Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Challenge The Third: Story Submission #1 from StatsGrandma

 


JUST A WALK


After what seemed to be an eternity, dinner had been served and eaten, dishes cleaned, baths, bedtime stories and lullabies for the kids were complete. 

Chewie, who'd been caring for the four year old twins and two and a half year old Anakin while Han and Leia had been at work, took his place on one section of the L-shaped sofa, Han and Leia falling down on to the other section with the sort of motions that belonged the beyond exhausted.

{I've seen dead people look better}, Chewie teased Han and Leia.

"Don't make me hurt you,"  Han threatened his longtime closest friend.  "Because I will."

"Don't pay any attention to him," Leia said to Chewie, leaning her head on Han's shoulder.

{I never do}, Chewie said, laughing.

"Laugh it up, fuzzball!" Han shot back.

{You guys should go and take a walk}, Chewie told them.  {It's a beautiful night}.

"You're kidding, right?"  Leia asked suspiciously.

{No!  You guys don't do anything but work!  You should go out and walk around!  It's great outside!}  That much was true; the winter had ended and it was a rare night before the heat became intense.  The breezes were light and balmy, the lights of the city twinkling and gleaming against a navy blue sky. The capital city never slept; restaurants, bars and casinos were open till hours that only the young and unencumbered could appreciate.

Han looked again at his lovely wife.  He still had trouble sometimes believing he'd gotten this lucky.  "How about it, sweetheart?"

"Why not?"  She and Han had planned to go to bed early and actually sleep.  But the idea of a walk on a pleasantly warm evening enticed her.

"The kids bleed or vomit, you're on your own," Han said to his friend as he and Leia departed.

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The city, like all cities that never sleep, was loud between the cafes and cantinas with live music, hover and ground taxis clogging the streets with far too many private vehicles contributing to both the noise and pollution, restaurants had clients dining on the sidewalk.  There were sentients everywhere in various states of dress, manners, laughter and drunkenness.  The city pulsated with life at every hour save for a couple of them before dawn, and even then, there were hints that the deluge of sentients and amplified volume were about to arrive.

Han and Leia walked arm in arm down a street they'd never been to before. It was less than a quarter mile from the government section of the city.  It was host to several small restaurants, bars and shops and redolent with wonderful cooking smells and some lively music.

"I can't believe we've lived here for six years and I never even knew this street existed," Leia admitted.  "And Chewie was right about the weather."  There was a light, balmy breeze that touched on the city, and Leia basked in it.  "I remember when I was a girl, my parents and I would go out for walks on a nice night like this sometimes."

"I'm guessing Aldera was a lot quieter,"  Han said as he smiled down at his wife.

"It was a little quieter, but keep in mind that the arts were huge on Alderaan and nowhere more than in the capital city.  Galleries and museums stayed open late, you could visit the zoos and the animals that slept during the daylight would be lively, and if you wanted music, it was as easy to get as it is here."

"Having had a brief but profitable string of successful home invasions, I didn't get to see much of the city," Han said.

Leia's laughter was musical.  "I'm afraid we didn't have enough crime for you to feel at home."

"At that age, no, you didn't,"  Han said, giving her a wicked grin.  "I was there a week and I was dying to give someone a beat down."

"Nowadays you go months without getting into fistfights," Leia continued to laugh.

"Yeah, and you know, sometimes, you really need to beat down someone who so richly deserves it.  And it's been even longer since I shot anyone who had it coming to them."

"I have to go to Tatooine in a month to meet with the planet's attorneys general,"  Leia told him.

"Really?  I'll go with you!"  Han said enthusiastically. 

"Are you planning to spend the time at Chalmun's?"

"Of course!  Sadly, no bounty hunters are after me, so other possibilities would have to arise for me to shoot someone. Or at least slam them into a wall."

"You should probably check your delivery and training schedules,"  Leia reminded him.

"I'll move it around if I have to."  They walked a little further down the main drag and on to another street. This one was a mix of residential apartments atop the shops and eateries operated there.  "Seems like we never get any time to ourselves anymore."

"I've been feeling that way a lot,"  Leia admitted.  "Let's face it, most nights, assuming we even arrive home at a decent hour, we end up falling into bed the first chance we get. And crashing, hard."

"Yeah."  That had been on Han's mind as well as of late. 

"I love our kids so much, and I love the work I do, but I really miss those days when we'd make love half the night and just talk and cuddle and feel relaxed."

"I remember when we'd come home after being away and we'd just about start doing it on the gangway,"  Han said, removing his arm from Leia's and wrapping it around her shoulder.  She responded by looping her arm around his waist.  "Don't get me wrong.  I love the life we've made.  I love being a dad.  But most of all, I love being your husband."

Leia glanced up at him, her eyes soft.  "I think we may have to start making some time for ourselves.  It's just so easy to get caught up in kids and work and everything and everyone else that we forget why we have it in the first place."

"I wish sometimes the days were longer, just so work wouldn't suck up as much of them," Han said, leaning over to kiss the top of her forehead. 

Leia laughed.  "I suspect Mon Mothma would find a way to fill up the time."

"And you wonder why I don't like her,"  Han said lightly.

"I know very well how you feel about her, but let's keep her out of this.  I'm going to have to deal with her in the morning and that's soon enough for me.  Tonight, it's just you and me."

The stopped and smiled at each other, and then Han tipped Leia's chin up, leaned down and kissed her. They held each other, right on the sidewalk, oblivious to everyone and everything around them.  For that moment, there was no one else in the galaxy.

When they broke the kiss, Han was the first to speak.

"I've got an idea.  How about we go home and finish this in the bedroom?"

"I thought you'd never ask."

"And let's promise ourselves that we're gonna do this more often."

"Getting some time to ourselves."

"Every day.  No matter how tired we are."

"It's a deal."







 

7 comments:

  1. Great story! I can picture the casual walk, strolling arms around each other. I can remember feeling the same way Han and Leia do when my kids were young and work wad non - stop (now work is still non - stop). So nice to reconnect and see our couple do the same.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thank you so much! I remember when our daughter was little and we were working and going to grad school as well as caring for her. It seems like a blur. And we really should have gone out more.

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  3. This is a gorgeous piece of work. Beautifully written. You know, I could live on a diet consisting solely of mush.

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  4. First, apologies to those of you who have submitted stories and I haven't gotten back to you. Things have been busy but you won't be forgotten!

    I liked this, showing that they can sometimes get overwhelmed and it takes some effort to really make time for each other, but I liked the simplicity of just going for a walk together to connect a little. Very nice.

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  5. Thank you, all! I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's stories, but I know how crazy things get.

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  6. Very sweet! Thanks for sharing it.

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