Layla
Part Two
by Aggy


Dinner was the usual boring affair. Arrogant politicians thinking that everyone in the entire galaxy should be fascinated by their opinions. Some Bothan on my left rambled on about how vital his race was to the spy efforts of the Rebellion. On my right, Wes, of course, giving me sly looks meant to keep me thinking about all the naughty thoughts he had stirred up. Trying to ignore both of my dinner companions, I watched my sister as she covertly memorized every detail of Wedge Antilles.

Eventually, Risha got up the nerve to ask the pilot to dance. I almost groaned at her suggestion. I was sure Wedge was the worst dancer in the entire galaxy. Well, worse human dancer at least.

Wes must have been thinking the same thing. I knew he was going to say something that would most likely embarrass Wedge, Risha, or both of them. Then I'd be forced to beat the living Force out of him.

"You are asking a man who dances like a wounded ewok to dance." I groaned as soon as the words were out of his mouth. Yep, I'd have to vape him.

At Wes' chuckle, the rest of our companions turned to stare at both the Rogues. Oblivious to my thoughts, Janson continued. "It's true, you all saw him at Endor."

I glanced at Wedge and realized that Wes might be annihilated by his commanding officer. I wondered if I should intervene on his behalf or let Antilles vaporize him.

Instead of anger, Wedge met the harassment with seriousness ruined by the hint of a smile dancing across his lips. Well, I won't have to save Wes tonight. At least not save him from Antilles.

"If you want to be scrubbing X-wings with Kettch and a toothbrush for months keep talking." With that 'warning,' Wedge turned his attention towards my sister, completely ignoring everyone else at the table.

I could sense the beginnings of a smart-ass comment from Wes' direction and kicked him before he could bury himself deeper. Instead of growling at me for the abuse, he gave me that devastating grin. "Oh, baby. Hit me harder. You know I'm into the rough stuff."

I blushed brighter than the rubies at my throat. Not that Wes had never said anything like that to me before, but for the first time, I was seriously considering the offers he was making. I realized that I wanted Wes Janson. I shouldn't want him. I was with Jaster, wasn't I?

Suddenly, I stood, causing everyone to stare at me. I murmured some polite excuse for my rudeness, that I was going to go freshen up or something, then somehow kept myself from running from the dinning room.

As soon as I was out of sight, I did run. Desperate to find somewhere to hide from my traitorous thoughts. I loved Jaster. Jaster had saved my life, how could I not love him?

But gratitude should only go so far. He shouldn't treat you so badly.

But he doesn't treat me badly. Does he?

If he treats you so well why has he stood you up so many times?

I hid myself on one of the balconies that lined the ballroom. I had noticed which one was occupied by Risha and carefully made sure I was as far away from her as possible.

I love my sis, but sometimes I really don't want to explain my eccentricities to her.

The cool night air cleared my senses, but didn't stop the whirl of thoughts cluttering my mind. I loved Jaster. I was supposed to be IN love with Jaster. So why was I thinking illicit thoughts involving Wes Janson?

Even worse, why was I thinking of simpler fantasies with Wes? Us spending the night curled up together, finding comfort in each other's presence. Waking up cuddled up against his side, his arm round me as if protecting me from whatever the coming day would bring.

Oh Gods, I was in so much trouble.

I should want Jaster, logic cried out. But Jaster doesn't want me.

Jaster was in love with an image. He wanted that terrified girl he found in a slave pit, not the stubborn thief that emerged the moment he had returned me to Coruscant. And when he realized I would not be that helpless being, things started to disintegrate between us.

But as I changed into a confidant, open woman, my relationship with Wes only grew stronger.

Gods, I had wanted Wes since the moment I met him. No one had made me feel so at ease with myself. No one had made me feel so alive. But I had ignored him in favor of someone I had thought loved me

But whenever I needed someone by my side, the bounty took Jaster away. And while Jaster hid behind his armor, Wes had comforted the scared girl who appeared when the world hurt me too much.

How could I not love, Wes?

I rested my elbows on the railing, burying my face in my hands. What was I going to do? I was falling in love…Be truthful, Selina. Okay, I was IN love with Wes Janson when I was supposed to be in love with Jaster..

"Selina?"

I almost panicked at the sound of his voice. The deep, husky sound sending warmth spilling down my spine. Starting even more erotic thoughts that I should NOT be having.

"Um…Hi, Wes." Gods, could I sound more pathetic?

"Um…Hi, Selina." He gave me a strange look, as if he expected me to attack him. Then he began to shift nervously from one foot to the other. "Listen, I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry for what I said in there. It was rude. I shouldn't have said it…"

"In public," I finished for him.

He grinned. "You know me so well."

And you know me so well. Better than Jaster ever will.

"Of course I know you well. We've known each other for ages." The grin faltered. "If we've known each other for so long, why didn't you tell me about this stuffed shirt of yours that stood you up?"

Startled, I could only stare at him. He was actually hurt by the fact that I had not confided my latest relationship to him. For a moment, my temper flared. "You don't tell me about those girls you run around with."

"You know that I'm a flirt."

I began to scowl, drumming my red lacquered nails against the ferrorrete railing. Why was I so angry over his groupies? It's not like I had any right to be possessive. More importantly, why did I WANT the right to be possessive. My stomach threatened to dive down a few dozen stories. I wanted the right to be possessive because I wanted Wes. And not just for friendship. Not just for sex. I wanted him as something more than a friend or a casual lover. I wanted him to be…

"Selina?"

"Yeah, Wes?" I wonder if he knew how grateful I was for his distraction.

"Why did he desert you?"

I shook my head, trying to clear my mind, trying to ignore the truth in his statement. Jaster had stood me up. He always forgot me when I needed him most. There were too many disappointments between us for it not to be called desertion. "He had business to deal with," I answered simply.

He ALWAYS has business to deal with. And his business is more important than me.

I sighed, leaning heavily against the railing, staring through the glass doors to watch the beings dancing by my hiding place. I wanted so much to have someone to share a night like this with. Someone to laugh with. Someone to dine with. Someone to fall asleep with as the night wore on. Someone to love for the rest of my life…

Wes eyed me, as if he KNEW what I was thinking. Perhaps he did. He always seemed to know my thoughts a nanosecond before I even registered them.

"How many times has he stood you up?" Wes' voice was quiet, but edged with some dark emotion I could not identify.

"I don't know."

"You don't know or you don't remember?"

I scowled at him, not liking how well he was reading me. "Or maybe it's none of your damn business," I snapped.

The injured look on his face made me instantly regret my words. I swallowed hard, guilt hitting me hard. Wes was only trying to help. It wasn't his fault that Jaster had broken more dates than he had kept.

I knew I shouldn't, but guilt is a powerful motivator. Or a powerful excuse to do what I had wanted to do all night. I rested my hand on his forearm. "Wes, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to growl at you. It was wrong and it's not you're fault that…."

He smiled faintly and pressed a finger to my lips. "Shhh…there's nothing to be sorry for. I was rude."

Gods how I wanted him. His dark eyes filled with concern and something deeper than friendship. My mind skittered away from the very thought of naming that emotion.

Not, now. Can't deal with that now.

Especially when the urge to trace my tongue over his fingertip had me almost shaking with desire. Gods, how I wanted to taste him.

I shivered as his finger trailed down my lips, over my chin and beneath my jaw. His hand rested lightly on my neck, before he slowly, gently, forced my head up so that I stared directly into his eyes.

Dark blue eyes that seemed to fill my senses. Warm and rich and comforting. Lit with passion that I had never seen directed towards me.

I had never expected to experience a passion as strong as the one I felt for Wes. Nor find myself feeling such closeness to anyone. Not even Jaster.

You're falling girl. With no ropes or nets to catch you. When you fall for Wes, there'll be no way to catch yourself.

I didn't know if I wanted a way to catch myself.

He began to speak and my eyes were drawn to his full lips. Again, I wondered how they would feel pressed against mine. "I think you know my opinion of your stuffed shirt, but it's your life and your decision."

How could he expect me to understand a word he said when we were standing so close to each other? While his hand rested beneath my chin, causing desire to steadily radiate through my body. "There's something I want you to think about."

I blinked, probably looking like an idiot as I attempted to focus on his words. "Wha?"

"Think about this…"

His lowered his head, closing the tiny distance between his lips and mine. I want to say that I tried to pull away, that I didn't willingly let myself be kissed, but it would be a lie.

I tipped my head up, lips parted, eager for his kiss.

It was the softest brush of lips, as if he was expecting me to pull away. But instead, my hand tightened on his shoulder, tangling in his uniform as I silently pleaded for him to kiss me again.

I could almost feel his elation as he again kissed me.

Oh, gods, his lips felt as good as I expected. Warm and insistent, ripping away the meager defenses that blocked my feelings for him. My knees buckled as I realized my love for him; desperately, I threw my arms around his neck, trying to catch myself before I fell.

Too late. You fell for him long ago…

It felt like I was on fire wherever my skin came into contact with his body, sending bolts of lightening screaming down my spine. His tongue darted between my lips, teasing me with brief feather touches. Gently I nipped, causing him to groan. Which gave me a chance to do a bit of exploring of my own.

He tasted better than I had ever imagined. An intoxicating mix of sweetness and spice, like the rarest flameblossom honey. But there was something in that incredible kiss that would ensure I never tired of that erotic taste. Friendship giving flavor, love turned from a secret into something wild and deep that could be expressed in the meager senses that we were granted. All melted together like the richest chocolates into an essence that I could only describe as Wes Janson.

I felt like my soul found wings that were not made of metal. A delicious freedom gripped me that, curiously enough, came from finding a bond that most thought of as a burden. It wasn't a burden, it was something I had longed for but had never allowed myself to dream about.

But even the most wondrous of dreams had to end.

He reluctantly pulled away. I took a shuddering breath. It felt like I hadn't breathed for days. And if he was going to kiss me like that, I wouldn't give a damn if I ever breathed again. My voice was much weaker than I cared to think about. I hated him knowing that I was about to lose my self-control. But part of me reveled at the fact that he finally knew my true feelings for him. "Is that what you wanted me to think about?"

He seemed almost as shaken as me, but he quickly regained something that resembled composure. "Yeah, but there was something else."

"Wha?"

His lips whispered against my ear. "What'll you do when you get lonely. And nobody's waiting by your side?"

He pulled away before I could register his words. Then I finally realized what he had said. While I stared at him in shock, he took my hand and lightly brushed a kiss against my palm. "G'night Selina. I'll see you tomorrow at Headquarters."

My mouth feel open, my throat unable to produce any sound as he slowly, deliberately turned around and walked away. I tried to speak but something kept me from calling him back. Whether it was shock or something else, I wasn't sure.

It felt like part of me shattered when he faded into the crowd of dancers and politicians.

But somehow, I knew things weren't over yet. To anyone else, this would have been an ending. But for Wes and me, it was a beginning.

Softly, I began to sing.

"What'll you do when you get lonely?
And nobody's waiting by your side?
You've been running and hiding much too long.
You know it's just your foolish pride…"

As the lyrics from an old Corellian love song floated up into the starry night, I wondered how prophetic the words to that song truly were...


Finis

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