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Ben isn’t entirely sure the girl is gatecrashing at first. There are only bound to be so many masks for sale in London; there’s nothing to say that hers, distinctive as it is, wasn’t purchased from wherever Phasma purchased her own. The half-butterfly of sparkling glitter and silver wire isn’t what fascinates him — or not alone, certainly, he’d hardly noticed it on his blonde friend — but rather what the girl’s doing, lurking at the edge of things in a black negligee only appropriate for bedrooms and costume parties like this.

Phasma’s text message asking him to keep an eye out for the mask (can’t believe i forgot it there, what bollocks >.<) confirms it. The interloper must’ve pilfered it from wherever his pal set it down — but wondering where she or that cute lingerie came from is another story.

Normally Ben loathes parties, but keeping an eye on the satin-and-lace-clad stranger is diverting enough that he’s actually glad he decided to come. Valentine’s Day alone in the apartment with his videogames and his million-dollar view couldn’t possibly be as interesting as this.

He loses track of her for a few minutes around ten and scopes out the maze of rooms with a mix of disappointment and desperation. Director Snoke’s apartment is nothing if not labyrinthine, but he only sees a sea of unfamiliar masks and veils wherever he looks — until she appears beside his elbow, materializing from behind one of the imposing curtains at the edge of the ballroom.

“You’re following me.” Her dark amber eyes narrow behind the rounded holes in the mask, but her lips curve in a smile. “Should I be frightened of you, Mr.…?”

“Solo,” he offers, embarrassed to be caught. Regardless of what the scrolling script on the invitation had said, it felt juvenile to wear a mask — and only now does he wish he had something to hide his blush. “Ben. And you don’t have any reason to be afraid of me. I was just wondering if I should be afraid of you.”

Me? ” She draws one splayed hand to her full breasts, pretending to be aghast as she bats her eyelashes up at him. “You can’t possibly find me threatening, a big hulk of a man like you.”

Maybe it’s the whiskey emboldening him, but he leans close to her — and to his surprise, she doesn’t pull away. “You’re crashing.”

The girl sighs prettily. “Guess you caught me. Are you going to rat me out?”

Ben shakes his head, grinning. “I’m way too interested in how you got in.”

“Tell you what.” The girl looks him pointedly up and down, sizing him up. “If you can figure that out, I’ll have a drink with you.”

“What makes you think I want to have a drink?”

“You’re following me around at this party, where there are a hundred richer, more interesting, and more beautiful people than me,” the girl huffs, arching one eyebrow. “You obviously want me to have a drink with you.”

“Fine.” Ben crosses his arms, more intrigued than ever. All the invitations were microchipped, so if she’s a forger, she’s a damn good one. But her attire suggests otherwise; the peignoir is beautiful but threadbare, the spaghetti straps careworn and fraying. “Don’t I at least get a hint?”

She tilts her head to the side, considering. “You’ll have to be the one to get the drinks.”

“In exchange for the hint?”

“No, that is the hint,” she giggles — and the sound makes something in his chest lurch pleasantly.

He deduces it quickly enough: “The caterers let you in.”

“I am one of the caterers,” she says with a shrug, “but close enough.”

Ben frowns down at her. It’s impossible that she’s got anything stowed under the coal-silk dress (although dress is far too generous a word, now that he considers it) — the garment clings to her body, hardly hiding anything. There’s even a slit in the thigh that’s so high he can almost see if she’s wearing anything beneath it. “Where are your clothes?”

“Stuffed in a bathroom back that way,” the girl says, nodding across the room at a doorway back into the labyrinth. “This place is like a palace, I bet hardly anyone’s dropped a deuce in there all night.”

Ben bursts into gales of laughter, but she only looks slightly abashed as she grins up at him, her teeth glinting like neat pearls.

“Flirty and dirty, that’s what they call me.”

“What do they really call you?” he asks when he’s recovered his breath.

She hesitates a moment, just long enough for him to know that whatever name she offers is bound to be a lie. “Kira.”

He doesn’t push the matter. She’s already shed the armor of her clothes, he’s not going to rob her of her dignity. “And what are you doing sneaking around here, Kira?”

“Seeing what the high life has to offer.”

“Liking it?”

Kira wrinkles her nose prettily. “I wasn’t. To be honest, it all seems like expensive, overblown nonsense. But then I met you.”

Heat pools low in Ben’s belly, a snarling lust awakening as his gaze flits over her bare thighs (briefs or thong — or nothing at all?), but he only clenches his jaw, forcing the rebellious thoughts away. He’s got enough problems in that department, there’s no way he could bring this tiny slip of a woman anything but tears.

Kira slinks closer still, lowering her voice so that she’s purring like a cat. “And what, pray tell, are you doing here, Mr. Solo? Looking for someone to keep you company this Valentine’s Night?”

He laughs hollowly. “Nothing like that.”

“Are you married?”

Ben shakes his head.

“Seeing anyone?”

“Do you interrogate everyone you meet?”

“Only the ones I’m attracted to.”

Fire blossoms in his cheeks as he blushes. “You can’t be attracted to me.”

Kira folds her arms over her breasts in a sassy imitation of his stance. “Beg pardon? Are you trying to mansplain attraction to me?”

“N-No, I just— I mean, I wouldn’t—” he fumbles, but then she grins mischievously again. “You’re fucking with me.”

“Most definitely. But I am curious why a beautiful man such as yourself thinks I couldn’t fancy him.” She cocks her head again, and intelligence is writ clearly in her eyes. “Care to tell me about it over that drink I owe you?”


“It cannot possibly be that big,” Kira enunciates, her eyes huge behind the butterfly mask. “I simply don’t believe it.”

Her voice echoes loudly in the palatial bathroom, every tile and fixture the same jet black as her short nightgown, but it doesn’t matter. The door is locked and there are handfuls of closer places than this one to take a piss, so they’ve been left undisturbed with the pilfered bottle of champagne. He hadn’t even thought to snag any glasses, so they’ve been swigging it straight from the source — and the thought that his lips are touching a place hers have been is agonizing enough. Now that his secret’s out the torture is only bound to worsen.

Kira goggles at him, and he holds his hands up in the universal gesture of surrender. “I swear to you, it’s the truth. It’s maybe only a fifty-fifty shot of it working.”

“With girlfriends?”

“With anyone.”

Kira leans back against the counter beside the sink, dumbfounded. “So you’ve had sex, it just hasn’t ever been that great.”

“It’s hard to enjoy yourself when you’re afraid you’re hurting someone the whole time,” Ben mutters.

To his relief he doesn’t have to ask for the bottle; Kira hands it back wordlessly, and she can feel her watching him as he drinks deep. “Easy there, tiger, I’m not a lifeguard, so if you drown you’re on your own.”

He chuckles, snorting bubbles until his nose burns. It’s better than self-pity — but Kira’s watching him carefully as he passes the champagne back to her. “What?”

“Have you ever heard of masochism?” Maybe it’s his imagination, but it looks like a petal-pink blush is creeping out from beneath the butterfly-wing mask. “If you’re so big that it hurts to have sex with you, maybe you should try hooking up with someone who enjoys that sort of thing.”

“Yeah, why don’t I just go around advertising for that ,” Ben snorts, readjusting himself on the floor. The tiles are cold through his expensive silk trousers. “ Man with big cock seeks masochist for a good time .”

Kira smiles primly at him. “Seek no further.”

He gapes at her.

She takes another swig from the champagne bottle and nods at him. “Why don’t you show me what you’re packing, Ben?”

“You can’t be serious.”

“I can’t be attracted to you, I can’t be serious,” she mocks gently. “Come on, we’ve got this bathroom to ourselves, you’ll never see me again — what have you got to lose?”

HIs length throbs at the notion that she’s thinking about him like that , but still he doesn’t move. “What do I get in return?”

“You’re right — fair’s fair.” Kira thinks for a moment, and not for the first time Ben wishes she’d take off that mask. She’s beautiful, that’s obvious from her clear eyes and berry lips, but even looking right at her he can’t imagine what she looks like without it. Then she hooks a thumb under one of her dress’s half-shredded straps. “I’ll take this off, and you can see me.”

“Right now.”

“Mmhmm. Before the clock tolls midnight and I turn back into a pumpkin.” She winks at him. “Aren’t you curious? I know I am.”

Ben wants to roll his eyes, but then he’d have to look away from her. Instead, strangely, he finds himself rising to his feet — but when he speaks his voice is hoarse. “Give me another drink.”

“Gladly.”

Kira hands him the bottle again and he takes another long drink before holding it up to regard the dwindling contents. “Not much left.”

“Guess we’d better find another way to amuse ourselves.”

His hands are on his belt before he stops himself. “This is ridiculous.”

“Is it?” Her elegant fingers gather the fabric over her thighs, making her hem rise like a Goth theater curtain. “Come on, Ben. Live a little.”

There really isn’t anything to be lost, and his rousing sex is clamoring for the mysterious young woman. True to her word, he can see her slipping the scanty nightgown off over her head in his peripheral vision as he undoes his pants, shoves the hem of his boxer briefs down, and lets his erection spring free.

When he looks up again she’s completely naked save for the butterfly mask, her lean body laid out for his inspection like a gymnast. Her breasts are perfect, full mounds that terminate in rosy nipples, and the flat plane of her stomach gives way to a manicured thatch that he wants to bury his face in and kiss as soon as he sees it.

Fuck .

Ben starts a little as he realizes he’s been drooling over her for too long, but when he finds Rey’s gaze again it’s still lowered, her kissable lips parted as she stares at his exposed cock.

“Hello, big boy,” Kira murmurs — and then she blinks guiltily, as though remembering Ben, too. “You were not exaggerating.”

“Nope.” Does the word sound as disappointed as he feels? It’s always the same story: an off-the-charts hottie could be standing before him totally naked, as now, and he could be dripping for her but she won’t fuck him. Can’t fuck him, thanks to this curse of a thing.

“May I come a little closer?”

He frowns, but nods, and she pads forward. His cock is throbbing under the intensity of her gaze, and she only stops when she’s just in front of him, close enough to touch.

“Have you got a rubber?” Kira asks without looking up.

Ben pulses at the thought of fucking her, but he’s woefully ill-prepared. “I don’t exactly live my life expecting to get laid at a moment’s notice.”

“Even on Valentine’s Day?” Kira clucks softly. “That’s a shame.”

“You’re saying you would’ve fooled around with me if I’d brought a condom?” Ben groans, not even bothering to hide his frustration.

“Oh darling, I’d fool around with you even without a condom.” Her brown eyes find his again, and for the first time he sees a hint of concern in her gaze. “I’m clean as a whistle. The question is, are you, too — and if so, are you willing to risk it?”

The idea of fucking this goddess raw is almost unbearable, and his stiff phallus pulses with need. “I’m clean.”

“You haven’t had any chancy encounters since your last checkup?”

“I wouldn’t be this hard for you if I’d had any encounters,” Ben growls self-consciously.

Rey laughs warmly. “I doubt that — but I believe you.” Her lashes flutter as she gazes down at his engorged length and then back up at him. “What d’you say, Mr. Solo? Would you like me to give you a kiss?”

Ben nods, lost for words — but to his astonishment Rey sinks to the floor, pulling his folded suit jacket beneath her knees. In the next moment she loosely catches his cock in her hands, and she presses her lips to his cockhead in a tender kiss.

He hisses at the overwhelming ecstasy at the sudden touch, and she giggles as precum beads at his slit. The masked woman licks it away eagerly, pretending not to hear his gasp. “Mm, delicious. More of that, please.”

Ben fists her dark hair as she takes him in her mouth, exploring every inch of him as she works at him with her hands. The combination is mind-blowing, and his knees tremble as the first threads of rapture draw together deep in his belly.

“No.” He pulls her away when she brings him too close; he won’t pop in her mouth, not without giving her something first. She’s so light that it’s easy to drag her to her feet, and he pushes her back against the long counter.

She stares up at him, her brown eyes wide with shock. “Did I do something wrong?”

“It was amazing,” he admits.

“So then why’d you stop me?”

“To do this.”

With a daring he didn’t know he possessed, Ben swiftly boosts Kira onto the counter and pries her knees open. She shrieks as he drops to his knees before her and runs his hands up the outsides of her thighs, letting the tip of his nose graze her mound as he inhales deeply. She smells like everything forbidden and delicious, and he tightens his fingers on her as she wriggles.

“Are you going to kiss me or not?” Kira whimpers impatiently.

“Shh.”

She cries out as his breath coasts over her bare skin, and finally he puts her out of her misery, kissing her drenched slit and parting her folds with his tongue. He laps at her with cruel strokes, delighting in every moan that escapes her shuddering body. At least this is something he knows he’s good at.

But to his surprise, Kira pushes his hands away as he slides them closer to her quim, and he stops. “I can’t finger you?”

Kira shakes her head so sharply that coils of her nut-brown hair catch over her mask’s metal strands. “I want you to fuck me.”

“Kira…” His hands tighten on her thighs as his cock throbs hungrily. “I would break you.”

“How will you know until you try?”

There it is again, that note of cheerful challenge in her voice. Ben rises to his feet, and he looms over her, letting his full height do the talking. “You don’t know what you’re asking for.”

She hops off the counter, and she’s so pitifully tiny compared to him that he almost laughs. “Fuck. Me. Ben.”

“Kira…”

She twines her arms around his neck, drawing his face close to his. Her breath smells like champagne and some kind of berry lip gloss, and he wants to devour her. “I’m on the pill. I’m safe. And I’m more than willing, I’m drenched for you.”

The moment she presses her lips to his the ravening demon within him is set loose, and he crushes her against him, her naked body radiating heat even through his clothes. He parts her lips with his tongue and probes her mouth, her wanton moan drawing a growl of lust from his own throat.

All Kira’s entreaties have silenced the cacophony of voices warning him to stop, and he nudges her back against the bathroom’s chill wall, pinning her to the unforgiving tile with his hips.

“God, yes,” Kira groans as he lifts her, wrapping her hips around his waist. She clings to him obediently as he negotiates his rigid cock against her, finding the slick, secret place that’s begging for him.

His arm tightens around her with brutal force as his dull, thick head penetrates her, but he stops after only an inch or two.

Kira’s eyes glitter rebelliously behind her purloined mask. “More.”

Everything in him wants to just fuck her into the wall, but he only lets himself sink into her a little deeper before stopping again.

More , Ben.” Her voice doesn’t even sound strained; she should be gasping by now, from his girth if nothing else. “Come on, is that all you’ve got?”

“Don’t provoke me,” he rasps, and maybe it’s just the bathroom’s acoustics but the voice that comes out of him sounds like a goddamn thunder god.

“Fuck me properly .” She kisses him again with violent force, teasing his lips with her teeth and tracing a line along his jaw to his earlobe. He doesn’t even realize he’s thrusting into her again until her breaths are punctuated by little whines — but by then he’s almost all the way inside her, buried up to the hilt in her magical fucking pussy.

“Ben, you feel bloody amazing,” Kira pants, her lips brushing his as she speaks.

It’s never been like this before — and he draws back far enough to regard her cautiously. “You’re sure?”

“Of course I’m sure!” He’d be inclined to disbelieve her, but then she surges around him, urging him. “Fuck me, darling, don’t stop ‘til you’ve cum.”

He moves inside her, slowly first but with growing urgency as the ecstatic groans tear themselves from Kira’s throat. She meets him in every thrust, riding his twitching phallus as he quickens. She’s so fucking tight and wet, welcoming his every advance as her lips tease his, and it takes him a few moments to realize it when she says something.

“What, sweetheart?”

“The floor,” she murmurs. “Fuck me on the floor. I don’t care if it’s hard, I want to feel you on top of me.”

Kira’s pussy clenches around him as he turns, and even though it’s hell on his knees he doesn’t disengage from her as he lowers them, and they tumble to the floor. He cradles her head with one hand and then they’re fucking again with mindless abandon, Ben not even caring that he’s grunting like a rutting animal as he buries himself in her.

Fuck ,” Kira hisses, twining her fingers in his hair as he ravages her. “You’ve been with the wrong kind of women, Ben, because you’re a fucking god . I wish I could ride your cock every day for the rest of my life, fuck, fuck, fuck —”

She writhes in his arms, and he’s at least ninety percent sure she’s cumming as she claws his back, her fingernails sharp even through his shirt. He slows, but she shakes her head, wrenching it to and fro like the simple gesture is an immense effort.

“Don’t stop. Keep going, I want you to get off inside me.”

Her voice is ragged, pleading, and the voices telling him she can’t possibly want this are again drowned out by Kira’s beautiful cries as he fucks her harder.

He’s never cum in a woman raw like this, and the blinding edge rises in him even sooner than he’s expecting. He tries to hold himself back, and until Kira starts quaking beneath him again he’s nearly successful. But then her body tightens about him, hot and tight as a bowstring, and then they’re falling apart together, his desperate groans matching hers as his fiery load spurts into her.

“Shit,” he gasps, and Kira giggles, her pussy clenching around him again.

“Yeah. That.”

“You—?”

She nods breathlessly, the metal of her mask tickling her shoulder. “I’d ask if you did, but I’m pretty sure I felt every drop.”

Ben chuckles weakly as he eases himself out of her. The orgasm is so all-obliterating that between their exertions and the alcohol he’s completely drained. He has just enough energy to enfold the slender masked woman in his arms before the world goes fuzzy.


One week later, Ben still has no idea what the fuck happened on the best — and worst — Valentine’s Day of his life.

He remembers Kira clearly enough, the honeyed scent of her body and the flashing of her dark amber eyes, the way she felt as she drew him deep inside her. He even recalls passing out with her in his arms, but everything between that and Director Snoke’s butler awakening him after the party had wound down to a close (politely ignoring Ben’s unbuttoned pants) is lost to darkness.

Phasma’s the one who catches him brooding. “Just call the stupid catering company and find her. You know she’s one of them, right? So put their feet to the fire.”

“Meaning?”

“Tell her she stole something.”

He glowers at her. “I’m not going to get her in trouble at her job , Phas.”

“It was her choice to bugger off from work.”

“Regardless.”

“I still haven’t gotten my mask back,” the ice-blonde woman snipes, returning his glare with equal force.

“I’ll reimburse you for it. What’d it cost, like, twenty dollars?”

“Fifteen, but that’s not the point,” she mutters. “If you’re not going to follow my suggestions, at least do something. It’s ridiculous to see a grown man mooning about like a mopey teenager.”

“I am not mooning about ,” Ben snarls, hucking a nearby nerf football at Phasma — but his friend’s already ducking out the door.

“Find your damn sex kitten, then!” she calls back over her shoulder, and Ben’s forced to shut his door for the rest of the day. There’s no way at least half the other executive office occupants didn’t hear that one.


Phasma might be dead wrong about getting Kira in trouble, but her suggestion gives Ben the seed of an idea. There’s no point in hunting down the catering company’s phone number and asking for her by name — but there’s also nothing stopping him from simply showing up at their storefront, if one’s available. 

On that count he’s in luck. Director Snoke’s executive assistant provides him with the catering company’s contact information, forwarding an email that contains a helpful link to a nearby cafe called Resistance.

Ben checks the clock. It’s only two, and he puts in enough overtime for no one to give a fuck if he goes missing for a few hours on a Friday. Anyone curious enough to notice his absence will probably just assume he’s done what some of the other execs get up to and snuck out for an early jump on eighteen holes.

It’s crazy to presume that he could be so lucky, but maybe lightning could strike twice. With a final few emails to clear his schedule he sets off for the cafe, doing his damndest to keep from speeding through the bustling traffic.


The cafe is a bohemian sort of place, so much so that Ben’s surprised these stylish hipsters were the buttoned-down servers who blended so seamlessly with the city’s elite not so very long ago. Fortunately none of them seem to recognize him, either, and he orders a cup of coffee, assuming a place at a corner table with a view of the kitchen door. His phone is the perfect camouflage as he pretends to be flipping through a feed, instead keeping an eye on the parade of clerks, cooks, and bakers flitting behind display cases laden with colorful food.

After an hour passes with no sign of anyone that could potentially be Kira, Ben gets impatient enough to approach the counter again. The torrent of patrons has slowed to a trickle, and the swarthy man at the register looks at him with vague interest. “What can I getcha?”

“I’m looking for someone, actually,” Ben says stiffly. His heart is banging against his ribs hard enough to unbalance him; the caffeine was a bad call, but it’s way too late for that now. “You guys catered a party I was at the other night, and I met one of your employees, Kira. Is she around?”

“Kira?” The man frowns. “Sorry, my man, no one here by that name.”

Of course. He knew the name was fake — and under normal circumstances he wouldn’t pry, but he has to know if he hurt her. Was that why she took off without even waking him to say goodbye?

“Please. I know it sounds crazy, but could you just ask? Maybe someone hired some extra help for the night, or someone filled in?”

It sounds just plausible enough for the young man’s suspicion to ease somewhat. “Yeah — a few of the people in the back were there.” He half-turns toward the swinging door, and it doesn’t escape Ben that the guy doesn’t let Ben out of his sight as he raises his voice: “Hey Rey!”

“Hey what?” comes a muffled voice from the kitchen.

“Some guy here looking for Kira, says she worked the big party last week. You know who he’s talking about?”

There’s only silence from the back — and it drags on long enough that the young man at the register furrows his brow in confusion. “Hang here, I’ll be right back.”

Agitation slithers through Ben like a snake as he waits, his anxiety growing with each passing second. He’s almost about to chance it and walk back into the kitchen himself when the door swings open and a young woman stiffly emerges.

She doesn’t have to say anything to Ben for him to know it’s not her. She’s too short, for one thing, and her hair is the wrong color — not to mention that her gait is wrong. He’s been thinking — no, obsessing — over his mystery fuck-partner for long enough to see through the deception instantly.

“No,” he says firmly as the girl opens her mouth to speak.

She sighs, and shouts back over her shoulder. “Rey, get out here, he knows I’m not you!”

A few endless moments later the galley door swings open again, and even without the mask or the sexy clothes, Ben’s heart thuds sickeningly in his chest because it’s her .

Sensing the strangeness in the air, the other girl hurries back into the kitchen, but Ben only has eyes for her . Not Kira but Rey — and even though her rich brown eyes are wide with fear, she gestures to the front door. “Come on.”

He follows wordlessly as she leads him outside and around the corner, through a gate that separates the street from a narrow alley. Someone’s set a small table and some chairs outside what must be the cafe’s side door, and the narrow, rectangular view of the canal down at the far end of the byway is borderline idyllic.

Rey stops beside the table and reluctantly turns back to face him. “How did you find me?”

“You told me you were one of the caterers.”

“Shit. No. Not how.” She twitches her head, sending her ponytail bouncing over her shoulder as she frowns in bemusement. “I mean why did you find me?”

“Do you really need me to answer that?” he murmurs. She’s practically swimming in the striped chef’s pants, but he can make out the familiar lines of her body beneath. Fuck . Already he’s at half-mast just from being so close to her. “Kira— Rey, I mean, I’m sorry—”

“It’s all right, it was just a stupid nickname,” she says softly, staunchly refusing to meet his gaze.

“Are you okay?”

She nods, sniffing a little. “I swear I’m not crying, honest.”

“I meant after we— um, after. You vanished.”

She scrubs her forehead with the heel of her palm. “Yeah, I had to head back. I tried to wake you up, but you were out cold.”

Is she lying?  He doesn’t think so; she seems more abashed than anything. “But you didn’t leave me a note or anything.”

“Ben…”

The sad way she sighs his name guts him. Finally she meets his gaze, but her brown eyes are drowning in a tempest of grief.

“We’re from really different worlds. I’m so sorry, I just meant to have a look ’round, I never thought I’d meet someone.”

“Someone?”

“Someone special,” she says quietly, and ruthless, uptight corporate shark Ben Solo knows he has a heart because it’s aching for her to touch him. “I need this job, and I couldn’t bail on it, even for you.”

“That’s fine, I understand.”

She blinks up at him. “You do?”

“Of course. I didn’t want to get you in trouble, and I wouldn’t get in the way of your livelihood.”

“But I said some stupid shit — I mean really stupid shit—”

He scowls down at her in confusion, and she interprets the look correctly.

“That I, uh … wanted to ride your cock every day for the rest of my life,” Rey mutters, and even mortification looks good on her.

“I loved that.” Never before has he been embarrassed by his clothes, but he’d trade anything in the world for a simple pair of jeans and a t-shirt. The way she’s staring at him, it’s like he’s from a completely different planet. “And maybe it looks like that now, but I promise you I didn’t grow up in a penthouse.”

“Oh.” She mulls it over for a few seconds. “I guess I assumed … well, never mind.”

They stand in silence for a few moments as the breeze sends dead leaves skirling through the alleyway. But he has to risk it. He can’t have come all this way only to lose her now.

“Rey, let me take you on a real date. Nothing too crazy, just a walk or something.”

“A walk,” she half-laughs, and her eyes glint at him. “You with your thousand-dollar suits and your Omega watch — don’t think I didn’t notice that, by the way, Mr. Humble Origins.”

“It was a gift,” he growls. “You can’t give me shit about doing well at work.”

“Can’t I?”

“A walk,” he insists — and as he steps close to Rey, she doesn’t fall back. She merely waits for him, her warm brown eyes burning with something like hope. “Take a walk with me. Trust me, we don’t have to screw in a bathroom to have fun.”

“Ah, but it was such fun, wasn’t it?” Rey murmurs — and as she wraps her arms around her neck and lifts her face to his for a kiss, Ben’s heart thumps in disbelieving rapture because somehow, against all odds he , perpetually loner Ben Solo, might’ve actually found love on Valentine’s Day.