Self-sacrificing wasn’t a word people would use to describe Jyn Erso.
At least people who did not know her well wouldn’t.
It was true, Jyn Erso could be rather blunt, some might even say unfriendly, but that was only part of the truth. Towards friends and family, Jyn was loyal and went out of her way to help and support them. Sometimes, even strangers benefited from her deeds. Just like many other people, Jyn Erso was not looking for trouble, but she would not cower or relent if trouble found her.
This particular Friday morning wasn’t Jyn’s best. The last few weeks at work had been rough, her boss, a big and burly man named Saw, had given her hard a real hard time: Not only did they have to do overtime, but also deal with some really tough cases. Jyn hadn’t been the only target, Saw merely tried to make sure the newly employed staff members weren’t lying when they claimed that they were highly motivated and skilled during their interviews. Jyn had taken it in stride, eager to prove she got this job because of her skills, not through her mother, an old friend of Saw’s.
Jyn had done well, but a combination of her work stress and one evening running lap without warm clothes - a dumb mistake, even though it was May - had apparently weakened her immune system and she had been struck by a cold.
Saw had been understanding and gave her the week off - even without docking her pay. Jyn appreciated this gesture and when she felt better on Thursday evening, even called him to volunteer to come back on Friday. But Saw had told her to cure her cold completely and “tackle work again on Monday with new energy.”
So Jyn was in her flat on Friday morning when it all started.
Like many of these events did, it began innocently enough.
Quarter past ten the doorbell rang. Jyn had snuggled down in a thick and fluffy blanket on her couch and just started to catch up with her favorite series, something she had fallen behind on in her first days at work.
Of course, once she had found the perfect position, comfortable, warm and with her cup of tea in reach, someone decided that he wanted something from her.
She did not expect any visitors. Bodhi was at the airport for his flying lessons, Shara and Kes were on an extended weekend trip together (ugh, she would never admit it, but these two actually were a cute couple). Baze and Chirrut were at their diner/gym (a weird combination, but as Baze once stated: after Chirrut’s workouts, you craved food!). Although, maybe it was Baze, considering he was also the landlord of the building Jyn lived in.
(No, she had not befriended the pair to get one of the cozy rooms in the two-storey-building. Chirrut was another old friend of her mother and, despite some annoying traits like always knowing how you felt, actually a pleasure to be around. Baze was gruff and silent, but an excellent fighter who even had shown her a few new tricks.)
With a heavy sigh, Jyn unfurled herself from her blankets and slowly made her way to the door. Her outfit - sweatpants and an oversized hoodie - wasn’t one she would necessarily wear in public, but hey, whoever was ringing at her bell would have to deal with it.
It wasn’t Baze, but a man of her age in the uniform of the market-leading parcel service. In his arms, he held an oblong, brown parcel that was almost as large as his chest and considering the sweat on the man’s brow, also quite heavy. The poor guy seemed very relieved when he saw Jyn and exhaled deeply.
“Sorry to bother you, ma’am” - Jyn cringed, she was 24 for heaven’s sake, not 48 - “but I have a parcel for your neighbour. Quite an important one, we, eh, kinda lost it in the central office. Unfortunately, it seems like he is away right now. Would you consent to accepting it for him and give it to him when he comes back? I would leave a message at his door and he could come over then.”
Jyn stifled a groan. She never met her next door neighbour, in fact, she wasn’t even sure she had one. If he existed, he was eerily silent, even on the weekends.
But accepting the parcel would mean she would be bothered at least once more today and although feeling better, she enjoyed the idea of a quiet and peaceful day for herself after weeks of stress. Also, you never knew what kind of jerk said neighbor was. Maybe he would be annoyed that she accepted the parcel in his stead, maybe he was some kind of womanizer who would take it as an opportunity to hit on her.
Nevertheless, Jyn had a good heart, was well-raised and felt some sort of sympathy for the package deliverer who had looked at her with a mixture of hope and despair. So she nodded, accepted his overwhelming amount of “Thank yous” and signed to confirm the parcel had been received.
After even more “Thank yous” - politeness was nice, but too much of it was annoying - the man gave her the parcel and hurried towards the stairs.
The delivery was quite heavy and although Jyn was not weak, especially for a rather small woman like her, she quickly put in on the ground next to her door. Apart from the address and the name of the customer - one “Orson Krennic” - the name of the company in unsettling purple letters could be found on the cardboard: “Toys Unlimited”.
Strange. It sounded like something a family would order for their children, but on the other hand, it didn’t. Jyn wasn’t aware who her neighbour was exactly, but he was single or at least had no children. Otherwise, he would not live in the smaller apartment on the second floor, but in the larger one on the first.
Jyn shrugged and went back to her comfy couch and five minutes later, she was back into her series and forgot about the parcel.
But sitting at home for five days with a cold left one with little to do besides watching TV and reading. Two hours after a small lunch of reheated chicken soup, Jyn was up-to-date with everything worth watching (and even some stuff that wasn’t). She wasn’t in the mood to continue her book today (it was one of those writings she preferred to read when her brain was at its peak capacity) and she didn’t want to risk having a fallback by taking a walk.
So the parcel on the floor next to her door got more and more interesting by the minute.
Jyn had always been a curious and adventurous girl (it was how she had met her best friend Bodhi), but her parents had raised her well. Not opening parcels that weren't hers was a basic, sensible rule that Jyn followed -- most of the time. She would not like it if somebody opened one of her own parcels. Not that they would find anything interesting. Books, DVDs, clothes. Stuff like that.
Still, as the day grew older and Jyn grew more and more bored, her moral values lost their support. After all, what if her neighbor had ordered dangerous stuff? Weapons? Chemicals? Other illegal substances? She had signed the sheet and accepted the parcel. Which meant she might be held responsible for any sort of trouble stemming from it. (No, her imagination wasn’t running wild after some particularly crazy TV show.)
Plus, wasn’t it her responsibility to check the package? It could be a bomb someone sent to kill her neighbour? (Why was she so lunatic today? What was in the cold meds? Why should anyone do that? And more importantly: Why should she check it then?)
Jyn toyed with the thought of opening the parcel for a few more minutes and finally retrieved scissors and a small knife from her kitchen. A quick look couldn’t hurt. She would open it carefully, check the content, maybe snap a picture to be sure. After all, her neighbour could turn out to be a scumbag who took the parcel and then claimed he never had gotten it. Which would once again spell trouble for Jyn.
Jyn had very dexterous fingers - a skill she had inherited from her mother - and within a few seconds, a few well-placed cuts and slices had penetrated the cardboard and laid open its secrets.
No, these definitely weren’t toys for children. Well, if you would use them around children, you would go to prison for a long, long time. With good reason.
Jyn wasn’t a sexually active person - most boys in her youth were idiots and they weren’t much brighter in college. There were a few she was friends with, like Bodhi or Kes, but that’s what they were, friends. After all, it was possible to have friends from the other gender without feeling the need to jump each other sooner or later, thank you very much. Her new colleagues, those she didn’t knew all too well. Combined with a lot of work at college and a general aversion for overly loud music and expensive drinks limited her opportunities to meet a significant other considerably.
But even she knew what this order entailed. Sex toys.
And not same tame sex toys, like a standard vibrator, some lube or some pseudo-cuffs. No, these were… objects Jyn had never envisioned seeing in all her life.
The first items she retrieved were similar to rosaries. With two scientists as parents, Jyn’s upbringing hadn’t been overly religious. Still, she was no clueless prude and knew very well that they were far far from something used in a church. At least in a “normal” church.
The second item was almost as large as her arm. A weird mix. Little suckerlike nubs were attatched to a curved shaft, it resembled a thick octopus.
The third item was more familiar. Although it had some sort of knot at the end…
The shipment was completed by a flogger - not a cheap one made of plastic, a really expensive one. She knew a little more about weapons and this one could be used to actually hurt someone - and a little wooden paddle, obviously for the same activities. Plus an assortment of plugs of a different scale, small to large.
To say that Jyn was shocked would have been an understatement. Not that she was judging her suddenly much more intriguing neighbour, to each his own. But opening the parcel was a mixed blessing. A part of her wanted to throw it into the hands of his owner and never speak to him again. Another part, however, thought this would be an excellent opportunity to tease someone a bit. Jyn wasn’t and didn’t want to be perfect. Also, her helpfulness deserved a small reward, didn’t it? A bit of chaffing seemed fine. She would decide once she knew how her neighbour looked like and how his initial reaction would be.
As she put the content back into the parcel, Jyn noticed a piece of paper on the bottom of it. It was quite like numerous other bills included in such deliveries: formal letterhead, address of the company, instructions on how to return the delivery and so on.
Only this thank-you-for-ordering-our-products-letter was different:
Thank you for choosing Toys Unlimited. Unlimited toys for unlimited pleasure. Please read the manual carefully and enjoy your toys ... Unlimited. ;)
(Yes, they used the written version of the winking smiley.)
We hope you have a bone-derful time! (Pardon our French. It sucks.)
G. Harstrumpf, Customer Service Department
P.S.: “Cabbage” is a brilliant safe word.
Waiting with anticipation improved Jyn's afternoon considerably, her mind running wild with possibilities.
It was half past five when, finally, Jyn heard footsteps approaching her room.
She wasn’t itching for her mysterious neighbour to arrive, no. There were perfectly normal reasons why she turned down the TV, music or anything else that might keep her from hearing what was happening in the corridor. She just wanted to get it over with, hand over the parcel and have one thing less to worry about.
(But why was the fact that the rooms had pretty strong walls and therefore were not completely, but still above average soundproof, frustrating instead of gratifying all of a sudden? Well, at least for the moment. Once he had the parcel, Jyn would immediately have to ask Baze for soundproof-enhancement.)
Jyn forced herself to delay for five more minutes - she was polite and knew only too well how one needed a few moments to “come home” after a long day of work. But only five minutes, otherwise he might read the message left behind by the parcel service employee and leapfrog her. It would still be fun for her, but maybe not as much as the other way around.
They say laughter is the best medicine and, after a rough week of illness, Jyn felt she deserved this.
Despite her non-judgemental attitude, maybe she still felt a bit like she had the moral high ground. Jyn actually changed into jeans and a shirt. She wasn’t dressed up to the nines, maybe not even to the fives, but still presentable enough to introduce oneself to a neighbour.
Balancing the heavy package in her arms, Jyn pressed the doorbell with her elbow. Who would open the door? A nerdy-looking guy? Some old pervert? A completely “normal” person? Some disgusting, probably overweight freak? Hopefully, it was enough for a funny story to tell her friends the next time they hung out together. Jyn had only a few of those and this whole incident was promising.
Whatever Jyn had expected to find behind the door, it wasn’t the man who opened it.
He wasn’t nerdy (okay, maybe a bit, but the good way), old (maybe in his late twenties?) or disgusting. Just the opposite, really. Handsome, not too tall, but he still had a few inches on her. Maybe from Latin or South America - or maybe his ancestors were, that was just as possible. Deep hazel brown eyes, black hair, styled, but not in a particularly showy way and a well-groomed beard.
Overall, definitely not what she had expected. And apart from his looks, he felt… familiar? Jyn had only felt this kind of connection once or twice, like the first time she met Bodhi. And yet… the sentiment was different. Bodhi was as good as her brother, while this neighbour… Hell, she didn’t even knew him and she already had some pretty detailed thoughts. That was new.
A shame he’s playing for the other team , her unhelpful mind added. Jyn never would have thought a man like this would order sex toys online. But well, silent waters are deep.
His smile was pleasant, warm and welcoming, although he was a bit confused. “Can I help you?” He asked in a soothing voice that made her feel like she had been wrapped in a warm, cozy blanket. He had an accent, but it was fitting somehow and she had zero problems understanding him. (And didn’t every person have some sort of accent?)
Jyn must have looked just as confused as he did, but she reclaimed the initiative by clearing her throat and standing a bit straighter. Her smile - similar to a teasing cat - reappeared as she held the parcel towards him.
“Hi, I’m your neighbour from across the floor, Jyn. This came for you in the morning and I agreed to accept if for you.”
The confusion did not disappear, neither did his smile.
“A parcel? But… I’m sorry, I can’t recall ordering any parcel. Are you sure he meant me?”
Jyn’s amusement disappeared from her face a little bit. Were her suspicions right? Was he a good-looking guy on the outside, but rotten on the inside? He clearly had spotted who had sent the package. Maybe he tried to talk himself out of it, feeling ashamed?
“Yes. He even rung at your doorbell, but you were away. I signed his delivery confirmation,” she added with emphasis. Orson seemed nice, but there was no way she would end up paying for his weird toys.
“But, listen, that is impossible. I mean, I’m new, I haven’t even fully moved in yet. Even my parents and friends don’t know this new address…”
“Well, nevertheless, the parcel was delivered to your address.” Jyn blew some of her bangs that had fallen in her face away. “And I took it, which means I’m responsible and liable until I have handed it over. Which I am doing right now.” She pushed it towards his chest.
Orson took a step back. “I understand, yes, but I assure you…”
“Listen,” Jyn cut him off, getting more and more frustrated. She had thought this would be a funny little incident, a stress reliever and not one more annoying event in her life. “He wanted to give it to you, so it is you who should have it. How you sort out if you ordered it or did not is up to you. You know,” she added with a smirk, now a bit more gleeful than originally intended, “there’s nothing wrong with buying stuff like this. No need to be embarrassed. We are all adults here.”
“Please, Jyn?” He asked and she confirmed that was indeed a name with a short nod. “I have absolutely no idea what…”
“Damn it, you ordered sex toys. Some really kinky ones I might add. So suck it up, take your bloody parcel and let me enjoy the rest of my evening.” Jyn was really getting chagrined now. She had no problem with him ordering such stuff and she could understand he would not be keen on his neighbours knowing that, but playing dumb was not only infuriating, it also made him less attractive. Jyn wouldn’t acknowledge it, but she liked him, considered him to be attractive and she felt something for him. That did not happen a lot.
“But, Jyn, please, listen. I can’t…”
“Is there a problem?” A deep, booming and resigned voice cut into their argument.
Both turned to their left where Baze, the landlord had appeared on the top of the stairs. Jyn was surprised to see him, Friday evenings were a busy time at the gym/diner and as the chief cook, Baze was absolutely indispensable.
Nevertheless, she was happy he was here to sort this one out.
“I accepted a parcel for the tenant across my apartment, Baze, and now he claims he did not order it.”
“I did not, please, believe me…”
Before they could restart their discussion, Baze interrupted them. “Whose name is on the address?”
Jyn turned the parcel around. She had read the name before, but one could never be to sure. “Orson Krennic.”
Baze nodded. “That explains why young Mr. Andor has no knowledge of the parcel.”
Before either of the two could react, he added. “But Jyn is also not wrong. Orson Krennic lived in this room until last Friday. Apparently, he forgot about redirecting the parcel. Come, you two, I’ll give you his new address.”
“But, I just want to... ”
“But this hasn’t got… “
One look from Baze and both fell silent. Like chastised school children, they followed their landlord down the stairs to his own apartment.
Jyn did not like admitting her mistakes, too many people thought that to be a weakness. Still, her politeness won over her hesitation. (It might had something to do with the fact that ‘young Mr. Andor’ was indeed kinda cute.)
“I’m sorry, I should have asked your name first,” she said, mumbling a bit. This encounter was supposed to end with him blushing, not her.
Not-Orson wasn’t one to hold grudges, it seemed. He gifted her one of his smiles, one of the sort that could move clouds and reveal the sun. “No problem, I should've introduced myself properly. Cassian Andor, a pleasure to meet you.” He extended his hand.
“Jyn Erso,” she replied, shaking his hand. Just like his smile, it was warm and comforting.
They might have stared into each other’s eyes, both equally lost, for a few moments, because Baze sported a weird look when he reappeared with a piece of paper containing Krennic’s address.
“Here you go. I suggest both of you head over there tomorrow. He’s a bit of a strange guy, but alright.” For Baze, that was a high compliment.
“You know him well?” Jyn asked, casually ignoring that Baze had said “both of you”.
“An architect. He lived here for years. Couldn’t move in with his boyfriend. Guy’s quite a brass hat in the police force. Some of them still kinda frown when you’re not married with children. But now, matters have eased up a bit and they can actually marry.”
“Who is his boyfriend?” Cassian asked, tearing himself away from Jyn’s face for a second.
“That’s him. Name’s William Tarkin.” He pointed to poster on the wall next to the entrance. It was a chest-up-shot of a pale man with neat grey hair and a gaunt face with pronounced cheekbones. The man had a stern look, one that was fitting for the uniform of a police commissioner he was wearing, cap neatly jammed in under his left arm.
The picture was titled with “I AM GAY. DEAL WITH IT!”
It seemed like this day would take yet another unexpected twist.
“I don’t know him personally, he could rarely visit. But he’s been a pioneer in the LGBT community for years. Worked hard to get them included and accepted in government and police. Not a fun guy, but well. I have to head over to the gym or Chirrut’s gonna chase all the guests away. Jyn, we’ll see each other on Sunday. Young Mr. Andor. A pleasant evening to you both.” With these words, he disappeared through the door, leaving two flabbergasted young people in his wake.
It was Jyn who spoke first, but the stuttering was unlike her. “So - Eh. I’m sorry again, really.”
“No, no, it was my fault too. I can understand why you would feel upset after being so kind and accepting the parcel, really.”
They smiled at each other, neither of them saying a word. Jyn couldn’t recall when and how they ended up on the upper floor a few minutes later, chatting comfortably.
At the door, Cassian asked. “So. I have to go to work in the morning, but I would be free in the afternoon.”
“Oh, please, don’t feel pressured to accompany me. It’s not your problem after all.”
“No pressure at all.” There was his smile again. “It should have been my responsibility, so driving you there and accompanying you is the least I could do. Only if it is alright with you of course.”
Spending some more time with her handsome new neighbor? She had nothing better to do. Plus, it couldn’t hurt to get to know him a little better. They were few tenants in the building after all and who knew, it might be useful. And he had been really pleasant company so far.
Easy there, Erso, it’s not like you to get caught on a guy, especially one you barely know. But she was about to remedy that, wasn’t she?
Little did she know that her smile did the same things to him his did to her.
“It would be my pleasure, thank you.” They said their goodbyes and entered their respective flats.
Jyn’s thoughts definitely weren’t occupied by a certain new acquaintance for the entire evening. No chance.
It was fortunate that Jyn Erso had spent the entire week waiting. Waiting for her nose to be clear again, waiting for her fever to go down, waiting for her coughing to disappear. Added to the waiting she had done yesterday afternoon, passing time until two when Cassian would return from work should be child’s play.
It should have been.
Maybe it was because she hadn’t seen a lot of people all week that he was so vivid and ever-present in her mind.
His smile that made her feel warm. His hazel brown eyes, kind and deep. Or his voice, the accent and the cadence of his speaking weirdly soothing. Also, he wasn’t miffed about her initial mistake. Quite a lot of people she knew would have been disgruntled, but he even admitted part of it was his fault. Which wasn’t entirely true. It had been a misunderstanding.
It was pure luck Bodhi called her around 12 o’clock, asking her how she felt and telling her about his date the other night. Despite Jyn not being an expert on relationships and dating advice in general, her friend was all too happy to tell her all the details and ask for advice. For her, it made no real-sense, since Bodhi was easily the best-looking guy she knew. (Although a new contender had appeared on the scene, one Jyn maybe wouldn’t mind having as a different sort of “friend”.)
They finished the call around two, agreeing to meet like every Sunday at Chirrut’s for lunch. Two or three heartbeats after Jyn had put away her mobile, the doorbell rang.
Amidst chatting with Bodhi, she had forgotten to change her clothes. It wasn’t like she had prepared to dress up just because Cassian would take her for a drive (it wasn’t a date or something like that!), but still, her sweatshirt wasn’t clean. Jyn hurried into her bedchamber, hastily retrieving a fresh blouse before opening the door. Letting him wait after he had been so kind to go with her was unacceptable.
Once she laid her eyes on him, she instantly felt underdressed. Cassian wasn’t wearing a formal suit or anything like that, but he managed to pull off a look somewhere between casual, neat and even a bit sexy. (Maybe her mind was adding the last part.) His smile was just as bright as yesterday as they exchanged pleasantries while walking down the stairs and crossed the street to enter the small area Baze and Chirrut had rented as parking space for their tenants.
Cassian’s car was smaller one, but tidy, well-kept and not too old. Retrieving the address from her pocket, Jyn checked the map on her phone for the easiest route to Mr. Krennic. The parcel had found its place on the backseat.
The drive was a short one, only little traffic on the road and Baze and Chirrut’s house was on the outskirts of the city, so the suburbs weren’t far away. Jyn and Cassian easily bantered, her giving directions while he proceeded to imitate a noble chaffeur, an irritated taxi driver and finally, a pilot.
Under normal circumstances, Jyn would have found such antics silly, but he nailed every single impression, accent, behaviorisms and all. When they arrived at their destination, Jyn had laughed more in the ten minute drive than in the entire year before.
The house wasn’t necessarily large - ground floor and first floor - but still stylish. A number of small adornments had been integrated into the frontage and a well-thought glazing assured key rooms would be flooded with natural light. Hadn’t Baze mentioned this ‘Orson Krennic’ was an architect? It would explain why this house looked special amongst the homy, but similar buildings of suburbia.
Cassian found a parking spot right next to the garden fence and together they walked up to the front door, Jyn carrying the parcel under her right arm. Her initial anticipation of the moment to come had morphed into nervousness. But maybe that was because of her handsome companion?
For the second time in two days, a door opened in front of Jyn and once again it was a surprise. The man looking at her questioningly, but not annoyed, was perhaps in his fifties, his hair short and grey, which made him looked dignified instead of old. He was tall, taller than her by far and taller than Cassian. His blue eyes were piercing and his voice had a rougher accent, Australian maybe.
“Can I help you?”
“Good day, Sir, I’m Cassian Andor and this is Jyn Erso. We’re tenants at Chirrut and Baze’s up at Monro Street. A package with your name on it was delivered to us yesterday…”
“It was. Magnificent.” Krennic’s face lit up when he heard those words and he opened the door wider, signaling them to come in. Sharing a look with Jyn, who shrugged, they both crossed the threshold.
The interior design and furniture were in-line with the building’s outer appearance. Not overly fancy, but it was still clearly visible that the owners weren’t poor and had an exquisite taste. Even several smaller objects - pictures, vases and antiquities - could be found, giving the house a personal touch. White, grey and black were the dominant colours, but the spacious windows ensured the house didn’t feel dark or cold.
“Please, please take a seat,” Krennic said as he ushered them towards a comfy sofa in the middle of the largest room. Jyn and Cassian obliged, still keeping eye contact with each other. Once they were seated, Krennic offered them beverages and returned half a minute later with three glasses and a carafe of homemade juice.
After they all had settled in, Jyn finally handed over the parcel to Krennic, who accepted it with pleasant anticipation. His stern features became joyful, even a bit mischievous one might say.
“It is so kind of you to come here and deliver it personally. It would have ensured they knew the new address, but the delivery was delayed and then the stress of moving, you know. We’ve been waiting for it longingly, my beau and I.”
Krennic gave them a glance that was hard to construe. Jyn, who knew exactly what was in the parcel, was glad she had Cassian at her side. Their host didn’t seem threatening (especially not to her, considering his boyfriend), but his enthusiasm was a bit odd.
“I’m sure you must be dying to find out what’s in there, don’t you?” Krennic added with what seemed to be his trademark smile. It had something ferocious, a bit playful, but Jyn preferred Cassian’s warmth to Krennic’s ardor.
“Well, we would never want to intrude…” Cassian began.
“Nonsense. It is the least I can do. Who knows, maybe you get inspired for something in there to use on your own.”
Jyn felt the heat shooting into her face and Cassian wasn’t any different. His cheeks reddened and she realized that this lowkey embarrassment suited him well. He was cute.
Luckily for them, Krennic had departed for the kitchen, returning moments later with a knife and scissors. Jyn had spent some of her time carefully rearranging and resealing the parcel. Krennic didn’t need to know that she had already opened it.
While he was cutting through the sticky tape, their host suddenly paused as if a thought had struck him at this very moment.
“Erso you said?” He asked and Jyn nodded once he looked up. “You’re not related to Galen “The Machine” Erso in any way?”
“Galen Erso is my father, yes. But I have never heard of that particular nickname, so maybe…”
“No, no, Galen Erso. About my age? My height, black - well, now most likely graying - hair and a brilliant engineer. What a lucky coincidence! He’s an old college friend of mine. We had several courses together, especially in our earlier years.” Krennic leaned himself a bit towards her across the coffee table, his eyes sparkling and he seemed… greedy?
“Tell me, is Galen still as ripped as he was in college? Does he still lift 200 pounds? That’s why we called him ‘The Machine’. Guy had muscles and a body to kill for.” He almost sounded infatuated.
Jyn was completely shocked. Sex toy guy apparently had a thing for her father once, who had been some kind of athlete back in college? Granted, her papa was rather tall - taller than Jyn and her mother - and although a scientist who spent most of his time inside a laboratory or in front of a computer, he wasn’t fat or lazy. Still, this second new acquaintance was a bit too much for her so she just stuttered a “I’m not sure” as a reply.
Luckily for her, Krennic had dislodged the final piece of tape and opened the parcel, letting go a scream of delight. “Yes, it is all there. Ah, Wil and I can finally christen the bedroom.”
Completely unashamed, their host retrieved item after item, laying them down on the coffee table.
Cassian, faintly amused before, now merged his eyebrows with the hair falling down on his forehead. She had told him about the content of the parcel yesterday, but maybe he had thought about some, well, more regular stuff? Not that Jyn was feeling completely comfortable, but at least she had been mentally prepared.
“Oh, yes, they even added the bonus knobs I had specifically ordered. Ah, blessed be Toys Unlimited, they do deliver every single time.” With a look at Jyn and Cassian - he was seemingly oblivious to their discomfort - he added. “I can only warmly recommend them. Excellent prices, shipping is free and the customer service the best I’ve ever seen.”
They were saved from further explanations when the front door opened.
Wilhuff Tarkin appeared in the doorway to the living room, still in his police uniform. He fixed the table, the toys and the two visitors in a stern and cold gaze. Cassian sat straighter and despite having no trouble with the law in the past, Jyn did the same.
“Ah, Wil, my dear, you’re here! Look what this fine young couple has brought us today! Our long-awaited delivery. Everything we wanted and more!” Krennic’s enthusiasm only appeared to have doubled.
His ‘beau’ was a bit more reserved, but Jyn could think of the reason why. Police Commissioner Tarkin was certainly a different kind of man than the downright quirky Krennic. Yet they seemed to fit.
“Thank you, Mr. and Mrs... “
“Cassian Andor and Jyn Erso, Wil. You remember Galen Erso, my old colleague friend? She’s his daughter.”
“Yes, I do. You mention him every time you go to the gym. Mr. Andor, Mrs. Erso, you have my gratitude.” Tarkin could have also talked about the weather or something completely irrelevant. His voice was empty of emotions.
“Wil, now that our delivery finally has found its way to us, don’t you think it is time, to, well, you know....” Tarkin’s’ face got even paler. “We have everything but the handcuffs, but you surely carry a pair of them with you. They are the tools of the trade after all,” Krennic added with a loud laugh, slapping his own thighs with overboarding enthusiasm.
Cassian caught Jyn’s helpless eyes and motioned to stand up, Jyn joining him. “It has been a pleasure, Mr. Krennic, Police Commissioner Tarkin. We don’t want to take any more of your time.” Jyn was impressed. Smooth, polite, yet firm.
Krennic went to his feet too. “Of course, of course, I do hope you were a bit, let’s say, inspired by your visit? It would be nice if you wouldn’t have to leave with empty hands. You know what, why don’t you join us at the wedding. One happy couple more is always welcome.”
“Well…” Jyn begun as they reached the door. Cassian and her weren’t a couple.
Yet , the treacherous part in her brain added.
“We would be delighted,” Cassian replied to her surprise as he shook Krennic’s hand.
“Excellent,” Krennic replied with a smile. “And please give your father my compliments,” he added to Jyn.
Was Cassian genuinely interested in going to a wedding with her? No, that couldn’t be. He didn’t know her at all and at least one third of their time together she had accused him of some deed he didn’t commit. He was just being polite.
Jyn had nearly convinced herself that was all there was to say about Cassian’s reply, but once they were in the car again, he turned to her. “It’s almost four now. Would you like to join me for an early dinner or at least a snack? I missed lunch at work.”
Jyn remained silent for a few seconds, trying to deal with this new information.
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to. Just an idea as we are already here and I know a nice little place around the corner.” His expression and tone were disappointed? Maybe even downtrodden?
Unlike her mother, Jyn had found it hard to believe in some higher powers than her own volition and making. But maybe just this once, Lyra was right. Maybe the whole story had been predestined. And maybe her reward for helping out a parcel deliverer wasn’t a joke at her neighbor’s expense, but a meal with the cute and attractive neighbor. (Plus, she deserved something wonderful after being ill all week.)
“No, I would love too.”
His smile was reward enough. This time, they both realized how much the other smiled as well.
By the time they attend the wedding of Police Commissioner Wilhuff Tarkin and Orson Krennic, two months later, they are a real couple.
(Krennic admits he was rather sure they weren’t one back when they met, but he thought they would make a good one. He claims he has an eye for that.)
Three years later, Jyn and Cassian return the favour by inviting Tarkin and Krennic to their own wedding.
(They’ve stayed in loose contact over the time. Baze and Chirrut know Krennic a bit better and Tarkin is Kes’ superior in the police force. Meetings aren’t frequent, but decidedly less awkward than the initial one.)
(Also, Krennic is the one who makes the draft for the house Jyn and Cassian will move in after returning from their honeymoon.)
(Krennic is happy to discover that Galen, father of the bride, is still able to lift 200 pounds.)
As it turns out, the “true story” of how the newlyweds met is an absolute hit at their wedding.
But they decide to wait a few more years until they tell it to their children. Once they’re old enough, maybe.