“Inside the Elevator”
My legs won’t stop shaking. I’ve been waiting for this moment for weeks, but now that it’s finally here I don’t know what to do with myself. To be honest, it’s not really going as I was hoping it would. Ben is turning Luke’s lightsaber—my lightsaber—in his gloved hands. Those hands. The hands that touched mine through blankets of stars. They felt so warm and familiar, and through them came bursts of vision and hope. Through them, the Force filled my mind with thoughts of him. Knowledge and truth. They gave me something I didn’t know I could receive. They told me the future. Ben’s future. And it’s just as I thought it would be.
I look up at his face. Long and stoic. His hair is trailing along his cheekbone and falling down his neck. The scar I gave him is dark now. I’ve never seen it up close before. Not like this. Then again, I’ve never seen him up close like this before.
He’s still studying the lightsaber in his hands. My wrists turn in the restraints he ordered me into just moments ago, seconds after taking my lightsaber away.
Do I say something? Do I do something? I feel something tangible between us. Everything I want to say is walking in the air between us, like tiny, invisible acrobats on strings that bind us together.
We’re all alone in the elevator, and I likely only have a moment or two to say something. I better make it count.
“Snoke?” I ask. His eyes leave the lightsaber and immediately find their way to me. “You don’t have to do this.” His face is searching mine. He smells different from I thought he would. It’s good, but different…
His breath smells of peppermint as he whispers his reply. “I do.”
Static rushes through my chest. My lips quiver as I move closer to him. “I feel the conflict in you growing since…since your father died.” The static turns into a tightening sensation, as if my whole chest is being stretched out like plastic wrap. I look into those big brown eyes of his. The whites of them red, his pupils fixated on me. His eyebrows are heavy, resting on his eyes. He looks sorrowful. Scared. Beneath that, I see something else as well. In his face I see that familiar expression of longing that I’ve seen in him so many times before. It’s come back with a vengeance this time, as I’ve never seen him quite so hungry for affection. He looks like he just wants to grab me right here, right now, and take me far away from this place. From all of this. Then again, maybe it’s just my imagination. Maybe it’s just what I want.
Water stings my eyes. Tears start pilling down my face as I continue. “It’s tearing you apart.”
Ben doesn’t break his gaze. He continues searching my face, as if he wants to be understood, as if he is yearning for something that I can’t quite make out. He takes a step closer and our bodies brush together. Heat rises up my spine and my cheeks are flooded with color.
“Is that why you came?” he asks, his breath kissing my skin. He lowers his face to talk even closer to me as he continues, “To tell me about my conflict?” His mouth is twisting. He’s irritated. Finally, his eyes leave my face. He turns his body slightly and looks away.
I swallow and take a breath. Turning my body to be directly before him, I drill my eyes into his. I stare up hard, looking directly at him. He’s so close to me. Until now, I had never realized quite how broad his shoulders are, or how tall he is compared to me. His body overshadows mine, and I feel as though I could fit comfortably against him and be entirely encased in his arms if he were to wrap them around me.
I try to stay focused. This is important. He’s just so…close to me. My mouth is dry, and my heart is beating faster than I knew possible, but I have to stay focused.
“No,” I say, strong and firm. He’s still avoiding my stare. “Look at me. Ben, look at me.” As I say his name, his eyes look to me. In them, I see the eyes of someone who is truly terrified. Someone who wants relief. Someone who wants safety from the storm he’s been caught inside since the very beginning.
I see a man who was always meant to cross paths with me.
“When we touched,” I say, my voice wavering, “I saw your future.” Tears form along his lower eyelid, and his mouth is tight. “Just the shape of it, but I saw it. It was solid and clear. You will not bow before Snoke. You will turn—I’ll help you. I saw it. It’s your destiny.”
Something rushes through me—a familiar feeling intensified in a way I have never experienced. It’s him. His feelings. I feel them through the Force as his eyes stay steady on mine. He’s less composed, his body shaking slightly and his mouth beginning to quiver, but he’s still fixed on me. Emotions from all ends of the galaxy are crashing down inside of Ben Solo, meeting at the place where his heart has stayed broken since he was just a boy.
I feel it. I see it. Fear, frustration, anguish. Desperation and desire. He’s a kaleidoscope of passions about to bust wide open.
“You’re wrong,” he says, his mouth still trembling. He closes his eyes for a moment, finding composure. When he opens them again, he continues with a stronger voice and lips as still as his now stoic face, “When we touched I saw something, too. Not your future—your past. Because of that—because of what I saw—I know that when the moment comes, you will be the one to turn. You’ll stand with me. Rey, I saw who your parents are.”
The temperature in my face immediately drops. He…he what? What is he saying?
I open my mouth to say something else, but before I can, the elevator doors part. We’re here.
I look out beyond the opened doors, fear freezing me from the inside out. My body tense and my fists clenched beneath restraints, I look to Ben. He’s staring straight ahead, emotionless. Calm. As I search his face, I see something that I don’t want to admit but know to be true.
This man beside me is unpredictable. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I just hope I’m right about him.
Find all chapters of ‘The Madness that Binds Us’ here.