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Searching for Han Solo

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The restaurant’s vinyl chair is squeaky under Annie’s leather skirt, the one she keeps hidden at the back of her closet despite Abed and Troy being unlikely to invade her privacy. It still feels weird to be living with people who respect her personal space.

She glances at the clock above the bar. 9:30 glares down at her accusingly. She glances at the door again. No sign of Jake.

Annie had met him when she went bar hopping last week. He’d been suave and handsome; like everything she’d been imagining. He’d worn a leather jacket and had stopped her from rambling and acting like an idiot with just a word. His laugh had made her blush. He was a few years older than her and had seemed so worldly and dashing and charming.

Annie sighs and lets her head thump onto the sticky table. The date had been planned for eight. She knows that her type was often late, but this was pushing it. She feels the surety of it sink into her bones. She’s been stood up.

The walk home is cold against her nearly bare legs, and the humidity makes her hair start to frizz. She’s not crying, but she is glum.

Though this is her first time getting stood up in a long time, this is not the first bad date she’s had recently. It seems like the whole summer and the start of the semester have been a series of ‘not quite right’. Guys with mischievous eyes and devil-may-care grins. They always seem perfect for her, up until the kiss. The moment of the kiss is usually the letdown, something about the slot of their mouths against hers not bringing the explosions in her chest that she’s been craving. Today’s letdown just came earlier than expected. She kicks a crumpled donut wrapper in frustration.

Moving in with the boys has made the whole experience harder, having to time when she can pull out her vibrator to the movements of two unpredictable planets in her solar system. She knows she’ll get used to the new situation soon, but for now, the sexual frustration is nearly killing her.

Twice, despite the mediocre kisses, she went home with one of the dates. The sex was equally mediocre, even though she pulled out all the moves she’d researched.

When Annie had complained to Shirley about the lack of connection with all the guys she’d dated, while neglecting to mention the premarital sex, Shirley had made an interesting comment.

“Maybe the type of guy you keep looking for isn’t the type of guy you really need.” She’d gone on to say that the type of guy Annie needed was Jesus, which wasn’t particularly helpful, but the initial statement had stuck in Annie’s head.

Annie arrives at her building slightly damp from the rain and feeling too dejected to bother thinking of a sneaky way to get to her room without her roommates seeing her outfit. She opens to door to a blast of warmth and soft yellow light. The boys are curled up in their matching pjs, watching Star Wars. Leia and Han are arguing on screen. Annie feels her heart flutter. Her lips tingle with a remembered kiss.

It hits her then, the blueprint of all the guys she’s been trying to date… is Han Solo. She’s trying to regain that magic day with a man who doesn’t even exist. Tears begin to stream down her face as she fumbles with the lock on the door. She feels stupid, crying over a fictional character like she did in middle school. She really hasn’t grown up at all, always falling for the idea of a man instead of real people. Maybe she’s not meant to be with anyone real at all. It all hurts in her chest like an infected wound, so old she can barely remember living without it. Her hair is stuck to her face and her makeup is running.

Some sound must alert Troy to her presence because he turns in his seat.

“Hey, Annie. How was your date?” his smile shifts into a look of concern, then panic. “What happened?”

At that, Abed jumps up and rushes over to her, followed closely by Troy.

“I got stood up,” she manages to force out around shaking sobs that seem to be taking over her body. She cringes at how pathetic she sounds. The boys don’t comment on her stupid, childish behavior. Abed encircles her in his arms, gently patting her back and tilting her head into his shoulder. He’s warm and comforting in a way that you wouldn’t expect him to be. Troy bustles around them, wiping tears from Annie’s face with a tissue and then rushing into the kitchen to make a cup of chamomile tea.

“If you want, we can put on a sappy movie and eat ice cream out of a tub. Wallow in the heartbreak for a bit.” Abed offers, sounding a bit too excited at the opportunity of living out another movie trope.

 “I’m not heartbroken, Abed.” She snaps, immediately feeling guilty. She shouldn’t take her anger at herself for her unrealistic expectations out on him. “I’m just tired of failing.”

“You’re not failing just because things aren’t going the exact way you planned them in your head,” Troy says from the kitchen doorway. “You taught me that.” He gives her a lopsided smiler over the sharp ridge of Abed’s shoulder.

Annie sniffles and hugs Abed a bit tighter, suddenly thankful for the luck she’s had in making friends. Maybe she doesn’t need to find her Han Solo right now. Maybe friends are enough.

“I guess a little ice cream won’t hurt,” she mumbles into the fluff of Abed’s pajama top. She can feel him smiling against her hair.  

Annie stops going to bars alone. She stops going on dates. She watches Star Wars so many times that Troy and Abed are getting tired of it. She feels happier than she was before, so maybe focusing on her friends is the right choice.

It happens when Troy is at dance practice.  Annie and Abed are walking back to the apartment, idly chatting about Abed’s newest film assignment. There’s a loud beeping noise and Annie is swept to the side, strong hands pressed firmly to her waist.

“Watch where you’re walking, losers,” Leonard calls over his shoulder from the seat of his new moped. Annie can see a trail of scattered pedestrians in his wake, students struggling to gather dropped papers from the sidewalk.  Abed’s hands are still present on her waist, steadying her after he’d pulled her from harm’s way. Her skin tingles in a way it hasn’t since the end of last semester, as paint sloughed down her body like rain. One of Annie’s hands has involuntarily grasped his shoulder, the bone narrow and sturdy under his t-shirt. She’s more breathless than she should be in this situation and it takes longer than it should have for their hands to flutter away from each other.

Annie’s heart pounds for the rest of the walk home, her head fuzzy and light as she listens to Abed critiquing his work. 

She thinks about it hard that night after they have separated to their own spaces. She’s felt this way around Abed before, warm and vaguely seasick. It was probably his association to Han Solo, she decides as she curls up under her quilt, but something about the conclusion feels off to her.

For the rest of the week, Annie pays extra attention to how she feels around Abed. She notices the way her mouth curves up when he talks up a show or relays a funny moment between her friends that she missed. She notices the way her eyes follow the delicate bones of his hands as he chops onions in their kitchen and the way the sun paints his cheeks and the bridge of his nose with light. Abed has always been able to fluster her, but she’d always written that off as him being sort of strange.

When she leads studying sessions in the library, she feels Abed’s eyes on her and flushes. He’s always been so perceptive, noticing things about her in a way that made her feel important for the first time in her life. Important just for existing instead of being The Best at a class or the most annoying. She remembers how Abed accidentally tracked her period, his focus on the shifts in her mood so intense. She had been mad at the time, especially watching how Britta and Shirley had reacted, older women who knew more about men than her. It doesn’t feel that invasive now. He’d been caring about her more than anyone ever had.

Annie’s heart rattles down her ribcage like a cabinet down a staircase. She isn’t obsessed with Abed because of Han Solo. She’s obsessed with Han Solo because of Abed. The reason she hadn’t felt the same kissing all the fast-talking men in the bars as when she’d kissed him, had been because of how much she LOVES Abed. The realization feels like some sort of pronouncement from on high. She’s been enlightened, now it’s time to do what she can with the information.  

It takes almost three hours for Annie to come up with The Plan, written out in her favorite notebook, with kittens on the cover.

Step 1: Be nicer

Step 2: Spend more time together

Step 3: Compliments

Step 4: Look Sexy

Step 5: Attempt more physical contact

Step 6: Ask him out once thoroughly seduced

She’s very proud of The Plan.

Annie has always done better with a goal, and this time is no different. She’s anxious, obviously, but something about the way Abed smiles at her makes her sure that it would take a lot more than her making a fool out of herself and asking him out to break their friendship. She’s confident for the first time in a long time.

Step one is pretty easy. She starts by making Abed breakfast the morning of his film assignment submission. Her heart warms at the sleepy way he smiles at her as he wanders into the kitchen. She wants to press her lips against his face, his mouth, feel the faint stubble sharp against her skin. She smiles to herself the rest of the day to the point where Jeff asks if she got the literature review back early for biology.

Doing nice things for Abed comes naturally for Annie. She holds doors for him and pulls out chairs. She’s only now understanding why chivalry was such a big deal. She even offers him her donut when the cafeteria runs out before he gets there. Sometimes Abed looks at her like he’s trying to solve a puzzle, but he’s smiling, so she doesn’t worry too much about him catching on.

She decides to add in step two on Monday.

They are leaving after lunch and Annie has about two hours to study in the library before class. Abed has his next class in fifteen minutes. Breaking off from Jeff and Britta, who are arguing about either sexism or broccoli or both, she runs to catch up to Abed.

“Can I walk you to your next class?” she asks. This is a pretty suspicious action, but none of the others seem to notice. Abed scrunches up his eyebrows for a moment but then his face clears.

“Sure,” he says.

Walking Abed to class becomes her newest habit, and on Wednesday, Abed peals away from the group to walk her to her next class as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. Annie thrills at this development. Maybe she has a chance!

The hard part of step two comes when they are at the apartment. Troy, who has lots of people to spend time with at school, only has them at home, which Annie normally loves. The problem is that, when Annie suggests movie night to Abed, Troy jumps in with a movie suggestion. Troy tends to take up Abed’s attention. They are best friends after all. Sometimes Annie wonders if they are meant to be together and that she’s destined to sit, alone at the edges of their golden friendship, but both boys have made room for her in their home, and in their lives in ways she never expected and, if Abed does turn her down for Troy, then at least she will be happy seeing them happy.  

Step three is where things could go wrong. Compliments can make people uncomfortable, anyone who’s spent time with Pierce knows that. Annie starts slow and simple.

“That shirt looks nice on you, Abed.”

“Wow! That editing is great. I can’t wait to see one of your movies on the big screen.”

“I always love eating what you make for dinner.”

She can see Britta staring at her with squinted eyes across the cafeteria table when she gets too flirty with Abed, and her cheeks flush with something that’s not quite embarrassment. Abed isn’t complaining and the compliments are true anyways. He deserves to know he’s appreciated.

When Troy is out getting groceries she decides to press her luck with the compliments.

“Would you ever consider starring in your own movie?” she asks casually.

“That generally does not go well,” Abed remarks. “Why?”

“I just think you’d make a great movie star,” she says, feeling her face tingle under his gaze. “You have the face for it.”

Abed blinks, stares at her face for a moment, stares at the wall for another, then turns back to her.

“I don’t think I would star in my own movie,” he says, slowly. “But maybe you could star in one of them.” His voice brightens. “You have the look of an old-school starlet: big, expressive eyes, elegant, gorgeous.” He waves his hand at her whole being as if he didn’t just give her the best compliment of her life.  Annie wants to scream into her pillow like a teenager at a boyband concert. She wriggles a bit in her seat, crossing and uncrossing her legs. At least she knows Abed thinks she’s attractive in some way. Maybe he’s even attracted to her.

“I’d love to be in one of your movies, Abed,” she says. The grin he gives her feels like victory.

That conversation triggers the start of stage four. The next morning Annie puts on one of her more low-cut shirts and she takes longer than usual to brush her hair until it shines. She spends the day finding angles to stand that tilt her cleavage into Abed’s field of vision. She can’t tell if it’s working, but Jeff seems to be having trouble focusing in class, which probably means she looks hot.

The following day Annie wears one of her shorter skirts, stretching out in her seat when she talks to Abed to accentuate her legs. Abed doesn’t comment on it. Pierce does, but Annie hadn’t expected anything less of him.   

She tries lots of combinations of outfits. Jeans that make her butt look nice and that cause Troy to walk into a pole at school when she “accidentally” drops her books, earrings that Abed actually compliments, but only after Shirley points them out. She even wears little satin shorts with lace trim and a thin white tank top for movie night that week. She thinks that one catches Abed’s eye, especially when she stretches, arching her back and standing on her tiptoes. The way his eyes trace up her exposed skin makes her wet and tingly, more so, even, than how she often feels during sex.

She risks using her vibrator that night, despite the chance of her making too much noise and waking up her roommates. She imagines Abed’s gentle fingers stroking her and his plush lips tickling the tender skin of her stomach. She muffles the sound of her cumming in her pillows.  She lays in the afterglow for a few minutes before struggling to her feet to go to the bathroom and get a glass of water.

When she enters the kitchen, Abed is sitting at the table in his pajamas, he stares at her, eyes wide, before hurriedly looking away. His hands twitch by his sides. He heard her, she realizes, and embarrassment floods her system.

“Oh, I didn’t realize you were awake,” Annie stammers.

“Sorry,” he blurts.

“No. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have-“

“You can do whatever you want. It’s your house,” he interrupts. His eyes shift along the hem of her shorts.

“Then you shouldn’t be sorry either,” she counters. She suddenly feels powerful in a way sex has never made her feel before. Brazen.

 They don’t speak as Annie fills up her cup with tap water, but as she leaves the room, she brushes her hand down his arm and he shivers. She can feel his eyes fixed on her as she leaves the room. Step five has commenced.

Touching Abed is a thrill, even if that’s as much as she’ll ever get, though the nighttime meeting has shed doubt onto her expectations that Abed isn’t attracted to her. She tousles his hair in the morning as she walks by the table, puts her feet up on his lap as they watch TV after school, hugs him tight when he shows her the new notebook he bought for her, with ducklings in teacups on the cover. Abed too seems to be thrilled at the development. He rubs at her sore leg muscles and presses his head into her hand when she strokes his hair. He smiles at her more often. The tension between them is close to cracking, like rocks after thousands of years of built-up pressure.

It’s Friday and Troy has a date tonight. Annie has decided to ask Abed out on a morning walk in the park on Saturday morning, where she can hold his hand and tell him all the things she’s been feeling. Then, maybe, he’ll kiss her like he kissed her during paintball. She’s feeling shivery and can barely sit still.

There’s a faint rap on her door and she nearly jumps to her feet to open it. Abed stands outside looking strangely serious, with his hair sticking up in tufts. She waits for him to ask her where the whipped cream went or something equally mundane. Insteadhe stands there silently for a moment.

“I don’t really know what to say,” he starts. “Do you remember the last paintball war?”

She nods, wondering if he’s about to let her down in some roundabout way. Bracing for it.

“We kissed.” His voice cracks. “I’ve been thinking about it since it ended. And I need to be honest with you. It meant a lot to me that I couldn’t really talk about, because… because I kissed you, but you kissed Han Solo.”

“Abed,” she says, gently but firmly. “I didn’t kiss Han Solo. I kissed you.”

His mouth opens as if he’s about to protest so she soldiers on.

“I spent months thinking that what I wanted, what I needed, was Han Solo. I tried dating every Han wannabe in this city. Turns out it was all useless, because, what made that kiss special was you. Abed, not Han.”

Shock courses over his features for a moment and then he presses into her room, pulling the door closed behind him. His hands cradle her face, large and warm. She closes the distance this time, drawing him tight to her and pressing their lips together.

This is it. The fireworks and explosions and the world spinning around them like they are a black hole and everything is spiraling into their orbit. They are consuming the stars and they are consumed in each other.

They kiss for what could be an eternity, the faint light of her bedside lamp painting Abed’s face softer and making his eyes sparkle with each press of their lips against lips and face and neck. They stumble backwards onto Annie’s bed wrestling clothes off of their bodies. Before now sex has always felt like a performance to Annie, each moment vividly caught in cold air. Now she feels hot, their skin burning together as Abed’s hands cup her breasts and thumb at her nipples, their mouths still connected. She runs her hands along the plain of his chest, pinches his nipples, drawing a startled noise against her mouth.

She nips at his neck and he groans again. She smiles into his skin, breathes him in, bites and sucks all across the sharp peaks of his collarbones and the furrows of his ribs, and lets her hands settle on his narrow hips. His stomach tenses as she noses down that path. She feels powerful and sexy and every sound he makes is like music to her ears.

She tugs down his pajama pants and boxers in one go, lets his cock spring free and then wraps it in a fist. She licks at the tip, salty and soft against her tongue. Then she dives in, sucking on the head and letting her cheeks hollow around him, dragging her tongue up and down the underside of the shaft with each bob of her head. A litany of moans is falling from his lips and his fingers clench tight onto her shoulders.

“Annie,” he moans, and she feels a tingle run up her spine. She’s always wanted to be the best at what she does, and that includes oral sex. She takes in every sound falling from his lips, focusses on the head and on the pressure of her lips around him, lets him hit the back of her mouth and the tightness of her throat. She loses all sense of her surroundings, the movement and sensation all-encompassing.

Eventually her jaw tires, and she slides off to take in some deep breaths. Abed’s hands release her shoulders where she knows she’ll have bruises. She rubs her legs together at that thought.

Abed tugs at her, pulling her up to kiss her lips tenderly, to run his fingertips along the line of her throat. Then he’s tugging her up farther. She’s confused at the direction.

“What?-“

“Sit on my face,” he says, in a voice half wrecked with arousal. She shivers and draws herself up, dragging off her shorts as she goes. She settles herself over his mouth, hovering. She’s never done this before and she’s a little afraid of suffocating him.

“Don’t worry,” he assures her. “This is my favorite. I’ll tap you if I need you to get off.”

With that she settles down, feeling strangely exposed as his lips tease at her folds, then up to her clit with ease. She moans and lets herself settle a bit more, feels the wet expanse of his tongue and the heat of his mouth. He sucks at her and she can hear muffled moans. She’s never been this wet before. She plants her hands for balance and lets him press his tongue against her in a way that no one ever has before. She can feel him fucking into her with the blunt press of his tongue between languid sucks at her clit and hole. She’s shaking apart, an avalanche in slow motion. She can feel the faint friction of his stubble. It’s uncomfortable in a sexy way that she can’t get enough of. She begins to seek more of that friction. The contrast between soft and sharp. Everything is hot. She rubs herself against his face, hips pressing her clit against his face and then back. She’s close faster than she ever has been before, can feel her wetness slicking up his face until the glide of motion makes a slippery sound that is undeniably sexy.

Abed brings one hand up and manages to get it under her, slipping two fingers into her and sucking hard at her clit. Her hips rock faster at the stimulation, almost rutting against him, feeling the stimulation inside and out. She realizes that she’s been moaning so loud that they can probably hear her on the street. He quirks his fingers and presses his tongue up hard on her clit. She screams, her legs shaking as she presses down hard on his face and circles her hips, shaking with the sudden power of her orgasm.

Her body goes limp and she nearly topples out of the bed, but Abed’s hands are again on her waist and he guides her down until they can kiss again. Abed’s face is slick with her and his lips are swollen but she can’t help but kiss them anyways, nipping at the swell of his lower lip.

“I know you’re on birth control,” Abed gasps against her lips. “I’m clean. Haven’t done anything in a long time and I’ve been tested.”

Annie’s head is spinning but she catches onto Abed’s tack.

“I’m clean too.”

She reaches back to grip his hard dick, sliding back to take it into herself. She’s never started sex after an orgasm and the stretch of it is strange and tingly and sensitive. He groans into her mouth.

“I’m not going to last very long.” He doesn’t sound ashamed. She smiles down at him and rocks her hips, pulling another moan between his lips. Then, his hands on her waist and he’s bouncing her on him, helping her thighs work and he’s hitting her just right. She reaches down and rubs at her clit, moans loudly, unashamed. She feels beautiful and his eyes are locked on her like she’s an angel. She moves faster, desperate for a second release, sweat beading on her skin from the exertion.

Her second orgasm hits her like a train, lighting up her nerves as Abed doesn’t even slow down. She feels like she’s flying as it drags on and on, pleasure holding her in a tight grip. She can feel the way she’s tightened around Abed. He’s grunting and then his jaw falls open and she can feel the way his dick twitches inside her as pulses of cum flood her. She sees tears in the corners of his eyes.

Annie curls up on Abed’s chest in the afterglow, both of them naked as the day they were born. She can feel his smile against her messed up, sweaty hair. She feels something niggling at the back of her mind.

“Oh!” she nearly shouts. “I forgot to tell you I love you. I’m in love with you.”

Abed holds her tighter to his chest.

“I know.”