"You kissed me," Anakin accused, the moment the lift was out of earshot (and presumably Force-sense).
"I did not," I grumbled, wiping at my mouth with the sleeve of my shirt. "You initiated it."
"No I didnít."
"Yes you did."
"No, I didnít!"
I stuck up my hands in a gesture of annoyance. "Whatever, but you did."
He started to straighten his shirt, which had gotten a little rumpled. "You just wish I had."
"Right, being kissed by a whiny little boy is right up there on my to do list." Figuring that Leia, Han, and the twins had caught another lift by now, I pushed the button for our floor again. "Arenít we arrogant, comparing ourselves to a room full of hot pilots. Iíd take Gavin over you any day."
He grimaced, apparently temporarily forgetting that Gavin was not the battle-weary soldier in this day and age that he knew him to be. "Thereís like a nine meter difference between you two."
The door opened. I glanced out in the hallway to see if the coast was clear. It was. "Yep, thatís probably true, but he makes you look like one of the Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz." It didnít occur to me that Anakin had no damned idea what that movie was about. But I started singing the munchkin song anyway just to irritate him.
He didnít seem to care that he knew what I was talking about either. "Fine. Inyri would make you look like one of Emperor Palpatineís spawn any day."
We stormed down the hall still arguing. "Yeah," I grumbled, "like you could manage to date anyone with her credentials. You look like you rolled out of bed and decided that taking a shower would be a superflous activity. The funny part is, is that you did take one."
At this point, we had reached the reception. Anakinís obnoxious reply was cut a little short by the entrance of several roles of tinfoil. He looked a little taken aback.
"Hey, Nigel," I greeted the walking tinfoil man, "I see that no one stole your alcohol stash this time."
Nigel looked at me through the slit in his tin-man costume. "No. Didnít have one. Whoís your friend."
"My brother, Aidan." I turned to Anakin and batted my eyelashes sweetly. "Aidan, this is Nigel. Nigel, apparently, is dressed up as yesterdayís left overs."
"No, no," he answered as if my mistake were perfectly reasonable, "Iím going to go jump out of the nearest window."
At this point, Anakin cut in. "Iím not sure thatís the best way to meet girls. The fall will liquefy you."
Nigel turned to him. "Youíd be surprised, they work so hard to stop you." He winked and walked off, the aluminum foil crinkling with every step.
"Are all the WAASers this entertaining?" Anakin asked me as soon as Nigel was out of ear shot. I was about to answer that, yes, we all have our kinks, when his face blanched. "Oh damn."
"What is it?" I asked, looking around in the growing crowd of people. I spotted AlatŠriŽl talking with Ton and a group of other pilots, but not the source of Anakinís distress. And I wanted to torture him about it, too.
"Luke," he answered.
My mouth formed a perfect "o". "Uh oh."
"I should have known heíd make a diplomatic appearance."
"Uh oh," I repeated, trying to think of a solution.
"What if he finds out?"
I didnít answer. Not immediately anyway. "Hey," I said after a moment, "I know. Why donít you go stand next to Bror Jace? That manís ego is so big that it might counter-act yours. If we find Corran, he can join the crowd."
He glared. "This is serious."
"You know it is."
"Well, I was being serious."
"Were you?" he asked, the look in his eyes approaching panic.
"Itís a thought," I answered truthfully.
"Alright," he said and grabbed my arm. "The blond, right?"
"You got it." And he pulled me over to converse with the biggest ego in the galaxy. That was fine, we would make a nice trio of pretentiousness.
Continued in 36