Once inside the darkened establishment, Han’s nostrils were filled with the aroma of a hundred different alcoholic concoctions and dozens of different species who had all stopped by for any number of reasons. Some might be taking a little break on their way home from work, others could be celebrating. Even more common were the ones who had stopped by to drink away their sorrows.
He wasn’t quite sure what he was doing there. He had a woman on his arm who seemed quite thrilled to be with him, and it made him recall that there was a time when that wasn’t an unusual occurrence. It wasn’t so long ago that he was living a very different life, and he constantly wondered whether or not he actually missed it.
There had been so much freedom in being his own boss and taking jobs when it was convenient. Sure, he still had to work for a living, but he wasn’t answering to Rebel officers and certainly not to stuck-up, self important princesses who seemed to take great joy in judging his every move. Who did she think she was? At this point he was starting to wonder if she’d ruined his life.
“Hey,” he heard from next to him, looking down to see Lohree staring up at him with eyes like she’d just won some sort of contest. “Should we get something to drink?” Her sentence was punctuated with a hand that slid down his back and then a little lower and he tried to remember when the last time was that anyone had touched him like that. He knew it wouldn’t take much effort to have her doing whatever he wanted.
“Sure,” he replied. “Why don’t you go grab us something and I’ll look for a table.
She smiled and slinked off, running her hand along his body as she disappeared toward the crowded bar. He had hardly even been able to hear her over the loud music. Why was it always so damn loud? Once he found a table and seated himself, his eyes scanned the room. There were happy beings, angry ones, and many somewhere in between. It was the kind of scene he’d witnessed on dozens of planets in between hundreds of smuggling runs. He even saw a few men who looked like pilots similar to himself not so long ago.
He had some fond memories of that life. But all of that freedom had come at the price of never having much of a home of his own. Chewie was the only one he could count on. Running his fingers through his hair, he shut his eyes and pictured Leia looking up at him with those brown eyes and telling him that she loved him. Han knew she wasn’t lying. If anything, all that time she had fought so hard against him she had only been lying to herself. They may have been at war now, but there was still hope for a future and a life together. Was any of it worth it without that?
He didn’t want his old life back. He had managed to convince himself once that it was what he really wanted, but he didn’t think he’d be able to stand it anymore. Seeing the holo of their wedding has unlocked the last of the missing memories of that evening for him. All of it had come back: how she looked, how she smelled, the feel of her warm body pressed against his, and the sweet taste of her mouth when they'd kissed so passionately. He remembered telling her that he loved her, and meaning every word, and he couldn't erase the memory of the look on her face when he'd said it. There was simply no more denying it.
“There you are,” he heard a familiar voice say as he looked up to find Lohree scooting into the booth next to him and handing him a drink.
Every bit of her that could be touching him was, and he was again remembering how much he’d missed having a woman’s touch. If only this wasn’t the wrong woman…
He took a sip of his drink, cringing when the overly sweet flavor hit his lips and he remembered that he hadn’t told her what he wanted. “What’s this?”
“Marlberry twister,” Lohree said. “It’s my favorite so I thought you might like it.”
Han briefly wondered what his old smuggling buddies would’ve said if they’d caught him with such a girlie drink in front of him. Although having a girl to go with it might have helped to shut them up. Then he thought of this woman’s poor, hapless husband who was so obviously being used for his money. Was this really the kind of woman he wanted to spend even one night with?
He felt her hand on his thigh, her fingers trailing lightly as she continued to look at him adoringly. He could probably be with her somewhere private in less than ten minutes…
I love you, Han Solo.
The words echoed in his mind; Leia’s husky voice etching them into his memory for all eternity. He realized how much he longer to hear her say them again. How much he wanted to kiss her again. How much he wanted to wake up next to her tomorrow and every day after that…
He slammed his fist down on the table and causing Lohree jump in the seat next to him. His hand came to rest over his eyes as he was overwhelmed with a combination of frustration and anger and love toward that petite brunette who was causing him so much heartache.
Gods, damn it!
He had to know. For sure this time. He wasn’t going to let her run away. There was nothing more he’d do here tonight without knowing with complete certainty where he stood with her and what she was willing to do with it. And truth be told, Lohree would always be there tomorrow if Leia shut him out again.
“What’s wrong?” the woman next to him asked.
You’re not her, he wanted to say, but instead replied, “I’m sorry, I have to go.”
“But, what about…?” she began but he cut her off.
“I need to talk to my wife first,” he said before tossing some credits on the table for the drink and walking out of the cantina and back to the Falcon.