Ton had kept up a cheerful dialogue all the way to the hotel. He was particularly intrigued about Anakin and why he was there because, obviously, he wasnít on the list.
I solved that problem quickly enough. "Heís my brother, Aidan," I answered quickly before Anakin was able to open his big mouth and blow his cover. I figured that the name Anakin would raise a few eyebrows in this crowd, and I wasnít sure that would be such a good idea. After all, he wasnít supposed to be here and his presence could cause some sort of time ripple if we werenít careful.
Aidan? was his reply. Thatís such a stupid name.
Oh really, I thought to myself, knowing that he was waiting for the sarcastic response, like Anakin is any better.
"Thatís neat," Gavin said happily, cutting in on our Force-argument before it got out of hand. "And thatís a really great lightsaber; it looks so convincing."
Anakinís eyes narrowed and he opened his mouth to say something. I beat him to the punch. "Yeah," I answered with a warning look, "the novelty shops on Earth are really great for this sort of thing." I reached down and unhooked it from his belt before he could stop me. The thought of that boy with a weapon wasnít comforting; he was a weapon without it anyway. I stuck it in my bag. Anakin glared and crossed his arms over his chest.
Ton cleared his throat and the taxi cab slowed to a halt. "Well, I hate to break it to you two, but since we didnít know that you were coming with a guest, we didnít book two hotel rooms. Youíll have to share for now."
The look on Anakinís face was definitely a Kodak moment.
"Unless," Ton continued with a wink, "you make other arrangements between now and then."
Gavin looked shocked. AlatŠriŽl smiled dryly. I laughed. "Weíll see about that."
We all clambered out of the cramped cab and Ton paid the driver. Gavin looked at us happily. "Well, just give your nameís at the front desk and theyíll give you your keys. The reception is over there," he gestured at a nondescript durasteel building across the walkway, "in fifteen minutes. When you enter the door, someone will be standing there to give you directions to the reception hall. Dress is casual."
"Or," Ton added with a look at AlatŠriŽl, "whatever you want."
With that, Ton bowed and Gavin gave a jaunty wave. They both turned around and made their way across the "street" and into the building.
"So," AlatŠriŽl said to me, "do you want to go over together or just head over whenever weíre ready."
"Well," I said with a distasteful look at Anakinís jumpsuit, which had a hole in the knee and dirt stains at the elbows, "I think Iím going to have to pick up a set of clothes."
"Whatís wrong with my clothing?" was his indignant reply.
AlatŠriŽl laughed. "All right, Iíll see you there." She turned and headed into the hotel.
As soon as she was out of earshot, Anakin rounded on me. "If you think Iím sharing a hotel room with you, youíre even crazier than you originally came across. I want to go home."
"Youíre right, youíre not. You get the hallway."
Anakin approached me. "Give me my lightsaber."
"Iíll take it off of you by force." He came closer so that he was standing over me, using my lack-of-height and his abundance of it, for a psychological advantage.
"The Force or force?" I said cheekily.
He didnít answer, just grinned maniacally and attacked.
He kissed me. Physical violence I would have been able to handle. Psychologically I think I could have beaten him, even though I didnít have the Force on my side, but hormonally, I was at a loss. And he knew it.
Granted, I donít think I kissed him back, but I was certainly too surprised to do anything about it besides stand there like an idiot. His lips were soft, forceful, did all the right things, and I was frozen in place.
When he pulled away, he was grinning and his hair was mused. I definitely donít remember musing his hair. "Bastard," I hissed.
"You liked it," he taunted, holding up his right hand from which his lightsaber hung.
"Youíre breathing heavily."
"I am not."
"Are too!" He grabbed my hand and pulled me after him into the hotel and towards the over-priced menís boutique in the corner of the lobby.
"I am not!" I raged even as I was helplessly towed after him. "I donít know how you managed to propaganda yourself as the quiet sensitive type, but itís all wrong."
He continued to pull me until we entered the store. Facing me, he smiled saucily. "What can I say, you bring out my fatherís side."
"Hardly charming and debonair."
"Like my dad ever was."
I crinkled my nose in my best threatening facial expression. "Didnít your uncle tell you never to exploit the Force for trivial things?" I grabbed a pair of black trousers off of the rack and thrust them at him. Turning behind me, I took a white shirt from another rack and shoved it into his hand.
He took both proffered pieces of clothing and whistled. "I hardly think that rendering a loudmouth such as yourself speechless, is trivial."
We went to the counter and I took out my credit card. They were now accepting American Express on Coruscant. "I hate you."
"Iím not to fond of you, either."
The saleslady, a bothan, bagged the purchases and handed them to Anakin. "You owe me," I said.
"Fair enough," he answered as we stormed out of the store, "but you still liked it."
Continued in 18