Chapter 1: Bliss
It's just a regular alternating Friday night. So Rey won't be joining the others for drinks. She has a plan, strict instructions, and her blindfold.
The cry from the others was disappointed, as usual.
"Why on a freaking Friday?"
"You could meditate any other night."
"Oh come on, Peanut!"
Rey Jakku put down her glass from the one drink she allowed herself on a Friday night with the crew, and picked up her bag. Poe gave her the knowing look he always did, which was fair. He was the only person in the group that knew that her Friday evening sessions weren't yoga. Although they left her boneless and breathless and more relaxed than she had ever been in her life.
"It's for my mental health. I'll see you lot on Monday." She kissed all of them – Poe and Finn, and Rose and Armitage – and walked out of the Eisley bar and into the dark of the fall evening. The walk to the hotel was good for clearing her mind, and she didn't mind the light drizzle that coated her shoulders.
Walking up to the check-in desk, she smiled at the clerk. "Good evening, Bazine."
"Miss Jones. Hope you're keeping well?"
"Yes, thank you." Rey took the envelope addressed to "Kira Jones", and opened it. Inside, a cardboard holder with the number 2187 held a door card. She took a moment to text the number to Poe, then she turned her usual phone off and pulled out the beaten Nokia she used for the nights. There was one message waiting, as usual.
[18:00] Have you notified your backup?
[18:25] Yes, sir.
The response took less than 10 seconds. He must have had it typed in and waiting.
[18:25] Standard rules.
Her breath hitched. She tried to be calm on the elevator ride to the twenty-first floor, on the walk down the corridor, to room 2187. She looked around, but it was at the end of a bend in the corridor, and no-one was in sight. Slipping the fine black silk blindfold from her bag, she pulled it almost over her eyes, then opened the door. She made sure the blindfold was all the way down as she walked in.
Three steps, place handbag to the left, begin undressing. She knew the routine by now. Her clothes folded roughly beside her, she was cool in the room's air conditioning, but not cold. She lowered herself to her knees, facing forwards, hands behind her back. She had no idea if he was in the room already or not – had he been watching her perform her ritual, or was he coming up in a moment.
Ten minutes of silence later, she knew.
"Well done, Kira. Approach." He'd been there the whole time, watching her, watching her nipples harden in the cool and her body move slightly with the breaths.
She rose clumsily to her feet – her legs were almost asleep after so long on the floor in that position – and walked towards where the voice had come from. She was familiar with the layout of the rooms now, after four months of these meetings, but she always worried that she would bark her shins on a coffee table or hit her shoulder on a pillar. There was one structural pillar in the room, and her breath hitched as she remembered one night being tied to it and …
No. Each night separate. Remember it later. Tonight is a new session.
She halted, vaguely aware by a slight warmness in the air that she must be close to him. His voice, as always, was artificial, transformed by some sort of electronic device. She had no idea what he really sounded like, except for a couple of murmurs when he had obviously removed the device and was busy using his lips and tongue in the … stop. Later.
An hour later, she was bent over one of the armchairs, her ankles tied to each side of the back legs, and her hands pressing into the chair seat. The feel of the second-largest anal bead slipping into her arse, stretching her that little bit more, was close to overwhelming, but not quite there. She could take it. She moaned around the ball gag strapped into her mouth, aware that she was drooling into the towel neatly folded on the seat below her head.
"Do I continue?"
She nodded emphatically.
The pressure increased as the last, largest bead opened the muscles of her sphincter. Then she felt him slip something small and smooth along her labia.
The sensations built magnificently, amplified by the beads and threatening to make her come in a very short time. She squealed.
And suddenly his cock was inside her and he rode the waves of ecstasy with her, sending her into a spiral of amazing pleasure that almost had her blacking out.
As he wrapped her in the towel and left her on the bed, boneless, relaxed, he leaned over her and spoke softly. The same question, every second Friday night after their sessions. The bargain. The payment.
"Are you satisfied?"
She felt him lift off the bed, heard him pack the bag he must have brought, then walk out of the hotel room. She could stay there as long as she liked up to checkout, although she was likely to rest for an hour, shower then leave tonight. As the door clicked shut, she reached up and took off her blindfold.
Chapter 2: Undisclosed Desires
Checklist for an advertisement, and the help of a friend.
Four months earlier
It took Rey two whole months in her new position as IT Tech Manager to realise what was wrong with her.
She was getting enough sleep for the first time in years. She was eating sensibly, because she now saw her friends at lunchtime where they wouldn't let her get away with a bowl of sugary cereal for three meals a day. (She now had it down to one, and if you can't eat Cocoa Krispies with a banana and call it a healthy breakfast, what's the point?). She saw the sunlight more than she could ever remember, and with the pay increase she had decent clothes too.
And with the so-called normal hours, she got hugs and love and friendship more than she had for ages. Finn and Poe had her over regularly for dinner, Rose made her join their Friday night sessions (and to be honest, Rose's boyfriend Hux was starting to relax around them too). But it was watching these friends cuddle with their respective others, trade kisses and share that special something, that left a hole in Rey's heart.
Which she was not in a hurry to fill. She was her own best evidence why falling in love with the wrong person led to pain and heartache for others. Her parents had supposedly been happy enough when they met, when they married, when they had her. It was the afterwards that didn't work. No, she wasn't going to throw herself at the first guy who stirred her hormones and had her watching him under shaded eyelashes every time he left his office, or sat at his desk and ran his hands through his hair just the way she wished she could. Good looks were not enough. Sexual attraction was not enough. Outright lust would be a terrible idea. She needed someone who would talk with her, and listen to her, and argue without being bossy about it.
But sex wasn't love. And she needed sex. To be fucked. To be filled and sent to heaven and left trembling and exhausted with pleasure afterwards. She deserved that. And she really didn't want to have to comb through an entire field of fucks to find one for herself. There had to be a better way.
She had no intention of bringing a casual fuck back to her apartment. It was hers. Her space. Her bedsit-with-a-kitchen-and-bathroom place that she had claimed. Rose understood. The day Rey moved out of the share that she and Rose and two other girls had lived in for three years, she walked into the new place and put up a picture she had bought at a thrift shop years ago. The cartoon of a duck in a deckchair wasn't smart or flashy, but it was hers, and it made the apartment hers. And to bring someone who wouldn't respect it, or her, into that space, would be a mistake.
As big a mistake was going to the guy's place. It felt wrong too, at least as a starting move. When they got to know each other, perhaps, but for a casual fuck, it had its own issues. It was their space, and they had their own expectations. They seemed less likely to negotiate, to want to see to her needs because they were in a position of power.
And the few times she had, the times she'd accepted the offer and walked out to an Uber with the guy, and gone back to his place that smelled of sweat and unwashed clothes and a sink full of washing up, the guy would take her to his bed and then be on her and groaning and off again before she barely had a chance to relax.
This is what she found herself explaining to Poe one night, when she came around to their place for dinner early and Finn had been held up and would be another hour.
"I couldn't believe it, Poe. I timed the last guy. From the moment we got into the room to when he had his hand down my pants was less than three minutes. He ripped my shirt off - another ninety seconds and I never could mend the shirt properly afterwards."
"Did he check in? Did he do anything you didn't want?" Poe's face darkened, and she thanked whatever fates had given her these friends. No shame, no questions about why she'd wanted to go home with a stranger, just checking that nothing unwanted had happened.
"We'd already agreed to have sex, and I did want it. Just with a bit more than you like this baby, don't you?, some fast fumbling for a condom, then ramming into me and fucking me hard but not the right sort of hard for another ninety seconds. Including him dropping the keys at the front door and taking a good thirty seconds to get us into the dingy apartment, he spent less time on sex than Stairway to Heaven."
"Oh hon." Poe passed her a glass of wine then poured one for himself. "What happened then?"
"Then? He had the nerve to complain when I picked up my clothes and left." She shook her head. "He yelled out so loud that his neighbour heard him when I shut the door."
"What did the neighbour hear?"
Rey blushed. "If you'd give me a blowjob I might think about doing it again."
"Ouch. Definitely not a keeper."
She smiled in agreement. Rey would much rather spend the evening with a good book and her trusty shiny pink vibrator after, if all she wanted was to be sent to Blissville. She timed herself with that one once too, on a night where she was tired and fractious. If all she wanted was to get off, it still only took her five minutes and twenty two seconds.
"So I've got an idea, Poe." She pulled out her laptop and opened it. "If I want something with a bit more oomph, I need your help."
"Darling, I'm honoured with the offer but I'm a one-man man these days." Poe hugged her.
"I know, hon. I don't want you that way. You're cute, but you're too sweet." Rey pulled up a notepad document with a pile of websites listed. "No, I've decided that if I want to get the sort of sex I need, I need to get it from the right sort of place."
"Can't afford those, although it's tempting. Maybe with my Christmas bonus."
"Oh I can see it now. Office Secret Santa and all Rey Jakku gets is a gift certificate to the Kashyyyk."
She slapped him. "That's your sort of place, not mine."
"So what are you looking for, hon?"
She blushed. "I … um .." Opening another document, she swung the machine around so Poe could read the screen.
He scrolled down the list she had up, barely raising an eyebrow at the items. "Specialised."
"Where did you get this from?"
"One of the escort agencies had it so you could see what you wanted before you went, to make sure they could match their staff with your needs. It looked like a fairly comprehensive list." She pointed to the columns. "See, I've got things I've done, things I want to do, things I might, and the complete Do Not Wants."
"You've thought about it. That's good." Poe raised an eyebrow only at the paucity of entries in the column marked Things I've done. "Have you ever been in a BDSM relationship before? Because if you want to do these things, you don't want a one-off that you don't trust. You need to build up to it."
"That's what I thought. But I wasn't sure which websites to use, and before you met Finn, you knew this stuff. Help me."
"I'm your only hope?"
"Well I'm not asking Rose, am I?"
"Fair." He scanned down the list again. "I can't help but notice that you're pretty specific. Which is excellent, by the way. In my past experience, a Dom wants a Sub who knows their limits. So no spanking, no whipping, no choking?"
"Each to their own." He grinned, and she made a mental note to ask him about it one day.
"Oh – and no bodily wastes. Not my style. Just restraints, occasional clamps, and lots of variations on sex ending in amazing orgasms."
"Then I think we can work on that. From what I can tell, you're looking for Bondage, Dominance, Submission, but no Discipline, Sadism or Masochism." Poe closed the checklist. "Ok, let's have a look. What websites do you have so far?"
"God no. That's … look, you know their ad, don't you?"
"I've been awake at 2am far too often. Looking for love in Alderaan Places, yes?"
"It's for men wanting to cheat on their spouses. They have so few women on their books – they were busted a few years back for being a bunch of cheaters themselves because they lured all these guys onto the site to talk to women, but it was just their chat bots."
"Oh." Rey wiped that one off the list. "I'm guessing Star Whores is working women."
"What's Bespin Show?"
"Oh my sweet innocent girl! No, you do not want to go for puppy play. I think you had that ticked as a definite no on your list."
"Yeah – nah." One more got wiped. "And I think most of the rest of these are singles bars and clubs."
"If you really want to go to the Hive of Scum and Villainy on their open sessions, I'll take you sometime. But it's not really the place to find someone. More of a playnight." Poe pulled the laptop over and started typing. "Try this one."
"It's a Sub and Dom matchup. But we need to work out your letter first. And that's going to take more wine." He poured them each a glass, then corked the bottle. "First of all – just one on one, or are you after someone who has several partners?"
"Oh crumbs no. No, just me."
"And I'm guessing a guy?"
"I … just don't feel that way about women." Rey blushed again. "I've thought about it, of course. Kissed a couple to make sure, but no. My preference is a man."
"Don't know. Don't know any well enough to work it out. But if he can do what I want, why not?"
"So we have some basics. Woman sub seeks man Dom, I'm assuming you'd like someone with some experience in the area. How often?"
"Um … fortnightly?"
"And is anything non-negotiable?"
"Lots." She sat up and had that immovable look about her that he'd only seen a couple of times. Once when a man in a bar had tried to make her come home with him. The rest of the group had been ready to step in, but she had him cowering in under a minute. Once when she was heading for the interview that had given her the job she held now. And once when she had had a couple of drinks on a bad night, and told him and Finn about leaving her foster guardian the instant she turned 18.
"So tell me."
"Safe sex. Condoms for all penetration lower than the waist. I'm ok without for oral sex, but only if he deserves it." She had five fingers up and was counting them off. "Safewords. I think I'd prefer the traffic light system – red for stop and green for keep going – but that can be worked on. They must be there. Safety checkbacks, and can I use you for that one? Send you the details of the meetup and let you know when it's finished so that you know I'm ok?" He nodded. She had two fingers left. "Anonymity. I'll be using a fake name, and I assume he will be too. I'm more than fine with that."
She had one last finger up, and Poe touched it. "What's your last condition."
"Absolutely non-negotiable and set in stone." She grinned. "I have to come at least once per session, and preferably more. By the end of each time together, I need to be completely, utterly, toe-curlingly satisfied."
Speaking of help from a friend, never ask your friends for ideas for Star Wars themed sexual websites. Not serious ones, anyway.
Also, the duck on her wall is the Michael Bedard "Sitting Duck"
Chapter 3: Algorithm
Good friends are invaluable when sorting through responses for your advertisement.
Fear not. There will be smut soon.
Two weeks later Rey was back at Finn and Poe's place, laptop in her bag and questions in her mind. She'd asked Poe to help her sort through the replies that she'd looked twice at, and then all the one's she'd rejected out of hand because he insisted on shared pain between friends. Finn's work had asked him to travel to an out-of-state conference for a week, and while Poe would love to go, his work wouldn't let him have the time off. So both Rey and Poe were in the mood for ordering in pizza, and evaluating and eviscerating the responses.
"How many replies?"
"How many were just dick pics?"
"That helps narrow it down. Such a lovely set of photos, too. No, wait … oh dear. I'd be tempted to reply to that one just to tell him to see his doctor about that. I've seen that before. That's a chancre."
"Syphilis. Horribly common at the moment." Poe took a large swig of wine. "Do you remember when we first became friends? How short my hair was?"
Rey frowned. "About four years back? Yeah – I thought you must have just been going through a hair-shaving phase."
"Nothing so innocent. Before my lovely man and I got together, I was a bit of a tart."
"That's why I asked for your help here. Your previous experience. What happened?"
"Well, I'd always used protection. Absolutely no excuses no exceptions. But that was for the sex." He grimaced as if he'd bitten on a lemon. "There was some damned hot kissing, and the bastard must have had one of those sores in his mouth and not realised. Syphilis is that contagious, and because the sore doesn't hurt, you might not even realise you've got it. Most of the cases get cured when you need antibiotics for something else and it knocks the germ out as well." Poe ran his hands through his hair, now a rich thick curly mop, and Rey smiled at how soothing it looked. She reached out and brushed a curl away from his forehead, and he laughed.
"Anyway, I didn't realise it at the time. It was Getting-Over-The-Ex random pickup sex, and was followed by a dry spell for about a year – I'd had my heart broken and went into hermit mode after that one night. I started getting more and more tired, then a standard blood test revealed a liver issue. My hair started to fall out. All of it. Even eyebrows." He waggled them at her, and she laughed at them – they were dark and bushy and she couldn't imagine him without them. "Ended up in hospital while they ran all sorts of tests, and after two weeks they thought to test for syph. I can't give blood of course, or it might have been caught a lot sooner. The penicillin shots weren't fun, but they fixed it pretty fast."
"And you didn't go for regular checkups?"
"Didn't think I needed to. I'd always used protection."
"Do not make me nag you."
"Don't need to now. Finn and I are such good little boys. When we're bad, naughty and wicked, it's with each other." Poe's face held the angelic smile he always had when thinking of his man. "And of course we had the full set of tests before getting together. He's smart, is my man."
"He is. And I'll be getting tested regularly too. Went today, in fact." She wrinkled up her nose. "The doctor said I was almost too vanilla for them, but better to know beforehand if there's anything to be dealt with."
"Yup. Not pleasant, but bearable."
"But we're neglecting you. Come on. Wine and couch." He closed the empty pizza boxes and carried her laptop over to the sofa while Rey brought the wine. Poe leaned back on the seat, his arm around Rey who was clicking through the responses.
"I feel like a recruitment agent."
"You are, hon. That's exactly what you're doing. Do you remember the advice Finn gave you when you applied at Coruscant Industries?"
"Answer everything in the job ad as if they're five year olds asking the questions." She grinned. "And it worked."
"So your ad said …"
She pulled up the document. Chandrilla W4M Female 23 seeks experienced dominant male aged 25-40 for nights of restrained pleasure. Looking for sexual exploration, stretching of limits, and being praised for submitting to your desires. The NO list: discipline, sadism or masochism, orgasm denial, shaming, humiliation, unsolicited pictures, bodily waste. Safe, sane and consensual at all times. Neutral locations (expenses shared). Contact KiraLeSub (at) Gmail if you're interested.
"And now you look for the people who answered your requirements." Poe scanned down the list. "Because here you're applying the Brown M&Ms Check."
"Some band – I think it was Aerosmith – had a clause in their contracts that in the dressing room at their concerts, there was to be a bowl of at least two pounds of M&Ms, but no brown ones."
"Because they're assholes?"
"No, because if the people making the stage, the lighting, the audience safety, the electricals, didn't read through an entire contract and do the M&M thing, then it was sure bet that they hadn't checked for other things such as the load bearing ability of the floor that the band were setting up their incredibly heavy equipment on. Apparently it worked."
"Someone didn't check?"
"And the whole stage collapsed, causing thousands of dollars of damage." Poe laughed. "It's often cited as proof that the band were assholes, like you said, but it was for quite the opposite reason. So you go through your requirements, and anyone who specifically does what you asked them not to do is someone who will not respect your limits, or who won't stop when you use your safeword. Shall we?"
Rey pulled up the non-dick-pic replies.
"I will put such a red shine on your butt with my paddles – out immediately." Rey hit the delete button and went on to the next. "You will enjoy the golden EWWW. You're right, Poe. So easy to say no." She scanned the next one, and deleted it too.
"What? Why? That one was all right."
"He was not." She undeleted the mail and pulled it up. "I am the strict dominate you are looking for. No. Just no."
"What's wrong with it?"
"Dominate is the verb, not the noun. I have my standards." She re-deleted it.
"What happens if you eliminate all the possibilities?"
"Wise woman." They scrolled through a few more, deleting the ones ordering her to respond or who showed no sign of having read the advertisement.
Rey stopped at the next. "Good evening, I think that we would have a lot of fun together, but it sounds as if you do not have a lot of experience as a submissive. I would like to explore this with you. Please reply if you would like to do this with me. Short, to the point, even a little too brief in its information. But I could ask them to expand on that." Rey moved that one to a folder marked Possible, and continued. She hesitated over one until Poe pointed out the twenty-five year old claimed to have been a dom for ten years, and another that, despite her marking the location as Chandrilla, was expecting her to show up in Naboo.
"Even if they were paying for the travel, I wouldn't go." Rey hit the delete button once more. "Two hours each way, and if anything went wrong, I'd be in a strange city."
"Yup. Naboo certainly is strange." Poe scrolled through another. "And three asking you for money. The arrogance. At the very least they should be offering to pay you." He selected and deleted those with a skill born of long practice. "Only a few left. These one doesn't seem too bad, but something is off."
"Hello Miss LeSub, I think that we could have a lot of fun together, but it sounds as if you do not have a lot of experience. In particular, I enjoy playing with my partner with toys. I would like to explore this with you. Please let me know if you would like to do this with me." She stopped and re-opened the previous email that had also mentioned her inexperience. "You're right. Almost as if they were working off a script.
"I would suggest writing to them and seeing how they reply." Poe shook his head. "It's a shame all the first replies come through the Bobafetlife website. Their sending IP has been anonymised, otherwise I'd see if they came from the same place."
"We'll check their replies then." Rey moved the second one to the Possible folder. "After all, I haven't given them anything they can use to track me. If they turn out to be dodgy, that's what a block function is for."
"Or they could be twins. Imagine having both of them at once …" Poe had a wicked grin, and Rey nudged him.
"One step at a time, love. Maybe …"
He laughed and looked at the last few. "This one, though. What do you think?"
"I think if I don't find one soon, I'll be buying big at the local female-friendly toy shop. Let me see." She scooted closer to Poe, and they read through the answer together.
Dear Ms LeSub,
Your advertisement includes many of my own interests, so let me tell you what I would be looking for in such an association. I seek to make a woman tremble with desire, shudder with pleasure and collapse in exhausted delight. I wish to explore her body and discover those places where she had not thought to feel such bliss, for our mutual fulfilment. I find great satisfaction in hearing her whimpers of rapture as I too seek my joy. I gain pleasure from constraining her movement so that she might concentrate on my touch as I give her the gratification she wants. And I would praise her for meeting her own needs as well as mine.
I insist on conditions of absolute anonymity. Here is how I envisage these meetings taking place.
- A mutually agreeable neutral location. I will arrange this, and I am willing to cover the cost of the room. I send you the name of the hotel. You ask at the front desk for a message, which will contain your door pass.
- You come to the door of the room, and at that door you put on a blindfold. You walk into the room, close the door, take three paces, place your bag at your side, then strip. Then you kneel and await your instructions. I may come in afterwards. I might have been there watching you the entire time. You will not know until you do. There will be prior discussion of any change to this.
- Safety is paramount. I shall visit a sexual health clinic before we commence the sessions, and I shall ask that we remain exclusive for the duration of this association. I expect that if either of us wishes to change that, due to developments in our personal lives, that we notify the other and re-evaluate the situation. In addition: barriers, safewords, negotiated limits and safety checks will be discussed prior to the start of the meetings.
- I will not, nor will you, leave any marks on the other that are permanent. Any temporary marks must be able to be covered by standard office wear.
- One thing on my part is not negotiable. I will disguise my voice. You will wear the blindfold. I may be wearing something to disguise my identity further. We use only the pseudonyms agreed to. I assume that Kira LeSub is yours. Mine is Kylo Ren. We never try to find out the other's real identity. Any attempts to do so on your part would result in my terminating the agreement immediately.
If you are in favor with the above, I suggest a two month trial, with an option to extend if agreeable to both of us. Should these conditions be acceptable, I look forward to discussing specific details and arranging a time and a place for our first meeting. From you, I wish to know anything that is not-negotiable that has not previously been covered.
Rey sat back and took a large gulp of her wine.
"Arrogant git." Poe did likewise.
"Wordy, yeah, but he knows his stuff." She tried to keep her voice steady, but there was a slight tremble that had Poe raising his eyebrow.
"You're thinking of this one?"
"He's hitting your buttons, isn't he?"
"One hundred percent, yes." Rey grinned. "Ignore the heavy breathing, please."
"Oh I don't think I can, hon. Well, if this one's the one, you should reply. What about the others?"
"You mean the guy that wants me to wear a pig mask and make oinking noises when we fuck? I left that one in for you to laugh at." She opened the last email, and Poe squinted.
"That's his work email. Oh wait. Oh he didn't …" Poe cracked up laughing. "Oh the naughty naughty boy. Might I suggest you reply to Mr Wexley … no, pass me your machine."
"What?" Rey was too slow, and Poe quickly replied to the email and sent it.
"It's all right. He won't know who you are, but he's going to suspect it's someone who knows him, which makes it even better. If he responds, never answer it. It's more fun this way."
"Serves him right. Pig mask indeed. And I don't want someone who's cheating on their wife."
"I think they might be looking to take it out on you, too. So yeah – avoid that one." Poe tried to scroll down, then gave up and handed the computer back to Rey. "Right. So fifty-seven dick pics; ten who didn't read the requirements; two who can't use the right words; one who didn't read the location; three who want you to pay them; one who's either lying about his experience or his age and probably both at once; Mr Married Wexley of the pig mask; and three who seem to know what to say. You should go into the Recruitment agency business."
"Maybe I should. So give me half an hour and I'll write some replies. Something along the lines of You certainly sound as if we could enjoy each other's company. Here's my thoughts."
"I need to write one more for you too."
"You've already replied to Wexley."
"Not him." Poe winced. "Even if you're turning him down, I think you need to suggest that one in particular sees his doctor."
"Oh yeah. That." She handed the machine back to Poe. "Do it."
"It's a public service." Poe bent over the keyboard while Rey poured them some more wine.
The Brown M&M Clause is a real thing, and the band was Van Halen. So was the stage collapse.
The syphilis situation is based on a friend's real life experience. Even if you're being safe, if you're having sex, get regular checks. Please.
And my apologies to the character of Snap Wexley, but being chatted up at work by a guy and then finding out he's married to someone who works with your parents' best friend is not fun. Again, true story.
Chapter 4: Prelude
The first meeting could be considered a hands-on experience.
Updating slightly early because the chapter was ready
Monday was a holiday, and on Friday afternoon half the office had snuck out early – even Ben from across the corridor wasn't innocent. It was only 4:30 and Rey was half-considering leaving early herself when she saw him sling his usual messenger bag over his shoulder and pick up a small suitcase from beside the desk. He caught her eye and looked away, obviously embarrassed at being caught at the pre-long-weekend exodus.
"Going away?" She rarely talked with him, although she always cursed herself for missing the opportunity.
"Er … yeah."
"Just my parents' place. See you Tuesday, Rey."
"G'night, Ben." She watched as he headed down the corridor, and decided to follow his good example. After all, wasn't he the most senior member of staff on the floor? It took her computer a moment to shut down, then she grabbed her stuff and headed for the lift.
Ben was inside, and managed to catch the doors as she approached so that she could slip in as well. Rey took a moment to appreciate his hands. Large hands. Very large hands – his phone was almost hidden inside one while hers most definitely was not. But here was her opportunity.
"Hope you don't get the bad traffic."
"Where do your parents live? I hope it's not too far."
He blushed. "No, not too bad. Up the coast about an hour, although it'll probably be two by the time I get there." He looked over at her. "What about you?"
Rey hesitated, just managing not to blurt out her evening plans, when the lift dinged. She stepped out, but Ben didn't.
"I parked in the basement today. To get away faster."
"Oh." She smiled at him. "Have a lovely weekend."
"And you, Rey."
She was home in her tiny apartment in twenty minutes, giving her an hour to get ready and meet Poe. Washing her hair took most of the shower time, then she dressed in suitable clothing. Skirt; shirt; reasonable underwear that actually matched; and on a whim, stay-up stockings. Not that they'd need to stay up for long. Rey took out her one pair of respectable low-heeled working shoes and wiped them over with a damp cloth before slipping them on then checking the details for the fifth time since she got home. Or the sixth.
Deciding that just a touch of makeup would suffice, she dusted her face lightly then added lipstick. Then she took the old Nokia from the bedside table where it had been charging all day, and turned it on. It started up, complaining for lack of a SIM card. She slipped it into her bag along with a fresh set of panties just in case. Grabbing her light jacket and keys, she went to head out, then remembered.
From her lowboy Rey pulled out the fine black silk scarf she had received in the office Secret Santa just after she started at Coruscant Industries. The note with it, written in the most beautiful calligraphic script, advised her that it was from a second-hand shop and the giver had not exceeded the $20 limit, but Rey thought they were probably lying. It was, however, perfect for the night. She rolled it and slipped it into the side pocket of her bag before running out to catch the bus to the hotel.
"How do I look?"
"Gorgeous, sweetheart. But then I wouldn't expect anything else." Poe and Rey walked into the Akbar hotel together, stopping at the edge of the foyer and moving to the side to talk. "Now you've got your old phone?"
"Yes. Although goodness knows what he wants it for."
"I can guess. Right. The moment you feel uncertain about this, you get out. Call me. I'll be just down the road at the bar with the others. You message me with the room number or any other instructions – if he asks you to go to a different location, for instance."
"I'll be fine, Poe. Really." She kissed his cheek and suppressed the shiver of anticipation that was threatening to turn her brain to jelly. "And I'll call you as soon as I leave. Now go."
"Enjoy your yoga session." He hugged her then left, and she took a couple of deep breaths. Yoga was the excuse she gave the others – fortnightly meditation to help her with her mental health. Well, in some ways it was. She could feel her frustrations with work, with life and with herself building up. For a few hours tonight she was hoping to shed some of the tension.
She was early. Deliberately. She slipped over to the hotel's bar and ordered a half-strength Malibu and lemonade. Childish, yes, but also not too strong. That was one of the agreements they made – sane included not under the influence of anything. Settling herself in a corner, she pulled up the last email for the seventh time and checked through it.
Dear Miss LeSub,
Thank you for your prompt response and your clinic results. I have attached mine.
Bring with you on Friday a cell phone that is not registered on any network. An old basic phone will be sufficient.
For our first meeting, I wish to take things slowly. I intend to restrain you in a manner that gives you the ability to free yourself in an instant. I will use only my hands and a small selection of toys, and there will be no penetration of you by any of these.
There was a great deal more, including use of a safety net person and a lot of tweaking of some of the items on her list.
But the part that had her particularly interested was the last paragraph.
In addition, I want you to test your own safety. During the proceedings, at a time of your choosing, I want you to use the red safeword. I want you to feel comfortable using it, and the best way would be for you to apply it at our first session. My understanding of the red safeword is that the session ceases immediately, any and all restraints are removed, and both participants are made safe and checked for harm. The session will not continue unless both of us feel it is appropriate. Please confirm on Friday if that is your understanding as well. My only concern about the application of the safe word is that it may result in the termination of the session without you obtaining the satisfaction we agreed upon. Please also confirm on Friday if that outcome is acceptable.
If they stopped altogether, she'd end up unsatisfied, but it was better than not feeling safe. Now all she had to do was meet him.
Whoever he was.
It was six-fifteen.
She used the restroom then walked up to the front desk, where the evening clerk was checking in a family ahead of her. They only took a couple of minutes, then the clerk was smiling at her.
"Hello and welcome to the Ackbar."
"I believe you have a message for me? My name is Kira Jones." They had agreed to the change in surname for messages. Her pseudonym was a little obvious, after all.
"Ms Jones? Let me check." The clerk, with the nametag Bazine, checked the message box and pulled out a slim envelope. "I beg your pardon. Miss Jones. Here you go."
"Thank you." Rey moved well away before she opened it. There was a room key in a small cardboard holder with the number 1138 written on it, a piece of paper with writing, and a small SIM card.
Please put the SIM into your spare phone. My number is 555-787-9148. Your new number is 555-861-2918. Turn off your normal phone, then message me when you are ready to head to the room.
She texted the information to Poe, including the room number, then turned off her usual phone and put it carefully in the bottom of her handbag. Pulling out the Nokia, she had the SIM in it in a moment, and as she turned it on she saw it connect to the low-rate Chalmun network. For a moment the bars ran up and down, then the phone buzzed with a message. Good. No tacky ringtones or embarrassing beeps.
[18:03] Have you notified your backup?
Such a simple message. Straightforward. To the point.
Her breath hitched and she felt a frisson of desire just reading it, as if he had run his hands lightly up her leg and then stopped near the apex. She typed back quickly.
[18:22] Yes, sir.
He might be here, watching her. She looked around but there was no-one in sight that might meet the few things she knew. Certainly no man standing by himself and checking his phone. The Nokia buzzed again.
[18:23] Standard rules. Blindfold before you enter the room. Wait in position.
She was actually doing this.
What was the worst that could happen?
I could end up dissected and left in pieces off the end of the nearby docks.
True, but that could happen with a bar pickup or a lift home with a stranger. I've taken all the possible precautions. I'm an adult. I can make a choice.
I choose my satisfaction.
She had the lift to the 11th floor to herself, which was probably a good thing. She might have babbled if she'd needed to make any sort of conversation. The room was at the far end of the corridor, around a corner, so that no-one coming out of the lifts could see her.
And the blindfold was slippery.
She tied it as firmly as she could, cursing and promising herself she would look up some suitable knots and practise with it.
Then she laughed. She still needed to open the door. Obviously she would have to work out a better routine.
She slid the blindfold up a little so that she could find the door card in her bag. Propping the door open by a half-inch with her foot, she put the card back in her bag and slid the blindfold down.
This was it.
Rey took a deep breath, pushed the door open, walked through and shut it behind her.
And now the problem. She was supposed to take three steps before beginning to undress. What if there was something in her way?
She decided instead to shuffle forwards slowly for the rough equivalent, her hands out slightly forward to hopefully warn her of any obstacles before she reached them. At the sixth shuffle, she felt to her left where she thought the wall must be. It was. This reassured her.
Lowering her bag to the floor beside the wall, Rey took a moment to center herself. Then she removed her jacket, folding it onto the bag. The shoes were next, and the shirt. Unzipping the skirt took but a moment, then it too slid off and was folded and placed on the bag beside her.
Think of it like a doctor's visit. Or a scan at the hospital. She laughed a little. At least the Sexual Health Clinic had let her keep her dress on, merely requiring her to remove her panties.
The bra unhooked easily.
The panties slipped off with no issue.
Kylo had been there the whole time. Rey barely managed to stop herself from covering up. The room was warm, but her blush heated her more than she thought possible.
The voice was odd. Electronic. Unnatural. He was using some sort of transformer, making his voice unrecognisable. It was deep, but that was probably the device, part of the anonymising.
"You have done well. I approve of the stockings. You may leave them on."
She nodded, grateful.
"Walk three steps towards me. There is nothing to bump into." She did so, stopping at a point that she felt must be right in front of him. If she reached out …
She did not.
There was silence for a couple of minutes. She could hear her breathing, but not his. Probably the device was muting even that. A low hum came from the air conditioning, but nothing else, not even the distant sounds of traffic or a lone television from a room next door. The hotel was elegant enough that she hoped the soundproofing was of reasonable quality. Well, they'd find out, wouldn't they?
"What are your safe words, Kira?"
"Green means please keep going. Yellow means my limits are being stretched too far and we should ease back but continue with … whatever. And red means stop, immediately."
"What colour are you now, Kira?"
"I still wish you to call a halt tonight, at a time of your choosing. We will discuss matters then, and decide on further action."
She'd been in situations before where she had had to stand in front of an authority figure and answer. When she first went to her foster father's house. Or when she was caught at school setting up a petition to get rid of their incompetent math teacher. But this was different. This time she wanted to be here.
And this time she was in charge. Whatever happened was because she wanted it to.
"If you do call red, if we do stop things, under no circumstances may you remove your blindfold unless either there is actual danger that requires you to see, I tell you to, or I have left."
"Do you have any questions before we begin?"
"I do, yes. Two questions."
"I specified no orgasm denial. Will there be orgasm delay?"
"Quite likely." This followed by an odd sound that was probably a chuckle. "However, your conditions will be met."
There was one other thing she had been wondering about for the last day, but had forgotten to put in her emails. "What about your pleasure? Will you be coming tonight?"
"Tonight is about you, Kira. Tonight is about showing you in some small way what you can look forward to every fortnight. But I appreciate your question." He paused, and for the first time she could hear his breathing, amplified slightly by the device. "I have the use of my own hands. If I am so stimulated, I shall give myself pleasure after I know I have pleased you. If not, I shall wait until a time of my choosing. Other nights will be different. Shall we begin?"
"Kira, I need you to use your words. I ask that you state your wishes if your mouth is free to do so. Shall we begin?"
"Hold out your hands."
She did, holding them palm up as if to receive something. and felt something wind around them. The fabric, soft and pliable, was wound around each wrist and the ends were placed in her palms.
"Now try to separate your hands."
Rey moved her hands apart, only to have the movement halted by the fabric which pulled tight around her wrists and against her fingers where she held it.
"Good. Now let go of the ends, and try separating your hands again."
This time the fabric slithered past her fingers, and her hands separated easily.
"Do you comprehend what I have done?"
"My situation is in my hands, literally." She smiled. "If I wish to free myself, I only have to release the ends. But if I wish to remain bound, I hold on."
"You comprehend correctly. Hold out your hands again." In a moment, her wrists were rebound, and the ends once more placed in her fingers.
Then she squeaked. Kylo picked her up and placed her on the bed as easily as if she had been a blanket. Lying back on the pillows, she felt the softness of a towel underneath her. Or several. No one towel could be this large.
He moved her hands above her head, and then did something to the ribbon to cause it to pull a little firmer. "Test the bond again, please. First by holding it."
She did so. Her hands were still bound, and now they were fastened to something that held them above her head.
"Now test that you are able to release yourself." As the ribbons slid out from her fingers, her hands separated and her arms came down to rest along her sides.
"Excellent. Your hands in front of you, please." For the third time, her wrists were bound, and then fastened again to something above her head. The anticipation was building in her, starting in her stomach then rolling down through her womb, and she squirmed in her bonds.
"Patience, kitten." The endearment slipped into her mind, now starting to bubble with the suspense.
Steps moved to the bathroom, and she heard water running. Then the steps came back. There was a clink and a click, and she smelled a slight whiff of vanilla.
The bed dipped beside her where he sat down. Then she felt it.
The softest, slightest touch wafted across her stomach. Too light even to be a tickle, like the breeze from an open window in summer, or the edge of someone's hair.
She felt herself breathe in suddenly, then hold it, waiting for the next touch.
She did not have to wait long.
It came again, across her arms and just touching her face. Then down her front, gently over her left breast, then the right.
So gentle that she wondered each time if she had imagined it.
And then, slightly firmer, slightly more tangible, down her hips to her legs.
"Open your legs, Kira."
In an instant, the touch was gone, her hands were unbound and his weight was off the bed.
"As you command." His voice was firm, attentive. "Was that too much for you? Are you all right?"
She sat up and rubbed her face, careful not to dislodge the silk scarf.
"Just … just give me a moment."
She heard him move around to the bathroom then back.
"I have water. Put out your hand if you would like some."
She did, and felt the cold smoothness of the glass in her hand. Drinking carefully, she felt her breathing return to normal.
Giving the glass back, she reached for his hand. He must have realised what she was doing, and after she heard the glass put down on the bedside table, he took both her hands in his.
His hands were massive. Huge. They would probably span her waist.
She took a deep breath. "I needed to know."
"I wasn't sure."
"I know you will stop. No arguments, no questions until I am safe. I had to know you would." She brought his hands to her lips and kissed them. "It wasn't too much. Could we continue?"
"Yes. But I want you to know, that does not need to be the only time. You have the right to call red any time you want, whether you feel unsafe or safe, if you need to." He eased her back onto the pillows and rebound her hands. Rey settled back in, her doubts at least on hold for the moment.
He returned to stroking her legs and her breasts with the soft thing. The touch on her legs moved up to the hips, across both, then in zig-zag lines down her abdomen towards her legs.
"What colour are you now, Kira?"
"Green. Completely green."
"Open your legs, Kira."
She let them relax, opening slightly. The hairs on her mound moved as the whisper came past them.
She obeyed. Her ankles stretched out, seeking the edge of the bed. It was a large one – she could not feel the side – but the separation of her legs allowed the whisper to move along her inner thighs – first the left one, down, to the knee, then from the right knee oh so slowly up towards her core. It scratched slightly on her stockings, making no more noise than a butterfly walking on paper.
And then a second whisper, touch, sensation, started, again at her breasts. While the touch at her groin felt like fairy wings, the second was firmer, more real. A hand, she thought, or at least a finger, sliding over her skin as if she were made of ice. The scent of vanilla was stronger, and the finger found no resistance as it circled her left breast slowly, delineating the circumference as it went. From the left to the right, around in the shape of infinity in a sliding delight that left her straining for more.
The touch at her breasts took all her attention for a while, the finger or fingers slowly working their way up the mounds on each side as if he were drawing the contours in eighth of an inch increments. Then Rey realised that the soft gossamer on her legs was no longer, replaced by another finger or set of fingers that floated along the stockings on the insides of her thighs. On the left the sensation went from her knee to the mid-thigh, close to where the top of the stocking held on. Then the right, the same feel. Now, though, she could tell there was something on the finger. Oil, perhaps, moistening the nylon of the stockings and staying there. The finger ran around the top of the right stocking, finding the path that led directly to her clit, but not taking it.
Sightless under the blindfold, Rey felt as if her body parts were in several places at once, each part separate yet sending signals to her core where they amplified and fed back on each other.
Once more her breasts were the focus, with the finger now tracing around the areola of the left and occasionally over it, to then slip over to the right one and continue the movement. She lifted towards the sensation, seeking a little more pressure, a little more touch, but it was not to be.
"Patience, Kira. You will be rewarded."
She moaned. Now the touch on her legs was more than one finger. Two or three were running around the tops of her thighs, almost all the way to the juncture of her legs. They left for a moment, and a small whimper escaped her, but they were back almost immediately, and this time the sensation of oil-soaked fingers was unmistakeable. Frictionless, they ran around the join of the thighs with the torso, slipping along but not quite to the point in the middle where a great heat was starting to build.
At her breasts, the fingers at last started to give her the sensation she craved. The nipples were pressed on, lightly pinched and released. The whole hand now covered the breast – and she realised her analysis of the touch earlier was correct. These hands were huge. Her breasts were not large, but the hand more than covered one and spread out almost to the other. The touch was becoming more and more heated – or maybe that was just her.
Kylo was sitting on her right, so it must have been the right hand's fingers that finally finally started to part her labia, tracing around those lips and still not quite at the right spot by about a quarter-inch. Then they moved into the crack, the valley, the road to infernal damnation but not quite to the devil's doorbell, again moving around it and up and down her vulva, raising the heat in her like a watched pot, not quite at the boil and maddeningly close.
Until he finally got there.
He held one finger along her vulva, the tip of it right at her entrance while the knuckle lay against her clit, barely touching it.
And came back.
But no. That wasn't his finger. It was long and smooth with no obvious knuckle. And cold.
"Close your legs, Kira, and hold this in place."
She dragged her legs closed as her labia wrapped around the object. A slight pressure on the top of it, and it began a low humming that at last started delivering the sensation to her most tender and sensitive point. But not enough. When she tried to shift her legs to increase the touch, it slipped slightly and reduced the vibrations.
Now both hands were feeling up her breasts, running over them with the ease borne of lubricating oil, lightly pinching the nipples as they went.
"What is your colour, Kira?"
"Green." Her frustration was not a need to slow down or stop. She needed him to do more.
He got up off the bed, and she heard a clinking, the sound of two pieces of metal touching together. Then a shushing slither like a snake gliding across the grass. His hands came to her left breast, touching and lightly pinching and feeling the nipple and areole.
"Use your colours." A sensation as if a harder pinch, firmer, then so hard as to be close to painful … but not quite.
"Breathe through it." The almost-pain was a focus point, a place where sensation came to roost. Rey took a deep breath, two, three, and the ache dropped into something bearable.
He started on the other side. Each pinch, twist, grope against the nipple meant the other one moved slightly too, and the sensation from the clamp ebbed and flowed. Then the right nipple was clamped as well.
The combination was almost too much. "Yellow!"
"Do you want me to take them off?"
"No … don't move … just … stay still." She gasped, trying hard not to writhe as the sensation moved like a tide back and forth across the breasts. The vibrator between her legs was forgotten as she moaned, her back arched slightly, then slowly lowered as the pain became nerve endings firing off across the space. It took her a minute but finally she was able to lie there, still, turned on like crazy by the sensation as if the clamps were directing the synapses to work on one level only – pleasure.
Lying there, stunned by how much response two nipples were capable of, she willed her breathing down to more normal amounts. The very act of breathing, of moving her diaphragm, was continuing the stimulation.
She felt his hand touch her cheek cautiously, and leaned into it.
Finally, she was ready.
"Please keep going."
The chain moved, and something tapped at her mouth.
"It's a leather tab. You hold it in your teeth. If you want more sensation to the nipples, tip your head back. Or let go of it if you're getting too much." Rey took the tab in her mouth, biting down on the leather. His voice was heading down her body and she felt the foot of the bed depress from his weight. She was glad of the blindfold. If she wasn't wearing it, she would be twisting her head to see what he was doing, and that would be too much. Her whole body was keyed up now, and when he tapped her knees to have her open her legs again, she did so quickly in order to give him full access to her clit.
Once more Kylo's fingers were moving over her vulva, tracing her labia and down around her vagina. And further. He dripped the oil on her clit and she felt it run down to her perineum, where he circled her arse and ran over the small opening at least once. Twice.
"One day, I'll take you there." She whimpered and he had two hands working on her, one still orbiting the tight hole while the other worked its way back up to her vagina. "I'll stretch you, open you up, and you'll enjoy it all. I'll make you ready and then I'll slide into you and send you wild."
He already was sending her wild. The fingers on her vagina walked up through the area, to the top of her mound, brushing apart the hairs as they went.
"I prefer a woman unshaven. I love the feeling of the hairs on my tongue as I lick her into ecstasy. I want to know she's comfortable with her body."
And then he started circling her clitoris again, around the edges and then gently, oh so gently along the length of it. She had no idea she had a length, but from the time his finger took to run down it and then start two-fingered rubbing, now she knew. He must have slid up the bed, because she was aware of his body beside her, whole hand over her vulva, the two fingers in the middle sliding over her clit and sending her crazy while the others gave a welcome pressure to where she knew the rest of that glorious organ lay under the skin and craved the attention. She almost bucked off the bed at the first pulse of pleasure, pressing against him as she cried out and dropped the leather tab. She had barely collapsed back down when his fingers, unceasing, relentless, sent her off again and she strained against her bonds as he slipped his knee between her legs.
He had a towel around his waist, and she wrapped both legs around him and over it and keened as the thrill of her third orgasm rushed through her. She didn't realise she'd let go of the ribbon, only that she now had her arms around him too, her whole body thrusting into his as she came hard in his arms, the pressure of the clamps on her nipples now exacerbated by her pushing her chest into his. Finally the aftershocks unwound, and she whimpered as he lay her down again, gently moving her arms again above her head.
He stroked her hair, and she turned into his hand as her breathing slowed to normal.
And the twinges in her chest became more noticeable. She reached to take them off, but his hand stopped her.
"Have you ever used clamps before?"
"Then I have a recommendation. You'll need heat and pressure when they come off, or the pain will be severe. I could have a hot washcloth ready, or if you'll permit, I could use my lips."
She didn't have to think. "Your lips. Please."
"Hold on." She felt him move again, positioning himself over her. "It will still hurt, but not nearly as badly." And then, whispered, but natural. "One. Two."
On three, he slipped the left clamp off and immediately started sucking wide-mouthedly on the breast, his tongue giving the nipple pressure and softness. It hurt – it hurt a lot – but Rey realised how much more it would have if he hadn't done this. For about a minute he suckled on her breast, finally holding his hand on it and pressing down until the pain eased.
Once more the flash of pain, and then his lips and tongue and she was getting terribly turned on again. Kylo must have noticed her movements, as his arm reached behind him and then down once more to her labia.
With a buzzing.
As he sucked at her right breast, then went from one to the other, he slid the vibrator against her swollen vulva and ran it slowly up and down, pressing its entire length into the overly-sensitive area until once more she was bucking against it and crying out. He kept it there until she remembered to gasp yellow, then immediately removed it and put it to the side.
He held her in his arms for a minute, then eased himself off the bed. There was a moment's delay, and then the electronic voice was back.
"Remember, retain the blindfold until I have left."
"Did you … did you come?" She could hardly speak.
"Tonight was about you, Kitten. But yes, I did."
"When you wrapped yourself around me, around the towel, your passion was such that I came as well." He chuckled. "I do not think we will have any difficulties satisfying each other." She could hear him dressing, the sound of a belt, of shoelaces being tied. She curled on the bed, barely able to move. One stocking had come off completely, and the other was halfway down her calf and undoubtedly full of ladders by now.
He removed some things from the head of the bed.
"I have paid for the room until morning, so you may stay until then. I suggest you have at least some sleep, then a hot shower."
"Thank you, Kylo."
She lay there in bliss as he pulled the oil-scented towels from around her and dropped them in the corner of the room, then wrapped the sheet around her and pulled the blanket over. She would ring Poe after a nap.
"Are you satisfied?"
She was asleep before he left.
Chapter 5: Who Knows Who.
Layers. Like an onion.
Only mentions of smut in this one. I'll make it all up to you later. Promise.
Rey only slept an hour, waking slowly and feeling quite thoroughly relaxed. She lay on the bed a short while and slowly stretched, noting that the smell of vanilla was still around though not overpowering. It wafted from the towels around her, and from the small bottle that Kylo had left on the bedside shelf. The bottle was still open, its cap beside it, and somehow it soothed Rey to know that he had been so immersed in the session that he had forgotten it.
She sat up slowly, wary of the dizziness she sometimes felt following a massage, but then she normally didn't get a nap after one. Now she felt refreshed, ready to face life again. The sheet slipped down her front, grazing her nipples which twinged quite significantly. She could see slight bruising where the clamps had been attached, and she was grateful for their careful removal.
And his voice.
To lick her nipples, he must have removed the voice transformer. Which meant it must have been easy to slip on and off. She wondered what it was – a tiny microphone? A throat box? He must be able to speak normally though, so probably not an electrolarynx.
She pushed herself off the bed, still wrapped in the sheet even though no-one else was there, and dived for her handbag which was still sitting at the side where she left it under her clothes. Grabbing the phone, she turned it on, glad to see it was only 9:30. Three hours since she had walked into the room.
One message flashed up from five minutes before.
All ok, hon?
She hit the call button, and he was on the line in a moment.
"Better than Jabba."
"Oh good." It was their code phrase. If she hadn't used it, he'd know there was something wrong. "I take it you weren't sliced into tiny pieces and thrown off the end of the pier?"
"Nope." She grinned.
"Worth a second round?"
"You have no idea." Rey shuffled back to the bed and fell over onto it. "I won't give all the details, but … he kept up to his side of the deal."
"Fortnightly yoga it is then." Poe laughed. "Do you need me to come and get you?"
"No thanks. I'm going to have a shower and then go home and sleep so soundly."
"Brunch tomorrow at the Corner Shop?"
"Would love it." The Corner Shop was a café close to Poe and Finn's place and a regular spot for the five of them to meet up. "About eleven?"
"See you then, hon."
Poe hung up, and Rey lay back and grinned at the slight tingles still going through her body. She finally pulled herself up and headed to the shower, glad to see that Kylo had left her two towels. Or rather, he must have asked for extra, if the vanilla-scented pile beside the bathroom door was any indication. Which meant he probably tipped the staff as well. The hotel room was comfortable, modest even, and Rey refused to feel in the slightest bit guilty for not having paid anything for it. This arrangement would do very well, thank you.
Even Hux commented at brunch how relaxed Rey looked, which was a first. He was nice, if a bit cool and standoffish when they first met him. But he fitted in well with the group now, and proved to be a dry droll wit that was a perfect contrast to Poe's wild humour.
"So not every Friday?" Rose looked Rey up and down with approval. It wasn't often that Rey wore the soft cotton top she had on now – usually it was too loose for her style. Today, though, she had to. The bruising on her nipples had reached what she hoped was its peak, and she had to be gentle with herself. Poe hugged her and she returned the hug tentatively, hissing slightly when he accidentally nudged one with his elbow. His eyebrows rose, she blushed and he snickered.
"No, I don't think my muscles could take it." Rey looked down at the menu, unwilling to meet anyone's eyes. Especially Poe's. She wouldn't be able to stop giggling and neither would he. "Fortnightly will do me quite well."
By Tuesday morning most of the bruising was gone.
But the memory of the night was still there, still occasionally coming back to her at the most inopportune times. When Rose came into her office drinking some sort of frozen vanilla milkshake Rey lost her concentration completely – it took her half an hour afterwards to calm her breathing down from the effects of the scent. When the strap of her handbag brushed across her chest as she turned quickly on her way to lunch, and just caught the edge of the nipple, she had to endure ten minutes of flashes of combined pain and pleasure until the signals finally ceased.
And when her phone buzzed with an email while she was in an afternoon meeting … She had two accounts and both used the same notification, but this was definitely from her Kira account. She didn't open it there and then. She'd need to be alone, in her office – or at home. But she'd never had such a visceral reaction before to something as innocuous as an email – she almost jumped out of her chair and she definitely gasped. Luckily everyone else was paying attention to the presentation by the CEO, Leia – even Ben had just put his phone down and was watching the front intently. Rey put both her hands on the table, palm down, and spread her fingers, remembering how large Kylo's hands had been. Large, powerful, and so adept at sending her over the edge … she quickly rubbed them over her face and tried to pull her thoughts back to the meeting. The staff meeting. Not the other one. She'd never been so glad that no in-depth hardware knowledge was needed for this one. Just confirmation that they had a couple of spare machines for the contractors for the new project … Rey hoped she had nodded at the appropriate times, made a couple of incomprehensible squiggles on her notepad, and dashed out of the meeting room as soon as she could.
And then cursed because Ben, whose job was to make sure the projects ran smoothly, wanted to go over the specs for the machines and the security requirements. He kept her occupied for at least half an hour, most of which was probably wasted as the specs always changed depending on what the contractors wanted. Or thought they wanted.
She put up with it, though. It was worth having to wait half an hour to check the email just to listen to Ben's voice. It was probably something to do with how large he was. Tall. Solidly built. And such a lovely, deep baritone voice. Rey was proud of managing not to do anything inappropriate while he was here, but when he finished and got up to go back to his office, she had an inspiration.
"So, how was your weekend?"
For a moment he didn't seem to know how to answer. Then,
"I was right. The traffic out of town was terrible. Didn't actually get to my parents' place Friday night at all. I ended up leaving early on Saturday instead. How was yours?"
He seemed really interested, not just exchanging pleasantries, so she decided to take the risk. "A group of us meet up from time to time – we had brunch on Saturday and it was lovely. And we meet up for drinks on Friday nights, if you'd like to join us."
"Me, of course, and Rose you know from Finance, and her boyfriend, and Poe and his boyfriend …"
"Poe? Poe Dameron?"
"You know each other?"
"From years back." Ben looked uneasy, and Rey hoped she hadn't screwed things up.
"I met him while I was doing my degree. He's been extremely helpful over the years." She could feel herself babbling a little, but decided to keep going. "And he's settled down so much since he met Finn."
Ben stood in thought a moment, then smiled. It was a gentle smile, nervous and hesitant, not at all what she thought his smile would be like. "If you don't think I'd be in the way?"
"Then maybe." He picked up his notes and shuffled them together. "If I'm free on Friday. Possibly not this Friday, but we'll see."
"Awesome. I'll come over and get you when I'm ready to leave." She found herself smiling in return, and could have stood there for ages looking at him until her phone buzzed again. "Sorry – work calls."
"As does mine. Thanks, Rey." Ben walked out and Rey snatched her phone up and checked the messages.
There were two emails waiting in her Kira account. The most recent was from the person who had said that she didn't sound like she had much experience, and who was recommending using toys.
I am working on some scenarios for us to try. There are literally thousands of so called submissives who promise to do anything but really are just selfish and are only interested in themselves. It is very important that I only use new toys on you, so that you build a relationship with me and these toys as your pleasure triggers. If what I have described in previous e mails is what you truly seek then you will not hesitate and understand why I have asked it. I have attached your shopping list and you need to send the money to the link at the bottom for the order. Please quote my name and the order number so that they know where to send them.
It was truly unfortunate that the other person who had sounded so similar had sent an almost identical email demanding money as a test of Rey's suitability. The demand, as well as being rude and outright pushy, had included a link to the exact same account. She saved it to amuse Poe with, then opened the email that had come earlier.
And felt her entire body tighten up in pleasure.
I hope I met your expectations sufficiently on Friday evening. I would like to continue the sessions on the basis that we discussed, if indeed you wish to do so as well. Remember, either of us may choose to discontinue at any time, with no obligation to the other. I trust that if you have chosen not to continue, that you will let me know at your earliest convenience.
Rey often thought Kylo must be an older man, or someone who works in a formal setting. His language was proper to the point of punctilious. She'd suspected perhaps that English wasn't his first language, but there had been no trace of an accent the other night.
Not that she'd heard his natural voice much.
While the room we occupied was sufficient for our needs, I will organise something more spacious for our next session. This will have the advantage of being better soundproofed. I will use gags on you from time to time, but I enjoyed hearing you reach your peak and would hear it more.
For the next session, I intend to use my lips, my tongue, and if you will permit, my fingers, in order to meet your requirements. I will taste you from your toes to the top of your head and everywhere in between. When I am applying my tongue to your clitoris, if you desire, I shall slip my fingers in those places where the added sensation will give you greater pleasure.
Please give me specific details of where you would like me to use barriers, and where I might taste and feel the delight that is you with nothing between us.
There might have been a Yours sincerely, but Rey couldn't concentrate that far. She closed the email and cursed herself for reading it at work. Now she would be distracted for the rest of the day. It was already mid-afternoon. She headed for the break room to have a coffee, a breath of fresh air, anything to get her mind back on work.
Ben was too busy for the next Friday night's drinks, as the contractors were once again trying to change their specifications for the project, but he said he might be free the week afterwards. Which was a shame. Rey knew she could stay at the bar for a short while, but she had her session to look forward to. The days leading up to it seemed longer than usual, for all that Ben was liaising with her regularly.
On Thursday lunchtime, he needed her help with some of the new server budget, and their discussion went on well past noon. It wasn't until Rey's stomach began grumbling loudly at 2pm that Ben finally lifted his eyes from the recovery plan details and shook his head at her.
"You should have mentioned something."
"We were busy. I didn't want to stop the flow."
"Screw that." He stretched back, his arms above his head. "I think we've got it to the point where I can give answer Leia if she asks. Or I could just bring you to the next planning meeting. In fact, that might not be such a bad idea."
"Sounds good." She started to gather her papers, until Ben put his hand on hers.
"Leave those. I'm taking you to lunch as an apology for making you miss yours."
"You have your phone. They can find you if they need to." Ben smiled again, once more slightly shy. "And we both need some fresh air. Come on. We'll just go to the café down the street."
The café was one of those hole-in-the-wall types that come and go regularly. Rey hadn't had a chance to try it, and besides, she preferred to take sandwiches or an instant soup, such as today's sachet still sitting in her desk drawer. Now instead she had a fresh chicken satay salad, some delicious juice, and the chance to spend an hour with Ben. Who was rather adept at drawing her out. She found herself telling him about her university years, and how she got her scholarship from school in the first place.
"And if it hadn't been for that grant, I would have had to hold down at least two jobs as well as trying to keep up my grades. Engineering is not the easiest of subjects, and for some reason the lecturers like the early starts." She ran the last of the lettuce through the remains of the peanut sauce, still amazed at the different flavours it contained. "I did have to then work for a year as the night-shift IT Support person for a college up north, but it was also worth it. Those credentials and experience got me the job here, and the cheap rent meant I had enough to find a place in Chandrilla. What about you, though, Ben? How long have you been at Coruscant?"
"Only a month longer than you."
"Where were you before?"
"I was in insurance, but it wasn't for me. And the place was a mistake. My boss was pushing for the teams to meet their deadlines even though he'd let half of them go because of budget cuts. The Team Leader had just had one person collapse from working while sick with the flu, and another sacked for having to go early one day when her daughter was hit by a car. He'd been working 12 hour days himself to try and meet the targets. Then Snoke, the boss, had the nerve to come and personally castigate him in a meeting, in front of everyone, for failing to meet his impossible standards."
"What happened then?"
"The team leader stood up, told Snoke where to stick it, and walked out. Left the company. And so did his entire team. And then Snoke told me to let them go and dock them a week's wages. I wouldn't do it." He grinned. "I …er … I left, myself. That's one reason I'm with Coruscant." He drank the last of his juice. "We work hard, but the hard work is appreciated. Like today. I didn't mean to make you miss lunch, but it's a perfectly reasonable alternative to have a later lunch break to make up for it. Leia knows that pushing people past their limits is a fast way to burn them out. I'm just glad I found that out as well. Now, do you have room for dessert?"
Rey laughed in delight. "You will never stop me having dessert, Ben Solo. And there's some sort of profiterole-topped evil in that cabinet that has my name on it."
"With coffee." It was a statement, not a question.
"Definitely." She thanked whatever lucky stars had brought her to Chandrilla, to Coruscant Industries, and to lunch with Ben. "So do you live nearby?"
"It's about a ten minute drive from work, or fifteen by bus. Chandrilla Heights."
"Nice." Rey had circled one apartment there when she came looking for accommodation, then beat a hasty retreat when she saw the prices. "But you're close by Endor Rise, where we go to brunch. If tomorrow night isn't too much of a strain, maybe you could join us on Saturday as well.
They walked back to the office together, enjoying the late-February sunshine. Rey appreciated the company too.
"Much to do this afternoon, Rey?"
"Not a lot. The changes you asked to the security. Which reminds me – how did you know so much about server breaches?"
"Let's just say I wasn't always a model student." That was a new one. Instead of the sweet and shy smiles she'd been getting so far, this one was outright wicked. "Maybe one day I'll tell you about my evil side."
He laughed. "No, not that it doesn't run in my family." At her puzzled look, he continued. "My mother and my uncle are twins. But no, part of me worries very much about doing the right thing, treating people properly, and trying to fit into this strange world. The other side – well, I let it out when I worked for Snoke, and I didn't enjoy it much then, but there are parts of me that verge on puckish instead of sinister."
She stopped and stared at him. The giggle started in her throat, then rushed through to take over her whole body. For a minute she had to lean on a nearby wall so as not to end up sitting on the gritty pavement. Finally, when she had wiped the tears from her eyes and got her breathing under control, she shook her head at him.
"I will believe that when I see it."
She expected him to look hurt, but his expression was inscrutable. "Maybe you will." He pulled out his entry card and they headed back in for the last two hours of work.
The next night, Friday, was group drinks.
It could have gone better.
Rose came up to Rey's office at five, just as Ben was closing his office door.
"It's going to be lovely having you along, Ben. It's nothing formal – a few drinks and a grizzle about work." Rose looked him up and down, and shook her head. "But you're dressed all wrong."
"How wrong?" Ben ran his hand through his hair.
"It's Friday, Ben. You've not heard of casual Friday? Here." Rey watched in fascination as Rose, with no self-consciousness at all, walked up to Ben and took hold of his tie. In a moment, she had it off and his top button undone.
"Here." Rose rolled Ben's tie up for him, and tucked it in his pocket. "That doesn't need to come out until Monday." Rey almost bit her lip, wishing she'd had the nerve to do that, while Rose ruffled her own hair.
"Now. Drinks. Come on."
They headed down, Rose leading the conversation and getting more out of Ben than Rey thought possible. By the time they reached the Eisley, Rey knew that Ben's parents had a city apartment, but that his dad, now retired, tended to live at their house up the coast, while his mother stayed in the apartment during the working week. She knew his dog was called Artie, and lived at the coast house, because his father had persuaded him it was better for the dog to get long walks, but really it was because his dad was lonely during the week. He liked Southern and Delta Blues but hated Dixieland. Loved Knives Out but felt the Mission Impossible films were becoming parodies of themselves.
And that this was the first time he'd been to anything with work colleagues outside of work things since he'd started at Coruscant four months before. Apart from lunch with Rey. Before that, he told Rose, he'd been working at a firm where the expression Human Resources meant they really were treating people as impersonal assets. So he'd left.
"Sounds familiar." Rose pushed open the door to the bar and guided Ben down the back to their favourite booth. "My boyfriend says the same about his old work." Rey was following behind, marvelling as usual at Rose's ability to draw people out, when suddenly she walked straight into Ben's back.
"Hux." The name was whispered with a cold edge to it. Forced out, as if Ben could barely make himself say it.
Rose looked from her boyfriend to Ben and back. "You worked at First Order with Armie?"
Both men spoke at once, both spitting the word out simultaneously. "Yes."
Ben turned to Rey, the scowl on his face darker than any expression she had ever seen before. He looked as if he was going to say something, but instead he left, the bitterness almost corroding a path in the floor as he went. In the doorway, he bumped past someone then stormed out.
Finn and Poe came in, Finn waving at the others and Poe looking back.
"Was that Ben Solo I just saw?"
"You know him too?" Hux was flustered in a way Rey had never seen before.
"Wait." Rose rubbed her face. "Was he the supervisor who let Snoke ream you out in front of your team?"
"Oh god – he told me about that." Rey grabbed her bag. "Stay there. You two have to hear something."
"Where are you going?"
"To bring him back." She ran out of the bar and then, assuming Ben would have headed for home, ran to the right towards Chandrilla Heights. As she rounded the next corner she could see she had guessed correctly – there was no mistaking his tall figure striding away from her. Rey thanked her lucky stars she had her trainers on as she ran down the road, catching his arm just as he pressed the button for the crossing.
He scowled down at her, a face she was used to now, but it didn't scare her as it had the first few times she saw it.
"Come back. Would you?"
"Why? Hux hates me."
"You didn't fire him. He left."
"Because the working conditions were intolerable, and I did nothing to stop him being humiliated by his boss."
Rey couldn't think of anything to say to change that. "I'm sorry. It must have been terrible. Okay. Go home tonight. But I don't think you're a terrible person, and if I talk to Hux, he probably won't either."
"This isn't your fight, Rey."
"Because it's not a fight." Rey stood there, still holding his arm as the traffic raced past. "It looks like one, but that doesn't mean it has to be."
"Are you the knight in shining armour, saving me from my own foolishness?" The look calmed a little now, and he stepped up to her and brushed the hair back from her forehead where it had fallen out of her ponytail during her run.
"Come back with me."
"Not this time. I can't think straight, and I need to be calm and collected. Under control. We'll talk about it on Monday." He leaned forward and kissed her forehead. She was so surprised that she dropped his arm, and he was off across the road before she could stop him.
She walked back to the bar, where the others were waiting for her.
"What was that about?" Finn hugged her and put a glass of wine in front of her.
"It's really complicated."
"It isn't, you know." Hux had his arm around Rose, and Rey could tell it was for his comfort rather than Rose's. "He was my supervisor, he was supposed to stand up for me, and he didn't. So I left."
Rey closed her eyes to think better, then gasped. "When you left, did your pay get cut?"
"No." This said with a puzzled tone. "That was one strange thing. We were entitled to be paid for our work, and it wouldn't have surprised me if Snoke had taken the lot. He knew we wouldn't have the legal power behind us to get it back. But we got our full payout, a week's bonus, and then three months later all of us got the cheques for the performance dividend for the previous quarter's work."
"And you said it was odd at the time." Rose looked up at him. "Would Snoke have done that?"
"Only if the world started spinning backwards and cats laid eggs."
"Sorry – childhood expression." Hux turned back to Rey. "Are you saying …"
"I think so." Rey shivered, realising there was another layer to the tall man who had kissed her forehead earlier. "I'll find out on Monday."
"Don't you have yoga tonight?" Poe grinned at her.
"Oh hell. Yes. What's the time?"
"I've just got time to dash home and change." Rey hugged them all. "Brunch tomorrow?"
"Only if you're not completely worn out." Poe's grin was ridiculously wide, and she glared at him to tone it down, but he just raised his glass to her and drank.
"Later." Picking up her bag, she left.
The dodgy email from the "toy" user is based on some real BDSM Scam emails. They'll take your money and never show up, of course.
Chapter 6: Bedroom Acoustics
Getting hot and steamy. Or: Kylo really knows how to get Rey to relax.
Beautiful picture of Rey and Ben in the bathtub by Faunary.
Rey hurried into the hotel at 6:25pm, and luckily there was no queue at the desk. With a smile, Bazine handed over her message.
It took but a moment to send it to Poe, turn on her second phone, and reply to the waiting instruction.
She pulled her hair out of the ponytail in the lift, trying to calm her breathing, but she still jumped when it reached the 21st floor. The walk to the room seemed longer and Rey realised the doors were much farther apart. She managed the blindfold and the door keycard more smoothly than she had the previous time, although she was not truly ready. After jogging home, grabbing the blindfold and the change of underwear and then heading out, she felt sweaty, flustered and totally not in the right headspace.
A slight rushing sound was audible to the side, although she couldn't quite identify it. Air conditioning? The wind outside? Kneeling on the carpet, she could feel that it was a better quality than the last room. Deeper. Softer on her knees. It made the wait easier, but she still hoped he wouldn't take too long.
"Stand up, Kira. Tell me what is wrong."
She stood, and shook her head.
There was silence, then she heard a chair creak, and footsteps through the carpet.
"Tell me no secrets. We will make amends." He took her hand and led her through onto tiles. The bathroom. The noise she had been hearing was a tap running into what must be a substantial body of water. There was a new scent today, citrus and cinnamon, and a soft towel under her feet.
"Do you need to use the facilities?"
"No, thank you."
She stood, the steam in the room slowly relaxing her muscles. The door closed behind her, leaving her with just the running water for a minute or so. That was relaxing in itself. The door opened again, and he was right beside her.
"I had intended to bathe you anyway. It seems my choice was providential. However, there is an issue." He paused. "I cannot disguise my voice while I am in the bath with you, and for much of the evening. So we shall have to agree on non-verbal signals between us."
"What sort of signals?"
"I can guide you through much of this with touches, if that will suit. Will you trust me to guide you, Kira?"
"I will." Her nerves were still so wound up that she was glad of this. It would calm her a great deal if she did not have to think for a while, and merely had to follow the lead of her companion
"If I tap on the inside of your thigh, you will need to open your legs, or spread them wider if they are already apart. My finger on your bottom lip means open your mouth." He touched her lip, and she obeyed, hoping he would slip his finger in, but he didn't. "Across your lips vertically …." he demonstrated the hush signal, "indicates I need you to be quiet for a while. And while I am unable to talk, I will not be able to say red. Thus, if I tap you three times quickly, I mean exactly that. Repeat the instructions, please."
"A tap on the thighs means open my legs, on the lower lip means open my mouth. Across my mouth means quiet, and if you tap me three times, you are giving the red signal and we should stop immediately. I understand."
"Thank you. And I will need you to use your words too."
"What signal would you like me to use to ask you to give your colour?"
She thought for a moment, then grinned.
"Put your hand over my belly button. Not in. On."
"So sensible. Good."
That was one thing about him. He'd never called her girl. It would have been so easy for him to let slip the expression, but he hadn't used it. He had been forthright, clear – and always valuing her as a woman, not a girl. Rey felt a warmth run through her that was nothing to do with the sexual nature of the visit. And yet it was an affirmation that rather turned her on.
"Last of all, let me confirm. Barriers to be used for anything involving the anus, but not for anywhere else."
"While in the bath, I intend to wash the area thoroughly. Do you wish me to use barriers then, or will a careful application of soap be sufficient."
She pondered for a moment, although it was becoming difficult to concentrate. All the possibilities available for all the things he wanted to do to her ... "Soap should be fine."
"Then we shall begin. But first I wish you to close your eyes and keep them closed until I tell you otherwise."
Her first instinct was to open them, wide, but they saw nothing under the blindfold. When she realised what he was about, she shut them firmly as he slid the silk off.
His hands wrapped around her head, pulling her hair up, and she felt a couple of long pins hold the rough bun in place. He must have brought them with him – his thoroughness was one more thing that gave her confidence in him.
Once done, he replaced the blindfold and knotted it at the back. It felt firmer than her own work, and she resolved to check the knot later so that she could reproduce it.
He ran a finger down her cheek, under her chin, and she lifted her face. A featherlight brush against her lips and he released her.
There was a rustling she couldn't identify, the sound of swishing water as the taps turned off. He took her hand and led her slowly forward. Pulling her hand down, he placed it on the porcelain edge of the bathtub and let her climb in carefully. She stood in the middle of the bath, waiting for him to join her. From its position in the room and the way the waves were hitting her legs, it must have been enormous.
A moment later, he indicated with a hand on her shoulder that she should sit down. The water rose to her breasts, just tickling the nipples. She felt him slide behind her, pulling her to sit between his legs but leaning forward.
To Rey's surprise, he started pouring warm water over her back, letting it run down her shoulders and her spine. He must have had some sort of bucket or scoop, as he kept doing this for a while, alternating from side to side. Then he paused, and she heard a paper wrapper opening.
He ran something firm and slippery over her back that held the same citrus notes as the bath water. Soap. The washcloth afterwards was rough by comparison, and felt like a massage as it glided over every vertebrae and rib, around her sides under her arms and down to her hips. The whole effect was calming and soothing as she had not felt since she was a very small child still living with her parents.
It brought up echoes of some of the few positive, nurturing memories she had of them.
Her mother washing her while sitting at the side of the bath, putting shampoo in her hair and then piling it on top of her head while soaping the rest of little Rey. Feeling clean and warm afterwards, in her pyjamas and dressing gown, while her father read her a story.
Before things went bad.
Before they left her.
She wouldn't let that part of her past hurt her tonight. Tonight she would enjoy the caring, and the attention.
She barely noticed as Kylo pulled her back to rest against his chest. The blindfold tightened up slightly as its silk threads collected the damp, and he moved her hands to lie beside her as he poured the water over her breasts. She felt the warmth gradually dissolve her bones and reduce them to insubstantial rubber.
The soap ran over her front, sliding around her breasts and over her nipples as the oil-soaked fingers had the week before, but the effect was subtly different. Instead of driving up her arousal, now her breasts remained soft and pliant, and the nipples lay flat.
Until he started moving the soap further south.
It ran around her hips, following the lines where her legs joined her pelvis, and then between them. He tapped on her thigh, and she eased them open, bending her knees slightly to give him better access. The soap cleansed the way to her core, running over her labia, through the hairs on her mound, and over much of her vulva. He pushed her forward so she was curled over at the waist, and this was enough that he could now run his fingers all the way down into her vagina, their soapy tips just edging around the entrance like a hesitant actor awaiting his cue. His hand slipped out then, leaving a void in her sensations and a slight whine on her lips.
Kylo kissed the back of her neck in unspoken apology. It was a day for kisses.
She followed his cue as he pushed her up to her knees and urged her to lean forward, her elbows resting on the rim of the warm tub. Again he tapped her thighs, and she opened them to him, allowing him to wash around and between her buttocks and over the whole of her perineum. His soapy fingers once more circled her vagina, then slipped back to her anus, pressing ever so lightly on it until one finger slipped in – just a tip – and out again. The sensation was odd – and surprisingly pleasurable. Rey found herself gasping as his other hand ran to her clitoris and started sliding up and down around it. Just as things were going from nice to buzzing, though, he stopped again.
There was the sound of water swishing behind her, and a washcloth ran over her hidden areas from front to back, undoubtedly removing the soap as well as diffusing the sensations that had started to build. Rey repressed another moan, and straightened up as Kylo wrapped his arms around her and guided her out of the bath and into a warmed towel.
On the bed, he laid her face down, her arms sprawled to either side of her head. His fingers ran up and down her spine, starting at the nape of her neck and terminating where her bra strap normally sat. Back to the top, then down again to her waistline.
Up once more, and down to her buttocks.
The bed dipped where he climbed on it beside her, and lapped at the water that remained on her neck. His lips were like butterfly wings as he kissed lightly down her spine to her waist, soft as a summer breeze as he moved from left to right and back, up the left side to level with her shoulder blade. He kissed over to the other side, moving over her body as he did but not touching her with anything but his mouth. On the right side, he licked instead of kissed, around to the edge of her breast, but when she tried to roll to give him better access, he held her down with his arm and caressed only the swell that showed from under her. Back to the top, to where her arm lay, then he sat beside her and carefully pulled her arm out straight.
And slipped her right little finger into his mouth.
She gasped and almost leapt off the bed.
One by one, he inhaled her fingers, suckled them then let them out. Finally he turned her hand palm up, and licked the join between the index and middle finger, his tongue moving as a prelude to what it would do in a similar space shortly.
Rey moaned, the sensation of his tongue in that confined space rocketing all the way up her arm and directly to her pleasure centres – her brain and her groin. He fluttered his tongue, his fingers holding hers apart so that he could get to the very middle, and the analogy was sending her wild.
Stopping, Kylo rolled her over so that she was lying on her back, the pins in her hair noticeable but not painful. Now her left hand was closest to him, and he once more took each finger in his mouth in turn, lightly sucking them.
From the top of her middle finger, he kissed and licked and butterfly-kissed to her wrist, down the inside of her arm to her elbow, the skin soft and pliable under his lips. At the elbow, he nuzzled in the hollow, his tongue swirling around until he stopped with a kiss, then proceeded along the underside of her upper arm until he reached the softness of her armpit. She heard him inhale there, where her scent had started to regenerate after the wash.
His tongue laved from the side of the left breast in a slow journey that took it under the curve and around to her sternum.
Completely missing the top.
She gasped, the absence of that sensation more arousing than the actual contact would have been.
Again, from the right side, but this time she was expecting him to merely trace the lower edge of her breast. So when his lips brushed gently – oh so gently – against the areole, she arched her back towards the touch.
He must have anticipated that. All she felt was cool air.
Until his lips fastened around the nipple as he had the fortnight before, pulling it in before releasing it. She remembered that her hands were free, and brought them down to hold his head to her.
It wasn't to be.
Rey managed to touch Kylo's head, feeling the hair soft, not short, pulled up into a bun, before he laughed softly and took her wrists in his hands. Stretching them above her head, he wrapped them once more with the ribbon she remembered from the previous session, leaving the ends again in her palms and under her control. She sighed in resignation, earning another chuckle from him as he knelt above her and kissed her lips softly, a whisper-light close-mouthed kiss designed merely to telegraph where he would next be paying attention.
The kisses stole across her cheekbone to her right ear where he began to lick at the curves.
And nibble at them.
And suck at the point at the base of her ear, right where every touch created a massive feedback. Within a minute she was moaning as the electricity surged through her, channelling down her neck, through her breasts and to her groin as if he were the evil scientist and she the monster on the table. He nuzzled right at the point where the bolt would have been, then to the other side to create a balance.
Yin and yang.
Positive and negative.
Passion and desire.
Rey groaned loudly, then again as his hand slid down her front, past the breasts, to rest on her stomach.
Her belly button. She gasped when she realised.
"Green. Totally green."
Patting her as if to say thank you, he continued his attentions on her ear, now the left one, now the right, until she was moaning and squirming with every fibre in her body firing.
His hand patted at her thighs, and she opened them immediately. Widely. His body moved over hers and he settled into the space, still using his lips and tongue on her neck, her jaw, her chin.
He gave one last long lick to the ears, once more brushing his lips over hers as he then started – finally started – the slow journey down her front with his tongue.
Past her breasts.
Past her stomach, where he paused to kiss her on the skin just above her navel.
"Green." It was a whisper, a supplication, an entreaty to him, and he kissed her again and continued down to the top of her soft and gentle fur. She felt his breath, warm and insubstantial, against her pubic hair and to the point where her clit was begging for attention…
And then past, down to her inner thigh. He kissed the left and right ones, rising up to place his finger across her mouth just as she was about to let out the mewl of frustration. Instead, she hushed, and ran her tongue over his finger pad, swirling it gently and trying hard to communicate what she wanted in actions, not words.
He chuckled, the skin on his cheek vibrating against her thigh. She felt his weight move to the very end of the bed, and his lips against her right heel. His tongue circled the ankle bone, kissed each of her toes one by one.
Returning to the big toe, he started sucking it into his mouth and running his tongue over it. Rey shivered. Normally her feet were deadly ticklish, but the combination of the hot bath and the incredible attention Kylo was paying to her body rendered her feet sensitive in an entirely different way. Again, he went from digit to digit, sucking each in and swirling his tongue around them, before holding her foot up and licking from the heel to the toes.
The left foot received the same treatment, except changing direction from the toes to the heel, up the ankle, and along to the knee. Nudging her legs apart, he tasted the other side, then nibbled along the inner thighs to where once more Rey could feel his breath on her hairs. His shoulders nudged under her knees, and he positioned her legs just … so.
And swiped his tongue from her cunt to her clitoris in one languorous long stroke that almost had her flying off the bed and screaming.
Once more his hand flew to her mouth, and she expected him to put his finger across again, but instead he tapped her lower lip, requesting she open it. When she did, one finger slipped in, touching her tongue and seeking her input. When she ran her tongue across the finger pad, he did the same on her clit. As she sucked on the end of it, he inhaled the whole hood and sent frissons of glory up her spine. She pulled the entire finger into her mouth and licked it up and down, marvelling at how large it was and how long his arms must be to reach her, although this did seem to be close to his limit.
And he moaned at this, the vibrations causing the synapses to join, merge and burn in her groin and making her hips buck upwards towards his mouth as she came, hard, calling out Kylo and losing herself in sparks of light behind the blindfold.
His fingers left her mouth, returning to her vulva where they started to work around the labia. His tongue wrote the letters of ecstasy against her clit as he slowly slipped his moist digit into her vagina, adding the seal to the document of her pleasure. The additional stimulation as the internal bulbs of her clitoris expanded around her cunt sent her over again, and she cried her fulfilment as she did.
Writhing against his tongue, his nose, his lips, all of which he was pressing to her core, Rey hit a peak three or four more times – all the buzzing and shocks and clenching and feelings hit one after the other and she wasn't sure where one ended and the next began. She started to come down and realised that he had two fingers inside her now, two large and dextrous fingers that were giving the most wonderful stretch that just added to the sensations that now ebbed and flowed like some demon tide running through her body. Her head turned and twisted, and she was calling out please please please but she didn't know whether she was asking him to continue or stop, or hold back.
She felt a hand on her belly, and it took her a moment to remember the signal.
"Yellow. Just for a moment. Let me get my breath."
He lay back down, this time over and slightly to the side of her. She could feel his hardness lying alongside her thigh as he bent to kiss her breasts softly. His cock twitched, as if sentient, and she discerned even through her haze that it was big. So big. When she finally took him inside her, she would be stretched by more than his fingers ever did. The thought sent her muscles clenching again, and she moaned lightly as she came down from the peak of paradise.
Kylo was generous. He gave her a full minute, then pulled at her hips and slowly turned her over, moving her so she was kneeling with her hands now holding the bedhead. She heard a rustling behind her, and kisses started again.
His lips moved down her buttocks, alternately kissing and nibbling, and he tapped the insides of her thighs until she opened them wide, to let his fingers slip down to her anus. She felt the slight crinkling of latex, and two or three drops of something warm touching the top of her crack and run down until the fingers stopped them at her small, tight hole.
And a different sound, like a huffing seal or a fluttering curtain. Her lower cheeks were pulled apart. Something soft, pointed, prehensile, started lapping at her arsehole, running around it and slowly, oh so slowly, working on the muscles until they relaxed and let it in.
Fingers reached around the front and stroked her clit in time with the gentle, probing motions of his tongue, giving her a conundrum – every time she rocked back away from the fingers, she drove his tongue further into her dark hole. If she moved forwards, the fingers increased their ministrations until she was starting to come again, and the overwhelming presence of her impending climax sent her back again to that tongue; that wicked, agile, insinuating tongue that made her wish for more, so much more.
And then it was gone.
And he'd flipped and was sliding up under her, between her legs, pulling her hips down so that she sat on his face and his tongue and lips and nose were once more encouraging her clit and her vulva and the whole area, ending up with what felt like his whole face providing the broad stimulation that she craved while one – or was it two – of his fingers slid right into her arse, stretching it immensely and sending her wild.
She screamed. In pleasure, in lust, in an overload of sensations that culminated in a howl of ecstasy that must have strained the soundproofing to its limits.
She rode the wave, the crest, the body, the involvement of her entire nervous system as he licked and sucked and rubbed her, until finally she cried Yellow again and he stopped, withdrawing and sliding out from under her. She heard the sound of rubber snapping – the gloves coming off – and he was holding her by her hips and lowering her slowly to the counterpane.
He tapped her hands.
And wrapped his fingers around hers.
She realised she was still holding the ribbons tight in her palms, tying her to the bedhead. She let go, sliding down to lie on the pillows, utterly spent.
There was a sound behind her, a rhythmic fluttering, but she was too empty, too completed to move. It was only once it culminated in a low groan that she realised it was him, finding his own climax.
He lay beside her, wrapped his arms around her and held her for a moment, and kissed her nose.
Then reached over to something. When he spoke the electronic voice was back.
"Mmmm." She couldn't manage much more. A little, though. "Thank you, Kylo."
"Are you satisfied?"
She felt him get up. She felt him pat her shoulder, almost in a caress, before heading into the bathroom.
The darkness of sleep took her.
Chapter 7: Unintended
Some awkward after-effects, and a better connection.
A small buzzing noise insinuated its annoying tone into Rey's brain.
She opened her eyes, and cursed at the blackness. Pulling off the blindfold, she looked around the hotel room, then dived over to her phone. Her main phone. Which she'd accidentally left on in her hurry to get to the room. She grabbed it out of her bag and checked – not a missed call, but a message from Poe. It was midnight, she hadn't checked back with him yet, and that was their agreement.
She messaged straight back. Jabba could get used to this.
In a minute it buzzed again. Brunch? Get there a bit early and give me all the sordid details.
I'll be there at 10:30.
As she put her phone down, she felt a twinge in her wrists.
No, more than a twinge. She stretched her arms, feeling an ache that must have come from gripping the bedhead so tightly, then winced as she noticed the red lines around her wrists where the ribbon had cut into her. She hadn't realised she'd been pulling quite that hard. Bother. Those welts were going to take a couple of days to fade. The rest of her felt ridiculously relaxed and so very well fucked. And he'd only used his lips and fingers so far. She smiled to herself at the feeling of his fingers in all sorts of places, and what she had to look forward to according to what she felt beside her earlier.
Rey had a warm shower then dressed. Collecting the blindfold from the pillow where she'd dropped it, she noticed a purple packet on the floor at the side of the bed.
From a dental dam.
Right. That's what he was using for a barrier. She glanced in the bin, noting the blue glove and a glimpse of the actual dam lying at the bottom under a couple of tissues. The sight, clinical though it was, sent a blush to her cheek. She'd heard of dams before, but never actually used one before. And the results had been rather amazing. If that was what having her arse licked felt like, no wonder Mozart was in favour of it.
Not to mention the fingers.
The lovely. Large. Fingers.
If the analogy held true, things could only get better.
Checking once more around the room for anything she might have left, she slipped out the door and into the quiet of the graveyard-hours hotel on a Friday night. Rey was glad of the cardigan she'd brought along. The sleeves had always been a bit too long, but now she needed that.
The Nightline bus took her just two doors from her apartment block. The trains stopped at midnight, and she would have hated to catch one so late, but the bus meant she could sit near the driver and be aware of her surroundings. She was just tired and relaxed enough that if the bus wasn't available, she would have considered a cab, and damn the expense. But the fates were on her side once more. Collapsing into bed, she only just managed to set her alarm before once more falling asleep
Poe greeted her with a massive hug at the Corner Shop, and a wicked grin on his face as he did so. Pulling back, he kissed her nose.
"How are the girls today?"
"Not as bruised as last time, thank goodness." Rey shook her head. "But I have a feeling that was the beginning of a long string of interesting situations."
"So what did he do this time? Severe love bites? Hair-pulling? Rope burns? Ohhhh." At that last one, Rey blushed and Poe snickered. "Right. Where?"
"I have to be honest – I did these ones to myself." She pulled up the sleeves of the cardigan and showed him the lesions. "I could have let go at any time, but I didn't."
"Wide ribbons?" He took her hands in his, turning them to check the damage as she nodded. "He should have been looking out for that a bit more too. Part of a Dom's job is to notice when the Sub is in too far."
"Possibly. He was … rather busy at that point." Rey blushed again.
"It's still partly his responsibility. Let us count that as a lesson for both of you." Poe rubbed the welts lightly. "I suggest a couple of cheap RSI supports, and an excuse about trying to lift something that was a bit too heavy. Don't use bandages."
"Because people will think you're trying to hide something much worse." He mimed running a blade across them, and she grimaced.
"Yeah – no." She tugged the cuffs down and picked up the menu. "God, I am so hungry."
"That doesn't surprise me."
" I mean I didn't have anything to eat last night." She heard Poe's snort of disbelief, and grinned. "No, not even that, although I think I'd like to next time. Now shut up. I'm trying to concentrate here."
"Well, you have been exercising, hon."
They put their orders in, then settled back in the booth. "Which reminds me, Poe. I've got some emails for you to look at."
"Our strangely similar friends?"
"That's them." She pulled up her phone and forwarded them to his account. "You always were much better at the cyber security than I was."
"I still make mistakes though. I am still angry about having to abandon my favourite email account because I clicked on an unsubscribe button."
"Yeah, rookie error. Although, to be fair, you were only eighteen at the time, based on what you told me, and did you really want to be known as DameronedIfYouDo for your professional career?"
"Point." Poe stood to let Finn into the seat between him and Rey, and Finn gave Rey a huge hug.
"Peanut! Did you make your session okay?"
Rey kissed his cheek, ignoring the smug look Poe was throwing at her. "It was fine. Took me a while to relax and get into it, but I feel so much better today. Sorry I couldn't stay last night."
"The look on your face makes it worthwhile." Finn hugged her again. "I deal with so many people stressed beyond belief that it's good to see someone taking time for their self-care."
"Speaking of stressed," Poe said as he passed the maple syrup over to Rey, "what was all that with Ben Solo last night? I didn't realise you knew him. And Hux really didn't want to talk about it either. Left with Rose shortly after you did. Oh yeah – they won't be in today. Lunch with Rose's family."
"Ben's the project manager at work." Rey drenched her pancakes and fruit, and offered the syrup as usual to Finn, who, as usual, turned it down. To be honest, his Eggs Benedict would not have been enhanced by the sweetness. "You know we have a rolling series of things going on – the latest is we're upgrading the software for the city's traffic lights. Anyway, we liaise with the clients – in this case, the city traffic management office – and hire specialist contractors to fill in the gaps in our own team. Ben's the one who makes sure we're all clear on the goals, oversees the setup for the contractors' offices, checks they've got the computers and access and info they need – all that stuff."
"So you've worked together a lot?"
"Not so much until last week." Rey took a mouthful of pancake and fried banana, the smoky maple syrup matching the fruit perfectly. "Oh, but that is so good. Anyway, yeah, I've only been at the company two … no, three months now, and most of that time was cleaning up after the last project. We're just getting the traffic one up and running. How do you know him?"
"We were at school together, back in Naboo. He was … decent to me."
"I've heard this story, but I didn't know who it was." Finn sat back with his juice, and slipped his arm around Poe's shoulders.
"Well, I wasn't officially out at school, but I was the weirdo." Poe waved his arm expansively. "You know the one. Obscure manga t-shirts, reads German philosophers, runs his own "shared" music server. I was hiding a lot behind that persona. Anyway, the school knew I was into computers, so when their student records system got hacked and all the disciplinary records for the previous decade were suddenly wiped, they thought it was me."
"The school called my parents, I was in a meeting in the Principal's office and about to be expelled, when all the admin computers suddenly started showing … let's put it this way. You're too sweet and innocent for these details, but it was proof enough that someone else was doing it. What better alibi than the Principal, the Guidance Counsellor and the head of Admin?" Poe laughed and hugged Finn to him. "My parents made the Principal apologise, and accused him of homophobic reactions and picking on the gay guy. To avoid legal action, he had to set up and openly approve of the first school LGBT support group in the county."
"But I don't understand. What did Ben have to do with it?"
"He came up to me after school that day, and said one word. Goatse."
"Proof he sent the pictures." Poe put his head in his free hand. "No, do not look it up, but it's what the picture was of. Or supposedly – a bad cut-and-paste job but horrifying enough. Ben had been this formal tie-and-ironed-button-down guy, aloof, no real friends. And yet underneath he was terrible. So we became mates."
Finn poked him, and Rey boggled. "You were …"
"No, just friends. Not that way. But then he got sent to some academy upstate, and we didn't keep in touch. He's changed a lot. The longer hair looks good on him."
"Hmm." Rey nodded, totally in agreement. "But why was he hacking into the student records?"
"Oh, he wasn't." Poe cracked up at this. "It was me all along. Ben was reading the staff message boards and emails, and found out about my extra-curricular activities. So he sent the picture as a diversion, timed to hit the admin computers when I was in the meeting. It meant he had alibis from when I'd been doing it, and I had one for his little stunt. It worked."
"And that's how you got into Cyber Security? I did wonder." Rey chased down the last strawberry and used it to make sure none of the maple syrup left on her plate was wasted. "Poachers make the best gamekeepers or something like that."
"Yeah, that'd be it. One more coffee?"
"Please. Actually, it must be my turn."
"No, mine definitely." Poe wiggled himself out from the booth and headed for the counter, and Finn watched after him with a sweet expression in his eyes.
"You two have something so special." Rey took Finn's hand. "Still glad I introduced you?"
"Always will be, Peanut." Finn squeezed her hand back.
"So what's this about the stress at your work?"
"You know Holdo Management help liaise between the insurance companies and the clients who are being shafted?"
"Yeah." Rey pushed her plate away, and thanked the woman who came to clear their table. "Try to help people get the insurance payouts they're due for?"
"That's the one." Finn rubbed his hands across his eyes. "Of course, a lot of the people who come in are in a terrible situation. The insurance companies delay the payments for a long as possible so that the clients are left with no energy to fight them. Or medical patients have to argue for basic treatment, or go to clinics on the other side of town where there's no bus service and they're not well enough to drive. It's so satisfying when we get them the payments they need to keep going, but of course a lot of the time we can't. Those companies have legal backing up the wazoo."
"That must take a lot out of you."
"Yup." He sighed, and smiled at Poe who returned with a hot chocolate for his love. "If it wasn't for this outright rapscallion here …"
"You love it and you know it." Poe leaned across as if to kiss Finn's nose, but licked it gently instead.
"Oi! You two! Stop that, Poe. You're distracting him from the story."
"Sorry, hon. Too much licking, eh?" Poe lifted his coffee with an innocent smile, and Rey tried hard to fight down the blush.
"Go on, Finn."
"Well, of course it's hard on our clients, but it's rough for the staff too." He sipped his hot chocolate, then put a spoonful of sugar in and stirred. "You build up a relationship with the client, with their family, and you work so closely with them. You know how hard it is to get anything out of the companies, and you tell the clients not to get their hopes up. I had someone last week – this isn't breaking confidentiality because I won't give you the exact details – but we managed to get a court settlement when they were on their deathbed. Then, because they died while the company dallied getting the money to them, the company claimed that the estate wasn't entitled to the payout because the client wasn't able to receive it. The family spent everything trying to get treatment for him. It was workplace-based, but companies nested in corporations inside shell companies offshore …"
"And you're trying to keep them all from spontaneously combusting." She hugged him. "I knew you were awesome."
"Surprised you let me get near him." Poe hugged Finn from the other side.
"Yeah, well you'd better keep treating him right. Finn's my first real family." She took Finn's hand and squeezed it. "I got to choose who they were, and he was the first one to qualify. But you seem more agitated than usual. What's up?"
Finn shook his head. "We've got one company in particular being a bunch of total shits."
Rey stared at him in horror. For Finn to use that sort of language … She swore all the time, and Poe was a filthy bastard, but for Finn to use anything stronger than bother indicated an extreme depth of feeling.
"Want to talk about it?"
"I can't at the moment. Client confidentiality. But I can tell you that we will be taking the strongest possible action against them, once I can work out what that action is."
"We're here for you if you need to vent." Rey hugged him again.
"I know you are, Peanut." He hugged her back. "Between you and Poe, I'll make it."
By Monday Morning, Rey's arms were no longer aching although the red lines around her wrists were still prominent. She took Poe's advice, and while the supports attracted many comments, they were all sympathetic and accompanied by more physical assistance than she had ever had. Rose insisted on having her intern Jannah carry the purchase ledgers to Rey's office, and even Ben was solicitous when he came to check over the hardware she was setting up in the contractors' offices.
"If you need to use wrist braces, you must have done some damage." He lifted the printer to the benchtop as easily as if it had been a box of tissues. "Should you be doing any physical work? Whatever were you trying to lift?"
"It's not as bad as it seems." She crawled under the desk with the cables, and poked them up through the grommet, relieved that he was there to grab them. "I was in an awkward position trying to sort some stuff around my bed, and I managed to twist and pull too hard. They're more of a precautionary measure than anything else. I shouldn't need them on more than a week."
Rey was very glad to be under the desk so that he couldn't see her blushing – the explanation was the first thing she thought of and it was rather too close to the truth.
"Oh bother. Ben?"
"This must be close to the position I was in when I strained my wrists. I slid under the crossbar, and now I can't get the leverage to push myself out." She braced against the bar, but dropped her hands when the twinge started again."
"What do you need?"
"Could you grab my ankles and – slowly – pull me out?"
"Won't you get carpet burn?"
"I'm on the anti-static mat. Just …take it slowly." Rey silently thanked the office dress code that let her wear the slacks she needed to do her job without showing everyone her knickers.
She felt a pair of large, strong hands fasten around her ankles and then the drag as she was pulled out from under the desk. Ben put his hands down and, grasping her forearms instead of her wrists, lifted her to standing.
"Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. I might have pushed things too far if I'd had to do that by myself, but then I wouldn't have gone under the desk if you weren't here to help." She could feel her face heating from the embarrassment of making so foolish a decision, and was surprised to see Ben's ears turn pink too.
"What would you have done if I hadn't been here? I mean, to work the cables?"
"Dropped the other ends through from the top, then scrambled underneath to plug them in. It's a lot easier, physically, to go in lying down." She brushed a bit of dust off her clothes. "Maybe I should charge one of those car mechanic creepers to my equipment budget."
"But would you still be able to fit underneath?"
"Possibly not. Honestly, my bugbear is those modesty boards they put across the bottom of the desks." Rey took a swig from her water bottle. "They might save the modesty of some poor short-skirted lass, but at the cost of my own dignity."
He laughed. "I think you should take a break. Lunch?"
They hit the same café as last time, and Rey decided that if the chicken satay had been good, there was no reason to have anything else. She waited until they were both served before bringing up the subject she had been stewing on from the Friday before.
"You said you needed to be cool and collected when you told me about you and Hux." She saw him stiffen up, his face fall from the smile she had been appreciating to something utterly neutral. "He told us a bit."
"And he explained what you did for him." She reached over and put her hand on his. "You didn't just make sure they got their wages, did you?"
He looked away, and she squeezed his hand. "So you let your puckish nature make sure Hux and his team were treated more than fairly."
Ben finally brought his eyes back to hers. "Probably better if I don't tell you any more."
"There was more?"
"Eat your lunch before it gets cold."
"It's salad, you dill." She grinned and took a forkful of the flavoursome chicken. "But he knows. I think, if you were to come to drinks on Friday again, that you would be welcomed."
"Can't for a couple of weeks." A smile crept back onto Ben's face, and he started on his own pasta. "This week is the big Trade Show at the Imperial Pavilion. Leia wants me there to be the face of the company at our stand from Wednesday to the end. And next week I have to go to Naboo for meetings on Thursday and Friday. Which is a shame. I would have liked to come. Maybe after that."
Rey felt her face fall, and tried not to pout like a child deprived of sweets. "After that, then. That'd be nice."
"But I will come." Ben now took her hand, and gently caressed the brace that sat around her wrist. "I think it's time I was friends with Armie. Now, do you think if I asked nicely, they'd let us try that enormous chocolate mousse they just put in the sweets cabinet?"
Rey grinned. She was enjoying how perceptive he was. "Make sure you ask really nicely."
Thanks to all the help from Ben, she had the contractors' room set up completely by 3pm, and had just enough time to check the Helpdesk queue before the end of the day. She had two Service Officers and a Lead Tech working with her, but it was always a good thing to make sure nothing had blown out. Although if it had, she would have got a message or thirty about it.
She glanced at her phone, then did a double take. There was a message on her Kira account.
I thoroughly enjoyed Friday evening. How are you in the aftermath? I delighted in hearing you sing with pleasure.
There was no-one near her. The full glass panels showed her the hallway was clear, and the only other person in sight was Ben in his office opposite, madly concentrating on something on his screen. He must have so much work to get ready for the Trade Show. She bit her lip and, promising herself not to be distracted too much, typed away at her phone screen.
I assume the hotel rooms are well soundproofed. Hopefully I didn't get you into any trouble. She hesitated, then continued, deciding honesty was a good thing. My arms are sore, and I have marks around my wrists. I didn't realise it at the time, and please don't feel guilty about it, but we should probably use something different at our next session.
Pressing send, she looked up, happening to meet Ben's eyes as he chose that exact moment to glance across at her. Rey turned away immediately, staring with great intensity at a budget summary on her desk and trying very hard not to blush. For a few minutes she scribbled on a sheet of paper, trying to make sense of the funds allocated to her next server upgrade, but when her phone buzzed again she dropped all pretence of working and opened the email.
My profound and deepest apologies, Kira. I must take the responsibility. It is my duty to ensure your safety and eudaemonia, and I have failed you. I shall take this on advisement, and acquire some padded cuffs for subsequent assignations. Let me know if the effects linger past Wednesday, and I shall arrange for some remedial assistance.
On Friday 8th prox, I wish to extend our intimacies to include penetration. As both of our test results have been negative, and as long as neither of us have had physical intercourse with another person, would you be agreeable to my dispensing with a condom for the act? This is, of course, as long as you yourself are adequately provided with contraception. If not, or if you would prefer, I will of course use a prophylactic.
Rey sat in a daze, her body sending minor thrills through her that completely distracted her from work for the next few minutes until she heard an office door close across the hallway. Glancing up, she saw Ben sauntering down the hall, shaking his head and laughing. It was enough to drag her attention back to the matters at hand. First, she hit the dictionary for eudaemonia and prox, and reminded herself never to play Scrabble with Kylo. Then she closed the email, and went back to the Helpdesk queue, wondering how in the hell Enric in Accounts could have possibly forgotten his password for the third time that month.
Proxima, or prox means next month. So the 8th prox means the 8th of the next month.
Eudaemonia means Well-being.
Chapter 8: Butterflies and Hurricanes
The night is dark, cold and wet. And wild, hot and screaming.
With Ben away for half of the next two weeks, the project start was postponed, giving Rey a chance to catch up on other paperwork and admin. She enjoyed the quiet. She wasn't supposed to be handling Helpdesk queries directly, although she pitched in when there was a major problem, but the start of every project always meant a handful of settling-in issues, from printers refusing to print to entire incompatibilities between their system and the software the contractors would need.
She missed the company, too.
It wasn't as if she and Ben were more than just co-workers. Mind you, being kissed on the forehead was more than she'd expect from a fellow worker. No, it was having someone to joke with when they were moving the equipment around, or to go to lunch with each week and just kvetch about the work. Although she was beginning to wish she had a bit more.
But she couldn't work out how much more she wanted, and from whom. From Ben, she had affection and friendship, some tenderness, and appreciation of her work. From Kylo, she had respect and honesty, care, and mindblowing orgasms.
She wanted both.
Friday was cold and wet, and Rey decided that as everything was ready for Monday and she couldn't really start something at 4pm without it either taking her all night or sitting there accusingly over the weekend, she would reward her later nights of the past three days by buggering off early. She had time to go home and change, join the others for a quick drink, then head to the hotel if she left now. With absolutely no regrets, she closed her office door, sorry only that the room opposite was as dark as it had been for the last two days. She hoped the meetings in Naboo weren't too tedious.
As Rey walked out of the building, she thought she felt a buzzing, but as she was juggling her umbrella and bag in the wind and the cold rain, she decided to leave it until she was on the bus. There must have been an issue further up the route, because the bus was late and packed and she could barely fit in. It was only because she slipped on as the driver was calling full that she got away with it. The next one would have been too late, and she wanted to be calm and ready when she got to the hotel. Last time was lovely, but she couldn't expect Kylo to deal with her end-of-week mood each session. She braced herself against the ticket reader and fumbled her phone out of her pocket.
I have located what I hope will be a suitable pair of restraints for our continued use that will preclude any sort of ligatures such as you incurred during our last meeting. They have been delivered to the hotel, but as I was unable to have you accompany me when I reviewed them, I was obliged to purchase adjustable shackles.
Thus, please follow this amended procedure:
Arrive at the hotel at your regular time. Proceed to the room, but do not blindfold yourself. If you wish to bathe before I arrive, please do so. The weather is inclement and a warm shower will revitalise you.
There will be a box waiting for you in the room. When you are ready, open the box and apply the restraints, adjusting the fit as is necessary to ensure that you are securely held yet not unduly constricted.
Message me when you are ready upon the bed, kneeling, naked, and wearing the restraints. When you receive my answer, apply the blindfold and await my arrival. I anticipate that this would be no later than 7:30pm.
As agreed, I will of course honour your wish for me to use a prophylactic for tonight's penetration. There is no need to justify your request. My object each time is to satisfy you, and if it aids your confidence and comfort to continue using the barriers, then I shall use them without question. I do appreciate your frankness on the topic, and wish to express my desire to continue communicating with candour.
Oh. Good. She looked around the bus quickly, hoping no-one saw her blush at the last part of the message. She trusted Kylo a great deal, but just for the time being, she felt more comfortable with the extra layer of safety. Her birth control implant had two more years before it would need replacing, but there was always that nagging worry. That, and Poe's tale of syphilitic woe had left her cautious.
Besides, maybe, soon, one day in the near future, she'd like to consider sleeping with someone else. It would simplify things immensely if she had been using barriers up until then.
Only Rose and Hux were at drinks that night, and they were fairly subdued, although Rey did manage to get Hux to admit that his new advertising campaign for the city's public transport network needed to be a lot more catchy.
"Seriously, Hux. No-one is going to take any notice of Don't run across the train lines. You need something that makes them sit up and listen."
"Like what – If you want to die quickly, do this?" He laughed, the first time he had that evening.
"Do you remember the Australian one? Dumb Ways to Die? It worked." Rey nudged him. "People noticed it. It got rebroadcast around the world."
"So we should go for slightly silly, in order to be noticed?" Hux swirled his beer. "Like clowns or something?"
"She's got a point." Rose took out a pen and began doodling on the paper napkin. "Simple cartoon characters that people will remember, and you can make them bright colours with different ears or antennae, and each one has a different message."
Rey was about to suggest rhyming couplets when she caught sight of the clock over the bar. "I'm off to yoga. Tomorrow?"
"Definitely." Rose nudged Hux. "I owe this man a stack of pancakes."
"Should I ask what for?"
"NO!" Hux and Rose spoke at the same time, and giggled as they looked at each other. Rey decided there were some things couples needed to keep between themselves, and hugged them before heading back out into the miserable weather.
Bazine at the front desk took one look at Rey, and grimaced.
"Worse than ever."
"Hopefully it'll clear before I finish at ten." She handed over the usual envelope, taking a note off the front of it first. "There's a parcel for you in the room."
"Thank you. I was expecting that." Rey took the envelope, and messaged Poe on the way up.
Once inside the room, she removed her coat and outer layers, wrapping herself in one of the bathrobes. She hung the wet clothing over a chair beside a heating vent, ignoring the box that lay on the table nearby. It wasn't very large – about the size of two or three computer manuals – and the labelling was discreet. Imperial Magbinders. Room 2187. Friday after 5pm.
Magbinders could have been some sort of paper holder. Rey laughed, and headed for a much-needed warm shower.
Sitting on the bed afterwards, wrapped only in the robe, she opened the box and took the cuffs out of their nest of fine tissue paper. They were leather, soft and supple, with a warm fleecy lining that guaranteed that even the most strenuous struggle would not result in a welt. Rey ran her finger over the stitching, marvelling at how beautiful the whole set was. Each cuff had several rings sewn into it, allowing multiple attachments. They smelled of the leather and polish, a dark waxy tone that made her think of old-fashioned office chairs, fine belts and expensive boots. The buckles were brass, solid and shiny, and the straps were edged in brass as well, each hole with its own grommet. At the bottom of the box were two clips, obviously meant to link the cuffs together.
Rey slipped one cuff onto her left wrist, carefully adjusting it until it was snug against her skin but not likely to either slip off or restrict her circulation. Once she had that one adjusted to her shape, it was easy enough to apply the settings to the other one before putting in on. Even with having to use her non-dominant hand, it took but a moment to secure the cuff and slip the tongue of the strap through the retaining loop.
And just the feel of the cuffs on her wrists had her breathing long, ragged breaths that sent a shudder down her body to her very core, insinuating small fluttery clenches in her cunt.
She tidied up the packaging, leaving the box and its tissue paper on the side table and her underclothes folded neatly beside her bag next to those that were drying. Then, ensuring her main phone was turned off this time, she activated the Nokia. It was ten past seven. There were no messages waiting.
She put the blindfold beside her, then tapped a message out quickly. It was odd having to hit each key several times for the letters again; it was such a different method to the Smartphones, but she remembered the combinations fairly well.
[19:12] I have notified my backup, and am ready.
There was barely any delay. He must have been waiting. Had he seen her walk in, collect her room key and head upstairs?
[19:13] Blindfold yourself, and secure your hands behind you by using one of the carabiners. Be kneeling on the bed with your head facing away from the doorway. I will arrive before half-past seven.
She slipped the blindfold on, reproducing the knot Kylo had used at their last meeting. Then she put her hands behind her and attempted to attach the carabiner.
Two minutes later Rey gave up and took the blindfold off. The carabiner had a catch that just required her to push it over the loops on her cuffs, but she hadn't even managed to get it over one. For a minute she practised with the loops in front of her, feeling where the lever on the carabiner opened to allow the loop through. Then she put the blindfold on again and put her hands back behind her.
And failed again. While she could feel the spot where the lever would move, she could not get it to connect with the loop on the cuffs. Three times she tried, and three times the metal clip would not yield to her attempts. Finally she yanked the blindfold off and once more attempted to connect the two in front of her.
That wasn't difficult. It was doing it behind her back that was the problem.
This time, she connected one side of the carabiner to what she hoped was the correct loop on her left cuff, and fumbled for the other. The lever once more eluded her grasp, leaving her fingers clutching along the cuff and the carabiner in frustration.
A hand dropped on her shoulder, and she jumped.
"Let me help."
The electronic voice. Kylo.
He must have come in while she was struggling so.
"I'm sorry, sir. I tried."
"You did, and it is through no fault of your own that you have failed. This clip is awkward." She felt his hands slide down her arms, moving her wrists together, then there was a snick and she could sense the connection.
"For safety's sake, and for the sake of your frustration, from now on I will attach the clip." Once more he ran his hands down her arms, his firm touch relieving the tension that she had built up over the last little while. "While it is unlikely that anything would happen to me from when I received your message, if I had been prevented from getting here and you were cuffed, what would you have done?"
"Probably rung the front desk and put up with the embarrassment." Rey laughed. "I'm sure they've seen worse. I could manage taking the phone receiver off the hook and dialling zero. But thank you for thinking of my safety."
"I am still remorseful after our last session. When we have finished, I would like to inspect your wrists and ensure that there is no lasting damage." He moved away and she heard a zipper – not from clothing but something heavier. "Regarding tonight. I wish to commence by ensuring you are brought to your peak at least twice before we embark upon penetration. I should not like you to feel at all constrained by the soundproofing or lack thereof in this room. Would you consent to being gagged for the first part of our liaison?"
Rey nodded. "I consent, but I would like to ask you something."
"I … I would like to return some of the pleasure you give me." She could feel herself blushing at this, and despite being blindfolded, her head was tilted down as if she were staring at the bedspread. "I wish to use my mouth on you."
He didn't speak for a minute, although she could hear him moving around, putting things on the table, the rustle of clothing. She wondered if she had gone too far, if she had somehow insulted him or pushed his limits. She almost spoke up but he anticipated her.
"Your offer is pleasing, and I appreciate it. But only if it would give you pleasure."
"It would give me pleasure." She didn't usually enjoy blowjobs, but that was because all of her previous partners had expected it of her, and not returned the favour. Here, it was part of an exchange, a collaboration between equals in the process, and she felt a thrill just thinking of it.
And it would be interesting to see how far he would let her go.
"Shall I wear a condom?"
"No, I trust you for this."
"Did you want to do this now?"
"Does it fit with your plans?"
She felt the bed dip slightly as he crawled over it to her. From the sound of his breathing, he was kneeling up in front of her, so she leaned forward until her nose touched his skin. Flicking her tongue out, she gauged that she must be about the level of his stomach.
Without the use of her hands, it was difficult but not impossible to balance herself as she slowly licked down his abdomen, pausing at the navel to run her tongue over it. His cock bumped into her chin, and she drew away slightly then used her lips to position herself around the tip. It was large – as large as she had felt when he had lain beside her the previous time – and as she lowered her mouth over the whole, she wondered if she would be able to open enough to encompass the girth.
Slowly, carefully, she let her mouth drop down, running her tongue over the slit and then down the frenulum, flattening her tongue to cover as much area as possible as she continued.
It was large. Larger than any penis she had encountered before, and she knew as she lowered herself that she would not be able to take the whole in her mouth this time. She would need to work up to it, get some advice. The thought of asking Poe almost had her giggle, and the slight movement of the back of her mouth threatened to trigger her gag reflex, so she withdrew, sliding again up the column and using her tongue to trace around the glans as she did. Stopping to kiss the top, she went down and up twice more, each time managing to take him deeper and from the tremors she felt through it and the hitches in his breathing, she knew she was having an effect on him.
The third time she went down, he spoke.
She loosened her mouth and let his cock slip out as she sat back up, and he had his hands on her shoulders to balance her.
"Was that all right?"
"That was exquisite, Kira. Thank you." His voice was breathless, needy. "Were you to continue, you would bring me to fruition forthwith. I would delight in you doing that another time, but tonight I have plans that preclude that sublime pleasure." She felt him lean towards him, and his lips brushed across hers, the most he ever did in the way of kissing. She tried to extend the moment, but he was off the bed and walking across the room as she sighed with frustration.
"Tonight, Kira, as we begin and as you agreed, you will be gagged. As occurred last time, I shall for some part of the proceedings be unable to speak. Similarly, neither will you. I shall use the tapping signals again to signal to you. For yourself, I have two signals.
She felt him stand behind her and put something in her right hand, and she squeezed it. It was soft, pliable and about the size of her fist.
"That is a red rubber ball. If at any time you drop it, I shall assume you have signalled red, and will react accordingly. In addition, you may grunt your signal. One indicates green, two for yellow and three for red. Does that meet your requirements?"
"It does, Kylo. Thank you. Drop the ball or grunt three times for red, two grunts for yellow and one for green."
"Taps on parts of the body for me to move them, touch my stomach to ask my own colour, and three taps from you means red as well."
"Then let us begin." His hands swept her hair back from her face, where it had fallen during her earlier exertions. Then something large and soft was pressed against her lips. She opened her mouth and the ball started in – then stopped.
She tried to obey. The gag was enormous, and only at the utmost stretch could she get her mouth wide enough for it to go all the way in. It settled between her jaws, and she could feel the drool accumulating already. There was just room for a little air to get past it, and she was thankful she didn't have a cold.
"Give me a yellow signal, as a test, please."
She grunted twice.
"Now drop the ball, to make sure your muscles know what to do."
She opened her right hand, feeling the ball drop onto her ankle behind her. A moment later it was back in her hand.
"Give me your colour please, Kira."
One grunt. The whole experience – the helplessness of being restrained and gagged and blindfolded and at his mercy – was sending her wild. She moaned a little, the sound barely making it past the gag, but he heard and patted her shoulder.
"One last addition. You look so beautiful like that, Kira. Eager, willing and ready to receive the pleasure you deserve." He walked back to the table, and she heard a shifting, clinking sound she had not heard for nearly a month.
The nipple clamps.
She felt her breathing hitch, hold, her chest push out ready and yet fearful. The last time, the sensation had been amazing – and the aftermath lingering. And then she gasped as much as the gag would allow her.
He had his lips around her breast, the mouth encompassing almost the entire mound. She knew his mouth was large, but this was intense and intimidating. He rolled his tongue against her nipple and gently brushed it with his teeth – then withdrew and replaced the bite with a pinch. His fingers. Carefully squeezing the nipple and the softness around it, he drew it up then applied the clamp, eliciting another gasp from her. The clamp was tight, and on the edge of painful, and she had to breathe through it again as her body became used to the sensation.
"I anticipate that you are at yellow right now, as you were last time."
"I shall wait a moment before I apply the other clamp. Nod when you are ready."
She inhaled slowly through her nostrils, the drool around the gag making it difficult to breathe around. Finally she reached a point where the pain was more of a sensation than a distraction, and she nodded.
Kylo once more applied his mouth and tongue and teeth to her breast, and Rey leant into it, seeking more sensation. Then the clamp went on and she keened, the combination of the two sides amplifying each other. It took a minute for her to push through the pain, to find the point where they were additions to the anticipation rather than distractions.
Then his hand slid down her front and between her legs.
"So wet. So ready. And yet not. We have more work to do here."
Kylo brushed the hair back off her forehead, then ran his hand down her back from behind her. Slipping his hands between her legs, he urged them apart.
"I shall be using hand signals from here, Kira. What is your colour?"
She grunted once, and he patted her shoulder.
"We shall do very well, you and I."
There was a delay of ten, perhaps twenty seconds, and then he lay down face up behind her, and slid his body between her legs until his lips reached her clitoris. For a moment Rey was reminded of having the slide under the work tables the week before, and wondered if she should recommend a creeper for him.
Until his tongue swept up her vulva from the vagina to her clitoris, and he began to work in earnest on her. Touches, licking, sucking, the gentlest of teeth-scraping against the small organ, while his fingers teased and stroked her labia. Within seconds she was sure her nose should be flattening with the amount of air she tried to suck in as he drove her towards her peak, slowly sinking a finger into her vagina as he appled just the right amount of pressure to her clit. Or maybe it was the way she was grinding down on him, begging through her movements as she couldn't through her words for him to go harder, faster, warmer … Her first orgasm swept through her like a brushfire through the dry hills, throwing her body forward and the chains on the nipple clamps swung and added to the sensation as her cunt clamped down on his finger and wished for more.
Kylo slowed a little, allowing her to regain some balance and control, then he gently added a second finger to the first and rubbed just so as his tongue began again. From front and back the pressure on her clitoris was heaven, and she started riding the wave once more, grateful that she could scream as much as she wanted and the majority of the sound would be muffled by the gag. It felt as if a strange force were generating in her groin, radiating out through ley lines to her breasts, her toes, her neck and head, dissolving in her brain like a shower of flares and sparks that sent paroxysm through her thighs and knees.
Once more he slowed, letting her regain her breath and strength.
Then he slipped in a third finger, and used his thumb on her clit.
This time the orgasm was darker, wilder, the taste of danger and handing over control, her whole body pushing down on his hand while her head threw back. If she hadn't been gagged, she would have been howling, openly baying in forbidden lusts and perilous desires. She was oblivious to anything but the centre of the dark, a place that burned with a fire that did not show through her blindfold but that brought her to a shuddering, powerless halt.
He withdrew his hand, and reached to the side. Slowly Rey realised there was a crinkling, a well-known sound that indicated the opening of a small packet. There was a short delay, his hands reaching down to his groin and Rey held her breath, knowing that now was the culmination of the evening's work.
She could feel the tip of his sheathed cock nudging against her folds.
And he tapped her hip and gently pushed it up.
She rose on her knees, ignoring the protesting muscles as she attempted to get as high as she could. She had no doubt she would need plenty of space for what she had had her mouth around earlier.
There was a firm press on her stomach, near her navel.
Grunting once, decisively, Rey started to lower herself onto his cock, feeling the stretch as she did in defiance of his preparation for her. Her own juices and the additional lubrication provided on the condom were more than sufficient for this, allowing her to slide slowly down, inch by glorious filling inch until she felt her perineum make contact with his groin. For a moment, she savoured the sensation of his being almost too deep, then he put his hands on her hips and started her moving up and down, slowly.
She found her rhythm soon enough, angling slightly forward to have the friction and pressure against her clit once more. One of his hands left her hip and slipped between her legs, his fingers adding that frisson of sensation, and like the water in a gas-pressurised well she felt the bliss rising in her once more. She increased the pace just a little, moaning behind the gag and pushing a bit further, a bit faster until her orgasm overflowed and broke, leaving her shaking in an unco-ordinated palsy of euphoria.
Rey collapsed down towards Kylo, her thighs unable to support her any more. He must have realised – suddenly her hands were no longer secured together, and he rolled her gently to the side while still inside her. Reaching behind and removing the gag, he unclipped the clamps then brushed the hair off her forehead again. She let the ball drop as she spoke out loud.
No longer needing to support herself, Rey pulled him over on top of her, and wrapped her legs around him hard, crossing her ankles behind the small of his back to pull him in further while she embraced him as tightly as she could. She felt his hair fall on her face as he recognised the need in her, taking the initiative and driving into her towards his own bliss. The added intensity knocked the switch for her a last time, and her breathless moan as she came echoed his own cries of satisfaction.
He slowed, stopped, and kissed her nose as she held him close to her and rode out the last of her shivers of joy. Then, carefully extricating himself from her limpet-like grip, he rose from the bed. She lay there, boneless, unable to protest as she heard him walk away.
She vaguely registered that he must have gone to the bathroom. Touching her nipples, she was glad to find they were not as sore as they had been the previous time. She thought the bruising might come through over the next few days again, though.
Rey heard Kylo dressing. A minute later the electronic voice spoke. "Are you all right? Unharmed?"
It was an effort to speak, but she knew he deserved an answer. "Fine."
His hands, soft and cool, removed the cuffs and his fingers ran around her wrists. "No lasting damage from the previous session. Good. And no sign of bruising tonight. Now that they are fitted to your measurements, I shall keep them for subsequent sessions. And your breasts?"
"Excellent. Kira, are you satisfied?"
She heard him turn the lights off and the door to the room close, and she sank into a blissful, post-orgasmic sleep.
This is the "Dumb Ways to Die" ad campaign Rey, Rose and Hux were discussing.
Chapter 9: Map of the Problematique
Viruses and Worms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Rey is having a tough time, and it's not just her.
"So you finally got there."
"Sex is more than just penetration, Poe." Rey grinned as she sipped her tea. "But yes, thank you.'
"And I'm happy to keep going."
"Keep coming, you mean."
Rey poked him hard, and sipped her tea again while she waited for her brunch. Finn was ordering for the boys.
At that moment Rose and Hux came in, looking worried. Rey moved aside to give the pair room, and Rose gave her a hug that was more than usually tight. When she let go, Rey was startled to see how red Rose's eyes were.
"Hey, hon. What's up?" she said as Finn came back with his and Poe's coffees.
"It's Paige. She's not well, and the doctors aren't sure why."
"What sort of not well?" Poe reached over and took Rose's hand. "But only if you can tell us."
"Nosebleeds, tiredness, odd bruises." Rose spoke shakily. "There's so many things it could be, although it's definitely related to her blood. We're waiting to get the results back, then she can think about treatment. But we're worried. So worried." She bit her lip. "One of our cousins died of leukaemia a couple of years ago, so...."
"Doctors these days are marvels, hon." Poe squeezed her hand. "And every year there's new advances. Amazing medicines. And of course, she has you to cheer her on and us to back you up, so she has to get well."
Rose burst into tears, burying herself in Hux's shoulder, and the redhead held her tight while Poe shook his head.
"Did I say something I shouldn't have?"
"You said exactly the right thing, Poe. Thank you." Hux stroked Rose's head. "She's been fretting the last few days, which is why I made her come. You're what she needs – all of you."
"She's got insurance?" Finn leaned forward.
"Excellent insurance – her work makes sure of it," Hux replied. "She should be able to get all the best treatment, although I'm not looking forward to the paperwork afterwards."
"Yell if you need any help. That's my area of expertise." Finn patted Poe's hand, pushed it aside and took Rose's for himself. "And you, my dear friend, are to look after yourself and let us help with that too. We're family."
The rest of brunch was somewhat subdued, and Rey headed home shortly afterwards to get on with the boring parts of life – washing, cleaning … definitely not checking her phone every few hours for an email from Kylo. She finally gave in to her own frustrations on Sunday morning, and sent him a thank you for Friday night – and an update on her rapidly-healing nipples. There was no reply, but she didn't mind. She trusted him to respond when he was ready.
But she still checked.
The new contractors started on the Monday, and thanks to Rey's experience with previous projects, most of the usual hiccups were avoided.
Monday night, Rey slept badly, waking multiple times for no apparent reason. She slept through her alarm on Tuesday morning, and when she did wake, she felt groggy and out of sorts. She managed to scramble into her clothes and make it to the bus, and promised herself she'd get some breakfast at work.
But as Rey started up her computer, the security system sent her an urgent message from the server in the project room, alerting her to an attempt to breach the firewall. While she'd never had to deal with something like that before, she'd helped set up the protocols, so she grabbed the checklist and started from the top – logs, security footage, trace results.... Rey made sure she had a full list of the details when she called up Gial Ackbar, the company's security manager, and asked him to meet her in Ben's office as soon as he could. Gathering up her laptop and the printouts, she went straight across, surprising Ben who was nose-deep in budget specs.
"Rey? Is everything all right?"
"No, sorry. Gial's on his way down, and we need to talk." She sat down, laying her papers in front of her. "I'll give you all the info as soon as he's here, but read through this and tell me what you think."
Gial arrived not three minutes afterwards, knocking at Ben's door as he came in.
"What have we got?" He looked down the list of timestamps and the signal trace, while Ben flipped through a paper file.
"Moden Canady tried to hit us with the Mandator worm." Rey handed over the printout from her Resistance security system. "He must have brought in a USB to set it up on his computer. At the moment, it thinks it's downloading a full list of our planned projects complete with specs and staffing, slowed by having to bypass the router. It should keep him busy for another half an hour."
"And what actually is he downloading?" Ben put the file down, open at a page with signatures.
"Every Lego kit from 1970 to today, complete with the names of the character figures included." Rey laughed. "He'd be suspicious if he didn't get anything."
"Excellent work, Rey." Gial marked three of the timestamps in particular. "I take it you have the security camera footage to show it was Canady?'
"He was the only one in the room at the time, he put in the USB and, fifteen seconds later, the attack started." Rey swivelled her screen around and played the clip.
"You have saved us a great deal of trouble, Rey." Gial pulled out another form, and wrote on it. "Ben – can you get Leia to sign this please, and then bring down Kaydel?"
"On it." Ben took the form and hurried out of the room.
"What happens now?" Rey realised this might take the entire day, and resigned herself to having to catch up for the rest of the week. And to wait for breakfast for a while longer. She rubbed her eyes and tried to concentrate on what Gial was saying, although her mind kept wandering.
"It depends. Is there anyone else in the project room?"
"Yes, Vober Dand and Harter Kalonioa."
"Can you get them out of there on a pretext?"
"Absolutely. I'll ask them into my office to check the specs for the new 3d printer. How long do you need?"
"Less than ten minutes." The dark-skinned man cracked his knuckles and smiled. "It's been too long since I did a cannonball run. We walk in together – that's Ben, myself and Kaydel, and tell him how he's been caught. I hit a button on my phone that immediately blocks all Canady's access – I have a program set up especially for that. While Ben and Kaydel are reminding him of his contractual obligations, I isolate the computer and make sure I get the USB key. Then, while they hand over the printouts and those screenshots you sent me, collect his passes and stand over him while he packs up his gear, I take the compromised machine back to my office. He gets the worst exit interview ever, and leaves in the company of the police."
"And the cannonball run?"
"He shoots out the front door like a cannonball."
Rey smiled grimly, feeling the stress start to boil up in her stomach. "Good to know. Call me if you need any help."
"You were already more help than I can believe, Rey. Thanks to you and your attention to detail, what could have been a very nasty situation will be sorted quickly and cleanly. It's never pleasant, but you've ensured it's as surgical and precise as possible. Don't think I won't remember this." The Security Director rose and stretched as Ben and Kaydel from HR came back into the room. "Ready to play your part?"
"Do I tell the others what happened?"
"No, Ben will come back and do it. He needs to reiterate their contracts and the conditions they signed up for. They might be completely innocent, or they might be involved too. Just keep them in your office for those ten minutes – can you do that?" Gail looked to her for confirmation.
"On it." Rey echoed Ben's words as she grabbed the manual from the printer she'd been considering, and headed down the corridor. When she came back two minutes later with the other two contractors, she caught Ben's eye as she passed his office. His face was that hard neutral that she'd seen before. She was very glad she wasn't on the receiving end of it.
It was easy to spend ten minutes going over the printer specs and any other hardware needs – she'd actually been meaning to do it anyway. At one point Rey glanced at the security camera feed she had on her computer, seeing Gail Ackbar put Canady's computer on a trolley while Ben and Kaydel hustled the man out. Rey was deep into discussing the options for a model of the downtown area for simulation purposes when Ben came back in with Gial. The two contractors looked only mildly curious until Ben shut the door and came around beside Rey.
"We have a problem."
"The project?" Harter waved her hand at the brochures Rey had laid out.
"No, your co-worker. Where did Moden Canady come from before he was working with you?"
The project workers looked at each other with wide eyes. Vober spoke first. "I didn't meet him until the three of us had our orientation, yesterday morning in Leia's office."
"He was brought in by my agency," Harter volunteered. "I was supposed to be working with Paul Astey – we were on the Starkiller project together, but they sent Moden instead. I thought Coruscant asked for him in particular."
"Then I must ask you all to come to my office." Gial opened Rey's door and ushered the pair out, leaving Ben with her.
"That can't have been easy for you." Ben looked worried, and Rey shook her head.
"I've had a lot of experience getting rid of parts of my life I don't need. I can be ruthless when I need to. Yes, it's left me feeling like shit." She grimaced. "But what was I going to do? Leave him there to wreck things? I like working here. I don't want to see it broken."
"So you think he was just stealing?"
"I don't know." Rey handed over a spec sheet for the worm. "He might have been trying to set up a logger on our server to send through any new information it could find, but he would have been blocked if he'd tried. We filter the contractors from that level of access for a reason."
"Yeah." Ben read down the list of vulnerabilities. "It would take a level 2 clearance to get far enough in to set up a backdoor or similar."
"And you know this because?"
"Told you I wasn't always a good person. Care to go over the final notes with some coffee?"
Rey was trying to be cool and calm about it all, but suddenly the seriousness of the situation hit her hard. One moment she was nodding agreement and standing up, the next her legs trembled and threatened to drop her onto the desk.
"Oh." She caught herself before she fell, and so did Ben. He had an arm around her waist in a moment, and lowered her onto her chair.
"Are you all right?" He settled her on the chair, then swung it around and crouched in front of her, holding her hands. "You're white. How are you feeling?"
"Dizzy." She leaned forward, urged by Ben who had a hand now on the back of her neck.
"It's almost lunchtime. Have you eaten today?"
"Was going to grab breakfast when I got in, but things happened." Her vision swam, and she tried hard not to throw up.
Ben grabbed his phone and hit a couple of buttons while still keeping the other on her neck. In a moment, he'd explained the situation to whoever answered, and then hung up.
Then he urged her out of the chair onto the floor, lying down with her feet propped on a couple of files. She kept her eyes closed, the dizziness threatening to turn into a full-on faint and she really didn't want to do that in front of everyone. Or even just Ben. He was holding her hand and chafing it, telling her not to worry and that he would take care of everything. The contact was grounding her. She was relieved she didn't have to handle this herself. If it had happened when he wasn't there to catch her …
A minute later there were footsteps nearby and then Kaydel's voice. Rey couldn't quite make it out, but she was being helped up to sitting, and a bottle placed in her hands.
"Drink. It's just water." Ben's voice was so gentle, so concerned. Rey sipped slowly, feeling the coolness drive the nausea and grogginess away.
"What do you think, Ben?" Kaydel's voice was behind Rey – she was the one holding Rey up while Ben gave her the water. More footsteps outside.
"What happened?" It was Rose.
"She didn't have breakfast, and we just had to handle a pretty nasty situation. It's her first time doing something like this." Rey wanted to speak up and swear she was fine, but the giddiness stopped her, and Ben continued. "How about I get her some food, and we see how she is."
"I'll go. Some juice, some carbs, tea." Rose was sounding near tears, and Rey opened her eyes to see her friend in the doorway.
"Meet us in the sick bay." Kaydel was nodding – Rey could feel it behind her. In front of her, Ben was holding the bottle of water, his face full of worry.
"We should be able to get her there, if she can walk. Can you, Rey?"
"I think so."
"Try standing first." Ben moved back, giving her the space she needed, while Kaydel supported her from behind. Rey user her desk to lever herself up, standing but not feeling the best.
"If the food and drink don't help, we'll send you home." Kaydel put an arm around her waist and held her. "Are you all right with me doing this?"
Rey still felt light-headed, and nodded gently. Her vision swam slightly, and she staggered, but Ben was on the other side in a moment and between them, they helped her out of the office and down the corridor to the sick bay.
Ben grabbed some paper cups from the cooler around the corner, and brought them back for Rey to drink from. When he sat beside her on the tiny bed, Kaydel took the log and wrote in it.
"I need to report to Leia anyway. I'll let her know what's happening. Are you all right to stay here?"
"As long as I'm needed." Ben held the water, but didn't urge Rey to any more. Probably a good thing – Rey's nausea was threatening to come back and she felt that drinking any more might make her puke. Then she heard Rose come in, and was handed a plate with toast on it.
Ten minutes, toast and a glass of juice later she was feeling much better. Ben was still with her.
"You're pale. I don't want to leave you while you look like you're still going to keel over."
The door to the sickbay opened, and Leia walked in, heading straight to Rey to feel her forehead.
"How are you now?"
"Better, I think." Rey tried to sit up, but Leia stopped her.
"Do you have any idea how much you've done for the company today? It must have been terribly stressful. I think you should have the rest of the day off, and not come in tomorrow either."
"Oh but I couldn't …" Rey's objections lasted exactly two seconds.
"Oh but you can. I don't often try to pull the boss card, but today I am. I doubt if there's anything in your calendar that can't be put off for a couple of days. And I don't trust you to get home without collapsing either. Ben, do you have your car in today?"
"No, I bussed."
"Then you'd better take the Falcon. Just don't tell your father I let you drive it. Not after last time." Leia reached into her pocket and held out a small keyring with an old-fashioned car key and two tiny gold dice on it. "Get the lass some supplies so she doesn't have to go out for anything. She's saved us a fortune. We owe her. I don't expect to see you back today either, unless there's something urgent that needs dealing with?"
"Only my signature on the dismissal documents, and that can wait until tomorrow." Ben took the key as if it were something precious, rubbing it as you would a genie's lamp. "I'll call you later, shall I?"
"If you don't, I'll call you." Leia turned to Rey, who was having trouble following what had just transpired. "Don't let this scoundrel bamboozle you, Rey. He's worse than his father." She left, and Rey sank back against the pillows and put her hand to her head.
"We can wait a while. The car's in the garage. Do you think you'll be all right getting down there with me to help, or should I ask Rose to give us a hand?"
"I should be all right. I just need to get my bag from the office."
"We can go there first, then down to the car. I'm happy to wait until you're up to it." Ben was sitting beside her, holding her hand, and Rey wished she was feeling better so that she could appreciate the attention. But then if she felt better, she wouldn't be getting it. She lay still for a minute, then pulled on his hand to help her up.
The drive to her apartment was a blur to Rey, who was surprised at having to avoid shutting her eyes because that just made the dizziness worse. Ben double-parked for a moment to let her out, seating her on the steps in front of her building while he ran back and moved the car to a parking space down the street that would let him stay there all day. He was back in a flash, solicitously assisting her up the stairs to her second-floor bedsit. Rey worried for a moment that he would be horrified by the state it was in, but he seemingly ignored the pile of books by the sofa and the previous day's washing up in the sink.
Then she sneezed.
"My head." She put her hands to her temples in an attempt to stop her eyes falling out, as it felt like they were trying to do.
The bedsit wasn't too difficult to navigate. Ben settled her on the sofa, and took a blanket from the bed to wrap around her.
"That's probably the issue. You're coming down with a nasty cold by the sound of it, and it just happened to hit on a day when everything else occurred. Otherwise, you would have felt bad by the end of the day, and woken in the morning feeling like death."
"I'm starting to feel a bit like death right now."
"Can you do without me for ten minutes? There's a store on the corner and I want to get you some things."
Rey waved him away, aware that he grabbed one of her shopping bags from the pile by the door as he left. For the next little while, she wasn't sure how long, she dozed with her head on the cushion and the blanket wrapped around her, until she stirred and realised there was a large arm holding her. For a moment she was back in the hotel room, being held close by Kylo and coming down from a pleasure so extreme that her body shivered in remembrance, until the shivering continued and she realised it was the beginning of a fever.
She looked around to see that somehow Ben had ended up on the sofa behind her, and was holding her while she slept. He had a book in his other hand, and had manoeuvred himself to curl around her. "I hope you don't mind. I sat down to read while I waited, and you seemed uncomfortable, so …"
"This is lovely, but I'm worried I might give you my cold."
"I think we might be too late for that." He laughed, and swung her around so that she was sitting up and he could stand. "I made chicken soup. Or rather, I heated up a can full. Would you like some? And I've got some paracetamol and I boiled the kettle, although it might need boiling again."
She was too tired to argue, and headed to the bathroom while he prepared the food. Five minutes later she was on the sofa again, blanket wrapped around her and a mug of hot soup in her hands.
"I probably caught it on Friday. I got soaked."
"Trouble on the bus ride home?"
"No, when I left the bar and went to yoga." She sipped her soup, her brain starting to feel a bit clearer. "But I don't understand. Why does Leia have your father's car? Isn't he upstate somewhere?"
He looked uncomfortable, and ran his fingers through his hair. "It's probably something to do with her being my mother."
"Oh." Rey sipped some more soup, then realised what he'd said. "Oh my. I had no idea."
"I'm trying to make my way in the company through my own efforts, but yes, Leia Organa's full name is Organa-Solo. My father's retired, but he helped her build the company up when he was younger. Now he's supposed to be taking it easy."
"So when you went to visit your parents the other week …"
"I could have got a lift with Mom, yes, but I wanted to do some other things before I left." He rubbed his forehead. "Actually, can I steal a couple of those painkillers?"
"You can't have caught the cold off me so quickly, surely."
"It's going around." He fetched some water, and doled out tablets to both of them. "There was an idiot at the meeting in Naboo who had obviously dragged himself in while he was coughing and sneezing everywhere. I wish people wouldn’t do that. We've both now spread the bug through the office even before we knew we were ill – it's going to take its toll."
"Great." She sneezed, grabbing a tissue from the large box Ben put on the table. "I must be ill. I didn't even get a good look at that beautiful car, and I was in it!" Suddenly everything was too hard, and she had to stop herself breaking into miserable sobs. "Yeah, please tell Leia that if this is how I feel now, I probably won't be in until Thursday."
"You will not go in for the rest of this week, Rey." Ben took the soup mug from her, putting it on the table then pulling her back to rest against him. "This is just going to get worse, and as your senior, I insist that you don't infect any more of the workforce."
"What about you?"
"I shall have to set a good example."
"By going in?"
"By staying home myself. To be honest, I've had quite a headache all day. I thought it was just too much work, but yes, it's that same cold." Ben wrapped his arms around Rey, and held her tight. "I hope you don't mind but I'm starting to feel quite chilled, and you're lovely and warm."
Rey didn't feel strong enough to protest, although she was fairly sure that if she had, Ben would immediately let her go. Instead, Rey let herself drift off to sleep again, warm and safe in his arms. She was vaguely aware some time later that he must have carried her to her bed in the corner and tucked her in, kissing her on her forehead before he turned off the lights and left her to sleep.
Just before she dozed off, she frowned. This is becoming a habit. I need to work out how to get them to stay. But thinking about that was too hard. She rolled over and fell asleep with a smile on her face.
Chapter 10: Glorious
Extreme cold and extreme heat, and the benefits of a classical education.
Rey stayed away from work for the rest of the week, feeling so ill that she even went to the doctor's on Wednesday who confirmed the diagnosis as a rather nasty cold. Dr Mothra also arranged for the next set of sexual health tests without blinking an eye, and sent Rey home with orders for paracetamol, hot drinks and plenty of rest.
Making her way home carefully and in a blizzard of tissues, Rey reached her front door to find a small box leaning against it. It contained a high-quality brand of hot cinnamon tea, and there was no name on it, but she had her suspicions.
She rang the office to let them know about being away, and to speak to Ben, but when his phone was unanswered, she got transferred to HR.
"So I have a piece of paper now to confirm I'm staying at home until Monday," Rey griped.
"You and half the office." Kaydel was not sounding well herself. "Oh dear. Better to get this over and done with now. We were lucky this winter – very few people with the 'flu, but I think we've run out our karma balance."
"Yeah, Ben didn't sound too good yesterday."
"He's at home too. I wouldn't be surprised if he was the one who spread it around. You must have caught it somewhere else though, to come down so hard. I'll let Leia know not to expect you until next week."
Right. That's why he wasn't answering. "And if there's anything that needs doing, email it through to me."
"Not likely. I have strict instructions to let you rest." Kaydel laughed. "And anyone else with the bug. You're the third person I've had to tell off this morning. Go sleep and get better."
Rey put her phone down with a sigh, only half-sorry that she was banned from working. Then she slid her laptop over and opened her email.
I need to let you know that I have come down with a nasty cold, and that it's very likely I gave it to you. I'm terribly sorry. Please let me know that you're all right.
The trip to the doctor's wore her out more than she expected, and she barely managed a cup of the new tea and a cookie for lunch before crashing out until evening. Rousing enough to at least heat up another can of soup, Rey huddled on her sofa under the blanket again, and wished Ben was there to help keep her warm. Although if he was feeling as bad as she was …
She opened her Kira email but was disappointed to only find the usual spam. The people who had sent her the fake profiles must have sold her Kira email address to some other scammers. She had offers of friendship from nice divorced Texan gentlemen working on oil rigs in London (Right. There's a lot of oil deposits in the middle of the Thames), widowers doing secret jobs in Syria with young sons in boarding schools in Manchester, and entrepreneurs who wanted her to accept their large financial deposits in return for helping them smuggle out their looted Nigerian gold. She was keeping a running total, and forwarded Poe the worst of them.
On her work email, there was a message from Ben to the entire office, apologising profusely for having spread the cold around.
He was contrite and sounded terrible. My only consolation is that the representative from a company I shall not name is probably feeling worse than I am at the moment. Remember, friends, if you're not well, don't come to work. Not only will you end up sicker, but the whole office may have cause to curse you for it. However, hot cinnamon tea is doing me wonders and I hope to be back at work on Monday.
Rey grinned, and sent an email back to him, checking carefully before she did that it was only to him and not the whole company.
You, sir, are so sprung.
She was finishing up her soup when the reply came through.
Oh? I'm pleading innocence, I hope you know.
There's nothing innocent about you, Ben Solo. I should have realised that underneath that quiet exterior was the soul of a trickster.
I had nothing to do with anything.
Well, as the unlabelled box was left outside my front door instead of being mailed, and had no address on it, I can only assume that the elves and fairies left it. I shall go back to bed and sip hot cinnamon tea, knowing that Robin Goodfellow himself is looking out for me.
Sleep well, Rey. Don't let the pixies steal you away in the night.
She grinned and closed her laptop, feeling that nothing could improve on the warmth the tea had given her, both physically and emotionally.
The next day, she finally had a reply from Kylo. It was timestamped 3:20 am, and she wondered if he'd been ill or kept up all night by something.
My commiserations on your catarrh, and thank you for your enquiry. I am relieved to advise that I have suffered no similar fate. It would be ill fortune if I had, as I am currently working in Tokyo and the flight would have been unendurable if I were so afflicted.
I am glad the aftermath of the clamps took so much less time to dissipate. It would give me great sorrow if their use were to be negated by the severity of the effects. If we limit ourselves to alternate sessions hereupon, will that suffice for you to heal in the interim?
In addition, I am aware that the time approaches for us to review our meetings, and determine if they still meet our requirements. Perhaps at our next session, if you would not find me froward, we might discuss this? If you consider the circumstances discomforting for such a colloquy, it may be advantageous to confer by email after the occasion.
Do please rest and recuperate, and advise me if you are not sufficiently recovered for Saturday next. I send many sanative wishes for your rapid recovery.
Rey read the end of the letter twice, then checked back over the previous emails. Her suspicions were correct. The valediction had warmed over the last two months, sliding from sincerely to respectfully and now all the way to cordially. She laughed - if this increase in affection were to keep up, he might even get to tender regards by the end of the year.
A shame it wasn't anything more. But then this wasn't supposed to be an emotional connection. It was a physical relationship, based in pleasure given and received. But she was finding that even with the emotional distance they were keeping, she had become quite fond of him. He was caring and respectful, always considerate of her limits and her requirements, and she thought that his concerns were genuine. She perceived an attachment, however formal, and wondered if he felt the same.
But the review. She thought back over the conditions. Was she satisfied each time? Up to a point, yes. The physical orgasms were lovely, and met her requirements, but only that part of her. And now that she was getting regularly, excellently fucked, it had ruined her for anything less in a romantic relationship. Caring, loving and tender just wouldn't cut it any more. The sex would have to be incredible at the very least.
Although there was nothing wrong with caring, loving and tender. It would be nice to wake up in bed with someone's arms around her, their hands stroking her hair and their mouth on hers. Kylo had been scrupulous in not giving more than a lip-brush, the level of kiss you might get from an old aunt or a friend's husband as you were leaving their dinner party. The emotional connection was tenuous, and not at all what she wanted from a partner.
And there it was. She wanted a partner, someone to share her life. Kylo had made it very clear that she wasn't to even try and find out his identity. For all she knew, he could be the heir to some large smuggling fortune, or a Senator eager to avoid scandal. She trusted that he wasn't married, but past that, she knew very little. She would have to leave it that way.
The week passed slowly, aided by re-reading many of her books, binging on a couple of new series, and a succession of emails between her and her friends. She called off going to brunch on Saturday for fear of infecting any of the others, but Poe made sure she wouldn't miss too much by bringing over a hot breakfast for her anyway, which he left outside her door. There were a couple of friendly emails from Ben, but again nothing more than between friends. Rey fretted at the inactivity, and was so bored at one stage that she played the "Texan Oil Worker" like a cat with a mouse, responding to his ever-increasingly ardent declarations of love and only baulking when he claimed to need her to send a $100 iTunes card to his son in Australia, which he could not do as the internet to the oil rig was intermittent and unreliable. At this Rey lost her patience, pointing out the improbability of an oil rig in the middle of London, and asking just how stupid do you think I am? before blocking the sender and sending the emails to Poe to trace.
And on Sunday, she replied to Kylo.
Let us leave the discussion of the future until after this coming Saturday's session. I would be too full of anticipation beforehand, and too tired afterwards, if you leave me as satisfied as you have up to now.
She wasn't being entirely honest. If Kylo decided that he didn't want to keep going, she didn't want to find out either just before the session or as he was leaving. Better the next week, by email. And if he wanted to continue, she still needed a clear mind to talk over things.
By Monday morning, Rey was ready for work, and not looking forward to dealing with everything that would be waiting for her. Ben, too, was back, and she thanked him again for the tea.
"You really shouldn't make assumptions like that."
"Fine. I withdraw my thanks." She grinned. "But whoever sent them to me should know that they were the sole cause for me not being consumed by misery. I wish I knew who it was so I could reciprocate." She swung on her heel and turned, sure she heard a low laugh behind her.
She'd almost cleared the backlog of emails and resisted the temptation to make Enric in Account's password into 123456 when her phone buzzed with the tone she'd put into it just for Kylo's emails – one long, one short and one long.
One-thirty. Lunchtime. Rey needed a break from her screen, as even though the cold was gone, she was still quite tired. Grabbing her bag, she decided to hit the little café and indulge herself.
It pleases me immensely that you have recovered so well. Certainly we may discuss the future of our meetings subsequent to our next dalliance.
I confess that international travel has wearied me more than I remember, so my intention for Saturday is something rather less intense than I had originally planned. It will, of course, meet your requirements.
With cordial wishes,
Rey had just finished reading the screed and was about to reply when a voice in front of her made her jump.
"Can't even stop working at lunchtime?"
"This isn't work, Ben." She managed to not blush, and even to keep a straight face while replying. "We're setting up for Friday night drinks and Saturday morning – will you join us this week?"
"Probably not for drinks, but brunch sounds good. Send me the details."
"By email?" Rey grinned. "Or should I just get your number from the work directory?"
"The polite thing to do would be to ask me if I mind you using it for non-work communication." He almost sounded aggrieved, although the smile on his face said quite the opposite.
"Very well. Benjamin Solo, may I be permitted the use of your telephone number for communicating outside the workplace?"
He grinned, and looked down at his phone. A moment later, her SMS screen flashed up.
"You had it all along!"
"Yes, but I wasn't going to use it unless it was desperately important." Ben put his phone down, and went for the menu, then stopped. "I'm sorry – would it be all right if I joined you for lunch?"
"I've ordered, but please, go ahead." She watched as he went to place his order, using the time to quickly closed the email from Kylo. She could wait until after work to answer.
Rey and Ben spent lunch discussing their literature likes and dislikes, and walked back to the office together. He left her as they entered the work corridor to go and check on the contractors, and she took the opportunity to slip into his office and leave a brown paper bag.
Ten minutes later, her phone buzzed with an SMS.
Have you any idea how two of the chocolate pralines from the café ended up in a bag on my desk?
I had nothing to do with anything.
She watched his face as he read it, and felt her heart jump just a little as a delighted smile spread across his face. But that was just because they were becoming good friends, right?
The instructions this Friday were different.
[18:22] Come into the room blindfolded, but do not undress. Stand and wait for your instructions.
She walked in, put her bag to one side, and stood.
There was a long wait. She estimated it at about five minutes, but time dilated strangely when you had no other guide than your own breathing and a faint pulse in your ears. When Kylo spoke, a sensation of physical relief swept through her.
"You have pleased me greatly, Kira. You give me your trust, and accept my suggestions with calm equanimity. Your concern for my wellbeing and your honesty when there are issues have lifted my spirits."
The relief she felt was rapidly replaced with delight at having satisfied him. "Thank you, Kylo. I have found your attention to details and your careful planning do a great deal to enhance the evenings."
"That is gratifying to hear." He moved away, and she heard music start – the sort of ambient sylvan tones that she associated with computer games in elven forests. "Tonight, Kira, I shall undress you myself. I shall apply my lips and tongue, I shall touch and caress, and eventually penetrate you, and provide for both of us the satisfaction we seek. As I do so, I would have you hear words of appreciation, of delight and joy at your beauty, your body and your own desires. As I cannot say them myself while I am giving your body the attention it deserves, I have created a soundtrack for the evening, which will I hope enhance the sensations I give you. Nothing else tonight will be different from any other time, and I shall make use once more of prophylactics, and of hand signals and of your own words to communicate. Does this meet your conditions?"
"It does, thank you, Kylo." A slight relaxation of her shoulders told her that she had been worried about the evening. Her energy levels post-infection had a tendency to plummet rapidly, and anything strenuous would have the possibility of leaving her exhausted and unable to enjoy herself. Now, she could relax, knowing that Kylo had everything sorted.
"I do not wish to apply the gag while you are still in recovery, so I shall rely upon your ability to silence yourself. State again the signals I shall give you."
She used her hands to show them. "Hush. Open my mouth. Open my legs. Red. And give my colour."
"My confidence in you only increases." He took her hand and led her to where she thought was the end of the bed. Then she heard a slight click, and a voice started over the music.
Come, Madam, come, all rest my powers defy,
Until I labour, I in labour lie.
The foe oft-times having the foe in sight,
Is tir’d with standing though he never fight.
Off with that girdle, like heaven’s Zone glistering,
But a far fairer world encompassing.
Unpin that spangled breastplate which you wear,
That th’eyes of busy fools may be stopped there.
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime,
Tells me from you, that now it is bed time.
As the voice talked of undressing her, she felt Kylo's hands gently unbuttoning her shirt down the front and at the cuffs, and sliding off her shoulders. His hands ran down her arms to her hands, and he brought each one to his lips and kissed them.
For a moment she wondered if she was hearing his natural voice, but then she recognised the tones as belonging to a Welsh actor whose work she had always admired.
Off with that happy busk, which I envy,
That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.
Your gown going off, such beauteous state reveals,
As when from flowery meads th’hill’s shadow steals.
Off with that wiry Coronet and shew
The hairy Diadem which on you doth grow:
Now off with those shoes, and then safely tread
In this love’s hallow’d temple, this soft bed.
Kylo knelt at her feet, slipping them out of her shoes and socks. Then her trousers went down and off, leaving herself clad only in panties and her bra. He turned her around, then took her hands and gently pushed her to start leaning back. So complete was her trust in him that she let him slowly lower her down just by her arms until she lay on the bed, her legs still over the end and her feet on the floor. Then he pulled her up so her head was on the pillows.
His hands ran over her body, caressing her breasts through the soft cotton of the bra, then his fingers edged under the fabric and felt the skin normally covered by the straps and cups. It was surprisingly erotic, and while she couldn't hear the poetry clearly all the time for the rustling of the counterpane underneath her, snippets came through from time to time that matched directly with what Kylo was doing to her.
Licence my roving hands, and let them go,
Before, behind, between, above, below.
He rolled her over, and unhooked her bra. Gently turning her back, he slipped the bra off, and licked around and under her breasts, and to her surprise, along the sensitive skin from her underarms down to her waist and hips and the waistband of her panties. She moaned, and reached down for his head as she had some weeks before. This time, to her surprise, he allowed her to run her fingers through his hair and as he returned to her breasts, she held him to her to encourage further attentions to them.
Feeling daring, she pulled his head up to hers, wishing she could kiss him properly, but here he reached to the side of the bed, and the clanking sound of the leather cuffs heralded the end of her active participation.
Kylo laughed; a low, hoarse laugh that was covered by the next voice on the soundtrack. This was another actor, one with a delightful tenor voice and a slight Scots burr, whose words came through clearly as Kylo fastened Rey's arms above her head again.
Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.
Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.
Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.
Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.
Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.
He kissed his way down her front, pausing at her belly to rest his head reverently. She knew the signal.
"Green. So green."
He kissed above her navel again, and slowly continued, stopping now at the waistband of her panties. She could feel herself getting damp, wishing he would hurry up and get on with it, although she knew in truth that the slowness of the evening and the gradual build-up led to more intense, more incredible satisfaction eventually.
As Kylo kissed her around the waistband, slowly turning her body left and right so that he could reach the skin at the back all the way to her spine, he ran his fingers over the fabric and down to her crotch. There, his slight pressure started some very pleasant vibrations through her groin, and she moaned with part-frustration part-delight and tried to lean into the sensation. Again, unusually, Kylo allowed this, running his fingers around the fabric and pressing into the vulva – for a minute. Then he withdrew, and instead put one hand on either side of her panties and slid them down her legs and off.
Returning to her belly, he kissed his way down again, once more skipping the yearning centre to apply himself to her inner thighs.
Stark naked as she stood before mine eye,
Not one mark on her body could I spy.
What arms and shoulders did I touch and see?
How apt her breasts were to be pressed by me?
How smooth a belly under her waist saw I?
How large a leg, and what a lusty thigh?
To leave the rest, all liked me passing well;
I clinged her naked body, down she fell.
To her surprise, his licking at the thighs turned into a firm sucking, and she knew she would have lovebites on those places later. Easily covered by office wear. She had no intention of showing those parts of her to anyone in the office.
Not yet, anyway.
And as the sucking moved from firm to intense, his fingers crept once more into her vulva, unhindered by the fabric there before. Now they were free to slide up and down, circling and teasing her clitoris and then slipping just inside her vagina.
There, don't be ashamed to lay your gown aside
and press your thigh against a pressing thigh;
there take and give deep kisses with your crimson lips;
let love contrive a thousand ways of passion;
there let delighted words and moans come ceaselessly,
and make the mattress quiver with playful motion.
She moaned and writhed, seeking more that was not yet given. She felt him slide her legs up over his shoulders, and his kisses and caresses continued down the backs of her thighs to her knees, down to the ankles, then back up again. Slowly, oh so slowly, his tongue continued inch by tortuous inch towards the centre of her being, while she held back the begging which she desperately wanted to loose.
Then with his finest wizardry
before night he did sing,
he pays homage to God's greatness,
fruitless eulogy with his tongue:
leaving the middle without praise
and the place where children are conceived,
and the warm quim, clear excellence,
tender and fat, bright fervent broken circle,
where I loved, in perfect health,
the quim below the smock.
You are a body of boundless strength,
a faultless court of fat's plumage.
I declare, the quim is fair,
circle of broad-edged lips,
it is a valley longer than a spoon or a hand,
a ditch to hold a penis two hands long;
cunt there by the swelling arse,
song's table with its double in red.
And finally his mouth, his lips, his tongue, all came to the place where she desperately needed them, sliding along the perineum from the vagina to the clitoris and fastened there, slowly licking and sucking as she bucked against him, chasing the delight that was now speeding towards her, through her body and out and beyond like a burst of radiance that lit up her mind behind the blindfold and illuminated the night. She bit her lip hard to stop from crying out, managing imperfectly as Kylo slipped two fingers inside her cunt and drove her wild. She could barely breathe for gasping, her senses ignited and burning as she rode the orgasm through its first wave, along to a second crest and then down to a trough of pulsing red pleasure.
She barely noticed as he raised himself from her, although she heard the sound of a foil packet opening. There was a pause, and the music and voices stopped.
"I fear, Kira, that you might reach such heights of pleasure as we continue that render you unable to silence yourself. I have, however, considered a possible solution."
"Probably a good idea," she gasped, still thrilling from the last wave of delight.
"I shall turn you on your stomach, and penetrate you from behind. If I hold my hand across your mouth, with my fingers spread so that you might breathe, it should muffle the sound sufficiently that we do not incur the ire of any neighbours."
He laid a hand on her hip, as if to ask, and she nodded. "That might work."
"Very well." He put his other hand under the other hip, and then next thing she knew she was face-down on the bed, her hands still fastened above her. She was aware of how large, how strong he was, but the ease with which he had turned her over was still surprising. Kylo tucked a pillow under her, and ran his hands down her back. Again a pause, then a click and the music and readings started again.
Sultan of an ode, it is silk,
little seam, curtain on a fine bright cunt,
flaps in a place of greeting,
the sour grove, it is full of love,
very proud forest, faultless gift,
tender frieze, fur of a fine pair of testicles,
a girl's thick grove, circle of precious greeting,
lovely bush, God save it.
His tongue ran down her spine, past the small of her back and down to her buttocks. She felt the touch of his tongue along her perineum, then the whole of his body slid up, aligning itself with his groin against hers and his arms around her.
As she wished, she was created, after such a wise that lo! She in
beauty's mould was fashioned, perfect, neither less no mo'.
Loveliness itself enamoured of her lovely aspect is; Coyness
decks her and upon her, pride and pudour sweetly show.
In her face the full moon glitters and the branch is as her
shape; Musk her breath is, nor midst mortals is her equal,
high or low.
'Tis as if she had been moulded out of water of pure pearls; In
each member of her beauty is a very moon, I trow.
Kylo settled his legs between hers, and she felt his cock nudge at her folds, positioning itself at the entrance to her vagina and gently, oh so gently sliding in. Propping himself on one elbow, he put his hand over her mouth, the fingers splayed against her. The other hand he slipped around to her stomach.
"Green." Her voice was muffled, both by the hand and being face down, but she could breathe without difficulty.
Then the hand on her belly slid lower, between her thighs and directly down to her clit as his cock rapidly filled her.
The vocal track was saying something, but she couldn't hear it over his panting, her moaning and thrusting back against him as he drove into her. His fingers on her clit took but a moment to bring her back to a peak, and then she was calling, crying, begging him Kylo, don't stop, please and her words filtered through his fingers and wrapped around them both, his breath hard on her shoulder and his thighs pumping as his long, hard, large cock hit every nerve ending in her groin. She came a third time, trying to wrap her legs around his to pull him in deeper, and he used his forearm to lift her pelvis and change the direction just … so, her attempt at a scream halted not by his fingers across her mouth but by her chest inhaling so hard that the breath caught in her lungs as she rode over the top of the mountain of pleasure and plunged down the other side, collapsing with him on top of her as they both achieved bliss.
I will come for you at night time
I will raise you from your sleep
I will kiss you in four places
As I go running along your street
I will squeeze the life out of you
You will make me laugh and make me cry
We will never forget it
You will make me call your name and I'll shout it to the blue summer sky
For a minute or so they lay there together, spooning, Kylo's arms still around her and hers still attached to the top of the bed.
"Satisfied," she murmured.
He kissed the top of her head, then she felt him slide out of her as he reached up and released her hands from whatever was fastening the cuffs to the headboard. He walked to the bathroom, and she was vaguely aware of water running, but then she was asleep.
Come, Madam, come; Off with that happy busk and Licence my roving hands - To His Mistress Going to Bed By John Donne
Behold, thou art fair, my love - The Song of Solomon, Old Testament
Stark Naked - In Summer's Heat by Ovid.
There, don't be ashamed - On Fidelity by Ovid
Then with his finest wizardry and Sultan of an ode - The Female Genitals by Gwerful Mechain
As she wished - The 1001 nights
I will come for you at night time - Throw Your Arms Around Me by Hunters and Collectors.
Chapter 11: Agitated
Too much sleep, too much food, too little information.
There were singing slugs and a garden of multi-coloured antelopes in a chamber orchestra who were playing a strange ancient melody for her, before a huge gorilla stomped through the flowers, calling a name. Rey struggled to make sense of it, but the stomping didn't stop as she opened her eyes and pulled off the blindfold.
She didn't recognise the deep male voice, so she grabbed a robe from the bathroom before sliding the chain across the door then opening it slightly.
"Please forgive us for waking you." Bazine from the front desk was there, and a large man behind her that could only be the source of the gorilla stomping. "May I come in? It's important."
Rey closed the door, slid back the chain then opened it again. Bazine came in, looking professional as only a night manager can. The man, obviously a hotel security guard, stayed outside.
"What's wrong?" Rey sat on the end of the bed, making sure the luxurious robe covered her.
"There's a gentleman downstairs asking for you. Said his name is Poe, and that you were supposed to contact him, and he's worried that something might have happened to you."
"Oh hell." Rey rubbed her eyes and glanced at the darkness outside. "What's the time?":
"Two thirty." Bazine looked at her watch and then back to Rey. "Now, if it happens that this person is someone you really don't want to see – your abusive husband or a stalking ex-boyfriend – we can keep him waiting there for about half an hour while we get you down the back stairs and into a cab. You don't have to be afraid if that's the case."
Rey shook her head, then laughed. "That is amazing. Look, thank you so much for the offer, Bazine, but no, he really is a friend looking out for me. I was supposed to check in with him at midnight, but I overslept badly, and he's obviously come to make sure I'm safe." She stood up, and was about to hug the woman when she realised the awkwardness of her clothing situation – or lack thereof. Shaking Bazine's hand instead, she grinned. "I am so pleased you have that system in place. But I've just got over a cold, and must have slept more deeply than I thought I would. Could you please tell him thanks, and he can come up here and wait? And I'm so sorry to have alarmed you."
"It's not a problem, really." Bazine smiled. "You're very sensible to have such a friend, and we'd really much rather wake someone up for this than the alternative. I'll send him straight up."
The night manager left, and Rey gathered up her clothes and piled them on the benchtop in the bathroom. Then she checked her phones.
Five calls and three messages on the Nokia. It was the old-fashioned ringtone that had been the orchestral antelopes in her dreams. The calls were all from Poe, and two of the messages, timestamped from midnight and asking if she was all right, but the third message was from Kylo.
[01:38] I assume you have slumbered more soundly than you are normally wont to do. Your backup contacted me to determine where you were. He is on his way to the hotel. Please reply to this message when you awaken.
Her response was instant.
[02:35] My apologies, Kylo. I did indeed sleep incredibly deeply. Poe is coming up to look after me, but thank you for checking.
She almost signed off love, Kira, but quickly deleted those words before she allowed tiredness to make a bad decision for her. Turning on her other phone, she wasn't surprised to find three missed calls and a similar number of messages from Poe on it. When a gentle knock sounded at her door, she opened it to a bleary-eyed Poe in a too-small denim jacket.
"Are you all right, hon?"
"I'm fine. I think it was the cold. I was fast asleep." She hugged him, and drew him into the room.
"Then that's all that matters." He looked her up and down. "Did you want to stay here the night, or …?"
"Make yourself comfortable, hon, and I'll be about five minutes. I want to have a shower and get dressed." She sat him down, then laughed. "Did you grab Finn's jacket by mistake?"
"Oh." He looked down at his wrists showing several inches of skin below the cuffs. "Yes, I suppose I did."
"And what did he say when you went rushing out into the night?"
"He was fast asleep. I just have to sneak back in when I get home." Poe pulled out his phone and opened up a game. "Now go have a shower. I'm tired."
She kissed him, then headed for the bathroom.
"How was it?" he called after her. "Incredibly energetic that it tired you out so much? Any bruises this time?"
"Not where I'm showing you." She threw herself in a fast, hot shower. The lovebites on her inner thighs were dark and well-delineated, and she was glad she and Kylo had made the stipulation that any marks should be covered by workwear. But the rest of her was relaxed, exhausted and thoroughly wrung out by the intensity of the session, low-key though it was.
As she came out, buttoning up her shirt where not that long ago Kylo had unbuttoned it, she heard a buzz from her bag. Diving over, she saw a new message on the Nokia.
[02:43] All is as it should be. Sleep well, Kira.
"I've caused so much worry." She rubbed her eyes with her palm, the tiredness flooding back and a deep regret with it. "I'm so sorry you had to come all the way out here."
"That was part of the deal when I agreed to be your support person." He grinned. "I'm glad you gave me the other numbers, though. Your lover was quite concerned."
"Really? Did you talk with him? What did he sound like?"
Poe held up his phone. "SMS only, but he told me how he'd left you and when. He's just messaged me to confirm you got in touch."
"Right." She slipped on her socks and shoes, which had been left neatly beside the table. "Ok, I'm ready."
Rey splurged on a cab to take the pair of them back as they lived close to each other. Holding Poe's hand, she leaned against him.
"Do you know what the best thing is that I've got out of tonight?"
"Knowing that my family – all of my lovely, wonderful found family – are looking out for me. You, and Finn and Rose, and Armie and Ben I suppose, and I'm counting Kylo as well."
"Even though you've no idea what he looks like?"
"Sort of like one of those uncles who lives far away but sends you a nice card and a book for Christmas."
"So you're sleeping with your adopted uncle. Ewww."
The cab pulled up outside Poe's place, and she kissed him on the forehead.
"Are we still going to make brunch today?" He raised one eyebrow.
"I owe you coffee, so yes." She smiled, then it widened to a grin.
"Dammit, you know me too well. There's a chance Ben might be coming."
"And you're starting to cast eyes on the man. How will that work with Kylo?"
She was about to answer when the cab driver coughed and she started.
"We'll discuss that tomorrow, or rather, later today." Pushing Poe out, she shut the cab door and waved goodbye as it sped up the road.
Brunch was surprisingly well-attended this time. Rey was there before eleven, having messaged Ben to see if he'd come when she dragged herself out of bed at ten. Poe and Finn were already seated, and Rey suppressed a grin when she saw Finn was wearing the denim jacket. It really fit him better than Poe. She waved to both as she stood on the other side of the table and glanced down the menu.
"Not pancakes today?" Finn's voice was a little softer than usual, and Rey looked over the top of the menu at him. He seemed concerned, but she couldn't tell what for.
"I feel like something a little more substantial. Maybe those Eggs Benedict you keep getting." She put in her order, then came back and slid in beside Poe. Finn excused himself to head to the bathroom, and Rey took advantage of his absence.
"So about Kylo, and Ben …"
"I don't know if there's anything there yet."
"You've been shagging him for two months."
"No! I mean I don't know if there's anything with Ben." She bit her lip. "He's sweet, and lovely, and he helps look after me, but he's never done anything that tells me he wants to be more than a friend."
"And what do you do if he does want more?"
"Kylo and I have an agreement that we're exclusive. So if it looks like getting serious with Ben, I'll have to break with Kylo."
"Oh that's a shame." Poe patted her hand. "Because you're definitely getting your money's worth with Kylo."
Rey looked at him, puzzled. "What does that mean?"
"So you told me he bought you leather cuffs?"
"Those things aren't cheap. Not the good ones, anyway. And that was a rather nice hotel room. Is he still paying for that?"
Poe whistled. "Oh hon, he must be loaded. Or at the very least extremely comfortably well off."
Rey put her head in her hands. "Then it's a good thing we're having our two-month review this week. Because I need to ask him some things, and I think this is the perfect time to do that." She looked back up at Poe. "It doesn't really matter. I didn't ask him for any of that, I was always willing to share the expenses, and if he's getting enough out of this to make him think it's worthwhile, then that's his business."
"Totally." Poe laughed at her just as Finn returned, looking more worried than before.
"Something we can help with?" Rey got up and hugged him.
"Not sure. Possibly." He hugged her back, then looked at the door. "Is that your workmate?"
She turned to see Ben, dressed more casually than she had ever seen him before, waving nervously at her.
Casual, and gorgeous.
He had on a soft long-sleeved shirt partly open at the neck, and dark blue jeans that hugged his hips in a manner that had her forgetting herself for a moment as all her hormones stood on their tippytoes and danced a rumba through her system. His hair looked somehow softer than it did at work, flopping over as he ran his hand through it, and his hesitant smile went straight to her heart. Before, she had admired the mind, observed the body and liked the face.
Now, she fell. Hard.
It took Poe's Hi Ben! beside her to bring her back to earth, and even then she wasn't sure if she'd landed yet.
He stood by the table as Poe introduced him to Finn, then the pair moved around and pulled Rey with them to give Ben room to sit down.
"You made it." She spoke quietly, not sure if she trusted her voice.
"You asked me." His smile didn't waver. "It was worth missing sleep for."
"I overdid things at the gym. Somehow being thirty is a lot more work than being in your early twenties." He stretched, and winced. "I won't bother asking what's good. Anything I should avoid?"
"Not today, no." Poe pointed at an item on the menu. "The baked beans taste better on Saturdays – they're made mid-week and have had time to absorb the flavours."
"Thanks. Order at the front?" He picked the menu up, then looked around. "Can I get anything for anyone while I'm up?"
"We're right." Finn was definitely checking Ben out, and when the tall man was out of earshot, leaned over past Poe. "Not bad. Cute butt. Not my type, but worth the effort."
Rey giggled and swatted at his hand, and Finn's smile broke through for the first time that day. At that moment, Rose and Hux walked in, spotted the table and waved.
Then Hux saw Ben, who was just turning away from the counter.
Ben walked up to Hux, and the pair spoke, although Rey couldn't hear what they were saying. They reminded her of the nature videos of a pair of stags facing off, antlers bristling. Then they separated, and Ben came back to the table with Rose. Rose's eyebrows were high, but she was talking with Ben and definitely noticed when he sat back beside Rey.
Rey looked to Rose, to Ben, then back over to Hux at the counter.
"So you two … "
Ben shook his head, and Rose laughed. "Typical repressed male psychology! They've made up, Rey. Armie acknowledged what Ben did when the team left, and Ben apologised for not standing up for them before. But you wouldn't know it to look at them."
"No, I wouldn't." She bumped Ben's shoulder with her own. "That was civilised of you. Thank you."
He looked embarrassed and wouldn't meet her eyes, reaching instead for the large mug of coffee put in front of him with a murmur of appreciation for caffeine.
The group were nearly silent for the first few minutes of breakfast, declining to ruin good food by talking too much. Rey found the egg dish rich and filling, and wondered if she had ruined her appetite for pancakes as well. She was still the first to finish, and pushed her plate back with a slight moan of satiation. Although if I'm using that word, I've been hanging around Kylo too long. Then she noticed Rose's look of distraction. The smaller woman was picking at her huevos rancheros, flashes of frustration flying across her face.
"Huh? Oh, sorry, Rey."
"Is it Paige?"
To Rey's horror, Rose's face crumpled and she buried it in her hands. Hux held her, stroking her head and murmuring something inaudible and comforting.
Poe spoke first. "Oh hell. Is she worse?"
"No, not yet." Hux replied, still stroking Rose's head. "They're pretty sure it's some sort of leukaemia, but they need to run more tests, narrow it down. Then they can hit it with exactly the right drugs. We should know in the next couple of weeks or so."
Rose looked up, her eyes red. "She works for the City Library, so luckily we can have her looked after at the University Hospital. They're amazing there, and Finn has been wonderful helping us with the forms." She laughed; a low, bitter laugh. "So. Many. Forms."
"Last night, I said that I was so grateful to have my family. That's all of you, by the way." Rey waved her hands to encompass everyone at the table. "So let me make a vow right now. Whatever you need, Rose, we're here. Cheering up. Transport. Someone to talk to in the middle of the night. If Paige needs a special treatment that means using my blood … "
"Assistance with filling out the forms," Finn continued. "Names of the right places to ask for the right things …"
"Home deliveries of food, or cheesy books or a soft blanket …" Poe took up the thread. "We know you'd do all of that for us. Paige doubly so, especially the food part." Rose blushed and the rest of them laughed, having all (bar Ben) been to one of the sisters' Vietnamese feasts where a visible inch of table space was considered a personal failure by Paige. "What we're saying, Rose, is that all of us have something we can contribute. So we're here."
The next few minutes were taken up with finding a box of tissues for Rose, and slipping a couple of extra ones to Hux. Ben sat back, and Rey hoped he wasn't feeling too excluded from the proceedings, but the smile on his face told her he was comfortable with whatever space he'd found there. She slipped her hand under the table to find his, and squeezed it.
"You okay there, Ben?"
"I'm a little jealous, to be honest."
"Because you've had all this time with this found family, and I've really only had about an hour." He grinned. "Now, I have a problem, and I was wondering if you could help me."
"I was looking at the pancakes, but I don't think I could manage a whole plate. Do you think someone here would be willing to split a stack with me?"
The look he was giving her showed he knew exactly who he wanted to share them with, and she squeezed his hand again.
"You were so sweet to me when I was ill. I'm buying, and yes, you may share."
Rey eased out from her seat, and deliberately ignored the knowing look Poe was giving her.
Tuesday evening, Rey was wondering if she'd dreamt the brunch. Not that Ben was ignoring her, but it still seemed nothing more than just two people whose friendship had moved up a notch but no more.
And besides, she had other important matters to consider. Midway through the afternoon, her phone gave the K signal, and a quick glance told her she needed to deal with it at home when she had time to think.
Which of course meant that the rest of the afternoon's work was blown completely. Ben put his head around her door at about four, but whatever he'd asked for in the way of updates had gone in one ear and out the other. Luckily she'd had the presence of mind to ask him to email it to her so there was a record of it. She hoped he thought it was for keeping track of the workload, but it meant she could ignore it until the morning.
Rey picked up a couple of slices of pizza from her local, popped them on a covered plate in the oven for five minutes while she stripped and showered, then poured herself a glass of wine and proceeded to read the email in her fluffy pyjamas and slippers.
It has been two months, and I hope I have been fulfilling your requirements at our fortnightly meetings.
For my part, I continue to enjoy our regular congress, and I would be happy to continue. Our time together has brought me much pleasure, and I refer not just to the physical acts, but the delight of your company and the communication both prior and subsequent to the trysts.
If, of course, you wish to terminate the sessions, please advise me at your earliest convenience so that I may make the appropriate arrangements. You need give no reason for this unless you desire. My only stipulation is, as previously stated, that if you are pursuing another relationship, we should call an end to our evenings. I still insist upon exclusivity between us.
She re-read the letter, and sighed with relief. For some reason she had thought he might want to end their sessions, and she didn't want to do that.
But she needed to be honest. If she couldn't get the emotional connection she wanted from this, she would at least try to move things a little closer.
I, too, want to continue our fortnightly meetings. I enjoy them very much, and you make me feel appreciated and special.
I do however have a few questions. None of them would allow us to identify each other, and I am absolutely fine with maintaining our mutual anonymity. This is more to create a better connection between us.
You will be pleased to hear that I spent most of the weekend catching up on sleep.
She gave Kylo a precis of the events after he left, including Bazine's discreet offer, then she signed off the email and sent it.
This time she didn't have long to wait. By the time she finished her wine, there was a reply.
I am prepared to answer some questions, but not all of them. I stipulate two requirements.
- You may ask one question per fortnightly visit, which I shall, if I choose, answer to the best of my ability. If I choose not to answer that question, you may ask another. I trust you sufficiently that I do not think you will use the questions to pry.
- In return, I shall ask one of you.
Thank you for relating what transpired on Friday night, and Ms Netal's part in it. With your permission, I shall advise her supervisor of her exemplary conduct.
For our next session, I am considering moving past the bromidic activities of our first four meetings. To this end, please advise me by Friday 29th inst if you are experiencing any issues with your arms and wrists, or if having your arms above your head for an extended period of time would cause you any distress.
Rey went to bed that night with the most delicious ideas floating through her head.