps, his face inches from her own. His body is pinning hers to the mattress in an ungainly heap, but he’s not making any move to get away.
Neither is she.
“Ben,” she whispers — and suddenly his lips are crushing hers, and her arms are wrapped around him, pulling him close like he could slip away from her at any moment.
This can’t be happening. It just can’t .
Yet Ben’s mouth is claiming hers in a way that makes her moan into him, his tongue probing and caressing hers as he slips his huge hands beneath her. He pulls her up in the bed, settling her against the pillows, and as his sweet weight presses her into the jasmine-scented blankets, something hard and hot aligns with her pussy.
Rey whimpers as he slowly draws his length against her like a cellist’s bow. Shit, like everything about him, it’s huge — and she kisses him more urgently, begging him with her body.
Her heart sinks as he pulls away, but it’s only to study her. She squirms under the intensity of his nighted gaze, trying to look away, but his thumbs urge her jaw up until she can’t help but look at him.
Ben’s glasses are a little fogged up, but he’s watching her intently. “Rey, I don’t want to pressure you.”
“You’re not,” she reassures him. “I’m so shit at this kind of thing, and I know we’re not supposed to fraternize or whatever—”
“ Fraternize ,” Ben huffs glumly, and she knows he’s thinking of that part of the student handbook, too.
“—but I want you anyway. I have since the first second I saw you.”
The truth is like a drug, words tumbling from her lips to intoxicate them both.
“All the women — and men — trying to schedule lunches or coffee dates or dinners with you…” She laughs grimly, even as Ben digs his thumbs into her chin, forcing her to meet his basilisk stare again. “Don’t you realize how many people want to get with you?”
“You’re the one who always tells me how oblivious I am. Besides, I wouldn’t even have a room at this conference at all if it wasn’t for you.”
“Even though I messed up the reservation?” she mutters, stung.
“Don’t.” His perfect, full mouth finds hers, silencing her self-recriminations with a rough kiss. “Don’t be sorry this happened. I’m not.”
“No?” She knows she’s fishing for compliments — but she’s so far out on a limb here, imprisoned beneath him in nothing but a t-shirt and a satin slip dress, with her safety panties stuffed in a pillowcase in the other room. Already her hem is riding up toward her hips; she needs something to hold onto. Something real . “This isn’t just some conference thing for me. And it’s not gratitude, either.”
“Of course not,” he mutters, reddening.
Fear makes her question if he’s making fun of her, but his gaze is wide, vulnerable. Not that she ever imagined him to be the love ‘em and leave ‘em type, but there’s no deception in Ben Solo. He is precisely what he appears to be — and right now, gazing at her, he looks starstruck.
Rey hardly dares to breathe.
One of his hands wanders along her side, caressing her. “Have you ever—?”
She shakes her head, and Ben’s brows knit in bewilderment.
“ Never? ”
She’s almost offended, “Why do you sound so surprised?”
“You’re a gorgeous, brilliant young woman. Men should be falling to their knees wherever you walk.”
“Oh come on—”
“Sounds like one hell of a traffic jam,” she grouses insolently.
“Dammit, Rey, take the compliment” He kisses her again, longer this time, more ardent with each passing moment. There’s no denying how much he wants her — his body is betraying that clearly enough.
Rey’s is responding in kind, muscles she’s never felt before clenching and stirring low in her belly. Her channel cramps wantonly, and guttural sounds tear themselves from her throat as he flexes against her, expertly guiding his rigid length against her slit.
Ben traces a line of kisses along the curve of her jaw, until his breath is ragged in her ear. “What do you want from me?”
She’s at a loss. All she wants is for him to keep grinding his erect cock against her, soaking his cotton pajama pants with her essence — but he’s slowing, teasing her.
“Say it. Go on. I need to hear it.”
“Ben, I really want you to fuck me,” Rey gasps. “I want you to be my first.”
He rolls to the side, dragging her onto him as he sits upright. She’s straddling his lap, her own weight pinning her down on top of him. “Maybe.”
“ Maybe? ”
The young doctor regards her seriously. “I’m pretty out of practice when it comes to sex.”
“I’m willing to risk it.”
They stare at each other breathlessly, beyond the line of what’s appropriate for a professor and his student, im completely unknown territory.
“Why don’t you start by taking that shirt off?” Ben suggests mildly after what feels like forever.
It’s fine by Rey. She only grinds against his swollen prick as she strips off the NSP tee and tosses it aside.
One of his hands is splayed against the small of her back, keeping her close, but the other wanders to her tit and pushes it up beneath the smooth fabric. His teeth close gently around the stiff peak of her nipple, and she moans again as his lips leave wet spots on the fabric.
“ Fuck , Ben…”
“I want you to cum for me once before I fuck you. Well, at least once,” he amends, the words rasping like his stubble against her skin. “I can’t guarantee that I'll be able to hold back longer than that knowing you—” Ben’s voice catches, and he clears his throat before continuing. “—uh, want me.”
“So what comes — nnh — next?” Rey manages as he surges underneath her like a wave.
“You really want this?” He sounds incredulous — and the hand on her breast skims to the nape of her neck, his fingers knotting in her hair and guiding her lips to his. “You want me inside you?”
“More than anything,” Rey mourns between kisses.
“Then here’s my proposition.” Ben scoots up a bit higher, propping himself against the pillows as he draws Rey close to him again. His dark eyes are ravening for her, moving over her o “I don’t want to hurt you or push you, so just get used to feeling me against you. And then, if and when you’re ready—”
He lifts her hips suddenly, making her yelp, and then the dull hammer of his head nudges between her silken folds, straining against the drenched cotton of his pajama pants. Only that thin fabric is keeping them apart.
Then Ben slips away, the ridges of his cock grinding against her clit with cruel deliberation. “How does that sound?”
“Good,” Rey slurs, drunk with lust. “Sounds good.”
“Alright, then.” His hands move to her hips, gathering the slippery fabric. “First step: off with this.”
Ben negotiates the negligee up and over her shoulders, casting it aside with as little regard as she had her t-shirt. She moves to wrap her hands around her body in instinctive modesty, but he catches her wrists, swiftly and painlessly drawing them behind her and crossing them so she’s his prisoner.
“ Fuck , sweetheart, you’re perfect,” Ben growls — but in the next moment his eyes widen with sudden remembrance, “Condom. Shit. Maybe if I call the front desk—”
“It’s all right,” she reassures him quickly. “I-I mean, I’m on the pill, and I’m clean. So we could …”
“We could ,” he echoes, his gaze raging at her in utter silence.
They stare at each other, waiting.
“What do you want?”
Ben gently shakes his head, never once breaking eye contact with her. “This isn’t about me.”
“It’s not not about you,” Rey mutters.
“Then it isn’t about only me, let’s say.” His gaze finally moves lower, drinking in every inch of her peachy skin. Her nipples are rigid pink crests from his ministrations, and below the flat plane of her stomach, the mound of dark, close-cropped hair makes a V leading directly to the swell of Ben’s length. “Do I want you raw? Of course. But I want to know what you think of having me like that.”
Naked and vulnerable as she is astride his lap, Rey regards Ben soberly. “I want to feel you inside me,” she murmurs, secretly delighted at his sharp inhalation of breath as she says inside me . Yes, that’s precisely where she wants him, craves him, needs him — that hidden channel that’s wringing with need. “I want you completely.”
“Okay. Screw the condom, then.”
He snakes one trunklike arm around her waist and boosts her as he lifts his hips. When he resettles, there’s something furious and throbbing against aligned with her drenched cunt.
She glances down. Fuck , Ben’s slipped his wrecked pajamas down off his hips. It’s his stony, naked phallus that she’s riding — not even dry humping because she’s so wet for him.
His girth spreads her pussy lips without penetrating her, the ridge of his glans finding her most sensitive spot and grinding against her, only to withdraw lower, to her soaked hollow.
With each slow advance Rey’s sure Ben will tilt his hips and flex into her, but each time he leaves her aching with disappointment as he only caresses the outside of her sex with his own.
“Rey,” he groans, his long fingers tightening on her wrists.
She says the word mindlessly, but in the next moment she hears the iron clenching of his jaw. “Don’t call me that.”
Rey draws back instinctively, but he leans forward, refusing to let her escape him.
“I just meant please don’t, because you calling me professor will make me cum way too fast.”
“Oh,” Rey giggles in relief. To have that kind of effect on him …
“Speaking of orgasms, time for you to have one,” Ben rumbles.
Rey yelps in commingled surprise and delight as the sallow, dark-haired man crushes her against his torso. He releases her wrists, and then his beautiful hands are wandering all over her body as she grabs onto the headboard to steady herself astride his lap.
His naked cock is glistening with her need, and she grinds against him as he urges her on. There’s the sense of gathering deep inside her, tensing like harp strings as the glorious glowing rapture rises.
It’s not like Rey’s never orgasmed before, but this is something completely different.
“Ben, please,” she cries softly, and his lips are there to reclaim hers. His ravenous kisses perfectly match her feverish tattoo as she nears — but then his fingers tighten on her hips, forcibly slowing her and pulling her away from his rocklike arousal.
“Rey, I can’t—” He clenches his jaw again as a tremor runs through his lanky frame. “I’m being selfish, I know I said I was going to get you off first, but I don’t want to wait—”
“Then don’t,” Rey tells him, her voice so strong and sure that for a heartbeat she doesn’t even recognize herself.
He yanks the white t-shirt off, tossing it to a similar fate as her clothes, and sets his glasses on the bedside table somewhat more carefully. She stares dumbly at the chiseled edges of his pecs and abs — Dr. Solo is indeed more jacked than she ever expected; it’s a crime for him to ever have to wear a shirt — but then his knees are against her arse, nudging her up and off-balance so that she sinks forward against his bare chest.
Ben slides Rey underneath him, teasing her lips with rough kisses as he settles his hips between her thighs. Her heart slams with anticipation as he continues to tease her with his stiff, scorching length, drawing soft ahhhh s from her as he taunts her.
Rey hardly dares to move lest. One of these moments teasing will spill over the brink into the real thing, and Ben Solo will claim her virginity.
Good. She wants him to have it — and she teases his earlobe with her teeth.
“Fuck me, Professor Solo,” Rey begs, breathing the words into his skin.
A low rumble reverberates through Ben’s chest like thunder, and then his blunt, thick head is at the right spot, the place where it’s wet and yielding. Her body welcomes him, and he transfixes her one glorious inch at a time, groaning as he buries himself in her up to the hilt.
“You okay?” he rasps — and even though she’s too overwhelmed to speak, she nods. “You need a minute?”
“Maybe,” she manages quietly. It’s all so new and exquisite, she wants to savor this moment forever.
Ben’s mouth reclaims hers, and they murmur into each other, their hunger for each other at first tentative, but growing bolder with each passing moment. He feels better than she could possibly imagine, filling her and answering the savage hunger for him — and a low groan tears itself from her lips as he withdraws and then thrusts into her again, claiming her body with his trespass.
“Why do you — feel so — good?” Rey pants as she rocks her hips to meet Ben’s quickening pace.
“I was about to ask you the same thing,” he growls. “Fuck, Rey… I should apologize…”
Her body tenses with alarm, and the sensation of being filled to the brim only heightens. “Apologize?”
His voice is strained as he pulls out almost completely only to penetrate her afresh. “I’m going to fill you with so much cum.”
“Good,” she breathes. She wants all of him. Every drop.
His thick phallus stretches her to her limit, driving into her core and sparking the ecstasy gathering within her — and Rey clings to Ben, wrapping her arms about his neck again. He’s begun to shiver with each fresh advance, more powerfully when she meets him with equal force.
“ Fuck , Ben,” Rey moans.
He groans wordlessly in response. His scorching flesh is a living cage for her body, and he sheathes himself in her with growing urgency, nudging her closer to the brink.
Rey’s thoughts devolve into primal flickers of awareness. His harsh breaths coasting across her skin. Her needy moans as his hips meet hers. Their entwined bodies rutting like animals, striving together and against each other as they seek oblivion.
“I’m close,” Ben mutters as the throbbing of his cock within her becomes undeniable. He’s on the edge of the precipice, she can feel it — and as his movements become harsh and spasmodic, Rey feels herself beginning to come undone around him.
“Ben,” she pleads.
Then, suddenly, he’s there, gasping and shuddering in the throes of the cum. She can feel his seed spurting into her with every pulse of his cock, and he continues to slowly pump into her until he’s used her body to wring himself dry.
Rey loves it. She’s dreamt of being his plaything for so long, and now they’re naked and panting in bed, having absolutely wrecked each other.
“Whose life did I steal?” she wonders aloud as Ben tenderly kisses her shoulder, his raven hair tickling her shoulder.
“I don’t know — but please don’t try to find out. I just want you.”
Rolling her eyes at him turns to giggling, which creates a whole symphony of new sensations of tensing and tightening around Ben’s intrusion within her that Rey is only too eager to explore.
She’d be eager to try anything, so long as Ben’s there to try it with her.
They tell each other the affair is just going to be something that stays in Japan, along with the phone charger and roll-on perfume that Rey forgets in their hotel room.
It’s lies, of course, but they’re deluding themselves even as they’re deluding each other.
They nearly fuck in the airplane bathroom, the elevator down to the parking garage, the car on the way to her place. Their restraint utterly shatters, though, as soon as they’re both over her bedroom threshold. Ben locks the door behind them and then they’re a tangle of limbs and groans and need.
He fills her again and again, but it’s never enough to slake her obsession with him. His body. His touch.
The lesser-important lunches and coffee meeting somehow slip off Ben’s calendar, just as easily as he slides up her skirt when they’re secluded in his office together. Rey has never really been one for anything but trousers, but for the first time in her life she can see the appeal.
They don’t see each other at school very often — she has her dissertation, after all, and he wouldn’t dream of standing in the way of her studies — but somehow she seems to spend more and more nights at his place. It’s quieter, after all, no rowdy housemates to disrupt her, and Ben actually knows how to work a stove without the night ending in fire trucks.
They’ve been carrying on like this, pretending they’re less than they truly are, for a month and a half when Rey gets sick. She isolates herself from him for the first couple of days, determined not to let him catch whatever bug is smiting her, but then neither hounds nor hellfire can keep him away.
He simply shows up at the apartment, and it’s like he’s always been there. Ben Solo, doctor of robotics, tender sex god, dark and handsome ubermensch.
He spoon-feeds her chicken soup. Holds her hair back from her face as she narfs it back up (aiming decently well, under the circumstances). Makes a joke about sea cucumbers when she’s feeling well enough to giggle again.
He’s also the one to insist — three weeks later, when she’s still barely keeping anything down except saltines and the occasional nibble of jerky — that she make an appointment to see the doctor.
Rey scowls at Ben from the safety of her blanket cocoon, the one he arranged her in between Buffy reruns. “It’s just a bug.”
“Bug or not, it’s time to get an opinion from someone other than Dr. Google.”
“Says you, Dr . Solo,” she mutters resentfully.
“Yeah. Says me.” His tone is light enough, but she can see the worry in his dark eyes as stark as thunderheads. “Make an appointment. That’s the PSA from your friendly neighborhood nerd.”
“Fine,” Rey huffs, pretending not to be worried.
Every good thing in her life has been like this: just a glint, and then gone forever. The pattern follows her like a curse.
Her parents. Unkar Plutt. The cult she survived — the Jedi Temple.
She doesn’t want to know what’s going to ruin this fragile, beautiful thing blooming between her and Ben. She’d assumed it would be some nosy student reporting them to the dean for fraternization.
But this, the superplague…
At least it’s not him, she thinks, then takes a breath, summoning the courage to make the call.
“ Hyperemesis gravidarum ,” the doctor enunciates slowly,
For a confused moment, she assumes it must be some kind of brain thing. That’s why the intimidating blonde, Dr. Phasma, is speaking so slowly. It must be.
Rose’s hand tightens on hers. “Rey, omigod … woman, you’re preggers.”
“Bun in the oven. Pea in the pod. Bat in the cave.” She squeezes tighter, but Rey only feels herself slipping away. “Honey, you are knocked the fuck up!”
“We have all options available for your future care — that and your child’s, should that be an avenue you wish to consider,” Dr. Phasma adds, reading Rey’s uncertain expression correctly.
Pregnant. What the actual fuck .
“How is this even possible? I take my pills religiously ," Rey mutters blearily.
“There’s always a margin for error,” the icy OB/GYN explains, pretty much parroting the fine print on the prescription label. “If you’d like, we can certainly consider other options.”
Rey waves a listless hand. Talking about her future contraception needs is going to be a necessary conversation, but it won’t help her right now.
She has a big decision to make.
Rose is upbeat in the car all the way home — suspiciously so. She doesn’t say the f-word at all, as though the mere mention of fathers will send Rey into an irreparable tailspin.
Rey wants children so badly; Rose knows that, it’s why she’s being so aggressively supportive of this whole situation. As soon as they get back to the apartment Rose starts skimming through pictures of nurseries, stroller reviews, car seat installation instructions.
Everyone needs a friend like Rose — or so Rey thinks before narfing a mouthful of saltines back up into one of the bright blue biohazard bags she’s fast coming to know and love.
To her immense credit, Rose doesn’t even use the f-word when the buzzer rings at seven-thirty, and Rey recognizes the familiar cadence on the other end as Finn answers the comm.
“Shit!” Rose nods knowingly toward the front door. “Is he the, uh … y’know, progenitor?”
“Yeah.” Vomming has become Rey’s new norm, but she desperately hopes she can keep the spewing to a minimum while she comes up with some excuse to explain this whole mess to Ben. “But I don’t think I can tell him.”
“You can. Give him a chance, maybe he’ll surprise you.”
Rey’s about to offer a tart retort, but the front door is already creaking open. She can smell Ben’s body wash before she can see him, but then he’s there in the doorway, peering at her like a living shadow.
“You guys sound like the worst knock-knock joke ever,” Rose scoffs as she slips out of the bedroom. She shoots Rey a look that she knows means I’m here if you need me , and then the door clicks shut and she’s alone with Ben.
He sheds his black duster, letting it drop to the floor. Clean freak that he is, he crooks his long legs, keeping his shoes off Rey’s bed as he lies down beside her. “Did they figure out what’s going on?”
She nods slowly, her mouth bone-dry. Should she be trying to memorize every detail of his face, in case this is the last time she ever sees him?
“Rey.” He slips his arm around her waist, pulling her close as he studies her. “Tell me.”
Her voice fails her. For the first time in her life, Rey Johnson is truly afraid.
“Sweetheart, you’re scaring me,” His fingers tighten on her body, betraying his impatience. “Tell me what’s happening.”
“I’m pregnant,” Rey murmurs. Her vision suddenly shimmers with the tears she’s been swallowing back since the doctor’s office.
Ben says nothing. Just stares at her in that hyper-intense way of his.
“I know we haven’t talked about this at all, but I’ve always wanted to have tons of kids.” The words pour out of her unbidden, just like the tears now cascading down her cheeks. “I’m old enough, I’m almost done with school anyway … I-I wouldn’t ask anything of you.”
She takes a shuddering breath, realizing what she wants as the words coalesce in her mind.
“But I want to keep it. All my life that’s really the thing I’ve been working towards — and the timing’s all wrong, but what if it only gets harder from here?”
She’s been talking too long — and she snaps her mouth shut, waiting for any kind of sign from him. But he’s so still, his eyebrows furrowed in bewilderment or shock or terror, Rey doesn't know.
“Ben, please say something,” she begs.
“Okay.” The word is shaky, but he pulls himself upright, away from Rey — and he coughs to clear the rasp from his throat. “Okay.”
He stands, and collects his coat from her bedroom floor, utterly preoccupied. It’s like he went to Japan without her, and this time he did get lost in the Bering Sea.
“I’ve got some things to take care of.”
He turns back and presses his lips to her forehead in a chaste kiss. It’s just as well; she’s barely holding her shit together as it stands. A proper Ben Solo kiss would be her undoing.
Then he’s gone. Rey’s grateful to recognize the sound of his car’s engine, because once it fades into the distance the primal howls of grief begin to escape their prison in her battered heart.
“I’m sure it’s just a misunderstanding,” Rose reassures her — but her confidence seems shaken by the dark man’s sudden departure.
“He couldn’t get out of here fast enough,” Rey sobs.
Even Rose has nothing to say to that.
It’s 12:36 a.m. when Rey’s phone chirps, rousing her from her queasy coma.
Ben. The baby. Fuck .
The memory of how fast he tore out of here makes a fresh wave of bile sting the back of her throat, and she sips an off-brand sports drink before squinting at her phone.
Rey, I’m downstairs. Buzz me in.
“Fuckety fuck fuck! ” she hisses, bracing for the ear-piercing buzz as she scrambles out of bed.
But the sound doesn’t come — and Rey catches a glimpse of Rose and Finn’s startled faces in the living room as she sprints toward the comm.
Three urgent knocks sound at the front door, discordantly loud for the late hour.
“Rey, can you hear me? Let me in, we have to talk.”
She curses under her breath. He’s slipped through the building’s locked door behind someone and is now right there in the hallway, maybe two feet from where she's standing.
“What d’you wanna do?” Rose hisses at her — but suddenly Rey feels strange. Sounds echo oddly around her, as though reaching her from a distance.
She manages the door locks by dumb instinct alone. Ben’s standing there in the corridor but by then she can’t even see him.
“I need to lie down,” Rey hears herself murmuring, and even she sounds distant, like she’s hearing herself from across a rocky shore. The floor looks so comfortable here, she can’t help it…
“—tch her, she’s fainting,” someone shouts from the far shore.
Warmth surrounds her, and a familiar scent.
“What are you doing here?” she mutters as the room slowly stops pirouetting. Oh, no wonder she’s confused: this is a different room, not the main room with the door to the hallway but her own room. She’s even tucked in again — when did that happen?
She must’ve been out cold — or at least lukewarm — longer than she thought.
“A couple of of things.”
Rey glares at Ben, but he doesn’t even notice. It’s his fucking tunnel vision again; he’s perched in her desk chair, so focused on what he’s about to say next that she could probably punch him and he wouldn’t even notice.
It’s a tempting thought.
“First, your degree. As of next trimester you’ll be assigned to Dr, Dameron’s classes. I think you’ll get along — he’s talkative and relentlessly chipper." His mouth resists in a wry smile. "Actually, you sorta remind me of each other.”
Rey gapes at Ben, utterly lost — but he’s on a roll.
“Second, in order to avoid any talk of favoritism, I’m going on sabbatical, effective immediately.”
“ What? ” Rey shrieks, unable to contain herself any longer. “Have you gone completely mental?”
She tries to struggle upright in the bed, but she’s still a little dizzy from standing up too fast. Ben is off from his perch in the next moment, urging her back into bed. “Lie back down, sweetheart, there’s no rush to get up — and what do you mean, mental?”
“You’re ditching me off on Dr. Dameron, running away from your job—”
He scowls at her. “Rey, I’m doing this for you. For us. For the kid.”
Her heart damn near stops.
The kid .
“Wait … start from the beginning?” she asks slowly.
“I’ve spent the last—” Ben checks his phone. “—five-ish hours getting things ready. You’re right — you’re old enough, you’re strong enough, you know what you want.” His coal-dark eyes burn into her. “And so do I.”
He slips down off the bed. Rey can’t see where his body meets the floor, but if she had to bet on it, she’d swear he’s down on one knee.
“Rey Johnson, will you—”
“Yes,” she murmurs before he can even finish asking — and he rewards her with the sweetest grin she’s ever seen, all dimples and crinkles as he knots his fingers in her hair.
She can almost feel it deep inside her as Ben’s lips find hers — a little band of light just shivering to life. Their band of light. Their spark, awakening within her. The one they’ve made together.
Rey snuggles into Ben as he slips into bed beside her, fitting together so perfectly that she knows this is where she belongs.
It'll be a challenging road to walk, she knows that. She has no delusions. But with Ben by her side and their little flickering beacon to guide them, the future has never looked so bright.