[Did you fight enough to be let off the hook early?] Chewie asked as soon as he saw them enter the lounge.
“Nah,” Han shrugged off. “Turns out there was a couple there that was a lot more violent than we are. Say what you will about us, but we never started taking swings at one another.”
Thank the gods for that, Leia thought. Han continued relaying the story while Leia made her way back to the cabin to lie down for a bit. Why did Han have to make things so difficult? It should’ve been easy for them to go through this counseling and prove to these people that they did not belong together. How was it that they could spend so much time fighting except when it mattered?
She shut her eyes, trying not to think about the implications of what Han had probably written during the counseling session. Why couldn't he just hate her? After spending some time with an arm thrown across her face, she wasn’t sure how much time had passed or whether or not she’d fallen asleep when she later heard Chewie call her to dinner.
The meal had been quiet and uncomfortable, and Leia decided to go to bed early rather than risk conversation, because who knew what might come out? After sleeping soundly and dreaming of nothing, the awkwardness continued into the next morning when they made their way back to counseling.
On the second day, each couple was called in privately while the others stayed and discussed family histories. The day had been fairly uneventful until it was Han and Leia’s turn to get called in.
They sat across from the counselor, her eyes soft and kind and yet somehow distant. Leia wondered if the woman truly cared about getting these couples back together or if she simply did it because it was her job. And as Leia sat she realized that she and Han hadn’t made eye contact yet that day.
“Now,” Ava began, her voice as calm and cool as ever, “I bring the couples in here individually for this part, at least initially, because we are going to talk about intimacy.”
Leia felt her stomach churn. How, exactly, were they going to tackle this? And how had she not already thought that it would come up? Sex was, after all, a rather large part of marriage. Or at least she thought it was. How would she know? She sensed Han shifting uncomfortably in the seat beside her. This could get interesting.
The counselor continued. “Being intimate is very important for a husband and wife. Usually if the couple is not being intimate, it is a symptom of other issues in the marriage, especially when you’re talking about newlyweds, who usually spend the most time in the bedroom. So, how have things been in that regard?”
At least it was an open ended question. Or, maybe that would make things worse…
“She’s not really into it,” Han said before Leia even had a chance to contemplate a response. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting him to say, but somehow she knew she wasn’t expecting that. Yet somehow she didn’t like how it made her sound like the villain in this scenario.
“How do you feel about that?” Ava said, turning to Leia.
How was she supposed to answer? The point of this was to argue a lot, but to argue would be to deny that what he had said was true. And then what, was she supposed to say that she enjoyed having sex with him? Gods, why did they have to get themselves into this ridiculous situation?
“I…” Leia started, only partially making eye contact with the counselor, “I’d say that’s accurate, yes.” Sure, not into it at all. There's no way she'd ever be into that with him.
“Any reason you think that might be? Have you suffered any sexual traumas in your past?”
Did complete lack of sex count as trauma? Probably not. She shook her head. “No. He just… doesn’t really do anything for me.”
She felt the heat rising in her face, and out of the corner of her eye she could see Han sit up a bit straighter. Even if she was simply making this up as she went along she knew Han wasn’t going to like that answer. “Don’t do anything for you? Maybe if you loosened up a little you’d enjoy it a little more. I never had any complaints before you, sweetheart” he said defensively.
“Now, Mr. Solo,” Ava began. “Let’s keep calm. This needs to be a safe environment for both of you to share your feelings.” She turned back to Leia. “Mrs. Solo, has this always been a problem or have you found yourself able to open up sexually in the past?”
Oh, gods. This was like some sort of nightmare. Why did she have to spell out her private matters in front of Han of all people? “I… there wasn’t anyone else in my past.” Why didn’t she just lie? Why didn’t she invent a well endowed, star athlete ex boyfriend with a body of transparisteel who would passionately make love to her night after night and had left her in a near constant orgasmic haze but then he died in a tragic accident and no man would ever live up to him? Too late for that one.
“I see,” Ava replied. “Now, typically a woman especially forms a very strong bond with the man she has her first sexual experience with. But this can be difficult if you have any reservations or don’t feel that you can truly trust your partner with your sexuality.”
She suddenly felt like she was sweating. This was ridiculous. They were simply role playing in this scenario. Time to try something different. “Well, I try to trust him. And I've been open to trying, but he doesn’t satisfy me. I have no need for two minutes of lovemaking now and then.”
She could almost hear Han’s teeth grinding next to her. What did he expect? The whole point of this was to get out of the marriage. It seemed that it would be more difficult to prove they didn't belong together if they were having passionate sex on a regular basis. Gods, suddenly she had an image of a very naked and sweaty Han on top of her, doing things to her she could only pretend to know how they felt. Stop it. Stop it! What were we talking about?
Somehow still remaining completely indifferent to the situation, Ava spoke up again. “Now, is this something you have communicated to him or did you simply respond by holding back on intimacy.”
Leia sort of shrugged and Han sat up and spoke. “She doesn’t like to talk about this kind of stuff. Maybe if she told me what she wanted she’d get to see what she’s missing out on.”
“So, then how do you feel about that?” the counselor asked Han. Leia was getting tired of all of these questions about feelings.
“How do I feel? Look, I’d love to get her to open up sexually, but she’s so damn uptight.”
“Does she arouse you sexually?”
This had to be the most surreal experience Leia had ever been in the middle of. Han remained on task. “She used to,” he began. “But then it started to feel like sex with a blow-up doll would be more responsive.”
“Well, you would know,” Leia retorted, unsure if she was truly angry with his responses or if she was simply playing the part of the disgruntled wife. She briefly contemplated making some sort of disparaging remarks about the size of his manhood but she feared what sort of retaliatory tactics she might endure.
“Now what about you?” the counselor said to Leia.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, does your husband arouse you sexually? Do you find yourself physically attracted to him?”
No! Gods, no. He’s repulsive. I feel nothing for him. I can’t even look at his ugly face with his crooked nose… She turned to look at him, his eyes on her expectantly. It was as though she’d forgotten how handsome he was. She spent so much time focusing on the unpleasant words coming out of his mouth that she was far more capable of not being distracted by his looks. Truth be told, she was becoming more and more attracted to him every day. When she’d awakened in that bed with him, it was because her inhibitions had been lowered. The drugs did not manufacture feelings. Somewhere deep down, she did want him. He made her feel things she didn’t know she was capable of feeling. But the point of this exercise was to break up a ‘marriage’ not to regain their lost lust for one another.
“I guess I was at one point. I wouldn’t have married him otherwise, right? We just don’t seem to have any chemistry in the bedroom.” There, she always heard people saying things about chemistry. That seemed vague enough. Even if truthfully she’d known for a long time that she and Han had great chemistry, even if it wasn’t quite sexual. What was it, then?
“Well,” Han interjected, “maybe if you gave me a little more of a chance you would see just what kind of chemistry we might have.”
Turning to look at him, she saw his hazel eyes looking at her quite seriously. Once again she was unsure whether or not he was playing his part or being serious.
“Is that something you desire, Mr. Solo?”
Han turned to look at Ava and nodded. “Yeah.”
Leia wasn’t sure quite how they had completely lost sight of what they were supposed to do while going through this counseling. Why couldn't Han have just told her that he found her repulsive and let that be the end of it?
“How often are you intimate?”
The question was directed at both of them, but Han spoke up immediately. “Almost never.”
“All right, then. I’m going to make a suggestion to the two of you. I realize this can be difficult when you're not feeling connected, but I would like you to consider an evening of intimacy. Do whatever you usually do to set the mood, be open and honest and trusting with each other. The key here is communication. These encounters are supposed to be pleasant for both of you, and bring you closer together. I know this may be difficult given your recent history, but I do hope you’ll consider it and let me know how it went when you do. If there’s nothing else for now, I think we’re done here and you can send in the next couple.”
Leia felt the air escape her lungs. That was perhaps the most uncomfortable conversation she’d ever been involved in. Gods, this entire experience was supposed to be a piece of cake. Go in, fight like they normally did and prove that they could not be married. Why was she allowing herself to think so damn much? Especially when it involved thinking about having sex with Han.
They exited the room in silence, and Leia partly suspected that Han might start goading her with how soon they would get to completing the counselor’s ‘assignment’ but he felt more distant than ever.
No, this wasn’t going to be nearly as easy as she thought.