Jaylah liked classic movies almost as much as she liked classic music. Not the real early black and white stuff, but the ones from that period where they'd figured out color but before they'd gotten to digital cameras. Rey suspected Jaylah's interest was mostly due to the soundtracks, but she also liked watching them, so she had no reason to complain.
She also asked a ton of questions about them - What is Einstein? What is Yahoo? Is she using literally wrong or am I using literally wrong? Why do these people never say goodbye on the phone when they hang up? Scotty told me that is not polite.
And Rey never had any idea what the right answer was. The people in the movies looked more like her than her roommate, but everything that played out on the screen was just as foreign to her as it was to Jaylah. There had been other humanoids on Jakku, but they were few and far between, and Rey had kept mostly to herself anyway. Up until a year ago Earth was just a place she'd heard of in passing a couple of times.
One of the reasons Luke had encouraged her to join Starfleet was so that she could get better socialized. "I've been alone too long to be able to help you there," he'd said. "And you should be around people your own age. Learn what it's like to be a part of society." And she had to admit, as much as she hadn't wanted to leave him, she did have a lot she needed to catch up on after being left to fend for herself on a backwater like Jakku for almost her entire life.
Still, if that were her sole purpose at the Academy, Jaylah was probably the worst roommate possible. She'd somehow managed to find herself alone on an even worse planet than Jakku. As unpleasant as Jakku had been, at least people hadn't been actively trying to kill Rey. Well, not most of the time.
"What is Stay Puft?" asked Jaylah.
"No idea," said Rey, reaching for her data pad. "Go ahead and pause it while I look it up."
Maybe things would be easier with a normal roommate, somebody who could show her around and explain how things worked. But right now she was enjoying trying to figure it out with Jaylah.
Rey liked it. It made her feel strong, like she would be ready when they had to leave the safe enclosure of the Academy behind and go back out into the real universe. Well, that was part of why she liked it. She also just liked watching Jaylah move.
After an hour of it, though, she was done. It felt like her arms were going to fall off.
"Have you decided between Engineering and Security yet?" asked Rey, putting her staff down. Jaylah was good at both. So was Rey, for that matter, but Rey had already committed to the Command track.
"Both," said Jaylah firmly.
Rey was pretty sure that was against the rules, but she was also pretty sure Jaylah was going to pull it off anyway. And Kirk was clearly going to get her assigned to the Enterprise no matter what track she took. Rey frowned. Sure, graduation was several years away, and it wasn't even like they'd known each other for that long, but she was going to miss Jaylah when she was gone.
Jaylah punched her in the arm. "Hey!" said Rey, rubbing the spot. "My arms were sore enough!"
"You look like you are thinking too much," said Jaylah. "Come on, let's go back to our room. I want to watch a movie before dinner."
"What do you want to watch?" asked Rey.
Jaylah shrugged. "Something with romance, yeah? I feel like romance."
That was something of a shift from their normal repertoire, but it sounded good to Rey. "Yeah," she said. "I think I'm in the mood for that."
Rey had been expecting this. Jaylah liked celebrating all the Earth holidays, from the major ones to obscure things she had picked up on the net that even their classmates who were actually from Earth had never heard of. It wouldn't be like her to skip a staple like Valentine's Day, especially not after all the romantic comedies they'd been watching recently.
Rey opened the box, and inside was a heart-shaped cake covered in thick and elaborate frosting. Her mouth watered just at the sight of it.
"I can get flowers also, if you want them," said Jaylah. "But I thought you would like food best. It's chocolate."
"It's perfect," said Rey. She didn't need to be told that it was chocolate. She could smell that it was chocolate, and she had to resist the urge to just take a handful of it. "I am going to devour this whole thing. With you, I mean," she added, because she probably shouldn't eat an entire cake the size of her head in one sitting by herself. Even if she was fully capable of it.
"I got you something, too," she said, reluctantly putting the cake to the side for the moment. She reached into her bedside drawer, and had to shift around through spare parts for a second before she found Jaylah's gift.
Rey had also been paying attention to the many rom-coms they'd watched together. "Here," she said, holding out a CD case. "I made you a mixtape."
Poe had helped her out some with the song selection, because Rey still wasn't entirely clear on the many, many genre distinctions involved in 20-21st century popular music, but the real hard part had been figuring out how to get the music to write onto such ancient data storage technology. Jaylah had jury-rigged her own player together shortly after the semester had started, though, so Rey knew she'd be able to play it.
"You made me a mixtape!" said Jaylah. She was clearly delighted, and Rey felt her heart swell up in her chest. And she felt like now was the time to say it, to just flat out say I love you, but she was still hesitant as she opened her mouth to speak. She still wasn't a hundred percent sure if this was friends Valentine's Day or the other kind of Valentine's Day.
Jaylah had better romantic timing than Rey, though, and before she knew it she was being kissed without having to say anything at all. Except now she really wanted to say it.
"I love you," she said, the second Jaylah pulled away from their kiss.
Jaylah smiled. She had such a brilliant smile. "I love you, too," she said, and then they were kissing again.
And as far as Rey was concerned, they didn't ever need to stop.