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Rey had always loved ska.

She loved the lyrics, the thud of bass, the wild scream of the trumpets, the peppy riffs that ensured that, even if the singer was belting about the injustices inherent in the political landscape, it was done with a beat that didn’t so much encourage dancing, but mandated it.

Or, well, okay. Rey hadn’t always loved ska. That was a lie. There had been a time, a good solid 13 years or so, where she had gone about thinking that the best music was the kind in which someone wailed into a microphone about the unfairness of life and the inhumanity of humanity. There had been mention of souls in there, somewhere. Vampires might have made an appearance, too.

Then along came ska, swooping in and carrying her out of that meaningless pit like any good storybook hero would do, except it did so not with a sword and a noble steed, but with syncopated guitar riffs and checkered high-top sneakers.

In the tiny venue, buffeted by stale air and the blast of brass, Rey tightened her grip on the plastic cup of cheap beer and raised it above her head as she shouted the lyrics to the current song’s whirlwind finale.

Rose elbowed Rey and pointed at the mosh pit. “That looks scary.”

“Not for the fainthearted,” Finn said with a knowing smile.

Poe stood behind Rose and settled his palms on her shoulders. “The realm of the mosh is only for those who truly crave blood. And bruises.” He paused. “And, like, a lot of pain.”

The mosh pit surged and Rose gasped. “Do they just run around and punch each other?”

“No!” Finn’s scandalized tone nearly matched Rey’s. That was like simplifying all four seasons of Battlestar Galactica into the phrase ‘Robots doing stuff.’

Rey made a tight spinning motion with her beer cup. “In the pit you skank around, somewhat violently.” A few drops splashed out of the cup. “It’s extreme dancing.”

Rose blinked. “None of what you said made sense.” She looked to Finn and Poe. “That didn’t make sense, right?”

The band kicked off another song, and the mosh pit roiled once more, and Rey had to hold a hand around her ear to hear Finn.

“No,” he said in response to whatever Rose had shouted. “It’s not a pervy thing. That’s what”—he made the skipping motion—“is called.”

Rey bit her lip as she watched the pit. Everyone there was having so much fun. Limbs flailed, heads thrashed, faces turned up to the stage in something nearing rapture. There was one tall someone, catching her eye only because of his height, whose shaggy black hair thrashed as he danced. He was having so much fun. Rey wanted to have that much fun, and she couldn’t see it happening if she stayed all the way over by the grungy, beer-stained wall.

When they’d arrived, Poe had barely managed to convince her to stick with the group: his reasoning being that if she returned from the pit with a black eye, it would only terrify Rose out of any future ska shows.

“We’ve finally gotten her to agree to this,” Poe had said when they filed into the narrow venue. “Please, please, don’t fuck it up with a permanent injury.”

“You obviously don’t mosh enough. They’re never permanent injuries.”  

Although this ska show was Rose’s first, it was only Poe’s fifth, and he still viewed the whirling pit as a place for grievous head injury and torn clothing. Finn knew, though. Together, Rey and Finn had gone to so many shows that the money they’d spent on tickets could probably combine into a decent down-payment on a posh, comfortable home.

“She should go if she wants,” Finn said to Poe. “She’s even got her big-girl skanking boots on.” He pointed to Rey’s low Doc Martens, and she lifted a foot and wiggled it for emphasis. Scuffed leather and steel toes, they were perfect for protecting her feet from the frenzy.

Poe cast his gaze over Rey desperately. “But...it’s…” His eyes drifted to her skin-tight checkered pants, and he gestured frantically at them. “You probably can’t dance. Or move. And I don’t know why you’re even wearing these.” He snapped her red suspenders.

“It’s a look,” Rey said defensively.

“It’s a cute look!” Rose piped up.

It totally was. The suspenders wrapped over a black button-up short-sleeved shirt with a white collar. Thrift store’s finest. She’d even paid attention to her hair tonight; it bounced at her shoulders in loose waves. There was effort in her appearance. True, only about ten minutes’ worth, but that was more than the ponytail and cargo pants she always wore to the airport.

Poe didn’t seem to hear. “You’ll rip those cute britches if you dance crazy. Please,” he begged.  

“Fine.” Rey rolled her eyes and slumped against the wall after another swig out of her plastic cup. No glass away from the bar, so the venue’s multitude of signs stated. The thin plastic crinkled under her grip.

Off in the pit, the tall, black-haired man thrashed again. Rey was too far to see his face, but she was certain that he would be smiling at the stage instead of scowling into a Solo cup of overpriced, underflavored beer while his friends kept trying to surreptitiously make out in the crowd. Before Finn and Poe had met Rose, Rey hadn’t been sure what a three-person make-out session looked like. Now, she knew. She knew far too much, really.

Rey shifted her attention to the stage. The lead guitarist was bouncing on his toes to the beat while the drummer harmonized into her microphone.

Without fail, every single ska show Rey had attended reminded her of a party in high school. It wasn’t the reason that she liked it; it was just a strong association, a memory that came unbidden whenever she was surrounded by beats and saxophones and sweating, skanking bodies.

Or—okay, that was a lie too. It didn’t remind her of a party, or of something vague and general; it reminded her of a boy.

A tall, gangly, black-haired, bespectacled boy with a voice as deep as an ocean and a smile as crooked and genuine as a character in a John Hughes movie.

Benjamin Lucas Skywalker-Solo. Ben Solo to his teachers; Ben, with his friends; Benny, giggled by Rey, when she was feeling snarky and wanted to see the adorable way his face twisted into a scowl; and Benjamin Lucas Skywalker-Solo in the tiny, embarrassed lettering she’d traced on the cardboard backers of her spiral notebooks.

She hadn’t developed a crush on him as soon as she saw him, because for Godssake, she wasn’t in an 80’s teen rom-com, but after a few days, she’d definitely noticed him. She’d been a freshman, naive and awkward and bumbling compared to the seemingly confident senior Ben. Rey had always been excellent at math though, and Ben had been...much less excellent, so they were in the same calculus class.

They’d exchanged brief words, and then after it became obvious to both of them that Ben wasn’t going to pass calc on his own, they exchanged numbers. Once a week after school, she would go over to his house and help him through the trickier points of related rates and u-substitution. His mom had always been lovely—if not a little frazzled—and had deposited plates of pizza rolls and pop-tarts prior to disappearing into her office until Rey went home for the night.

There’d been moments, actual legitimate moments, where Rey would glance up from the lined notebook halfway through explaining a problem to see Ben staring at her with an expression so open and endearing that her words fell away.

Moments like those should have led to them leaning in, slow and tentative—their chaotic teenager hormones blending and pulling into a kiss that was somehow simultaneously passionate and sweet.

Should have.

It had never gone that way though. Ben would blink rapidly, his cheeks would flame into his own particular shade of pink, and he would push his glasses up the long slope of his nose before ducking his head to his own papers.

Every time, he would blush, and every time, Rey would return to the problems with a little more of her self-confidence shaken.

And then, that party. That bizarre, memorable party.

A smile crept across Rey’s face as she stared at the stage, no longer seeing the band in front of her.

It was the kind of shindig with over three dozen frantic high schoolers trying to sneak alcohol or kisses or gossip about the alcohol and kisses as they danced in unsteady lines around someone’s chipboard coffee table, all while a band called Sexophone Salad cranked out covers of Reel Big Fish songs. It was Rey’s first big party, and when she wasn’t dancing, she’d been watching Ben: both charmed and amused by the way he’d skanked with abandon, unaware or uncaring at the table legs he kicked with feet he hadn’t quite grown into yet that were jammed into a pair of ragged Chuck Taylors.

Rey didn’t remember the exact events leading up to being in a closet with Ben, but it was after playing some bizarre mashup of spin-the-bottle and seven minutes in heaven, and she was so giddy and nervous that her muscles ached with the effort to keep her entire body from shaking. Just like their study sessions, he still didn’t kiss her; he just pushed his thick-rimmed glasses higher on his nose, tucked a short lock of black hair behind one of his large ears, and launched into an argument about how most people got the whole ‘ska’ thing wrong, anyway, because it wasn’t just about clothes or music or upstrokes; ska was a culture.

She’d listened to most of it, disappointment burrowing into her chest like a slug with teeth, until she metaphorically put on her big-girl panties, wrapped her fingers in his faded t-shirt, and lunged. Rey still remembered how soft his lips had been under hers as his mouth parted slightly around a surprised gasp. She remembered how he’d held still for just a second before he started kissing her back, how his large hands had been so warm as he pulled her close, how the air had left him in a groan that had vibrated all the way down to her socks.

And then his glasses had fallen off and smacked her cheek, and she’d lost her balance and tumbled into him, which sent his body into the thick coats hanging in the closet, and the coat-rack had jerked out of the wall and they’d ended up on the floor tangled in old ski jackets and peacoats. They’d been about to kiss again when the shoeboxes fell.

Rey rubbed the back of her head at the memory.

“How’d you get this?” the woman at urgent care had said as she’d sewn a single stitch in the newly-shaved patch at the base of Rey’s skull.

“Um,” Rey had mumbled. “At a party.”

A week later, without having anything else approaching either a moment or a moment, Ben had graduated, and Rey had gone on with school.

Over the past ten years she’d tried looking him up occasionally, with no luck. Rey had come to the conclusion that he was either completely averse to social media, or had been involved with serious crime and was in witness protection, currently living in Kansas under the alias ‘Rodney Stringent’ with a pleasant—but bland—wife and a poodle named Fudge.

Not that Rey had thought a lot about any of this.

Her beer cup was empty. The pit was writhing. Her feet longed to move.

Fuck it.

“Poe,” Rey said, shoving her empty cup into a bin, “I’m going in.”

Poe disentangled himself with a gurgling ‘No!’ and managed to snag one of her suspender straps. It snapped against her shoulder as she wriggled away, and she heard Finn’s ‘She’ll be fine, hon,’ through the growing crowd of people.

Slipping into the pit felt as if she was a fish slipping into a warm, churning sea—violent and unbridled, but a return to her home. It was joy: to move with everyone, to shove, to be shoved, to fling her arms out in wild gesticulations and have her body writhe and leap and soar.

Somehow, in the middle of the shouts, the guitar, and the bugling trumpet, she heard Poe shouting her name. Or was it Finn? It was coming from the right direction to be either one, but…

In the same moment that she had turned without even realizing she’d done so, a solid, warm wall of man smacked into her.

Rey stumbled. Two large hands closed on her shoulders, and she prepared herself either to apologize or to curse, and saw that she’d run into the tall, black-haired man she’d seen from a distance. Then she looked closer, and all the air left her lungs in a rush.

It was him.

Benjamin Lucas Skywalker-Solo.

His hair was longer, his body was wider, and he must have gotten contacts, but it was him. Same long nose, same dark and soulful eyes, same crooked smile. The hint of stubble above his lip and on his chin was new, as was the breadth of the heaving shoulders that stretched his black t-shirt. He’d filled out in ten years. It was a good look for him. There was something different in his face, though, a little bit of darkness, the barest trace of bitterness.

A tickling thought came to her then: was this really the same boy she’d kissed in a coat closet?

Rey gaped, mouth hanging open, heart nearly as loud as the drums through the speakers.

“Hi,” he said, sounding breathless.

“H-hi,” she stammered.

The thing about mosh pits at a ska show is that if someone stands still for too long, outside forces will act upon them. It has something to do with physics.

So Rey shouldn’t have been surprised when a wave of skankers crashed over Ben and herself, breaking across his broad back like a hurricane on an an archipelago. Limbs swung dangerously close to Rey’s head and she felt herself swept along in the torrent of sweaty bodies.

A hand closed around her wrist and pulled down, and then she was crouched at the base of the stage, panting and staring at a panting Ben. Speakers blasted out bass notes like cannonballs above her head.

She laughed, the shrill cackle of disbelief inaudible over the din, and after a second, Ben joined her. Because this was ridiculous. Of all of the ska shows, of all of the days, of all of the cities, he was here. Rey’s first thought was that at least he wasn’t living in Kansas.

Ben was saying something, his mouth moving silently against the cacophony, and Rey shook her head with a grimace.  He tried again, then stopped, then gestured between the two of them and mimed tipping a cup to his face. Rey nodded rapidly.

Yes, please.  

It wasn’t easy to make it through the crowd to the bar. They weaved through the stumbling, gyrating masses, and by the end, the sticky, fluorescent-lit counter seemed like a sanctuary.

“You want a cup of unflavored swill, or a cup of slightly flavored swill?” Ben said.

His voice was just as she remembered it. A little deeper, even. Rumbling and just a little hesitant.

“I’ll go slightly flavored, please.”

Ben waved down the bartender and ordered, then aimed that lovely, crooked smile at Rey.

“So.”

“So. Benjamin Solo.” She playfully pushed his firm shoulder. “It’s been ten years!”

“Ten whole years.” His gaze roamed over her, not in a leer, or in that slow, crawling way Rey had learned to loathe; he was drinking her in, absorbing her as one would a sunset. “You look good,” he said finally.

“Thanks.” Rey felt her cheeks heat. “You caught me on a good day.”

Ben huffed a laugh into his cup.

“No, really,” she continued. “That’s how the spell works—this is the one night a year I’m allowed to not look like an old crone.”

He winced. “Shit, sorry,” he said, and made a pained expression at his beer cup. “That sounded shallow. I-I meant that it’s...you…”

Ah yes, there he was. There was the same sweet boy whose glasses had crashed into her cheek.

“I’m joking, Ben,” Rey said, unable to see him suffer much longer. “You look good, too.”

Fuck, his dimples. She could never get enough of those damned dimples.

Rey jerked her head to the stage, desperate for a distraction. “When was the last time you saw Sexophone Sandwich?”

Ben laughed. Dimples, and oh shit, now he had little creases beside his eyes when he smiled.

“Probably back when they were still Sexophone Salad.”

“Long time ago.”

“Yeah.” The smile had faded, only little hints of it remained at one corner of his mouth. Same wide, plump lips. Rey wondered if they still felt as soft. “I think ‘Sandwich’ works better, though,” he continued. “It comes with a pretty great slogan.”

He aimed a long finger at the band’s for-sale t-shirts hanging behind the bar, each with ‘Sexophone Sandwich’ printed in a swirling script, under which was a cartoon of a saxophone inside a foot-long with the subtitle ‘More Inches to Love.’

“When was the last time you saw them live?” Ben asked.

Rey shifted and leaned into the bar. “Ten years ago.” She lifted her eyebrows, unable to fully hide her smirk. “At a party.”

A wonderful and familiar blush crept up Ben’s neck. “Ah,” he said. “At... that party…?”

“Yep. Can’t believe you still remember it.”

He looked taken aback. “Of course I still remember it. I was so nervous to kiss you that I ranted at you for six minutes. I can’t believe you remember it. Thought you would have blocked it out.”

Rey snorted. “Forget my first kiss?” She shook her head. “Not for all the broken coat racks in the world.”

Ben’s expression changed to one of mortification. “That was your first kiss?”

“I’m sure there have been worse.”

“How many first kisses ended in stitches? Literal stitches?”

“Ben, there was one stitch. I don’t even have a scar.”

The poor man still looked shaken.

“So anyway,” she said, and nudged his elbow with hers. “It’s been ten years. Tell me everything.”

Ben blew out through his lips. “Everything? There’s a lot to cover in ten years.”

Rey gave a nod of consideration. “All right. Sum up the last ten years in three words.”

He looked at her sideways. “That’s even worse.”

She shrugged.

A swig of his beer and he jerked his head at her. “You go first, then.”

Rey wrinkled her nose, then rolled her shoulders. “College. Plane. Mechanic.” She ticked them off on her fingers and gave Ben a triumphant smile. “See? Not so hard.”

He wiped a bit of condensation from the side of his cup with a slow drag of his thumb. Innocuous enough of a motion, yet it made a low little something tighten sweetly in Rey’s belly. She blinked rapidly and hoped he couldn’t hear the harshness of her swallow over the band’s chorus.

“What kind of planes?”

Her attention snapped away from his hands. “What?”

There was a little smile on his face, and the hint of a dimple in one cheek. “What kind of planes?” he repeated.

“The old kinds,” Rey said. “I did a lot of modern repairs at first, but the past few years I’ve been with a crew that does renovations and restorations.”

“Wow,” he said. He sounded impressed, and inwardly, Rey preened. “You working on anything at the moment?”

She shook her head. “Nothing too interesting. We just finished repairing a B-52, though, which was…” She gave a wistful sigh. “It was great. Most of the time.” The plastic cup was cool against her lips as she took another sip.

“Was it hard?”

Rey choked on the beer. Keep it together. Fuck. The way he’d said it, in that voice as deep and rich as chocolate mousse, sent her mind to one specific meaning, which was absolutely not what he’d meant.

“You okay?”

“Y-yup. Fine. Wrong pipe. Was what hard?”

“The B-52. You said ‘most of the time’.”

Rey waved her hand. “The crew just insisted on playing B-52 songs the entire time.”

“Was it excessively long?”

Oh, Jesus.

Rey cleared her throat. “Six months.”

Ben grimaced.

“Right, okay, so your turn,” she said. “Three words. Go.”

He set down his beer and angled his body to face hers.

Tall. So tall.

“College. Grad school—that’s one word, come on now.” A pause, a narrowing of his eyes. “Lawyer.”

Rey stretched out her ‘Noooo’ until it contained an adequate amount of disbelief.

“Yep.” He took another swig of his beer and Rey’s eyes lingered on the working of his throat.

“You defend the good guys or the bad guys?” she said.

He tensed then, barely enough to notice. “The bad guys, at first.” He scoffed bitterly. “It was pretty soul-crushing. Didn’t help that I also had a shit boss, shit co-workers, and shit hours.”

“Shit money?”

A laugh, just as bitter. “The only thing that wasn’t shit about it. But, even with the biggest paycheck, there’s only so much soul-crushing you can take.”

“And now?”

“And now I work domestic violence cases. Child custody. That kind of stuff.”

“That’s not soul-crushing?”

“Only when I lose.”

“How often is that?”

“I never lose.”

Normally, those words would make Rey roll her eyes in disgust, but the way Ben said it—not to brag, not to intimidate or impress, just as a statement of fact—was kind of, well, hot.

“Oh.”

Suddenly she could picture him in a suit and tie, polished shoes and stern expression, gesturing at a jury as he defended the helpless. It was an attractive image, even though she’d never before been attracted to the professional and put-together type. The powerful type.

Her gaze drifted to where his black sleeve stretched over a heavy bicep. It flexed as he lifted his beer, and she bit the inside of her cheek.

The strong type.

A group of people shoved through the crowd to the bar, shouting and waving at the bartender. One of them bumped into her back, and in an effort to avoid any swinging elbows or drunken stumbles, she found herself pressed against Ben, his hand gentle on her side.

She glanced up at him and their eyes connected. There was still that faint little smile on his face. The crowd behind her made it too loud for conversation, so she smiled at him, hesitant, as she took the moment to really look at him.

The bumbling, high-school Ben was still there; she could see it in the warmth of his brown eyes, the crooked tilt of his lips, and it battled with the Ben that he’d become—wider, more stern somehow, a flicker of worldliness, a hint of that darkness. Now that she knew what he’d been doing for the past ten years, she could understand where it came from. It was as if she could see these two parts of him, the past and the present, imposed over one another like drawings on sheets of acetate.

Rey rose to her toes so her mouth was close to his ear. She had to steady herself against him, one of her palms on his hard chest. Her nipples didn’t harden as her breasts met his t-shirt. Nope, not at all. “What else is in your life? Kids? Wife? Noble pet? Plush, extravagant house in the suburbs?”

She pulled away and the scent of his hair followed her: fancy shampoo, something with sandalwood and rosemary. Rey wondered how long he’d been using it. Since law school? Since he quit his crappy job? (Not that she’d memorized his old shampoo, but she’d used his bathroom when they’d studied, and one time the shower curtain had been open. It had just been a quick peek, like any teenager with a crush would do—as if knowing that he used off-brand dandruff shampoo would make a mid-calculus kiss any more likely.)

Were Ben’s pupils larger now? Had his breathing quickened? Rey couldn’t be sure.

He leaned in, mimicking her action. “I have a dog. He’s a black lab and about as noble as a whoopie cushion.” It shouldn’t have been an arousing sentence, yet it had been murmured right into her ear in his low, growling baritone, and his warm breath had brushed her neck, and he’d been so close.

Again to her toes, words into his ear. “What’s his name?”

When Ben spoke into her ear, she was sure she’d misheard, since she’d been too distracted by the fact that his hand had slipped around to her lower back, and she could feel the heat of it through her shirt. “Wren?” she said against him. “Like the bird?”

“No, well—yes, but without the ‘w’.”

“Just the two of you, then?” She tried to make it sound innocent, but when she pulled away, he was giving her a look that said he saw right through the intent of her questioning, and didn’t mind.

“Yep, just us. Two dark-haired bachelors, one more prone to eat tables than the other.” He’d gotten closer to her this time; there was the slightest whisper of his lips against the curve of her ear. Rey’s knees nearly buckled.

“How does he stop you from eating tables?” It came out far more breathless than she’d wanted, and she had to say it twice.

Ben’s chuckle brushed her skin and his laugh danced along her nerves like it was charged.

“How about you?” he said.

“Just me. No one needs to be around to stop me from eating tables.”

Through her shirt, she could feel as his fingers flexed. Rey felt warm. So warm. The crowd jostled and someone in the pit let out something that sounded an awful lot like a victory bellow. She needed to catch her breath, needed a second to come to terms with the fact that she wanted nothing more than to jump into this man’s arms and let him carry her into the sunset after not having seen him in a full decade.

“I have to...uh...I’ll be back in a sec,” she said.

Concern grew over Ben’s long face. “You okay?”

“Gotta take a leak.”

His lips pressed together as if containing his smile.

Fuck, of all the things to say, Rey thought as she weaved through the crowd to the hallway in which she assumed the bathrooms existed. Why not, ‘powder my face,’ or ‘freshen up,’ or literally anything else that didn’t sound like she was a grungy gutterpunk?

The hallway was dimly lit and confusing. If there had ever been signs, they’d been covered by stickers and murals depicting a scene which was could be either a squid fighting a tank, or a rocket attacking a stack of books.

Her phone buzzed, and Rey wrestled it out of her pocket. (The one and only problem with the pants.)

18 Unread Messages.

For fuck’s sake.

She unlocked the screen and scrolled through the group text with herself, Finn, Poe, and Rose.

 

Poe: If you get hurt moshing, I’m blaming you

Finn: Just do your thing. Have fun. Ignore Poe.

Rose: I know no one’s asked me, but I’m having a great time.

Poe: Hey girl HEY who is that tall drink of man

Rose: WAIT. DAYUM.

Finn: UM

Finn: He looks a little scary

Poe: Scary ATTRACTIVE

Finn: Or scary actual scary Rey who is he???

Poe: If you don’t slam that salami by the end of tonight we’re no longer friends

Rose: I’ve slapped Poe for you, Rey. Don’t worry.

Finn: Please pick up your phone

Poe: SLAM that GOOD LONG SALA

Finn: If you want us to come rescue you, please tell us

Finn: Okay so apparently Rose just let us know that it seems like you’re flirting back, so things are good

Finn: Rose RUDELY knocked my phone out of my hand before i could finish so i stole finn’s phone so let me just say SLAM THAT SALAMI GOOD, GIRL

Finn: Ignore that. Ugh.

 

Then, less than a minute ago,

 

Finn: Hey, we’re gonna get out of here, please answerrrrr

 

Rey typed out a hasty response.

You guys head out, that’s fine. And his name is Ben. We went to high school together. I’ll call a ride home when I’m ready.

Before she could stuff her phone back into its constricting pocket prison, it buzzed.

 

Poe: SLAM THAT SAL9U0

Finn: Have taken Poe’s phone away from him. Be safe, have fun, text us tomorrow?

Rey: Sure thing.

 

She needed the bathroom. Not to actually pee, because she hadn’t had nearly enough cheap beer for that, but to breathe. To focus. To not think about various cuts of meat and how they would compare to what was in Ben’s jeans. He was tall, and his hands were big, which could mean something and could mean nothing and...

Dammit, Poe.

Rey eyed the doors in the hallway. This area of the venue was strangely empty, which meant that she couldn’t surreptitiously watch to see where people went. She pulled a random one open and—nope, that was the door to the bar. A sheepish wave at the glaring bartender, and she tried another one. Brooms and mops leaned on graffitied walls and bottles of disinfectant sat on a crooked sink.

Fuck it. Whatever. She’d breathed enough by now, probably.

Rey shut the janitorial closet and spun to return to the bar, and collided with a warm, wide body. Again.

Just as before, his hands settled on her shoulders to steady her.

“We’ve got to stop running into each other like this,” she said softly.

Ben’s lips parted as if he wanted to speak. He was staring at her in that same, fervent way, and she had to wonder if he was trying to piece together the Rey of the past and the Rey of the present, fitting the two people together in the same way that she had tried to do with him.

Memories blasted into her mind: the feel of his hands spanning back in a closet, the feel of his palm on her hip at the bar, his lips against her ear, his lips against her neck, his lips against her mouth.

Her lungs hitched as warmth and want began a slow, syrupy spread through her limbs.

She wasn’t sure who lunged first; maybe they lunged together, but with his powerful arms wrapped around her and his plump lips (yes, they were as soft as she remembered) gliding across hers, she didn’t much care who’d started it.

Ben backed her into the wall, his massive body flush with her own.

Ten years was a long time in between kisses. Rey was determined to make up for that time, and by the way Ben was weaving his fingers into her hair, holding her steady so he could fucking pillage her mouth, it seemed as if he felt the same. He’d gotten better at this in ten years. Much, much better.

At the first jerking grind of his hips, she realized that they couldn’t stay in the hallway. Not without getting interrupted, at least, and Rey did not want interruptions. She fumbled for the door handle she’d discovered earlier, and when it swung open, she dragged Ben inside. A mop clattered to the ground. He pressed her against the sink with such force that one of the disinfectant bottles tumbled into the basin.

She’d wanted this for so long.

Or...okay, not this, because who dreams about a giant of a man sucking on your earlobe in the bleachy janitor’s closet of a dive club?

She’d wanted him.

“I’ve thought about you all the fucking time,” Ben said against her skin, making Rey wonder for a second if she’d said that last part out loud.

“Why...ahhn...why didn’t you call?” she said. His hand had drifted up and his fingers feathered across her breast.

Far too gentle for her liking, Rey laid her hand on his and pressed. Hard. Ben groaned and his hips bucked into her.

“I didn’t think—fuck, you feel good—you’d want to hear from me.”

Rey blinked and reared back. “What made you think that?”

His lips were reddened and plumped and it made her want to lunge (so maybe it had been her who lunged first), but she wanted to hear this. “I...um, after the...closet debacle,” Ben said. “I didn’t…” He sighed. “I was embarrassed. Teenage pride.” A pause. “Why didn’t you call?”

Rey bit her lip. “I sent you a message, after graduation.”

“You did?”

“Yeah.” She prodded a finger into the muscle of his chest. She wanted to see this man without his shirt. Without a doubt, he’d be wide and hard and lickable everywhere. “Know what I got as a reply?”

Ben shook his head.

“‘New number, who dis?’”

“Oh, shit.” He was staring at the grungy wall behind her, eyes wide. “My parents kicked me off their plan after I graduated. I thought I told everyone. God, Rey, I am so—”

This time, she most definitely lunged.

Rey didn’t want to think about what would have happened if he had reached out first, if she had gotten his number and they’d chatted as he’d been studying depositions while she’d been worrying about college applications. Thinking about any of that would lessen the impact of what was happening now, and what was happening now was better, because it was reality.

Ben picked her up and wrapped her legs around his thick torso so her ass rested on the wobbling sink. She struggled against the hold of her pants, the skin-tight fabric struggling right on back. She wanted out of these pants and the red suspenders that were cute but felt as binding as handcuffs. She wanted Ben out of that soft, black t-shirt and those snug, black pants, and those...sweet fuck , he was wearing Chucks, and it got her so stupidly hot she wanted to scream.

He’d moved to her neck, kissing and nibbling on the tender skin over her pulse, his hips still grinding against her in a way that maddened every rational thought in her brain.

“Wanna come back to my place?” she said in between moans.

“What?” He pulled back, eyebrows raised. Shit. Had she been too forward? Ten months of not dating, and she was asking her first high school crush to fuck her in her apartment after an hour of talking and a minute of dry-humping. At least if the night ended here, she could say that their second time in a closet had gone better than the first.

“I mean…” Rey cleared her throat. “Wanna get coffee sometime?”

“No.” A flicker of a smile, hungry and more than a little wicked. “I want to go back to your place.”

 

#

 

The Uber had come in the form of a middle-aged man in a minivan. He’d introduced himself at the beginning; Rey couldn’t remember his name for the life of her, since she was too busy reacquainting herself with Ben’s mouth. And his hands. And the soft skin of his muscled stomach when she snaked her fingers beneath his shirt.

“You know,” the driver was saying, “I just got this cleaned last week. My youngest spilled jello on the seats. Not...not great.”

Ben trembled under her touch as she traced the trail of hair that led into his jeans. His pale skin flickered under the passing light from the street lamps.

“You know this is a minivan, right? I don’t have a divider I can roll up.”

Thick fingers— lord, his hands were large—slid up her inner thigh and she felt a sweet, tight squirm that sent a buzzing trill up her spine and a dampness to her underwear.

“I mean, I have my daughter’s tri-fold board for the science fair somewhere in here. That might work. It’s about mold.”

 

#

 

The key didn’t seem to be working to her front door.

It wasn’t the key’s fault.

It wasn’t the lock’s fault, either.

No, Rey could place the blame squarely on the way that the tall, broad, warm man behind her was nuzzling her neck and gripping her hips and nibbling at the skin at the edge of her shirt’s collar.

“Ben.”

“Mmmh?”

She turned in his arms and smiled into his lips. “Can we go inside, or are you going to fuck me on the landing?”

There was a scandalized gasp from somewhere to the right and Rey flinched.

A short woman with white, wispy hair and dark skin that was as wrinkled as a raisin stared at them from the end of the landing, her bony hand over her mouth.  

Rey cleared her throat and stepped out of Ben’s embrace.

“Hi, Mrs. Kanata,” she said.

The old woman pinched her lips and shook her head, then scuttled into her own apartment with a raspy grunt that sounded an awful lot like ‘You kids and your Goddamned language.’

Ben gave a little snort after the door slammed. “Are all your neighbors that friendly?”

“Maz isn’t so bad in the daytime.” Rey’s key turned easily and Ben followed her inside. “Most of my neighbors are—”

She’d flicked on the light and barely managed to lock the door before Ben was on her once more, pressing her against the wall, his tongue dancing with hers. They stumbled together farther into the living room, heading in the general direction of the couch. Just getting right back to it, apparently. Not that she minded at all. Rey’s hands tangled in his shirt and she broke away so she could tug it roughly over his head, then stared.

“Fuck, Ben.”

He looked concerned and glanced down at his naked torso. “I...I’m sorry?”

Once, they’d been at the same pool party, and while Rey had been mortified by her only bathing suit (a Minnie Mouse-patterned one-piece that she’d kept underneath a t-shirt and jean shorts), Ben had splashed and romped shirtless. Ten years ago, a teenage Rey had nearly drooled over the sight of his wide shoulders and the earliest hints of abdominal muscles.

Now, though...

Rey didn’t use the word ‘magnificent’ very often, especially when it came to men, and especially when it came to men she was about to get intimate with, because to be honest, she’d never really considered ‘magnificent’ to be a consideration for boning.

But this man.

This broad, muscled, pale, beauty-marked, sculpted man, with pectorals that she could eat off of and shoulders that could easily carry a sheep, or a goat, or something, but in a sexy way...

He was magnificent.

If Rey were to nestle into his chest, she wasn’t sure that she would ever find her way out.

Ben still looked concerned. “Did I do— hnn .” He broke off into a groan when she licked a slow stripe up his sternum. “Okay, s’fine, then.” The words burbled from his lips before he bent to capture her mouth once more. She could feel his fingers fumbling futilely with the clasps on her suspenders only to gave up and shove the straps over her shoulders.

Her boots needed to come off, but the laces tangled and she lost her balance, and the next thing she knew, she was straddling Ben at the base of her coffee table with one boot still on and digging into Ben’s thigh, and the other flung halfway across the room.

She rose up, hips flush against his, and scrabbled with the buttons on her shirt. Ben watched her, his chest heaving, his lips shining, only breaking eye contact when he saw the coffee table by his head. He did a double take.

“Huh,” he said. “That’s neat.”

The buttons were much simpler when she’d put the shirt on, it seemed. “Thanks,” she said. “It’s made from old propellers. Heavy as shit, though.”

“Huh,” he said again, and trailed a finger along one of the blades that had been bent and rolled to form a leg. Rey stared at that finger hungrily. Long, and thick-knuckled, and nimble. She swallowed, thinking about how it would feel inside her.

The shirt couldn’t come off fast enough.

After a brief, grappling struggle with her pants (Ben had to pull on the cuffs as she wriggled out of them), his palms were everywhere—cupping her ass, her breasts, the curve of her hip—as she sat astride the hardening bulge in his jeans. His skin was hot and smooth under her touch. Laid out before her like this, his hair fanned out to display those large ears she’d always wanted to nibble, he seemed almost like an offering. A sudden urge struck her: the desire to have this massive, powerful man helpless underneath her.

“Hey,” she said between kisses. “I’d kind of like to tie you up. If you’re okay with that.”

Pulling back, Ben’s face was awash with surprise and excitement. “Sure,” he said. “I mean, yeah. I—Yes. Yes. I’ve, uh, always wanted to try—” He broke off and pinched his lips together, as if embarrassed he’d revealed it.

Rey gave him a puckish smile and lifted his hands over his head, dragging her palms along the taut swells of his biceps.

Maybe he’d expected her to leave and return with rope, or slide a set of handcuffs out from underneath her couch, because when she stood and shimmied out of her saturated thong only to settle back down and use it to tie his hands to one of the table legs, she had to glance down to make sure he was still breathing.

Ben’s eyes fluttered closed and he gasped, “Oh, shi-i-it.”

“What? Are you okay?” Rey tugged at the scrappy piece of lace. “Did I tie it too tight?”

He let out a strangled laugh. “Your soaked underwear is wrapped around my wrists. I am very, very okay.”

Only when she was hovering over his face did he open his eyes.

Rey hadn’t ever been shy about being naked before. She had always just thought of it as a state of being—when alone, it was an alternative to scrounging for a shirt or dealing with not having done laundry for months; with someone else, a nice way to get that zip of serotonin from the feeling of another person’s hot, sleek skin against hers. She was naked except for her bra (a cute strappy thing that plumped up the girls while keeping them in place while she skanked), yet she’d never felt more aware of her own nakedness than the exact moment that Ben looked at her pussy with a level of lust and hunger that was nearly predatory.

Rey could bask in that look. She could roll in it like syrup and let it soak into her skin, sticky and warm.

Later, maybe.

“Grunt three times if you need air,” she said, and settled onto his mouth.

His groan rumbled up into her torso as he worked her pussy with his lips, and his tongue, and fu-u-uck, just the barest scrape of his teeth. Heat seared her skin and quickened in her cunt. For only a second, she worried that she was going to cover him in her arousal, but then she pictured exactly that—his chin and cheeks and nose and mouth gleaming in the warm light of her apartment—and she found that her worries had evaporated in a storm of lust.

With arms like his he could rip her underwear in an instant, yet he kept up the facade, the muscles flexing in his arms as he pretended to strain with the lace, all while her hips bucked into his face. What a Goddamned champ.

Rey’s thoughts were quickly scattering, although a few came to her in brief bursts of lucidity.

Her knees prickled where they dug into the short carpet.

“Ben, you’re... sh-sh-shit…”

The next time she wore shorts—which, since the weather had been unseasonably warm lately, would be pretty soon—Poe would undoubtedly have words about the patches of rug burn.

Ben’s tongue flickered over a certain spot and Rey’s breath burst from her in an ‘Ahnn!’

‘Look at those!’ Poe would say, pointing at her knees, and follow it with some sort of insinuation about deep-throating a salami, or slam-dunking a sausage, or a like metaphor that was lewd and meat-related.

Another flick of Ben’s tongue and her leg spasmed against his ear. There was a muffled grunt, but only one. Her fingers twisted into his soft, thick hair, holding him right where she needed, gripping as if he was the restraining bar on a water coaster.

Riders will get wet.

Ugh, that sounded awfully Poe-ish.

And then, a brief moment of clarity descended on Rey.

She still hadn’t seen Ben’s dick. It had pulsed beneath her as she’d sat astride him, and it had felt...substantial, but it was currently cruelly trapped in his jeans. This would not do.

Rey struggled to stand on wobbling legs.

Oh, shit, he was glistening. Reddened lips, flushed cheeks, eyes heavy-lidded and glassy, skin glazed with her. It was an excellent look for him.

“But...I…” Although she was no longer on his face, Ben seemed to be struggling for breath. “I didn’t do the...the three times,” he finished.

Rey turned so she faced his feet. “I don’t want your cock to feel excluded.”

“Fuck.” It came out in a rush. “Yeah, uh, I agree. It could use some mhhhr—”

He finished his sentence against her pussy.

She looked down, briefly, at the way his jaw worked, at the cords in his neck and the sharp line of his chin, before she wrestled with the button on his jeans and shoved them down his hips, pausing every few seconds to buck against him as his tongue did that little flicking thing she was now sure that she could never live without.

His boxers were tight and black and softer than her nicest sheets. They slid over his hips easily, and—

Sweet heavenly deity of fucksauce.

Rey let out a little bleat of shock, which Ben reciprocated as a groan around her clit, and her fingers dug into his hips at the sensation before she returned her attention to the beast currently at attention.

It was big. ‘Hung,’ was the correct term, she was pretty sure. Jutting out from a thatch of black curls, thick and veined, so flushed at the head it was nearly purple—it was long enough to make her favorite dildo look laughable.

“Ben,” she said.

“Mmhm?” The vibrations against her bits forced out a moan.

“I really want to...unhh...suck on your dick.”

“Mmmmh.”

“Would you...ohfucking fuck ...want that?”

His palms gripped her ass and lifted her from his face far enough for him to say, “Oh, hell yes, please.”

Only when she’d wrapped her mouth around him and started to suck did she realize that he’d worked himself free, his hands stroking her hips, her thighs. Not that it would have taken anything special.

She took him deeper and deeper all while he continued to work her pussy like it was a treat. The head of his cock was nudging at the back of her throat when she came, the surge tearing through her body and emerging as a scream even as she gagged around him.

Ben tossed Rey to her side—not roughly, but eagerly—then kicked off his shoes and his jeans and clambered over her, kissing a hot trail up her torso, tugging at her bra clasps until they gave. His large hands skimmed over her nipples and the friction of his palms made her shudder. When his lips descended on hers, he was rich with the taste of her climax. That kind of thing hadn’t even been a turn-on in the past. She’d never especially enjoyed the inherent messiness of sex, but the salty-sweet lips (and chin, and cheeks) of Benjamin Lucas Skywalker-Solo were rapidly changing her mind.

His thick fingers trailed down her belly, traced the tender skin of her clit, and Rey bucked against him, whimpering, simultaneously overwhelmed by his touch and wanting more of it. She bucked again when he eased one digit into her.

“OhgodBen,” she wailed at the same time that he groaned into her neck, “Fuck, you feel so good.”

She was so wet that he moved easily within her, so sensitive that each motion sent ripples of jaw-clenchingly sweet pleasure from her toes to the tips of her ears.

“You like this?” Ben rasped into her ear.

Of course she liked it; was she not making that obvious enough? Bless him for making sure, though.

But Rey was a mechanic. She worked mainly by sight. If something was going wrong, or, in this case, going very, very right, she couldn’t hold back the need to see it.

“Want to...watch it.” The words burbled from her lips before she could wonder about the logistics of what she was demanding.

She could practically see the thoughts forming in Ben’s head. “Do you have a mirror?” he said.

“Bedroom.”

She let loose a delighted squeak as he scooped her up as easily as she would scoop up a pillow. Ben took at step in the direction of her pointed finger, then stopped, knelt by her pants, and plucked her suspenders from the pile.

“What are you gonna do with those?” Rey mumbled, her head lolling on his shoulder.

“Return the favor.”

Oh, yes, please, yes.

He had to duck as they passed through her bedroom door; when she moved in, she’d bought a pull-up bar with loops and poles that fit over the door frame. She hadn’t ever thought that someone would enter who would be tall enough for it to get in the way.

Ben paused, and Rey looked around, wondering what he’d seen, then followed his gaze to the vintage plane posters, the line of models along her windowsill, her fighter jet comforter.

About to mutter something that would brush all of it off as the passing fancy of a girl who’d just found her dream job, she stopped when she saw Ben’s crooked smile—warm and tender and more than a little smitten.

“You know,” he said, “the plane thing is pretty sexy.”

“Yeah?”

“Oh, yeah.” He continued into the room and deposited her onto the fighter jet blanket. “Much sexier than binders and legal pads.”

“Those can be sexy,” Rey said, unable to take her eyes away from the way he methodically wrapped her suspenders around her wrists. He looped them several times, loose enough to be comfortable, tight enough to apply pressure. She glanced up at him, at the furrowed brows and pinched lips, his face the model of concentration as he tried to figure out the knot. She couldn’t help but smile, especially when he huffed a curse and had to start over.

“You’re doing great,” she said.

His eyes flicked to hers. “My knot-tying skills will probably be the first to make you hot and bothered from sheer frustration.”

Rey laughed. “There’s no frustration on my end. I’m entirely hot and bothered.”

Ben chuffed, a sound of utter disbelief. He tugged on the ends of the suspenders until they cinched.

A shift of her hips and she spread her legs. “Really. See for yourself.”

“I intend to.” It came out as a growl, as a low rumble rich with promise, and it made Rey’s blood sing.

Ben pulled her to her feet and guided her to the full-length mirror that hung on the door to her closet, then stood behind her, his hands on her hips, his eyes tripping over her skin and leaving tingling aftershocks wherever they went. She was flushed and rosy, her nipples taut. Ben shifted, and beside the swell of her hip she could see how the head of his cock jutted against his stomach as it emerged from beneath his waistband. Thick and hard and perfect.

Rey moved to stroke him, forgetting for an instant that her hands were tied, and Ben’s smile tipped into a crooked smirk. He slung her bound arms over his head and it pressed her sweaty back tight against his sweaty chest. Then he scooped an arm underneath her knee and lifted it, opening her wide, exposing her drenched cunt to herself.

Ohfuckohfuck.

She’d done kinky shit before, and bondage shit, and mirror shit, but this... this was new. Ben had always had an active imagination; Rey was almost certain that she was the only person that knew about the several unfinished novels that lay in a box beneath his bed, yet she had never thought that his imagination would lead to more than fighting knights and magical powers. For a second, Rey allowed herself to revel in whatever burst of fate had placed her in the right mosh pit at the right time.

Ben’s free hand slid across her breasts, toyed with her nipples until her back bowed and her breath came in shallow pants. So far, too far. What a fucking tease.

“Ben…” She was whining, now. Pleading.

After a second, he obliged, moving that large hand lower, lower, until his fingers reached her clit and rubbed once, twice, before gliding over her slippery cunt. The thick cords in his forearm flexed and she stared at the way his digit disappeared into her, shallowly at first, then deeper, emerging shining and wet, disappearing again.

Rey whimpered and her eyes fluttered shut.

She could feel the rumble of Ben’s words when he spoke behind her. “Open your eyes, Rey,” he said. “I want you to watch how well your pussy takes me.”

A shuddering moan and she did what he asked: watched how the pink lips of her cunt stretched around his one—oh, oh, two fingers, watched the way the muscles in his arms flexed as he held her upright, watched the trembling of her legs and her stomach and the shimmy of her breasts as she twitched against him. She watched his face, startled to see that same ravenous look, the one that made her feel like she was about to be devoured.

The sweet boy was gone again—whose glasses had smacked her cheek, who had been too afraid to kiss her first, who had blushed when she’d suggested tying him up. But, fuck, this side of him was dominating and dark and hungry, and it pinged something deep in her belly, right next to the patch of her vaginal wall he was currently massaging.

The heel of his hand ground against her clit. He teased her entrance with a third finger and as that eased into her, as she saw herself take him knuckle by knuckle, she came apart with a shuddering wail. She had to close her eyes this time, sexy orders be damned.

Ben quickened the thrusts of his fingers, murmuring sweet and dirty nothings into her hair: ‘Fucking love your pretty cunt,’ and ‘You’re gorgeous when you come.’

Her back arched against him and she squeaked out helpless moans, gripped his hair with trembling hands, gripped the thick fingers that pumped into into her with inner muscles that would definitely be feeling this tomorrow. But still, she wanted more. She wanted that perfect dick. She wanted her tongue to tangle with Ben’s as he pounded her into another dimension.

Okay, so maybe that was a bit dramatic; but it didn’t lessen her desire for it to happen.

“Fuck me, Ben, please. Fuck, fuck, I need you.” The words dribbled from her lips in an uncontrolled stream.

“You have a condom?” he said.

Goddamn responsible adult behaviors.

Rey nodded and jerked her chin at her dresser. She shuddered and groaned as he withdrew from her pussy, and when he stepped away, her knees gave out and she sunk to the carpet.

Ben must have heard the thud, for he spun around and reached for her. “Oh, shit. Are you okay?”

Her giggle sounded borderline deranged to her own ears. “You’ve fucked the standing out of me with your fingers. I’m so great.”

He gave her a look that hovered somewhere between amused and concerned.

Rey gestured at the dresser with her suspender-bound hands. “Condom. C’mon. Don’t leave a lady hanging.”

Her reflection panted at her in the mirror: mussed, flushed, and glassy-eyed. Sweat shone on her chest and her forehead. Curls of her hair hung limp in some places and curled skyward in others, and several locks clung in damp ribbons to her neck.

Ben was pulling on a drawer, and it was the drawer she’d gestured to, but in the mirror it meant that…

“Wait!” Rey cried. “Not that drawer!” In a movement neither dramatic nor elegant, she spun around on her knees, lost her balance, and flopped sideways to the carpet.

It was too late.

Ben had pulled the drawer and was staring open-mouthed at its contents.

“I...um…” Rey stammered. “It’s…oh, damn, this is embarrassing.”

He blinked rapidly. “You know,” he said, “I’m impressed. Honestly.” He pulled the largest of her dildos from the drawer and waved it in the air. It jiggled and flopped side-to-side, undulating majestically. “I might be able to answer the age-old question of ‘How many dildos does one person need?’”

Rey cleared her throat. “The answer to that is n+1, where n is the current number of dildos.”

Ben sent her a sideways look, one eyebrow raised high. He set the dildo back into the drawer. “You were always the one who was better at math.” Broad shoulders lifted in a show of surrender. Then he frowned, and held up a set of fuzzy, pink handcuffs. They’d been a gift from her friends a few years ago, back when she’d been far more embarrassed about what she enjoyed.

Maybe you’ll get some use out of these,’ Poe had said with a wink. Finn just rolled his eyes and slid a gift card for a local sex toy shop across the table.

Ben sent her another look. “Didn’t feel like using the traditional setup?” The cuffs swayed as he dangled them in her direction.

“I like improvising,” she said, a little breathlessly. Why wasn’t he freaking out? Why wasn’t he struggling into his jeans as he hopped towards the door, blurting some excuse about how she obviously knew what she wanted and, that being the case, he had no further services to provide her?

Not that that had happened frequently. Just the once, and that was really all it had taken to instill the nerves that now rattled in her stomach like corn kernels on a stove.

The cuffs dropped into the drawer with a muffled thunk and Ben slid it closed. “So,” he said. “Condoms?”

“Drawer to the right,” Rey said in disbelief.

He plucked a packet from the box and stepped out of his underwear, rolling the condom on as he made his way to where she still lay on her side on the carpet. She stared up at him, mouth agape. His cock looked so much larger at this angle and out of the confines of his clothing.

A little part of her wondered how this was going to work.

He lifted her to her feet. Right as he leaned down to kiss her, she blurted, “Ben, I don’t think I can stand.” Every muscle in her legs trembled and her knee began to buckle. Exhaustion from the two orgasms, and, well, nerves.

A thoughtful ‘hmmm’ rumbled through his chest and then he lifted her up, one hand braced on her back and the other nudging her thighs apart so they wrapped around him, then started for her bedroom door. Her bound arms were sandwiched between her breasts and the broad span of his chest. She could feel the strong pulse of his heartbeat as well as the slick pressure of his condom-clad penis against the underside of her thigh. A strange combination.

Where were they going? The couch? No, that wouldn't make sense. Her bed was right there. The kitchen? The bathroom counter?

Ben stopped in the doorway and looped her bound hands over one of the extended posts of the pull-up bar, pinning her against the wooden frame.

Oh.

“I think you’re getting the hang of this bondage thing,” she said, more than a little proud.

“I’m a fast learner,” he said with a sly, crooked smile. Rey leaned forward to kiss one of his dimples.

“Says the man who was nearly four years behind in math.”

Ben made an expression of exaggerated hurt. “Hey now.” He bounced her a bit as he rearranged her so she was supported by just one of his arms. Muscles flexed and bulged and Rey swallowed at the sight.

“I’m just chuffed that you weren’t scared off by my sex drawer.”

“That’s what you call it?”

“What else would you call it?”

“Your land of fuckmentionables.”

Rey’s laugh turned strangled as he rubbed the head of his cock over her clitoris.

“‘Course I’m not scared off by it,” he said with a soft smile. “I like you. I’ve liked you for a long time. A stupidly long time. It’ll take more than a few dildos, and vibrators, and...whatever the hell that blobby thing was.”

“It was also a vibrator.”

“Really?”

“Mmhmm.”

“In that case, never mind. One vibrator too many for me. Bye.” He made as if to turn away, then, smiling, kissed the outraged gasp from her lips.

His cock nudged at her. Firm. Incessant.

“If it makes you feel better, you’re bigger than all of them,” she said.

Ben’s mouth twisted in the beginnings of a proud smirk. “That’s either very flattering, or says something about the lack of variety in your fuckmentionables.”

Again, Rey’s laugh dissolved into a groan at the slow buck of his hips.

“You don’t mind the drawer?”

“Remember what I said? About the whole liking you thing?”

She blushed.

God, a tall, handsome, naked man with a condom around his cock was pressing her against a post and she blushed at him telling her that he liked her?

“Besides,” Ben continued, “now all I can think about is how soon I can use one of them on you.”

Wait, what?

The sex drawer (come on, fuckmentionables had too many syllables) was always her spot of self-satisfaction. No one had ever wanted to use any of her toys with her, no less on her. Yet...oh, the possibilities. They flashed before Rey’s eyes like a delicious, porny montage.

“I’d—uh, I’d like that,” she said unevenly.

There was a hesitant, hopeful look on Ben’s face. “Maybe...next time?”

Rey nodded rapidly. The head of his cock was nudging at her, breaching just the barest amount. “But,” she said, “okay, the thing with ‘next time’ is that there has to be a first time, and you must have the willpower of a fucking god”—good lord, she was starting to whine again—“because you’re just right there and”—she shifted her hips against him—“and Ben, please, just, please, you’re gonna—aahhnn!”

He pushed farther inside with a broken moan.

His name tripped off her tongue like a curse, again and again, wrenched out of her as he groaned praises against her electrified skin.

A quick glance down; he wasn’t even in halfway. Could she do this? What if she couldn’t?

“Um, Ben? What if I can’t—”

He interrupted her with a kiss, tender and unhurried. “Breathe,” he whispered against her lips. Sweat slicked her thighs where they lay draped over his forearms. With every inhalation, the dull edge of the door frame pressed into the muscles along her spine. She relaxed into this kiss, and he went deeper. Another breath, another soft flick of his tongue, another inch. Until, finally, he seated himself completely.

“You good?” It was Ben’s turn to sound strangled. The cords on his neck strained, hair clung to the curve of his ear.

Rey was at a loss for words, so she just nodded. She had never felt this full. Everything was stretching and clenching and fluttering around the intrusion of his body, and it was glorious. He moved slowly at first—each thrust blasting white-hot sparks that tingled her toes and shorted her brain—and then faster, harder.

She tried to weave her fingers through his hair, tried to pull him down so she could finally nibble on one of those big ears, tried to run her palms over his glowing, sweaty skin, and nearly growled in frustration.

“Untie me,” she panted.

At his look of concern, she went on. “It’s been ten years. I want to fucking touch you.”

The knot came undone with an ease that implied that Ben had never been in any sort of Scout troop. Even before the suspenders fell to the floor, her mouth was back on his and her hands flitted over him: sweeping across his shoulders, dragging up his neck, clenching at his biceps.

Gasps and groans mingled as she tugged his hair and nipped at his earlobe.

“Bed,” she ordered, and he complied without protest. She wanted him on top of her, all large and looming and powerful.

They fell to the mattress together. He rose above her, eyes roving across her face, pupils dilating his irises almost to black. One thrust, almost experimental, and Rey cried out at the deepness of it. Her sight might have blanked for a second.

“More,” she nearly growled. Another thrust, and another, each one sending more of that vision-blanking joy searing up her spine. Rey dragged her nails down his back as if she were marking him for her own.

“Shit!” Ben yelped and flinched. “Ow!”

“Sorry! Sorry!”

He huffed, and Rey was instantly reminded of an angered bear. Black eyes, bared teeth, tousled hair. Ben wrapped a hand around each of her wrists and pinned her arms by her head. The bared teeth morphed into a roguish grin, and then he was pistoning into her hips, grunting with the effort, driving into her pussy with a force that angered the bedsprings into squealing and the bedframe into horrified groans. Her moans, high and cracking, were louder than them all.

Ben slowed, sunk to his elbows, and nuzzled the tender skin under her ear. His back was slick under her fingertips, his neck salty against her tongue. The only sounds in the room were their ragged, panting breaths.

“I want you to come around me,” Ben said, his voice a low rasp. “What do you need?”

Bless this man. Rey raked her fingers through his damp hair. “Get on your back.”

She rode him hard enough to set the bed squealing again. His hands roamed freely over her body: cupping her bouncing breasts, tracing over the curve of her stomach, digging into the flesh of her hips. Her fingers were harsh and unsteady as she touched herself, and she could feel the tension in her limbs, the shuddering of her legs, the heady pulse of her climax as it built beneath her skin, but her forearm ached and her clit slipped underneath her frantic touch.

“Come for me, Rey,” Ben said. Not demanding, not ordering; it was a breathy whisper, a gentle encouragement.

And with that, just that, her body convulsed around him. She screamed his name, her back arching so that she had to brace her palms on his thighs, her pussy clenching his cock as he pumped into her from below.

A grunt, and a curse, and a choked gasp, and he joined her.

Several minutes and more than a few tissues later, they lay sprawled over fighter jets, Rey’s head on his stomach, his fingers tracing thoughtless patterns over her knuckles.  

“So,” Ben said on an exhale. “What now?”

Rey smiled at the ceiling. “I have a few ideas.”

 

Later, Rey would discover that although Ben was a fast and determined learner, his ability for knot-tying settled solidly alongside his skills in math.

 

Much later, Rey would discover that her propeller coffee table was the perfect kind of table for living with a black lab that loved to eat tables.

 

Much, much later, Ben would discover that a ska show is a terrible place to propose, because no one can hear much of anything, and kneeling down in a mosh pit—despite the sickly sweetness of the concept—would give him a black eye that shone almost almost as much as Rey’s ring.