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Crazy Eighths

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Left.
Left.
Left, right, left.
On goes the rhythm of Rey’s disinterested ForceTime swiping.

She peers up from the couch at Finn and gives him a pleading look.

“It’s been 84 years. Can we please just go get tacos?”

Finn settles further into the armchair across from her, crosses his arms, and rolls his eyes at his best friend. “It’s been, like, 84 seconds, and you know it. Keep looking! You promised.”

Rey continues wading through the sea of fuckboys until a lock of dark hair catches her eye.

It’s nice hair. Too nice. Spends-way-too-much-time-on-it nice. It’s also way-too-artfully draped over most of what is probably a decent face... but who can tell with a pose like that? Sighing, Rey reads his bio, looking for reasons to hate it.

Kylo Ren. 20. Edmond, Oklahoma.
My proudest moment is still being voted the eighth grade class president. (I only ran to annoy the girl I mildly disliked. Suck it, Rey.)

...wait... Rey?... Suck it, Rey???...

It’s too specific. Too weird. Rey knows her name is statistically uncommon. This Kylo even specified “the girl,” so she knows it’s not about some other dude. And what’s up with saying “THE girl” and not “A girl,” anyway? This can’t be someone she knows. She’s never met a Kylo. Besides, her class president was...

Rey’s iPhone SE clatters to the ground. Good thing she uses sturdy cases. (Especially because the phone model is discontinued, which is people-with-tiny-fingers erasure, thank you very much...)

Finn looks up from his Topps app and raises a brow at her. Rey can only whisper one word as an explanation.

“Ben.”

Chapter Text

Rey slides off the couch, planning to retrieve her phone, but instead slumps onto the floor and just kind of... stays there. Why get up? Maybe down is up now. Who knows? After all, the world is bananas today.

“Ben who?” asks Finn, leaning forward excitedly in his chair. “That guy Ben in our engineering classes who always smells like Play-Doh?”

Nope. Not that Ben. Maybe not any Ben, anymore. Why is someone with a story like Ben Solo’s posting under the name Kylo Ren? Sure, some people get embarrassed to go on ForceTime, but why would he invent such a weird name instead of just calling himself a name people have actually heard of?

Rey realizes that Finn is speaking to her again, and that she’s just been Wii-theme-music-level dissociating, here on the floor of Finn and Poe’s apartment.

She forces her face into what she’s sure is a normal-people-expression, or a close enough imitation of it.

“No, not Play-Doh Ben. This guy Ben from my middle school, only he’s calling himself Kylo Ren in ForceTime,  but I know he’s my Ben, I mean not my Ben of course, but this particular Ben, he belongs to himself, he was always so independent even as a teenager, but yeah, a Ben who wrote about me in his bio.”

Finn’s wig looks like it would be blown off, if he wore one, instead of the close-shaved style he prefers to rock most of the time.

“You are telling me... that a boy you liked in middle school... wrote about you in his dating profile? Wait, what day is it? Oh. Tuesday. Tuesday, October 16, 2018. Siri, put today in my calendar as The Day Rey Re-found Her Husband, please.”

Siri and Rey answer Finn simultaneously, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the robot seems to be making more sense. While Siri asks for clarification on the nature of Finn’s request, Rey sputters, “What? I did not like him. And he hated me, too. Here, just look at this bio.”

Rey plucks the phone off the carpet at last and hands it to Finn. He reads the short but incriminating profile aloud. To Rey’s horror, the doofy look on her friend’s face only grows.

“Oh, he’s all right, though, isn’t he? This pic is fire, and he is clearly still in love with you.”

Before she can stop him, Finn does the worst possible thing. Well, not the very worst. He could break her phone (he is pretty strong), or yank her ponytail, or spit in her eye. Okay, so he does the worse of two phone-related options, were he allowed them at all, which he isn’t, because this is Rey’s phone and Rey’s app and Rey’s Ben and Rey’s life and holy smokes why is it so hot in here...

Finn swipes right on Kylo the class president.

Chapter Text

Rey spends the rest of her night (after tacos with Finn, of course) glued to her iPhone. Not that this is terribly unusual- she is a gen-Z-er after all, and don’t they sometimes call that the iGen? Ugh, she’s only taken one sociology-type class so far because she’s going to be an engineer and that Makes Sense to her in a way that people definitely do not - but yeah. She’s back in her dorm, staring at her screen, because the messages she’s receiving are blowing her mind.

Finn is so engaging in person that she only thought about Ben-Kylo every, like, five seconds at dinner,  instead of an unhealthy amount, but as soon as she flopped down onto her ancient twin mattress, she pulled up ForceTime again.

The responses started simple, and pretty in-character for Ben as she remembers him from five years ago.

 

This is a joke, right?

How did you get all these pictures of a girl I went to school with just to fuck with me?

Hux, I swear, if this is what the kids call a pranking haze, I don’t want to join your stupid club, okay? I’m busy with calligraphy.

 

 

Rey snorts at that last one. Calligraphy ? Yes, this has to be the same dude. She remembers his beautifully hand-lettered signs being slapped all over the walls of Tarkin Middle School for the two weeks the school allowed as their “election cycle.”

When she doesn’t see any more of those stress-inducing “the other person is typing while you question your life choices” bubbles, she writes back.

 

 

Ben?

Kylo?

Ben. It’s me. Rey Johnson.

Can’t you tell I look older now?

I don’t look like an eighth grader anymore, asshole.

 

Could have fooled me, Rey.

 

Rey scoffs. She knows she is short for nineteen, and she’s always been scrappy-looking (a lifetime in the foster system can occasionally do that to a girl), but there is NO way she could pass for fourteen anymore.

 

Oh yeah? What about you?

I can’t even see your face in your one and only pic.

How do I know you’re Ben and not some actual 14 year old named Kyle Ron or something?

 

A few seconds later, Rey’s screen lights up. Right after that, so does her face. It’s like a damn Christmas tree in here - and it isn’t even Halloween yet, why do stores put out winter stuff so early, can’t they just let people who love pumpkins and ghosts have their fun?

Never mind.

Ben is shirtless. Or if he isn’t, he’s wearing a really low tube top or something.

The picture Ben sends shows his whole half-smirking face, with a huge phone reflection in his brown eyes, one endearingly large ear peeking through his famous hair, and also his neck, a collarbone, and the top of one side of his chest.

It’s a weird angle, as he’s clearly sprawled out on a bed just like Rey is, and he’s even worse at taking selfies than Rey is, but the top of him does not look like Rey does.

It doesn’t even look like the Ben who was shorter than Rey in middle school.

It looks good. Too good. Reminding her why she was on this stupid app in the first place good.

She can’t tell him that, though. She can be a Cool Girl for once.

 

Put a shirt on, dude.

I will for our date tomorrow.

What? Who says I want to go out with you?

You did, with this very app, sweetheart. Or don’t you remember swiping right?

I didn’t, my friend did.

He yanked my phone away because I told him how crazy your bio is, and then he swiped because he thinks you’re in love with me or something.

 

Why did I say that? Rey asks her empty dorm room. Nothing says Cool Girl like blaming your friends for your problems AND acting like you’re ready to get married after one dude’s selfie. A good selfie, sure, possibly an illegal for being so intriguing selfie, but really Rey, hold on to your eggplant emojis.

 

I’m sure. Tell me all about it tomorrow.

7:30 at Kanata’s.

I’ll be in black... and you’ll be in something that’s supposed to look casual.

Chapter Text

Rey changes clothes for her Wednesday night dinner with Ben exactly four times.

Ordinarily, she hates those stereotypes, that Women Be Shoppin’, and that college girls spend forever getting dressed up for boys who don’t appreciate them, but she cannot seem to settle on something.

First, it’s a poufy tangerine-hued monstrosity she had to don as a bridesmaid last summer, just to fly in the face of his cocky “you’ll try to act casual but you can’t fool me” comment. Then, it’s head-to-toe Adidas, which is a wildly different look, but for the same reason. Next, she throws on a bathrobe and puts her wet hair in a sloppy bun, hoping that perching precariously on her tiny sink to do her makeup will give her time to magically acquire fashion sense.

The Date Night OOTD ends up being a short-sleeved emerald v-neck (because October in Oklahoma is basically July everywhere else), dark skinny jeans, and the once-white-now-greige Converse she’s owned since she first met Ben as an eighth grader.

Rey wonders at least 38 times in the next hour if it’s really a good idea to go to this dinner. Kanata’s has surprisingly good food for the Oklahoma City metro, and he’s presumably paying, but it’s up in Edmond, which is a long Uber for Rey. It gives her a ton of time to think about why she’s heading to the land of Rich People Who Definitely Want You To Know How Rich They Are just to reconnect with some boy from Tarkin.

And then she sees him standing out front.

Clothes? Totally black.

Coffee in his hand? Presumably black.

Nerves in the pit of her stomach? Definitely blacker than the probably-expired felt-tip eyeliner she clumsily used to attempt a Sophisticated Instagram Wing.

His eyes, nearly swallowed temporarily by the pupils when he sees her? The blackest.

His deep, definitely-finished-changing-now voice says Hey, his scent says “unisex cologne and leather jacket and probably not the worst kisser”, his face says 😳😎😩😉😍 all in three-point-five seconds, and her mind says You will never recover from this.

For Rey, dinner goes by in a flash. She gets all but one of her questions answered without feeling like she’s interrogating him.

 

 

(Why didn’t he go to Raddus High like the rest of their classmates? His parents thought sending him to a far-away private boarding school would keep him out of trouble and make him even more of a John Green protagonist.

How did he get back to Oklahoma? He’s living at home to go UCO for business since his mommy missed him.

Who or what is a Kylo Ren? A name he created in an Asteroid Adventures online character name generator.

Why did he make a ForceTime account? His college friend Hux put him up to it.

What is Hux’s club, anyway? He swears it’s not a frat and not political, but it’s called First Order and all his other friends talk like reddit incels, so Ben is wary.

How can one be busy with calligraphy? He does wedding invitations and stuff like that for rich friends of his mother’s, instead of working at one of the 5000 local Walgreenses or whatever for spending money.)

 

 

Rey reveals plenty about herself as well, and as they talk, she finally feels safe enough to ask The Big One.

She takes a deep breath. “Ben, why did you run against me at school, anyway? I really wanted healthier school lunches because it was a guaranteed meal for me. Your platform was, what? More school dances for fundraisers? I never even saw you at any of them!”

Rey stops, embarrassed. That made it sound like she was looking for him in the packed, sweaty cafeteria after school. She wasn’t... was she?

Ben is quiet for a long time, and then he mumbles six devastating words.

“I wanted you to notice me.”

“What? Everyone knew you, Ben. You were, like, cool and all that. Nobody talked to me except Kaydel and Rose.”

He sighs. “I couldn’t talk to you without a reason. I was too busy being fourteen. I thought debating you in front of the school would impress you. You know, some Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley hair-inking shit. I think people voted for me because they thought I could buy them stuff or whatever, and I didn’t dance because I was too busy crying over music at home.”

Rey bursts out laughing. “You idiot! Man, we really missed out, didn’t we?”

And out come six more words that, in his deep bass, will revolutionize things.

“Let’s make up for lost time.”

 

 

Rey keeps her hand on Ben’s thigh for the whole ride back to his parents’ house. She loves watching him drive his sleek black Silencer. The family home in Chandrila Oaks is predictably flashy, and blessedly empty (his parents are watching a rodeo final in Vegas all week). Neither of them has school tomorrow, so it turns out that fall break is good for something besides football games after all.

When they get to his bedroom, Rey manages to say something she’s been contemplating for almost twenty-three hours.

“So... you told the whole Internet you wanted me to suck it? “

Ben almost chokes. “What?!?! Rey, no, you don’t have to do that, it was, I mean, I was just... “

Pleased with his reaction, she grins. “Do you want me to?”

He sits shakily on the edge of his enormous bed and drops his leather jacket on the plush carpet at his feet . Rey kneels on top of it, feeling like some sort of modern-day, actually-allowed-to-be-sexual princess. When she slides his pants and boxers off his hips, his dick is straining toward her like a flower in the sun.

He barely lets her get in a few good licks before he’s hauling her up, lifting her over his body, and dropping her onto the bed. He kisses her all over, through her clothes, and she feels like she’s burning up. She hears him mumbling something about tits and eyes and couldn’t wait and take this off.

 

 

Once they’re both finally naked (the Converse caused a bit of a stumble), he’s looking at her so reverently she kind of wants to cry a little bit. He’s cradled between her thighs when he asks, “Are you sure?” She nods and jokes,  “Yes, Mr. President.”

That first slide in is another revelation: this doesn’t have to be entirely awkward if you really like the other person.

Each thrust is a confirmation: this can be fun for her and not just for the guy on top.

His smiles and soft kisses and wandering hands are reminders: he cares enough to want her to get off first.

His smirk of satisfaction when she actually does is a reward all on its own. She whispers, “Let go, Ben,” and for once in his life, he follows instructions.

Rey has been wasting her time on other college boys. Sex has never been like this before. She can see on his face that he feels the same way.

 

 

After the condom is disposed of, he comes back to snuggle her and looks into her eyes so tenderly, as if he’s going to say sleep here tonight or let’s do that again or even marry me.

Instead, he whispers, “If I’d known it could be this good, I’d really have been in trouble for long showers in middle school.”

Rey sighs and burrows closer to him.

“You and me both.”

Ben’s jaw nearly hits the floor.