When Rey applied for this job two months ago before the official start of summer she had no idea, really.
No idea it would immediately become the bane of her entire existence.
It's not because she works the drive-thru at a popular donut and coffee chain. And it's not because some of the clientele are the dumbest people to walk this earth. And it's not because her shifts usually start at 5am and Rey is not a morning person.
It's because of Ben fucking Solo.
They're slammed this morning and Rey is listening to a woman order a box of a dozen donuts through the headset she's wearing. Rey grabs each donut as the woman decides, whirling back toward the front window as soon as the woman finishes and pulls her car forward.
Rey runs into Ben, who swears loudly, holding up an open cup of coffee he'd been preparing to hand off to a customer at the front counter.
"Pretend to watch you're going, Johnson," he mutters. He always manages to sound as if he's deeply disappointed in her, even when she's done nothing wrong.
"Why don't you pretend to—"
But he's already maneuvered past her and is handing the customer the almost spilled coffee. The man takes his drink and slips a dollar into the tip jar, despite Ben's complete lack of smile and 'have a nice day' send off. Unbelievable. Rey has been busting her ass in the drive-thru all morning and no one has bothered to tip her yet.
He notices her eyeing his ever growing tip jar and grins. "Maybe one day you'll grow up to be a good barista too, Johnson."
The beeping in her headpiece keeps her from shouting at him like she wants to, forced to tap the button in order to take the next drive-thru customer's order.
She swears one day, when she's finally had enough and is prepared to quit in a glorious fashion, she'll throw a whole pot of coffee in Solo's direction.
The job isn't too terrible when she's working drive-thru and Solo is working front counter, or vice versa. They both get along exceedingly better when they don't actually have to be in each other's space all the time.
But today...today is hell. Today Rey is working the window while Ben takes the orders through the headpiece. It's a Saturday morning, one of their busiest times, and both of them are slowly but surely growing fed up with not only each other but their customers as well.
Rey is taking cash from the customer at the window while Ben looms at the coffee station to her right, pouring joe and making lattes at a near superhuman speed. They both suppress groans as another customer pulls up to the speaker and begins to order.
"Hey, uh, I've got a question." The man at the speaker already sounds confused; a bad sign.
Rey spares a glance at Ben and suppresses a laugh at the beyond irritated look on his face. She watches as he reaches up to press the button on his headpiece so that he can speak to the customer. The headpiece is laughably small, sitting on his head like that. It looks even smaller when he's holding a hand to it.
"Go on with your question." Forward but not pushy or rude. That's usually how Ben presents himself to customers.
The man's voice crackles in Rey's ear. "Yeah so could you tell me what the difference between a donut and a muffin is?"
Rey snorts, taking the customer at the window who is holding out their money to her by surprise. She looks back at Ben, who is staring incredulously at the wall in front of him. He reaches up to the headpiece. "I—Sir, please repeat your question."
"What's the difference between a donut and a muffin?" The man, for all intents and purposes, sounds totally genuine.
Ben turns to regard Rey, who has dissolved into giggles. "Is he fucking serious right now?"
She guffaws, tears pricking her eyes. "I think so!" she gasps. Her attention is now completely on Ben as she waits for him to respond.
Eyes on Rey, Ben raises his hand back to his headpiece to answer the customer. "Well, sir, one's a donut and ones a muffin."
A brief pause.
Rey bends over, clutching the customer at the window's cash as she all but howls with laughter. She hears a sharp "for the love god" come from Ben and she turns back to face him, filled with mirth and wiping tears from her eyes.
He's smiling at her. Ben Solo is smiling at her. It shocks her more than the stupidity of the customer.
June bleeds into July and, since Rey and Ben are rising seniors at the same high school next year, Ben lends an understanding year to Rey's rants about their summer reading for their shared honors English class in the upcoming fall semester.
"Beowulf is so basic, I can't believe that's what we'll be starting off with in an honors class."
Ben, to her pleasant surprise, is nodding vigorously with obvious agreement. It's noon and he's wiping down the countertops by the drive-thru, most of the morning rush having died down. Even bent over a bit he's still so much taller than she is.
"Fucking thank you, I've been thinking that ever since we got our reading assignments last year—"
The front door jingles as someone walks through. Rey immediately recognizes him as a grumpy customer who'd been at her window about five minutes ago.
He'd been scowling when he'd walked in, but when his eyes fall on Rey he all but snarls. He marches in her direction, bypassing the line for the front counter and walking straight up to the person he clearly thinks is the cause of all his life's problems.
"Hey, little lady!"
Rey stiffens, feels herself frowning as the man slams his nearly full coffee cup down on the counter in front of her.
"Can I help—"
"I was just in the drive-thru and I ordered extra caramel syrup in my coffee and you forgot to fucking give it to me. I waited in the line for nearly five minutes, this is absolutely ridiculous! Every time I come back to this place I always get you and you always fuck up my order—"
Ben gently nudges past her, standing in front of the customer and picking up the coffee cup. "Apologies for that." He walks over to the syrup station, deftly removing the lid before turning to look at the man over his shoulder. "You said extra caramel?"
The man nods. His beady eyes cut over to Rey, looking entirely too pleased with himself. He's managed to knock her down a peg or two and get what he wanted.
But Rey...has a feeling.
They both watch as Ben holds the coffee up to the caramel and and begins to pump the syrup into it.
And he just...doesn't stop.
Ben pumps caramel into the coffee until it is literally overflowing. He pauses, pours out an inch or two of the already undrinkable drink into the nearest sink before resuming the pumping.
Rey feels herself standing straighter with delight while the rude customer's shoulders slowly begin to sink with obvious confusion and dread.
When Ben finally turns and walks back over to where Rey and the man are standing, his expression is completely blank.
"There you go, sir." His deep voice is clipped. "Extra caramel, just like you asked." His tone leaves absolutely no room for argument, and the man swallows visibly before slowing wrapping his hand around his now disgusting coffee and taking a step back. He seems intent to leave with his head down, the total opposite of the blustering asshole who'd come through the door a couple of minutes ago.
"Sir?" Ben calls out to him as the man reaches the front door. "Don't ever come here again."
The customer scurries out.
Rey's lips part with shock. She turns back to Ben and gapes up at him. "I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to say that to a paying customer unless you're a manager."
Ben is intently staring down at her. "I don't give a shit. No one is going to speak to you like that." A pause. "You have mocha on your chin."
Then Ben Solo shocks her further by bringing his hand up to her face and swiping at her chin with his thumb. Then he sucks the chocolate off his thumb and into his mouth, keeping eye contact the entire time.
Rey's brain unhelpfully supplies an oh no he's hot and she excuses herself to wash dishes in the back so that he won't see how brightly red her cheeks are turning.
Rey hates cleaning the cream machines.
Hates it hates it hates it.
But literally everyone who works here hates cleaning the cream machines, and today just happens to be her turn. That doesn't stop Rey from being in the grumpiest mood about it, however.
The smell of sour milk seems to be embedded in her nostrils, the back of her right hand aches because she spilt hot coffee on it earlier, and some lady just got done bitching at Rey because the shop ran out of sour cream donuts half an hour ago and somehow that is all Rey's fault and not the lady's.
Rey is about to pull some of the tubes and compartments that make up the cream machine out of the soapy water where they've been soaking when a hand at her elbow stills her. She pauses in her work and glances over her shoulder, where Solo is standing directly behind her.
"What?" she grouches, his small smile distracting her a bit from her work. Weird. Several weeks ago that would not have been the case at all.
Solo releases her elbow (a shame) and brings a long finger to his lips, imploring her to be quiet before jerking his head toward the freezer.
He turns and walks into it without bothering to check if Rey is following. She glances toward the front lobby, where Phasma, the closer, is currently holding down the fort. Then she rubs her hands off on her apron and trots into the freezer after Ben.
He's got a joint in his hand when the door closes behind her.
"Um…" Rey watches, wide eyed, as he flicks a lighter and brings the flame to the edge of the joint, holding her eyes with his own the whole time.
"Well, you're batshit," Rey states diplomatically as Ben blows out a whoosh of smoke before offering her the weed. "Certifiably insane. I knew I was right about you."
"The freezer sucks the smell and smoke right out of the air," Solo says with a shrug. "And you know Phas doesn't care."
That, Rey knows, is quite true.
She takes the joint, peering down at it briefly before sighing and bringing it to her mouth.
She coughs an embarrassing amount on the exhale.
Rey has smoked weed before. Never at work, of course, but she's dabbled enough to know what to expect and to be fairly confident in her ability to continue doing her job. And knowing Ben is stoned too will make it more fun.
There's a sharp knock on the door and Rey squeaks as Ben leisurely takes the joint from her and slips it back into his bag.
"Hey idiots, it's a quarter past noon, not four-twenty, and I'm getting a line. Could you two little shits come up front and help me?"
"Sure thing, Phasma!" Rey calls to the other side of the door, pounding heart slowing down as the other girl walks back toward the front lobby.
When she turns back to Ben, the expression on his face is soft.
They spend the rest of their shift stealing donut holes to munch on and cackling like hyenas over the silliest things. And Ben helps Rey finish cleaning the cream machines.
Ben has been on edge all morning.
Rey has no idea why, just that he keeps sneaking nervous glances at her and won't crack a smile at any of her, admittedly terrible, jokes.
Rey is beginning to worry.
Ben especially doesn't relax when a guy Rey doesn't recognize walks through the front doors past eleven and greets Ben by name.
"Solo!" The guy speaks to Ben like he's an old friend. "I haven't seen you in a long time. How have you been, man?"
Rey watches Ben freeze while pouring himself a cup of coffee. He lifts his dark eyes to the customer, mouth set in a firm line. "Hey, Poe. How are you?"
"Great! I'm off to college next month, so that's exciting." Poe crosses his arms over his chest, his jovial attitude in direct contrast to Ben's ever growing frown. "This your summer gig?"
Ben shrugs, briefly looking at Rey before focusing again on his friend. "What can I get for you?"
"Oh yeah! I just want a medium iced black coffee with two pumps of simple."
Ben immediately sets about making it, and in actuality Rey should finish some of her cleaning duties, but she just can't seem to pull her eyes away from what's unfolding before her.
Poe continues to chatter as Ben fixes his drink and rings him up at the front register. "I still can't believe it's been so long, Solo! Thought anywhere about where you're going to apply for next year? You should apply to Takodana! That's where I'll be in the fall. We could have classes together again, get back to some of the old shenanigans." Grinning, he turns to Rey and speaks to her as if they're old friends too. "Can you believe this idiot had to repeat freshman year? Opted on going to the school across town instead of coming back to our school. Totally ditched me."
To his credit, Poe doesn't seem like he realizes the effects his words are having on Ben. But Rey does. She notices how pale Ben has turned, how there's a slight tremble in his hand as he gives Poe his change.
The two boys exchange goodbyes and then Poe is out the door.
Rey hesitantly walks over to stand in front of the donut display case that Ben is organizing. She suspects he's avoiding her gaze.
She's not sure why he's so on edge, why that conversation with Poe has bothered him so much. But Rey...kind of likes Ben Solo now. So she tries to make him smile.
"Well, I guess none of us can argue with you about things anymore, you being our elder and all," she jokes.
It's the wrong thing to say.
Ben straightens slowly to regard her, expression positively flinty. "Yeah? Why don't you call be an idiot too while you're at it. Go on, then."
Confusion sweeps over Rey. "What? Of course that wasn't—"
"Sure, sure, just fucking mock me because my parents divorced in ninth grade and I had a mental breakdown, so my mother forced me to switch schools so that other kids wouldn't know—"
"Ben, I would never—It's not even that big of a deal—"
"Of course you would. The first thing you did after you found out was crack a joke." He's sneering down at her in a way he never has before.
"Because I wanted—I wanted—"
I wanted to make you smile.
But Ben doesn't let her finish her thought. "Honestly I don't know why I'm surprised, you've always been a know-it-all with a bad attitude. Like just because you're an orphan you should get everyone's fucking pity. And to think I was going to ask you out to—"
He doesn't complete his sentence because Rey grabs the first donut she touches and slams it into his chest.
There's jelly and powdered sugar all over Ben's apron and uniform polo. And Rey…
Rey isn't quite able to clock out and leave before the tears start.
Ben calls out sick for two days in a row.
Rey suspects he's really just avoiding her.
When he does finally come back to work, he looks so shitty that Rey begins to think he actually was sick.
Whatever. She ignores him as much as she possibly can, even has herself halfway convinced she really doesn't care by the time their shift is coming to a close.
When they only have about ten minutes until they're supposed to clock out, Ben approaches her cautiously. "Can we talk?"
Rey sniffs. "Nope."
"In the freezer?"
Rey pauses what she's doing to look over at him. Ben taps his pocket and shrugs, looking painfully hopeful.
"Fine. But only because I want to smoke," she lies, following Ben right into the freezer.
She looks pointedly away from him while he lights the joint. They pass it back and forth for a few minutes before Ben lets out a deep sigh of smoke.
"Rey, I'm so fucking sorry."
Suddenly he's in her space, gently touching and tilting her chin up so that she just sort of has to look at him. He looks lovely. And earnest.
"I completely misinterpreted what you said the other day and was a complete and total shit about it. I don't think you want anyone's pity. I've never really thought that and I shouldn't have fucking said it. I'm so, so sorry."
Ben is being truthful. And Rey doesn't quite have it in her to not forgive him. Ben misunderstood something and reacted badly, sure, but everyone fucks up. And Rey finds that she still wants to know him, to spend time with him.
She doesn't let him off the hook just yet, however. "I seem to remember you calling me a know-it-all before accusing me of having a bad attitude."
A slow smile spreads across Ben's face and Rey is absolutely in trouble.
"Oh, I stand by those two things." He tilts his head, clearly admiring her. "I think it's hot."
Rey laughs, shakes her head, opens her mouth to say you're unbelievable when Ben very quietly asks her to the movies that evening.
Rey says yes.
They spend the last few minutes of their shift tidying up their stations and collecting their tips.
Rey grabs some donut holes to munch on her way home, Ben practically her shadow. She turns and pretends to offer him a jelly-filled one before giggling and stuffing it into her mouth when he starts to reach for it.
Ben hums in his throat, a happy sound. "No fair," he says, leaning forward. Then he kisses her.
Well, who wants donuts now?
All of the customer interactions are pretty much real. A lady definitely asked my coworker once what the difference between a donut and a muffin was. She was dead serious. And one time I really did make a man's coffee undrinkable with extra syrup after he drove through the drive-thru a second time to scream at all of us at the speaker over supposedly not getting extra caramel when he asked.
PSA: Be nice to all food service workers. And if you don't, well, just remember they're the ones handling your food.
Hope you all liked and that this gave you some sugar ^.^
If you liked let me know?