A few weeks ago entmaid521 asked me to write a story based on the song "Just Like Heaven," by The Cure, and the story kind of snowballed from there. It's a modern AU, but unlike my previous AUs, they're all adults. Please enjoy!
Soft and only
Lost and lonely
Strange as angels
Dancing in the deepest oceans
Twisting in the water
You're just like a dream
"Just Like Heaven," The Cure
"What d'ya have, kid?" The old man's new to Niima Coffee Post for sure. And bound to be disappointed.
Rey sighs and points above her head. "Standard. Coffee, iced or hot; lattes; cappuccinos…" She recites the same list she's been reciting every day for years. And still, it never ceases to amaze her how many people are apparently incapable of reading a simple menu.
"I'll have a large iced. Milk, two sugars. Chewie?" The man turns to his friend, a man with a massive beard and flowing locks. And what kind of a name is Chewie?
"Same as him," growls Chewie.
"Right." Rey rings in the order. "Six thirty-five."
"Damn expensive," grouses the first man, digging in his jeans for his wallet.
"It is D'Qar, sir. Everything's expensive."
His mouth curves in a smile. "You aren't wrong about that, kid."
Rey takes his card and slides it through the scanner. "What's your name? For your cup."
"Just a second." Rey leans back, scanning behind the counter for Teedo. Dammit. Her lazy coworker clearly can't be bothered and must be on his eighth cigarette break in a four-hour period.
Rey mixes the coffees herself and brings them over to the table Han and Chewie are sitting at, where Han's shaking his head. "So close. So close," Han says. "I know he was there."
"Coffee?" Rey squeaks, interrupting.
Rey scoffs. "I'm not a kid. I'm nineteen."
Han's eyebrows rise as if to say she's just proved his point. He studies her, rubbing his chin. "What's your name?"
"Rey," Han repeats, glancing at Chewie, who sips his coffee and grimaces.
Rey shrugs as Chewie gives her an are you kidding me sort of look. "I don't buy the coffee beans."
"Are you in school, Rey?" Han questions.
"Don't have the money for that," she says quickly.
"Are you happy working here?" Chewie asks, voice deep and rumbly.
Rey blinks. Why would someone ask her that?
"No, it's fine." Rey glances over her shoulder. Is she happy here? She almost laughs. Why would her happiness matter? "It pays my bills." Barely. And given her landlord's insistence on raising her rent, she'll be cutting it close this month. But Rey knows better than to ask Unkar Plutt for a raise.
Chewie gives Han a pointed look, and Han exhales and pulls something out of his pocket. "Listen, k—Rey. Tell me one thing."
The door slams, and Rey sees Teedo come back in, glaring at Rey as if she's the slacker. Teedo's got no respect for anyone. "What?"
"Chewie and I are having an argument here. If you had tracked down an estranged family member, would you confront them?"
Whoa. Rey wasn't expecting anything like that, and yet the notion of estranged family members burns at her heart. "Yes. Of course." I'd give anything to hear from mine.
"See?" Chewie counters, sipping his coffee and wrinkling his nose.
"Sorry," Rey apologizes again. She thinks of her own parents, of the voice as the only part she remembers of them. I'll come back.
"No, it's fine." Chewie puckers his lips.
"Here." Han pushes something into her palm. A business card. Rey turns it over.
"An old friend," Han explains. "If you ever want a different sort of job, give her a call."
"Thanks," Rey stammers, pocketing the card and scurrying back behind the counter just as her boss lumbers in from the back room.
He looks like a blowfish. Rey still isn't certain he doesn't have gills. "Teedo said you were chatting with customers."
Rey grabs a rag from a red bucket, scrubbing at a coffee stain on the counter. "I'm just trying to make sure they become returning customers."
"Hmph," Unkar grumbles, eyes scouring her up and down. He leaves without further word. Rey turns around to see if Han and Chewie saw that exchange, but they've already left.
"How long are you working today?" Teedo asks, picking at his nails. Ew.
"Same as you. Till closing."
"That's what, ten hours of work total?"
"Twelve." Eight down, four to go.
Teedo shakes his head and knocks over a pile of cups.
Two hours later, and Rey's literally juggling three coffee beans behind the counter. Only two customers inhabit the store—an old man with a beard straight out of Game of Thrones or some monastery, and a rather dashing younger man with hair so thick and shiny Rey almost wonders if it's a wig. The younger one tipped her a full dollar and asked if he could bring his golden retriever in. For a full dollar in tip, he could have brought in crying six-month-old triplets.
"Gross," Teedo comments, scowling at the dog. Rey rolls her eyes and smirks as she watches the dog chew on the stale doughnut the man bought for the animal.
The door clanks open, and Rey jumps, dropping her coffee beans. "Shit."
"Pick them up when you're done," Teedo snipes, vanishing into the back again.
"Two cappuccinos," orders a woman, tall and imposing, her jaw set and her eyes dark.
"Coming right up," Rey says with a fake smile. She hears a little gasp and looks behind the woman to see her companion: a man who can't be that much older than herself, black and handsome—or he would be, if sweat wasn't running down his face and if his eyes weren't darting around as if he expecting giant lizards with razor-sharp teeth to suddenly burst out from the walls. What's his deal?
"Calm down," snaps the older woman to the man.
Not gonna help. Rey bites her tongue as the espresso machine screeches. "Name?" she calls.
"Phasma," the woman answers.
Okay then. Rey hands the cappuccinos over. "Don't burn yourself," she says lightly, watching the man, who manages a slight smile at her.
Teedo returns again, reeking of stale smoke, and Rey leans on the counter, watching the anxious man argue with the tall woman—his girlfriend? No, Rey isn't getting that kind of vibe. Across the shop, the man with the dog grins wider and wider with every phrase the monk-like man utters.
What could they be talking about? Probably far more exciting things than she's ever talked about. Rey sighs.
"You can't quit!" Phasma finally shouts, and Rey's so startled she drops her broom with a clatter.
The man says something Rey can't decipher, and then he strides out, Phasma swearing and running after him. Rey straightens and shrugs at the dog owner and the monk, who both rise to their feet.
"Have a good night," the dog owner tells her, waving as he strides out the door. Rey returns to sweeping. Her shoulders ache.
Tires squeal, and Rey hears a thud, and a scream. "What the—"
Teedo gapes at her, and they both fly out the door.
"I can't believe you're this pathetic," Phasma snips.
Finn's hands shake. The panic that grips him—it won't let go. "I can't, Phasma. Not anymore."
"You could be great. You could be—"
"I don't want to be!" Finn shouts at her.
Phasma flings open her car door. "Get in my car."
Finn shakes his head. "No can do, Phasma."
She huffs, her classical music playing soft and sickly sweet. "Get in. Don't be stupid."
"What are you gonna do, walk home?"
"Yeah, what about it?" Finn snaps. Or take a bus. Something. Anything.
"You're disgusting, you know that? After all we've done for you—"
"Shut up!" Finn claps his hands over his ears, not caring how much of a child he might seem like, because he is a child just learning to walk. He might be twenty-three, but they've essentially treated him like a brainless tool for the past six, almost seven years, and he can't do it anymore. He's broken.
Phasma's lips move as if she's swearing at him as she slams the door shut and revs up her engine. She glares back at him, her mouth still moving, and then there's a slam and a shriek.
"Oh my God!" Finn yanks his hands away from his ears, anxiety still tearing at him as he dashes towards the car and the body lying a few feet from it. "Shit, Phasma!"
"He stepped right in front of me!" she yells as she gets out of the car, her hand over her mouth.
"He's alive," Finn confirms, grabbing the man by his wrist. A leather jacket lies crumpled nearby. Clearly the man had been carrying it. "Hey. Hey. Wake up."
"I'm out of here." Phasma ducks back in her car.
"You can't just leave him!" Finn shouts at Phasma, the woman who's invested in time… her time, her money, and now he's letting her down because he can't become what she wants him to become.
In response, Phasma speeds off into the night, leaving a howling dog and an unconscious owner. Is his leg broken? Finn crouches beside the man, who stirs and moans.
God, this man looks like a Hollywood star from the 1940s or something. Even with the gash down his temple.
Work, brain! "I'm calling for help," Finn promises the man, digging in his pocket and dialing 911.
The dog whimpers and licks its owner's face. The old man who was this man's companion clearly left before Phasma hit this one.
"Hey," the man croaks as Finn gives the operator information. "What—"
"Don't move," Finn orders. "You've been hit by a car."
"The hell?" groans the man, trying to move his leg. He blinks.
The man gasps and even in the night streetlights, Finn can see his face graying.
"The ambulance is on its way," Finn promises. "You're gonna be fine."
The man squints up at him. "What's your name?"
"Finn. I'm Finn."
"Good to meet you, Finn. I'm Poe, Poe Dameron." Poe almost smiles and then grimaces.
"What happened?" shouts another voice. Finn looks up to see the coffee girl, the one with her hair in three buns.
"Hit and run," Finn calls.
"Is he all right?" The girl comes closer, close enough for Finn to see coffee and jelly stains covered her beige apron.
"I'm going to be," Poe mutters. "I… got to be."
"Who did this?" the girl demands.
"Uh—I don't know," Finn stammers. He doubts Niima Coffee Post has security cameras. He can get away with it. And as much as he needs to get away from Phasma and her toxic company, he can't turn her in. Not yet.
"Did I hit my head?" Poe rasps.
"If you're asking me, probably," Finn tells him, realizing that his breaths are coming naturally, normally. He's not struggling to suck in air for the first time in almost two hours. He's not going to die. Neither of them are.
Sirens wail, and blue and red light spills over them.
"Get back inside, Rey! Or Unkar will be pissed," warns the other coffee employee, short and withered.
"Good luck," the girl calls, casting both Poe, now surrounded by paramedics, and Finn a glance with trembling lips before she ducks back inside.
"Take care of my dog?" Poe requests as he's loaded in the ambulance.
The hell am I going to do with a dog? Finn wonders, but the dog woofs and gets to its feet, barking after Poe. Finn's hand, almost involuntarily, reaches down to grab the dog's leash.
"His name's Beebee-Ate!" Poe shouts before the ambulance doors shut.
The police have questions, of course, but Finn knows how to lie. He's been lying for years, to himself, to Phasma, to his company, to his colleagues and everyone.
Just one last lie, he tells himself.
At least the police prove useful for one purpose: they give him a ride back to his apartment, Beebee-Ate in tow. Finn climbs the steps to his place, realizing he's going to have to move out soon unless Phasma finds an unexpected streak of mercy within her. Given her actions tonight… nah. Won't happen.
Beebee-Ate snuffles and Finn's hit with a wave of shock. Oh, shit.
He has no way of getting this dog back to its owner.
Rey's had a pretty messed up day, and when the clock hits 10:55, she's done, five extra minutes or so be damned. Rey grabs the lukewarm coffee pots and heads for the backroom to dump them as the door clangs.
You can't be serious! Rey stifles a scream of frustration and whirls around to face whatever asshole thinks he's entitled to coffee at almost eleven at night. She sets the pots down with a clank. "Can I help you?"
The man at the front of the counter towers over Rey, and his face is so sensitive she regrets her harsh tone. He's young, and his eyes look almost alarmed. "What can I get for you?" she stammers.
He smoothes his hair, which looks like every emo kid's dream hair: black and thick. Rey swallows as he focuses his gaze on her.
"Was there an old man in this shop earlier?" he demands.
He rolls his eyes. "An old man. In this shop. Niima… whatever it's called."
"An old man? There are a lot of them," Rey informs him, sympathy and intrigue gone vanishing like that. He's an entitled asshole, after all. She crosses her arms. "You'll have to be more specific."
He huffs and digs through his black overcoat, pulling out what looks like a surveillance photo of the man who met up with the dog owner. Now the hit-and-run victim.
"Is this about the hit and run?"
"The what?" He blinks, lips opening slightly. Large lips.
Rey licks hers and curses at herself. "You a cop?" she asks.
His answer takes Rey aback. She looks into his eyes. "Then why are you asking me?"
"It doesn't matter, girl."
"Well, that's condescending, boy," she informs him.
"I didn't mean to—" He blows out his breath. "Look. I need to find this man. Can you help me, or not?"
Rey hesitates. "Can you show me credentials or something?"
Rey steps back. She doesn't care how attractive he is. His questions are creeping her out. "I can help you get coffee, but that's it."
"So you haven't seen him?"
"Decaf or regular?"
He straightens up, raising his lip in a sneer. "I wouldn't drink the shit you serve in this place if you paid me."
The clock strikes eleven. Rey's jaw drops, and maybe it's the knowledge she's technically no longer on duty, maybe it's this man's entitled rudeness combined with the fact that he's not a customer, or maybe it's the craziness of her entire day. Whatever it is, she grabs the cooling coffee pot and throws it at his face.
He gasps, looking at her in complete shock, bangs saturated and brown liquid dripping down his face. His chin trembles as he splutters.
What did I just do? Her mind swims. "You got decaf," she informs him before running out back.