Well, I'm baaaack! Not entirely, though. I still have a lot going on and I still apologize for my absence, but I did find time to bang out one thousand words or so to hopefully keep this story going and to keep you entertained for a little while longer.
Hope you all enjoy.
Hope you all enjoy.
Her eyes tracked from the Wookiee to Han and back. Spotting a sham from a parsec away wasn’t that difficult for her. She wasn’t a politician for nothing. “You knew already, didn’t you?” She glared at Chewbacca, silently daring him to question her assertion.
She got a series of hoots, growls and howls in return as the Wookiee stood and began waving his arms around and pacing.
She turned to Han, who had his hand over his mouth liked he liked to do when he found something both amusing and annoying at the same time. He was watching his co-pilot and it took his hazel eyes several heartbeats to finally turn their attention to her.
“What?” He replied, throwing his arms up in the air and standing as Chewbacca finally left the room, a trail of grunts and snorts following behind him. “Fine,” Han finally said. “I told him already. Is that what you want to hear?”
She drew in a deep breath. It seemed dealing with Han Solo was a great way to hone her diplomatic skills.
“Chewie and I are partners, alright?” He continued before she could begin to say anything. “There ain’t much I could hide from him, even if I wanted to.” She watched as he suddenly turned sheepish, something she couldn’t recall having an occasion to see before this. “And I usually don’t…want to, that is,” he continued. He caught her staring at him and he shrugged off the shy awkwardness, quickly replacing it with his usual bravado. Spine straightening and chin tilted up, he continued, “And I told him. Back on base. The first day. And if you want to go and be mad about that, then-”
“I’m not mad,” she said softly. And like him she shed her foul mood. In fact, she couldn’t recall why she had been bothered about telling Chewie anyway. With that self-induced obstacle out of the way, she found her thoughts focused on other things. Anger was, in fact, a wasted emotion that clouded the mind. Her father had taught her that, or at least tried his very darnedest to until his dying day.
“You’re not?” Han’s voice seemed to come out of nowhere. She had forgotten that they were still in mid-conversation.
“No, I’m not,” she replied with a heavy sigh as she stood and wiped her hands on her trousers as if she were wiping the entire ordeal away. “You had every right to tell him. He’s your partner,” she stated, her eyes looking into his. His eyes studying hers. She could tell he was trying furiously to figure her out. Silently, she wished him just a little bit of luck. Maybe if someone could figure her out then they could clue her in on some things. Like why all of a sudden she felt like crying.
Concern filled the cocky smuggler’s eyes. “Are you alright?”
She blinked and then wondered at, and not for the first time, how dangerously close he seemed to get to understanding her. “I’m fine,” she said. “I think I’ll go and freshen up before dinner.” And with that she turned and left, halfway hearing Han mumble something about Alliance rations, Corellian food and preparing to be impressed.
The door to the captain’s quarters swooshed closed behind her and she let the weight of her body fall back against it. Her shoulders were first to make contact with the cool metal and then, with a dull thud, she let her head drop back as she shut her eyes. It had been a long day and she let the stress of the day’s events slide off of her, mentally visualizing it dripping out off of her fingertips and splashing on the floor.
They had a plan now. Although the month long retreat wasn’t something that was expected, at least now she knew what they were dealing with. She functioned much better when she had a problem to solve. Uncertainty and ambiguity were her enemies just as much as the Empire. Present to her the facts of any issue, even if at seemingly insurmountable odds and that was where Princess Leia would excel.
Where she didn’t excel was at matters of the heart. Not love and not with Han Solo, of course not. That was preposterous. But since Alderaan…since that fateful day and to some extent maybe her entire life, she had struggled with friendship and trust. Maybe that was why the loss of her father had been so extremely emotionally crippling. He had been the only one that she truly, blindly trusted. When one is not only royalty but also covertly subverting the seated government, it is hard to know who to trust.
Of course there were others. A handful. Winter. Carlist. And more who had met her father’s same fate. She clucked her tongue against the roof of her mouth and hissed a disparaging remark under her breath. Why was she traveling down this path now? She had learned, the hard way, that wallowing in those memories was a dangerous, fruitless exercise. She shut her eyes. So just what had set her off?
Oh, maybe the fact that Han Solo has someone and you don’t?
Her eyes opened, widening at the realization as she stepped away from the door and shook her head from those thoughts. Lots of people have someone, she told herself. When has that ever bothered you? It hadn’t, not this intensely anyway. But when Han began to talk about Chewie being his partner and telling him everything, something definitely twisted inside of her. Something like whenever she had the occasion to see a father and daughter together on the streets of some nameless planet, reminding her of something she would never have again. But then, this was different. This seemed to be specifically about Han, about being someone that he would trust unconditionally and confide in without fail.
She stepped into the ‘fresher, stood before the basin and began to splash water on her face. Looking into the mirror, hazed with age, she stared into her own eyes. For all of his faults, she was friends with Han. She knew that he trusted her on some level and confided in her about most things. And if pressed, she would admit the same about him. But that twinge in the pit in her stomach, wasn’t over wanting to be his friend. She wondered what it would feel like for Han to stand up to someone in defense of his relationship with her as he had done just now regarding Chewbacca. How it would feel to know that she had put the fire into those hazel eyes and the rumble behind his voice.
She slammed her hands against the basin, digging her fingernails into the unyielding ceramic and squeezing her eyes tightly shut. Now is not the time for this!
To be continued...
To be continued...