It didn’t take me long to find Wes. Even in the ever-shifting gathering of uniformed men and women, my eyes instantly focused on Janson.
Damn, the man had no right to look that good in uniform. Wes looked good no matter what he wore; though less was better, in my humble opinion. But I had to admit that his dress uniform did amazing things for that man. The white coat added power to the broadness of his shoulders. The red sash draped over his chest gave me all sorts of ideas. I wondered if the fabric was strong enough to withstand me grabbing a fistful of the cloth and dragging Wes off to somewhere less crowded.
My eyes drifted from the jacket to the rest of the uniform…Note to self, send a large amount of credits to the being that designed that uniform. Tight, black body suit. Thank the Force for that bit of inspiration. And for all that gym time Wes racked up…
He had slicked back the unruly mass of black hair that was forever falling into his eyes. Hmm…that just didn’t look right. He needed to look more tousled. Preferable from an extended amount of private time in my presence.
Too bad the brunette next to him was having similar thoughts as mine. She laughed at some joke Wes had made, and began running a hand through his hair. My eyes narrowed as I studied the pair. Was it foolish hope, or did Wes seem less than enthusiastic about her touching him?
A waiter passed by and I snagged a glass of champagne from his tray. I sipped tentatively. Not from Alderaan, but then, this was a party for pilots, not senators. Expensive wines were not part of the budget.
As I walked towards my target, I added a little more sway to my walk. Soon, I had most of the men staring at me. How could they not? Thanks to Celeste, I fairly glowed like a beacon.
Not that I was complaining, because Wes was staring at me like I was his salvation…
Goldie was less competition than I thought. While I sauntered closer, Wes sidestepped away from the hand that was trying to tangle itself in his hair and gave me a tentative smile.
Tentative…That surprised me. I had never seen Wes be anything but self-assured. Even during those dancing lessons I had given him. Shy, yes, but this…This was a totally new side of Wes.
The woman glared at me, but I handed her my champagne. "Can you hold this for a minute?" She began to sputter indignantly, but I just gave her a beaming smile. "Thanks."
"Wes!" Gods, her voice was annoying.
Wes turned to the woman. "Yes, ‘Trina?"
‘Trina gave me the once over and decided immediately that she didn’t like what she saw. Which was fine by me. If we weren’t in public, I’d show the little guttersnipe what I thought of her. Instead, I just smiled. "Who is this woman?" she snapped.
I interrupted before Wes had a chance to speak. "Wes, I do believe introductions are in order." I upped the wattage of the smile, causing Wes to almost shudder in fear. He knew that smile. It was the type Risha wore right before she pulled the trigger.
"Um…Yeah." Poor Wes. Caught between two women who both wanted him. You would think it was any man’s dream. But Wes looked like he was about to be tortured by the Emperor himself. You can’t say that Janson is stupid. He knows my temper well. And he’s expecting me completely lose it.
Fortunately, for all people involved, for some reason, I felt perfectly content. The evidence was there. He didn’t have to say the words. He didn’t want to be with this ‘Trina person. It was obvious by the stiffness of his body and the amount of space between himself and the woman.
By the look of longing and desire that he directed towards me…
I wondered if he knew how much I loved him? Well, tonight he would finally know the truth. What happened afterward would be his choice, but I would not go another night without him knowing my true feelings.
Looking as if I had dared him to eat Hutt slime, Wes cleared his throat. "Selina, this is ‘Trina Kalith of Gold Squadron."
‘Trina did not look pleased by my presence. It was obvious that she thought she was going to score a Rogue tonight. There was no warmth in her eyes whenever she looked at Wes. How could she see him as nothing more than a warm body from a prestigious squadron? Such a horrible waste of someone so special. But it was a situation that Wes found himself in rather often. Women he thought loved him for him wanting him just because he was one of the greatest pilots to ever live.
"’Trisha, this is Selina…"
"Moonfire," I interrupted smoothly. "Of Rogue Squadron." I offered the woman my hand. "Pleased to meet you."
She almost hissed at me. "Rogue Squadron?" From her rage, it was suddenly obvious why she wanted Wes. Not for the distinction of having had a Rogue, but in hopes to be promoted. And I filled the coveted spot she had desired….
Oh Gods, she was pissed. And I was enjoying every minute of it. Perhaps it wasn’t so bad that I was now a pilot.
I gave her a bland smile, ignoring Janson for a moment. "Mhm…I’m a Rogue." I leaned forward so that only ‘Trina could hear my words. "If you even THINK about fucking Wes or any other pilot in the Squadron just to get a commission into the unit…" I left the rest of the threat unsaid. The tone of my voice, the wicked light illuminating my gray eyes were enough warning.
I pulled away, still smiling that polite, almost simple-minded smile. ‘Trina looked at me as if she wanted my head served up on a silver platter. I really didn’t care what she thought. If she was foolish enough to attack me and I was unable to defend myself properly I was sure Risha would come to my aid. Wes…well Wes was the sort of man who would never hit a woman unless it was life and death circumstances. A nice little fact to know whenever I annoyed hell out of him.
"’Trina, I have a little suggestion for you."
Her eyes narrow, making her rather ugly. What did Janson see in this woman? "What is that?"
"Leave." My voice is colder than the ice of Hoth. As deadly as the Emperor’s wrath.
She took the hint, leaving Wes and me in uncertain silence. Suddenly I felt shy and afraid. The signs that had been there moments ago, signs that he truly did want me seemed insignificant now. Self-doubt made me want to run away.
He must have sensed my mood, gently catching hold of my arm. Before I could protest, his arm was linked with mine and we were heading towards the door. From the corner of my eye, I see Risha and Wedge. Wedge still wearing that cocky grin, knowing he had outsmarted me. Risha looking ecstatic as she realized I was finally making my feelings clear to the man I loved.
Janson led me through the halls of RH until we were inside the hanger. We paused in the doorway, allowing my eyes to adjust to the darkness. He left me for a moment, leaving me feeling an aching loneliness, but he returned in a few moments. The grating of gears softly crept through the darkness. Ponderously, the bay doors opened, allowing jewel-bright moonlight to pour into the space. Starlight glinted off the battered surfaces of x-wings. I eyed Wes, fighting a smile. "What is about x-wings that fascinates Rogues?"
Wes walked towards his ship. Gently, he patted the landing strut as if the ship was a living entity. He seemed thoughtful, introspective, as he stared up at the kill markers that stood out against the starlit metal like puddles of ink. "They keep us alive, Selina. They protect us." He smiled wryly. "If I remember correctly, YOU own an x-wing."
"And a better ship never flew through vacuum," I conceded. "I just wonder at this place being your choice for…"
He turned towards me, his blue eyes serious. I swallowed hard. Gods, could I really do it? Could I tell him how much I loved him?
Wes stepped closer, causing my breath to hitch in my chest. Gods, he was so beautiful. Moonlight sliding over his black hair, silvering his already pale jacket. The sash was a shadow drawn across his shoulders. His eyes were shadowed, but I could sense his emotions. Not through any Force bond. I was no Jedi. But Wes and I had been friends for years. Such closeness allowed us to read each other’s emotions.
I sensed that same longing I had felt during our dancing lessons. Uncertainty. Desire. And a terror that matched my own.
Gods, what a pair. Both afraid the other will reject them, unwilling to see how much love we shared.
He was so close. I could feel his breath stirring my hair. I expected desire to flash thorough me, hot and bright, but instead a slow, comforting warmth slid down my spine. This was my dearest friend. The man who had comforted me during my greatest sorrows. Who always had a silly joke to make me laugh or a shoulder for me to cry on. Wes Janson, the only person who made me feel safe. The only person who made me feel whole.
Tentatively, I slid my arms around his neck, looking up at him through my lashes. He seemed so uncertain as he placed his hands on my hips, his fingers barely brushing the velvet of my skirts. Tipping my head up, my lips whispered against his. "I love you."
It’s amazing what those three little words can do. Locked away in the heart for so long, until they become an absolute truth. Until they become such a fundamental part of the soul that once said, you cannot understand how they could be left in silence for so long.
That fleeting touch intensified, spinning out into something deep and rich. I was drowning. I didn’t care. This was Wes that held me. This was Wes who was unraveling my soul and weaving it into something infinitely stronger. This was the man who I had given my heart to and had given me his in return.
It wouldn’t be simple. Gods, it would never be easy. Love never was. But I had finally found what I had been searching so long for. I had found my peace, my love, my soul…
And all it had taken was three little words…
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