“It’s been such a good day, hasn’t it?”
Rey’s leaning against her husband’s chest, smiling as the music of their band carries throughout the room.
The lights of Chandrilla’s city library have been turned low, and hundreds of fairy lights strung across the dozens of bookcases bring a warm glow to the usually cold room.
“Mhm,” Ben clears his throat. His hands holds Rey’s waist, swaying her to the gentle music of Sigur Rós ‘Hoppipolla’.
It’s the same song Rey walked down the aisle to that afternoon, and Ben wants to hear it every day for the rest of his life. Even now with his new wife held close to his body he feels himself getting emotional thinking of the moment he saw her. He doesn’t know what type of dress it is, even though she has explained time upon time, upon time the different styles; a-line, mermaid, trumpet. Somewhere along the way, he wonders if she has changed the subject, because how can a wedding dress be named after a mythical creature? He can say however that Rey’s dress is satin and fits her body like a second skin.
The dress, at first glance, was conservative with a high neckline and elegant cap sleeves.
She was stunning.
It was after Han had kissed her cheek, taking his seat by a crying Leia when Rey turned around to hand her bouquet of white roses and eucalyptus leaves to the maid of honour Rose, that Ben found the wedding gown of her choice to be backless. He had never felt so torn before, somewhere between wanting to stare at her beauty all day and wanting to rip the dress from her body.
Even then, with their hands joined in holy matrimony, Ben had been nervous. That Rey would come to her senses and see that Ben is not the man she thinks he is but-
Here he is, a new platinum band placed on the fourth finger of his left hand with his new wife tucked into his body.
“How many times are you going to have the band play this song?” Rey smiles into the lapel of his suit jacket. Opening his eyes, Ben spies that there are only a few couples on the dance floor beside them- Rose and Finn, Amilyn and…Poe?
That’s a question for another day.
“For the rest of the night if I need to,” Ben mutters, pushing a kiss to her head. He feels lighter than air when she laughs into his chest. The final notes of the song echo through the room, and before Ben can look over at the band to request it again, Poe has stumbled to the stage requesting something a bit more lively to dance to.
Not the song he had intended on listening to, Ben, however, playfully spins Rey as something by Electric Light Orchestra plays around them. He grins so hard his cheeks hurt, the way Rey’s dress flows around them as she twirls on the spot takes his breath away. She’s giggling as he turns her and he’s certain that he’s never seen something so radiant as his wife.
When she spins back into his arms, Rey is up on her tiptoes, pushing her lips to Ben’s in a kiss that is full of smiles and laughter. He’s about to suggest a drink, maybe another slice of their wedding cake (fresh strawberries and cream thanks to Rey’s sweet tooth) when she holds a hand to her mouth and yawns.
“Do you want me to call for the car?”
Rey frowns shaking her head.
“You’re stifling another yawn, aren’t you?”
Taking her hand and walking towards the table where his parents sit, Rey yawns again.
Grinning Ben wraps his arms around her, kissing the skin of her exposed shoulder.
“Ah!” Leia squeaks standing abruptly. “Look at you two.” She approaches them, eyes already glistening with fresh tears. Leia takes Rey by the hands, looking at her dress as if she hasn’t spent the whole day obsessing over how beautiful her new daughter in law looks.
“I’ll tell your mother the bar is closed after this one,” Han smiles apologetically at his son before clapping a supportive hand on Ben’s back. They look on at Rey and Leia, shaking their heads in sync as Leia continues to gush to Rey.
“I think we’re going to head out,” Ben pipes up now noticing the time on his watch. It’s not long after midnight, with their ceremony in the early afternoon, and both he and Rey have been awake since the early morning. The thought hits him and his own yawn makes itself known.
“You’re leaving?” Poe has stumbled over by this point. His bow tie has long been abandoned, the jacket of his suit is...draped over Amilyn’s shoulders?
“Uh...” Thrown by the image of the woman who used to babysit him wearing his best friend’s jacket, Ben nods. From nearby he sees Rey’s dress swaying under the gleam of the lights; she’s walking between her bridesmaids and maid of honour and-
She’s crying again.
When they dined on a meal of bourbon glazed roasted chicken, Rey had told Ben all about her morning. How she had woken up as the sun spilled into her bedroom, and thought that he too would be waking up, she cried. When the final touches were in place for her hair and make up and it was only the dress left to slip into, she cried. When Han collected her from the bridal suite to walk her down the aisle, well, apparently she needed her make up re-done after that moment of tears too.
He’s never met anyone as tough as Rey, never known anyone to go through all the things she has gone through and still come out smiling. She’s defied the foster care system, a shining example of no matter the situation, if you put your mind to something, it can be done. Rey has never known the love of a parent, she never experienced the support from teachers or the joy of something as simple as a swing set in a park and yet here she is; accomplished and happy.
But my god, does she cry.
Rey cries at nearly everything. When she comes across a stray cat in the street, when people win the grand prize in game shows. She cries when they argue and she cries when they make up.
He can’t help but laugh when he sees Rose dabbing Rey’s face with a tissue, playfully chastising her for crying again. The girls giggle together and soon they’re hugging, bidding an emotional goodnight to one another.
Of course Rey can’t just say goodbye to their friends, she’s speaking to everyone one by one, hugging and gushing over the whole day. Shaking his head with an amused smile Ben turns to find his best man, the man he’s known since he was a child, grinning devilishly at him.
“What do you want, Poe?”
“So, it’s the big night!” He grins wickedly again.
Ben sighs painfully when Poe leads him away from the table, away from Rey. He really does think it’s time they get to their hotel.
“What are you talking about?” Ben frowns now being sat down at an empty table. Bottles of beer have been knocked over, the pristine white tablecloth now dotted with various stains.
“I mean, it’s your wedding night…” There’s that grin again, this time accompanied by a wiggle of his eyebrows. “You’ve got to pull out the big guns-“
“Believe it or not Poe, me and Rey have been having sex just fine without your input.”
“Hey,” Poe raises his hands defensively, “believe me man, I know. Do you not remember the time I walked in and you were-“
“We said we would never speak of that again-“
“I know, I know! Look, I’m not saying you’re shit in the sack Ben, I’m really not! I mean I remember the noises from our old apartment, Rey was very agreeable with whatever you were doing-“
“Right, right!” Poe nods and sucks in a breath. “What I’m saying is you gotta make it special! It’s your wedding night and it’s gonna be romantic and-“
“Like, she needs to feel good-“
“I appreciate the concern I do, well, actually no I don’t but it’s fine. I know how to please my wife, now just please stop talking about me and Rey having sex. Go follow your own advice- in fact, no, I have a bone to pick with you.”
A knowing grin spreads across Poe’s face, quickly hiding it with a gulp from the beer bottle he has neglected in the last few minutes.
“Why am I seeing you with Amilyn?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know, Benny boy.”
Palming his face Ben groans, “Jesus.”
“Are you giving my husband grey hair?”
Ben peeks through his fingers to find Rey walking towards them. Her gown is long, hand holding up it up so she doesn’t trip over the train. The heels she had worn for most of the day have long been taken off, now replaced with a white pair of converse high tops with Mrs spelt out in diamanté’s on the heel.
“You have no idea,” Ben groans. “Why is he my friend?”
“Hey-“ Poe stands up, mock offence across his features. “I am an outstanding friend.”
Rey grins at her husband and back to Poe.
“I hear you’re leaving for the night?” Poe teases, looking at them both with that mischievous glint in his eyes. Somehow after the years with Rey, he still feels his heart leap into his throat when she touches him. Her fingers lace with his, the touch of her new wedding band against his skin in line with the engagement ring he gave her just over a year ago makes Ben tighten his grip on her.
“Mhm, we are.” She’s grinning again, letting go of Ben’s hand to open her arms to Poe. “Thank you Poe, for everything. For keeping Ben safe his whole life so I can enjoy the rest of my life with him.”
It takes Ben slightly aback, the way Poe’s grin drops and his eyes well up. They’re wrapped in a hug that Ben knows will have Rey sniffling into Poe’s white shirt.
“C’mon,” Poe begins pulling away from Rey, “don’t want to keep the big guy waiting.”
With that Rey moves away for Ben to hug his best friend. Gone is the crude humour and devilish smile, it’s just Poe hugging his best friend.
“It was a great day Ben, thanks for letting me apart of it.”
Clapping his back Ben smiles, “wouldn’t have it any other way.”
- - -
It’s another half an hour before Ben and Rey are finally being escorted from the venue in a private car. Their schedule with work had been tight, and so for now, the newlyweds are enjoying just a few days away in a small rented cottage before returning to work. After that they will think of booking a real honeymoon. Somewhere with sandy beaches and colourful drinks with obnoxious straws. Somewhere that Ben can take his new wife wherever he wants, somewhere that Rey can claim her husband whenever she wants.
“You doing okay, sweetheart?” Ben asks noticing how relaxed Rey’s body is next to his.
“Yeah, I’m just tired.”
He kisses the side of her head, watching the traffic and city lights whizz by them as they travel further out of the city. It’s hypnotic and relaxing watching everything pass by them, knowing they have no worries for the next few days. It’s just the two of them with no interruptions or distractions. Ben’s mind is adrift with thoughts of his wife, of their future. Soon, the thoughts turn into dreams; he sees Rey walking along that beach he thinks they will honeymoon at, the satin dress still painted on to her skin. He hears raspy moans and gasps in the dream, mirrored with images of his wife that make him fidget in his dazed sleep.
- - -
“Excuse me, sir-“
Ben jolts awake, the image of his wife’s legs and blue waters of an unknown beach disappearing until all Ben can see is the apologetic face of their driver.
“We’ve arrived,” the driver smiles again, “I can take your baggage in if you want?” He motions to the sleeping form that is his wife still snuggled into chest.
Fishing the keys from the backpack of his belongings, Ben hands the keys to the cabin and begins to rouse Rey.
“Rey, sweetheart,” Ben whispers, pressing his lips to her head, “we’re here…”
Her eyes fluttering open still take his breath away.
Her eyes blink shut and Rey only seems to snuggle harder into his body. Laughing, he kisses her again,
“C’mon, we’re feet away from our bed. You’ll be comfier there, promise.”
Grumbling, Rey opens her eyes again and takes Ben’s hand.
- - -
Their cottage is more beautiful than they remembered, like something plucked right out of a fairytale. It’s roof is thatched with white washed walls; vines and honeysuckle crawling the length of the building. Ben remembers when they viewed it just a few months ago. He thinks back to when they walked around the cottage, Rey holding onto his hand as the viewing agent rolled off the amenities and rates – all the while Rey whispered obscenities and filth into his ear. By the time the agent left, Ben was so riled up, he ended up taking Rey right in the back seat of their car.
Once they are locked in safely for the evening, the newlyweds take in their surroundings. Their friends have already visited, balloons and banners covering the lounge while the floor is littered with rose petals leading to the bedroom.
“Oh this is beautiful,” Rey sighs moving around the room. Settling behind her, Ben rests his chin on her shoulder, watching her take in the space around them.
“Did you do this?” she asks leaning back into his body.
“Mhm, I arranged it but Rose and Finn set it up for us.”
She smiles and holds Ben closer to her.
They sway gently, as if Hoppipolla is playing all over again. He could stay like this forever, holding his new wife, his love, his life.
“I’m gonna go freshen up,” she speaks so quietly, bringing Ben’s hand to her mouth to kiss his knuckles. He watches, transfixed, as Rey leaves the room, the long silk train following behind her. He likes how her shoulder blades move when she walks, he likes how her peachy behind sways.
It should be the most romantic night of their life. The night they meet as husband and wife and consummate their marriage. Poe’s words ring in his ears about making Rey feel special. He knows that isn’t a problem. Ben would and will do anything Rey wants, but all he can think about is going to sleep in the king size bed that’s in the next room. Guilt pits in his stomach at the thought of disappointing Rey, but still, he moves through to the bedroom, pushing his feelings and thoughts aside and readies their room. He turns on the bedside lamps and lights some candles; there’s extra rose petals to be thrown across the white bedsheets and champagne glasses ready to be used.
Turning on his heel, Ben finds Rey by the en-suite. Her arms are free from the satin gown, her breasts covered by her arms. “Can you help? I can’t-“ she motions to the buttons behind her. They start at her lower back and cascade down the curve of her behind.
His breath is stolen from him once again. Given the amount of time he has stared at Rey, Ben is shocked there's another detail of the dress he has missed.
When the first few buttons have been undone, Ben lets out a shaking breath. As more and more of her tanned skin is revealed to him, he realises its the first time he’s going to see his wife naked. She thanks him quietly when the material slides down her body for her to step out of the dress. She is completely bare to him.
“You’ve been naked under this thing…all day?”
She laughs and nods, picking the dress up to lay over the armchair by the door. He watches her, hypnotised by the way the glow of their bedroom lights up her skin, how her hands flatten over the satin gown to stop the risk of creases.
“Trying to kill me and not even married a day,” he replies, shaking his head. His hands still shake as he snaps the bow tie away from his neck.
“Hey-“ Rey turns around and frowns.
“You undressed me, it’s only fair I get to do the same.”
“By all means, sweetheart.”
He lifts his hands in surrender and smiles, heart soaring when she begins to unbutton his shirt. Ben watches her intently, he likes how her hands begin to tremble just as his did. He likes that, as her hands drift to his stomach, her tongue darts out to lick her lips.
“Ben,” she begins, looking up. Her eyes glisten with fresh tears and her bottom lip wobbles.
“Hey, what’s the matter?” Carefully, Ben cradles her face. His thumbs rub away the tears that have already began to roll down her cheeks.
“I’m just... so sleepy but it’s our wedding night! Everyone kept joking that we’d be at it like animals and-“ she sniffs, burying herself into his bare chest, “I just had to laugh and nod along, when all I want to do is go to sleep.”
She begins to whimper into him.
“I bought this lingerie, and you’ll lose your goddamn mind, but I don’t want to figure it out. I just wanna put on one of your t-shirts-“
Pulling his wife away from his chest, Ben holds her by her shoulders. “Sweetheart...”
She lets out a shuddering breath, letting herself look up at him.
“I am absolutely drained, and as much as I would adore making love to you all night...I don’t think I’d be much good. We can go to sleep. We have three days to do whatever we want.” He’s still wiping the tears from her cheeks, smiling when she begins to cry again.
“But it’s our wedding night, Ben...we’re not starting it how we should-“
“Rey, consummating a marriage was for couples who had never had sex...it’s not like how it used to be, sweetheart. It’s no ones business how we spend our wedding night. Please don’t overthink it; we’ve both had an exhausting day and have been awake since God knows when, so…” He looks down and smiles. “Go and get a shirt and get into bed. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
After another sniffle, Rey finally turns away and begins rifling through one of their cases.
- - -
When Ben has showered and brushed his teeth, he enters their bedroom and finds Rey curled under the magnitude of blankets. The candles have been blown out and only one lamp remains on.
He won’t admit it to Rey, but he too does feel slightly guilty they’re not having sex on their wedding night. He loves Rey, he loves her body and loves that she trusts him to pleasure her and for that to be missed on the day they celebrated their love...he definitely understands why Rey is so upset.
Crawling under the covers to join her, he smiles when he finds her looking back at him. The tears have long faded and instead she smiles sleepily at him.
“Better?” he asks.
She snuggles harder into the pillow and nods.
“I didn’t want to fall asleep without you,” she whispers. Ben swears he feels his heart swell three sizes. When he’s wrapped under the sheets, he pulls Rey’s body into his own and kisses her head.
“I love you,” she says into his chest. Her fingers draw patterns along his ribcage and down his sides. “I love that you let me just get into bed and be lazy.”
She continues sitting up to lean on her elbow, “I love that there’s never any pressure with you...you always make sure I’m comfortable before you even think of yourself.”
Turning on his side, Ben smiles, shrugging.
“Don’t,” she says, “don’t put yourself down. You really have no idea how much you do for me.” Ben can hear the exhaustion in her voice, but she moves forward and continues, “I love that you always have dinner ready for me.”
Ben isn’t the greatest at receiving compliments, he never has, and he can feel the heat of embarrassment in his cheeks, slowly spreading to the tips of his ears.
“I love that you push me, that you know when I need that extra shove.”
The heat rushes through his veins while his hand moves to clutch the side of her face.
“You’re too good to me, do you know that?” He whispers, gazing at his wife.
He’s still not over that.
He likes when she responds like this, how she leans into his hand with her features so soft and kind.
“You always know how to make me feel like the only person in the world,” Ben continues, his thumb stroking her skin gently. He leans down and kisses her, his hand still on her face.
Despite their exhaustion they manage to kiss for a considerable amount of time. Their bodies are pushed against one another with Rey’s leg swung over his hip. Considering the position there isn’t a charge of sexuality like there normally is, instead Ben’s hand supports her leg over his hip while she strokes his hair.
“I love,” he murmurs pulling from her swollen lips, “your mouth and how you kiss.” Rey doesn’t get the chance to reply before his mouth is back on hers.
Somehow she inches herself closer to his body, breaking the kiss to gasp and grin at Ben.
“I love how strong you are.” His other hand instinctively moves to her back to hold her close to him. “You can lift anything and I love that you open all the jars in the house and even though I complain when you do it, I love when you take food out of the jars to eat when you think I’m not looking.”
His breathy laugh against her neck makes her skin tingle.
“I love how willing to learn you are,” Ben begins, “when we met you couldn’t warm up soup without it burning-“
Rey laughs at this, it’s loud and genuine and-
God, he adores her.
“-and now you’re teaching me new things.”
“Hmm, I’m not sure about that.” Rey smiles looking up at him. “You know what always makes me laugh?”
His hand begins to run through her hair again. Gone are the hair pins that held up an elegant bun, loose waves left in their wake.
“That we have an entire cupboard full of cereal. Like to begin with, I thought you were just having a phase, you know like that time I bought like six different jams?”
Ben snorts and nods.
“But yeah," she says. "Always full of cereal and it never goes to waste either.”
He doesn’t reply, just grins and looks at the ceiling while he continues to play with her hair.
“I love it when you smile,” she presses on, looking at him. “You see it everywhere, in your eyes, on your cheeks…you have no idea how attractive I find you. In all manner of things…like smiling,” Rey reiterates. Still gazing up at her new husband she sighs contentedly. “When you laugh. When you’re concentrating…I love seeing your brain work.”
Rey often watches Ben from the doorway when he’s in his office (the spare bedroom of their apartment). She admires everything, from the speed he types to the rate he grades his students’ work. She really likes it when he wears his glasses too.
“Are you quite done?” Ben teases, looking down. By now, the blush on his cheek has spread down to his neck; Ben is definitely not good at receiving compliments.
“Oh, oh,” she looks up, lying on her stomach to face him. “I love that you have full blown conversations with the news-“
“I do not!”
He drops Rey’s leg to the bed, shocked by the newest confession.
“You do too!” Rey shuffles up the bed to look over Ben’s face as he tries to fight off the smile that’s tugging at his lips. “You discuss as if Temin Wexley can hear you through the tv about the senator’s politics-“
“They’re bad politics!”
Rey begins to cackle, head tipped back in glee.
With a disapproving huff, Ben pulls Rey back to him so she’s forced to snuggle into his body.
“Alright,” he sighs, “that’s enough out of you.”
He’s not really annoyed. She can tell because he playfully pinches her side and nuzzles into her hair. Rey stifles a yawn into his chest as he begins threading his fingers through her hair again.
“You’re cheeky,” he mutters, his own eyes drooping shut every so often. “You’re quick witted...I remember hearing you in the staff lounge before I saw you…”
Ben often reminisces of how he met his wife. He, a surly English teacher and head of his department and Rey, the new computer technician. Nearly after a week of her starting at Alderaan High, Ben began breaking his computer on purpose just to have Rey come and visit his office.
“You were so beautiful, and so funny...you made that whole school light up. I was a goner as soon as you offered me a cup of coffee...whilst you drank from my mug.”
She snorts into his chest, grinning fondly at the memory.
“You make me the happiest I’ve ever been, I didn’t know I could feel this happy and it’s because of you, Rey.”
“I hope I make you happy,” he continues. “If there’s ever a time you’re not happy I want to know. If you needed to leave me-“
Ben pauses as he realises what he’s about to say out loud. His throat feels tight with emotion, tears already pooling in the corners of his eyes. With a shaking voice he tries again, “-then it would be okay. I’d let you go sweetheart, because your happiness is all that ever matters to me…”
When Ben glances back down, he finds Rey has finally succumbed to sleep. The fear of one day losing his wife shakes Ben to his core, the tears freely moving down his cheeks. For the last few years, Rey has been his entire life and he can’t imagine not having her; not waking up to her warm gaze or her chocolate chip pancakes, not hearing her sing in the shower or sleeping on the sofa with a book still in her hands. He doesn’t think he could go on if she wasn’t there.
Wiping away the tears from his face, he carefully moves Rey on to her side so he can cuddle behind her.
It’s only another few moments before Ben places one last kiss to her shoulder and he too falls asleep.
- - -
The first thing Ben is aware of when he wakes up is that he is alone. He remembers waking sporadically through the night with his arm always slung over Rey’s waist but now, with the morning sun streaming through the netted curtains, he realises Rey is not next to him.
He clears his throat and sits up, lying against the headboard of the bed.
“Just a sec.” Her voice calls from the en-suite bathroom. Ben wonders how long she has been awake and then begins to plan their day. Their rented cabin is home to some beautiful hiking trails with various stops and viewpoints for them both to rest at.
He’s somewhere between wondering what food they should take with them when the bathroom door opens and all thoughts of hiking and countryside views fall out of his head. His mouth drops to what feels like the floor while the boxers he kept on overnight suddenly feel a few sizes too small.
Rey stands with her hair freshly curled, loose and hanging over her shoulders. She wears the lingerie she spoke about last night, the set that would apparently make Ben lose his mind.
Not only has he lost his mind as Rey predicted, but he’s also lost the ability to speak. His eyes widen when she walks forward. She’s as elegant as she was the day before when walking down the aisle, except today she wears a matching white set of underwear; lace with floral inlays and on top a robe made of similar material that trails behind her like her own wedding dress did.
“Morning baby,” she whispers, climbing on to the bed to straddle her new husband.
There are hundreds of things he wants to do right now, things that probably aren’t legal in many countries, but right now all he can do is look and appreciate the beauty of his wife. With his hand on her bare waist, Ben takes in every little detail he can. He gazes at the brilliant white material against her tanned skin, how the diamond of her engagement ring paired with her wedding band glimmers in the morning sun.
“I’m not tired anymore,” Rey continues, moving to kiss his neck and up to his ear. “Let’s start this honeymoon, shall we?”
Ben looks up to meet her gaze, while his hands move to push the robe off her shoulders.
“Yeah,” he breathes, “I think I can do that.”