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Say It With Feeling

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Chapter One – The One With the New Hire

 

“You’re the only one who fits the bill, so you’ll just have to suck it up, buttercup.”

Phasma is relentless and Rey’s heart sinks as she returns her boss’s unflinching glare.

“I’ve got three regular clients already, and this one wants an exclusive contract,” Rey tries again. “What happens to my other guys?”

Rey can be stubborn, too, and not easily intimidated. Which is a good thing, she supposes. Since Phasma is six-foot three and scary as hell when she’s in a mood.

And right now? Phasma is definitely in a mood.

“Rey. Those Johns are once-a-week clients at best. This is real money, here. Do you want this job, or not?”

Phasma isn’t pulling punches and Rey is running out of options.

She doesn’t want the job, per se. But she really needs it.

She sighs, not bothering to disguise her lack of enthusiasm in the face of the inevitable. The time for faking it will come soon enough.

“Fine.” Rey straightens her slim shoulders, surely carrying the weight of the world on them as she concedes to Fate. “Lay it on me one more time.”

 

 

“Athletically built and pleasing to the eye. Check.”

Rey listens to her friend’s voice filter in through the bedroom and wraps another lock of hair around her curling iron.

“Age? Legal to work. Oh, ha, he means barely legal, and you know it!” Rose chuckles lewdly, but Rey silently agrees with her friend’s assessment. They always want ‘em young. Every damn time.

She casts a critical eye over her reflection. She’s twenty-three. Definitely old enough, but able to pass for much younger in the right lighting.

“Hair, any color. Eyes, any color. Check.”

Rey’s hazel eyes can appear a variety of colors, depending on the light and what she wears. Right now, under the harsh lighting of her cracked bathroom mirror, they are the color of…desperate.

“Skin tone?” Rose snorts as she breaks from reading the replies on the questionnaire Rey let her look at. “Did you actually read the reply?” Rose shouts to Rey in the bathroom.

Rey shakes her head, but carefully, holding the curling iron away from her scalp and keeping a close eye on the sizzling lock of hair – last time she left it too long and scorched a chunk of it nearly to the scalp, resulting in some unfortunate bangs that cost her a client.

She’d answer Rose with a sarcastic affirmative, but her mouth is full of bobby pins.

“Skin tone: Doesn’t matter, as long as she has skin,” Rose laughs. “Oh, wow. This guy is either a terrible Romeo or a real-life Hannibal Lecter. Lucky you.”

Rey presses her lips tight around the bobby pins in her mouth.

Rose continues, “Preferred roles? I need a maid.

As far as answers go, it’s to the point and doesn't contain too much detail, but is descrptive enough. Rey doesn't mind. She's played a maid so many times, she can do it in her sleep. It’s an old-fashioned trope, and a tiny, rebellious part of her inwardly quails at taking on such a subservient role…but she can’t afford to be picky. If she does well today, she can maybe pay the light bill before the utility company comes for her again.

She starts pulling pins from her mouth and jabbing them into her shoulder-length, mahogany hair, twisting it into three neat buns before donning a pristine white maid’s cap. Curling her hair adds volume and it always looks better when she shakes it out of the updo for her clients.

An extra little touch that sometimes makes a difference and could land her a regular.

She hopes this client is old and maybe a little fat. She can wear him out quick. Then maybe get some sleep on the job.

That's about the only literal perk whatsoever to working for one of the most popular escort services around: Catching a catnap in the middle of her workday.

Just then, she hears a small crash from the living room and knows it's the stack of DVDs crashing to the ground. Rey groans. Sounds like her three-year-old-son-slash-miniature-hurricane plowed one of his monster trucks through them.

Rey knows it’s the DVDs because she just picked them up off the floor before Rose arrived to babysit. Naturally the minute Rey cleans something up, Jackson will follow on wings of apocalyptic destruction...

Rey releases the curling iron and sighs long-sufferingly. It’s not like picking up the movies made much of a dent in the general chaos of her apartment, anyway. But she wanted Rose to think she at least makes an effort to keep the place in order.

She listens to the goings-on in the other room.

“Mah-mah-monsie cock!” Jackson shrieks delightedly.

Rose replies with careful enunciation, “Yeah, Jack. Mon-ster truck.

Rey rolls her eyes and shouts from the bathroom, “Rosie, I don’t know if today is going to be longer than usual. What was the schedule on the questionnaire again?”

Rose appears in the doorway and peruses the sheet in front of her before she replies. “It says: Pending a probationary period, Monday through Thursday from nine to five and Saturdays, half-days on an as-needed basis. As-needed? Who is this guy?”

Rey doesn’t answer. All she knows is what Phasma told her. He’s filthy rich and reclusive and no red flags appeared on the background check. No other escort services have blacklisted him, either, which is an even more accurate indicator of problematic clients than the “official” screening clients must undergo.

She surveys her uniform in the mirror once more, making sure the micro-skirt’s flounces aren’t tucked into her thong and that the seam running up the back of each thigh-high stocking is straight. She adjusts the ridiculously low-cut cleavage of her uniform, pushing up her smallish breasts a bit more.

Thank goodness for push-up bras.

Rey hopes her new client doesn’t secretly want freakishly huge boobs. Not everyone is entirely honest on the questionnaire, and that can cause mismanaged expectations that Rey then has to deal with. Which usually sucks.

Cup size? Normal sized cups. She remembers from reading the questionnaire.

Rey bites her lip. She’s a B-cup on a good day. That’s normal, right?

“Jackie! Come give Mommy a hug!” she calls into the other room. Jack’s little footsteps thunder through her bedroom and Rey sends a silent apology to her downstairs neighbors for the millionth time.

She kneels to catch her son for a hug, careful not to smudge her makeup against his vigorous, toddler-sticky goodbye kisses.

“Love you, Jackie,” she murmurs against his wispy-soft hair.

“Wuh-voo, Mama,” Jackson tells her enthusiastically.

Rey smiles into his dark-brown eyes. “Are you going to be good for Auntie Rose today?”

Jackson looks at her somberly for a minute before replying with an emphatic, “Mo!”

Rey pets his hair and reluctantly stands up. “Rosie?”

“Yep?” Rose is smiling from the bedroom doorway.

“Are you sure you can handle him?” Rey asks, referring to her naturally energetic son. Rose usually sits for Rey when she works, but Rey rarely works during the daytime when Jackson is awake.

“I got this,” Rose assures her. “And Finn’s coming over later and taking us to the…park.” She spells the last word for Jackson’s benefit, and Rey smiles, knowing the mere mention of the park will send her son into a frenzy of excitement.

“Well. Thanks again.”

Rey slips her black trench coat over her skimpy uniform and blows one more kiss at them both before she heads out the door, ready to take on her newest challenge.

It’s a sunny, gorgeous morning in Queens, and Rey feels her spirits lift. It’s been a while since she’s been out this early in the day heading to work. Usually she’s slinking home at the wee hours of the morning, exhausted and ready for a brief nap before Jackson wakes her.

She realizes it is kind of nice to be out and about during the day.

She kind of hopes she makes it past her client's probationary period, whatever that means, so she can maybe have a more normal schedule.

Just like a regular girl.

 

 

Ben Solo runs his hand through his hair for the fifteenth time in as many minutes. His new maid should be here any second and he’s unaccountably nervous.

Not that the Upper East Side penthouse is a total disaster zone, not by any means. It’s just a little dirty.

Well. Maybe more than a little.

He doesn’t mind too much, preferring to hire a cleaning crew to come in a few times a year for deep cleaning. He handles the day-to-day chores with varying degrees of enthusiasm, but generally dislikes the idea of sharing his living space with an employee – another human being who will want to talk to him and interact with him – on a regular basis.

He can afford a whole staff, sure. But at the cost of his privacy, Ben was never interested in sacrificing his solitude for constant interruptions.

Until now.

He figures a single employee won’t be too terribly distracting.

And he’s tired of hearing Hux constantly nag him to stop living like a miser.

“It’s not like you can’t afford a little comfort,” Hux always reminds him with a sneer. “You’ve got more money than you could ever spend…”

Ben usually sighs at his friend’s old argument whenever it rears its head. Most recently Hux mentioned it because it took Ben twenty minutes to find a pair of matching socks and they were late for his mother’s cocktail party.

“Hire some staff, for crying out loud!" Hux had sniped with annoyance. "At least a housekeeper or a maid or something.”

Ben had merely hunched his shoulders and rolled his eyes, but Hux was right.

After a late-night foray in the fridge resulted in him drinking curdled milk straight from the carton, Ben decided it was time to listen to his friend’s advice.

So, he cleaned up the mess from spewing milk all over his black and chrome kitchen and went online and googled “maid” and found a website with a very thorough questionnaire.

That seemed good.

It asked all kinds of things, things he hadn’t been expecting, even what size coffee cups he uses. But, it comforted him to know he was getting the best of the best. 

And it was very discreet. Discreet is good, and Ben prefers to maintain as much privacy as he can, under the circumstances. Plus, the site guarantees his complete satisfaction and he even had to pass a background check before he could hire someone. 

That makes good sense, he supposes. A background check will ensure his employee feels comfortable around him. That he isn’t a creep or a pervert or a weirdo.

He paces in the entryway of his penthouse and looks around self-consciously. It’s a bit dusty. He hopes the maid doesn’t mind some heavy-duty cleaning until things can be brought under control.

He sighs again, anticipation mingling with a sense of relief.

It will be nice to have someone to keep track of things like clearing out expired contents of the fridge and making sure he has clean underwear and maybe running a vacuum over the Axminster every once in a while.

And this is something he did on his own, for a change. His mother won’t be able to criticize him for living like a goddamned teenaged bachelor if he takes matters into his own hands and hires his own help. He hates asking his mother for advice, especially with domestic problems he should be able to handle.

Just because he’s never hired anyone before doesn’t mean he can’t use common sense and figure it out. He’s a thirty-two-year-old grown man, for God’s sake.

How hard can it be?

He glances up to the strings of cobwebs stretching from the chandelier to cling to the intricate plaster molding overhead…

Yes. He definitely needs some help.

The bell to the elevator dings quietly, and Ben takes a deep breath.

His mother can’t criticize him anymore, he thinks with grim satisfaction. That's the maid, now. The maid he hired.

All by himself.

Chapter Text

moodboard by @ReyloWarrior

Chapter Two – The One Where They Meet For the First Time

 

The elevator doors slide open and Rey’s very first thought is tree. He’s a huge, gorgeous tree of a man.

Her second thought is muscles.

She tries to pull her face into a semblance of order, wondering if he’s the client or if he’s just answering the door.

“Um, hi,” she chirps, keeping her voice friendly and polite. “Someone ordered a maid?”

He blinks at her for a full three seconds before he pulls himself out of whatever reverie he was lost in.

“Oh, yeah, yeah, come in, come in! That was me,” he says. His voice is deep and pleasant and warmly hospitable.

Rey eyes him again, but discreetly. Her stomach drops as she takes in his physique.

He’s built like a brick shithouse, thick with heavy slabs of muscle and sinew bunching under his tight, worn-looking black sweater, huge hands, long legs, shoulders a mile wide, and…darn it.

She will never wear him out. Looks like she won’t be getting a nap today, after all.

She tries not to pout with disappointment over the fact he is neither old nor fat, but rather appears to be a perfectly fit, disgustingly handsome billionaire who likely wants her to spend most of her day on her knees, worshipping his dick, just like all the rest of them.

Her earlier excitement over this job falls a little flat. This will surely be a long, weary day of hard work, after all. However. She needs this job and he wanted a maid. She needs to stay in character, as promised by the agency.

“Uh,” he rasps, then clears his throat. “I can take your coat if you’d like to…”

“Thank you, sir,” she says courteously, peering curiously around the entryway as she shrugs out of her coat, sharp gaze not missing the cobwebs and unpolished floor. He needs an actual maid, but she doesn’t comment on it.

That isn’t her place. She’s here for one thing, and one thing only.

She folds her coat in half and lays it into his outstretched hand.

He’s watching her like he’s never done this before, eyes carefully raking over her ensemble before dragging up to meet hers.

He looks terrified.

Huh. Well, that’s not the reaction she usually gets…

He’s not speaking, just standing there with his mouth open, so she decides she’ll have to take charge.

“You’ve been a dirty boy and I’m going to clean your –” she abruptly stops when he spins around and walks quickly away.

Oh. Okay, then.

She follows his long strides from the dingy space into a hallway. She watches the tips of his prominent ears turn bright pink. He pauses in front of a closet, waiting for her to catch up and watching her with thinly-veiled arousal.

Perfect.

Time to get working...

 

Ben feels a hot flush bloom over his cheeks and wonders if she knows she made a double-entendre. Suddenly the collar of his sweater feels three sizes too small around his neck.

She called him a dirty boy, and he’d never felt like such a pervert…except for just before, when she took off her long trenchcoat.

He couldn't help his jaw from dropping, tongue nearly rolling out of his mouth in cartoonish style when she untied the belt around her waist and slid the sleeves down her smooth arms.

Her uniform is similar to what Ben recalls the maids wearing throughout his childhood. Only hers is quite a bit skimpier.

It’s black and white, with a corset-style bodice, and puffed, off-the-shoulder sleeves and a short, fluffy skirt. He can clearly see garters at the tops of her thighs holding up a pair of sheer black stockings with a delicious seam running up the back of each leg. His very first thought is to wonder what it might feel like to run his hands along those seams, to follow them from her dainty little feet all the way up to the hem of her skirt. This thought draws attention to the fact that her fluffy little skirt barely covers her perfect ass.

He knows it’s perfect, even if he hasn’t seen it, yet. But he just knows it is…

He catches a glimpse of her nipple at the top of the corset and feels a lump of pure, distilled lust rise into his throat and lodge itself there.

Be cool, Solo. She’s your employee, a respectable young woman, not some sex object for you to drool over –

She’s looking around, taking note of the dust bunnies and general disarray. Ben suddenly becomes terribly conscious of the dust and cobwebs everywhere. She’s definitely got her work cut out for her.

But, she’s not running away screaming, so that seems promising.

She takes her coat from his limp hands and hangs it in the closet.

She must be eager to get started. That’s good. A good work ethic. He likes that.

His very first employee. And all he can think about are the smooth mounds of lightly freckled flesh bobbing from the top of her corset with every step when she walked toward him just now.

He became acutely and uncomfortably fixated on the exact way those perky little breasts bounced along and wonders if they would do that, bounce like that, if she were to ride his dick like a rodeo queen.

Just because he’s never technically been with a woman before doesn’t mean he doesn’t have an excellent imagination. Which he absolutely needs to reign in. Immediately.

“Where do you want me?” she asks. She is making good, solid eye contact, and Ben appreciates it. He’s not used to being treated candidly and he loathes fake people.

He tries not to visibly shiver at the sultry huskiness of her voice.

Pull it the fuck together, Solo.

“Um. The kitchen, I think,” he says, indicating for her to precede him down the hall, reminding himself of the spoiled milk and figuring it might be good to get his food situation sorted out first and foremost.

Plus, the kitchen is farthest from the library, where he intends to hide out for the rest of the day.

He tries very hard not to think about the faint crescent of rosy nipple peeking from the edge of her bodice as he follows her.

A shade or two duskier than her lips, which are a lovely, tempting pink.

He might be salivating just a little. His head is definitely buzzing.

His new employee is looking around his kitchen with mild interest.

“Ummm. What should I call you?” he queries carefully, making sure to keep his eyes fixed on hers, and not dropping them a millimeter below her pert chin.

“Call me?” she breathes, doe-eyed. Her lashes are ridiculously long and batting furiously up at him.

“Yeah…I can’t call you maid all day,” he tries for a joke and she smiles, pulling her bottom lip between her teeth.

Holy fucking shit, she’s making him rock-hard. Ben is going to have a coronary right there in the kitchen, he’s sure of it.

She is without question the sexiest thing he’s ever laid eyes on.

“Call me Rey, sir.”

Oh, dammit, she called him sir again. That’s just making his hard-on worse...

 

 

He just kind of gives off this helpless sweetie-pie vibe that Rey sort of finds irresistible.

He’s very good-looking, with longish waves of raven hair and butterscotch-brown puppy-dog eyes. When she arrived, those eyes flickered briefly over her with heat, a sure sign of sexual interest.

He showed her the way to the kitchen with an outstretched hand, and Rey tried not to smirk at his obvious fluster. She proceeded ahead of him in the indicated direction and gave her hips an extra little roll so he could appreciate her legs in the stockings and stilettos.

Her legs are long, but he’s tall. He towers over her, even though she’s wearing six-inch heels. His nose is big, but regal, and he has the most deliciously-molded lips.

Currently those lips are pursed into a semi-pout, but Rey recognizes a tautness there that reveals more than it hides. He wants her, but he doesn’t want her to know it.

Interesting.

“Maybe, you can sort out the chaos in here,” he suggests, slightly crooked teeth tugging at his full bottom lip. She surveys the black marble, chrome fixtures, and bright red appliances and decides she’s never fucked a client in such a nice kitchen.

She looks back to meet his questioning gaze. He has pretty eyes.

Suddenly Rey has no problem with this job. He’s just so dang hot.

“Yes, sir, whatever you want,” she croons, smiling at him.

He’s standing just far enough away she can’t quite reach out and trail a finger over his incredible-looking pecs, and she can tell he doesn’t want to touch her just yet.

She makes a living by reading people’s body language.

Right now she’s reading…hmmm. He doesn’t want sex, even though she can tell he’s turned on, if the bulge in his pants is any indication. But he’s just looking. For now.

Ah. Maybe he’s a bit of a voyeur?

She can work with that.

The only thing she can think of is maybe he just likes to watch sexy girls clean his house. It’s really the only explanation she can come up with.

She meanders over to the sink and leans to open the cupboard beneath with exaggerated curiosity. “Cleaning supplies in here?”

She peers around, holding herself bent at the waist, knowing she’s treating him to a fabulous view of her derriere, framed in white silk ruffles and bare except for where her black garter straps bisect each cheek from the tops of her stockings to the lacy belt hidden under her skirt.

His mouth gapes open and he turns beet red before he stutters, “Y-yeah, yeah, I think so…thanks!” before he practically runs out of the room.

What the heck?

Rey stands slowly and tries to think.

Why the hell is he running away?

He can’t watch if he’s not there…

She hears a door slam shut from the far side of the penthouse and takes a minute, trying to figure out what to do.

He did tell her to sort out the kitchen.

Maybe he’s got cameras hidden around or something.

Maybe he wants to watch her while he gets off in another room.

It wouldn’t be the weirdest scenario she’s encountered. Not by a long stretch.

At least she doesn’t have to suck a dick for now. Although his wouldn’t be so bad…she drags her mind from that line of thought and starts poking through the drawers and cupboards.

There are no cleaning supplies to be found, other than a can of Lysol under the sink, some dish soap, and a scrub brush that’s seen better days.

She tries to figure out what to do and finds the pantry. It’s total chaos, just as he’d implied.

She might as well do something useful while she’s stuck there.

Until he tells her to leave or does something to indicate their contract is at an end, she’s scheduled to be there until five.

And she's supposed to stay in character. As a god-darn maid.

 

 

She’s neck deep in his cupboards, ass-up and feeling a bit grimy from kneeling on the floor when she senses he’s behind her.

“Um…” he says, moving to position himself behind the massive island while she stands and scrubs her hands over the towel she’s tied around her waist as a makeshift apron.

“Hi!” she says brightly. She’s sort of lost track of time, she was so wrapped up in organizing his kitchen.

He still looks a little lost. A bit shocked.

Maybe he’s been watching her after all. She tries not to look around for hidden cameras.

Rich people are so weird.

“Um…Rey?” He sounds a little strangled.

She widens her eyes. “Yes? Sir?”

He swallows and glances ever-so-briefly at her cleavage, then up to her face in a panic.

His mouth is gaping open and closed like a fish out of water.

She looks down.

Oh, whoops. Her left tit is fully exposed. Must have popped out while she was on all fours, just now…

He looks mortified.

She tucks it back into her bodice and he seems immediately relieved. Although his face is now flaming red.

How cute.

“Did you want something, sir?” she asks, trying to nudge a reaction out of his shell-shocked face.

“Uhhhh…nope!” He turns and bolts from the kitchen for the second time that day.

And, like earlier, he’s sporting a very impressive bulge in his pants.

Rey sighs and returns her attention to his disorganized kitchen with a shake of her head.

After that, the day flies by rather quickly despite the fact Rey is starving.

She did nibble on some stale crackers she discovered in the pantry, but other than that there wasn’t much to eat.

She wonders if he knows he’s supposed to provide meals while she’s there on contract.

She had plenty of time alone to think about her eccentric employer. He must be into watching, it’s the only explanation for his bizarre behavior.

She tried to be as sexy about it as she could all day, never knowing if and when he might pop in and catch her cleaning.

A strange game, but one she is happy to play. Although it was difficult to be sexy when she was cleaning out the fridge and found a nearly liquefied head of lettuce and quite a few take-out boxes growing various degrees of mold.

She wasn’t sure if her disgusted shriek carried through to him when she found the lettuce, but she’s positive this guy isn’t going to ask her to come back. Her suspicions are confirmed when he finds her at five o’clock sharp and leads her briskly to the entryway. 

Her clients never hustle her out the door that promptly.

Until.

“Um…See you tomorrow.” He pushes the elevator button and seems to be doing much better at making eye contact now that her coat is snugly belted around her waist.

“Tomorrow?” Rey is confused.

“Yeah, yeah. Um, you saw the schedule I submitted?” He’s talking about the website.

Wait. So…he’s really into this? Watching me clean his dusty old penthouse?

Okaaaay.

“Um, yes. I can come back tomorrow. Nine o’clock, right?”

“If that works for you?”

Uh. Yeah. You're the boss, big guy.

“So…you think I did a good job today?” Some feedback might be helpful. If this is what he’s into, awkwardly stumbling upon her while she cleans his house in her sexy little uniform, then…okay…

It’s his money.

And the agency promises its clients the escorts will always stay in character…

“You did amazing,” he tells her. He sounds sincere. He’s looking at her eyes, and Rey feels like she’s floundering a bit.

Amazing? All she did was scrub his kitchen and give him like…at least two boners…

“Just to be absolutely clear.” Rey feels like she really needs to make sure they are both on the same page. “You want me back here tomorrow, same time, same uniform, so I can pick up where I left off with the cleaning?”

Ben nods. He looks relieved. “Yes, exactly. If that’s okay?”

Rey nods slowly, mirroring him. “Yes. It’s great…” She trails off as her stomach lets out an embarrassingly loud growl.

If she’s going to do this again tomorrow, she needs to prepare a little.

“Um, sir?” 

“Yes?” He’s still staring pointedly at her eyes.

“Um…in the hiring agreement, you said you’d provide meals…? I don’t want to be too forward, because I know I’m still on probation, but do I need to bring my own lunch tomorrow…? Because I didn't really find anything to eat around here today, and...”

He looks thunderstruck and horrified.

“You haven’t eaten all day?”

Her stomach growls again, and so does his.

“Well…no.” She knows he didn’t either because he was pretty much locked away in a room across the house all day, doing…whatever it was he was doing.

“Shit. No, I can…I can make sure we’ve got stuff for you to eat.” His blush is back, and Rey wants to reassure him. It was an honest mistake, apparently. “Is there anything else you need?” he asks so sincerely, Rey feels her own cheeks heat.

If he seriously wants her to scrub down his house, she’ll do it. If that’s what he wants to pay her for, she has no problem with it. None at all.

But it would help to have the proper equipment to do the job. The only “supplies” she brought today were various-sized condoms, some lube, and her cell phone. That’s all that would fit in her tiny scrap of a purse.

“Maybe some cleaning supplies?” she hints.

He grins and it lights up his face. “Sure, sure! I can do that.”

She smiles and decides a little bit of boldness might not be a bad thing. She bites her bottom lip and shakes her head, giving him her sultriest stare.

"See you tomorrow, then, you filthy boy."

The gob-smacked look on his face as the elevator doors close between them is enough to keep her smirking all the way home. 

 

 

Chapter Text

Moodboard by KTF_Reylo

Chapter Three: The One Where He Tries to Figure Out Where Groceries Come From

 

The elevator doors slide closed on her huge smile and he exhales a breath he didn’t realize he was holding.

He cannot get the image of her perfect ass out of his head.

He’d known it would be perfect and it really, really is.

He had been certain he was going to come in his pants when she bent over the kitchen sink that morning.

All he could imagine was walking up behind her, holding her down, bent over just like that, and running his finger under one of those garter straps on the back of her thigh. Then he’d snap it against her taut flesh so he could soothe away the faint red welt with the flat of his tongue…

That thought had him fleeing, not to the library as he’d planned earlier, but to lock himself in the master bathroom to hastily unzip his pants, pull out his painfully stiff cock and stroke himself into relief in under a minute.

Like a fucking hormone-crazed teenager.

He took a while to pull himself together before he ventured into the library.

As he’d requested on the agency’s questionnaire, the maid, Rey, is both athletically built and pleasing to the eye; the other available selections did not seem conducive to the type of hard cleaning his penthouse so desperately needs.

Voluptuous knockout in need of plenty of direction seemed like someone who might require too much interaction and attention and would maybe be appropriate for a more experienced supervisor. And Amazon queen with a forceful personality sounded as if she would be suited for the work, but possibly unmanageable personality-wise.

Ben needs an employee who can take direction and be intuitive to his needs. He hates having to spell things out. And he needs someone physically capable of dealing with the heavy-duty cleaning.

Athletically built had sounded about perfect…pleasing to the eye would be a minor concession to gratify his appreciation for pretty things.

He is only human, after all.

He just hadn’t expected the maid to be so mind-numbingly sexy.

When he'd finally poked his head out of the library earlier, he heard some very faint clinking around in the kitchen and assured himself she wouldn’t still be there, cleaning his house, if she’d noticed his boner.

She was a professional young woman from a reputable agency, and if she’d felt he’d acted inappropriately he was positive she would have left immediately.

It said so on the website.

He vaguely recalled skimming over the small print but it had been late, and he hadn’t read all of it. But he definitely remembered the termination clause. That sounded important.

Any Client conduct in violation of the terms of the contract, whether explicitly or indirectly, or behavior resulting in an uncomfortable or unsafe environment, at the discretion of the worker, will result in immediate termination of this agreement, and s/he will be allowed to freely exit the premises without restriction or delay.

He was pretty sure the rest of the contract was of a similar nature, so he didn’t bother to read it too thoroughly. He could go look at it now, he realized, but…

But, it had been a few hours since he’d left her. Maybe he should check to see if she’s taken a break, yet. That seemed like the managerial thing to do.

He proceeded to the kitchen, girding his loins against another onrush of horniness.

He wanted to be a good boss, make sure she wasn’t going to wear herself out on the first day, but the sight of her on all fours, neck-deep in his cupboards was enough to send him over the edge again. He’d tried to hide his reaction by standing behind the island…

And then she’d stood and greeted him and her…outfit had become displaced, revealing a perfect, perky little breast, and he’d had to leave the room again in a hurry before he embarrassed himself.

Because the color of her nipple was confirmed to be exactly the shade of dusky pink he’d been fantasizing about all morning…

Ben sighs again, staring at the light above the closed elevator door.

After he is sure she’s made it to the lobby of building, Ben immediately heads to his bathroom, strips down and takes a hot shower, complete with a brief, very gratifying jerk-off session to the memory of his new maid’s sweetly-rounded ass peeking out from under the flounces of her uniform. And that nipple. It looked...fucking delicious. 

He jerks off again right before bed, taking extra care to come into a tissue, not all over the sheets since she’ll probably be getting around to stripping them off the bed soon.

That thought makes him sit straight up in a panic.

She’ll probably be doing things like laundry and scrubbing all over the house. Maybe he should do a quick look-though of the place and make sure she won’t find anything too disgusting.

By midnight, he’s finished scrubbing every toilet in the house – he has five bathrooms, so it takes a while.

It’s nearly one a.m. by the time he strips the sheets and throws them into the laundry bin for the laundry service to pick up.

He’s pretty sure they will be coming around in the next few days for the towels and linens.

Actually, he has no idea when these things are scheduled to happen.

His own clothing is usually ferried back and forth to the cleaner’s by Mitaka, his personal assistant and general random errand runner.

Mitaka doesn’t really count as an employee, since Ben kinda shares him with Hux and since Mitaka pretty much only shows up when he’s needed…Ben doesn’t really have to supervise him on a day-to-day level.

Not like his maid.

Mitaka just sort of invisibly handles things with such competence, Ben isn’t totally sure what all the younger man actually does…although after the sock debacle that made him late for the cocktail party, Ben instructed the assistant to drop off new ones every week, along with fresh boxers.

He never sees Mitaka, but ever since issuing that request, Ben always finds socks and boxers in his dresser.

He usually just tosses the used ones when he’s done wearing them, but Ben is vaguely worried Rey might stumble upon a secret stash of ones that might have missed the trash bin...

Sure enough, after exploring the depths of his closet and in the cracks between his mattress and in his favorite recliner in the library, and all over the house as a matter of fact, in the couch cushions, even, Ben manages to accumulate a small mountain of dirty, mismatched socks. And a few pairs of boxers.

He throws them into the garbage chute with a wry shake of his head. He wonders if Rey might help him figure out a better way to deal with the socks.

Teenaged bachelor, indeed. Perhaps his mother wasn’t entirely wrong about him.

Still. He’s making an effort to change, now, and won’t his mother be surprised when she finds out?

But he's going to keep things to himself for a while, first. Really make sure he's got things under control before he says anything to her.

Maybe once he gets the sock situation handled he can figure out where his food comes from.

On that thought, Ben’s stomach rumbles hungrily and he wanders into the kitchen. It smells clean and the surfaces gleam and sparkle. His chest expands with pride. His maid cleaned up the kitchen today...

Nice.

He opens the fridge and doesn’t find anything but condiments and alcohol mixers. He isn’t sure what he’d been hoping to find, but he is sure he could have scavenged something from the old takeout boxes…

He’s almost positive he has a delivery service for food, too, but he never sees a soul. New food just sort of magically appears every once in a while.

And he usually orders take-out if there’s nothing appetizing in the fridge.

Where did that milk even come from? he wonders, grabbing a jar of cocktail olives and popping them into his mouth, one after another.

As he chews, he recalls his promise to feed Rey. Which means he needs to figure out where to get food from.

Mitaka will know for sure. Ben calls him up to ask, not caring that it is after two in the morning and Mitaka might be asleep.

“Yes, sir, Mr. Solo?” Mitaka grunts into the phone.

“Mitaka, how does my food get here?” Ben asks, supremely unconcerned at the exhaustion in his assistant’s voice and the fact he obviously woke the younger man from a deep sleep.

“Sir?”

“Where does it come from? I mean…who delivers my groceries?” Ben rubs his forehead.

“I usually bring groceries, sir. When I drop off the dry-cleaning…?” Mitaka sounds more awake now. Good.

“How do you know what to bring?” Ben asks, this time wondering if Rey might have something special she likes.

“Errr…I just sort of guess, sir,” Mitaka replies.

“I have a maid,” Ben tells him.

“Ummm…a maid, sir?”

“Yes. She will leave you a list and you can use that next time you…when are you supposed to come back?” Ben has no idea of his assistant’s schedule. He hopes it will be soon.

“Um…I was supposed to pop by on Friday, sir, but I can come by tomorrow, if you need me to,” Mitaka offers quickly. Ben wonders if the man is just trying to get him off the phone so he can go back to sleep.

But this is an emergency.

“No, I need you sooner than that.”

“Sir?”

“I need you to bring supplies. Cleaning supplies. And food. You know. Girl food. Fresh fruit and such. So she has something to eat tomorrow.”

“What kind of cleaning supplies, sir?” Mitaka keeps his voice even, obviously well-used to his employer’s occasional whimsical demands.

“Um. I don’t know. Stuff to clean the penthouse…” Ben trails off. He has no idea what might be needed other than sponges and soap. “Just…bring a lot.”

But Mitaka sounds confident when he replies, “Yessir. Right away.”

“Thanks, Mitaka.”

Ben disconnects the call, feeling quite relieved.

Mitaka will figure it out.

 

 

Ben is awake, too energized from getting the house ready to go back to sleep, so when Mitaka shows up at six in the morning, Ben has already had a pot of coffee.

A small army of delivery people follow Mitaka into the penthouse and stack box upon box of cleaning supplies in the front entryway.

Then they depart and come back ten minutes later with bags and bags of groceries.

Good.

Ben spies cartons of strawberries and heads of lettuce and wrapped packages from the butcher’s and even a fresh-looking loaf of bread and a case of champagne.

Good. Very good.

Mitaka holds a bright pink bakery box and Ben’s mouth waters as he takes the box and peers inside.

Scones. Delicious. Ben snags one and takes a bite. It's still warm.

He decides scones are fantastic and tells himself to remember to have Rey add them to the grocery list.

Maybe Hux was right about not living like such a miser.

Mitaka pauses next to him, a bit out of breath.

“I think I got enough,” he tells Ben as the delivery staff begin unpacking groceries into Ben’s now-immaculate kitchen.

Ben claps him on the shoulder. “Me too. If not, we can always get more,” he assures him heartily. 

Mitaka nods. “Do you still want me on Friday, sir?”

Ben thinks about the dwindling pile of socks in his top drawer.

“Yeah. If nothing else, I’m going to need fresh socks.”

Mitaka nods again and says, “See you later, sir.”

 

 

She sounds like a little kitten when she sneezes.

It’s probably the sexiest damn thing he’s ever heard and distracting as hell.

Ben has decided not to hide in the library all day. For now, he’s seated in the living room, feet propped on the coffee table, pretending to read the newspaper and taking occasional, nervous sips from his normal-sized coffee cup.

He’s a grown adult and has no reason whatsoever to be afraid of a tiny little thing like Rey. She’s half his size, for God’s sake.

Just because she low-key terrifies him with her silky hair and her sweet smile and…all the rest of her, immaculately made up and cinched into the corset of that uniform which only drags Ben’s imagination straight into the gutter...nothing to be afraid of. Not at all.

She spent a good hour digging through the mountain of boxes in the entryway, disbursing the contents to the nether-reaches of the penthouse.

And now, she’s bustling around with a feather duster, flicking it over the surfaces like a little hummingbird, occasionally flashing him a winsome smile.

He watches from the corner of his eye and wonders what it might feel like to wrap his hands around her waist and squeeze just a little, pull her into his lap to feel her curves beneath the lace and silk ruffles, test the softness of her, see if she’ll yield a bit under his hands…

“You naughty thing!” she shakes her head at him and his thoughts are hauled into the present with disorienting alacrity.

“Wh- What?” he asks, too shocked to forget he’s half-afraid of her.

“Not using a coaster! Oooh, you’re sooo bad…” She doesn’t look terribly upset, but she’s scowling at his coffee cup on the table in front of him, next to his crossed feet. He glowers at his coffee cup, too, as if the cup is at fault for such an unforgivable breach of conduct.

A coaster. Dammit. Does he even own coasters?

She’s clucking her tongue and looking at him and suddenly he wants to pull her into his lap and kiss that adorable scowl away.

“I’m…sorry?” He swallows and tries to pay attention.

“It’s okay!” she chirps. “I’ll take care of it, sir!”

Suddenly she’s holding a coaster and straddling his outstretched legs, bending at the waist again and replacing his coffee cup on top of the coaster and Ben has an instant boner.

She’s wearing a hot pink thong today. Yesterday’s was black.

Ben is drooling. Actually drooling.

She daintily steps over his legs as if everything’s fine.

Ben tents his newspaper over his crotch, too afraid to say anything other than a choked out “thank you!” while his maid proceeds to turn on the vacuum and run it all over his living room…

Everything is so not fine.

Not even a little.

Ben is in seriously deep shit, here.

Chapter Text

Lovely artwork by @Selunchen

Chapter Four – The One Where Rey Legit Thinks Her Boss Has A Kink for Being Teased and Behaves Accordingly

 

After tidying up the living room, Rey stands in the entryway, preparing to dust the chandelier, then scrub floors, now that she has proper cleaning supplies.

She’s looking forward to spending some time off her feet, for a change. Her stilettos are pure murder, but she can’t complain now that she’s figured out what to do. About her boss.

She discussed it last night with Rose, then googled it to be sure, and she’s almost positive her employer must have a kink called tantalolagnia – he gets turned on by being teased.

Her suspicions were confirmed a little while ago when she was vacuuming. She could almost feel his eyes straying to her, a hesitant touch, hovering, but never making contact.

The more she wiggled her butt and made little “umphs” and “oofs”, the stronger the sensation became. And every time she caught his eye to flash him a smile, he was staring at her with this intense…smolder.

That look, well, it was definitely enough to distract her, and she almost fell out of character a few times before she pulled herself back into her role with nervous gusto.

Yes. That’s what it was…he made her nervous. Not creepy-nervous, either.

But he’s made no move to touch her, and in fact it seems as if he’s avoiding too much touching or conversation, although he maintains an exquisitely polite demeanor. So he must be into the teasing.

It isn’t her usual fare, but she’s pretty sure she is up to the task. Plus, she really needs this job, so she is going to put every effort she can into twisting him into knots.

Since that’s what he wants, apparently

She notices her employer hasn’t been lurking for a while and decides she should drop a hint she’ll be on her hands and knees soon and –

She finds him asleep on the living room sofa, his long body stretched the full length of it, and Rey pauses curiously.

His eyes are closed, but dark circles shadow them under a slight frown. His massive chest rises and falls with the even cadence of sleep, slightly straining the fabric of his long-sleeved t-shirt. She takes in the delicate sweep of thick black lashes, his high cheekbones, plush red lips parted. Stubble darkens his cheeks and chin, and Rey thinks it makes him appear strangely vulnerable, innocent, even; he obviously hasn’t shaved since yesterday, and she wonders why.

In her experience, extraordinarily wealthy people, when not indulging their fetishes and whims or lounging indolently while others wait on them hand and foot, tend to spend an unbelievable amount of time on their grooming…

She silently speculates on exactly what he does all day, how he spends his vast free time when he isn’t hiring escorts as maids and popping boners every time he catches her cleaning.

In sleep, he crosses his arms and his frown deepens, and something in Rey thaws the cynical direction of her thoughts as she observes him. She spies a cashmere throw on the arm of the sofa and drapes it over him.

The slight breeze from the falling blanket ruffles his hair, and his frown falls away from his brow.

Rey resists the urge to sweep a silky-looking lock off his forehead and turns away resolutely.

Stay in character, Rey. This is a good job, and you can’t afford to lose it.

She needs to get to work dusting the entryway.

She’s a maid. A sexy maid.

Who knows if he has cameras hidden around. What if he catches her mooning over him just now?

What if it looks like…like she likes him?

Not that there is anything wrong with liking her client. Liking him is a good thing.

But he is just a paycheck, which is the only reason why she’s here in the first place.

She is going to twist him into a big horny knot and give him every bit of his money’s worth.

She contemplates her strategy as she places a stepladder under the chandelier and gets to work with her feather duster.

When she arrived promptly at nine that morning, he took her coat – once again scanning her uniform with a poorly-concealed longing that sent strange tingles down her spine – before almost shyly pointing her to the kitchen and telling her to help herself to whatever she wanted to make up for yesterday’s oversight.

Rey didn’t hesitate. She’s never turned down an offer for food in her life.

Rey was pleasantly surprised to find the fridge and cupboards stocked with food.

Crammed with it, in fact.

She kept her hands off some of the fancier stuff. As a high-class escort, she is expected to dine with wealthy clients in extravagant style, so she knows her way around a lobster tail almost as well as a stiff cock, but she prefers simpler fare, or cheap if that is all that’s available.

Still…calories are calories.

She perused the fridge, noting jars of caviar, butcher-wrapped packages labeled simply “Kobe” or “NY” and vegetables and fruit, when a paper bag from the deli three blocks away caught her eye.

When clearing out the fridge the day before, she’d noticed quite a few take-out boxes from the same deli. She peered inside and found a lovely pastrami sandwich. She immediately decided she wanted it – she’d had caviar before and wasn’t a fan.

Pastrami sounded like just the thing to take the edge off, especially since she’d only gobbled down a bowl of cereal that morning before dashing out the door.

Sure, it was just after nine in the morning, but food was food any time of day. She was halfway through it when her employer hesitantly came in for some coffee and asked her if she wanted some.

She chewed the enormous bite she’d taken and nodded eagerly, almost breaking character at the divine salty crunch of pickle on her sandwich. 

But he simply poured her a cup of hot coffee and slid it carefully across the counter, before slinking quietly out of the kitchen. Rey wondered about him as he slipped away without a word.

She belatedly wondered if he’d been hoping to catch her lewdly eating a banana or cucumber or something. He left before she could really get into moaning and groaning over how delicious it was or maybe say something about how she couldn’t possibly fit it in her mouth…but, there really wasn’t a way to be sexy when eating a pastrami sandwich, and he disappeared before she could try.

She washed the rest of the sandwich down with a sip of coffee – decently made, to her pleasant surprise.

She cleaned up a few scattered crumbs and washed her mug, deep in thought as to how to proceed.

Surely watching her clean was going to get old and she would be moving on to the more physical aspects of her job soon enough? They’d hardly spoken more than a handful of sentences to each other.

She decided to unpack the mountain of boxes in the entryway, and perhaps entice her employer into hanging out and watching.

Sure enough, she managed to ooh and aah over the contents of the boxes while her employer lurked nearby, sending odd little thrills rocketing through her every time their eyes met.

As she ferried scrub brushes and spray bottles and rubber gloves to the various bathrooms and kitchen and laundry room, taking extra care to wiggle her hips and flash her boss sultry little smiles whenever she caught him looking, she mentally reviewed her conversation with Rose the previous evening.

She’d arrived home exhausted the night before, and, per their usual arrangement, Rose had a plastic tub of ice water waiting for her.

Jack ran into her arms for a sweet baby-bear hug, and Rey felt a powerful surge of happiness at his obvious excitement to see her at such an unexpected hour.

Rey felt true hope for the first time in a while. If things went well with this job, she would be able to see Jackson in the mornings and evenings and be able to sleep on a regular schedule.

The job itself was something of a puzzle, but the hours were good and so was the money. Rey was getting paid twenty times what she’d make as an actual maid, so she couldn’t begrudge the physical labor, even if the First Order took fifty-percent of her earnings as a commission.

And her employer was…

Well, he was just yummy.

She let Jackson down to resume his playing with Finn and stripped off her shoes and stockings right there in her tiny living room before sinking her feet into the tub of ice-water with a groan of relief.

Rose watched her and immediately narrowed her eyes. “Why aren’t you running for the shower?”

“Don’t need a shower…we didn’t…er, do anything,” Rey fumbled for a reply, not wanting to go into a ton of detail.

Finn was making vroom-vroom noises to Jackson’s intense amusement, crashing Jack’s monster trucks into whatever he held up and blatantly eavesdropping on the girls’ conversation.

Rose scented gossip like a bloodhound. “What? You didn’t do anything? Didn’t he like you? Is everything okay?”

“Yeah. He wants me to come back tomorrow. But, he’s…I don’t know…kind of…off,” Rey said evasively.

“Off how? Serial killer off? Or just eccentric-spoiled-billionaire off?” Rose asked beadily.

Rose never makes a secret of her concern for Rey’s safety and Rey adores her for it.

“Neither. He’s just…He seems really shy, but he hired an escort, so how shy can he be?”

“Yes, but he didn’t even touch you?”

“I know,” Rey said. “It’s weird. Like, I can tell I turn him on. I can definitely tell his…equipment is uhhh…functional. I just have no idea why he wants me to wear the uniform and clean his penthouse all day.”

Rose’s eyebrows shot up. “Ooooh! A penthouse? Tell me everything.”

“Well, he lives in this gorgeous building across from the Park and it’s old money all the way. He’s definitely rich. But no staff, no maid, nobody stopped by…he just sort of hung out all day and occasionally caught me…sexy-cleaning.”

Rose snorted. “And he’s into that?”

Rey nodded, “Yeah, I think so. I remember a while back Phasma telling me some people are excited by the strangest things sometimes. I think this guy is into being teased. I’m almost positive he was…you know…hard…after I flashed him a few times…”

“Finn!” Rose belted out. “Does that sound right? A guy who likes to be teased? But who doesn’t want to have sex?”

Finn looked up from the monster truck he was crashing into Jackson’s teddy bear and shook his head. “I dunno. But as long as he’s not giving you any weird vibes, I say do whatever to get some rich dude cheddar.”

Rose rolled her eyes. “Thanks, babe.” She turned back to Rey. “What do you think?”

Rey swished her feet in the ice water for a few minutes, thinking. “I…really like him, Rose.”

“Rey. You know you aren’t supposed to get emotionally attached to your paychecks. This guy is just a paycheck.”

Rey nodded agreeably enough, but her traitorous emotions were telling her something else as she recalled the dark heat he tried to shield from his pretty whisky-hued eyes.

Rose caught the look and reiterated sternly, “You can’t fall for a paycheck. Remember what happened last time? I’m supposed to be the voice of reason.”

Rose nods significantly to Jackson, and Rey sighs. Jackson, as much as she adores him, was not planned…and he is a very permanent, expensive result of the last time Rey became emotionally attached to a client…

She’d been eighteen and fresh out of the foster care system, working as a dancer at a strip club. The money had been good, at least to a girl who had basically raised herself from nothing.

She knew her parents had abandoned her at a hospital when she was little, and she had been so young, she didn’t even remember their faces. As far as she knew, she came from nowhere.

The night she met Jackson’s father, she thought it was love at first sight. He seemed so interested in her, so attentive...and he was handsome and charming...

He came back to the club a total of three times before she’d gone to his hotel room and slept with him. He swore he thought the world of her and she let him take her virginity without hesitation. Without even using a condom...

But the next morning, he’d disappeared, leaving her two hundred bucks and no way to contact him.

Apparently, he hadn’t even told her his real name. She asked everyone she knew if they remembered the guy, but she’d never been able to locate him.

Rey didn’t find out she was pregnant until she was well over four months along, because the dancing kept her so trim. 

At that point, true panic had set in, but she still had been unable to locate the father...she was so conflicted and scared. She'd never felt so alone. Those months had been the toughest of her life, and she spent many sleepless nights wondering how she would survive, endlessly weighing her options and frantically trying to figure out what to do. Even worse, her repeated attempts to locate the baby’s father were totally futile.

But the first time she felt the baby move, she decided that keeping it maybe wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

She was able to dance for another month after that, then served drinks at the club until it was just plain awkward for everyone involved, especially her.

And then she’d been summarily fired and had to spend her tiny savings to make ends meet until Jackson was born.

She found a job waiting tables at a diner in Queens and met Rose, another waitress, and Finn, the night shift manager.

After Jackson came, the whole first year of his life had been a desperate scrape and scramble to survive. The only thing keeping her sane was Rose’s friendship and Finn’s willingness to help with scheduling and babysitting. Between the three of them they managed to cobble together a schedule that worked.

And that’s when Phasma came along and recruited her to work for the First Order.

The money was so much better than working as a dancer, and at first Rey truly thought they’d be set for a while. She moved into a slightly bigger apartment, but rent was getting worse by the minute, seemingly increasing every six months.

And Jackson had needs, too. Life became more expensive, especially with preschool and doctor’s visits and daycare and…sometimes there was almost enough to make ends meet.

Rey was always happy to eat at her clients’ expense and save every penny she could.

Someday became her motto, the steady tempo beating with her heart.

We will have enough. Someday.

I’ll find Jackson’s father, someday. Maybe get some financial support. Then I can give Jack anything he needs.

Someday I won’t have to be an escort. Someday I can be anything I want.

I can be free.

Someday.

 

 

Ben wakes gently, a soft melodic humming coming to him from somewhere nearby. As he blinks his eyes open, he discovers a cashmere blanket has been draped over him, and he doesn’t even recall stretching out on the sofa or falling asleep.

It must have been Rey who covered him. His maid. Yes, he can hear her…

She’s humming softly, but it carries through the house, nevertheless.

She laid a blanket over him, and that sends an odd pang into his heart. He can’t really remember the last time someone did something genuinely kind for him…

She’s being very quiet, he realizes. She’s trying not to wake him.

Since he was napping. Like a little kid.

How embarrassing.

He sits up and runs his fingers through his hair. His newspaper has been folded neatly and set on the coffee table, his coffee cup removed, ostensibly to the kitchen.

Drawn undeniably to her, whether from curiosity or something stronger, he makes his way to the sound of her voice.

He finds her in the entryway, perched on a stepladder, arms outstretched to flick a feather duster at the cobwebs on the chandelier. He takes it all in in one sweeping glance before noticing…that perfect derriere of hers is practically right there, right at face level.

Ben wonders what it might feel like to just grab and handful and squeeze – he actually shuffles forward a step –

“Oooh! You scared me!” She turns and clutches her feather duster to her chest, inadvertently drawing his attention to her cleavage.

“S-sorry, I just uh…heard you and…” Ben whips his gaze from her abundantly displayed décolletage to meet her sparkling eyes.

She cocks her head at him, speculatively.

Shit. Did she catch me ogling her?

He fights a blush from creeping across his face.

“You’re tall,” she says, crooking her finger at him. “Come here…I need some help to reach that one last spot, big boy.”

Ben is sure he is going to choke on the flood of hunger pouring into him as she daintily makes her way down the ladder.

He briefly wonders how she manages in those heels – surely, they are a safety hazard? – but then she blinks up at him like a lost little lamb, inadvertently tracing her feathers over the lovely swells of her bosom. Like a moth to flame, his gaze is irresistibly drawn back to the sight.

She can’t know what she’s doing. She can’t possibly know she’s winding him into one big, giant ball of horny.

She breathes, “If I reach any higher, I just know my boobies will pop right out! And we wouldn’t want that, would we?” She bites her lip, looking into his eyes for confirmation.

Uh. Yes. Yes, we would want that…Ohhhh, fuck, that would be glorious.

But he doesn’t answer – he isn’t sure he can speak – because he is pretty sure his voice has dissolved under the raw desire burning the back of his throat.

He’s never felt so helplessly enthralled before, and he isn’t sure he can understand words under her blazing-hot stare. He is going to melt into a puddle of lust if she keeps looking at him like that.

She hands him the duster, and he blinks stupidly at it for a few seconds before he remembers he needs to get that cobweb off the chandelier.

Yes. Cobweb. Right.

He’s tall, and she needs him, needs his help, so he’ll do it.

Whatever she wants.

He climbs a few steps and reaches up, ready to annihilate cobwebs and anything else she might require. A warm little hand grips the back of his thigh and he freezes.

Shit. Shit, she’s touching me. Fuck.

“Don’t fall,” she coos, and she sounds so concerned, Ben’s heart melts a little more even as it thumps with a touch of panic.

Because her hand is pressing against the back of his leg and it’s making him hard, hard as a rock, and dammit, if he turns around now she’ll get a face full of boner and won’t that be awkward and horrible and awful and humiliating?

He rips his mind away from the idea of her face, right there, of her unzipping his jeans and pulling out his cock and opening wide and wrapping those pouty pink lips around him, licking and sucking, and looking up with pure adoration while he fucks into her hot, sweet mouth…

He quickly flips the duster at the cobwebs, trying to hurry.

What kind of employer behaves this way, imagining such things about his innocent, unsuspecting employee?

This is all his fault, he knows. He shouldn’t have gone with athletically built and pleasing to the eye.

Ben tries to get a grip and makes his wobbly way down the ladder, flinging a hasty “there you go!” before bolting for a cold shower.

He’s going to have to call the agency, he realizes. Get a different maid.

This one is killing him.

He should ask if they have anything more along the lines of sturdy, grandmotherly type, able to handle a variety of household chores with absolutely zero sex appeal...

Chapter Text

Chapter Five – The One Where Ben Has Several Mini-Epiphanies 

 

After his cold shower, he never calls the agency. Instead, he sits in his room and contemplates every life choice he’s ever made that led him to this point.

The fact is…the fact is he has no desire whatsoever to send his maid away.

The fact is, he likes her. A lot.

As the week progresses, he grows more aware of his attraction to Rey, especially when he glimpses little tiny pieces of what he privately refers to as "The Real Her" when she's not being "The Maid."

For some reason this makes it easier for him to be in her presence without such intense fear he’s going to embarrass himself with an inappropriate physical reaction…

He thinks about her as he gathers up his clothes for the laundry bin. He makes his way stealthily to the laundry room, wondering how his laundry gets taken care of from there. Mitaka will be here tomorrow and maybe he will know–

Ben pauses.

His socks and shorts are there. In the hamper.

He's positive he tossed them already. 

Weird.

He must have missed some when he searched the house the other day...but how?

He stares at the contents of the hamper and sort of has this miniature epiphany.

Socks can be washed.

So can his shorts.

He’s an idiot.

Of course they can be.

Mortification rushes into him as he realizes he's been throwing away his socks and underwear all this time when such an obvious, simple solution has always been there.

She must think he's a complete moron. 

Ben just stares at the laundry hamper while his whole reality sort of shifts into focus around him.

The fact is…Ben has a crush on his maid.

She’s so damn cheerful and pretty and young and…she’s just a little slice of sunshine, pouring light into his solitary little world.

Rey.

She is likely off somewhere in the penthouse, probably changing sheets or scrubbing floors or doing something that will inevitably draw attention to that cute little rear end of hers.

Something that will make him ache with want.

He wants her. 

And she’s been collecting his socks and shorts from all over the house and she’s probably planning on washing them and folding them and touching them…

She enters the laundry room at that moment with an armload of towels and sheets – oh, shit she did strip his bed? – and he feels heat creep over his face as he realizes he’s been thinking about her touching his boxer shorts and…

She bites her lip and sweeps past him to toss the laundry into the hamper, brushing ever-so-lightly against him with a breathless little, “Oooh, it’s a bit of a tight squeeze in here, isn’t it?”

Fuck.

He clenches his jaw and tries not to imagine what she might do if he hauls her around and bends her over his arm and crushes her against the washing machine and kisses the rest of her breath right out of her.

Her mouth pulls into a flirtatious little moue and Ben wonders what she would do if she knew what that does to him. How it makes him feel like he’s the only man in the world, how it makes him want to smuggle her away to some dark corner and peel the bodice of her dress down and tug one of those pretty pink nipples into his mouth…

He follows her out of the laundry room, eyes glued to her swishing hips as she stalks away.

But then she turns and flashes him a smile, and –

And he has his second miniature epiphany in less than five minutes.

She wants him to look at her. She’s doing all this on purpose.

He knows for a fact every member of his mother’s or friends’ household staff he’s ever encountered before Rey usually makes an extreme effort not to be noticed.

He tries to recall if he’s ever seen his mother’s butler or housekeeper sit in his presence and gobble down a sandwich. Or if any of the servants he’s ever known have ever asked for help dusting a cobweb, or said anything other than “Yes, sir” or “Right away, sir” and…

He can’t recall it because it’s never happened. Because most staff want to be invisible…

But Rey…? She makes extra sure he’s paying attention. He’d bet the penthouse on it.

Awareness crashes into him as he watches the slow, deliberate sway of her hips, drawing his gaze like a lodestone.

She isn’t afraid of him. She’s actually pretty bold, now that he thinks about it.

She did eat his pastrami sandwich the other day. Not that he’s mad about it. Not at all.

The sight of her chowing down actually kind of melted his heart when he realized she’d worked all the day before without a bite to eat.

He thinks some more.

She put a blanket over him when he fell asleep on the couch.

And she kind of lights up every time their eyes meet.

She smiles at him like they are playing a little game, just them, and it’s a tempting, delicious little secret that only they share…and why would she do that if she didn’t like him back?

That must be it.

So, she likes him, too.

And maybe she’s too shy or worried about losing her job to be too obvious about it.

Her job.

Hmmm.

That’s a problem.

He hates what he is about to do, but he’s getting desperate.

He’s going to have to ask for advice.

And since he has a limited circle of acquaintances, and he would rather die a thousand painful deaths than ask his mother for help…he really only has one option.

Hux.

Still, though. Hux had harped on him about hiring help in the first place, so it only seems fair that Hux should be the one to help him untangle the situation.

Although Hux’s own brand of supercilious sarcasm usually doesn’t abate until after he’s had a morning cocktail or two…

“What on earth are you calling me for at this hour, Solo?”

Ben glances at the clock on his nightstand. It’s eleven in the morning. Hux is probably just waking up from whatever debaucheries he’d indulged in the previous night.

“So. I need some advice.”

There’s a pause on the other end and Ben wonders if Hux hung up on him.

Ben hears a few grunts and some shuffling around. Maybe calling is a bad idea. “Were you sleeping? I can call back.”

Yes. Calling Hux is a mistake. What is he thinking? Hux is –

“You must be in dire straits if you’re calling me. What kind of advice?” Hux sounds way too interested and Ben knows he’ll never let him off the hook, now.

Shit. Here we go.

“About a girl.”

“Really?” Hux’s curiosity is palpable. “What girl?”

Double-shit. Calling was a terrible idea...

Ben tries not to sound defensive. “A girl, just a girl.”

“You don’t know any girls…” Hux drawls. He is right, but dammit. Friends aren’t supposed to be quite so brutally honest, are they?

“I know a few,” Ben retorts hotly.

“…and you never go anywhere when you are in town,” Hux talks over Ben’s defensive reply.

“I do too! I go all over the city!”

“No. Not really. You don’t.”

Ben grumbles, “I just went to an art exhibit last week.”

“There were no girls there whatsoever.”

“Pretty sure half the people attending were women,” Ben snaps.

“Yah. No girls, only wives and gold-diggers.”

“God, you’re such a cynic. Why are we friends, again?”

Hux refuses to be distracted by the insult, and he’s like a dog with a bone. “I wasn’t aware you ever leave your penthouse unless it is to visit your mother or occasionally let me drag you into my little world of scum and villainy. Where can you have possibly met a girl?”

Ben is rapidly beginning to hate himself for calling, but he pushes on. “I just…want her to know I like her. See if she likes me back…”

Hux laughs for a solid minute while Ben fumes, waiting for his friend to get it out of his system.

Finally, Hux snorts. “God, you sound like you’re in grammar school with your first crush. I’m not going near that with a ten-foot pole.”

“I just need some general advice. Nothing crazy,” Ben finally admits. Unwelcome desperation tinges his voice, although it has the unanticipated effect of getting Hux to tone down the mockery.

“All right. Does she know you exist? This mystery girl?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, yes, positive.”

“And she knows your name? Who you are?”

“Yes?”

“Then she likes you,” Hux assures him.

“What? How do you know?”

“Because you’re rich as Croesus. They all like that.”

“She doesn’t care about my money.” Ben is pretty sure his maid isn’t a gold-digger, since he is the one who hired her.

“Yes, she does. They all care about your money. Who’s her family? Who is she? Where is she from?”

“She…comes from nothing. Nobody. From nowhere…”

“Fuck. Well, color me intrigued…who is this person?”

Ben ignores the question and plows on, “I just was wondering if you had any insight into…how do I let her know…I like her?”

Hux sounds exasperated and amused and Ben hates himself for revealing so much.

“I don’t know! Do something nice for her. Make her dinner, buy her flowers, buy her jewelry – but not too nice! Talk to her. Actually, no. Don’t. You’re terrible at talking. Don’t talk to her unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

Ben sighs. Flowers would be great, but he doesn’t know where she lives. And jewelry…might be over the top since he’s known her less than a handful of days.

She seems to like food. Dinner might be something…

“I can’t cook for shit,” Ben grunts, thinking of the fridge-full of groceries he has no idea what to do with.

“Well, then cater it. She won’t care.”

“No, I…want it to be something personal…”

“Oh, wow. You really do like her, don’t you?”

Ben nods. He really does. “Yep.”

“Well…try to figure out what she’s into…show some interest in her life… find common ground. What does she do all day?”

Ben grunts noncommittally. 

“You’re not giving me much to work with,” Hux complains.

There’s no fucking way Ben is telling his best friend he has a crush on the maid.

Hux prompts, “What does she like?”

Ben mutters to himself, “I have no idea…”

The way she was oohing and aahing over the hose attachment to the vacuum cleaner earlier makes him think she really enjoys…vacuuming…or hoses…but somehow, Ben feels like buying her one of those will send the wrong message.

“You’re hopeless, Ren, you know that?”

Hux’s reference to Ben’s old nickname from lacrosse at Yale only underscores the difference between Ben’s world and Rey’s.

Where could they possibly have common ground?

Wait.

Of course.

He’s just had a brain flash. It’s brilliant, really.

“Okay, thanks, Hux,” Ben says, eager to get his friend off the phone.

Mitaka will be able to give him a hint or two.

Yes. Perfect.

“Um, yes, I hope everything works out…” Ben can hear his friend smirking into the phone. “Don’t forget we have doubles tomorrow, and I absolutely refuse to let Dameron and Connix beat us again!”

But Ben is already hanging up so he can make his next call.

 

 

“I’m sorry sir?” Mitaka is polite and respectfully aloof, as always.

“You work,” Ben repeats.

“Yes, sir.”

“I mean, you work for a living,” Ben tries to clarify.

The faintest pause before, “Yes, I do, sir.”

“So…if I wanted to get you something to let you know…” Ben pauses, not wanting to give Mitaka more than the absolute minimum amount of information. “If I wanted to let you know you were very much appreciated, what could I do to make that happen?”

“I don’t understand the question, sir.”

“If I wanted to make you feel esteemed, as an employee, what could I buy for you or do or whatever?”

He sincerely hopes Mitaka can read between the lines.

“Well, sir,” Mitaka replies cautiously, “You could try to make my job a little bit easier.”

“I could?” Of course, yes. That makes sense. Rey shouldn’t have to work so hard. It’s obvious. She doesn’t need a new vacuum cleaner or a catered dinner.

“Thanks, Mitaka!” Ben says, hanging up the phone again.

Make her job a little bit easier. But how?

Ben ponders this, even as his mind drifts to what Rey might be doing at the moment.

Calling Mitaka was the right thing to do. He should have called him first, not Hux.

Okay. So, he just needs to figure out how he can help her out, show her he’s noticing and appreciating her hard work…try to find some common ground…

Yes. He knows just the thing to do.

 

 

Rey manages to get the floors scrubbed while her employer is off doing heavens-knows-what for nearly an hour.

Just when she’s beginning to wonder if it is time for lunch, he rounds the corner in such a rush they almost slam into each other.

The squawk of surprise that leaves her mouth is something less-than sexy.

But all the air in her lungs escapes in a hot rush when he grabs her around the waist before he mows her down. She throws her hands up to brace against his chest and her eyes widen at the hard pads of muscle flexing under her fingertips.

It’s…quite something.

He gives her just a hint of a squeeze and a muttered apology before letting her go. And she immediately notices the way his eyes darken when she tries to catch her breath.

Shit. His hands are just so dang big, and warm, and she can still feel how his fingers clenched almost reflexively against her, like he just couldn’t help himself, and the way it made her feel just a tiny bit helpless and small and feminine.

It’s hard to stay in character when she wants to climb him like a tree.

And he isn’t running away like he usually does.

He’s watching her and she’s going to start blushing – this guy really has the smolder down to an art form.

He pulls his bottom lip between his teeth and Rey wonders what he tastes like. A touch of coffee still, probably. Unless he brushed his teeth. Then he’d taste like –

“Um. Rey?”

“Yes?” She rips her attention back to the moment.

“Well…I was wondering if I can do anything to help…?”

“Help?”

“Yeah, you know? Help make things a bit easier for you. Since you’re just starting out. You know.”

He keeps saying “you know” but she has no idea what he means.

“You want to help me?” She’s confused. “With chores?”

“Yeah, yeah. If there’s anything I can do. I hope you’ll let me know.”

Rey is utterly lost, but she tries not to let her bewilderment show.

She thinks about the way he looked at her in the laundry room earlier. Like he wanted to eat her with a spoon.

He looks so sincere and his eyes are still burning into hers and so she blurts out the first thing she can think of because she just needs a minute to collect herself.

“You could wash a load of laundry,” she suggests.

The socks and shorts and towels she scavenged from all over the penthouse this morning while he was in the shower need to be washed. She found some in the trash can, too, and she wonders if he knows the difference between a trash bin and a laundry hamper…

Laundry ought to keep him out of her hair for a few minutes.

So she can think straight.

Yes. He can do laundry and she can go check his bathroom for clothes or towels he might have missed.

His eyes light up and he nods. “Laundry? Sure. I can do that.”

“Great. Thank you.”

She is pretty sure she’s having way too personal thoughts about her employer.

He is just a paycheck. Rey can practically hear Rose’s voice in her head.

You can’t fall for a paycheck, Rey.

Chapter Text

Chapter Six – The One Where Ben Has One Major Epiphany

 

Rey leaves him to do a load of laundry and heads for his bathroom to look for dirty towels. And also to give herself just a minute to catch her breath away from his increasingly heated stares.

Her client is a nut, she’s decided, and she’s going to crack him.

Sometimes she calls him “big boy” or occasionally “boss”, all of which have varying degrees of effect on him. But, he seems to like “sir” the most, if she’s reading his signals correctly.

She is sure he’ll have a preference, and she is also sure “sir” is close. His eyes flicker with dark longing every time she calls him that. But it doesn’t quite do the trick.

And she must stay in character, or risk getting sent back to Phasma before her contract is up, which would be a loss of income for Rey and the First Order. He wouldn’t be the first client to try to get an escort to break character and later demand a refund, although that sort of behavior is tacky in the extreme and happens very rarely.

Not that she's too terribly worried. Ben Solo doesn’t seem like the tacky type. If anything, he’s been exquisitely well-mannered, charming, and thoroughly perplexing.

She steps into his luxuriously-appointed master bath and wonders what’s his game?  for the hundredth time that week.

She enters the shower to grab a used washcloth and spots his shampoo on the ledge. She's curious as to what his hair might smell like. She glances around somewhat furtively.

He’s not going to have cameras in the bathroom. Is he?

No. That seems out of character, even for someone as eccentric as him.

He’s busy doing laundry of all things, and Rey rolls her eyes at the idea, even as a bit of warmth rolls through her. The thought of her beefcake billionaire client lifting a finger to do anything so mundane makes her snicker to herself.

She decides to risk it and opens the cap of the shampoo bottle for a whiff.

Mmmmm. It smells divine. Oooh, that’s why he always smells so delicious – this shampoo is pure heaven in a bottle…

She replaces it carefully, wondering how expensive it is compared to the six-dollar bottle of Pantene in her own shower back in Queens.

She snatches up the dirty washcloth and another towel on the floor, double-checking his trash can under the sink for socks or boxer shorts.

She takes a deep breath and prepares her game plan for the afternoon.

So far he hasn’t given her much to work with, other than she knows he must love being teased into a frenzy.

She can tell he likes it, because he’s been hanging around quite a bit more than he was after that first day, trying to play it casual while she cleans his house with exaggerated, sexy movements designed to twist him into knots.

Rey wonders if he is really so deep into his kink that he doesn’t mind paying many times the cost of an actual maid, and for one who would probably do a much better job than she is doing…

But he seems truly grateful to have her around, even though he still occasionally and abruptly leaves the room, usually holding a magazine or a newspaper or a book over his crotch in an awkward attempt to disguise his erection.

Every day, promptly at five, he walks her to the elevator, tells her she did amazing or “really, really great” and thanks her.

As soon as the elevator doors close, she always rolls her eyes, wondering why he’s trying so hard to play along.

But if that’s what gets him off, she supposes it’s fine.

Although he’s probably the only client she’s ever had who she wouldn’t mind climbing on top of and fucking his brains out just for the fun of it.

No, she wouldn't mind doing that at all.

In fact, she wonders if she ratchets up the tension a few notches, he might just break down and fuck her instead of always running off for what must surely be an unsatisfying jerk-off session in his bathroom…

 

 

Ben stares at the washing machine and takes a deep breath. He is sure he can figure this out. He has a degree from Yale, for heaven’s sake.

How hard can laundry be? Plus, she needs his help. This is the least he can do.

He wonders if he should call the agency and ask for another maid or two. Maybe that would help Rey, too?

He finds his socks and shorts and some other clothes in the laundry bin, apparently awaiting the laundry service to pick up.

Won’t they be surprised when he’s already washed it all? He stuffs the clothes into the machine, using his best guess as to how full it should be.

There must be more to it than just this, he thinks, looking around the room for clues as to how to proceed.

Think. It’s just laundry.

He looks around and notices a bottle of something called fabric softener and another something called color-safe bleach.

Won’t bleach discolor the clothes? That doesn’t sound right.

He’s supposed to be washing clothes. Rey didn't say anything about softening clothes or color-safe bleaching them.

He needs to think.

Okay. Washing means soap.

He pokes through a nearby cupboard and finds a bottle of laundry detergent. He reads the directions on the back of the bottle and nods. Yes. This must be it.

Add ½ capful for medium-sized loads, 1 capful for larger loads.

He looks at the laundry in the machine. It seems like a lot. Better safe than sorry.

A capful should do it.

He adds the soap and tells himself to remind Mitaka to pick up more laundry soap for next time.

He smirks. If only his mother could see him now. Doing laundry. She would probably inform him he's making his grandmother Padme turn in her grave...

Okay, focus, Solo. Next step.

He needs to figure out how to make the washing machine go.

He pauses, scrutinizing the control panel. There are buttons. A lot of buttons.

A lot of options. Does he want hot water or cold water? An extra spin cycle?

What the fuck is a spin cycle? It sounds like a bicycle thing, but that can’t be right...

Rey comes in at that moment with a few things, which she tosses lightly into the bin at his side. He feels both relieved and tense at the same time.

“How’s it going in here, boss?” she asks, sidling up to stand next to him.

She’s standing close enough he can almost feel her body heat against his arm…

“Uh, good, good, just trying to um…decide…on the spin...” He trails off as she grins impishly and bites her lip. He wonders if she can tell he has absolutely no idea what the fuck he's doing.

“Well…do you have a big load in there?”

“Uh. Yeah. Yeah, it’s a big one,” he replies.

Ooohhh, really?” She cocks her head a lifts a brow.

Ben swallows. Shit. Shit. Why? Why does everything have to sound so damn sexual? Why is he such a disgusting pervert?

“And did you add soap already?”

The tip of her tongue pokes between her teeth and Ben has never in his life wanted to kiss someone senseless as much he does right now, at this moment, with the way her eyes are sparkling up at him.

She’s so close, she's right there…all he has to do is bend his head and pull her against his chest and…

“I added a capful. Since I stuffed it pretty full.”

Oh, fucking hell. Did I just say that out loud?

He blinks and tries to backtrack. “I mean. It’s a big load and ready to go, if you want to just…”

Fuck. Stop talking. Hux was right. I suck at it.

She turns a lovely shade of pink and raises both brows, now.

Oh, wow, that came out so wrong and now she’s embarrassed. Dammit.

“Oh! In that case we just need to…turn it on…”

She wiggles in front of him, wedging that perfect little ass covered in silk ruffles between him and the washing machine.

He’s so mortified and simultaneously aroused, he might as well have concrete blocks on his feet. He can’t move. He can’t even breathe.

His hands hang limply at his sides and he doesn’t quite know what to do with them. He just knows he cannot move and she’s right fucking there and he’s having heart palpitations.

She leans over the machine and Ben feels the swish of silky fabric brushing against his groin – she’s so close, all he would have to do is press forward an inch or two and he could rub against her, he could feel that soft yield of her smooth round ass, feel the heat of her as he –

She pokes her fingers at a few buttons. Ben hears a mechanical whirring and the sound of water filling the machine.

She scoots from her spot in front of him, and smiles. “There you go, sir! Getting everything nice and wet and then…we'll have that big ol' load cleaned up in no time.”

Ben very nearly breaks into tears as she strolls out of the room, presumably to resume her chores.

He is going to die from being so horny.

She turns in the doorway and asks if he would like her to serve him a cocktail by the pool before she starts on washing the windows.

“Maybe you can watch and make sure I don’t miss a spot?” she asks, batting her eyelashes so prettily he readily agrees, even though he knows it will probably be the last thing he ever does before dying of a lust-induced lack of blood flow to his brain.

“Uh, yeah. Yeah that sounds…good…”

She winks at him and pointedly glances at his crotch, sending a shot of desire ricocheting through him from the tips of his ears to the bottoms of his feet.

Laundry.

Not that hard.

His dick? Very hard.

A cocktail by the pool sounds like just the thing. Just as soon as he calms the fuck down.

 

After a few minutes, he exits the room. He hears the ding of the elevator bell echo faintly through the house. He makes his way to the entryway, wondering who on earth could be visiting. The only people who ever come around are either his mother or -

Rey answers the door, greeting Hux with a friendly, “Hello! Mr. Solo is just – oh!”

“Hello, darling. How’s tricks?” Hux interrupts with a lecherous drawl. She ignores his presumptuous question and takes his jacket.

Ben crosses his arms in disapproval.

Hux usually has the most superb manners, and Ben is surprised and annoyed at the crude greeting.

But he will admonish his friend after Rey is out of earshot, so she isn’t embarrassed.

That’s your maid?” Hux hisses before Ben can tear into him. They watch together as Rey sashays down the hall.

“Yeah, she’s awesome. Why?”

Hux looks around and Ben can tell he’s noticing how clean everything is. His chest swells a bit with pride.

“You’re actually…making her clean your house?”

“Yeah. Can’t you tell how much nicer it is around here already?” Ben asks enthusiastically, leading Hux to the bar in the living room to grab a drink.

Hux doesn’t reply. He just stares, mouth agape as Ben fishes out a couple of glasses and pours them each a measure of scotch.

Rey pops in, sees they already have drinks, and exclaims, “Oh! Good, you’re all set. I’ll just get started on the windows then, sir.”

Ben wills his face into what he hopes is an approving, managerial sort of expression. “Sounds good, Rey. Thank you!”

She whirls around and leaves, and Ben turns to his friend. “See?”

Hux chuckles and shakes his head. “Why aren’t you getting your dick sucked by that smoking-hot little vixen?”

Ben spits out his drink. “WHAT?” he bellows, hoping like hell Rey is on the other side of the penthouse by now.

He scrambles to find a handkerchief, kneeling to dab scotch off the floor before Rey finds out he spilled.

“She’s an escort, Ren.” Hux informs him as if it’s obvious. “Why aren’t you letting her…?”

“She’s my employee. I’ll thank you to show some fucking respect,” Ben hisses, hustling outside to the relative privacy of the lounge chairs next to the pool.

Hux cocks an eyebrow and takes his scotch, following Ben outside.

They settle into seats on the far side of the patio, which affords them a bit of privacy for the conversation. Ben fully intends to lay into his friend for being a disrespectful lecher, but Hux nods to the floor-to-ceiling glass windows opposite them.

Distracted, Ben watches Rey set a bucket next to the window inside the living room, getting ready to start cleaning windows. It’s a perfect view from their vantage across the patio.

Hux snorts. “She’s might be your employee, but she’s an escort. I’ve had a hooker or two in my time…unlike you…”

“Why do you have to be such a repulsive bastard?” Ben snaps with irritation, sipping his drink.

Ben can glimpse Rey as she begins to wash the windows from the inside, singing to herself as she stretches and swipes a squeegee down with a dramatic little shimmy and pull…

Hux is unperturbed by the insult and sips his drink, following Ben’s eyes. “I might be a repulsive bastard, but I’d bet my trust fund that girl is an escort. Where’d you find her?”

“A very reputable agency. The First Order,” Ben snaps defiantly.

Hux throws back his head and laughs. “Oh, shit. Are you serious?”

Ben shrugs.

“The First Order? Solo, you kill me…” Hux is dissolving into raucous laughter at the shocked expression on his friend’s face. “That’s…the classiest escort service on the East Coast…Their motto is ‘Never Break Character’ and I’ve definitely hired a few ‘employees’ from them and I promise you…they are NOT maids…”

Ben tries to process his friend’s remarks, but suddenly his ears are buzzing and he’s blinking in confusion, staring at Rey.

She’s pressed against the window, the round globes of her breasts smashed against the glass, her skimpy uniform doing nothing to preserve a sense of modesty and he can’t take his eyes off her and –

Hux takes a smug sip of scotch, eyes darting from Ben to Rey with increasing humor.

They watch in silence for a few minutes, until Ben admits Hux just might be onto something…

She finally stops and Ben’s pulse flutters back down to semi-normal.

“Do you think she got it all?” Hux sneers.

“The First Order…?” he asks weakly.

“Is a high-class escort service,” Hux finishes.

Ben tries to process the situation when, right on cue, Rey comes outside carrying a tray of fresh drinks. He pulls his face into a semblance of order.

An escort? His maid?

She leans over so he can ogle her cleavage.

“Here’s a fresh drink, sir,” she murmurs breathily. He takes it, mouth agape, as realization slams into him like a freight train.

Ben catches Hux’s smirking grin from behind her and takes a second look.

She’s smiling at him like he’s the only man in the galaxy.

She turns to serve Hux a drink and sticks her ass out, giving Ben another glimpse of her thong.

“Thank you, angel,” Hux murmurs appreciatively.

She strolls away without rancor at Hux’s loosely-flung endearments, and Ben meets his friend’s mocking gaze with horrified realization. Ben blinks, the scales falling from his eyes as he takes in her ensemble and calls back to the day they met.

“You should definitely let her get her hands on you,” Hux suggests. “Those girls are very well trained...”

An escort?

His maid is an…ohhhhh holy fucking shit…

Ben’s stomach drops.

Wait.

If she’s an escort, then she must think he’s a sadistic weirdo, making her do manual labor all day...

She probably thinks he’s a total freak.

He hears a shriek from inside the penthouse and both men jump from their seats to run inside.

“Oh, shit!”

At the sight of an unbelievable amount of bubbles flooding through the room, they freeze, then Hux bursts into another round of raucous laughter.

Ben can’t fault his friend for being amused, even as Rey stands there, hands on hips and shaking her head.

“Um. How much soap did you use? Sir?” Rey squeaks. For the first time, she’s not simpering or batting her eyelashes. She looks genuinely shocked.

“A capful! A capful, I swear, just like it said on the directions!”

She’s shaking her head as bubbles move toward her like a slow-motion avalanche.

“That can’t be right!” she wails, swatting at them with her apron. “Are you sure? Just a capful?”

“Yeah, I swear! Just a capful!” Ben gestures to his head like he’s pulling on a baseball cap with both hands.

Rey freezes. Instead of nodding sympathetically, she scowls.

“You added a capful…as in a baseball cap full?”

“I’m sorry, did you just try to do a load of laundry?” Hux asks incredulously.

Ben nods. “Maybe the washing machine is broken. Or should I have added fabric softener?”

That’s wrong, isn’t it?

Hux holds out his phone with a diabolical smirk on his face. “Do you want to call Mitaka? Or should I?”

Chapter Text

Chapter Seven: The One Where Ben Goes to the Store

 

Hux is chuckling and Rey is staring at him like he’s sprouted horns.

“I did try to do some laundry…” Ben admits, shuffling his feet uncomfortably under their combined scrutiny.

“Why?” Hux seems baffled into near-speechlessness.

Ben doesn’t answer, and Rey turns back to resume staring at the mountain of bubbles slowly creeping toward her.

Rey gives him the side-eye and flips her apron at the bubbles, huffing with exasperation. If it weren’t so humiliating, Ben would be enchanted with how adorably flustered she is.

She’s not putting on an act for a change, and suddenly Ben realizes she is genuinely annoyed with him.

Well. That’s different.

“Um. I was…just trying to be helpful.” Ben flounders, trying to fill the awkward silence.

“Helpful?” Hux mouths the word as if it is an entirely foreign concept. “Since when have you ever?” He stops short and cocks his head, gazing keenly at Ben.

Ben knows the second Hux figures out his big secret and makes an instant, executive decision.

“Uh. Rey? I think that’s enough for today. Hux is calling someone to take care of this and…I’ll walk you to the door.”

“Oh! Um. Okay....”

Rey seems rather bewildered by the circumstances, but she doesn’t argue. She follows Ben to the closet while Hux makes a call. Ben scrambles to find some way to make the last ten minutes not so weird.

“Sorry about…all that…apparently I have no useful real-life skills whatsoever,” he finally mutters rather sheepishly, sliding her coat over her arms and resisting the urge to brush his fingers over her silky-looking shoulders.

For some reason, now that he knows she’s an escort, he feels much less awkward about lusting like hell after her.

She stares up at him wide-eyed and breathes, “I’m sorry, sir, I should have known!”

She’s back to the maid act, but now Ben can cut through it like a laser beam.

“Rey. You don’t have to…you can drop the act. It’s okay.”

He watches her consider for half a second before relenting and wiping the coyness off her face.

A warm invisible fist squeezes itself around Ben’s heart. Shit, she’s beautiful.

“Well…do you want me back on Saturday?” A small grin plays at the corner of her mouth, making Ben’s pulse dance.

“Oh! Yeah, the schedule…I uh…yeah,” he says recklessly. Fuck it. “Yeah, maybe you should come back on Saturday…”

“Okay.” She smiles and the fist around his heart squeezes again. “You sure you’re going to be able to manage without me until then?”

He shakes his head. “No,” he replies too truthfully, and before he can think of all the reasons why he shouldn’t, he steals a glance at her mouth.

Her lips purse together with restrained mirth. Their eyes meet, and he is utterly lost in sparkling hazel.

He can’t form coherent thoughts. Maybe he can figure out how to make words again by Saturday morning.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to…?”

“I’ll be okay. I might hole up here and try to stay out of trouble,” Ben murmurs, unable to tear his gaze from her smile.

“Good idea,” she nods agreeably. “Pop some popcorn, watch a movie. No laundry.”

A bark of laughter escapes him before he can stop it. Then another. Her grin widens and before he knows it, they are both laughing and grinning at each other and the ridiculous situation.

The elevator car arrives with a muted shush, and Ben ushers her inside, holding open the door with an outstretched arm, unwilling to let go of the sight of her twinkling eyes just yet.

She glances pointedly at his arm blocking the door and gently pushes him away.

“I’ll see you Saturday, then.”

The brief warmth of her touch sends tingles through him.

“See you,” he replies softly as the doors slide closed.

He takes a deep breath and returns to his so-called friend in the other room.

 

“Oh, sweet mother Mary and Joseph,” Hux murmurs in quiet undertones. “She’s the nobody, huh?”

Ben huffs and crosses his arms, meeting his friend’s gleeful contemplation with his own intimidating stare. He kind of wishes Hux would evaporate on the spot.

“Shut. Up.” He doesn’t speak the words so much as bite them out. Hux smirks back at him, unafraid.

Ben mentally scrambles to come up with some other plausible excuse for why he might want to help Rey.

Rey. The high-class escort he’s been working like a dog…

He blanches as reality truly hits him.

He made her pick up his dirty underwear and change his sheets and scrub his shower.

Oh, fuck, the things he’s been doing in that shower all week. He’s pretty sure he rinsed it down really well, but still…

Now he knows she’s an escort, and he speculates why she kept showing up for work.

She must really need the money.

Oh, damn.

If he keeps her on as his maid, that would only become more unbearable, especially now that he knows she’s basically a sex goddess and he’s…not so much of a sex anything, actually. Ever.

And if he lets her go…Ben has a strong intuition it might reflect poorly on her at the agency.

And even if she does return to the First Order, even if she isn’t fired for losing a client, she’ll go back to work…with other people. She'll have other clients…and that is something he really doesn’t want to dwell on, either…

Stop it, Solo. You have no right to think of her like that.

She’s a grown woman and she can do whatever she wants.

But the thought of her with someone else sends a small spike of panic into his gut. He shoves the thought away with effort.

Because he wants her.

And he has the means to keep her. He can give her anything.

For the first time in his life, Ben Solo is a little thankful for his money.

However. He would have to actually talk to her about it. He is more than a little nervous at the idea of propositioning her.

Hux cocks his head, watching every emotion play across Ben’s face.

“Mitaka will be here in a few minutes.” Hux’s words break through and Ben nods.

“Thanks for calling him. I’ll…make it up to him.”

“Mitaka is very well paid,” Hux replies nonchalantly. “And that girl…Rey? She’s not your ex, Ren. For what it’s worth, I think she likes you, too.”

Ben’s jaw drops at his friend’s uncharacteristic sentimentality, but before he can reply, Hux is already out the door.

 

 

Ben stands deep in thought and hasn’t budged since Hux’s perceptive comments and abrupt departure.

The elevator arrives again, and this time it’s Mitaka with a half-dozen people wearing khaki scrubs and name tags, presumably the cleaning crew.

“Would you like a cocktail on the patio, sir?” Mitaka asks politely.

Ben gets the hint. His presence will only get in the way of the people there to clean up the now epic mass of bubbles flooding from the laundry room.

“Yeah, thanks Mitaka.”

He heads back outside to the sound of Mitaka quietly issuing instructions.

Mitaka brings him a drink after a few minutes, and Ben has made a decision.

“Mitaka?”

“Yes, sir?”

Ben jumps right in. “How much do I pay you, Mitaka?”

Mitaka hesitates almost delicately, as if unsure how to proceed. Finally he replies, “You don’t pay me, sir.”

Ben pauses, drink halfway to his mouth. “Huh?”

Mitaka sighs. “Technically, I am in the employ of Mr. Hux, sir. But he’s instructed me to be at your disposal.”

“Why?”

“I…think he finds it amusing, sir. If I were to hazard a guess.”

“So, all the stuff you do for me is…because Hux pays you to…?”

Mitaka nods agreeably. “Yes, sir.”

“Along with assisting him? That’s your job?”

“Yes, sir, Mr. Solo.”

“And you’re cool with it?” Ben is aware he is pushing the boundaries of appropriate conversation, but he cannot help but be curious.

Mitaka pauses for a moment. He has an excellent poker face. “It pays the bills, sir?”

“Bills. Right. Tell me about bills.”

“Seriously? Sir?”

“Yeah, yeah!” Ben gestures for Mitaka to take the seat Hux had occupied earlier. “Would you mind?”

Mitaka sighs.

 

Ben feels absolutely conspicuous, but he is determined to try to be like a regular guy for once. Rey told him to pop some popcorn and watch a movie, and if he’s being honest, Ben would rather have a quiet night in for a change. He has a lot to think about.

He just needs to run one errand, first.

So instead of donning a tux and riding in a town car to his mother’s or to Hux’s mother’s or to the Dameron’s or any of the numerous acquaintances hosting a party this evening, Ben is wearing jeans and a t-shirt and a leather jacket he isn’t sure he ever remembers buying.

He's double-checked to make sure his wallet holds both cash and a credit card.

He's triple-checked with Mitaka about where he might find popcorn.

He almost just did the easy thing and asked Mitaka to get some for him, but Ben has a sneaking suspicion Mitaka might have better things to do.

Particularly after his earlier revelation.

Ben really needs his own assistant. Or he can try to poach Mitaka from Hux.

Actually, that sounds like just the thing.

He wonders what it would take to tempt Mitaka into working exclusively for him. Most people will do just about anything for money, unless they are extremely loyal…

The evening air greets him as he steps outside and strides casually down the sidewalk, pondering and looking for the corner market Mitaka assured him existed.

Ben has never felt so spontaneous.

This is, in a roundabout way, Rey’s doing.

She’s not your ex, Ren.

Ben thinks about what Rey might be doing tonight, what her life is like in the hours she isn’t working…

For what it’s worth, I think she likes you, too.

The city rumbles past, always moving, always busy. A strange quiet seems to cast itself over the streets.

Perhaps Ben’s own solitude emphasizes the relatively empty sidewalks.

It’s been a while since he’s felt alone.

Having Rey around all week kept the loneliness at bay, he realizes.

Ben notices the flashing signs outside the corner store proclaiming the lottery to be at several million dollars. Not for the first time that day, he wonders at how the other half lives.

He steps inside the store and the first thing that hits him is the smell. It isn’t bad, it’s just old. Nostalgic.

It reminds him of –

A powerful memory washes over him, of the time his father took him on a trip to the country. Forever ago. Ben was just a kid.

Han Solo visited the Organa’s lake house every year, for “some goddamned peace and quiet” and had asked Ben to come along one summer. They’d stopped at a little gas station on the way.

He told Ben to pick a “treat” from the candy aisle, and Ben had cautiously selected a candy bar, hoping it would meet with his father’s approval. He remembers the offhand way Han chatted with the clerk, handing Ben a dollar bill to pay for the candy bar himself.

“That would have been a lot of money when I was a kid,” Han had informed him with a confidential wink.

Ben remembers feeling nervous about buying that candy bar. He wasn’t sure why. His father watched him, and the clerk had chuckled when Ben handed over the money for such a small thing, a piece of candy.

The amount had seemed so tiny to Ben at the time. Even then his world did not usually filter down to dollars and cents. His parents used to argue over it. His father always insisted Ben remember he might be half aristocratic Skywalker, but the other half was “just a regular guy.”

His mother hated it when Han Solo said things like that in Ben’s hearing. She hated Han reminding her he wasn’t from money…

The idea of a dollar being “a lot” was a foreign concept to Ben, but for some reason the moment always stuck with him.

An electric ding sounds at the back of the store as another customer walks in. Ben looks around to orient himself among the aisles and horrid fluorescent lighting and bright plastic-wrapped goods and bottles. Liquor and tobacco line the back of the store behind the counter.

A young man stands behind the cash register and Ben nods courteously before making his way to the first aisle.

He feels nervous again. He scans every item on every shelf, skipping over an aisle filled with cold medicine and aspirin and toilet paper. Mitaka assured him popcorn would most likely be located in the same area as other snack food.

Ben hopes he is right.

But sure enough, there in the middle of the aisle between something called corn chips and corn nuts, Ben finds several boxes with popcorn on them. He looks carefully at the box and ponders how much he should buy.

The back of the box says serving size three per bag. Number of bags per box is three.

That is nine servings of popcorn.

One box should do it, Ben tells himself.

He brings the popcorn to the counter, feeling another powerful surge of nostalgia as the young man behind the register points a scanner at the box. An electric beep sounds, and he tells Ben in bored tones, “Three seventy-one.”

Ben pulls out his wallet and hands the kid a hundred-dollar bill.

The kid looks at Ben somewhat suspiciously and points to a hand-printed sign taped to the cash register. “No large bills.”

Bills. Mitaka had told him about bills earlier. Ben somehow doesn’t feel this is the same situation.

He is ninety percent sure the young man means he won’t accept a hundred-dollar bill. But that is the only form of cash Ben has on him.

Right before he panics he notices another sign. American Express welcome here.

Ah, okay. He has one of those.

He nods coolly, acutely aware someone waits behind him. He holds up his credit card and the cashier’s eyebrows lift. But he simply nods in return and indicates a machine in front of Ben and Ben’s heart begins thumping.

He is supposed to do something. More people line up behind him, waiting. Watching. He looks at the little device in front of him, strangely shaped and with a brightly-colored keypad on it.

Finally, the cashier has mercy. “Insert the card into the chip reader, please.”

The kid has no idea Ben, who could buy everything in the store, not to mention the building, too, has never in his life done anything like this before.

Ben feels an impatient sigh behind him and tries to figure out what the cashier is asking him to do.

He should have just had Mitaka take care of this.

He never should have –

“Like this,” an elderly woman shuffles next to Ben and guides the hand holding his card to the number-thing, sliding the card into the slot on the front. “These new chip readers just came out a few years ago…hard to get used to,” she says kindly.

She winks up at Ben and he smiles at her. “Thank you,” he says gratefully. He looks again at his card in the little machine. It seems rather obvious now, but nobody is laughing at him.

This is normal. Something regular people do every day.

Transaction complete.

Ben takes his card and the box of popcorn and exits the store with a newfound sense of humanity. As if having done something so mundane, so normal as buy a box of popcorn has shifted his world on its axis just a bit.

That tiny moment of connection, when the old woman helped him, brought such a rush of awareness it had nearly overwhelmed him.

Because in that instant he became quite aware of his self-inflicted isolation. Of how he has shut himself away from all but a few people in a perhaps misguided effort to protect a formerly broken heart. Of how much he was missing from being part of the world.

That little trip to the corner store opened his eyes.

Ben feels a strong wave of something he can’t name as he walks home, now making eye contact with fellow pedestrians, nodding, smiling, connecting. For once he isn’t being treated with kid gloves or the carefully refined respect meant to cultivate his trust, often with an ulterior motive to manipulate something out of him...

People respond in kind, treating him with same friendly aloofness as the cashier and the old woman at the store. They have no idea who he is, and they have no hidden agenda behind their eyes as they meet his.

As he walks, a lightness enters his heart. He feels…open to anything. As he makes his way home, he grows more confident that maybe the world isn’t such a painful place as he’d believed it to be.

This is Rey’s doing.

Rey.

Suddenly, the entire city seems like a place of opportunity, of possibility, and Ben feels…glad to be part of it.

It is the way Rey makes him feel.

Like he can be part of the real world. Just a regular guy.

 

 

Ben cannot shake his sense of anticipation as he checks his watch once again. The popcorn is in the microwave and he’s been waiting for more two minutes, as instructed by the guidance printed on the bag, but nothing is happening.

“Oh!”

Ben turns as Mitaka enters the kitchen.

“Sorry, sir! I didn’t realize you would be home this evening.”

Ben notices the garment bags and shopping bags Mitaka carries.

Ah. This must be when he restocks my shorts and socks and groceries.

“It’s okay, Mitaka. I’m just…making popcorn. Gonna watch a movie. Have a quiet night in.”

Mitaka’s eyebrows shoot upward before he pulls his face back into his usual aloof, slightly subservient expression. Ben grins.

So. Mitaka can be rattled, after all. Good to know.

“Mitaka?” Ben asks. “Is the microwave broken? Or did I buy defective popcorn? Nothing is happening.”

Mitaka lays the garment bags over the kitchen island and sets down the shopping bags, approaching curiously.

Ben waits a few seconds for Mitaka’s evaluation of the situation.

“I…can’t tell, and I feel like I really need to ask, sir.”

“Um, yeah? What is it?”

“It might come across as offensive, sir.”

Ben is intrigued. “Okay. I’ll try not to get mad.”

Mitaka meets his eyes. “Are you really this helpless, or is it just an act, sir?”

“I’m not sure what you mean. Helpless how?” Ben is flummoxed, but not offended.

“Never mind, sir. I think that just answered my question.” Mitaka pushes the start button on the microwave and Ben’s eyes light up as it turns on.

Mitaka returns to the shopping bags and begins unloading things onto the counter while Ben watches the bag of popcorn expand as it spins inside the microwave. He’s trying to figure out a way to work Rey into the conversation without making it too obvious he has a crush on her. But he needs to ask Mitaka for more advice…

“Do you ever wonder what it’s made of?” Ben muses after half a minute. He hears a popping sound and is riveted.

“What what is made of, sir?” Mitaka asks distractedly.

“What popcorn is made of. Do you know?”

“Do I…know what popcorn is made of, sir?”

“Yeah?”

“Yes, sir.”

“What is it? Made of?”

Mitaka sighs again, slightly less patient this time. “Corn, sir.”

“Corn?”

“Yes, sir, corn…the vegetable.”

“Huh.” Ben supposes that makes sense. “Really?”

“Yes, sir, it’s…right there in the name.”

Ben ignores the very faint touch of sarcasm and is working up the nerve to ask Mitaka to help him figure out what Rey might be into when the microwave stops with a cheery ding.

Mitaka steps up and reaches in front of Ben, removing the slightly steaming bag and pulling it open by the corners in a manner of practiced ease.

Ben watches how he does it so he can copy it next time. Push the start button, open at the corners. Right.

“Rey suggested I enjoy popcorn with my movie tonight,” Ben says casually, with the slightest emphasis on Rey's name. He takes the warm bag from his assistant.

“That is the traditionally accepted snack for most movie-watchers, sir.”

The conversation isn’t going at all the way Ben wants, and Mitaka remains as closed off as ever.

Ben recalls his earlier feeling of endless possibility and decides to just be brave and say what he means. Fuck it.

He drops his mask and asks baldly, “Do you think Rey might enjoy a movie? With someone like me?”

"Rey? The maid, sir?"

Ben nods.

Mitaka cocks his head and smiles at Ben for the first time, as understanding dawns on his face.

“Yes, sir. I think she might enjoy that very much.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 8: The One Where Ben Tries

 

Rey opens the door to her apartment and finds it empty. She isn't sure if it is a welcome surprise or a bit of a letdown, considering everything on her mind at the moment.

She slips off her shoes and heads for her room, deep in thought.

After the laundry debacle, her boss sent her home early, and Rey spent her commute home wondering how to handle her growing emotional attachment to him. Because she was really starting to like him. 

Rose and Finn probably took Jackson to the park, as they have done all week. Rey smiles as she remembers her son's enthusiastic retelling of going down the “swide” and “’winging”.

This week’s hours have been wonderful for their schedule, and Rey has never felt better, sleeping at night and working during the day. 

But. She needs to talk to Rose. Rose will be honest and give her advice. Rey needs to decide if her situation is too dangerously similar to the last time she fell for a client. When she fell for Jackson's father and ended up with a broken heart and then some...

She needs a touchstone for the increasingly troubling feelings she’s been having for Ben Solo. She needs to be realistic.

She’s afraid if she can’t get a grip on her attraction, she’s going to repeat her mistakes and fall hard. And it would be way too easy to fall for his gorgeous hair and soft voice and gentle hands that never stray from the strictest, most reserved touches, even as his pretty eyes wander all over the place. He watches her like he wants to gobble her up...but he does it furtively. Like he doesn’t want her to know.

It’s almost as if his restraint is making her the one to want, as if he’s the tease, the one stripping down slowly, temptingly, stoking a smoldering fire of need inside her.

Her belly flutters as she remembers the way he laughed earlier over his ridiculous mistake with the laundry.

He’s too good-looking, that’s the problem.

And she still can’t escape the feeling she is missing something important with him. He’s too deferential, and it’s disconcerting, throwing her off. Usually Rey finds it quite easy to separate her emotions from her work.

But this one…this one is tricky.

Because in her experience, feelings lead to trusting, and trusting leads to tragedy. 

And tragedy is unacceptable if it can be avoided. She's asked so much of her friends and given up so many things for her child. She cannot risk everything she's built, everything she's done, only to go backwards.

She doesn’t want to quit this job, but if she can't get a grip on her attraction to him, she might have to. Because falling for a client again could only bring disaster, as she learned the hard way, the first time. She can't afford another life-altering dilemma, especially now when it is more than just her feelings at stake. She has to consider Jackson, now, and the impact her decisions will have on him. She's barely got a grip on the realities of life as it is - her child, her friends, bills, her job - any disruption because of preventable heartache would be irresponsible of her to bring into their lives.

And if she falls for a client and ends up broken-hearted again, she will be right back at square one. No. She will be worse off, because someone like Ben...he's special. In another life, he could have been the One...

But that isn't realistic, and Rey needs to keep her head in the game. There's no way someone like him would ever look at her as anything more than a diverting little fucktoy. Something to keep him amused until a more appropriate liaison presents itself. 

The front door opens and familiar little footsteps rumble through the apartment.

“Momma!” Jackson yells, flinging open the door to her room and running inside.

She pushes her troubled thoughts aside and scoops up her son, swinging him back and forth with a breathless laugh and a rush of love.

He plants a wet kiss on her cheek as she hugs him close, resigning herself to the knowledge that this might be the only love she finds in life and that it is more than enough. More than most people ever get. She might have to be realistic and sacrifice her personal feelings to do what is best for her little boy, but it’s worth it.

Mostly.

 

His mother, Leia Organa, of the Alderaan Organas, hosts a party every week, and Ben usually attends religiously, having long ago submitted himself to his mother's insistence he try to "find time for the minimum amount of family participation as he possibly can."

Damn, she's good with the guilt and even better with the manipulation, and Ben is sure he'll hear about it soon enough.

But last night, Ben stayed home, opting instead to watch a movie and eat popcorn and go to bed early and think about things.

Specifically, what to do about Rey.

The next day is Rey's scheduled day off, and Ben, knowing he won’t be seeing her, tries to distract himself by going to the club early for breakfast. He assumes doubles with Hux and Dameron and Connix is still on, and he looks forward to getting some exercise and relieving some tension with a bit of friendly competition.

He usually calls for a car, typically because he is half-hungover after having a late night at one of his mother’s extravagant gatherings. However, this morning he is up bright and early, so he decides to walk.

He walked last night, and it was good, a good thing to experience.

When he came home and tried to make popcorn, Mitaka had helped and made him feel a little less nervous about Rey. After Mitaka left, Ben went into his library and watched an old movie – The Philadelphia Story – and thought about Rey and ate his popcorn. Halfway though, he paused the movie and went to the kitchen to make some more, recalling Mitaka’s earlier demonstration.

The popcorn came out just fine.

It was good.

The air this morning is New York crisp, as it can only be in the springtime; a tinge of chilliness still lingers this early in the season, but it is neither icy nor unfriendly as winter finally yields its grip on the city.

Ben finds himself walking with throngs of commuters and workers and otherwise busy people. His spirits are much the same as they were the previous evening. The streets are still friendly, still emanating an air of vague possibility, although somewhat more crowded.

Being amongst crowds of people doesn’t bother him – they don’t make him nervous – but he feels electrified and rather bemused as he realizes everyone else seems to have such purpose to their motions, such intent.

And he really doesn’t have anything terribly compelling to occupy his time, other than play a few sets of tennis and drink a Bloody Mary or two…

It’s unsettling.

He walks.

He’s drifting along and has nearly reached the club where he expects to meet his friends, when his phone buzzes with a text message alert.

HUX: Doubles canceled

Hux never prevaricates; he gets right to the point.

Ben texts back.

What happened?

HUX: Damn’s out of country on last min trip, Connix idgaf

Oh.

HUX: C u at gala tomorrow

Ah. His mother’s gala. Damn, that’s tomorrow night. Ben recalls seeing his tux amongst the garment bags Mitaka brought last night.

Ben glances around. People flow and jostle around him in a hurry, like fast-moving water, and he is a rock in the center of the stream.

Deciding to skip the club altogether, Ben makes a spur-of-the-moment decision and wanders a few blocks before slowly looping around to head home.

He glances across the street, and notices the corner store he’d visited the night before is there.

He once again has a strong sensation of waking up after being long asleep.

He must have come this way unconsciously, but now that he's here, he crosses the street and enters the store with less hesitation this time.

The smell is the same nostalgic mix as before: Faint, sour sweat and disinfectant and the cold from freezer cases and a not-unpleasant hint of tobacco.

Ben wanders to the snack aisle but spots a familiar bottle of laundry detergent on the way.

You could make my job a little easier, sir.

He could restock the laundry soap now and save Mitaka the trouble. Ben grins and grabs a bottle before heading to pick up some more popcorn, too. If Rey comes over to watch a movie, he should be prepared.

A different clerk is behind the register today, an older woman, tiny and withered. But her eyes spark with wise humor and she smiles at him as he places his items on the counter.

She rings him up with a quirk of her brow and Ben pays with his black American Express card. Her eyes widen a touch at the sight of it, and Ben wonders if everything is okay. But she merely tells him to have a nice day and gives a friendly nod as he leaves.

When he arrives back at his penthouse, he decides perhaps laundry isn’t his strong suit.

He leaves the detergent in the laundry room, now immaculate after the crew came in and made the place look as if Ben’s bubble disaster never happened.

His stomach growls. Cooking isn’t his strong suit, either.

Shit. He wonders again how tough it is going to be to poach Mitaka away from Hux.

Now is as good a time as any to find out.

He cracks his knuckles and makes the call.

 

“Can I assume that coming to work exclusively for you, sir, will reduce the number of middle-of-the-night phone calls?” Mitaka asks, flipping a steak while Ben watches from his perch on the barstool at the end of his kitchen island.

Ben might be drooling a little – he’s famished – but he figures he deserves it after insisting Mitaka come over on the pretense of handling another “emergency.”

“Yes, definitely,” Ben assures him. Actually, he has no idea. But all of a sudden, the thought of getting some actual, real help in his life is becoming rather appealing. It would certainly free up more time for him to pursue his rapidly-developing other interests.

Like Rey.

But, first things first.

Mitaka sears the steak on the other side, using kitchen tongs Ben didn’t know he owned, lifting the meat and holding it sideways in the searing-hot pan along the strip of fat on the side.

“Mr. Hux won’t like it, although I don’t do nearly as much for him as what you’re proposing,” Mitaka says, straightforward as ever.

“I’ll handle Hux. I just…really need to take charge of my life again. And you’ve always been really helpful, and I honestly don’t trust anyone else, and money is no problem – I’ll pay whatever you want, I just –”

Mitaka cuts in with a shake of his head, removing the steak to a plate and setting a cover over it. He cracks a couple of eggs into the pan. “Didn’t anyone ever teach you how to negotiate, sir?”

Ben shrugs.

“Would you like toast with your breakfast, sir?” Mitaka asks politely.

“Uh, yeah. But I already looked. I don’t have any toast, only bread.”

Mitaka rolls his eyes, and Ben feels a touch defensive. He tried to find toast earlier, but he poked through the fridge and cupboards and realized he had no idea what to do with all the stuff in there.

He could have ordered take out again, like he usually does, but he had the bright idea to get Mitaka to come over, instead.

Mitaka pops a couple of slices of bread into the toaster oven and Ben’s eyes light up.

Toaster oven. Toast. Ah. Right.

Mitaka is barely withholding the smirk from his face and Ben decides to change the subject back to his original one.

“So. If you come to work for me, I will need some household staff. Obviously.”

“What about Rey? The…er…maid, sir?” Mitaka asks delicately.

Ben’s nostrils flare. He knows damn well Mitaka knows she isn’t a maid anymore. Was never actually a maid. 

“I will take care of that…situation,” Ben says evenly. His heart skips a beat, though. After his movie last night, he’d popped the last bag of popcorn and did some online research, including thoroughly re-reading the First Order contract. It had proven to be quite…illuminating. “Actually. What I really need is a lawyer,” he admits carefully.

Mitaka lifts the cover off the steak, slides two eggs on top, and butters a couple slices of toast, setting it in front of Ben at the kitchen island, along with culinary utensils.

Ben doesn’t hesitate to dig in and take a bite. It’s delicious, of course. Mitaka’s cooking is excellent.

“You’re in luck, sir.”

“Yeah.” Ben nods around a bite of steak.

“I happen to be a lawyer.”

“I know.” Ben swallows and takes a sip of the juice Mitaka sets before him. Mitaka arches his brows in surprise. "I learned my lesson the hard way, Mitaka. I did my research this time. You have a Juris Doctor from Harvard."

Mitaka grins and nods as if he's impressed, "Yes, I do, sir."

“How the hell are you working for Hux?”

“It pays better than lawyering, sir. And I suspect working for you is going to pay even more.” Mitaka wipes his hands on a dishtowel, and Ben nods agreeably, glad they seem to understand each other.

He suspects he will pay Mitaka whatever he wants, so long as he can help Ben get his shit together.

 

The next day, Ben wakes early again and makes his own toast. He’s always made his own coffee – an essential function Ben learned when he discovered if he didn’t make it himself, he would have to go all the way through the building and outside to a coffee shop to feed his morning caffeine addiction. Or hire a barista to bring him some every day. Which would be ridiculous, even for him. 

He's sipping his excellent coffee and munching his slightly scorched toast and mentally reviewing what he’s going to say to Rey. His musings are interrupted by Hux, however. It’s quite early, and Hux obviously is still awake from whatever he got up to the night before. Hux also apparently intends to to give Ben a friendly ass-chewing about stealing Mitaka.

Ben shrugs and feels an old competitiveness fire up. 

Hux doesn’t seem too bent out of shape about it as he mixes them each a Bloody Mary.

Rey arrives a few minutes later, and Ben reluctantly acknowledges he won't have a chance to talk to her until after Hux leaves. And the only way to get Hux to leave without arousing suspicion is to let him talk until he's tired out.

They carry their cocktails to the patio while Rey bustles around with her feather duster.

Hux is gabbling on about the latest gossip from their circle of acquaintances, but Ben only listens with half an ear. Hux likes the sound of his own voice, and Ben is too distracted by Rey.

He is trying to figure out the best way to talk to her about their current circumstances. She’s scheduled to be there until noon, and then –

“Why did Damn leave the country so fast, did he tell you?” Hux muses, cutting through Ben's thoughts.

“You’re the one who told me he left, remember?” Ben reminds him.

“Oh, right. Sorry. I was hungover. I don’t know why he was even in the city to begin with. He usually only comes around once a year at Christmas to try to convince his stepmother to up his allowance or finally give him access to his trust fund.”

Ben shakes his head. Dameron going head-to-head with his stepmother Amilyn has been a main stage event since they all were in boarding school together forever ago.

“Speaking of mothers, your mother was quite upset when I showed up without you Thursday night,” Hux purrs. “Whatever were you doing that you couldn’t make it?”

Hux makes a pointed glance at Rey and smirks and Ben wants to punch him in the face.

“I was…busy,” Ben muttered, taking another sip as Rey flits around just inside with her feather duster and stockings and ruffles and cute little butt swaying back and forth.

Ben canceled her maid contract that morning. He called the First Order to let them know, but then Hux showed up, and Rey obviously hadn’t heard, because she’s still wearing her uniform and apparently thinks it is business as usual, maid persona firmly in place.

As if his thoughts have called her forth, Rey approaches. She's carrying a tray with fresh drinks, looking every bit an escort dressed as a naughty maid.

She moves to serve Hux first, and as if to prove his point, Hux gestures to Ben and says in a voice dripping with sarcasm, “Honey, it looks like your Daddy needs help with his cocktail. Maybe you should go sit in his lap and…make sure he doesn’t spill it…?”

Rey turns with pursed lips and looks at Ben, before turning back to Hux, who informs her in a stage whisper and an evil grin, “He’s shy.”

Ben’s heart is thumping out of his chest. He is going to fucking murder Hux. If he doesn’t die of embarrassment first.

But. Before Ben can muster an apology at his friend’s outrageous and entirely inappropriate suggestion, Rey turns to look at him again.

And her eyes most certainly hold a bit of heated evaluation…

She’s not tossing drinks in faces and shrieking about sexual harassment lawsuits…nor would she, Ben knows now.

His throat works around an impossibly large lump of agonizing lust and fury and embarrassment and pretty much every feeling a man can feel when a girl is looking at him the way Rey is.

She’s walking to him with a soft roll of her hips and a knowing gleam in her eye and Ben Solo is the horniest man who ever breathed air.

“Daddy?” she murmurs with a lift of her eyebrow. “Is that true?”

Ben can’t talk but he can nod agreeably.

And sure enough, she settles herself in his lap. Right on top of his throbbing dick. She takes his glass from his unsteady grasp and tilts it to his lips with a concerned little frown puckering her perfect brow.

She squirms a bit, wringing a soft moan from him. “Oh, my…” she breathes as she watches him drink his cocktail. “We can’t have you making a mess, Daddy. That wouldn’t be good at all…”

She smiles and wiggles again.

"Is that true? You’re shy?” she asks confidentially, lips quirking into a gentle tease.

The best of the best…not maids…escorts

She twists a lock of his hair around her finger.

Ben shifts awkwardly and tries to tilt his glass away and of course he spills his drink. Well. Not so much spills it as tips it right into her cleavage.

She shrieks at the cold and jumps up, spattering his drink everywhere. Everywhere.

She immediately takes a napkin from her tray and begins patting it all over him.

Oh holy fuck.

He’s so flabbergasted, he barely acknowledges Hux’s snort of laughter as his friend stands and mutters, “I just remembered I have to be…anywhere but here.”

Ben’s jaw hangs open and he doesn’t reply. He can’t. He can’t tear his eyes from Rey’s sweet mouth pursed into a little “oh!” and the way her bodice does absolutely fucking nothing to hide the very top crescents of her dusky pink nipples peeking through and –

She’s petting his crotch with a napkin and her cleavage is right under his goddamn nose.

“You two kids have fun, now…” Hux chuckles as he leaves.

And suddenly Ben is alone. With his maid.

No.

Not a maid.

The escort he hired. On accident.

The girl he’s been lusting after like a depraved pervert since the very instant he clapped eyes on her.

The high-class call girl currently dabbing at his lap and muttering “Oh, no, I'm sorry, Daddy!” like she means every word of it.

The escort who would probably have had no problem letting him do at least half the degenerate things he’d been fantasizing about, had he but the courage to ask her.

And he’s been making her pick up his dirty shorts and do chores when she probably thought she’d be getting wined and dined and as Hux so eloquently put it, sucking his dick.

That last thought puts an image in his head he can’t get out.

But an uncomfortable guilt writhes gently under his skin. He can’t…think of Rey like that. She’s not a toy. She’s a person.

And he’s not so far gone as to take advantage when she doesn’t know why he really hired her in the first place.

 

Ah. This boy has a Daddy Kink, Rey realizes almost immediately, noticing the way his eyes darkened, how his jaw clenched, how his chest seemed to catch when she said it.

Oh, how fun, she thinks to herself. Now she knows exactly what to do. Thank goodness.

She can feel his interest growing as she pats his crotch with her napkin.

She’s trying not to worry over the cleaning bill for her maid’s uniform. Definitely trying not to worry about how her heartbeat skips into double-time at the thought of her client’s massive hand delivering a good, hard spanking.

First things first.

She pulls her face into a wide-eyed expression of curious shock, pursing her lips and fluttering her lashes up at him.

His friend certainly seemed to know what was going on. She wonders if this was some kind of pre-scripted act that was part of a fantasy.

Maybe this is what he’s been planning all week. A lot of build up and then a sex marathon.

But it can’t be a sex marathon today. She’s only supposed to be here until noon and then she needs to get home to Jackson…

Rey looks into his eyes, wondering, but she’s getting a little lost in the softly glowing amber-butterscotch hues…and she realizes with a sinking heart she is definitely falling for this guy.

Shit. She's going to have to quit this job...she just can't risk an emotional entanglement.

“Mr. Solo?” she asks, gulping in air, and trying to work up the courage to tell him the truth.

Just say it. Say it, Rey.

“Yeah?” he breathes. He’s staring at her mouth and it isn’t helping. His lips look so soft and plump and lovely and he smells so incredible.

“I – ”

“Benjamin! Benny? Where are you?”

“Oh shit.” Ben's softly muttered curse halts her in her tracks. 

Rey freezes mid-dab, her napkin covering the bulge of his crotch, while she turns in genuine surprise this time, still crouched in front of him.

Ben’s eyes widen in horror as a tiny older woman hustles outside straight for them.

“Who’s that?” Rey whispers curiously. She belatedly snatches her hand away from Ben as if he’s on fire.

Ben swallows and grunts. “That is my worst nightmare come to life.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Nine – The One With Fancy Clothes

 

The woman flies at Ben, pressing the back of her hand to Ben’s forehead when she reaches them.

“Oh, Benny, there you are! You missed my party on Thursday, and Kaydel said she didn’t see you at the Club yesterday. Are you ill, dear?” she asks intensely, talking fast and ignoring Rey altogether. “You feel warm. Do you have a fever?”

“No, Mother. I just –”

“Should I call Dr. Kalonia?”

Rey stands and backs away as Ben’s so-called worst nightmare fusses over him like a tiny, designer-clad, Chanel-scented whirlwind.

“Mother! Kalonia’s a pediatrician!” Ben gripes, pushing his mother’s hand away with a scowl.

Rey’s stomach clenches at his formidable expression. She’s never seen him in a temper before and it is definitely interesting.

Apparently, her sweet-tempered client has a bit of a dark side.

Ben's mother won't be easily intimidated. "She's the family doctor, too, Benny, and I'd rather she look at you if you aren't feeling just the thing..."

Rey collects Ben's empty glass and her napkin, leaving the other drinks for now. She hurries inside with a decidedly un-sexy hustle. But not before she overhears, “Who’s the escort?”

And her employer’s less-than-flattering reply.

“She’s nobody.”

Rey feels her cheeks heat with mortification and swallows back an unexpected pang of shame. She’d been on the brink of telling him she was going to have to break things off because of her growing attraction to him, but after hearing that...well. The attraction was one-sided, obviously.

Rey peeks over her shoulder to glare at him through the window. His mother fusses around him for a bit before settling herself in Hux’s seat and taking up an abandoned cocktail.

Ben stares at her, his brow still drawn into a simmering frown. He mouths the words, “I’m sorry.”

Her temper flares.

She’s suddenly glad they were interrupted.

She’s nobody to him. So, it shouldn’t matter if she leaves.

Tears burn the back of her eyes as Rey mouths back, “I’m leaving.”

He turns as his mother says something, and Rey’s heart skips a beat when he stands up.

Rey has the very sudden urge to get the hell out of there.

She bolts for her jacket and makes it to the elevator just as Ben hurries into the entryway. Her heart thrums with adrenaline and something else she doesn’t want to think about as she punches the button for the lobby again.

He's moving so quickly, he slides a bit on the slippery marble tile.  

“Rey! Wait!”

Too late.

He looks truly apologetic as the doors glide shut.

A hot tear slips down her cheek, and Rey pulls off her maid’s cap with a frustrated huff.

She was going to quit anyway.

So why is she so upset?

 

Rey makes it all the way to Queens before breaking down into full tears, and that only after listening to Phasma’s message from the First Order. Mr. Solo had called earlier, leaving positive reviews but canceling her contract.

So, he rejected her before she could break things off, and for some reason, it rankles her pride. He could have said something before she’d made such an ordeal over him spilling his drink down the front of her outfit. She wonders if it was accidental, or if he was trying to humiliate her for showing up after he'd already let her go. She didn't think he was the mean-spirited type, but she knows next to nothing about him, so she shouldn't be surprised.

She arrives home and thankfully Rose is there getting Jackson ready for snack time, to be followed by a nap. While Rose putters around the kitchen, Rey tearfully explains the morning’s emotional roller-coaster. 

Jackson pushes his favorite monster truck up and down her leg making vroom-vroom noises and occasionally glancing up in concern whenever Rey emits a particularly loud sniffle or sob.

Rey is glad Finn is at the diner – Finn tends to jump into overprotective big brother mode rather quickly, although Rey knows he only does it out of love for her and Jackson. But she isn’t in the mood to hear him ranting on about spoiled rich bachelor assholes who treat her like shit.

What she really needs is some sympathy.

Which seems to be in short supply, apparently.

“This is what happens when you mix work and feelings,” Rose mutters glumly, slicing an apple for Jackson.

“I know,” Rey whispers. She’s wearing a t-shirt and leggings now, eating the last of the ice cream out of the carton and wondering when she’ll be able to afford it again.

“I warned you not to fall for a paycheck…”

“But why did he cancel my contract?” Rey wails. “I did everything, everything I could think of! And he wouldn’t touch me! And I could tell he wanted to!”

Rose shrugs. “Rich people are on a whole different level of weird, Rey. You know that.”

Rey nods and helps herself to another bite of ice cream.

“Well. Phasma didn’t say you’re fired, though. So that’s good.” Rose is trying to cheer her up, but Rey’s heart sinks at the thought of going back to escorting. She doesn’t know how much longer she can stay in this line of work.  The whole way home she second-guessed herself, confidence shot to hell. She isn’t sure she has the temperament for it anymore if she's being honest. If one person's words can hurt her so much...

She's nobody.

Rey tears up again and scrapes the last bite of ice cream from the corner of the carton.

“Shit, Rey. It’s not like you two were madly in love or anything,” Rose hisses, setting Jackson at the coffee table with his plate of apple slices and a spoonful of peanut butter. “You didn’t even – what is going on with you? PMS?”

Rey shakes her head and mutters, “No. Can’t be. Not since my IUD…I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” Her voice takes on an alarming wobble. “I just think it’s knowing I’ll never have what you and Finn have…and I j-j-just…”

She starts bawling for real, and Rose hustles over to pat her back in a belated display of sympathetic commiseration.

“Momma sad,” Jackson tells them solemnly.

Yeah.

Rey decides maybe a nap is in order for herself as well as her son. Maybe some rest will give her a bit of perspective.

 

“Well. You certainly take after your father, although I’m not sure how relieved that makes me,” Leia grumbles when Ben returns to the patio. After realizing Rey might not want to speak to him just yet, Ben had gone to his room to change his pants.

Rey. Guilt writhes through him as he recalls the burning accusation in her eyes. She overheard him say she was nobody, and it wasn’t what he meant at all. He could tell it hurt her feelings.

Dammit.

“That wasn’t what it looked like!” he snaps hotly at the knowing glint in his mother’s eyes.

“Really?” Leia takes a sip of Hux’s drink and arches a haughty brow. “Because it looks like you’ve accidentally hired an escort to be your maid…because you don’t have the first clue how to manage a household.”

“Hux said something, didn’t he? That fucking bast-”

“Benny! Don’t be tacky with that kind of language,” Leia admonishes. “I don’t know why you didn’t just come to me, first.”

Ben sighs and resumes his seat, worried sick at the open heartbreak he’d glimpsed on Rey’s face right before the elevator doors closed.

Leia watches him, hawk-like. “You thought she was an actual maid?”

Ben shrugs and heartily wishes he hadn’t accidentally dumped his drink down the front of Rey’s outfit. He could really use some fortification right now. Apparently, his mother already helped herself to the fresh ones Rey had brought earlier and was now working on Hux’s leftovers. He semi-spitefully wonders if he should warn her about potential cooties from his somewhat degenerate friend.

His mother continues, “Well. Clearly you need to sort out some things. The maid’s quite lovely. Did she leave?” Ben glowers at his mother, fully aware she knows damned well she'd scared Rey off. Leia takes another long sip of her cocktail and changes the subject. “Ben, my darling, I really do need you at tonight’s gala, the Damerons will be there and the entire Hux brigade, and you know I can barely tolerate Brendol’s…”

“Yes, Mother,” Ben sighs, his mind entirely elsewhere.

She humphs and eyes him again. Ben feels like he’s being x-rayed. He tries not to squirm, uncomfortably aware of the fact that, had his mother not arrived so inauspiciously, his maid slash escort would have had her hands all over him by now and not run off in a pique.

Because I never would have had a chance to put my big stupid foot in my mouth.

Leia finishes her cocktail and stands to leave, casually mentioning what must have been her real intent for showing up unexpectedly. “I’m having a tux sent over for tonight, so you need to be available this afternoon.”

“I already have one –” Ben argues.

“Benny, I know exactly which one you mean, and that thing is becoming positively drecky. That tux is two years old at least and dangerously close to showing signs of wear. You need something new. I’m sending Threepio and Artoo over to fit it, and I expect you to be on time and presentable this evening.”

Leia issues her demands like a general giving orders, then smiles, gentle for the first time that morning. She glances around and grins. “I must say, if hiring an escort to clean this place up has done such wonders, just think what a highly-trained staff can do –”

Ben pulls himself out of his seat with a non-committal grunt, avoiding his mother’s hint. He reminds himself he would rather die than allow the woman to entangle herself in his life. Besides, he has Mitaka now, who is already working on it.

“Mother, I already have an assistant to hire help. He’s excellent, so your services will not be required.”

“An assistant? Who is it? The pool boy? The door man?” Leia scoffs. Ben can’t help but grin, even as he takes his mother’s arm to guide her firmly out the door.

He needs to ask Mitaka how the hunt for a new housekeeper is going. Ben only wanted a maid, but Mitaka convinced him a housekeeper would be much more appropriate.

“Someday you are going to need my help, and I’ll remember this…” Leia grumbles good-naturedly. She purses her lips at him and narrows her eyes. “You might want to bring a date. Or Amilyn is going to try to set you up with Kaydel again.”

The only girl Ben is remotely interested in just fled his presence with tears in her eyes. Gloom settles over him, immediately darkening his mood like a thundercloud.

Leia watches him knowingly. “You and the maid looked quite…cute together. Someone like her would be good. Or –”

“Goodbye, Mother,” Ben says firmly, bending low to kiss her cheek. “I’ll see you tonight.”

Ben knows it is pointless to argue or waste his breath trying to explain.

Besides, he needs to save his energy for what he knows he needs to do. About Rey.

 

“Well, do you want the job or not?” Phasma asks, all business.

Rey is still rousing herself from her nap with Jackson, and Rose left hours ago. She feels surprisingly rested and logical and much less emotional. 

Surely the only reason Rey was having feelings for her client was that they never had a chance to fuck it out of their systems. All that pent-up tension was just a façade mimicking real feelings, really nothing more than built-up sexual frustration.

Yes. That must be it.

“It’s tonight?” Rey asks groggily. Jackson is still asleep, but he will probably wake any minute.

“Yes, and your outfit will be provided, but he is asking for you specifically.”

“How do you know the client is asking for me, specifically?” Wild ripples of anticipation flutter through her. Ben.

“Well, the survey was filled out pretty accurately to meet your description. ‘Saucy minx with a toothy smile, angelic dimples, chestnut hair, hazel eyes, cute butt, and possessing of a forgiving nature…’” Phasma’s voice drips condescension at that last.

“Forgiving nature?” It has to be Ben. Who else would fill out the First Order questionnaire like that?

“Um…is there anything I need to know, Rey?”

Perhaps Ben is making some grand gesture as an apology for earlier.

“It’s just for the one night?” Rey confirms, ignoring her boss’s question. 

"Yes. Just tonight.” Phasma’s cool tone implies Rey would be unwise to turn down a job within hours of a client canceling a contract.

“Phasma, who is it? Anyone I’ve worked with in the past?”

Her heart thuds as she waits for Phasma to confirm whether Ben Solo is really asking for her–

“No. It’s a name I’ve never heard before. New client.”

Rey's heart refuses to give up the idea it isn't him. Is it Ben using a false name, and he’s afraid she’ll decline if she knows it’s him asking?

She’s nobody.

That memory immediately sparks her temper again. She was nothing to him. He wouldn't hire her the same evening he canceled her contract.

Phasma huffs impatiently, waiting for an answer.

“Okay,” Rey says, feeling disloyal for some reason, which is ridiculous. She has no reason whatsoever to feel guilty about taking a new client. “I’ll do it. But…”

Her heart thumps in her chest.

She can do this.

She can do this.

“But what?”

“After tonight, I want to renegotiate the terms of my contract. For personal reasons.”

“Understood. We can talk first thing on Monday.”

Phasma never questions things like that, and Rey appreciates it.

She disconnects the call with Phas after getting details of her meeting time and place, then calls Rose to ask if she can watch Jackson for the evening.

Rey deliberately keeps her disappointment that Ben Solo is not this evening’s client to herself.

 

 

Unfortunately, by the time he’s showered and cobbled together a roast beef sandwich and worked up the nerve to call the First Order, Charles Threepio and Roger Artoo, his mother’s personal stylists, have arrived to fit his new tuxedo.

The pair are diametrically opposed in stature, build and personal mannerisms, which creates an almost comedic effect. Threepio is slightly built, but the taller of the two, with wispy cotton candy fluff for hair, watery blue eyes and round, wire-rim glasses that lend an air of perpetual curiosity to his countenance.

Artoo, unlike his counterpart, communicates in low, nearly incomprehensible grunts, mostly only understood by his partner. Artoo’s squat, round frame gives the impression of a well-dressed wine cask, and his dark eyes flash with an intelligence thoroughly laced with good humor.

Together, they can be a bit much, what with Threepio’s incessant chatter and Artoo’s unintelligible mumbles, overwhelming, even, especially when united under a shared goal. Apparently, their goal today is to spend the afternoon driving Ben a little crazy.

When they arrive, Ben finishes leaving his message with the First Order. He fully intends to turn his mother's stylists away, her wishes be damned, but they overwhelm his objections far too easily and manage to convince Ben they will only need mere moments of his time. Ben shoots off a quick text to Mitaka, asking him to continue to attempt to reach Rey with all urgency. Mitaka won’t let him down.

Ben returns his attention to the matter at hand: His mother’s stylists are eyeing him speculatively, and Ben realizes this afternoon is going to be more of an ordeal than he’d previously assumed.

After nearly an hour of pleading, in which Ben absolutely refuses to wear a mauve bow tie – black is fine, black is classic, and he looks good in black – the two finally cave and begin actually tailoring the damned tux to fit him.

Four hours later, Ben is finally free of them, fully convinced his mother advised them to be extra-difficult on purpose, probably as revenge on Ben for refusing her offer to help hire staff.

He is anxious to contact the First Order again, perhaps throw his weight around a bit and see if he can't get her phone number or address. But, just as Threepio and Artoo take their leave, Mitaka arrives with Ben’s new housekeeper in tow. Mitaka introduces her as “Eileithyia” and Ben panics. He will never remember that.

She seems to understand as she warmly shakes Ben’s hand and says simply, “Please just call me Mrs. W, sir. Or Mrs. Waller, if you prefer to be more formal.”

The woman is somewhere in her fifties if he has to guess, although Ben knows it would be rude in the extreme to ask her age. Inwardly, he sighs in relief. He feels absolutely no sexual attraction for her professional, matronly demeanor, raw-boned build, or homely, square face. He tells her she is most welcome and gestures toward the kitchen at her efficient inquiry.

Mitaka looks quite satisfied. Ben feels his anxiety release another notch or two.

The steely-haired woman disappears into the depths of the kitchen, presumably to commence her new job as the competent, invisible, and appropriately-dressed housekeeper she is. Her uniform is noticeably more modest than Rey’s was, thank God.

He has a feeling Mrs. W isn’t going to be much of a distraction, and Mitaka’s competence hasn’t let him down yet. Ben feels a weight lift from his chest as he loosens some of his earlier concerns about hiring people.  To his surprise, having a few people around hasn’t infringed on his privacy as much as he thought it would.

Ben listens interestedly as Mitaka assures him Mrs. W comes with excellent references and will have the penthouse whipped into shape in no time. Mitaka asks if Ben would prefer to participate more directly in hiring a chef and Ben lifts a brow. He hadn’t even considered it.

“What, like have them audition for the job?” Ben asks.

“Well, yes, sir, if you want to call it an audition,” Mitaka replies.

Ben shrugs. “I’ll think about it. Anything else?”

Ben’s nerves are jumping.

He’d left a message with the First Order earlier, asking them to have Rey call him as soon as possible. He’d tried to sound urgent, but not desperate. He wishes he had more than just her first name and a phone number for messages. Nevertheless, Ben asked Mitaka to continue his attempts while he was tied up with Threepio and Artoo all afternoon.

Surely, Mitaka would have been able to get hold of a real person, someone who might be able to give a phone number or pass along his urgent message or–

Mitaka has already proven himself quite resourceful today but has yet to answer the one question really on Ben’s mind: Was he able to get Rey’s phone number? Pass along Ben's message? He desperately needs to talk to her.

“Um.” Mitaka swallows and Ben pauses at the change in tone. Crap, this can't be good. “I made the call you asked me to make about the girl…”

Shit. Mitaka is calling her “the girl” which means something is wrong.

“And?” Ben keeps his voice deliberately casual.

“They are unable to release personal contact information of any kind, sir.”

Ben nods. That is probably a good rule to enforce. Still, he'd given Mitaka a Plan B in that eventuality: If he can’t reach her by phone or in person, try to hire her to come back so he can explain, maybe even invite her to attend his mother’s gala with him. “Did you ask if she is available this evening, then?”

“I did, sir. She’s, um, already been, ah, commissioned by another client, sir.” Mitaka speaks in a rush as if afraid of Ben’s reaction.  

“Ah.” Ben’s heart sinks, but he isn’t surprised. A beautiful woman like Rey would be in high demand. He sighs, resisting the sudden urge to smash his fist through something at the thought of Rey with someone else.

Ben can’t even meet his assistant’s eyes.

“Will…will that be all, sir?” Mitaka asks quietly.

“Yeah. Thanks, Mitaka.” He nods curtly and tries for the millionth time that day to forget the hurt look on Rey’s face. The look he put there with his careless words.

That is in the past, and if anyone knows how to let it die, it should be Ben Solo.

 

“Are you sure everything is all right?” Phasma asks as she hands Rey a gorgeous little pale-pink, beaded clutch that exactly matches Rey’s gown.

Rey nods and inspects her reflection in the mirror once again. She attributes the chill in her eyes to the fact she is wearing something beautiful for a change, something that doesn’t scream prostitute, something elegant and feminine and dignified. She looks like a lady, not a call girl.

She wonders what her client will be asking of her for this evening’s entertainment. Clearly, he must have specific plans, having requested she dress so particularly.

Rey is getting ready at First Order headquarters in Manhattan, where her client had her dress and accessories delivered. Her dress is the palest pink, which brings out the honeyed tones of her skin, gathered at one shoulder with the most exquisitely folded pleats across the bodice, a flattering asymmetrical design that flows into a full skirt. Her shoes are strappy and sparkly, and she is not wearing any jewelry, following Phasma’s advice: When in doubt, simple is better.

Rey tamps down the growing flutters under her skin, reminding herself tonight's client is just a paycheck.

Rey clings to her earlier thought: Her feelings for Ben were merely an aftereffect of being horny, nothing more. Once she eliminates some sexual frustration – in the form of some good, old-fashioned fucking – then she will be able to box up any residual emotions she might have had for her former client and move on.

She might not ever find what Finn and Rose have, but she has enough. She has a very good life.

Plus, she plans to renegotiate her contract with the First Order, and Phasma didn’t shut her down immediately. If she can talk Phasma into allowing her to keep a higher percentage of her paychecks in exchange for taking on a few more clients, then perhaps she will be able to save more money faster and get out of the business altogether.

She makes her way down to the street, having been informed her client is waiting to take her to wherever she is supposed to go.

An expensive black town car with heavily-tinted windows awaits her, and Rey puts on her game face, firmly pushing aside any last-minute hopes it might be Ben Solo waiting for her after all.

Tonight, she is a sophisticated, classy date for the person just inside that town car.

The driver opens the door as she approaches, and she lifts the long, heavy skirt of her dress, ducking her head and sliding over cool, soft leather into the dim confines of the car.

She blinks in astonishment when she recognizes who it is.

“I must say, darling…you clean up quite nicely,” he says in his familiar smug voice.

Rey swallows her surprise and smiles at her red-haired client. It’s Ben’s friend from this morning. That’s how he knew her description. Of course.

Phasma told her his name earlier. 

She can’t manage much for conversation at the moment, so she merely nods and tries to keep her wild disappointment from showing.

“Hello." She smiles coolly. "It’s lovely to meet you, Mr. Kylo Ren.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Ten – The One With Plotting and Dancing

 

“I can see it in your eyes, you know,” her client informs her nonchalantly. “The disappointment. I’m not the one you were hoping for. Am I, darling?”

Rey takes a total of three seconds to pretend she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Then she drops the act. Whatever this is, it isn’t a seduction.

This is something else.

“I don’t understand,” she says carefully. She’s seen some excellent poker faces in her day, but his beats them all. Her client regards her coolly, making no disguise over the fact he’s giving her a very thorough and discriminating inspection. She eyes him back, deciding a bit of boldness won’t hurt. This type of person respects a show of strength.

She can stand up to this rich asshole, whatever his game is.

She notes his meticulously groomed beard, slicked-back hair, and very, very expensive tux. In fact, his entire appearance screams money. The garnet and obsidian ring on his pinky finger is likely worth twice what Rey earns in a year. Before the First Order takes its cut.

“I saw what happened this morning,” he says casually, flicking an invisible piece of lint from the sleeve of his jacket. “I met Ben’s mother as I exited the lift, after leaving you in an...interesting position. When I arrived at the lobby, Leia was headed your way. Tried to discourage her from going up, but the woman is quite formidable.”

Rey swallows. Formidable isn’t the first word she would pick to describe Ben’s mother.

Her client sips something boozy from a cut-crystal highball glass, taking his time to get to the point. Rey forces herself not to squirm. “I was waiting for my car when I saw you just minutes after Ben’s mother went up. I assume Ben said something stupid to put you in such a state?”

Such a state?

She’s nobody.

Yes, she’d been upset. Perhaps more than she’d realized.

“Why do you assume it was him? Who said the thing?” Rey asks lamely.

“Leia Organa would rather hand over her dear mother’s fortune to the Socialist Party than do anything so déclassé as be outright rude. So, it was obviously Ben who put your knickers in a twist.” He flashes his teeth in a semblance of a smile and Rey feels uncomfortably vulnerable. “Nothing mysterious. A simple process of elimination.”

“Oh.”

“My name isn’t Kylo Ren, by the way.”

“Oh.” She can’t seem to find other words.

“It’s Ben’s old nickname from Yale. I’m Armitage Hux. Please call me Hux.”

Rey pulls her expression into something akin to polite gentility. “It’s lovely to meet you. I’m –”

“I know who you are.” At that pronouncement, Rey’s stomach turns a bit, but Hux continues, “He likes you.”

Rey’s heart skips a beat. What?

“Are-aren’t you supposed to be his friend?” she finally asks, wondering why on earth Hux has engaged her services for the evening.

He lifts a brow at her defensiveness. “Oh, I am. That’s why you’re here. So, I can make sure you are up to snuff.” He rakes his gaze over her again, more lewdly this time and Rey’s hackles rise. She has suddenly decided she would rather do anything than sleep with this person.

“Ah…I’ve offended you, haven’t I?” Hux sniffs and pulls a gold cigarette case from the front pocket of his exquisitely-tailored jacket. “Mind if I smoke?” he asks, casually, offering her the case, which she declines, before lighting a thin cigar with an elegant flick of his wrist. The window closest to him rolls down an inch and most of the not-unpleasant smelling tobacco smoke drifts out.

Rey is left with a lingering sensation of feeling rather trapped.

She isn’t sure how to tell Hux she has no intention of sleeping with him when he finally relaxes infinitesimally. Suddenly the atmosphere is less cloying. More congenial.

He has no intention of sleeping with her, either, she realizes. That is not what this is.

“You’re making sure I’m good enough for your friend?” she asks when she comprehends why she is there, rather offended at the idea of some strange person vetting her as if –

As if she can be bought or sold.

Something flickers in his gaze and he inhales deeply before exhaling carelessly in the general direction of the cracked window.

“That is exactly right. I’m making sure you’re good enough. More specifically? I want your word you aren’t coming after him for his money.”

Rey’s temper ignites at the bluntly delivered insinuation. “He hired me! He hasn’t even touched me!” Her lips clap shut in horror as she realizes what she just revealed. That little breach of confidence could get her fired.

Hux smirks knowingly, nostrils flaring, and Rey resists the urge to slap him. “He wouldn’t have laid a finger on you. He thought he hired a maid, not an escort.”

Realization dawns and Rey can’t help but gape. Mr. Solo thought she was a maid? But…that would mean... She feels a flush creep up from her neck to her forehead as she recalls everything she’d done to twist the poor man into knots all week.

Oh. Shit.

“He canceled my contract. And, I was going to quit today, anyhow, right before his mother interrupted... Because I’m…I was…” She can’t say it. If she says it out loud, then that makes it real, a real thought that is out there, in the world, and if it’s real it can hurt her.

In spite of her pause, Hux effortlessly reads her thoughts. 

“Let me guess. You have a hard time trusting people. You don’t want to get emotionally involved because you’ve been hurt? Back when you were stripping at Plutt’s? Or before? When your foster parents kept the earnings from your after-school jobs?”

Rey gasps. “How did you know about that?”

Hux ignores her question. “You're not the only person who has been treated like a piece of meat since the day you were born.”

“Piece of meat? What?”

Hux laughs, but bitterly. “Our boy may seem like one of the most helpless idiots you’ve ever encountered, but don’t let it fool you. He knows his exact worth, right down to the penny. He’s been traded between his parents since he was a child, nothing more than a bartering chip passed between two very different worlds. His father eventually gave him up, although not without significant compensation. It’s no secret money played a role in shaping him. And then later, in college…” Hux pauses as if he revealed far too much.

“I don’t want him for his money.” She flinches as she realizes she just admitted she wants him.

“I know, darling. If I suspected otherwise, I would have turned the car around and dropped your perky little arse straight back at the First Order. You like him, too. That’s why you’re here, on your way to see him.”

“What?” Rey asks.

“His mother hosts an annual gala and insisted he attend this year.”

Oh. Even a nobody like Rey knew about the Organa-Solo Gala. It was even more exclusive than the Met; only the most pedigreed of guests were allowed inside.

“I can’t go there...” Rey’s heart is pounding. I can’t see him. Now that I know… “He doesn’t want to see me – he thought I was just a maid! He has no idea…I…I…”

“Well. He knows you're an escort now. He’s a very good boy, isn’t he? Innocent of the ways of the world. Not like us, is he?” Hux’s eyes narrow and he’s back to giving off just a slightly sinister vibe.

Rey shifts uncomfortably. She wonders exactly how much information Hux has on her. If he knows about Jackson. She draws in a breath.

“I’m simply protecting his interests, dear girl. Since nobody else will.”

Rey exhales, unsure what to do. She can tell the man before her is loyal, and he has no interest in her other than to make sure she’s not after his friend’s money.

“Why?”

“Because,” Hux quotes, “’Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer.’

She shakes her head, well aware she has no idea if he’s quoting someone or if he just now made it up.

“I can’t.” I can’t open myself up to an emotional complication like this.

Hux sighs and looks out the window. “I really wish you would. It’s so good to see him showing signs of life again, to be honest. I’ve…been worried about him for quite some time.”

Rey’s eyes flash to his, and for once Hux seems serious and concerned.

The car pulls to a stop. Rey senses the controlled chaos of cameras flashing and reporters yelling just outside as party-goers make their grand entrances. A red carpet stretches up an endless flight of stairs. Lights and cameras brighten the place almost to the point of feeling like daylight.

“Shall we? This is the role for which I hired you, after all, my darling girl, and you mustn’t break character. I’ll walk you to the door, and after that, it’s up to you.” Hux sounds a bit more like his old self. “Cheer up. You’re only on the hook until midnight. Consider me your fairy godmother.”

“What? Aren’t you staying with me once we get inside?”

“And get murdered in cold blood at Leia Organa’s gala? My mother would never forgive me.”

“Murdered?” Rey queries, confused. “By whom?”

“Kylo Ren.” Hux sounds sure of himself. “Ben Solo might be a tender little marshmallow, but Kylo Ren is a vicious, competitive asshole, and if he sees us together,” Hux shudders, he actually shudders, “…well. I don’t want him to castrate, skin, eviscerate, and utterly destroy me, you understand?”

“Why all this? I mean, why not just give him my phone number or address or something? Why hire me and…?” Rey gestures to her gown and Hux grins.

“Well, first off, as we've already established, I wanted to make sure you are good enough for him. Hence this little conversation.”

“And the second reason?”

“Because. I’m a terrible romantic.” Rey snorts in disbelief but Hux simply grins at her. “The thought of him finding happiness warms the cockles of my cold, jaded heart.”

She returns his grin.

And for just the briefest flash of a moment, Rey sees something reflected in the man’s eyes. Something frighteningly close to the look in her own eyes that morning. When she was positive Ben Solo didn’t feel a thing for her…

“One last thing. For the rest of the evening, you are working for Kylo Ren.”

“What if he asks where I learned that name?”

“By all means, tell him we spoke,” Hux offers. “It will make an excellent peace offering when he finds out I hired you in the first place.” 

“Fair enough,” Rey agrees.

“Good. And remember. I’ll keep your secrets for now, darling. But if I ever suspect you are after anything more than his heart.” He draws his pointer finger across his neck and smirks, but Rey senses the underlying threat. Hux's smile widens, a bit of sinister mischievousness tinting his expression. “I have most excellent resources. He might be ignorant of how the world works. But I decidedly am not.”

Hux stubs out his cigar in the ashtray on the armrest between them. Rey understands the threat loud and clear.

Jackson. He knows about Jackson. And the fact I don’t even know who his father is. Rey blanches. Hux could ruin her and Finn and Rose, and Rey would be sorry. But Jackson. No. A scandal like that would destroy any chance he would have at getting into a good school, of having a normal life. “I…would never.”

Hux nods and returns to his supercilious persona.

“What if they don’t let me in?” Rey asks worriedly, as a uniformed young woman opens the door for her.

Hux runs his gaze over Rey’s figure, from the top of her smoothly combed hair to the sparkly tips of her toes. “They won’t bat an eyelash extension. You look quite pretty. Now. Let’s go have some fun.”

He winks and flaps his hand at Rey until she scoots out and waits for him to come around to her side of the car. He gallantly offers an arm, all smiles for the cameras flashing all around them, and they walk slowly up the red-carpeted stairs.

Rey squashes her roiling nervousness with a confident smile and pretends she is a movie star, not some nobody going to an exclusive party on the arm of one of the wealthiest bachelors in the city.

She feels a bit like she’s in a fairy tale…going to the ball to meet the handsome prince…

He likes her. And she likes him too.

Maybe, just maybe she can find love, after all…if only she can be brave enough to risk it.

 

 

Ben’s manners are impeccable.

His tuxedo is impeccable, his hair, impeccable. His smile, while not quite reaching his eyes, is not really impeccable because of his slightly crooked teeth, an eccentricity his mother never forced him to correct.

Ben rather likes his slightly crooked teeth.

He detests his ears, however, which protrude quite noticeably from either side of his head. Fortunately, he has been blessed with thick, abundant hair, which he grows long for the twin purposes of covering his ears and annoying his mother. She continuously bemoans the roguish length that reminds her of Ben’s father.

Despite the too-long hair and his general aloofness this evening, Leia is currently singing his praises to Amilyn Holdo, her best friend and erstwhile matchmaker, who continues to run her eyes over him with the speculative air of a trader at a meat market evaluating the choicest side of beef.

The feeling only grows stronger as he notices Kaydel Connix hovering nearby, giggling with one of her friends and darting flirtatious looks his way. With cynical eyes, Ben perceives what a huge mistake it is to be here.

Once the music for dancing starts, he decides he is leaving, and his mother will just have to deal with the scandal.

Ah, there it is now. The chamber orchestra in the alcove begins to play and people pair off. Ben avoids eye contact with anyone not already partnered for dancing and glances discreetly at the exit.

A whisper in the air ripples through the glittering crowd, and Ben’s attention is drawn to the grand entryway of the ballroom. It is elevated so each new guest can make a properly impressive entrance, stepping slowly down the red-carpeted stairs under the light of a chandelier the size of a town car.

Currently descending as if from heaven is the very last person in the world he expects to see.

She’s here.

And she is stunning…

Ben doesn’t bother to excuse himself as he makes his way to her, drawing raised eyebrows from Amilyn and a murmur of shocked surprise from his mother. But nothing exists, and everything around him fades until he can only see her.

He simply moves into her orbit as if it the most natural thing in the world.

His legs are long and he’s there to meet her just as she reaches the bottom step, locking gazes with him.

He holds out his hand, an offer of apology on his lips, if only she gives him the slightest indication she’s willing to hear it…and a smile like the breaking dawn lights her face.

She takes his hand, stepping into his arms as if they were made for each other.

And Ben’s heart, withered and neglected as he’s left it for so long, begins to beat again.

 

 

At the sight of him approaching, Rey’s heart nearly stops beating.

He looks utterly magnificent, wearing a beautifully-tailored jacket that molds perfectly to his broad shoulders, every bit a pampered billionaire.

He pulls her onto the dance floor as gracefully as if he’d intended to do it all along, to sweep her away into a whirling, spinning world where his dark eyes bore into hers and his strong shoulders shelter her from curious glances.

Although Hux was right. Nobody seemed to bat an eye when he delivered her just to the entrance of the ballroom and she made her way down the stairs, his parting words ringing in her ears.

“Be brave. Give love a chance, my girl.”

Ben’s large hands are firm and soft at the same time, one pressing just so at the base of her spine and one holding hers lightly as they dip and spin and float – God, he’s a gorgeous dancer – and Rey has never felt so light on her feet.

They make a full circle around the room before he finally says, “I’m an idiot. I didn’t mean what I said this morning.”

She smiles. “I know. I was being too sensitive…”

“No. I really shouldn’t have said that…especially since it isn’t true.” He hesitates. “Are you here with a guest?” He looks around for an angry, abandoned date.

Rey grins up at him. “I have been engaged for the evening, actually.”

Naked disappointment washes over his face, and spark of something else. A dark possessiveness that sends shivers through her belly.

“Ah. I’m being terribly rude, then, keeping you from him,” he mutters, not bothering to hide his obvious jealousy or relinquish her hand. If anything, he clutches her just a bit more tightly and Rey’s heart skips a beat or two as he presses her close. “Who is it?”

He glances around again, and if she isn’t mistaken, he sounds rather murderous…perhaps Hux was wise to stay away for now.

“Um,” she breathes, at the very gentle collision of her bosom against his chest. He’s still dancing, twirling them around as effortlessly as strolling through the park, his long legs brushing against hers, his body heat and delicious cologne making her head spin. But he’s glaring down at her and she’s having trouble forming words. “I’m with Kylo this evening.”

“What?” He doesn’t stumble, but he does sweep them out of the whirling crowd toward the edge of the room.

She’s slightly out of breath. Good heavens. This feels just like a damn romance novel.

“Kylo Ren.”

He’s still holding her hand, staring intently down at her. Realization chases the momentary confusion from his face and he barks with laughter, turning heads. “Did Hux put you up to this?”

Rey bites her lip. Now or never.

“If he did…would you be angry?”

“That asshole,” Ben mutters wryly, pulling her back onto the dance floor. “He did this to get back at me, didn’t he? For Mitaka?”

Rey nods her head, letting him believe his own theory, unsure if she can speak or what she should say. She still isn’t quite sure how she feels about all this.

“Well. I’m not angry.” He whirls them through the dancers and Rey trusts him implicitly. “I’m…actually, I’m…” He stares down at her, bemused. “I don’t know what I am. But I can promise I’m really glad you are here.”

“You canceled my contract.” She tries not to sound accusatory. But a tiny bit of hurt creeps through, nevertheless. “Because you didn’t want an escort. You really wanted a maid?”

The loveliest shade of pink rises on his high cheekbones.

“I…already mentioned I’m an idiot…didn’t I?”

She nods, and he smiles down at her, little lines forming around his eyes. An absolutely gorgeous dimple slashes one cheek at his lopsided grin, and if Rey liked him before, she’s dangerously close to something far worse, now.

She tries to catch her breath and not think about the way his large body moves so perfectly with hers.

The music changes and Rey notices how efficiently he navigates them to the other side of the room, opposite his mother. Who is currently watching both of them with a somewhat avaricious stare.

He catches her looking and determinedly pulls Rey’s hand, lifting it to his lips. “Can we go somewhere and talk? Please?”

She nods again. The wild pounding of her heart is nothing compared to the thrum of instant, unrestrained desire coursing through her at the touch of his lips, like butterfly’s wings, on the back of her wrist.

Yes. This, this is totally worth the risk, she decides. She grips his hand and allows him to lead her away.

Chapter Text

Chapter Eleven – The One With Kissing

 

Her hand squeezes his, sending his heart into a wild series of rolls and flips.

Surely she can see it thumping beneath the pristine linen of his tuxedo shirt and expensive fabric of his tux jacket.

She’s coming with me…after everything…

He’s going to have to talk to her, and Hux told him he’s terrible at talking, which he knows is true, but for some reason, he isn’t afraid. Her gentle reassurance brushes over him, a balm to his anxiety, a bolster to lend him courage.

Tucking her hand into the crook of his arm, he leads her out of the ballroom into the slightly less-crowded main hall. The venue his mother selected is well-lit, open and currently swarming with party guests and servers in pristine white uniforms.

He casts his gaze about for a quiet corner where they might talk, away from curious eyes, but people linger everywhere.

“Would you like to stay here, at the party? Or do you want to go somewhere else?” he finally asks. He can see her hesitation and wonders why.

“I am completely at your disposal until midnight, Mr. Kylo Ren,” she replies, a hint of her earlier flirtatiousness coming through.

Ah. She’s on the clock. He tries very hard not to think about just what they could get up to under the terms of her employment for the evening. But, if they are going to have an honest conversation, he would not have her feel obligated.

“Just to talk,” he vows. “Promise.”

“Let’s go somewhere.”

He’s already signaling to a staff person for his car to be brought around, and the young man in uniform nods smartly and replies, “Yes, sir, Mr. Solo,” at his request.

Ben slows his pace as the young man scurries off, keeping an eye out for his mother, although chances are slim Leia Organa would chase after him in an unlikely break from her notoriously well-cultivated manners.

A pair of uniformed staff hurry to open the enormous double-doors in unison, bowing at their exit. He leads them to the head of the long red-carpeted staircase. Ben’s car waits for them as they begin to descend the stairs.

“Wow,” Rey mutters next to him, “good service!”

“Hmm?”

“How fast they got the car here…they must have had to really hurry…they’re well-coordinated, you know?”

Ben blinks for a moment. Good service is rather a foreign concept for someone who’s received flawless assistance his entire life. It occurs to him he’s always taken these things for granted, things like people hustling behind the scenes to make his life slightly more comfortable, to ensure he’s never inconvenienced or has to wait.

Perhaps that’s why his words were particularly inconsiderate that morning. She’s nobody. He guiltily recalls her crestfallen expression.

“You aren’t nobody. Not to me,” he blurts out, glancing at her from the side of his eye.

“Really?” she huffs, and he can see her doubt. Dammit.

“This morning. I should have said…she’s special. And I can’t stop thinking about her…

“Really?” she repeats, easier this time as some of her uncertainty melts away.

He pauses, moving a step or two below so he can face her, lightly caging her arms in his hands, ducking his chin until she meets his gaze.

“Tell me. What were you going to say this morning?"

“That I’m scared? That’s what I was going to say. Before…”

“Before my mother’s disastrously-timed entrance? And my horrid comment?” he prompts gently.

“Yeah…”

“Scared of what?” he murmurs, eyes darting over her countenance as if he can pull the answer from her by sheer willpower alone.

She can’t seem to muster a reply.

He stares at her mouth for a tiny eternity before once again meeting her stare.

“Don’t be afraid,” he whispers. “I feel it too.”

She steps closer and before he even realizes what he’s doing, he’s moving his mouth over hers, and she’s wrapping her arms around his neck, kissing him with lips so pliant and warm and honeyed it hurts.

If his heart was beating hard before, now it thunders, a storm-tossed rush of hot blood, an electric tingle of recognition jolting along his spine, the instant heat of desire pounding at his groin, demanding more. It’s so powerful, that surging connection and want and mindless longing building in him…

More.

He tightens his grip when she goes boneless, dissolving with such sweet surrender it wrings a faint moan out of him. She hums in response and he pauses, pulling away to draw a shuddering breath and look at her, really look at the gorgeous creature melting in his arms.

Her lashes flutter, and her lips part in breathless question – why are we stopping?

And since he can’t think of a good answer, he bends to kiss her again, not caring if anyone sees, heedless of anything but her.

She presses close, and a tremble in her slight frame, sweetly curved and swathed in luxurious silk, sends protective, hungry shockwaves through him. She’s so small and soft and beautiful, molding perfectly against his hard angles and planes as if they were made to fit together like lock and key. The thought only emphasizes his growing appetite…the hunger he’s been trying to quash all week.

He tries to reign it in, but she’s sliding her fingers into his hair, clutching at his head and stroking her tongue against his and suddenly he wants nothing more than to devour her…

When he finally pulls back, he can’t miss how she leans into him, a bit off-balance, how her lips are scuffed pink from the light abrasion of his five o’clock shadow, how her breath comes just as off-kilter as his, her pupils liquid with shock and acknowledgment of their mutual desire.

Fuck. He wants her.

She returns his cautious regard, surprise and passion writ clearly on her face and he hauls his base desires back into line, despite his aching want.

He offers his arm again and they make their way down to the car in silence.

A valet holds the door open, and Ben almost decides the world can wait until they finish their conversation.

But Rey’s presence and his new awareness remind him perhaps that would be rude.

She allows him to hand her in to the darkened leather interior.

Ben slides into the seat next to her and in the close confines of the car, he tries not to overwhelm the space, which already feels impossibly full with all the unspoken emotions. The tinted privacy window is up, adding to the illusion they are in their own secluded little cave.

A moment of awkward silence sits heavily between them, as if the kiss revealed far too much. Maybe it did, but Ben refuses to turn back now.

“Why were you scared?” he coaxes. He knows the answer. But he wants to hear her say it.

She pulls her bottom lip between her teeth, and though he is riveted, he will not allow himself to be wholly distracted.

“Why? Say it,” he commands softly.

“I, um, I was meaning to tell you. Earlier. I was going to quit. Because I was…because I like you.”

He nods, slowly. He understands why that might be problematic in her line of work, why it might be important to maintain a firm boundary between feelings and clients.

She’s not pretending, now. There is no coy teasing or contrived façade between them, for a change.

He wants her, and she wants him back.

She isn’t my ex. She’s special. Different.

If she can trust him, then he owes her the same.

“I canceled your contract with the First Order because I like you, too. A lot. If you want to…be with me…be friends…or more…I…want it to be…not fake.”

He’s floundering, his explanation fragmented around too many emotional landmines, and he’s maybe a little afraid to see her reaction.

But her hand tightens in his and he knows she understands.

He glances at her furtively, and she’s staring straight ahead as if she doesn’t want to see his reaction, either.

Tension snaps between them like a live wire, sending electric jolts through the air as they both consider what the other has revealed.

Just as Ben takes a breath, to try and fail to explain again, she climbs into his lap, daintily settling across his thighs as she had that morning. Every thought slips away when she lightly curls a hand around his neck to tease at the hair behind his ear. He leans into her caress, and goosebumps rise along his arms as he realizes he’s rather…missed a woman's touch.

It's been a while.

She leans up, but she can’t reach his mouth, he’s going to have to meet her halfway, which is absolutely fine with him. 

He slants his mouth against hers and presses in for more, and she kisses him back with such sweet passion, he’s going to die from it, from the untested depths of whatever this is, chasing away the shadows of loneliness and revealing something new.

She exhales softly, exchanging her breath for his, and it’s a communion of sorts, a holy transaction between two lost and lonely spirits finding each other, a benediction, like rain soaking into parched earth, watering his barren soul. It’s fiery and crackling, a burst of flame, some mystic energy kindling a spark of something he’d long forgotten existed.

She feels it, too, he’s sure of it, and she’s been hurt just like him.

He can taste it in the hesitant urgency of her tongue sliding against his, in the irresistible pressure of her hands gripping his hair, in the gentle press of her body against his, ensnaring him by the finest of threads. 

He cannot pull away. He wants to swallow her whole, to utterly consume this light, this fabulous bond they are weaving together, and she’s letting him in, giving him more and he has never been so very tempted to just take whatever he wants, to let the darkness have them both…

… he’s never wanted anything so much as to feel this burgeoning something forever, to take it deep inside and hoard it and turn it over in his hands and examine it and study it until he knows the exact shape and weight and texture of this beautiful, fragile thing. To understand the why of it and how it works. And then he would keep it forever, guard it and watch over it, because it belongs with him, this something, this familiar unknown warmth.

They pull away at the same time and it’s easier now to just sit quietly in the shocking aftermath and breathe together.

 

“…so you really thought I was just a maid, huh?” she finally asks, a smile quirking at her lips.

He grins back at her, although slightly more salaciously than he has all week.

She shakes her head in mock admonition.

“And now?”

He pulls his mouth into a slight pout, but smiling, eyes crinkled at the corners.

“Now?” His voice is raspy from their kissing, and it sends delicious shivers to dance under her skin.

“Yes, now. What do you think now?”

She’s rendered him speechless, he isn’t answering her question, just eating her alive with his eyes.

She leans in close and he accommodates her immediately, pressing his plush lips to hers. He tastes like champagne and lust and he seems somewhat less shy about touching her here, in the privacy of the car, than he was back at the party.

She pushes closer, aware he’s growing more aroused by the minute and it’s making her just as hot. She tries to close down that part of her mind, to not sink even further into this ever-spiraling attraction, but dammit he just tastes so good…

He traces her softly, trailing a curved finger from her shoulder to her elbow, igniting a trail of fire that heats her from deep inside. She opens her mouth, letting him take the lead, and he deepens their kiss like a starving man, pushing his tongue in to boldly stroke against hers.

Mmmm…” She can’t help the noises he’s drawing out of her, and she finally gives in.

Heavens, he can kiss like nobody’s business.

“You did just about every damn thing you could to drive me crazy this week, didn’t you?” he accuses when they come up for air again.

“Yes I did,” she sings against his luscious lips and wriggling in his lap, hoping to entice him into doing more.

He’s stroking along her back and shoulders, but lightly, just teasing with the heat of his hands.

She confesses, “I thought you liked being teased…”

“Hmmm,” he purrs, “I don’t know if I liked it, but you’re certainly very good at it…”

She swats at his chest and shifts again, feeling how his glorious body moves under her and wishing she was brave enough to proposition him.

But she’s sensing some restraint, the same self-discipline he held over himself earlier, when she could tell he wanted her, but he wasn’t doing anything about it.

Something is holding him back.

“Just talking, remember? Until after midnight, okay?”

Ah, of course. He’s waiting until she’s off the clock.

“What happens after midnight?” she teases.

He watches her quietly and her belly flutters when he finally speaks.

“As much as I appreciate Hux’s very generous gift, and as tremendously alluring as I find your charms, I prefer to have you without…previously arranged terms, sweetheart. Maybe it’s an odd technicality, but…I have my reasons.”

She senses the underlying steel in his voice and drops her gaze to his collar, unable to meet his smoldering eyes while she processes the implication behind his words.

He’s acknowledging they’ve discovered something together, between them, and he isn’t shying away from it. And he won’t compromise it for a moment of desire, not when they have the potential to explore it more authentically.

He won’t force her to acknowledge it, either, although he certainly has the leverage to do so, even justify himself under the guise of their client-escort relationship.

If they are going to continue beyond her midnight obligation, it will be solely up to her. And if they do, he will expect…honesty. No, more than that. He’s asking her to meet him there, on a level playing field.

Which is infinitely more frightening, riskier.

She’s really going to have to trust him.

Rey’s never encountered someone like him before.

“If you want me to drop you off somewhere, I can –”

So, it really is her choice. She looks at him. “I want to wait. Until after midnight. With you.”

He exhales, and she senses a release of tension she didn’t notice he’d been holding.

She smiles and twists a lock of his hair around her finger. “Well, what should we do until then?”

A huge smile breaks across his face and there’s that dimple again.

“Do you…wanna watch a movie with me?” he invites, and he’s so solemn about it, Rey can’t resist.

“Um, yes, definitely.”

He shuffles her to the side, keeping her in his lap. He pulls out his phone.

What?

But his intent is quite clear when he rolls down the privacy window to inform the driver to take them to a nearby movie theater.

“Horror? Or comedy? Or action?” he inquires, quirking his brow as if the question is of the utmost gravity.

“Um, action. Obviously,” she replies, digging her fingers into the soft fabric of his tuxedo shirt and nuzzling under his jaw until the temperature in the car seems unbearably warm.

Knowing he has no expectations of her other than to enjoy a movie with him is making her rather breathless, giddy even.

They arrive at the theater just in time to catch the previews, and if the bored-looking ticket clerk thinks anything odd of their clothes, she doesn’t show it. Ben whips out his AmEx card to pay, and Rey raises a brow but doesn’t say a thing about him walking around with an unlimited credit card.

Ben holds the door and takes her hand, swinging it happily between them as he leads her to the concessions line. They draw a few interested glances, but the theater isn’t terribly crowded this time of night.

“You look really beautiful,” he tells her. “I should have said it earlier…how lovely you are.”

Rey feels heat creep over her face and whispers “thank you” – she’s been complimented before, but never so spontaneously, nor she suspects, so genuinely.

He’s completely guileless. That’s what it is.

He buys them an enormous tub of popcorn – with extra butter – a box of Twizzlers, a box of Junior Mints, and a huge Dr. Pepper.

The theater is fairly empty, so they take their seats just as the previews start, close to the middle of the row. With the lights dimmed, it once again feels as if they are in their own little world.

“You like movies?” Rey asks around a mouthful of popcorn.

“Well, yeah. But only good ones…” Ben replies, yanking a Twizzler between his teeth before holding it up for her to take a bite. He drapes his arm around the back of her seat and Rey’s stomach flip flops at the naturally possessive gesture.

His finger strokes along her shoulder, making her shiver. She leans closer to him, wishing the damned armrest wasn’t in the way. He’s so warm and he smells incredible, she kind of just wants to burrow into him and never leave.

She shivers again, and before she realizes it, he’s shuffling out of his jacket and skootching her forward with a whispered apology that he didn’t think of it sooner, tucking the silky luxury of his designer tuxedo coat around her until she’s surrounded by his expensive scent and residual body heat lingering on the jacket.

Her earlier discovery strikes like a bolt of lightning, sending a hot curl of desire through her.

Daddy kink.

Right.

He has no idea what it’s doing to her. He can’t possibly know how turned on she is.

He drapes his arm back around her and takes a handful of popcorn from the tub in her lap, smiling easily as she returns his gaze, rather lost in wonderment. She hasn’t been to a movie for ages and ages.

She tries to focus on the film but finds herself spacing out for long stretches of it, especially when he starts feeding her Junior Mints, taking one for himself every time he slips one into her mouth.

“You don’t want to get your fingers all chocolatey,” he whispers in explanation, “Don’t wanna mess up your pretty dress.”

It’s ridiculous and absolutely adorable at the same time, especially since his tux probably cost three times the dress, and he’s definitely getting popcorn crumbs everywhere...

She nips playfully at his fingers until his eyes darken with such naked want she can’t breathe.

She wants him, she decides, paycheck or no. Rose is probably going to kill her with scolding, but oh well. 

He feeds her bites of Twizzlers after the mints are gone, munching on popcorn and sharing occasional sips of Dr. Pepper.

He could easily give her teasing all week a run for its money as he keeps his arm around her, never oppressive, but insistently there, nevertheless.

If he has a Daddy kink, then Rey finds she might just have a being taken care of kink. Or a good manners kink. Or just a kink for Ben Solo.

Other than his extraordinarily diverting charisma, he’s surprisingly easy to watch the movie with, only interrupting occasionally with soft murmurs, providing his best guess as to who the real baddie is, who is about to die, or to murmur appreciation for the way certain scenes are shot or acted.

His hot breath catches at the hairs on the nape of her neck, but he remains frustratingly well-behaved.

He really is going to make her wait until after midnight.

Until she’s on her own time.

Chapter Text

Chapter Twelve – The One Where Rey Pops His Cherry In the Backseat of a Car

 

The movie ends in typical blockbuster fashion, and Rey can’t stop grinning as Ben very pointedly mentions how he’s been right all along: The supposed “baddie” turned out to be a redeemable villain and wasn’t she surprised? She shakes her head wryly, and Ben glances at his watch. Rey knows it must be after midnight.

The end credits roll, and she’s leaning into the crook of his arm, still wearing his jacket. He’s gone quiet. Contemplative, almost.

She wonders if he is reconsidering his earlier invitation and tells herself it’s okay if he is.

The theater lights come on, the brightness taking some of the mysterious charm from the place as fellow movie-goers begin to file out. Ben collects their candy wrappings and empty soda cup in the near-empty popcorn carton. Rey stands, taking his free hand and following him down the row and out of the theater.

It’s chilly and she really doesn’t want to give up his jacket just yet. She kind of wants this night to last forever.

“Um,” he finally speaks, eyes dark and imploring and so sinfully eager it sends her belly into wild flips. “Do you still want to…hang out with me?”

Hang out. If that’s a euphemism to continue their kissing and more…then definitely.

Rey bites her lip, a touch of flirtatiousness lightening her reply. “Yes.”

By some magic, his car awaits just outside, and the driver hurries around to hold the door the instant they appear.

Ben nods a thank you and ushers Rey into the now-familiar back of the car, his hands warm and firm but still maddeningly well-mannered.

They settle into the leather seat and the privacy window is up, the tension from earlier returning in full force to snap between them like a living thing, electric and alive.

Suddenly, without prelude or discussion, he lifts her by the waist, and she’s back in his lap and they’re kissing again, and he tastes just as dark and sweet as he did earlier, although now with a hint of candy and something more, something edgier.

Her toes curl as he deepens the kiss with a hungry growl, although he keeps his touch light and reserved.

And it just isn’t enough. He’s kissing her and touching her so cautiously, and she’s not used to this type of slow seduction. In her line of work, she’s used to getting right to the point.

But this isn’t work, she reminds herself. This moment belongs to nobody else but her.

And him.

She relaxes and slides her hands over his pecs, molding her palms to the warm contours of his chest before smoothing them up to his neck to undo his bow tie.

He’s letting her do it, but his own hands remain politely resting at her waist. She wonders if he is waiting for her to give him explicit verbal permission, which is rather heartwarming but silly considering how badly she wants this.

Unless. Maybe he doesn’t want to. Maybe she’s misreading the situation.

She pulls back and bites her lip. “Um. You can…I mean…it’s okay if you want to…” she tries, but he’s giving her this smoldering look and Rey is momentarily lost for words.

He’s just watching her, holding her so she doesn’t slide out of his lap, when realization dawns.

“Has it been awhile? Since you’ve been with someone?” she probes softly. She slides his bow tie from around his neck and unfastens the top buttons of his tuxedo shirt. He grunts, and she looks up, catching a flash of humor and self-deprecation in the amber of his eyes. “How long?”

His mouth works a few times around the words before he finally speaks. “Uh. Technically…never.”

A faint pink tints his cheeks as he watches her reaction, and Rey blinks at him stupidly.

Never? That can’t be possible. Not this lovely, huge, very sexy, very good-at-kissing, thirty-something year-old hunk with a glaringly-obvious Daddy kink, who has been eye-fucking her all week…

How is it possible he’s still a virgin?

“You mean you’ve never…had sex?” she asks, making sure she understands him.

He shakes his head, eyes glued to hers, and Rey tries to reign in her own desire. Her stomach plummets. Shit, maybe he’s saving himself for marriage or something. She tries not to let that disappointing thought show on her face.

But, no. He’s shy, Hux had told her. And then later. I want your word you aren’t coming after him for his money.

Oh.

You're not the only person who has been treated like a piece of meat since the day you were born.

She’s rapidly putting two-and-two together. There are really only a few possible explanations.

But the most reasonable conclusion is that he’s been hurt.

Oh, no.

“Do you…want to?” He regards her for half a minute, and their breathing synchronizes. She leans back as he holds her and stares at her mouth as he has been doing all evening.

She shifts slightly and queries again, “I mean. Do you want to? With me?”

He exhales and finally answers, sending her heart winging to the skies. “Hell, yes, I want to.”

“Oh, thank goodness,” she mutters, relief flooding through her. “Right now? Here? In the car?”

“Fuck, yeah,” he agrees as he slides his hand under her dress. “If you want to…?”

If her reaction is gasoline spilling over dry tinder, then his is the spark that lights the blaze.

She shifts until she’s straddling him, so she can kiss him better, and he pulls at her skirts, sliding a hand up her leg, stopping at her knee. He’s finally putting his hands on her. Finally.

“Isn’t this – a little – bit cliché?” she gasps between planting hot, biting kisses on his neck. “Losing your cherry in the backseat?”

A quiet laugh rumbles out of him, and he strokes her stockinged calf. “Well, I trust you’ll be gentle since it's my first time.”

She giggles and sucks a little red mark into the side of his neck, and he purrs low and deep at the back of his throat when she scrapes her teeth over the sensitive skin at his jaw.

“Not too gentle. You’re a big boy. You can take whatever I dish out,” she mocks softly.

A syrupy-slow smile pours over his face, and he sweeps his eyes over her with such blatant longing, her belly flips over again. “If you say so, princess.”

Oh, yes, yes.

Ohhhhh, I’ll take such good care of you, Daddy,” she teases breathlessly, kissing his gorgeous mouth until his eyes flutter closed and he hums in acquiescence. “Promise.”

 

Fuck, she said it again, and Ben is practically vibrating with hunger.

And knowing what he knows now? She is definitely aware of how it affects him.

“I’ve been thinking about this since the minute you stepped into my house,” he grunts, pushing her skirts out of the way, finally, finally sliding his hands over the smooth, warm skin he’s been obsessing over. “…sheer torture…that skimpy little outfit of yours…flashing me every chance you could…”

She chuckles and runs a finger down his nose before planting an impish kiss on his mock-severe pout. “You poor thing,” she agrees cheerfully.

She’s so effervescent with enthusiasm Ben is utterly charmed.

He strokes her thigh, heart racing. She’s softer than he’d fantasized, and for some reason, the silken stockings covering her thighs are fucking delicious against his fingertips.

“What else did you think about?” she prods. 

He swallows and confesses quietly, “Bending you over the sofa a few times…snapping your garter straps until you beg for mercy…”

Fucking you into a sexy little wreck in my very big bed.

Her hands work nimbly down the rest of his buttons, and she deftly unbuckles his belt and untucks his shirt.

She pushes up his t-shirt, lightly scraping her nails over his abs. “Naughty, kinky boy. Having dirty thoughts about your maid…What else?”

Making you scream my name until your voice gives out.

He bites his lip. “I wondered…what it would look like…feel like…if…” He hesitates. She’s not flinching away, and Ben reminds himself she is the perfect person to talk with about his fantasies. She’s probably seen a lot. She certainly won’t embarrass him for his dirty thoughts.

“If what?” she coaxes.

“If I come in your mouth.”

“Oooh, I thought about that, too.”

“You did?” He can feel his cheeks flame red, but he’s a bit surprised at how candid she is.

She nods. “Well, I rather expected to be doing some very personal…things to you, Ben. Instead of scrubbing your kitchen and cleaning your house.” She smiles and sweeps her hands over his pecs again, soothing away any sting from her mild reproach.

“I have a housekeeper, now,” he informs her. But now he’s curious. “Well, what else did you think about?”

She grins and lifts a brow. “I wondered what it might feel like if you spanked me. You seem like a bit of a disciplinarian.”

Lust skyrockets through him as her forthright reply mixes with the idea of smacking her delectable ass.

“Really?”

He’s grappling for focus, but it’s difficult while she’s sitting in his lap, running her fingers over his chest and playing with his hair. Talking about letting him spank her.

“…you really should be punished for teasing me so thoroughly all week,” he mutters with a soft smile.

“I’ll make it up to you,” she promises, wrapping her arms around his neck and giving him a passionate kiss. 

Her eager little noises – soft gasps and breathy moans at the back of her throat – sound genuine enough and Ben knows he’s affecting her, too.

To be fair, this isn’t the first time he’s held a beautiful woman. Or even kissed one or touched one. This is just the first time he’s ever felt so…lost with one. As if they’ve been swept up in a current of desire together and have no wish to swim for shore.

“I love the way you kiss me,” she whispers against his mouth. “That's even better than I imagined.”

He sweeps his tongue against hers for another taste and she kisses him back so ferociously it kicks the air out of his lungs. She palms his erection through his pants and he loses every thought in his mind except to get more.

Not just more. Everything.

He wants anything she’s willing to give him and, based on the way she’s squirming in his lap and moaning into his mouth and touching him, she’s willing to give him quite a bit. All of it.

As if she's reading his mind, she squeezes him and they moan together in mutual acknowledgment. She pulls her mouth away from his, giving his crotch another deliberate caress with a knowing glint in her eye.

She’s tugging at his pants and he reads her intent; she’s really going for it right there in the car.

Which is absolutely fine with him.

It’s about time he did this, and he can’t think of anyone he’d rather do it with. Nobody else even comes close to inspiring the kind of wanton craving that’s been building in him all week.

If his dick wasn’t hard before, it is now, standing at full attention when she pulls him free from his boxers.

She’s looking at him and her eyes widen at the sight of his straining erection. “Oh, wow…holy shit…”

She puts her hands on his bare skin and strokes him once, twice, and then again and he lets out a strangled groan.

“…oooh, this is even better than I’ve been imagining,” she tells him, “…you’re perfect…”

If anything he feels another rush of blood to his groin, and he sputters a wordless plea for more. She jerks his pants down before sitting back on his now naked thighs.

He slides his hands from under her skirt but only so he can drag the bodice of her dress down. If they really are doing this, he wants to watch her tits bounce the way he’s been fantasizing.

“Fuck. You’re so pretty,” he blurts out. She smiles and tilts her head, wrapping her hands around his and pulling them to her so he can cup her breasts. The sight of his hands on her, almost brutishly huge and dark against her pale, silky-soft flesh, ratchets up the steady heat building in him.

More. I want more.

Her nipples tauten and he pulls her close for a taste. Momentarily distracted, she grips his skull, threading her fingers through his hair as he feasts, sucking and licking and drawing at the tender pink tips until she’s grinding against his thigh and moaning incoherently.

“You like that?” he bids, looking up as he swipes his tongue over her impossibly soft skin. “Mmmh. You taste better than I imagined.”

“Oh!” Her little squeals and moans are going to ruin him, send him right over the edge.

She pulls back, and he can’t tear his gaze away from the sight of her chest, wet and scuffed pink from his ardent kisses, and he wants more, much more, but now she’s lifting her skirts and guiding his hand back underneath…pulling aside some lacy scrap of underwear so he can touch her.

He presses a finger between her legs, feeling the slippery-hot flesh there. He probes gently, fascinated as she shifts her hips, fucking herself on his finger, and he’s entirely captivated, mesmerized by the scorching heat of her, the way her eyes darken when he pushes further inside, knowing vaguely what he’s feeling on his finger is going to feel incredible on his dick.

“You’re so wet,” he whispers, barely able to form coherent thoughts. “So hot.”

"So are you."

She grips his wrist, pulling him away, and suddenly her hands are on him again, stroking him into nearly losing control, and he’s fucking dripping into her hand and she’s smearing his own juices along the shaft, rubbing him and scraping her nails ever-so-lightly against his balls until a raw groan escapes him.

She shifts her skirts one-handed, pulling the fabric away so he can see.

He watches as she slides against him, and he briefly wonders if he’ll hurt her. His dick is way bigger than his finger and she’d been so warm and tight…

But he can’t tear his gaze away. Surely this is the most erotic moment of his life, the way she’s straddling him, rubbing her wet pussy against the sensitive head of his dick until he’s whimpering at the sight and sensation of her pink lips caressing him, and if she doesn’t…soon…hurry…

She shifts her hips and bites her lip, head rolling back just a bit as she stares at him with that same – he can only think of the word recognition – the same feeling that passed between them earlier, when they kissed.

“You sure? This is what you want?”

He’s never been surer of anything in his life. He begs, voice heavy, “…oh, baby, please yes…”

She sinks down with a sigh and a bit of a wiggle and he can’t help it when his breath hitches and every molecule in his body hums with awareness. She’s scorching-hot and fits around him like a tight, wet-velvet glove.

He moans, long and low, and meets her eyes in shock.

That’s it, then.

It is exactly what he expected and nothing like he expected. It’s so much better.

“…feels so good…” she whispers, and he nods, unable to speak.

His head falls back as she flexes her thighs and lifts herself just enough, so she can sink back down with another breathy gasp and he moans again, lifting his hips to meet her.

“…fuck!” he exclaims when he bumps against her womb. He can feel it, her body sucking him in, clinging to him like she’ll never let him go.

“Again. Harder,” she breathes. “You won’t hurt me.”

 “…mmmmhh, fuck!” he bites out when she tightens and sinks down more aggressively.

She drops her skirts and shifts again, riding him with slow, sultry strokes until he’s breaking a sweat and clutching at her and hissing because he can’t breathe like a normal man, not like this, not with her soft wet body clenching around him, wringing him dry.

Her eyes flash and her lips part and he’s never felt more connected to a person, acutely aware of everything about her, down to the freckles on her cheeks and the silky brush of her thighs on his hips and the luscious scent of pussy and her gripping, feminine warmth.

He wonders if she feels it, too, the way they’ve fitted themselves together so seamlessly, if his hardness stroking inside her feels like a conquering and a surrender at the same time. If she knows the way she melts around him makes him feel godlike as he pulses against the depths of her.

“You’re beautiful,” he tells her and pushes up again, flexing his hips until she writhes and gasps and either she’s going to fall apart or hold him together.

Instinct takes over and he slides his hands up her back to pull her shoulders down, into him, harder, more, thrusting against her delightful assault.

She braces her elbows on him and combs her fingers into his hair.

"Oh! Ben..."

And some part of him understands how this shared knowing, this carnal act, is what drives men to do crazy things, why fortunes are won and lost, empires built and destroyed…for want of this…right here.

“More…” he chokes.  

“Mmmm, yes, yes,” she moans, voice husky, eyes dark and vague.

She's as lost in the moment as he is. As lost in him as he is in her. 

He doesn’t need further encouragement to pull her down harder, impaling her until she cries out and wildfire whips through him at the increased friction.

It feels so good he does it again and again, until her head falls into the crook of his neck, her breath warm against him.

“You like that? Do you?” He needs to know, wants to hear her say it.

“…yes, I like it, I fucking love it…” she mouths against his skin, spurring him on.

He needs more, he can feel it building at the base of his spine.

Fuck, she’s perfect.

“…your pussy feels so incredible…”

“…it’s all for you, all yours, take it,” she moans.

“Mine?” Pleasure shoots through him and he fucks into her harder.

She’s sobbing “yes, yes!” in time to his thrusts and it’s exquisite.

It’s the most beautiful thing he’s ever heard.

Her breasts rub against him, the softness pushing at his chest, and he’s lost in sensation, surrounded by her, marveling at the firm flesh under his hands as he spears into her again, rocking his hips until he’s buried to the hilt in Rey.

“…feels so good, so amazing,” she babbles, her head lolling back like a rag doll’s. “Oooh, your cock feels so good, Daddy, so big…so hard…”

As if she senses how close he is, she renews her bouncing, leaning back so he can gape at her breasts bobbing, nipples flushed and peaked, her lips parted around breathless gasps.

“…fuck me, fuck me…wanna feel you come…”

He doesn’t ever want to leave, but he can already feel the pull, his body’s demand for release, and he’s so swept up in the maelstrom he knows he can’t last much longer…

“…come in me…fill me up…so deep…just like that…”

The way she’s grinding down on him and murmuring such sweet encouragement, he knows it will be okay, just this once…if he just…

He looks at her wildly and gives in to the hot pressure of her body squeezing around him. Suddenly, he's grasping her hips and locking her in place before he spills himself in her with a guttural, animal groan that can’t possibly be his, orgasming for ages, lodged tightly inside her, unable to tear his gaze away as endless pleasure twists through him.

“…fuck!”

She collapses, and he crushes her to him, acutely aware of the way their bodies are wet and sticky and he’s still inside her, still part of her. He strokes her hair and something akin to a gratified murmur of appreciation rumbles out of his chest.

He isn’t sure how long they’ve been parked in front of his building, isn’t sure he’ll be able to walk.

Not after this.

Eventually, she sits up and cups her hand around his face, smiling at him like an angel. She places a chaste kiss on his lips, and then she laughs and hugs him around the neck. Something like pure sunlight spills onto his heart.

“I cannot believe I popped your cherry in the back of a town car,” she giggles. “Holy shit.”

He grins sheepishly at her.

She didn’t get off, he’s sure of it, and that just seems like really bad manners. He is definitely going to have to make it up to her. Just as soon as she shows him how to do it.

But she’s beaming at him and he can’t help but shake his head and grin back.

“Um, I’m sorry, I didn’t, uh…you didn’t…” he finally apologizes. She lifts her brow. “Um, do you want to come up and…have a drink or do that again or something?”

Her smile transforms into pure mischief. “I think I’d better, don’t you? Seems to me you need a teacher, not a maid.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirteen – The One Where Rey Has A Bit of An Epiphany

 

A teacher, not a maid. Sassy little minx.

He swoops in for a searing kiss and her enthusiastic response is instant and hot and absolutely delectable.

If he had to choose, he’d keep her right here in his lap, in the back of this town car that now smells quite strongly of sex, kissing her until even her breathless little moans melt right into his skin.

But they should probably go upstairs if they are going to take things much farther. Ben maneuvers her dress back into a semblance of modesty, ignoring the wet smears on her thighs and his pants as best he can while he shuffles his own clothing into place.

We’re not done, yet, he promises himself.

Although the privacy glass has been up and the car’s windows are tinted so heavily it is impossible to see inside, Ben is one-hundred percent sure the driver has at least an inkling of what they’ve been doing.

Rey is grinning at him and it’s irresistible, the sparkle in her eyes. He shakes his head and mumbles, “That is not how I thought this date was going to go…”  

He raps twice on the glass to indicate they are ready to exit, and the passenger door opens immediately. The driver’s face remains politely blank as Ben steps out before helping Rey.

Her neck and collarbone are scuffed red and she blushes furiously as she meets the driver’s eyes, but Ben keeps his own expression impassive, quietly thanking the driver before ushering Rey into his building.

Yes, he is positive the driver knows what they were doing, but for Ben to confirm it with a less-than-gentlemanly smirk or expression would be uncouth and ill-mannered in the extreme. And although he isn’t quite sure of the etiquette for exiting a town car after the best, albeit only, sex of his life, he is fairly sure high-fives and smug leers are decidedly not the thing, particularly in the presence of the lady involved.

Still, he seems to be almost floating on air as he guides said lady through the lobby, escorting her to the elevator and allowing the doorman to press the button to his penthouse and send them up. An almost painful anticipation writhes through him at the idea of getting her alone, truly alone.

He glances down and a wave of possessiveness washes over him at the sight of her still wearing his jacket.

And he decides something, something more important than anything he’s ever decided. He needs to be completely honest with this woman. Because he refuses to repeat the mistakes of his past.

I won’t do it again. Not with her.

“Rey,” he murmurs quietly, so as not to break the spell of hushed expectation.

She glances up and gives him a saucy lift of her brow.

“Hmmm?”

“We need to have a talk, sweetheart.” He says it gently, but firmly. He wants her to know he sincerely means what he is about to say.

“What?” she breathes, a touch of worry crossing her face. “Is everything all right?”

His mouth works around the answer for a few seconds before he bluntly replies, “Yes. Everything’s perfect. I just…I just need you to understand…”

He takes a breath. Talking is hard and Hux was so right – he’s terrible at it – but he really needs to get this out. “Two things.”

She lifts her brow again, this time in question.

“First. I know what happened, what we just did was off the books, so to speak. But…if we’re going to do this…more…I need you to trust me.”

“Trust you?” she whispers.

He nods. She looks confused. “Yeah. Like, you don’t have to tell me all your secrets for now – I have some stuff that maybe doesn’t need to come out tonight, either, but I need you to be honest with me. Okay?”

He can see the wheels turning in her head and gives her time.

“You mean like when we’re having sex?” she asks bluntly.

“Yes. Yes, exactly.” He casts about for how to explain. “I just…can’t feel like you’re being fake with me. I need to know you’re really…being you. Does that make sense?”

She nods, thoughtful. The elevator slows and she sways into him, tracing a fingertip over his hastily-buttoned dress shirt. “Okay. I can do that. And what was the second thing?” she murmurs huskily.

He swallows and blurts out, “I don’t like to share. I won’t. And…your work with the First Order…”  

She reads his direction easily enough and presses a finger to his lips, stopping him from confessing anything too earth-shattering too soon, thankfully.

“Don’t worry, Ben. We’ll…figure something out, okay?” she assures him.

He smiles, relieved she hasn’t misunderstood him – it might be all too easy for her to assume he is judging or shaming her profession, and he doesn’t want her to feel that way at all, especially because it isn’t true.

But the thought of her with other people now? The idea nearly kills him.

“Are you sure?” he asks, hoping like hell she means it. “It means you’ll have to…really trust me to take care of you…”

“Well. To be honest, I was thinking about getting out of the escorting business altogether…My last client was really a hardass. Made me scrub his kitchen, wash his windows…and he was a total disaster with laundry…”

He barks a laugh as she grins winsomely up at him and keeps going. “He wouldn’t feed me…and I’m pretty sure he has no idea how rough it is to vacuum in six-inch heels…”

His chest shakes with silent laughter as they arrive at his penthouse. “He sounds like a monster.” He pushes his hands beneath his jacket and pulls her close, lifting her against him as the doors slide open.

She wraps her arms around his neck, and he kisses her hard, slanting his mouth over hers until she moans sweetly, until she melts into him, boneless, and clings to him as if he’s the only man in the world and surrenders so prettily it makes him want to roar with primitive, wild triumph.

Her lips cling to his and her eyes pool with naked desire and his heart races as he vows, “Don't worry, I’ll take care of you, princess. Promise.”

 

She giggles. “We’re here…what should we do now?” She bats her eyelashes at him and he’s a goner.

But he just made a rather wholehearted declaration and she doesn't seem to be taking him too seriously.

He scowls sternly and growls, “You don’t believe me?” He clucks his tongue and she giggles again, suddenly awash with hilarity.

“No, I believe you,” she gasps before erupting into gales of laughter, “I do! I just was thinking of the first time I saw you when I thought…you were a client. You know…a client-client.” She wiggles her eyebrows.

“Oh?”

“I was so disappointed,” she chuckles, tracing the line of his jaw with an idle finger.

“What?” He’s rather offended as he walks her backward into the entryway.

No escape, now, sweetheart.

“Yes,” she nods sagely. “I was hoping you’d be rather older…and perhaps a bit out of shape…” She snickers and he shakes his head.

“Why on earth?” he asks incredulously, utterly captivated by her sparkling humor.

“…and then I saw you, and I was so bummed because I knew I’d never ever wear you out with sex and have a chance to catch a nap…” She’s laughing so hard now she’s snorting, and he’s sure he has the dopiest grin on his own face.

This playing, it’s heady, like champagne, and addictive and he wants to keep her like this forever.

“You were hoping to sleep on the job? That’s terrible,” he insists.

His eyes twinkle down into hers, and she confesses in a stage whisper, “Yes, I know it’s awful. But it’s true. I’d been hoping to tire you out…although I think I still I have the upper hand in that department…”

The air between them charges with humor and a faint layer of sexual tension, now. Clever little thing. That was nicely done.

“You’ll wear out before I do,” he tells her seriously. “I happen to be in excellent shape.”

She runs a hand playfully over his pecs, then lower across his abs as if evaluating.

“Hmmm. Yes, but in my professional experience, the bigger they are…the harder they fall…I can have you passed out in under an hour, don’t tempt me.”

“Tempt you? You might have the benefit of expertise, sweetheart, but I figure I’ve got well over a decade of sex to make up for…I’m going to wear your little ass all the way out...I'll do my very best to fuck you into sex coma tonight.”

She gasps in mock outrage, “Why you kinky thing! Who taught you to talk to a lady like that? I thought you were a gentleman! And shy!”

She’s slowly weaving her way through the house, flicking the buttons of his shirt open as he follows, and this is the most fun Ben has ever had in his life.

“Who says I’m shy?” he hisses, reaching to sweep his jacket from her shoulders. But she dances away before he can do it.

 

She bites her lip and looks at him from under her lashes, slowly leading them down the hall.

At the word “shy” his eyes flare and Rey recalls Hux mentioning his competitive side. Interesting.

“Thirty minutes tops.”

“Is that a challenge?” His gaze has taken on a decidedly predatory glint. Even better.

“Now, Daddy. You might have the muscle, but I have the endurance. You can’t go up against a pro like me and expect to come out – oooh!

“Is that so?” he asks, a sinister chuckle tinting the question and sending a thrill ricocheting through her. He spins her and strips his jacket off her shoulders, like shucking an ear of corn, before breathing hotly against her neck. “I think I can handle a little thing like you, for all your expertise…In fact, I’ll even be the bigger person and give you sixty seconds to get out of that dress and get yourself into my bed.” His gaze rakes her from head to toe and she shivers. “Or else.”

Oh. Oh, yes. I knew he’d be good at this, she thinks with an excited bite of her lip. “Or else what?”  

“Punishment. I’m not asking, young lady, I’m telling.” His eyes darken and Rey’s heart skips a beat. “Leave the stockings on.” He glances at his watch, rather pointedly, and Rey swallows a ripple of tension.

He’s looking at her with enough heat to singe her hair.

She turns and dashes for his room with a squeak, casting a hurried glance behind her as he stalks after like a big, sleek jungle cat.

Oh, shit. What does he mean ‘or else’…?

She runs to his room and slaps the door shut with the flat of her hand, panting.

Her fingers shake with adrenaline as she reaches to the side of her dress to unhook the tiny eyehook over the zipper. She had sixty seconds, and she’s lost at least six running down the hall. Her dress isn’t cooperating, however, and a thrill of fear races through her as she tries to look under her arm to see what the problem is.

Shit. Oh, shit.

She tries pulling it, and it is fucking stuck and she can see his shadow, just under the door. He’s out there, counting down her final seconds before coming in and he is going to catch her and –

This fucking thing is fucking stuck.

She can’t grip it, nor can she tear the dress – it is too well-made, and the stitching is impressively strong. She takes another breath and tries again.

Oh, damn, hurry, hurry. Wait. There it goes. She unhooks and slides the zipper down.

And just as her dress pools at her feet, the door opens and he’s there, silhouetted in the light, looking for all the world like he is going to eat her alive.

“What. Is. This?” he mutters, sending another zing of adrenaline through her.

Shit. He sounds kinda scary.

“Um. My zipper was stuck,” she replies, turning to face him, nervously cupping her hands over her bare chest, feeling extraordinarily vulnerable under his scorching gaze as he moves into the room, completely taking over the space.

He cocks his head and unclasps his cufflinks, setting them one after another on a tall antique dresser. “I don’t want to hear your excuses, princess.”

Without prelude, he strips off his shirt and Rey is temporarily paralyzed at her first real view of his naked torso.

Because holy fucking shit. Somehow, he looks even bigger with his shirt off, less like a sweet cupcake and more like a Viking about to go on a pillage.

“Move your hands, baby. Let’s see what you’re hiding under there,” he orders. His voice has gone all gravelly and Rey isn’t sure why her hands are still shaking, but fuck, it’s doing things to her.

Rey, who has never had a shy bone in her body until this moment, takes a step back, still awed at the sight of him.

He lifts a brow and crooks his finger. “Now don’t be scared. I won’t punish you too bad this time.”

He winks. He fucking winks at her and it is making her so wet.

“Come on,” he coaxes, prowling close until he stands right in front of her, lightly cupping his hands over hers and sliding her hands away so he can look at her. “I…might need your help for this next part…and I want to…” He breaks off.

“Want to what?” she whispers.

“I want you to come, too. I know you didn’t in the car.”

His lips are so red and plush and beautiful, and his dark eyes glow with such open longing, she actually feels faint. Another surge of desire dampens her thong.

She shifts her stance and decides if tonight is the time for confession, she should make a good go of it. “Well…I might not be able to…that is…I, um, I don’t know if…”

His palms sweep around to curve over her derriere, pulling her hips to cradle against his erection. His breath is hot on her neck and he croons, “Say it, sweetheart.”

“I’ve never…had an orgasm with anyone before,” she finally tells him, embarrassed.

He pulls back in surprise, watching her curiously. “What?”

The words come easier now that they are out. “I just…never could before. And I definitely know the theory, and I just…I don’t know what’s wrong with me…” She stares determinedly at a lovely beauty mark on his right pec.

His jaw works for a minute while he processes this information.

“Correct me if I’m wrong,” he finally replies quietly, “but earlier in the car…you were wet for me.” His bluntly-delivered observation sends a lick of flame to her belly. He brushes a finger between her legs, rubbing softly against her drenched underwear. Rey knows he can feel it, her renewed desire. “You’re wet for me now, yes?”

“Yes,” she grits out, chewing the inside of her cheek, trying to pay attention to the conversation and not the increasingly damp scrap of fabric he’s rubbing, which is in itself a miracle. She usually needs plenty of lube during sex but has always figured it was par for the course, since she was never attracted to her clients.

But this isn’t work, and he isn’t a client, and she is extremely attracted to Ben…the only other time she’s ever been attracted to someone was with Jackson’s father and that was eons ago. And not even a close second to how she’s feeling right now...

And she’d been a virgin then, and even she hadn’t been surprised when the fireworks had rather…fizzled out. And then, after Jackson…she hadn’t really ever wanted to be with anyone, hadn’t considered having sex for fun or pleasure, especially when it was work.

Ben stares down at her with an unfathomable glint in his eye. She tries not to shuffle awkwardly under his scrutiny when he confirms, “But you are able to? When you touch yourself?”

“Yes.”

He leans in close, just barely brushing his skin against hers and a soft whimper escapes her.

“Lately?” he purrs, sliding his finger under her thong and stroking her again. “Since we met?”

All that hot, hard muscle in her face is rather disconcerting, disorienting, and Rey finds herself clutching at his arms to hold herself up so he can keep doing what he is doing.

“…yes…” Her voice is hardly audible, a breath more than actual words.

She isn’t sure if it is intentional or not, but when his finger brushes against her clit her eyes flutter half-closed and she moans. Eagerly, wantonly even.

Something is happening here in the semi-dark space of Ben’s bedroom, something rather magical and dreadful and achingly pleasurable.

He strokes the back of his hand over the smooth planes of her belly before moving up, up to her breast, tweaking at her nipple with his knuckles and sending a hot spike of want into her. She bites her lip and he watches, fascinated.

“Tell me,” he coos. He’s watching her like she’s a puzzle he’s trying to solve, a problem he can’t quite pinpoint, analyzing and evaluating, and she’s going to lose her composure under that hawk-like gaze.

Her breath comes fast and hard now as he slides his other hand around to pull her against him, and the sensation of his hard body pushing against her is too much, too overwhelmingly good.

She just needs a minute. She pushes at him and he stops, solid as a brick wall.

“Aha!” he grunts. “I just figured it out…”

A shiver of uncomfortable awareness passes between them and she opens her mouth to protest, but he isn’t letting her off the hook that easy.

He backs her toward his bed using nothing more than a force of will, and she is feeling a bit panicked, although she isn’t sure why.

“You’re always in charge,” he states. “That’s what the problem is.”

“Wha – what?” she gasps.

“You…can’t…come…” he enunciates stubbornly “because you’re always in charge.”

She is backed against the bed now, but he is still coming at her. Lightning fast, he stretches out a hand and gives her a push, knocking her off balance. She falls backward with a rather undignified squawk, glaring up at him.

He flashes her a wolfish grin.

“It’s true.”

She sputters futilely but can offer no real counter-argument. They both know he’s right.

“You – I have to be in charge,” she finally squeaks as he climbs on top and hovers over her, bracing himself so he doesn’t crush her. “That’s…my job…”

“Not tonight.” He shakes his head. “This…is no job…”

She swallows.

“Okay,” she agrees as he settles himself against her slightly parted thighs. It feels so good she trembles, unable to stop a few wracking shudders from quaking through her at the sensation of having him do nothing more earth-shattering than lie on top of her.

His eyes darken as he bends to kiss the crook of her neck, then lick softly at the skin under her jaw and nibble on her earlobe until she arches into him.

“You are a control freak,” he accuses lightly between nibbles and kisses, “and you can’t grasp the concept of someone else taking care of you. Independent, aren’t you?”

She lies there quietly, eyes wide as saucers. But she doesn’t disagree.

“Hmmm. This is exactly what I was talking about earlier,” he scolds, pinning her hands to either side and sweeping a hot tongue over her pebbled nipple until she wants to tell him to just take it into his mouth and suck it, already.

But he keeps talking, much to her chagrin. “And if you don’t think anyone can take care of you as well as you always have, then why would you trust them to take care of you sexually?”

“Stop trying to psychoanalyze me!” she spits, growing agitated. “Unless you want to talk about why you are thirty-something years old and a virgin until half an hour ago!”

Her anger doesn’t seem to phase him, he merely chuckles darkly. “Oooh, so defensive. Classic control freak response. You aren’t ever going to have an orgasm with anyone, sweetheart, unless you really trust them. And I really, really want you to tonight. So, you’re just going to have to trust me,” he murmurs.

“Am I?”

“I might still be practically a virgin, but I know I’m right,” he presses. “We just have to figure out…how to do it…”

He punctuates his words with more hot, sucking kisses along her collarbone and she squirms against him, annoyed and turned on beyond all belief.

 

Ah, she’s got a lovely temper, he thinks smugly. How adorable.

“But first things first.” He flips her over and his eyes nearly cross at the sight of her perfect ass and smooth legs, all trussed up in a garter belt and stockings and a tiny scrap of a thong that surely doesn’t qualify as underwear.

Almost reverently, he soothes his palm over the curve of her backside, taking in the contrasting textures of warm woman and delicate lace…and then he does the thing he’s been fantasizing about pretty much since the minute they met.

He pulls the strap on one of her stockings and holds it an inch or two above her thigh.

“About your punishment…”

She wiggles nervously, and he presses his free hand onto her lower back, holding her still.

He snaps the elastic and it makes the sexiest sound as it smacks against her, making her twitch and hiss a shocked little, “oof!”

“…if I don’t show you how to properly undress for me, princess, then what kind of daddy would I be…?”

He does it again, almost hypnotized by his own lust and is gratified to get another, sharper, “Oh!”

He unhooks the strap and drinks in the sight of the faint pink welt on her thigh, unable to help himself as he leans in and licks the mark he just made.

“You liked that?” A loud groan escapes her, and he purses his lips thoughtfully. “I asked you a question, princess.”

She moans again, something that sounds very much like, “Do it again, please.”

He doesn’t wait but snaps the strap on her other thigh and immediately soothes the spot with his tongue.

She wiggles again, sticking her butt up and fuck, it’s turning him on.

He pushes her thong to the side and slides a finger against the heated flesh between her legs, groaning when he finds her slippery wet and silky hot.

“Tell me what you need, baby girl.”

She is breathing hard and apparently having trouble finding words.

But that’s all right. He knows exactly what she needs.

And he’ll get her to say it if it is the last thing he does.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Fourteen – The One Where Rey Learns a Thing or Two

 

She cannot reply, and she has been struck dumb at how quickly and elegantly he’s cut straight to the quick, holding up the mirror of reality to reflect a truth she didn’t know existed, but has been there. All this time.

Tell me what you need, baby girl.

Rey is positive whatever she needs lies squarely in the very large, warm and gentle hands currently exploring the contours of her inner thighs, slipping beneath the lacy scrap of her underwear, prodding delicately at the place where she is throbbing with desire.

She is sure whatever she needs involves the firm shape of sculpted muscle to press lightly against her, of heated breath and silken hair to brush over her skin. Of gentle murmurs to swap with her own breathless cries.

She’s never had a need like this before, fallen into a dream state, overcome in a drifting, timeless existence that only holds one thing: Him.

Yesterday she would have laughed or argued like hell he was wrong. What does he know? Yesterday she would have shaken her head in disbelief at the idea of giving up control for…

He gently rolls her beneath him so she lies half under his large, hot body. She can’t escape the knowing gleam in his eyes, and she wants to. She wants to hide from that dark gaze that sees far too much.

If he looks too closely, he’s going to see everything – all the cracks in her armor, the weaknesses in her defenses that she’s so painstakingly constructed – and that would make her so vulnerable.

Don’t be afraid. I feel it, too, he’d said earlier. And then he’d asked her to trust him.

She didn’t think it would be so difficult.

“I –” she starts, but he shushes her with a whisper-soft kiss, the slightest trace of tongue, the barest hint of pressure, and that soft kiss holds more command than if he’d barked an order.

He slides against her, running his hand so devastatingly lightly from hip to breast, she’s overwhelmed by the contrast of his hardness, his heat burning into the silky-soft smoothness of her skin.

She’s never been so affected before, and she wants to panic, although she knows she has no reason to. He’s waiting patiently for her to acknowledge what he’s already figured out. This is new territory for her, being with a patient lover. This is terrifying, this tender, commanding person who could easily take what he wants, even considering his lack of experience.

If ever she would lose herself in another person, let herself go and trust him to be there to catch her when she falls…she thinks it could be him.

He could do anything, anything he wants to her and she would be fine with it. But he’s holding back, and she knows why.

He is waiting for her to catch up.

“…you gonna take this off for me, sweetheart?” he whispers, tugging at her garter belt, brushing his palm over her thong, pushing ever-so-gently against the heat of her until her hips arch to meet his hand.

She can’t breathe.

“Or should we stop?” he asks, kissing her neck and sending tingles through her until her thoughts scatter and her toes curl.

“…n-no…” she manages to rasp out in a voice not her own. No. They can’t stop, now.

Sharp teeth nip at her earlobe, and even as she wonders if he knows what to do next, he kisses a fiery trail from her neck to her breast, wrapping his luscious mouth around the tip with the softest of sighs.

He strokes her again and he doesn’t seem to understand this is a ridiculous amount of foreplay – any other guy would have her ankles over his shoulders by now. Hell, they’d be done or finishing up by now, but he’s still just kissing her and touching her, and does he know? Does he know what he’s doing to her?

Oh, yes. He knows.

“We should keep going?”

He’s such a marvelous contrast of rough and soft, and he’s pressing in for another kiss. Soft, firm lips, hard, hot muscle. Smooth skin, scratchy whiskers.

“…like this?”

She skates her hands up his heavily-muscled arms and sinks her fingers into the thick locks of hair at his nape and whispers, “…yes…don’t stop…”

And he doesn’t stop. He kisses her and pets her and tugs again at her underwear until she slides her hands down and unhooks the garter belt. He rolls aside so he can help her slip them down and off her legs, hands trailing languorously from the tops of her thighs to the tips of her toes. She realizes he’s still wearing pants.

She reaches to undo them, but he lifts away and shakes his head. “In a minute, baby.”

Oh. Okay…

He pushes gently and she’s lying on her back again. He crawls down, kissing her chest, belly, and then, when she realizes his intent, she freezes.

She knows he’s never had sex, but has he ever -? What might he think?

Suddenly nervous, she bites her lips. What if he doesn’t like…it?

As if he’s reading her mind, he pauses and regards her with such solemn earnestness she can’t breathe again…

“Open up for me,” he orders so quietly she almost isn’t sure he’d said it. She takes a breath and her thighs fall open under his heated scrutiny.

“Tell me…if something isn’t okay…” he grunts, kissing her belly, scuffing his chin over the soft skin just under her belly button. “I haven’t…it’s been a long time since I…”

But he doesn’t give her a chance to say anything else. He presses a firm kiss over her mound, but so tenderly it’s almost painful. He moves down, and she parts her thighs a bit more. And when he sets his mouth on her again, careful, hesitant, delicate, just the heat of his breath lightly fanning against her sends ripples of longing up and down her thighs.

His tongue slips along her sensitive folds and she whines and writhes against him at the incredible pressure, wet and hot. He pushes, gently insistent, opening his mouth and dragging his tongue along, to very carefully kiss and suck at her and he’s so close…

She grasps his silky hair and tugs him up a fraction of an inch… “Like that…right there…” she murmurs. He’s a quick learner, pulling at the swollen bundle of nerves as if he was made for it, for doing this specific thing, sending perfect sultry tension into her until she groans throatily, “Oh, Ben!”

“Like this?” he whispers. He does it again, and white-hot pleasure bursts behind her eyes. He’s rendered her speechless again, and her only answer is to pulse her hips against his mouth in the ancient, universal cadence of sex.

It’s unbelievable, what he’s doing and how good it feels, and she can feel herself unraveling more and more. He isn’t stopping. He’s moaning and his eyes flash up to hers and she can’t stop watching him there, can’t stop falling deeper under the spell he’s weaving.

He groans against her, and a shudder wracks his shoulders. She wonders if he’s as turned on as she is, but her question is stolen away when he opens wide like he’s going to swallow her whole. He sucks and strokes his tongue in hot flicks that send wild ripples of bliss to flutter up and down her body, like electricity, like torrents of lightning.

She gasps and lifts her hips, a broken exclamation torn from her throat.

His eyes hold hers as easily as a magnet catches iron. He slides a long, blunt finger inside, stroking hard and soft at the same time, until it rips the air from her lungs.

“…like this?” he asks, caressing her so deliberately, with such naked intention, she is going to melt into the mattress.

“…yes…” she pants.

“Tell me what you need,” he murmurs again, slipping his tongue along the crease of her inner thigh.

“…I…I…need you,” she groans. She wants to feel him inside her. “Please.”

He gives her one final sucking kiss against her clit, and she is wound so tightly she squeals from it.

He crawls up to hover over her. “Help me with my pants, sweetheart.”

Her hands skate down, testing the thick pads of muscle over his chest. She is shaking with need as she pushes lower, again marveling at the contrast between him and her, of all his hard angles and planes and the lovely scruff of hair beneath his navel.

Her trembling fingers unfasten his pants while he kisses her neck and lifts his hips so she can slide them down his thighs. She pulls his boxers down, carefully lifting the elastic around his heavy erection.

He groans when her hand brushes against him and she whispers, “Ben. Please…”

She wants to cry out at the loss of heated flesh pressing her into the mattress when he shuffles off her to finish stripping.

But he’s back before she can protest, and she spreads her legs wide, eager to feel him.

“…what do you need, princess?” he asks again, low-voiced but softly authoritative. He’s going to make her say it.

She’s nearly incoherent as she reaches down to guide him home, at the thickly-veined heat against her palm.

“I need to feel you…” she pleads. “Please.” She’s practically whining, begging, even.

His mouth hangs open, and he’s breathing like he’s just run a mile as he slides his tip along her dripping pussy.

“Please,” she whimpers. “Please…”

He pushes and she adjusts her hips so he has a better angle. He figures it out relatively quickly, adjusting his own hips so he can nudge against her. His body trembles against hers, at that first kiss of flesh against flesh. She hooks her ankles around his thighs to pull him close, reminding herself this is a new experience for him.

“Ben, please…you won’t hurt me…”

He cages her in, arms braced on either side, hands lightly gripping her shoulders, and she’s surrounded by him, the heat of his body rolling into her like ocean waves.

Fire lights his eyes as she grasps him around the ribs and lifts herself. Suddenly, everything slides into place as easily as lock and key and he thrusts home with a ragged groan.

“…f-f-fuck…” he stutters, “…you feel so amazing…”

He’s pinned her down, hips pressed heavily into hers as he stares down in awe, but she needs movement, friction. She guides him into pulling out just slightly begging, “more” until he thrusts again, deeper.

He starts a rolling rhythm that is still too slow…as if he’s…savoring this…a soft smile of wonder plays around his lips, dark hair falling over his brow, as he glances between her face and down, where their bodies meet.

How can he not know how this is making her crazy?

“Like this?” he asks again, almost teasing.

“More,” she whispers. “Please. Just…oh!”

He slides in and out so gently it is torture. As if she’s a blown glass ornament. Fragile, breakable.

She whines in frustration. She squeezes her pussy around him, encouraging, hoping to incite more.

“What…do you…need?” he growls, sudden command flaring in his eyes.

She needs to be fucked like there’s no tomorrow. 

“Ah, dammit,” he bites out, glaring down at her. “Why can’t you just say it?”

They lie there panting for a few seconds, and something twists inside her as she finally gives in. “I want you to fuck me like a whore,” she hisses furiously. “Like you fucking own me.”

Grim satisfaction washes over his face and he snarls, “Was that so fucking hard to say?”

It was harder than she’d thought, but she’s speechless at the blatant, ferocious want suddenly pouring off his skin.

He pins her wrists to either side of her head and kisses her ravenously, and Rey immediately senses he’s been holding back. Waiting for her to catch up.

And then.

She keeps her legs wrapped around him, holding him in place, but he takes over the pace, much more forcefully, much faster, now.

“Like…this?” he asks through gritted teeth, slamming into to her hard enough to send her thoughts skittering out of her head.

Oh, yes. Just like that.

A light sheen of sweat covers them both as he pounds into her.

“You want me to wreck your pussy? Is that it?”

“…mmmmhhh…yes!” she cries as wild flickers of delight roll through her belly.

“That’s what you thought about? Isn’t it? When you made yourself come?”

It was.

“Yes!” Her head falls back, and her eyes flutter closed until she feels a firm grip on her jaw.

“Oh, no, no, you keep your eyes on me, baby.” His voice holds an edge, now, a bite of authority that sends shivers snaking down her spine.

He snaps his hips a few times for emphasis and she gasps, locking eyes with his.

He rears back and slips out of her and she whines at the sudden loss, staring at his thick erection, flushed and glistening, jutting aggressively from the dark thatch of hair at his groin.

He’s kneeling back, sitting on his heels, and he drags her up to straddle him.

She groans as she slides back down on that gorgeous dick, at the delicious grip of his hands on her hips. “I will fuck you like I own you,” he tells her ominously. “You said this pussy is mine. In the car, remember?”

“Yes.”

He sounds a little demented. “And I will wreck it. I will fucking destroy it, I promise…but first I want you to come for me…”

She whimpers at his ruthlessly-delivered vow and her breath catches in her chest.

Oh, shit, he’s making me so wet.

He nips at the side of her neck and presses in, hitting a spot deep inside, until her thighs quiver with coiled tension.

She hooks an arm around his neck and rolls her hips against his, reaching between them to rub her clit. His eyes glitter knowingly into hers, and he chokes, “Oh, baby, fuck, you’re gonna end me if you don’t hurry…”

She rubs herself, riding his cock and watching his face, utterly lost against the waves of lust simmering under her skin as he bumps repeatedly against her cervix.

His hand moves around to press against her belly, and she gasps.

“I’m…so deep in you…can you feel me in there…splitting you open?” He bounces her harder and she shrieks.

And that’s all it takes.

Her fingers flick over her slippery-swollen clit and she can feel him stroking inside her solid and deep, as scalding pleasure pulses between her legs, uneven contractions gripping him like a fist. Her head falls to his neck as she screams through the endless cascades of hot, clutching spasms, and his answering cries of passion reverberate through her until she’s sobbing brokenly, grinding down on him with everything she has.

His hands clutch at her reflexively as he bellows and jerks, pumping himself into her with a filthy gush that drips down to mingle with her own juices trickling out of her.

She can’t talk, can’t answer as the aftermath ripples through her. She strains and clings to every last strand of bliss weaving up and down her spine, holding on to his rock-hard shoulders as if he’s the only anchor in her universe.

“Holy fucking shit,” he gasps.

Some vague part of her senses his damp skin brushing against hers, strong hands eventually lifting her away, an aching loss as he pulls her off him and lies her back onto the smooth, cool sheets, his warm, hard body curling around hers, soft lips pressing into her hair, gentle masculine hands guiding her into a more relaxed position, stroking along her thighs and hips and murmuring wordlessly, of the rise and fall of his chest against her back as he gently brushes her hair away from her face.

Finally, when she can think somewhat clearly, she turns in his arms, leaning her head on his arm and pressing a hand lightly over his heart.

She grins up at him and asks in wonderment, “Where the hell did you learn how to do all that? I thought you’ve never…you know…”

He hums and pulls her leg to drape over his hip. “Hmmm. Maybe you make a better teacher than a maid.” His eyes sparkle into hers and he plants a wet, smacking kiss on her lips.

She shakes her head, “Seriously. Who taught you how to…do that?”

But he merely smirks and whispers, “Just you.”

 

He’s never met someone he wants to devour and protect at the same time.

Not after the things she did to him – and let him do to her – well into the early hours of the morning.

He’s never felt like this about another person, never wanted to utterly consume and shelter someone as he does this warm, soft woman sleeping quietly at his side.

Well. Not too quietly.

He smiles as another snore rumbles adorably from her open mouth, and his smile widens as he notices she’s drooling. Actually fucking drooling.

Precious.

He kisses her hair, careful not to wake her, and decides then and there that if she’ll let him, he’ll keep her and spoil her and pet her and give her the world on a silver platter and sit back and watch her take it by storm.

Because she would, just as she so effortlessly took his heart.

He pulls her close, holding her limp form, soft with exhaustion, and falls back to sleep dreaming of her.

 

She wakes, and half her face is damp. She blinks down at the wet spot on her pillow and realizes she’s been drooling in her sleep. Her eyes flash to Ben, alarmed, but he’s sleeping and hasn’t seen it, yet, thank God.

He drowses with the slightest little scowl pulling his brows together, and Rey traces his features with her gaze.

She’s never met anyone like him, ever.

And last night. Oh, it had been simply divine.

Her face flushes a bit as she recalls what they did, then immediately blanches when she sees the clock on his nightstand.

“Oh my God is that the time?”

She doesn’t have anything to wear home, but that doesn’t stop her from lurching up. Ben is lying on the sheet, pinning her in and her movements wake him.

He’s tousled and sleepy-eyed and smiling softly at her. She almost moans aloud at the sight of his gorgeous pecs in the morning sunlight.

She kisses his lips distractedly. “Ben. I need to go home. I, uh, wasn’t expecting to be out so late…and I, um, I need to feed my cat.”

 

Ben watches her, bemused but understanding.

He knows she’d really only planned on working until midnight, which is why at some point in the wee morning hours he’d rounded up his phone and texted Mitaka to send up some clothes and a toothbrush for her.

Mrs. Waller will probably be here, too, he realizes, and she might be able to rustle something up for breakfast.

He rolls out of bed and peeks outside the bedroom door. Sure enough, a few shopping bags wait for him just outside and he snatches them up, bringing them back to Rey who watches him rather hungrily.

God, she’s beautiful.

Her eyebrows raise at the sight of tissue-wrapped clothes he pulls from the bags. He cocks his head at her shocked expression.

“You…had clothes sent for me?” she squeaks.

“Um. Yeah.” She looks upset. “Well, you can’t go home in your dress…” he tells her as if it should be obvious. Plus, he doesn’t want her wearing some other guy’s clothes, even if it was just Hux doing them both a favor.

“What’s wrong, princess?” he asks. “You don’t like them?”

She’s running her hands over the jeans and blouse almost reverently, though. “I’ve just never…”

She blinks up at him and his heart drops at the sight of tears. Oh, fuck, no. What?

A tear slides down her face, and she sniffs. “What? Sweetheart?”

She sniffs again and rallies. “I’ve just never worn a two-thousand-dollar pair of jeans before.”

Ben shakes his head. He doesn’t understand. Is that a lot? Or not enough? He’d told Mitaka to get the best of the best, but keep it casual…

“Well, we can get you something else if you don’t like it,” Ben flounders.

She clutches the jeans to her chest and grins. “Oh, no. This is amazing…thank you,” she whispers.

Her eyes move back to the clock and a shadow falls over her face.

“Rey,” he mutters. “When do I get to see you again?”

“Um.” He can see wheels turning in her head. If he could have it his way, he’d keep her here forever, naked and in his bed, surrounded by luxury and utterly at his disposal, but he also knows she has a life, and this all happened rather quickly.

“You need some time to, uh, make arrangements for your cat?” he prompts.

“Yes, and I have a meeting scheduled with my boss tomorrow morning,” she tells him. “Um. I need to tell her…”

Ben climbs onto the bed and pushes her back into the pillows, the sheet between them the only thing preventing him from ravishing her one more time before he lets her go.

He kisses her neck, and growls, “You tell her you’re done with the First Order and you have someone to take care of you now…”

She sighs. “Well, I signed a contract. So, I –”

He perks up. “What contract?”

She licks her lips and explains. “When I started working there, I signed a contract that agreed to certain terms…for a certain period of time…”

He leans back, concerned, now. “What terms?”

By the time he gets the full explanation from her, he’s having trouble keeping his fuming rage from showing.

The First Order, as it turns out, is taking massive advantage of her.

He senses she’s keeping the worst of it from him, and he reminds himself once again she has a life, had a whole life before he came along. Rey can have her secrets for now. He has plenty of his own baggage that will most likely come up in the course of their…whatever is going to happen between them.

First things first, though. He waits until she’s in the shower before he pulls out his phone and calls Mitaka again. He is well-aware he’d just sent Mitaka on a middle of the night shopping trip just hours ago and is also quite aware he’s paying the man extravagantly to answer him night or day.

Mitaka sounds sleepy but alert enough. Good. Ben doesn’t hesitate but jumps right in.

“I need to know everything I can about the First Order Escort Service, their employment contracts, conditions, contingencies, all of it. I need to know how ironclad those contracts are. As soon as possible.”

“Yes, sir.”

He already can’t imagine his life without her in it, front and center. She promised she would trust him, and he promised he’d take care of her.

And he meant it.

Chapter Text

Chapter Fifteen – The One With A Hostile Takeover

 

After Rey rushes out the door, Ben sits rather despondently at the kitchen counter, munching on a scone from that little bakery he likes and watching Mrs. Waller bustle around.

“More coffee, Mr. Solo?” Mrs. W asks with a professional glance at his nearly empty mug.

“Yeah, thanks.”

He sips the hot brew she pours for him. It’s as good as the coffee he makes, and he’s glad.

He thinks about his promise to meet with Rey and her boss at the First Order tomorrow, and he wonders how he can help disentangle her from the First Order’s grip.

He’d asked her if he could just buy out the remainder of her contract or exclusively keep her to himself until it ended, and she was unsure. She just told him she was locked in for three more years and she was pretty sure her contract couldn’t be bought or transferred to an outside entity.

When he’d asked why, she told him it was to prevent them from being taken advantage of, so rich assholes coming in with grandiose promises wouldn’t leave the workers high and dry when they inevitably got bored.

It had sounded extreme to Ben, but he supposed it made sense from a certain point of view.

He glances down at the morning’s newspaper and sighs. By the look of things, everyone is losing their goddamn minds over the fact Ben Solo apparently has a love life.

Rey and he are plastered all over Page Six, kissing on the stairs at his mother’s gala last night. He wishes for the hundredth time in the last hour he’d insisted Rey take his car home, despite her stubborn refusal. He wonders what she will think of the headlines when she sees them.

He hopes the paparazzi won’t figure out who she is and harass her.

Speaking of harassment. 

His mother has already called at least forty times. He finally turned off his phone after calling downstairs and informing the doorman he was not at home. He would not put it past his mother to show up unannounced and demand an explanation.

Mrs. W disappears down the hall, and Ben figures she’s probably tidying up his room. He can’t even muster any embarrassment over the fact it very probably looks like he had wild sex in there all night …

His housekeeper has probably seen far worse than some hastily discarded clothes and a pair of ripped stockings.

And she most definitely got a peek at the newspaper.

He knows she did because when she poured him a fresh cup of coffee, she’d been the one to set Page Six right under his nose.

Probably her subtle way of giving him a heads’ up on the sure storm of chaos and gossip headed his way.

The jarring jingle of the house phone blares into his ears, interrupting his thoughts.

Ben forgot the damned thing existed, a regular old landline right there in the kitchen, likely convenient for servants to coordinate whatever it was they needed to do to run a place like this.

It rings and rings and Ben debates answering it. Before he can decide, Mrs. W strides in and picks up the phone herself.

“Solo residence.”

She glances at Ben. “Let me check. One moment please.”

“Who is it?” Ben mouths.

She puts her hand over the receiver and mutters, “Mr. Hux?”

Ben sighs, resigned. He might as well have Hux help him with the publicity shitstorm headed his way.

“Send him up.”

When Hux strolls into the kitchen a few minutes later, one hand comically shielding his eyes, the other groping blindly in front of him, Ben instantly regrets his decision.

“…please don’t let me see anything shocking this early in the morning…”

Ben grunts, “Fuck you,” but there’s no heat in it.

“Well, who knew you were such an exhibitionist? Good Lord! Right on the steps for all the world to see, eh?” Hux exclaims, helping himself to a scone and peering at Ben’s open copy of Page Six. “Where’s your lovely lady?”

“She had to go home…and…feed her cat,” Ben answers lamely. He’s never had pets before, but he has a feeling Rey might have been fibbing about that. A mystery for him to figure out. Later.

Hux snorts and snatches Page Six from under Ben’s nose, reading portions of the article aloud around bites of scone.

“God, this couldn’t have come any sooner. I’ve been dying of boredom,” Hux chuckles, flipping the paper around and stabbing his finger on the picture of Ben and Rey in a passionate embrace on the steps outside last night’s gala.

Mrs. W hustles past with an armload of sheets and linens and a friendly, “Good morning Mr. Hux. Can I get you anything?”

Hux grins congenially. “I could murder a bourbon.”

Hux’s phone goes off just then and his eyebrows nearly shoot through the ceiling when he checks it. He looks significantly at Ben. “It’s your mother,” he sings. “Ooooh. Somebody’s in trouble…”

Ben shakes his head. “I don’t want to –” Too late. Dammit.

“Good morning, ma’am.” Hux slides a wicked grin to Ben. “Yes, ma’am, I’m looking right at him…Yes, ma’am.”

He hands his phone to Ben and helps himself to another scone.

Reluctantly, Ben takes his friend’s phone, promising himself he is going to exterminate his friend the very next chance he gets.

“Hello, Mother.”

 

Despite feeling vaguely guilty for not telling Ben she has a son, Rey goes home on cloud nine.

She pushes away the twinge of guilt, promising herself she will break the news to him the next time they see each other.

It occurs to her she didn’t even get his cell number or leave him a way to contact her, but she did tell him she had a meeting at the First Order the next day, and he’d agreed to be there for moral support if nothing else.

She calls Rose as she makes her way to the subway, relieved when Rose tells her Jackson is fine and they figured she was “busy” all morning when they saw the newspapers.

“What? The newspapers?”

“Yeah. Rey. You didn’t mention your paycheck was Ben fucking Solo.”

“Didn’t I?”

“You said he was old money, not The Money. He’s richer than God.”

“So?”

Rose sighs. “His family owns half of New York. And the Hamptons. Huge, huge real estate developments all over the world. Mega-corporations. He’s stupid rich.”

“…I know he’s got money…” Rey equivocates, “…but he’s…”

“He’s what?”

“…he’s just a regular guy…once you get to know him…”

“Oh. My. God. You did it, didn’t you? You like him? You like-like him!” Rose doesn’t sound as upset as she should.

“Rosie, I know you are just trying to protect me, but…I do like him. A lot. And he likes me.”

Rey listens to a long silence on the other end before Rose’s words make her sigh with relief.

“Well. I know I’m supposed to be the voice of reason. But damn, girl. This just might be the best excuse for an exception I’ve ever heard of…”

“Oh? So, I’m only allowed to fall for a paycheck if he’s filthy rich and handsome and sweet?”

“Yep. Pretty much.”

Rey shakes her head ruefully at Rose’s ruthless pragmatism. “He’s…not going to hurt me, Rose. I really feel like I can trust him.”

“Rey. You aren’t the same person you were when Jackson was born. I’m not going to be the gatekeeper to your love life anymore. Besides…”

“Besides, what?”

“I’ve got a ringside seat to the whole show and I wanna hear everything. Every dirty, juicy detail.”

Rey grins into the phone. “Deal.”

 

Mitaka calls an hour after Hux leaves, and the news isn’t good.

“There’s a reason why none of the workers have a…private arrangement with clients, sir. All contracts are exclusive to the First Order, and they cannot be interfered with or controlled by…outside patrons.”

“Mitaka,” Ben barks. “I don’t need euphemisms. Just spit it out.”

“No Sugar Daddy contracts allowed, sir. Employees are locked in for the time agreed upon, no exceptions.”

“Why would Rey try to renegotiate, then?” She has a meeting to do just that tomorrow morning, Ben knows.

“Well. Some things can be negotiated. Usually things like rate of commission withheld in exchange for time. Workers have the right to refuse clients, although they are fined if they don't have reasonable cause. In addition to a standard five-year contract, workers agree to pay for their own, er, personal grooming to meet certain standards, hair, nails, uh…waxing, that sort of thing, along with regular STI testing, birth control, lingerie, uniforms, and dry cleaning. The agency agrees to provide transportation if needed, and a process to find well-screened clients. They handle all client-to-agency contracts, payments, background checks, marketing, web services, and legal services.”

“These contracts the workers sign, can they be annulled? Or transferred?”

“...ehhh, well, not really.”

“There must be some kind of exit clause,” Ben insists.

“No sir. Nothing.”

“So, I can’t buy out a contract? That seems counterproductive.”

“All contracts remain the exclusive property of the First Order, sir. According to my source, others have tried…taken an interest in the workers and attempted to buy out a contract.”

“And?”

“Well…that’s where things get murky. Sir.”

Ah.

“There are rumors of blackmail, harassment, bankruptcy…those sorts of things, but nothing that can be directly traced back to the First Order.”

“Of course not. Go on.”

“Basically…It seems as if anyone tries to leave…they, er, tend to meet with rather serendipitous misfortunes. And anyone who tries to help…also tends to end up embroiled in unfavorable situations…”

Ben grunts, not really surprised. By the way Rey described her employer, he already knew she was being taken advantage of, a sure sign things were not on the up-and-up. 

The last thing he wants to do is cause trouble for Rey. But it sounds like she’s already in over her head.

“Fine. Mitaka, if we can’t bend the rules or get around them, then we need to find a way to break them. I want to speak to the person in charge. Within the hour.”

“Yessir. I will get right on it.”

“Thanks.”

 

Impressively, Ben receives a phone call an hour later. His amazement at Mitaka’s resourcefulness doesn’t last long, however. And by the end of the conversation with a snide and horrible woman named Phasma, Ben is fuming.

He calls Mitaka again, his patience worn thin.

“Mitaka?” he barks.

“Yes…sir?” Mitaka sounds a bit alarmed at the unmitigated hostility in his employer’s voice. Good.

“When I said I wanted to speak to the person in charge, do you think I meant I wanted to talk to some mid-level management bitch on a power trip?”

A lengthy pause. “No, sir.”

“I want. To talk. To the person. In. Charge.”

“Yessir,” Mitaka replies coolly.

Ben stabs a finger at the touchscreen to end the call and sighs.

God, this is exhilarating.

He’s never felt so alive. It’s been a very long time since he’s wanted something so badly. Something worth fighting for.

Something worth winning.

 

Monday morning…

Jackson had a colossal tantrum right as she headed out the door, and Rey was running a tad late for her meeting with Phasma that morning. She wasn’t sure if Ben would actually be able to make it and she had no way to reach him. But, he’d promised he’d be there for moral support if nothing else, and she hoped he would be.

But he’s not here, yet, so she sits alone in the lavishly appointed meeting room at First Order headquarters.

She already knows she is probably going to be in trouble for not immediately leaving on Saturday and reporting Hux the instant he told her he was using a false name; even worse, she ended up with a completely different client, and there had been cameras all over, so there is no hiding what happened. Rose showed her the newspapers when she got home yesterday, and Rey knew she had no good reason to be kissing Ben Solo when she was supposed to be working for Kylo Ren aka Armitage Hux aka ugh, what a mess.

A sliver of dread runs through her when Phasma walks into the meeting room and slaps down a copy of Page Six right under Rey’s nose.  

Phasma is rightfully furious; Rey's stomach drops with the sinking realization that she's not going to be able to negotiate jack shit, now.

“If you didn’t have clients lining up at the door for you, I’d fine your ass and make sure you never work the East Coast again," Phasma snarls. "As it is, you still have time on your contract with the First Order. In accordance with that contract, and because of your reckless and unprofessional behavior, I am exercising my right to impose disciplinary action. The First Order will withhold a sixty-five percent commission on your earnings for the remainder of your time, instead of fifty.”

Rey gasps. This will ruin her, set her so far back she will never get out. Phasma watches her without pity. “And you’ll be fined. I need to make it really hurt, otherwise you won’t learn.”

“Phasma, you can’t – I have a kid, how am I supposed to make ends meet when you’re taking sixty-five percent?”

“Not my fucking problem, dear. You should have thought of that before losing your head over a pair of pretty eyes.”

“How much of a fine?” Rey mutters, trying not to start bawling, even as hot tears threaten the back of her eyes.

“Fifty thousand.” Rey goes cold at hearing that. It will take her ten years to pay it off if she scrimps and saves. She will have to stop helping Ms. Kanata with rent and cut way back on other expenses…She already pays Finn and Rose a pittance to babysit Jackson, but they are already living so close to the bone, Rey can't give them even less...Tears flood her eyes.

“What about Ben?” She could never ask Ben to step in and pay that much money for her stupid mistake, but perhaps he can loan her something…

“Mr. Solo has been blacklisted from this agency and we will no longer accommodate his patronage, nor that of his friend. And don’t even think about breaking your contract, Rey.”

Rey scrubs furious tears from her cheeks, all magic from the weekend long gone under the weight of Phasma’s brutal reality check. Rey has heard rumors about what happens to people who try to break their contracts with the First Order. She can’t risk it. Not with Jackson.

Phasma’s assistant knocks quietly and Rey tries to appeal to the woman’s mercy…but Phasma only returns her pleading gaze with an icy stare as she listens to her assistant explain a “person” awaits her immediate attention just outside.

“I wasn’t aware I had any other appointments this morning,” Phasma accuses.

Her assistant shrinks but says, “He insists he isn’t leaving until he has a word, ma’am.”

“Well, who is it?”

“Mr. Solo.”

Rey’s heartbeat kicks into overtime. Ben. He’s here.

“Ah.” Phasma glares at Rey with annoyance and Rey stares back, infused with fresh stubbornness. And hope. “Looks like Daddy Warbucks is going to try to save the day,” Phasma hisses acidly before turning back to her assistant with a rather militant gleam in her eye. “Well, don’t keep him waiting. Show him in.”

Ben enters the room and Rey resists every urge she has to jump up and run into his arms. She senses that would be the wrong thing to do, especially now. Especially with the vibe he’s emitting.

He looks cold and calculating and…different. He’s wearing a striking suit, tailored perfectly to fit his wide shoulders and long legs. Although his hair is slightly ruffled as it always is, he looks…sharp. It’s almost as if he’s donned a mask and she can’t read a thing from him other than a quiet malevolence that is not directed at her but is nonetheless quite intimidating.

It strikes her again she knows next to nothing about him other than he’s gorgeous, filthy rich, kisses like a dream, dances like a prince…and screws like an uninhibited, horny teenager without the self-esteem issues…

Her pulse leaps and every hair on her body stands on end as his dark gaze sweeps over her.

She’s reassured and rather terrified at whatever showdown is about to occur between him and Phasma. Rey swallows a lump of fear as the two size each other up. It’s like watching two jaguars circle each other, and she honestly has no idea who is going to win.

Tension roils through her as she can almost taste the hostility in the room, feeling the pressure of it expand into every corner, nearly suffocating the elegant space.

Maybe they can just talk it out nicely, Rey thinks. Until Phasma opens her mouth.

Ope. Maybe not.

Phasma fires first shots, a decent opening volley for what is sure to be outright combat.

“I cannot possibly imagine what on earth I can do for you Mr. Solo, considering how many violations of your contract you’ve managed to accrue in just a few short hours. I thought I explained yesterday the First Order is no longer –”

Ben’s mouth quirks into a bloodless smile that holds no humor. “I’m not here to discuss anything with you beyond the terms of your continued employment with the First Order.”

“Excuse me?” Phasma gasps, raising her brows at his interruption.

Ben signals and Phasma’s assistant jumps forward, holding a phone which she hands to Phasma.

Phasma takes the phone, and after a murmured conversation consisting mostly of increasingly humble “yes” and “yes sirs” she hands it back to her assistant in apparent shock.

“I stand corrected.” Phasma clears her throat, obviously floored and now slightly more conciliatory in light of whatever was explained over the phone. “What can I do for you, sir?”

Ben nods once, slowly. “In light of my very recent and extensive investment in this company, we will be making some immediate revisions. Starting with our employees’ contracts. To ensure nobody’s taking advantage of them.”

Phasma narrows her eyes. “I was under the impression those contracts are ironclad. Sir.”

Ben lifts a brow.

“I think you’ll find that with enough money, ma’am, nothing is ever set in stone…” Ben’s voice lilts dangerously.

Phasma can’t help herself. “I’m sorry, but what qualifies you to interfere in this business?” she asks, incredulous.

“Me?” Ben shrugs. “I have absolutely no qualifications.” Ben’s eyes turn hard as he stares her down. “When one has the kind of money I have, one doesn’t need qualifications. One buys them. Or people with them.”

Rey shivers. That sounds…dreadfully expensive.

“I won’t bore you with the details, ma’am. Let’s just say I have family connections, a very large bank account, and unlimited free time on my hands.” The softly-weighted emphasis in his words sends a spike of panic into Rey. Perhaps she hasn’t fully comprehended the true extent of his influence.

Phasma crosses her legs and leans back, obviously getting a second wind, but Ben’s stare doesn’t waver as he informs her, “Effective immediately, you will be working with my business partner and my lawyer to review each and every line of each and every contract with the First Order’s employees for an extended period of open bargaining.”

“Open bargaining?” Phasma’s lips curl back in disgusted outrage as if the mere words are repugnant.

“For those who wish to stay on.”

Phasma opens her mouth to argue, but Ben keeps going. “Should the employee wish to stay, the First Order will hold their contracts for renegotiation. Or they may choose immediate separation, free of penalty. You may include yourself in that consideration, and I hope you understand how generous I’m being, in light of…our earlier conversation.”

Phasma’s gone pasty white, Rey notices. Her own heartbeat is kicking in her chest as she listens to Ben’s words.

“So. We will start with Rey’s contract,” Ben snaps. “Since she’s right here.”

As he speaks, Phasma’s face grows chillier. He’s just dismantled all her leverage in less than minutes.

“Mr. Hux is here, sir,” the assistant interrupts timidly. “You asked to be informed right away…”

“Thank you. Send him in, please,” Ben states calmly.

Hux enters the room looking immaculate and curious and chipper, despite the early morning hour. Rey catches a faint whiff of booze but he’s walking upright and seems sober enough as he seats himself next to her with a friendly wink and a whispered, “Morning, darling.”

“Phasma…meet your new business associate and supervisor, Mr. Armitage Hux,” Ben intones formally, his tone brooking no argument.

“A pleasure, I’m sure,” Hux mutters from his seat, swiveling in his chair to ask Ben, “What am I supervising? Exactly?”

“You did mention you were bored, Hux.”

“So I did.”

“I think it's time you put your M.B.A. to good use. Perhaps overseeing some contract negotiations between the First Order and its employees will be diverting enough to quell your continued interference in my personal affairs?”

Hux appears supremely unintimidated by Ben’s formidable scowl. Hux chuckles as comprehension dawns, and Rey finds herself smiling along with him as a tiny glint of humor peeks through Ben’s grave countenance, as well.

“Yessir, Mr. Ren. Consider me diverted.” Hux swivels his chair again and runs an assessing gaze over Phasma, who visibly prickles at his boldness.

“Rey’s contract?” Ben asks quietly, holding out his hand. Phasma’s assistant scuttles from the room and returns a few minutes later to hand him a small sheaf of papers in a file folder.

Ben stands and retrieves the trash can from the corner of the room, setting it in the middle of the table.

Phasma flushes red and scowls at him.

But Ben ignores her and holds his hand out to Hux, who seems confused for only a second before passing his lighter to Ben.

“Rey?” Ben finally looks at her. “Do you want to keep working for the First Order?”

“No,” she says hoarsely. Her voice is weak, but she nods. She won't have any income, but she can't do this anymore. 

Ben smiles as if reading her mind. Trust me.

“This okay?” he prompts. 

She nods more confidently. “Yes.”

He flips the lighter and sets the flame to the pages, watching as fire eagerly flickers up before he tosses the burning sheets into the trash can.

Hux leans over and mutters behind his hand, “I did mention Kylo is a competitive asshole, yes?”

Rey nods, thunderstruck.

“Ah, it’s so good to have him back…” Hux rubs his hands together and smirks and Rey can only shake her head as the flames from her burning contract seem to light Ben’s eyes with a rather…unholy sort of menace.

The illusion is brief, however, and Ben faces her, extending his hand palm up in universal invitation.

She takes his hand and stands, casting a furtive glance at Phasma as Hux drawls, “Well. That was exciting. So. Where’s my new office? Or should I just set up camp in here?”

Ben leads her straight outside to his waiting town car, not speaking a word. They climb inside and he is very quiet. Too quiet, she realizes.

“What exactly do you do all day?” she murmurs, sweeping a lock of hair back from his brow as he quietly observes her.

A soft smile tugs at his lips and he finally answers, “I run several of my mother’s charities. Play tennis. Spend time at my Country Club. Attend art shows. That sort of thing.”

“Where did you learn how to do what you did back there? From tennis? Charity work?”

His nostrils flare, but his mouth softens into a grin as his eyes flicker over her face. “Just because I don’t know how to hire staff or do my own laundry or buy food doesn’t mean I don’t know how to deal with people like her.”

“Well, thank you.”

"I'm sorry I was late. This whole thing took right up to the very last minute to set in place. I...hope it was all right. It was the only way I could think of to get you out of trouble..."

Rey nods. "I didn't realize it would be like that when I signed on with the First Order."

“Well. I think before you sign another contract, you need a lawyer to look over it.”

Another contract?”

He cocks his head, mercurial. He's...almost...shuttered, yet open and earnest. “Something along the lines of me agreeing to take care of you, just as I promised.”

“Oh,” she breathes.

“…if that’s what you want? Because I’d…I’d really like to…”

“Yes,” she whispers.

“Okay. I’ll have something drawn up and sent to you this week. Is that all right?”

She nods, amazed and a little overwhelmed. He just did the impossible, cutting her loose from the First Order's grip and ensuring his own regime would replace any kind of retribution that might have otherwise come her way...

And he wants to...take care of her. Her heart flutters wildly in her chest, especially when he swoops in for a kiss. She’s going to do her very best to be good for him.

Just as soon as she figures out how to tell him about Jackson.

“Ben?” She pulls back and tries to wrangle her whirling thoughts into order.

“Yeah?”

“I need to tell you something…”

He looks like he’s having some kind of internal debate.

“Later, sweetheart.” He pulls his wallet from the front suit pocket and hands her his credit card. “You can tell me whatever it is you need to tell me this weekend. I am already late for an appointment with my lawyers…and…” He swallows and rakes his gaze over her face. Then he kisses her, gently, so full of soft passion she melts into him as wild flutters fill her.

“Damn, I wish I didn’t have to…” He sighs. “For now, I need to deal with some things this week, and you need to go home and make arrangements for your…cat. And then, I want you to spend the weekend with me. If you can?”

She nods in agreement, knowing Rose will gladly watch Jackson for a couple of days, especially if she has the whole week off.

“What’s this for?” Rey eyes his credit card with unbound curiosity.

A truly wicked grin slides over his face, instantly erasing any remains of sullen moodiness from the air. His eyes flicker greedily over her mouth for a fraction of a second before he purrs, “I want you to buy something pretty to wear to Canto Bight for dinner on Friday…and then I want you to buy something pretty to wear for me…for after dinner.”

“Ohhh…” she breathes, looking at his card then back up to him.

“And, princess?” he croons, pulling her close, his eyes glowing into hers until her insides are warm and her cheeks are flushed.

It takes her a few seconds to realize he’s waiting.

“Yes?”

“I expect you to spend an obscene amount of money. I’ll be checking to make sure you do…and if I feel like you haven’t, I’ll be extremely disappointed. You understand?” He lifts her chin with his finger so he can see her answer.

“…yes, Daddy…”

Chapter Text

Chapter Sixteen – The One With Dinner and Teasing

 

Ben Solo is bored out of his goddamn mind.

He’s sitting in what feels like his hundredth board meeting this week. Mitaka insisted Ben make himself available to finalize the transition of not just the First Order, but its parent company, Sonek Corp.

Last-minute deals need a lot more sorting out than Ben originally planned, although, with his Art History degree, he isn’t sure how he expected to know much of anything about all this. In fact, he isn’t sure how much is going right over his head. Probably most of it.

Hux however, seems to have things under control, so Ben doodles on his yellow legal pad and watches furtively while his friend directs proceedings with his characteristic serpentine charm and sharpness of wit, which he usually keeps well-hidden behind the persona of affable playboy.

Not surprisingly, Hux is a natural and sober for a change, and Mitaka is also correspondingly different. Less subservient, more forthright. Ben has a sneaking suspicion the two are having the time of their lives amidst the controlled chaos of this, a major corporate reorganization.

He is also fully aware his only job is to sit there and look wealthy and scary and simultaneously benign and occasionally sign things, while Hux does most of the talking with sporadic, muted interjections from Mitaka.

They make quite a team, and Ben feels useless.

Nevertheless, he started this and he intends to finish it. The so-called family connection he’d alluded to earlier was no bluff. Ben’s grandfather, Anakin Skywalker, had attempted a similar merger decades ago with the now defunct Palpatine Industries; unfortunately, under the old leadership, things had fallen apart and Palpatine had been parceled and sold in part to Sonek.

But Skywalker Enterprises was still connected to Sonek and, with a bit of financial wrangling and restructuring, Ben can finish what his grandfather started, although he is sure his mother will be furious about it.

He will have to explain how he is doing a good thing.

If the First Order is shady, then its sister companies might be in similar straits under the morally dubious umbrella of Sonek.

The lawyers and accountants and consultants gabble on and Ben fights a yawn.

Discreetly, he checks his credit card app, newly installed on his phone. No new activity, yet.

Why isn’t she out having fun and spending his money?

Their date is tomorrow night, and he’s practically crawling out of his skin with anticipation.

Ben’s leg jiggles up and down and he stops only after Hux shoots him a pointed glance. It’s early and this meeting could go on for hours.

Enough.

She should have had plenty of time to figure out a babysitter by now.

He wonders if she’s going to follow through on his request. He meant it when he’d told her he wanted her to indulge.

After her reaction to the two-thousand-dollar jeans, Ben has a feeling she’s going to go for moderately-priced and functional, and where’s the fun in that? he grouses to himself.

He has a vague sense motherhood might not leave plenty of room for fun and decadence.

He wants her to be extravagant.

He wants to spoil her rotten.

And now he has her phone number.

Perhaps sending a text wouldn’t be out of order.

It would certainly help him get through this deadly tedious meeting…

Ben scowls at his legal pad as he recalls Monday’s meeting at the First Order.

 

Earlier This Week…

“Sir, there’s really only one option Mr. Snoke is offering,” Mitaka explained cautiously.

Snoke’s proposal was, to say the least, extensive.

Ben sighed. Snoke was a well-known curmudgeon, canny and often cited in the media for his ruthless business practices. Ben wasn’t sure he wanted to entangle himself with the man.

But he was even less sure his conscience would allow him to leave things as they were, especially for Rey.

“Do it.”

He and Mitaka worked through the evening and most of the night making calls and hiring an entire entourage of lawyers to handle the financial arrangements for the Sonek takeover; Hux was nowhere to be found, although Ben suspected that, like a cat, Hux would turn up from sheer curiosity if nothing else.

And on Monday morning, as he’d promised Rey, Ben found himself waiting for Hux in the lobby of the First Order when he heard the raised voices.

He glanced over to Phasma’s assistant, whose eyes had widened dramatically, obviously hearing the yelling, too. She seemed nervous when she said, “Ohhh, sir, I don’t know if you should go in there. When Ms. Phasma is this angry, there’s no telling…”

“Angry?” Ben snapped, riled beyond belief at the idea of someone treating Rey as anything less than the precious angel she was. “What’s the problem?”

And when, under Ben’s threatening stare, the young woman explained why Rey was in so much trouble, Ben’s aggravation quickly evolved into full-blown fury. Guilt twisted through him alongside his ire when Ben realized this was all his fault.

But then the assistant told him, “…and in addition to a hefty commission penalty, Ms. Phasma is planning on fining Miss Rey for her, um, unprofessional behavior, and well, Miss Rey already has an extra mouth to feed…”

The assistant’s eyes had welled with sympathetic tears and a chill of wrath coursed through Ben when he finally connected the dots.

The cat she’d been in such a hurry to run home to. An extra mouth to feed…Rey has a kid.

Oh, that Phasma bitch was going down. He’d come prepared to play nice, but now? Oh, hell, no.

He stood, blood already boiling. “You can announce I’m here.”

“But…sir, aren’t you waiting for your business partner to arrive?”

“Not anymore. But, let me know the instant he arrives. And get Snoke on the phone. Now.”

Ben felt his jaw clamp down in his effort to restrain his temper and tried not to crack a molar as he watched the assistant jump to do his bidding.

And when he entered that meeting room and caught the look on Rey’s face, Ben had been so livid he couldn’t remember a word he’d said.

All he could recall was after, in the town car, a feeling of relief and a sort of terrible, agonizing melting in his heart when Rey returned his kisses so sweetly and looked up at him as if he’d hung the moon in the sky and not just extracted her from the First Order’s clutches and subsequently eliminated her only source of steady income.

He’d known in the car, she’d been going to tell him she had a child. But Ben wanted to give her some breathing room after he’d just charged in and put her on the spot to quit her job. He wanted her to tell him when she wasn’t still starry-eyed from his ambiguous heroics.

So, he’d cut her off and changed the subject.

In the immediate aftermath, Rey had been grateful, but she might have felt overly obligated, too, and he didn’t want that hanging over her head. Or his.

He wants them on equal footing, emotionally if nothing else. Her trusting him to take care of her money-wise is one thing. But he would never ask someone to sign a contract based on emotion. Not when he’d made that same mistake once before and earned himself a broken heart and a decade of bitter solitude.

Nevertheless, after dropping her off near her subway stop – she’d flatly refused to take his car – he comprehended just how much compromising he would have to do.

So instead of drawing from his well of obstinance and mixing it with his formidable force of will, Ben let it go. For the moment.

He will need to choose his battles if he wants to earn her respect.

Besides, she had taken his credit card and agreed to spend the weekend with him, which was plenty exciting.

As promised, he asked Mitaka to draft a fairly standard “contract” for Rey to review. He’d sent it and a substantial severance check from the First Order to her apartment in Queens yesterday, but with the admonition for her to wait before she signs the contract.

He will not rush her into anything. And the severance check is only fair, hopefully putting her in a better position to feel less pressure over her recent loss of salary.

Mitaka had explained about bills, and Ben took that lecture to heart, if nothing else.

Rey has a child and priorities. Although it will certainly add a different dynamic to his half-baked plan to woo her, he finds himself more curious than anything. He might not be able to spirit her away to Rome or Monaco or London for a weekend, but New York offers plenty of entertainment.

But. First things first.

He checks the app on his phone again. No new activity.

That’s it.

Ben scrolls through his phone and decides a preemptive strike in the form of a rather demanding text message won’t be out of order.

His lip curls up and, if he has any idea Hux catches his face at just the moment he hits “send”, Ben might try harder to conceal the bare hunger for a certain young lady who has some serious explaining to do...

 

Friday Night –

“You look…so pretty,” he murmurs, spinning her around so he can catch the full view in a move he surely learned from some over-priced dancing master.

He’s come all the way to Queens to pick her up, and she’s been watching for his car from the living room, equal parts terrified and excited.

At the sight of his shiny black town car pulling up to her building, she blows a kiss to Rose, having already tucked Jackson into bed half an hour ago, and runs outside to meet him. There’s no way he’s going to be able to navigate Ms. Kanata’s potted plant experiment on their shared stoop, nor does Rey have any intention of letting him see the inside of her run-down apartment when he’s probably wearing a suit that cost five figures.

Besides, it’s probably not a great idea for his fancy car to be parked in her neighborhood for too long.

Despite her nerves she laughs a bit breathlessly and feels a touch of warmth creep over her cheeks. She is one-hundred-percent sure Rose is peering at them through the window.  

She takes in his tall frame and his lovely suit. “Ben, you look…”

Her heart won’t stop fluttering and she can’t find the words. So, she hums and bites her lip, hoping he can see her devout appreciation without her having to speak.

He flashes her a half-smile and hands her graciously into the car before sliding in next to her with a sinfully handsome grin.

“Miss me?” He licks his lips and he’s staring at hers, but he doesn’t kiss her.

“I did,” she murmurs. She’d jump on him and rip his clothes off here and now, except the privacy glass is down between them and the driver. And it would muss her makeup and Ben looks so gorgeously starched and polished…

Later, though…after dinner.

She’s going to make his eyes pop out of his head when he gets a look at what she’s wearing under her dress. Just the thought of it sends electric sparks of desire pinging all the way to her fingertips.

She threads her fingers through his, and another spark warms her when he squeezes her hand and leans close to murmur, “You naughty little tease…I had to leave a few meetings rather abruptly yesterday because of you.” His breath is warm on her neck and she fights a full-body shiver when she catches a whiff of his cologne.

But she’s fully prepared to double-down on his scolding. She knows exactly how to play this game. “…mmmm, I hope you like what I picked out, Daddy…”

His hand tightens on hers, and he replies coolly, “Well, I can’t wait to see it, princess. But dinner first.”

His casual tone is in direct odds with the scorching-hot smolder in his eyes.

Rey’s heartbeat kicks into double-time. His body heat sinks into her and makes her toes curl.

Attempting a distraction, she asks, “How on earth did you get a table at Canto Bight?”

She’s never been there, but she’s heard about it from several former co-workers, the prime spot for billionaires and celebrities and rumored to be nearly impossible to get a reservation without months advance notice.

“Oh, I had Mitaka take care of it.” Ben nods to the driver whose friendly eyes flash into the rearview mirror in acknowledgement, lit with good humor. “Thanks, by the way, Mitaka.”

“No problem at all, sir,” he replies cheerily.

They ride in relative quiet into the city, and the lights sparkle and glow against the windows of the car. Rey is working up the courage to tell Ben everything, but they arrive before she can rally herself.

“There might be some paparazzi,” Ben says, and for the first time, he sounds nervous. “They’re really rabid lately…”

She pats his leg. “It’s okay,” she assures him. Cameras flash and blink at the car, but they pull inside to the building’s underground parking garage, and thankfully security there is airtight.

They exit the car in relative peace and Ben escorts her to an elevator and Rey feels like she’s about to have an adventure. She’d say so but the bellhop steps inside to ride up with them.

Ben pulls her into his side, and she feels the briefest sweep of his hand over her butt.

Her mouth drops open in shock. Did he do that on purpose?

He’s staring straight ahead. She sucks her cheeks in, attempting to keep it cool, but when he traces the cleft of her backside through her dress, she can’t help a sharp inhale.

She casually rests a hand on his abs, and he squeezes her butt again.

Oh, Daddy, I’m going to work you into such a lather…

They don’t speak until they are seated at a prime table in the center of the glamorously appointed restaurant.

“You had fun shopping with your friend?” Ben murmurs as he seats her, gently brushing a finger across her naked back. It could be mistaken for an accidental gesture, but Rey doesn’t think so.

Accident or no, goosebumps break over her skin in the wake of that caress and she fights a visible shiver. “I did. I…thank you for the dress and…for everything…”

Genuine pleasure washes over his face. “I hope you had fun, sweetheart. I wish I could have gone with you, but my damned lawyers took up far too much time…and…”

She glances up at his pause. “And?”

He grows a bit serious. “And I wanted to give you plenty of time to make sure this was what you really wanted…with me…and to make arrangements…for things…”

“Things?”

His brows raise significantly, and his dark eyes bore into hers.

Her breath expels in shock when she catches on. He knows? About Jackson?

She swallows and blurts out, “I have a son. I was going to tell you, but…you already knew? Did Hux tell you?”

His eyes glitter, fathomless pools that reflect but don’t reveal. “I heard it at the First Order, actually. Right before I went in to your meeting with That Woman.” His lip curls with distaste at the reminder of Phasma. “Her assistant mentioned you had another mouth to feed, and I guessed the rest from there…” Ben’s jaw works, and he huffs. “She was going to ruin you…”

Shit. That explains why he’d been so coldly furious.

“Oh. Well, his name is Jackson, and…” she whispers. “I was going to tell you on Monday, but... Um…he’s…three…” She falters and takes a breath, noting the slightest twitch under his left eye as he flicks his napkin over his lap. “Are you…upset?” she asks meekly.

“What, that you have a kid?” He tilts his head. “No, of course not.”

After noticing her trepidation, he makes a visible effort to compose himself and she realizes he’s still angry with Phasma, not her. Oh.

“Actually, I’d love to hear all about your son, if you want to tell me. I like children, although I don’t usually run across many of them in my circles. They’re…they view the world through a lens that’s…enlightening. I like it.”

Rey can tell he means what he says and finds herself somewhat flabbergasted. It doesn’t really fit with the vibe of hapless billionaire or shark-like businessman, or even gracious gentleman, albeit a touch out of practice, according to his own self-deprecating assessment last weekend.

But he gives her a radiant smile and moves the conversation into more neutral territory, and she’s glad for it.

Food is served, drinks are poured, and Rey covertly admires her surroundings. She’s been exposed to luxurious and glamorous things before, but this…this is much different that even what Rey’s seen.

It reminds her of last weekend’s gala, and she wonders how she isn’t immediately identified as an impostor and thrown unceremoniously out the door. Ben fits right in, of course, surrounded by the flawless service and beautiful décor and affluent, glittering socialites.

She can feel the eyes of the other diners watching her and Ben. He’s so strikingly handsome, he would draw inquisitive glances no matter what, but Rey suspects after last weekend’s headlines, people are doubly interested to see them out together.

She wonders what this crowd would think if they knew she spent most of her day in a pair of old pajama bottoms and a ripped t-shirt in her apartment in Queens, doing such mundane things as vacuuming the raggedy shag carpeting with an ancient Dirt Devil and washing dishes in the bathroom, since the kitchen faucet is on the fritz again.

Ben watches her rather avidly, and Rey resumes their earlier conversation. “I’m sorry I didn’t say anything about Jackson – my son – sooner. I just…this is all a bit sudden, I think…”

Her eyes meet his and his mouth softens into a smile. “It’s okay, sweetheart. You don’t have to apologize. I know you wanted to tell me earlier, but…well, I wanted you to have some…emotional leeway,” he murmurs gently.

Emotional leeway?  “What do you mean?”

“Well…it’s been rather overwhelming for you, I can imagine. This week and last had a lot of change. I don’t want you feeling like I expect you to reciprocate just because I was able to step in earlier, especially after last week when…” he trails off and she grins.

“When you thought I was the maid and you were trying so hard not to sexually harass me?”

“Well…yeah.”

“Oh. Well, thank you.”

He’s so low-pressure, it’s sort of killing her. Fire curls in her belly as she observes the perfect shape of his full red lips, recalling the way he tastes, the smell of him, the sultry heat of his kisses.

She wonders what she can do to get him to flip his switch, recalling the way he’d done exactly as he’d promised last weekend and utterly destroyed her for any other man…

With her technical experience and his eagerness to please and spectacular penchant for dominance, she’d simply…melted in his arms…and surrendered everything…

And it had been wonderful.

She’s eager for a repeat.

He catches her staring and smiles, feeding her a bit of something from his plate.

She chews it and her eyes widen at the exquisite flavor. She hums in appreciation.

“It’s good, huh?”

Mmmmhmmm…” She greedily eyes the remainder on his plate. At some unseen indication Rey can only guess might be actual telepathy from the highly-trained staff, their server appears at his side and Ben is muttering for more for “the lady” and the man bustles away while another touches up the champagne in her glass.

“You like it?” His eyes smolder into hers and she suddenly isn’t sure he’s referring to the food.

Warmth heats her face as she realizes she’s almost shivering with the energy zapping between them.

He’s just a regular guy, she reminds herself. A man like any other, one with likes and dislikes and needs and hopes and dreams…

His eyes glow with mutual understanding and he lifts his chin, a touch of haughty command darkening his tone. “So, tell me about what’s under that dress.”

She knows exactly how to handle a man like this. Her grin widens and she shakes her head and purses her lips. “Hmmm. Wouldn’t you like to know?”

He laughs and says quite honestly, “Well…yes, actually…”

 

By the time dinner is almost done, Ben is floating on a very pleasant cloud of agonizing lust. She’s managed to effortlessly deflect his attempts at interrogation, and Ben thinks once again how much fun this is, this playing.

He has no idea what she’s going to do next, but he strongly suspects she’s already wound him quite securely around her little finger.

And he’s fine with it. She can have whatever she wants. Especially right now.  

They can go anywhere they want after dinner – it’s early yet, a half hour before midnight – but after he makes a few suggestions, she merely shakes her head, allowing the tension between them to simmer hotter by the minute.

“What are you in the mood for, sweetheart?” he asks when the dessert cart finally arrives. He hates to rush her first time at Canto Bight, but he’s finding it increasingly difficult to fight his blatant arousal. He can bring her back again if she likes it, he decides. He’ll bring her every night of the week if she wants.

She nods at some chocolate confection and waits until the server is out of earshot before replying, “I’m feeling rather naughty, Daddy. I wonder if you might want to play a game with me?”

He’s nearly lost the ability to speak.

“What game?” he’d rumbles rather hoarsely.

She purses her lips and teases, “A game of Bad Stripper?”

Fuck. His palms are already itching, and he wonders for the millionth time what type of lingerie she picked out. She refused to send him pictures yesterday, although he’d stopped just short of begging.

“Bad? Like you do a bad job of stripping?” Ben is not quite sure how that might be sexy, but he’s sure if anyone can find a way it will be Rey.

She shakes her head and takes a bite of dessert, flicking her tongue just a hint too obviously over her spoon. “No, I’ll do a good job of stripping, Daddy,” she purrs. She lifts a brow and feeds him a bite of chocolate. “I mean bad as in…I’ve been very bad…”

Fuck-fuck. Yes.

“Okay,” he rasps. “That sounds like fun.” He’s trying, really trying to keep his cool, but shit, she’s just so good at winding him into knots.

By the pure sin on her face, she knows it and murmurs as she feeds him another bite, “We should probably pick a safeword while we’re at it…”

His dick is already twitching and throbbing, and his imagination is running out of control by the time they get into the town car.

Once they start moving, she straddles him, refusing to let him touch her, pinning his hands with hers and rubbing against him so erotically he nearly loses control.

“Fuck, I missed you this week,” Ben mutters against her lips, no longer withholding a kiss so as not to ruin her makeup. He rather likes the idea of mussing her lipstick now, smudging it to mark his place.

For her part, she’s squirming against him, kissing his neck and mouth in turn, sitting in a position so strongly reminiscent of last week, he’s very tempted to reenact last week’s performance to commemorate their first time.

But, her words at dessert still ring through his brain.

“You’re so hard for me already?” she whispers against him and grinds down until his eyes nearly cross.

He lets out a strangled moan and cups her face with both hands, fully intent on kissing the breath out of her. She writhes against him again and whimpers and Ben fights the urge to rip her gown off so he can finally see–

Ben is rapidly overheating, ready to choke on his own lust, particularly with this scorching-hot girl wriggling in his lap, kissing his neck and whispering all the filthy things she wants him to do to her once he gets her alone…

He shudders when the car pulls to a stop and she leans back to give him a wicked smile. Even with traces of lipstick kissed out of place, she manages to maintain a remarkable semblance of self-control when they walk into his building, and even all the way through their elevator ride.

Somehow, she’s taken over and Ben is spellbound to see what she is going to do next.

He decides her being in charge might be all right. For now.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Seventeen – The One With Teasing and Reckoning

 

Rey is practically vibrating with excitement when they step into the elevator.

Especially when he asks, “So…did you read the contract I sent over?”

“Yes.” Her reply comes out muted, as if she says it too loudly he might change his mind and scamper away. Her pulse flutters. 

The faintest smile crosses his face, but he returns almost immediately to staring at her with unmitigated intensity.

“…you’d consider…?”

“Yes,” she whispers, determined to maintain the upper hand for as long as she can. She has plans to work him into such a tangle of lust, his eyes just might become permanently crossed.

He quietly informs her, “I want you to call me Daddy.”

The command is so gently delivered, Rey initially thinks he’s embarrassed to say it. But when she looks into his eyes, he doesn’t look ashamed or shy and she realizes he’s quiet because he’s already on edge, just barely refraining from ripping her dress off, gripping the rail in the elevator car with white-knuckled restraint that kicks her pulse into a gallop when she notices.

His gaze rakes her dress for the hundredth time in an hour and Rey knows he’s doing his best to imagine what she picked out for him when she went shopping yesterday.

She shakes her head and teases, “All good things come to those who wait, Daddy…you can be patient for a bit longer, can’t you?”

His tongue pokes out to moisten his lush bottom lip and Rey briefly considers jumping on him then and there, but the tension is so delicious, she wants to draw it out as long as she can.

He doesn’t speak as they hurtle towards the sky, up to the very top of the building. It might as well be the top of the world.

She turns her thoughts to shopping and how she did her very best to wind him into the state he's in right now…

 

Yesterday –

Rey’s phone alerts her to a text just as she gives Jackson a final kiss on the cheek and mutters a “thanks again!” to Finn, who agreed to hang out with him for the day so Rey could head to town and finally do some shopping, per Ben’s instructions.

Daddy: You okay, baby girl?

Rose impatiently taps her foot and tells her to get a move on.

Rey hustles down the walkway behind Rose with a hissed, “It’s him. Omigod.”

I’m good…

Daddy: I’ve been checking, and it looks like you haven’t done any shopping, baby.

Daddy: What’s wrong?

Daddy: Can’t find anything you like?

They hop on the bus and Rose unashamedly peers over Rey’s arm to read their exchange.

“Oh, wow, you call him Daddy?”

Rey shushes her and types With a friend on the bus, heading into town now – any recs on where to start?

She has a vague idea of where to go – Fifth Avenue, right? That’s where rich people find clothes, isn’t it?

She watches her phone as he replies almost instantly.

Daddy: I’ll have a car waiting for you at Naboo on 5th Ave. You can work your way uptown.

Rey swallows.

Daddy: Keep me updated? Am bored out of my fucking mind and in meetings for the rest of the day.

Yes, Daddy.

Sure enough, when they make their way to Naboo Fifth Avenue, Rey finds a sleek town car waiting for them just outside, as well as a pair of sales associates from Naboo hovering nearby. Rey isn’t sure exactly how they recognize her and Rose, but they are greeted warmly and welcomed inside the glamorous department store with a touch of pompous hustle.

Everyone is very discreet, but Rey is quite aware of every eye in the vicinity watching her and Rose. She becomes immediately aware that the sales associates are dressed much nicer than they are, despite the fact Rey is wearing her new jeans and did her makeup flawlessly.

Rey’s nervousness dissipates with Rose’s brash confidence, however; Rose looks adorable in her worn khaki jacket that could be passed off as vintage and her scuffed sneakers that look like a fashionable homage to post-modern grunge.

They are greeted politely by another associate and offered beverages, at which Rose doesn’t hesitate to reply, “Oh, champagne would be great, right Rey?”

Nobody bats an eye at Rose's request, and Rey is thrilled to learn a day of shopping includes much more than merely trying on clothes.

“Right away, miss. If you would like to start the day with the services of our salon and spa, we’ve reserved staff to accommodate you both.”

Rose’s eyebrows shoot up and she exclaims, “Uh, yes!” 

Rose's enthusiasm is infectious. Rey grins. “Lead the way…”

In a few short minutes, she finds herself in a lovely spa, tiled in muted blues and greens and smelling like heaven. Crystal flutes of chilled champagne and delicate little tea cookies wait for them next to exquisitely fluffy robes and soft little slippers. A woman wearing all white scrubs shows them around and tells them to take their time and enjoy the private steam room.

Rey decides to shoot off a quick text before stripping down and joining Rose in the luxuriously scented steam room.

“Holy shit, Rey, it’s like they are pumping money right into the atmosphere. This place is wild!” Rose hisses excitedly. Rey knows she's never done anything like this before. 

“I know, right?” Rey can barely contain her own excitement – she’s never had a chance to do this sort of thing, either, but as the steam sinks into her, warming her to her bones, she vows she is definitely trying it again as soon as possible.

She stretches her arms and casually mentions, “He said we should get whatever we want...”

“What? Both of us?” Rose squeaks.

“Yep.”

“Um…are you sure?”

Rey shrugs. “Yeah. I just texted him.” She winks at Rose. “And earlier this week, he told me he wanted me to spend, and I quote, ‘an obscene amount of money’. How much do you think that is?”

Rose shakes her head in thrilled disbelief. “I don’t know,” she finally mutters, “but I’ll be damned if I don’t try to help you find out.”

 

Mmm. Just had a steam and now to the aesthetician for some waxing…

What should I get?

French, Brazilian, or Hollywood?

Daddy: Do I want to know what that means?

Google it.

A few minutes pass and Rey giggles when she gets his reply.

Daddy: You’re killing me.

Well you’re too late.

I already had her take it all off.

Daddy: Rey. Fuck.

I can feel…everything.

He doesn’t answer, and Rey hopes he was in the middle of a meeting.

She wants him sweating bullets by the time she gets her hands on him tomorrow night.

“Omigod, Rey, Finn is either going to love this or hate it.” Rose is examining her newly waxed lady bits with a hand mirror and no small amount of skepticism.

“Don’t worry. If he hates it, it’ll grow back.”

Rose snorts.

“But Finn’s a dude, so he’ll probably love it. Most guys enjoy the full visual,” Rey says pragmatically. "Once he gets that, there's no going back."

“So…I’m going to have to go through this torture for the rest of my life, huh?”

“Pretty much. Yeah.”

Rey smirks as she pulls on her robe and follows Rose and their hostess into another room so they can get a mani-pedi and consult with a hairstylist.

It’s been hours and she hasn’t even started shopping yet, but after their blowouts they are taken to a lovely little bistro for luncheon, all arranged by Ben, apparently, before heading to tackle Rey’s first goal of the day: lingerie.

So far, the day has been like a dream, and Rey and Rose are treated to every possible luxury available by staff who appear to be nearly omniscient, anticipating their every need almost before they realize they need it. It reminds Rey of the service they received last weekend at Ben’s mother’s gala, and it underscores the differences between her world and Ben’s. But, she pushes that slightly uncomfortable thought to the back of her mind, determined to enjoy herself.

Besides. Ben insisted on all this, and Rey knows it will make him happy if she lets him spoil her a bit.

He's never far from her thoughts, and throughout the day, her heart skips a beat whenever the muted ding of her cell phone indicates another text from Ben.

They are sipping espresso at Mustafar, where they sell the hottest lingerie on the planet, when her phone dings again.

Rey chuckles. “Now I know why he wanted us to use his car. He’s keeping tabs…he knows we started shopping for lingerie and he wants details.”

“Aren’t you even going to send him a little hint of something?” Rose asks after reading over Rey’s shoulder.

“No way! Teasing is part of the fun,” Rey staunchly insists. “I’m going to make him drool.”

Rose laughs and watches as the sales associate brings a rack of specially selected items into the private dressing room.

Rey starts trying on lingerie while Rose critiques.

Eventually she emerges from behind her curtain and spins slowly to meet Rose’s critical stare.

“Well?”

“Honest to God, if that doesn’t make his tongue fall out, I don’t know what will. Shit, Rey. I’d fuck you in that, and everyone knows how much I love dick.”

Rey bursts into giggles and decides on her first major purchase of the day.

…how’s your afternoon, Daddy?

Daddy: You went to Mustafar.

Daddy: Find anything?

Daddy: Tell me about it?

You want to see what I picked out?

It’s very sexy.

Doesn’t leave much to the imagination…

Daddy: show me

I will.

Tomorrow.

Rey cackles as she turns off her phone, so she won’t be tempted to give anything away.

By the time Ben’s driver drops them off in Queens, Rey and Rose are exhausted and simultaneously floating on cloud nine. She picked a lovely dress and shoes and had so much fun watching Rose buy a designer bag for all the free stuff they got from the spa.

It has been such a wonderful day, she decides to send one last text, but she finds one already waiting for her when she turns on her phone again.

Daddy: I know what you’re doing

Daddy: and if you think I won’t make you pay for all the teasing

Daddy: then oh, sweetheart…

Daddy: how wrong you are.

Wild flurries of excitement skitter through her as she recklessly types out her reply and hits send before she thinks better of it.

Looking forward to it, Daddy. xoxoxo

His reply is almost immediate, and Rey can’t help but fall asleep with a smile on her face.

Daddy: See you tomorrow, princess. I’ll be dreaming of you. XXX

 

 

They finally arrive at his penthouse and all is quiet but for the wild pounding of his heartbeat in his ears.

The place is now immaculately clean, which is even more noticeable when compared to Ben’s half-hearted efforts and Rey’s sexier but still amateur attempts last week. Now that he sees the difference, it seems fairly obvious in retrospect that Rey was in no way a maid.

But Ben has no time to linger on the wonders of having a bona fide housekeeper because Rey is leading him by his necktie into the living room.

Her hips are doing that fascinating little roll that inevitably draws his eye, and Ben feels his blood pressure spike when she boldly leads him to the sofa and gives him a gentle shove. He sprawls, stretching his arms across the back and widening his legs a bit to make room for his erection.

“So…should I just…take off my clothes?” She traces her finger along the décolletage of her dress, drawing his eye to the mouthwatering swell of her bosom.

He licks his chops, not bothering to hide his ravenous hunger any longer. She’s been toying with him for days, she looks fantastic, and, thanks to her teasing and their very hot make out session in his car just now, he’s got a raging hard-on.

“As I recall, the last time you undressed for me, you were barely able to manage it properly...” He bites his cheek and purrs, “…you think you can do a little better this time?”

Her eyebrows lift in surprise. She was expecting him to be groveling at this point.

Oh, no baby. I don’t think so.

He might be horny as all get-out, but Ben has been in board meetings and power lunches all week, during which time something inside him, something he thought long dormant, sort of…woke up…

Maybe it was all the charged testosterone and scarcely civilized combat of actively participating in a hostile takeover, spurred on for the sole, rather barbaric reason of defending a damsel in distress... Maybe it is the sure knowledge that the damsel in question, Rey, a beautiful, intelligent woman whom Ben deeply admires, just now admitted she’s considering letting him…have her. Contractually.

Maybe it is just basic biology.

She draws his attention back to the moment and chuckles, a soft, enticing sound that sends another hot surge of blood to his groin.

“…so, you want me to be bad first?”

“I don’t know,” he counters flippantly, “isn’t that what bad strippers do?”

She paces to the far side of the room and he watches, hawk-like, as she glances over her shoulder and holds a finger to a vase on a shelf.

He lifts a brow, wondering if she’ll actually go through with it, but before he can stop her, she’s already tipped the fragile thing off the shelf with a defiant flick of her fingers and he watches as it crashes to the floor, shattering.

He grins and shakes his head.

She probably has no idea the damn thing was insured for a quarter of a million dollars and the only reason he knows that is because his mother informed him of the fact when she gave it to him for his birthday last year.

“That was bad,” he warns, his voice dropping an octave, not because she broke the ugly vase but because the heat in her gaze is enough to scorch him. “But I don’t know if it was enough to warrant a spanking…” He knows damned well that’s what she’s been angling for, ever since he threatened her earlier.

So obvious, sweetheart. Let’s see how bad you can get, first.

She picks up on the challenge in the air and taunts, “Well I’ve done lots of other naughty things, Daddy. You probably wouldn’t like it at all if you knew...”

He clucks his tongue in a scold and tries to look stern as she approaches him. “Tell me what you did, baby.”

“Ohhh, well. Let me think,” she breathes, bracing a hand on the sofa to pull his tie loose, one-handed. Slowly, she draws it from his neck, setting it very deliberately next to him before loosening the top few buttons of his dress shirt.

“Well. I was such a slut before we met.”

He’s glad she’s loosened his collar. “How much of a slut?”

She steps back and he’s riveted as she effortlessly begins to unhook the fastenings of her gown. He wonders vaguely if she practiced this part just for him.

She sends him a siren’s smile. “Well, sometimes…I used to take my clothes off…for money…”

“You wicked girl.” Each word is bit off with a mixture of humor and mock outrage.

She drops a shoulder and turns, almost casually, like art, draping the gown to fall until it’s held by the crooks of her bent elbows. Ben catches a peek of hot-pink lace and may or may not whimper aloud at the sight of her naked upper back and shoulders.

“Show me what you did.”

“Yes, Daddy,” she pouts with a twinkle in her eyes.

Ah. This is what she’s been leading up to. Finally.

She watches over her shoulder as she drops her gown. It falls to her hips to reveal a lacy, sheer corset. Ben is sure every molecule of air in the room is sucked out when she gives a slow, seductive shimmy and the gown slithers to the floor.

“Fuck,” he bites out. She’s wearing silk stockings again, and a delicious little scrap of a garter belt to match her practically non-existent thong.

She bites her lip and turns to face him.

She steps away from her gown and moves to stand between his spread knees. She pulls a few pins from her hair and shakes out her curls until she looks like she’s already been thoroughly fucked.

“What else? Did you do?” His voice is gone, shredded because he can’t fucking breathe. The air has gone thick and sultry with tension, choking out every thought in his head.

“Well…sometimes…after I took my clothes off…they liked to watch me…touch myself…”

“Touch yourself?” he asks hoarsely. “Like how?”

In reply, she runs her hands over her sides to cup her breasts through the corset she wears. She leans forward, planting a silk-clad knee between his legs. Ben is sure his dick has never been so hard as it is right fucking now.

When she pushes her index finger into his mouth, he’s gone, hypnotized, entranced. Nothing else exists but her delicate little finger stroking his tongue as he gives her an obedient suck. He’s sure he’s going to catch fire when she slowly brings it to her own mouth with a gentle hum.

She traces it down her chest, all the way down her belly, and dips it under the lacy pink thong that matches her corset. The sight of her finger working between her legs is enough to send a bead of sweat down the back of his neck.

He’s panting, almost shivering, gripping his sanity by a bare thread, and he maybe should try to stop her, but fuck if he doesn’t want to see what she’s going to do next…

“You dirty girl. That’s…not nice at all…” he chokes.

She pulls away so she can unbutton his pants, pushing them down so she can stroke his erection through his boxers. Her hand is warm and firm and it occurs to him she knows exactly what she’s doing.

He might just be outclassed here, after all. Shit.

His ears start buzzing when she stops touching him and drags his hand from where it clutched the back edge of the sofa. She slides it down and wraps his hand around his cock, dragging it up and down until he catches on.

She wants him to…fuck. In his wildest imaginings he never thought that touching himself while she watches would be so mind-bendingly erotic.

He’s barely cognizant of the way he almost unconsciously continues his oft-practiced motions as he pumps his fist and watches her push a second finger between her legs. She groans lightly and he can hear the faint wet sounds of what she’s doing, finger-fucking herself…her eyes are glued to his crotch and he’s growing unbearably aware of how hard he’s become, of the pearly moisture beading at the tip of his cock and it doesn’t even register when he does the thing he’s always done when he’s alone, caressing his thumb over the head, smearing his wetness over himself and increasing the speed of his motions.

She narrows her eyes and withdraws her fingers, pressing them gently against his lips. The scent of her is too delicious for him not to suck her into his mouth and taste for himself…

Ben shakes his head, still rhythmically pumping his dick. “What else did you do, you filthy girl?”

“Sometimes, I…” She bites her lip and breathes, "Oh, Daddy, it was sooo naughty of me...I don't want to say..."

He swallows the lump of pure lust rising at the back of his throat and murmurs, “Well, maybe you should…show me, so I know how much I need to punish you for it…”

She whispers, “Yes, Daddy,” and slithers down to the floor to kneel between his knees. Together they pull his boxers and pants from his hips and down his thighs until he’s bare-assed on his living room sofa with his hands threaded through her hair. She’s blinking up at him, and he can feel her breath fanning over his dick.

“…Ben?”

“Huh?”

“…when you said…you were…you know…a…virgin? That meant blow jobs, too?”

Every neuron in his brain is firing at once.

So, he answers truthfully, role-play temporarily forgotten.

“Yeah…?”

Her eyelashes sweep down and up again…and she grins at him. “Then I really need you to try not to pass out…”

And with that, she wraps her lipstick-smudged mouth around the head of his cock and teases the slit at the tip with her tongue and everything in him seizes and shudders and fucking white lights explode behind his eyes when she, when she–

“Ohmyfuckohgod. Oh. God. Fuck. Mmmnnnhhhh…”

His grip tightens in her hair and he has no idea if it hurts her or not because all he knows is the heat of her as she works him down her throat with such…fucking…amazing…oh, fuck

Don’t pass out. Do not fucking pass out…oh, shit…

And then she moans on him. Words recklessly spew out of his mouth and every time he speaks, she moans again so he just babbles endlessly, and he won’t ever fucking stop because then she’ll stop and she’s sucking and licking and her hands are...so good.

“…mmmmhhh, you. bad. fucking. girl.” He gasps because he can’t speak. “Is this making you wet? Oh, fuck it feels...so good...”

She moans an affirmative and shoves a hand beneath him, pushing underneath, and he arches his hips right into that eager little mouth and “Oh my god!” and her finger – is that the same finger that was just inside her? oh shit, yes it is – she’s rubbing him, pressing into him and he fights a moment of panic but she’s moaning and he feels warm, firm pressure…against that place…

He grunts and lifts his hips and she moans again and pulls back just enough to press her tongue against him, just right, right there under the head of his dick and he’s so fucking hard and she’s so fucking gorgeous on her knees like this. He can see her ass, round and swaying gently back and forth and her tits, falling out of that ridiculous little corset and her silky hair falling across his thighs…so soft and perfect and…

Between the sight of her and the sounds she’s making and the pressure of her finger and the sweet, hot suction of that filthy little mouth, he grips her hair and fucks gently into her face and promises, “I’m gonna cum, sweetheart, oh, dammit, you’re so fucking good at this…”

A line of drool slips out of her mouth and slides down his dick and she bobs her head and moans again and it ends him. His eyes roll back and he lets go, filling her mouth with hot, endless spurts, shivering and pumping his hips until he vaguely notices she’s sucking him down and groaning like she likes it.

He's still catching his breath when he recalls how she told him she could have him passed out in under an hour if she wanted to. Maybe she was right.

She’s grinning at him so wickedly he can’t help but shake his head and mutter, “Fuck.”

“Did that take the edge off?”

“That was…damn,” he huffs, sweaty and wrecked and still mostly dressed as he watches her reverently lick the rest of his mess away, and he’s so sensitive it gives him goosebumps and makes his toes curl. “Fuck!”

“Do you want a drink?” she offers, unable to stop from grinning ear-to-ear at the shocked expression on his face. He’s still trembling, in awe.

She presses him back into the sofa, and he watches her stroll casually to the bar, pour a measure of scotch, neat, and bring it back to him.

He manages to tell her, “That lingerie is gorgeous on you, sweetheart.”

She holds his drink for him to sip while he ogles her cleavage, unable to ignore how her corset pushes her breasts into tempting mounds that he knows are perfectly shaped to fit his hands.

Shit. She's perfect. He wonders how he's going to tell her so when she says with cocky assurance, “I told you I could have you passed out in under an hour if I wanted–”

And somehow, he feels like he needs to take that as a personal challenge. Especially tonight.

True, he might have to give her that last one. But if this is some kind of a contest, then he is going to do his damnedest to win.

He schools his expression into something resembling his cold-blooded business face, usually reserved for opponents who will receive no mercy.

She notices immediately and perks up, alert.

“Wasn’t that bad enough, Daddy?”

Ben shakes his head and decides enough is enough.

She's had her say.

Now it’s his turn.  

“Maybe you need to tell me what else you did…”

She puts a knee on the sofa and takes his hand, sliding it along her thigh, over the soft elastic of her stockings and around to cup her derriere.

“Well…sometimes I fucked other boys for money, even though it was before we met,” she whispers hotly.

Ah. She’s not backing down...she's upping the ante.

But Ben is used to playing with unlimited funds. He can call her bluff. Or he can up the pot a little more.  

“That’s filthy, baby. That’s what whores do…” he coos, squeezing her butt and pulling her closer. There’s no possible way he can be getting hard again already, but his dick is telling him otherwise.

“I know. I’m a dirty whore.” Rey shakes her head and arches a brow. “You’re just going to have to spank me until I’m sorry…”

Ben nearly swallows his tongue, but he maintains the presence of mind to play along.

“You liked getting fucked by other boys? Is that it?” he snaps, sitting up until their faces are inches away.

She shakes her head. “No, Daddy.”

“Why not, baby?”

She trails a soft finger down the side of his face, tracing the dimple that slashes his cheek. “Because I only like just you,” she murmurs coyly.

Ah. His princess thinks she has the upper hand, although she really does know how to use that little mouth of hers.

Still. Maybe it’s time for him to be in charge.

He flips her over his knees so fast she squeals in surprise and adrenaline rockets through his veins at the sight of her perfect ass upended across his legs. She gives him a prompting little wiggle and he has no problem giving her rear end a firm smack. The way her flesh jiggles under the shock of his strike is enough to send his pulse to new heights.

He slides a finger under her thong and presses it against the wet heat of her. He gives her another smack and she wriggles and squeals, “…oooh!”

“Who’s the only one who gets to fuck you from now on?”

“Just you, Daddy!”

He smacks her other cheek and her startled little yelp goes right to his dick.

“Say it again.”

“Just you.”

She sounds a little out of breath. He spanks her again, harder.

“That was for teasing me yesterday.”

“I’m sorry, Daddy…”

The next one is enough to slightly sting his palm. It’s electrifying.

“You don’t sound very sorry, baby girl…”

“I am!”

Smack. She wiggles her butt, and it fucking does things to him.

“Are you teasing me again? I’m getting hard and it’s all your fault,” he huffs. “How do I know you’re really sorry for being such a little whore when you act like this?”

Smack!

“I am!” Her feet kick out at his next swat and she turns and glares at him. “Ow!”

He narrows his eyes. “Are you giving me attitude right now, princess?” he croons. “I don’t think I like that…not. at. all.”

He swats her again, the sound of it ringing through the room along with her gasp and his satisfied grunt.

“Ooof! Daddy!” she whines.

“What, baby girl?” Another smack.

“I’m sorry…”

“You sure?”

“Yes!”

She sounds a little wobbly and Ben grins to himself, smoothing his hand over her now-rosy bottom.

“That’s my good girl. Now crawl up here and show me you mean it. I want to kiss that dirty little mouth.”