Monday, January 30, 2017

Valentine's Challenge 2017 Submission #4 by Erin Darroch and Justine Graham

Through the Night
By Erin Darroch and Justine Graham

Good night, Sweetheart.

These are the last words I hear before I slip into restful slumber. I carry them with me, tucked into my heart like a promise of safe passage, an ardent wish to see me reach the morning unscathed.

I no longer dread bedtime as I used to do, nor try to ward off sleep until sheer exhaustion overtakes me. With you as the guardian of my midnight travels—steadfast and watchful—I can brave the haunting landscape of my own dreams.

When I wake up shaking in the deepest hour of the night, as I still sometimes do, you awaken with me, ever alert to my restlessness or distress. Your sleepy eyes rest on me in the darkness and reassure me; the weight of your gaze says you’re there for me, and always will be.

I relish the way you gather me up, press me close, hold me to your heart and shield me, a bulwark against those dark dreams. The scent of your warm skin, the tickle of chest hair against my nose as I breathe you in, and your rumbling voice in my ear, murmuring tender words you would never speak aloud to another soul. All of these things are mine, and mine alone.

My eyes drift closed again as I listen to the steady rhythm of your heart against my ear, allowing the soft mantle of your whispered words to settle down upon me, lulling me back into a state of warm and blissful peace.

I treasure the way you hold me while we drift awake, and the way you greet me at sunrise with your lips against my shoulder blade, your fingertips trailing down the length of my body. I love your heavy hand on my hip, curving over my ribcage, sliding under my breast. There’s no greater pleasure than to usher in the first rays of dawn with your reverent touch, amid the rush of joy that stems from your wordless affirmation that I am home, I am safe, and I am loved.

Then you say, Good morning, Sweetheart, and we begin again.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Valentine's Challenge 2017 Submission #3 by Zyra

Since apparently recently everyone is suffering from wanting to quit writing because everyone else's stuff is so good and they can't possibly compare, I give you this overtly fluffy and ultimately boring piece that we can temporarily call "easy act to follow" so maybe a few of you will start to feel better about your own writing.

Though exhausted, Leia Solo was already feeling better than she had in days. She was only a few minutes from returning home after nearly a week away from her family, overseeing the signing of a trade agreement with several members of the New Republic that was for reasons she still did not understand, held on the coldest one of those planets, in the middle of their winter. She shivered again just thinking about it. The trip had gone smoothly, but she had of course missed her children and her husband.

Jacen and Jaina were eight years old and while they certainly had their moments that drove Leia crazy, she loved how intelligent they had become, and just watching them learn and grow had given her so much pride. Any trouble they caused was usually offset by their generally warm and loving nature, and still a smile and a laugh and a hug from either was usually enough to make her forget why she'd been upset with them. And Anakin was six and hadn't just yet developed the mischievous streak of his older siblings. The boy was often very sweet and affectionate, and Leia missed having her youngest cuddling up next to her on their couch and telling her all the things he had done that day.

And of course she'd missed her husband. More often than not, she simply felt better when they were together. He had a way of making her feel at ease, which was somewhat ironic since for years he had the complete opposite effect on her. But now, she felt as though she could relax in his presence and be herself in a way she couldn't with almost anyone else. She didn't have to put on the face of the professional or the diplomat. She was free to laugh and joke and show some vulnerability and just be... Leia. Not to mention the fact that she  loved her husband with every fiber of her being, and there was nothing quite like being with him and knowing he felt the same.

One thing Leia did not love was returning home in the middle of the night. But considering the fact that originally she thought she wouldn't be able to return until the following afternoon, she felt this was the better alternative and had opted not to tell Han, instead just planning to surprise him and the kids.

As the door opened to the Solo home, she found it as dark and peaceful as she expected given the hour. Han and Leia had recently been discussing that the children were at such fun ages, and it had helped that they had also become fairly self sufficient. And it was because of this that she didn't feel as bad leaving Han home alone with them for nearly a week. Not that he couldn't handle it, as he had always been a very hands-on father, but she felt less guilty leaving them now that Han wouldn't have to keep the kids in sight at every moment and they could easily bathe and dress themselves. They were far less exhausting now that they could do so much more to take care of themselves.

She dropped her bag at the door and went to make her way through the living room and wanted to go just peek in on her children before she went to her own bedroom. Even if she had no intention of waking them up she at least wanted to see them for a moment before she went to sleep.

But when she arrived in the dark living room, the soft, dim light coming in through the window showed what initially simply looked like a huge mess. There were blankets and pillows covering every inch of the floor. And it took her a moment to realize that the four lumps she saw among them were the four other members of her family, all sound asleep.

She smiled at the sight, and it took only a moment before she saw Han stir and notice her. "You're home," he said quietly.

She simply nodded and then held up her hand as he started to move to greet her. "No, stay there."  All she wanted to do was lie down and join them and she slipped her shoes off before walking over and dropping down on what she discovered were the cushions from the couch. Han held the blanket up and she curled up around him as he draped it over her. His face was barely visible in the dim light, but she could still make out his smile as she brought her hand up to his cheek to find it warm and a little scratchy with a day or two of stubble. She leaned in and they shared a few quick kisses. Yes, she thought, coming home early was worth it.

"You're early," Han said in a whisper.

"Is that ok with you?" she said in an equally quiet voice.

She could see him smile even in the dark. "More than ok," he said.

"So what's this all about?" she asked him.

"We decided to have a little campout for our last night without you."

"That sounds like fun."

He nodded. "Honestly, I was sick of sleeping alone, and this seemed more fun than forcing them to sleep in the bed with me."

She brought her hand up to run through his hair and then rested it behind his head. "Lucky for you, you don't have to sleep alone anymore," she said before leaning in kissing him gently. "I like this idea," she whispered and then turned in his arms so her back was to him and he could pull her in close.

In the darkness she could just make out the small bodies of their children nestled under their blankets and sound asleep. Anakin was closest to her, with his arms up over his head and his face turned toward her, serene in a peaceful sleep. She could just make out Jaina's face behind him, pressed into her pillow as she lay on her side. She could only barely make out the top of Jacen's head behind her. They each looked completely content, and she was already looking forward to them waking up in the morning. She couldn't help but smile. "Gods, they're so cute."

His arms squeezed her a little tighter. "All because of me," he said and they both laughed and attempted to keep it as quiet as they could so as not to wake anyone up. "They're going to be so excited to see you when they wake up."

"You think they missed me?"

"I know they missed you. They must've asked me five times a day, 'When's Mom coming home?'"

"I always knew I was their favorite," she joked. "What about you? Did you miss me?"

"More than I want to admit," he said before gently kissing the spot behind her ear. "They really wore me out. I'm exhausted."

"So am I," she said as she felt herself getting closer to sleep. "Did they at least behave themselves?"

"Mostly," he replied, his warm breath tickling the back of her neck.

"Thanks for taking such good care of them."

"Just doing my job, sweetheart."

She pulled his arms more tightly around her, and that along with the feel of his strong body against her back made her feel warmer than she had since she'd been gone. She did know he was just doing his job, but she wasn't sure if she could ever adequately express how much it meant to her to have him take such good care of all of them. He was everything she could've hoped for in a husband and the father of her children, and it still amazed her sometimes how much she loved him. "I love you," she whispered.

"I love you, too," he said, his voice sounding half asleep. She didn't need to hear him say it, she could actually feel it from him.

One of the things she had been most looking forward to aside from seeing Han and the kids was sleeping in her own bed. But as she shut her eyes while wrapped in Han's arms and lying on the living room floor, she decided this might be even better.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

2017 Valentine's Challenge Submission #2 by Kelleher

Leia twirled her finger in the soft hair on Han’s chest as he dozed in post-coital satisfaction. Seeing the corners of his lips turn up in response to whatever he was dreaming, she grinned. She was pretty confident that his dreams were about the last few hours.  A small wave of pride swept over her…

That’s right, flyboy.  We may have been making love for only a few days, but I’m a fast learner.

She reflected that her fast learning was due to Han’s patience as well as much as her desire. He’d been a surprisingly tender lover, his strong arms cradling her while he whispered words of passion and love that made her feel like there was nothing in the galaxy but the two of them.  Only today had she found herself becoming comfortable with this sensual part of her being – the part he seemed to know better than she did – and able convey in her lovemaking the deeply primal desire that she felt for him.  Han would never say it, but she knew he must have been thrilled that they could now begin to revel in the long-suppressed…well, she guessed, the word was lust…that they had for each other.

Lust, she grinned. Lust was a charged word on Alderaan, carrying with it the implication of an out-of-control sex drive that could be used for good or ill, and something that she’d been quite sure, until Han had walked into her life, that she’d never feel or act upon. Tonight had proven her wrong about that in the best of ways.  Lust, she decided, is just fine if you are also immeasurably in love with person who drives you mad with desire…

She traced Han’s strong shoulder and collarbone.  He’d proven her wrong about so many things, and she had the feeling he probably always would.  That would have annoyed her coming from anyone else. But she was quite sure that life would always be filled with surprises when Han Solo was around.

My Han.

My scoundrel.

My husband.

She softly kissed his shoulder as she snuggled into the crook of his arm and dozed off to sleep.


Han woke up to see Leia sleeping peacefully, her hair cascading down and half-hiding her naked breast.

That, he thought, is a view I could stare at forever.

He reached out to stroke her cheek, and then he smirked as their amorous adventures of last night came to mind.

That was kreffing amazing.  I think my eyes rolled back in my head. Repeatedly. I knew it wouldn’t take her very long to decide to exert some control here…and like I thought, I was lost in her the second she did.

There were a lot of women in his past. Probably too many.  At least more than he ever wanted to admit to Leia, although she’d said more than once that the past was the past.  Back then, loving someone had never been part of the equation.  Too risky, too revealing.  Sex had just been another thing you did – a really fun thing, sure, but a thing that didn’t carry a hell of a lot of meaning.

Now, if he were being completely honest, a part of him felt as new at this as Leia was. Suddenly, sex meant something, and that changed everything.

I wasn’t prepared for that, he reflected. I hadn’t realized that every time I’m with her, I’ll feel like I’ve done something that’s damn great at expressing desire, but also expresses love, and trust, and permanence.

It should have unnerved him.  It WOULD have unnerved him, even a year ago. Now? He welcomed it all, welcomed every change that their love had wrought without him even noticing it. He was sure there were more to come; life would always be filled with discoveries when Leia Organa was around.

My Leia.

My Princess.

My wife.

He reached out to trace the freckles that had adorably popped out on the bridge of her nose over the last few sun-filled days of their wedding trip and then leaned into kiss her as her eyes fluttered open, because he couldn’t wait another moment.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Episode VIII Has a Title

Well, we finally have a title. Literally just yesterday I was thinking it was odd to me that we didn't yet know what the title of this movie was going to be and went back through old blog posts and saw that we learned the title of Episode VII in early November, over a year before it came out. Also notable is that we had our first teaser trailer just after Thanksgiving in 2014. We are way behind in hearing and seeing things about this movie, although I could possibly buy that it is at least partly because they don't want to steal the thunder away from Rogue One. I tell you it is going to get exhausting having a new Star Wars movie every December.

So, any thoughts? I would suspect that a lot of you are feeling like I am about this, which is still fairly indifferent. And a lot of my potential enthusiasm was snatched away when we lost Carrie. I've kind of always felt like the titles of these movies tend to sound silly when you really think about them, though to be honest there isn't really much silly about this one. In fact this is finally one that kind of gets right to the point and doesn't leave much room for a whole lot of interpretation, aside of course from who exactly they are referring to. Luke? Rey? Kylo Ren?

Honestly, given the lack of information coming out and my own lack of interest, it almost feels like this movie isn't even happening. Also a real lack of rumors compared to the last one. Very strange.

But, well, there it is. It has a title and maybe someday we'll even get to see some footage and see what it might actually be about.