Rey’s on her fourth piña colada, which means she knows that she shouldn’t do this, but fuck it .
Just fuck it.
It started a year ago, a phone call from a Jonah Johnson, a young man who’s about seventeen. “Is this…Rey?” he asks. And Rey’s stomach pits out. His voice sounds like a memory, which is strange because he’s seven years younger than she is.
But it’s dad’s voice.
She spends the rest of the week crying, and that weekend, Jonah and—and mom come to visit. Her mother looks like a memory too, only older. She’s twitchy and Jonah holds her hand the whole time.
“She ran away when she was pregnant with me,” Jonah tells Rey because her mother has a look on her face like if she tries to talk she’ll melt into a puddle of tears. “She didn’t want...didn’t want to lose me too.”
It should make Rey pity her mother. Should warm her heart, that her mother had been brave enough to get out, to get away. But she feels nothing at all.
Jonah got a family, a stepdad who took him to baseball games and a girlfriend and all the stuff that Rey had never thought of having. She’d been homeless at his age, applying to college and putting in Maz’s mailing address because surely they weren’t going to actually send anything by mail in this day and age, not realizing that Maz would get swamped with college brochures with Rey’s name on it.
Jonah’s not going to college. He’s getting scouted for the minors and he wants to play baseball professionally if he can. He’s well spoken and fit and has Rey’s smile and her eyes and Rey wants to like him, she really does.
But her head keeps hurting and she still doesn’t know what to say to her mother.
Because her mother hadn’t come back for her in the end.
They don’t make it very far. This isn’t surprising because for all he’s big, he’s had more to drink than she has and his words are slurring too.
“You’re beautiful,” he tells her. They’ve made it to the neighbor’s backyard. There’s a swimming pool with chairs and a kiddie pool that looks like it’s probably been sitting in the sun for the past four days, waiting for the weekend.
“I’m already hooking up with you, you don’t have to sweet talk me,” she says.
“I just wanted to say it again.”
He collapses on one of the pool chairs.
“Aren’t we going back to the hotel?”
“I like the stars.” He says it loudly, his head tilted back.
“Shhhh, we don’t want the neighbors to hear.”
“Come here,” he reaches a hand out and his arms are longer than arms have a right to be because he’s longer than humans have a right to be. He grabs her wrist and pulls her towards him and his lips also taste like piña coladas.
“An aerospace technician,” Rey tells one of Jonah’s friends for the ninetieth time. They all look at her like she’s grown a second head. Jonah’s nice but he doesn’t really have the brainiest friends. Some of them are going to college on sports scholarships, some of them aren’t going to college at all.
“What’s aerospace?” asks one of them and Rey’s soul dies more than a little bit.
“Spaceships,” she supplies.
“You go into space?” the boy—because sure, he’s probably eighteen like Jonah, but he’s too dumb to call him a man—asks.
“That’s astronauts, dumbass,” guffaws another one.
“Oh, right,” the boy says.
“I build the ships,” Rey says. “Design them.” Or she will, one day, when she’s not at the bottom of the pecking order. But if she’d gotten into college while homeless and starving, she can climb the rungs. That’s not hard. Nothing’s hard after that.
The group of boys are all dressed to—what they consider to be—the nines, and one of them is staring openly at her chest. It’s like a girl Jonah! she’d definitely heard one of them say.
But she doesn’t have anyone else to talk to at this fucking wedding.
Because Jonah’s getting married at eighteen to the girlfriend he's been dating since before he knew Rey existed.
She glances at her mother, standing with her stepfather. Her stepdad gets uncomfortable whenever Rey’s around, and the stepsiblings—there are two of them, Andy and Lee, both of whom are much younger than Rey—get shy around her too. She doesn’t think her stepdad likes the walking reminder that her mom had been in a relationship with that man for long enough to have a kid who was already six by the time she got pregnant with Jonah. And her mom—
Well mom still doesn’t know how to talk to her.
She keeps trying to apologize and the thing that makes Rey angry is that, now that mom’s actually back in her life, is she doesn’t want an apology. She doesn’t want a hug, and to be lied to about how much she’s loved.
She wants to fucking scream her lungs out.
Ok so she’d figured his lips would be sinful from the first second she saw him. They’re dick sucking lips. Or clit sucking. Or whatever. They’re huge and plush and distractingly soft and she barely notices anything else as he pulls her drunkenly onto his lap. She could swim in these lips, drink them down forever, kiss them, whatever.
He’s warm. It’s hot outside—the setting sun had only barely knocked a dent into the heat of the day, but Ben’s chest is something else. It goes on for miles, and it’s sturdy and muscular and she feels supported there, against his chest. He must work out or something. That’s a dumb thought. Of course he works out. He’s a baseball player. All he does is work out, probably.
She hopes that doesn’t go to his head while they’re fucking and he doesn’t get her off.
Although whether it’s from the heat or the alcohol, Rey’s heart is beating hard enough in her chest that she’s not sure she’s worried about that.
Rey’s never done well with crowds. She doesn’t understand how smalltalk works, and she knows especially here no one cares about what her job is. Jonah’s new wife’s mother puts in a good show of trying to talk about anything but Rey’s relationship to the family, but after a while, the conversation, inevitably, lands on how nice it must be to have found them in the end, and is she in touch with her father at all, and Rey really doesn’t know how to talk about this, she really doesn’t. She wants to sink through the ground and hide among the dirt, and as soon as she’s able, she finds the bartender and asks for another piña colada.
“What, already?” the bartender asks, looking more than a little amused.
“Isn’t that what weddings are for?” Rey asks. Most of the attendees here are under twenty-one, but the bartender doesn’t seem to care about that, and Jonah’s parents certainly don’t. “Getting as wasted as possible?” She’s never been to a wedding before. Comes from not having family, or close friends. If Finn and Rose get married, or BB and Poe, she’ll be invited but that’s it—that’s her one shot. It’s not like she’s ever going to be able to find anyone who’d want to marry her , hot fucking mess that she is.
“The only thing that’s ever gotten me through them.”
The first thing she notices about the speaker is that he’s tall as all getup, well over six feet, and with a broad chest. He stands like he was in the marines, or maybe he just works out a lot and his muscles keep him that erect. The next thing she notices about him are his lips, which are just about at her eye-level. They’re red and—
“I’ll take one too,” he says to the bartender.
“Yes, sir,” the bartender replies, and the man turns his attention to Rey again.
“I’m Rey,” she says.
“Ben,” he replies.
And because if she asks it first, he won’t be able to ask her and she can try and steer the conversation away from it, she asks, “How do you know the groom? Or bride?”
Ben gives her a wry smile and accepts his piña colada from the bartender. “I got an invite that I was too dumb to realize was a polite one. I’m going to be Jonah’s coach on the Yellow Wings.”
“Oh,” she says.
“Nothing like a party where you don’t know anyone.”
Rey glances around the backyard. She sees Andy and Lee running around with their new siblings-in-law, all of them dressed a little too nicely for the dirt they’re kicking up; she sees Jonah and Chelsey surrounded by their friends, holding hands and looking so fucking young; she sees her mother, watching her anxiously, her lips sucked between her teeth.
“Yeah,” she replies. “Nothing like it.”
The straps of her dress come off her shoulders easily enough and Ben’s face presses against her neckline. He nibbles at the skin there until the dress drops down enough for her breasts to be exposed to the stars overhead. Her chest is small enough and the dress supportive enough that she’d forgone a bra, especially since the only one she’d brought with her poked out of the top of the neckline. Ben hums his approval as his hands grope at her and she’s definitely too drunk to care that his touch is inelegant, more than a little rough. It makes her feel alive, especially as he’s grinding his hips up into hers and she can feel an erection beginning to grow in his dress pants.
She runs her fingers through his hair. It’s surprisingly soft. Feathery, even. His lips vibrate with a hum against her chest as she pulls it lightly. “More,” he whispers and she tightens her grip and tugs harder. She presses her face into the top of his head and breathes him in. He uses good conditioner that makes his hair smell clean, but it’s been a hot day and there’s a slight undercurrent of sweat there.
She likes it.
It meshes well with the residual taste of piña coladas.
Ben’s young for a coach—at least that’s what Rey thinks when she learns how old he is. She doesn’t know much about baseball, but whenever she’s been in bars and games have been on, the coaches have all been short and balding and old. Ben’s younger than them all.
“Shoulder injury,” he tells her. They’re both sitting at a table and Rey gets the impression that everyone’s relieved that they’re talking to one another because now people don’t have to keep walking up to them and asking who they are and bringing them over to another group of people who will, at some point, disperse and leave them alone again. “Hard to play baseball when your pitching arm’s fucked. But I can at least show younger guys what they’re doing wrong.”
“Were you good?” Rey asks.
Ben gives her a wry smile. “I was incredible. I played in the majors for a few years.”
“Yeah. Ben Solo.”
Rey shrugs. “Doesn’t ring a bell.”
“Everyone around me follows the Dodgers,” she says. “They’re LA, right?”
Ben gives her a patronizing smile which she’ll allow given that it was his fucking job and he was good at it and she knows jack shit about it. If he were trying to be patronizing about space because he’d watched Apollo 13 once, she’d rip him a new asshole, but she knows fuck all about baseball. Everything she’s learned she’d learned from talking to Jonah.
“Yeah, they’re LA.” His gaze clouds. “The second it became apparent I wouldn’t take the mound again, my manager terminated the contract. He’s a shitfuck. Thought he cared about me, kept saying that I was...I don’t know…” he sighs. “Anyway, started coaching minors.”
“You like it?” Rey asks, taking another sip.
Ben shrugs. “It’ll do. I’m wasted for anything else, and I don’t need the money necessarily because my old contract was really good, but I can’t spend too much time alone with myself or else I go dark.”
Rey knows that feeling.
Oh, does Rey fucking know that feeling.
“You got a condom?” Rey asks his neck as his fingers keep doing what they’ve been doing for the past three minutes. Her sex is soaking, dripping down onto his pants, and she’s trembling in his arms. She’s going to come soon, she’s sure of it, the lightheaded smoothness that comes with being drunk more than making up for the fact that Ben’s a little too drunk to be coordinated right now.
“No,” he grunts.
“We should go to the hotel,” she says. “We can get some on the way.”
“No,” he grunts again.
“We’re not doing this without—”
And the orgasm hits her with a long, drawn-out groan that she’s sure no one at the party in the yard next over will hear over the music. Her heart is ka-thumping in her throat, in her chest, in her swollen cunt, throbbing through her and making her feel so warm, so safe.
“Fuck,” she breathes out. “God. Fuck.”
“Yeah.” She can’t tell if it’s because she’s drunk, or because Ben’s hands aren’t hers and push her further than she’d push herself, but she’s melted against him and her whole body keeps vibrating.
He kisses the top of her head where it’s resting under his chin. His heart thunks against his chest and Rey knows she’s going to move soon, she’s going to pull him out of his already unzipped pants and jerk him off. But she’s not ready to move yet.
She feels a drop of water, a bit of a drizzle, breaking through the overwhelming humidity.
It’s very serene, better than most of the dreams Rey has ever known.
At least—it’s serene until the cops show up.
“I don’t want to talk to her. I don’t want to talk about it,” she says. It had taken Finn two years before she’d opened up to him about it, and it had taken Ben three piña coladas. “Like I’m not ok with it. I’m not ok about any of it. Does she want me to yell at her? To shake her? I’m not my dad. But I’m not ok.”
She’s watching Jonah and Chelsey dance. She wants to believe they’ll last, but she’s not really sure she believes that love can last. Or maybe what her parents had had wasn’t love. She’s not sure that her mother and her stepfather love one another. She doesn’t really understand what love is.
And she certainly doesn’t think anyone will ever love her.
And this is why she doesn’t tell people about her shitty tragic backstory. She doesn’t like the silence that follows, the silence that everyone at this fucking wedding keeps trying to fill with inanity but somehow the noise makes the silence louder.
“Better to know you’re not ok than to pretend you are,” Ben says at last and her eyes snap to him. He means it kindly, she can tell that much through the alcohol blur. “No one’s ever really ok. Most people are just in denial about the ways that they’re not. It’s easier to beat the shit out of the not-ok when you at least know it’s there. You’re not alone.”
“Neither are you.”
His eyes go a bit bright as though he hadn’t been expecting that. He tries to smile at her. She tries to smile back at him.
“Want another?” he asks, pointing to her empty glass.
“Let’s see if I can stand straight.”
She can’t really, but that feels good because it means she sort of stumbles against his side and he sort of holds her up. She likes that feeling. Of not having to hold herself up all the fucking time.
So they don’t get arrested but they get a very stern talking-to from the lazy suburban cops. Or at least, an attempt at a stern talking to. The cop doing the talking is getting on in his years and he seems to find the whole thing funny—that he’d been called because the occupants of the house and been too embarrassed that guests from next-door’s wedding were fucking in their back yard.
The worst part of it is that some of the wedding goers came over to see what the ruckus was about and she’s pretty sure that Jonah saw her tugging her dress up over her chest again while Ben was tucking his shirt back into his pants. That’s what big sisters do, I guess, she smiles at him apologetically. Embarrassingly fuck your coach on your wedding night mere feet from all of your friends.
He tries to smile back.
There’s no sign of mom, but she’s not surprised by that. From the way her stepdad is glaring at her, she suspects that police lights and sirens don’t do good things to her mom’s head. And maybe it’s because she just came, or maybe it’s because a piña colada ago, Ben had told her she wasn’t alone, but now she does actually feel a little bit bad, a little bit guilty.
Maybe once she’s done screaming her lungs out, she can try to talk to her mom about it all.
Not tonight, though.
Tonight, she’s done with the wedding party. Tonight, she and Ben are going to flee with their tails between their legs for as long as the party can still see them. Then she’s going to drag him to a CVS and they’re going to get condoms and if she doesn’t end up with her legs around either his hips or his shoulders, she’d be wildly surprised—especially because he’s got his hand resting on the small of her back as they make their way down the block so they can hail a cab in peace.
It’s still drizzling out, and Rey’s wearing a white dress. If they stand there for too long, it’s going to get see-through, and fast, but she’s not sure she cares.
She stands on the tips of her toes and presses another kiss to his lips and his hands grip her hips, holding her against him.
He still tastes a little like piña coladas, but he also tastes a little bit like her.