Canít see the light
ĎCause Iím in too deep.
Over my headÖ
"In 2 Deep" The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
The white letters on her data pad were almost blinding against the green background screen. Mirax squinted at the garish color scheme and reread the message Wedge had sent her.
Need help with the Skate's hyperdrive. Come ASAP. Wedge.
Simple, to the point. As his messages always were.
Then why did she have this uneasy feeling as she headed towards the hanger? Like she was about to fall into a trap. One of the maintenance corridors that she had pulled Wedge into earlier in the week caught her eye. Maybe that's why I'm nervous. 'Cause I expect Wedge to drag me off into one of those access tunnels. Not that I'd mind it if he DID drag me off into one of those little niches.
She was almost disappointed when she walked past the passageway and Wedge didn't appear. Don't be foolish, we have work to do. He's not going to play hide and seek with you while the Skate needs repairs.
The hanger was almost completely shrouded in darkness. A faint trail of light spilled across the ferrocrete, originating from the Pulsar Skate. The night-like gloom was unsettling, especially after her uneventful but nerve-wracking gauntlet past the maintenance corridors.
She hurried through the twilight, wanting to find out what was wrong with the Skate and get it fixed as soon as possible. After her sleepless night of self-doubt, she wanted to keep as much distance between Wedge and herself as possible. Perhaps, with distance, her feelings for the pilot would lessen. Foolish hope, girl. Nothingís going to stop you from loving him.
Why couldnít she just accept her feelings for Wedge? Maybe with acceptance, she could find a way to tell him how she felt. And then, maybe, just maybe, she would have a chance with him.
She expected him to be waiting for her at the boarding ramp, but instead, she was greeted by shadows. "Wedge?" Her voice echoed faintly, making her feel even more alone in the deserted hanger. Tentatively she crept up the ramp, looking around for any trace of the pilot. "Is this some kind of joke?"
"Wedge..." Dragging a hand through her dark hair, she squinted into the darkness that dwelled inside the Skate, looking for any sign of life. She stepped inside, searching for the pilot.
She let out a quiet shriek as the shadows coalesced into human form. The cry echoed hollowly through the ship, adding to the haunting impression of Wedge appearing like a wraith from the darkness. "Wedge?" Her voice was high pitched, almost panicked as she fought to calm her racing heart.
She expected him to speak, but he remained silent, stepping forward until he had backed Mirax into the metal wall behind her. Swallowing hard, she managed a weak smile, "Is this payback for my earlier games?"
The young man shook his head, causing his long hair to spill free of its tie. Suddenly desire overrode the faint traces of fear that lingered in her system; she fought the urge to twist the dark locks through her fingers. "Nothing so petty," Wedge all but purred. Mirax felt herself trembling at the sound of his voice. Husky and soft as he brushed a lock of her dark hair out of her eyes. She was acutely aware of his hands on her body. The one that had brushed her hair behind her ear now cradled her cheek while the other rested on her hip. And acutely aware of the warmth radiating from his body, of those brown eyes trying to absorb every detail of her face.
Swallowing hard, she barely managed remain calm. Gods, she wanted him so much. "You seem pretty good at this for a nerfherder-turned-smuggler."
"Iíve been thinking Ďbout this almost constantly since that first kiss." If possible, he leaned in closer, his breath caressing her neck, gently moving her black hair. "I have a good imagination, Mirax." Her knees threatened to buckle as he flicked his tongue against her skin. She felt him smile against her throat as her hands tangled in his tunic. "Want to see how imaginative I can be?"
Before she could answer, he captured her lips with his, exploring them with little nips as his hands explored her body. She trembled with desire. Gods how she wanted him. She had never thought it possible to hunger for someone this much. But Wedge seemed to have a gift for heightening her desire to levels she had never experienced before. He was driving her mad with these little touches, with his gentle teasing of her lips.
Her hands eagerly tangled in his long hair, drawing him closer so she could feel the hard press of his body against hers. Gods, she couldnít get enough of him. It was like addiction; this wild hunger that pulsed through her body as his tongue ravaged her mouth.
Slowly, he pulled away, gasping for breath as he held her steady. She rested her head on his shoulder, trying desperately to slow the racing of her heart. He looked into her whiskey eyes. "Do you want to continue playing games, or do you want more?"
Mirax swallowed thickly, trying to gather enough concentration to form words. "IÖ" Her breath hitched as she tried to calm the desire pulsing through her veins. It was impossible with him so close to her.
She gently pushed him away. He moved back a few steps; his grin widening when he realized how heavily she leaned against the wall behind her. She wondered how he could seem so calm after such a kiss. If he could pretend to be under control, then so could she. "What are you planning, Antilles? Ravishing me on my fatherís ship?" She tried to sound casual despite the hunger raging through her.
"Nope," he answered, taking her hand. "Got something better planned."
Wedge gently led her towards the cockpit, ignoring her half-hearted protests. He guided her into the copilotís chair then settled himself into the pilotís seat.
Mirax felt her jaw drop as Wedge began the pre-flight sequences. "What the hell are you doing?"
Wedge gave her an arrogant grin. "Borrowing the Skate. Boosteríll never know."
"You are out of your mind!" she almost shouted. Wedge was oblivious to her protests. Heís mad. Heís finally lost his mind. Mirax rested her elbows on her knees, head in her hands as she contemplated her fatherís wrath. "Dad's going to kill us. Do you realize that? He's going to murder us."
"Donít worry so much, Mir. Iíve taken care of everything. Booster wonít even know the Skateís gone."
She looked up at him, doubt evident in her amber eyes. "And how did you manage that one, nerfherder?"
He shook his head, chuckling as he finished the last of the preflight checks. "Youíre never going to let me forget that I herded nerfs, are you?"
"And if you are lucky, youíll be a nerfherder again. Better a nerfherder than killed by my father."
Wedge swiveled the pilotís chair around to look at Mirax. "Let me repeat this one more time. Donít. Worry."
Mirax eyes him suspiciously, then nodded her submission, settling into her seat as Wedge flew them towards whatever destination he had planned.
From the control center of the Heavenís Crossroads, Booster watched his ship smoothly glide into space. There was no denying it, Wedge was an excellent pilot. He handled the freighter as if it were as compact as the snubfighters he adored.
Booster had known for weeks that his daughter was falling in love with Wedge Antilles. She might have been able to hide her feelings from the boy, but she had not been able to conceal them from her father. Booster had seen her discomfort, her fear that he would not approve of her choice.
He chuckled at that. Booster had been hoping that his stubborn daughter would see how much Wedge cared for her. And he had been hoping Antilles would find the courage to show Mirax how much he loved her. Terrik hadnít expected that show of affection to be in the form of theft.
It was audacious. It bordered insanity. But it suited Wedge perfectly.
Booster didnít worry about his ship, he knew Antilles was a capable pilot. And the thought of worrying about his only child never entered his mind. He knew that Wedge would never let anything happen to Mirax.
Actually, Wedgeís actions could not have come at a better time. The informants that Booster kept on payroll had warned him that CorSec was closing in on him. Soon, he would be either incarcerated or dead. When he was younger, he would have fought against the beings that hunted him, but nowÖnow he had a daughter to care for. And he would not pass up the chance to see what future she created for herself. Even if it meant that he would end up in the spice mines.
He hated the thought of leaving his daughter alone in a harsh galaxy, but better to leave her for a few years than for an eternity. And, if Wedge was as savvy as he gave him credit for, Mirax would not be alone while Booster was away.
As the Skate disappeared into the star-strewn darkness, he wished the pilot all the luck in the galaxyÖ
Continued in Part Five