Downtime in Las Vegas
Part Thirteen: Recrimination
by Aggy

Gods, how could she be so stupid? How could she be so bold? It was madness. It had to be. She was going crazy. It was the only rational explanation why she had thrown herself on Ton and tried to…

No, can’t think about that. If I do, I’ll make a fool out of myself. She had spent most of the night fighting the urge to run to his suite and accept his offer. The only thing that stopped her was a meager amount of pride. That and the insidious voice of uncertainty that worried at her mind. He would probably laugh at her, thinking she was some indecisive little idiot and slam the door in her face. Or worse, he would pity her. And Erin knew her heart would shatter if he looked upon her with pity.

She paced the length of her suite, barely avoiding her cowboy boots and a fall that would be the end of a "perfect" night. But it had been perfect, hadn’t it? Up until the moment that she let her cowardice get the better of her and she ran like a scared rabbit.

Why had she said no? There was no logical reason why she couldn’t have accepted his offer and spent the night with him. They were both adults. It was obvious…so very obvious…that he had been attracted to her. The memory of the kiss they shared shivered down her spine, weakening her knees until she spilled into a very frustrated lump onto the bed. The king sized bed that was the same as the one in Ton’s room. If she weren’t such a damn coward, she would be sharing that bed with him.

If she closed her eyes, she could almost feel his hands sliding over her skin. If she silenced the mental tirade, she could almost feel the warmth of his body against hers as he slowly drove away doubt and replaced it with desire. She quieted a moan, the vividness of the fantasy almost driving her out of her suite and into Ton’s arms.

But she couldn’t go to him. Not after how she messed things up. "He probably hates me," she groaned, covering her face with her hands. "He probably thinks I’m a tease." Idly, she wondered if that word was even used anymore, and if it was, if it was used in the THX galaxy. Not that it mattered. She had acted like a hellion then bailed before she could do as her heart begged.

So now she was spending the night alone, daydreaming of a man who had offered to make her dreams a reality. All alone just because she was too scared to let herself be happy. Scared because in such a short time she had learned to care so much.

Gods, she was an idiot….

A lonely idiot…

# # #

Sithspawn, how could he be so stupid? How could he proposition her as if she were some cheap tart and expect her to say yes? He had pushed her too far too fast. The woman had probably never done anything exciting in her entire life. Or at least not until she had met the Rogues and Wraiths.

But instead of letting Erin determine the pace, he had opened his mouth and said something foolish.

He wanted to cross the hall and knock on her door. See if he could mend what damage he had caused, but he couldn’t. Not until he was sure she had calmed down. She had been embarrassed enough when she ran away, he didn’t think he could witness another one of her spectacular blushes tonight.

But he might be lucky if all Erin did was blush and slam the door in his face. He remembered her actions at the Vegas airport, considering how she had dumped Wes onto his back for copping a feel. It seemed that once Erin let her passions free, she was truly wild. And it was logical to assume anger would be one of those passions that would cause a startling response. Perhaps I’d better let her cool down before I consider apologies…

He ran a hand through his damp hair, shaking off the cold droplets that coalesced on his fingers. Face had been right. There was far more to Erin than most people believed. There was a woman who was passion and quiet contemplation. A strange mix, but potent one.

But how did he fit into that mix? What had she seen in him that had kindled that fire? Maybe his understanding of her situation had caused her to see him as safe. Safe…what a wonderful way to describe myself. She could buy a stuffed ewok and be content. But that kiss had been anything but safe. From the look in her eyes, it had been the most daring thing Erin had ever experienced. Perhaps desire had truly caused her to act. But then, if she had had a choice, why choose him? And why leave after gifting him with a kiss that almost melted the circuits keeping him alive?

The answer was painfully simple, he realized. Ton caught hold of one of the bed pillows, kneading his fists in the expensive down, hating the conclusion that readily sprang to mind. She didn’t want him. Simple as that. She had given into a fantasy and found reality sorely lacking. And no matter how much he wanted her, he would not force his affections onto her. He would give her space and then let her decide. And then she would refuse him

In the morning, he would ask Face to accompany Erin on the shopping trip the ex-actor had been plotting. He would love to watch the redhead argue over the scandalous outfits that Loran would con her into trying. But…He sighed, tossing the pillow away in a gesture of defeat. It was best if he stayed away from her. That way he could get her out of his system. And she wouldn’t have to deal with the embarrassment of having thrown herself at someone like himself.

The fact that he was tearing himself apart just as Erin had did not bother him. His hypocrisy was a trait he had learned to live with when returned from Endor with half his skull replaced by a metal alloy.

# # #

Jaln Nickol sat inside the suite Intel had reserved for him. The set of rooms was only a few doors away from those occupied by the Wraiths and their captivating tour guide. The three laptops set on the desk showed the interiors of each of the suites, the bugs placed in the rooms feeding a continuous data stream to the powerful computers. But his focus was not on the traitorous pilots but on the woman who had innocently became caught up in their treachery.

Surly if Mistress Hart knew of the evil perpetuated by the New Republic she would not find her companions so alluring…

And she certainly would not throw herself at some metallic monstrosity just because he was able to string words together in pleasing patterns. Nickol had almost killed the bastard for that kiss. For daring to touch her with his bloodstained hands. Jaln had barely suppressed the urge to burn a whole through the Wraith’s chest when the freak had asked her to bed him as if she were nothing more than a cheap whore.

You can’t really blame her. She’s been dazzled by the propaganda of her world and by the lies of the Rebels. She has no way of knowing the truth. But if she could know the truth, then Jaln was sure she would see the glory of the Empire and repudiate her traitorous duties.

Jaln clicked a few keys on the other two computers. The Wraiths’ rooms faded and were replaced with varying views of Erin’s quarters. No, Mistress Hart would not demean herself with the presence of traitors, if she were properly informed. And when she knew those facts, then Nickol would have no reason to hide from the lovely woman that fitfully slept a few rooms away…

Continued in Part Fourteen