The gardens of Coruscant are some of the most beautiful in the galaxy. Plants from every known planet had been imported onto the city world, giving some hope and refuge to people whom lived in Coruscant’s stark depths.
The scent of jasmine and night blooming roses and flowers that I could never identify floated through the air, richer, more beautiful than any perfume bottled. The decadent scent caressed my skin as moonlight poured down from the heavens. The night was quiet and pure, seemingly untainted by the billions of people living in this ferocrete world.
A man long dead had created the soft paradise I haunted, but his love of flowers lived on through the caretakers that kept the garden in perpetual bloom. Unlike most parks on Coruscant, this one was not meant to ease the longing for a planet left behind. It had been created to show the beauty of worlds intermingled. Of plants from all worlds woven together into a wondrous whole that could soothe the mind.
I sat on the meter and a half ferrocrete wall that surrounded the gardens, absorbing the serenity at my back and watching the play of lights that decorated the night sky. Absentmindedly, I ran my thumb over the slick jewel clutched in my hand. After I had witnessed Wes’ betrayal, I had left the pub in a mad rush. I barely remembered going back to the apartment, throwing on my body suit and going on a mad "shopping" spree.
Too bad I never paid for any of the things I had acquired.
Before my career in Rogue Squadron, I had dabbled in less legal trades. To be more specific, I had been a thief. I had started my larcenous activities when I was young, dumb, and stupid. I still fit that description, but hopefully I had a bit more intelligence than I did back then. Back then, I’d been a hungry orphan who could only make money one of two ways, whoring or thieving. I chose theft.
Over the years, I became one of the most successful thieves in the galaxy. If it wasn’t bolted down, I could steal it. Hells, even if it WAS bolted down, I could probably steal it. Cons and thefts were my main source of income, a substantial one at that. I had more money stashed away than my sisters and I could ever use. And that included my sibs’ incredible shopping addiction.
The acts I had committed this night were not spurred by greed; they had been committed in an effort to ease the ache of a broken heart. My fence would be ecstatic. My bank accounts would be brimming with millions. Too bad the emotional cost of this spree had been so high.
I shook my head; a tear sliding down my cheek. I sighed, unable to rouse the effort needed to wipe the wetness from my face. I still could barely believe what Wes had done. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes…Wes with his arms around some blonde bitch. Her tongue halfway down his throat. His hands on her ass…
He hadn’t even had the decency to maul the bimbo in private. No, he had to do it in the pub frequented by all our friends. Humiliate me in front of everyone. My breath hitched in my chest. Gods, I loved him so much. How could he do this to me? How could he betray me in such a way?
The dull ache spread through my chest, causing me to clench my hands into fists. The smooth rounded edges of the object clutched in my right hand dug into my palm. Slowly, carefully, I turned my hand over allowing the light of a passing skycar reflect off the facets surfaces of the fire ruby I held.
For a moment the stone seemed to erupt into flames. I smiled down at the last item I had acquired this night. The largest fire ruby on Coruscant. I had always had a thing for jewelry. It was always my main target whenever I could pick and choose between the items I acquired. And fire rubies were the stones I loved most.
The bright crimson stone was cool and slick in my hand, bringing a strange comfort to me. Too bad I couldn’t keep the pretty thing. Its color and clarity were impeccable. It would look gorgeous with the other rubies in my collection. But this stone was too exceptional, too well known. So the bauble would go to my fence and he would do the Force knows what with it. And the cash from my transaction with him would buy me a stone that would not implicate me in the crimes performed this night.
I never wear a stone that I’ve stolen. It’s bad business and bad taste.
Distasteful…distasteful like parading your tart through the pub frequented by your lover and her sisters. Gods, I had known he was a player when I fell for him. I had known him, been his closest friend, for years before I had recognized the glorious love I felt for him. I had thought he had felt the same way about me, but apparently, he preferred that bleached blonde slut.
A soft whisper of movement, not the subtle shift of leaves against petals dragged me from my reverie. A sudden burst of unease wound its way through my gut. Had I messed up finally? Had I left some clue to my identity that would lead the authorities to me? I had never been implicated in any of the thefts I had performed, suspected yes, implicated, no.
Perhaps my luck had finally worn thin. Perhaps I didn’t give a damn if I was thrown into prison or shipped off to the spice mines. After all, my heart was broken, why shouldn’t my body be broken too?
The movement behind me became the steady pace of a warrior, quiet and sure. Whoever it was used to walking silently but was making an audible effort to make himself heard. So whoever it was didn’t want to catch me by surprise. It was someone I knew…
My sisters would know better than to attempt to talk to me now. They knew their words would not penetrate the grief gnawing through my soul. Wes…if Wes was foolish enough to seek me out after what I had witnessed…A wicked grin crossed my face. If Wes was here, he’d be praying to the gods he had never met me.
Focusing on the sounds behind me, I heard the faint rasp of metal on metal. Not Wes. Not Celeste or Risha. And thankfully, not the sound of a weapon being drawn. It was a curious sound of metallic joints, well worn, slipping across one another. The sound of armor.
Continued in Part Two