Who: Ren and Rey What: Coffee and some discussion of each other's memories When: End of April (after the memories obviously) Where: The bookstore/coffee shop Warnings: A little language
She should have gone straight from the B&B to work at the shop with only a little time for lunch, but instead she stopped into the bookstore. Rey owed Ren an apology and it wasn't going to be any less awkward if she waited to make it. More like it was going to be worse.
Rey made her way to the back of the shop and pinged the counter bell for Ren. "You have a few? I need to talk to you for a moment. Fix us both one and we'll have it while we talk."
It was entirely possible that Ren froze when he heard her voice, but he recovered quickly and reached for a cup as he checked to see where Audrey was. "Yeah, I think I can," he shrugged.
He'd been sort of pulled in close since the memories. It hadn't entirely kept him from experiencing more of them, and in particular it hadn't stopped him from seeing Rey's, and he wasn't really ready to talk to her about it, but here she was and had he been more open he probably would have sensed that before she stepped into the shop.
He handed a coffee over, before making one for himself, and then he took off his apron and stepped out from around the counter.
"What is it?"
Rey paid for both coffees with bills scrounged out of the pocket of her hoodies and a generous tip, as always. She, too, worked service.
"I owe you an apology," she said without preamble. "I try not to nose about in things that aren't my business, but--I think I was shown something of yours that was private. I didn't mean to see it but--they're intrusive. You know."
He took a deep drink of the coffee, although it was way too hot, and he burned his tongue. He frowned. "It's fine, it's not like you can really…" he waved a hand, and then nodded towards one of the tables in the corner where you could see everyone and you wouldn't be overheard. "They just happen." He frowned. And then sighed. "Anyway, we're even."
She moved toward the table to settle in and hoped that nobody was listening, not like anyone would care that the two of them had exchanged memories, as long as they didn't discuss the details. "Oh, fuck," and she had to be irritated, because Rey didn't usually swear. "I'm sorry. I was trying not to leak but it's been stressful. The anniversary of his death is this month."
Ren's gaze flickered up at her, and for a moment he may have looked annoyed, and then that instant passed and he brought the coffee up to his lips again. It wasn't quite as hot, or maybe it was just that he'd burned every relevant part of his mouth already. "It's alright," he finally said. "I mean, it's not like you were trying to force it on me or anything."
"No," Rey said flatly. "I certainly had no intention of sharing that, certainly not with you." Her voice softened a little, and she added, "I'm sorry for that as well."
“What did you see?” He finally asked. Not sure he wanted to know, but it was easier than talking about his Uncle’s death by far, and so therefore preferable. He took another sip of coffee. It was his third cup of the morning and he probably should have made it a smaller one.
"You turned down the contract, at uni." Rey didn't figure she needed to go into detail on that. "Even if I hadn't recognised the feel of the memory, I could--sense--you know. Which confirmed it was yours."
Oh. Ren blinked, his brows furrowing slightly. He hadn't really expected it to be that, and he swallowed. It had been one of the last straws before moving to Repose, really. Cause it had been after - and he'd known that if he'd taken it he could have probably had a career like his Grandfather's, the roadmap was all there, and he'd wanted it, but he'd also not trusted the Professor at all. And he wasn't certain, when you came down to it all, that the truth had been told.
"Yeah, I guess," he fingered the coffee. He'd been drinking it way too quickly, which was mostly a problem because it would soon be gone. "And yeah I did." He looked up at her trying to decide if she was surprised by this information at all. It felt like she should be, considering that he suspected his Uncle would have anticipated him taking an offer like that, but he didn't really sense that from her. "I didn't trust him."
"I could tell," Rey agreed."It might have been the filter of the memory, but he didn't seem very trustworthy to me, either. Do you mind if I ask you a possibly stupid and possibly intrusive question about him? Because I never dealt with him when I was a student." Rey had been proud in her own way and supplemented her allowance from the Ogdens by working. She hadn't had the time for drama.
This did bring his attention up to Rey and for a long moment he considered her. When he finally nodded, it was obvious he was not doing so casually. "Ask."
"Do you think, based on what you knew at the time, and what you know now--" he'd shared that memory; he was one of the very few people who could understand the feel of the thing that killed their Uncle "--do you think the professor might have been fronting for the snakes?"
It wasn't that Ren hadn't been expecting that question, but he didn't answer it immediately either. "He claimed to know Grandfather, to have helped him with his work." Which was something. It might have been a lie, but Rey knew… about his grandfather's rumored and understood family history as well as he likely did.
"It's not impossible," he said finally. "I didn't like to tip my hand back then, but he took an interest in me right away. And I'm good, but." He wasn't certain he was that amazing as an actor. If he was, why was he here in Repose? That was a question he couldn't answer.
"But," Rey echoed. There were a number of possible endings to that sentence; Rey didn't trouble Ren for which one he meant. None of them were flattering to Ren. For her own sake, she settled on "--decisions in theatre are often made on personal affiliation as much as talent, or so I've heard. An actor could be a smaller talent and get more exposure with help, or a great talent with fewer opportunities to shine." She pondered the memory, sorting through the images. "He didn't seem old enough to know your grandfather, not to have helped him anyway." Ren could do that sort of mathematics as well as she could.
Ren shifted in his chair, frowning into his cup of coffee. "He said he knew people who could help me break through if I wanted it. At the time it seemed absurd to do anything that was going to keep me in the Capital, because I figured I was gonna break for LA."
He downed the rest of the coffee and immediately regretted it, even though it was no longer hot enough to cause any discomfort in having done so.
"He's not contacted me since but I think he's still at the University. I had … some friends that I think did take him up on his offer."
"Do you know what they're doing now?" Rey asked.
"They were in the Capital the last I knew." Something flickered across his eyes. It'd been a while since he talked to him, and it wasn't that he was looking for it again. In fact, it was probably a bad idea to go looking for talking to him, because it had never led anywhere good. Well, not in any long-term sense of the word. He pressed his lips together. "I've not contacted them for a while, because it's not good for me."
"Don't do that, then." Rey was firm on that point. "If you want me to do the work--not contacting, but research, finding out if they've been in the news--you can give me their name." She finished off her coffee as well, more by reflex than anything else.
Ren glanced up irritably at the command, which was ridiculous as he would have been about to tell her that he had no intention of contacting the Bad Decision which is generally how he got categorized in Ren's head. But he didn't suggest that he'd do otherwise. "I'll think about it," he said finally. But even as he said it, he suspected he would. Because if his old Professor was involved, it was essential perhaps someone do some research and it shouldn't be Ren.
He sighed and wished he had more coffee, but it looked as if Rey was also done. "Look, I…" he stared at the remnants of the liquid around the edges of the cup. "I'm sorry you were alone then." Cause it would have sucked. His mom should have been there, or anyone, really. And he didn't have to like his Uncle to know that.
"Thanks." Even though she wasn't smiling, there was a little more warmth in Rey's voice than before. "I asked him if he wanted me to--I think he would have liked to have someone else there, but neither one of us thought it was safe. And--if there was something--targeted, I was already exposed. But also I'm not--I'm safer than you would have been. Or your mother." Hans would have come if Luke had asked, of course, but there was no way Hans could go without telling Leah, so Rey and Luke had agreed together to tell neither. They knew he was failing, but only when he passed did Leah know how truly dire Luke's situation had been.
If she and Ren had been at the house, Rey might have explained, but this wasn't the time or the place. "It means--a lot, actually--that you understand. I'm just sorry you had to find out the way you did. Either time."
There was more. And Ren made a note to consider asking about it later, even if he wasn't certain he wanted to know. But he could feel that there was more, and maybe he would ask about it. He nodded. "Yeah," never entirely certain how to take Rey. It would be easier, sometimes, if she was as prickly to him as he knew he probably was to her. But easy wasn't really a thing. Not even if you ran away to a tiny town where you didn't really know anyone.
He shifted his chair back. "I should get back to work, but…" He hesitated. There were more things that he was pretty certain they hadn't much more than scratched the surface of. "We can talk later."
"You're welcome to come up when you have time." Rey came to her feet. "It was good talking to you. And Ren--may the Force be with you."
He quickly glanced up to her - it had been a long time since he'd heard that said, but he simply stood as well and nodded. "Yeah." There was a beat, then he added: "And you."