"Stand back, ladies and gents," Elizabeth crowed, "she has the Force and she knows how to use it!" She stood with Antigone, Tycho, and Wedge, watching Mar'E convice random Disney characters to form a Conga line with tourists. Claire, Wes and Hobbie had joined in because, well, because they were Claire, Wes and Hobbie.
"Mommy, why is that man twinkly?" a cherubic little boy asked as Hobbie danced by.
"I think he may have gone overboard on the glitter," Wedge said with a laugh.
Wes bounded over to them, his expression merry. "This place is great!" he hooted. "Dancing in the street, people in big foam heads--I wonder if they'd let me wear one..."
"Simmer down, Wes," Tycho chided.
"...and women in shorts," he finished, turning his head to watch a couple of blondes walk by. "Very nice." They turned toward him scornfully, and he winked at them before sitting down on the pavement in front of the group. "I could get used to this."
"Come on shake your body baby do the Conga..." the line passed by. Those who knew the words sang along; the majority just hummed off-key. Mar'E left the line, grinning wildly, and danced over with Hobbie right behind her.
"So now what do we do?" she asked, blowing a stray lock of hair from her face.
Wedge shrugged. "We could finish up here in the Showcase, then go on to Future World."
Elizabeth shook her head. "Not enough time. The park closes at 9:00."
"Well, then." Wes stood and brushed off the seat of his pants. "You guys go on to Furture whatever and Antigone and I will finish here." He smiled ingratiatingly and held out his hand.
Antigone smiled wryly and accepted, then laid the back of her other hand against her forehead in a dramatic gesture. "Don't worry about me... I'll sacrifice myself so you can escape. Run! Flee!" Wes laughed and pulled her along. "Save yourselves!"
"It's nice to see you can loosen up."
"I'm always loose, unless I'm being stalked."
"I'm not stalking. I'm wearing you down with my charm."
"What charm?" Their voices faded as they walked into the crowd.
Tycho grinned. "Now taking bets. Is she going to kiss him or kill him?" - - - - - - -
"Why are those men wearing shorts?" Wes whispered.
"Those are liederhosen," Antigone explained, then smiled wickedly. "I bet we could find you a pair in one of these shops." She was rewarded by Wes' startled expression and quick refusal. The pair stood in the Germany section, watching a polka band. She was somewhat taken aback by Wes' continued attention. She kind of expected him to back off when he no longer had an audience, but he remained as charming/obnoxious as before.
"Can you dance to this music?" he asked, looking at the musicians curiously.
"Huh? Oh, sure." To her great relief, Antigone hadn't squeaked once since they'd left the group. She'd even managed a couple of witty retorts.
"Will you teach me?" He sounded serious. Antigone glanced around, then nodded. So what if no one else was dancing. What better way to complete the surreality of the day? It was easy enough to show him the steps; it wasn't a complicated dance and Wes caught on quickly. Soon they were bouncing about in a small circle in front of the band. The other tourists smiled indulgently and stayed far out of their way.
Wes pulled her closer and smiled, prompting Antigone to wonder what he was up to. His hand pressed firmly against the small of her back and she was grateful for the quick pace of the music, since she didn't have to speak. She wasn't sure if she could trust her voice that close to him. As the last strain of the song died away, he leaned down and whispered, "I knew you'd end up in my arms."
Fighting the urge to smack him, Antigone pulled away. "Is this how you act with every female?"
"Pretty much." He didn't seemed discouraged by her irritation; instead, he slid his arm around her waist and steered her toward the lagoon.
"Well, that's flattering." The corners of her mouth quirked up. "No wonder I've read so many stories where you get slapped."
Wes laughed and nodded. "Well, I figure if she's worth knowing, she's worth getting slapped by. I have to take that chance." He glanced sideways at the pretty girl. "You think I should be more subtle?"
"Not if you don't want to. You have to be... well, you."
They strolled along a flower bed by the lagoon, watching little white birds flit around the water. Wes rubbed her back, waiting for her to stiffen or recoil. When she didn't, he felt encouraged enough to ask her a not-so-subtle question. "If I tone it down a bit, will you kiss me?"
"Maybe," she teased.
"Well," she looked up at him innocently, "you have to take that chance." Wes laughed. "True." - - - - - - -
Hobbie splashed water on his face and scrubbed vigorously. He was starting to look odd; sparkly in patches. By the time they'd left the dark confines of Spaceship Earth, most of the glitter around his mouth and on his neck was gone. Oh well, at least Mar'E looked as splotchy as he did. He smiled at his reflection.
Even his normally pessimistic outlook couldn't find anything wrong with his situation. Except for that pesky technically-being-AWOL thing, and that wasn't his fault. He wiped away the last of the glitter. Yes, if this had to happen, they couldn't have ended up with anyone more perfect than these women. Funny; if he'd been confronted with a character from his favorite holo, he'd have freaked. They just asked for proof, then took it in stride. Huh.
"Are you done yet, Twinkly?" Wedge stood in the doorway, grinning mirthfully. "The ladies await. We're supposed to meet Wes and Antigone in a few minutes." He followed Hobbie out the door. "I haven't seen you smile so much since the last time you got out of bacta."
"Yup." They waited for a group of slow-moving elderly people.
"You like her, huh?"
"Yup." Hobbie favored Wedge with his best well-duh look.
"Good. She seems a bit fond of you, too."
That earned a big smile. "Yup."
The women stood with Tycho next to a large topiary shaped like a mouse's head. There were an awful lot of happy mice in this place; Hobbie wasn't sure what that symbolized. Claire looked up and waved at them, then turned back to Izzy, who was apparently getting teased mercilessly. Mar'E smiled at him as he walked up and kissed the tip of her nose.
Tycho lifted Claire's arm to check her watch. "We've got three minutes to get to The Living Earth to meet them."
"Don't worry," Elizabeth rolled her eyes. "Anti's never on time. I'll say we've got a good ten minutes."
"With Wes... twenty at least," Wedge commented. It was almost 8:30, and the sun was setting pretty quickly. "Everyone's trying to beat the crowd to the exit."
Claire snorted. "Yeah, well more power to them. They're taking the line with them."
The group moved against the grain, keeping a careful eye on each other as they headed for their meeting place. Claire took Wedge and Tycho's hands and walked between them, drawing many an envious eye. Mar'E walked behind with Hobbie, counting how many dirty looks her friend was getting.
"That's fourteen. Ten from women and four from men. Must be that Rogue charm." The men smiled and preened while Claire gave them both a kiss on the cheek.
"Hey, look who's here already." Wedge nodded to a bench, where Wes sat. Antigone lay beside him, her head in his lap.
"Is he scarred?" Mar'E wanted to know. "Big red handprint? Nail marks?"
Hobbie lifted Wes' face up and inspected him. "Nah. They must be getting along. How disappointing."
Antigone blushed and sat up. "Are we ready?"
"Yeah. Let's see if we can find the Turtle." Mar'E yawned and stretched.
"The Turtle?" Tycho asked.
"You know, that thing you were looking at when we found you. The Turtle of Love."
Hobbie shook his head and took her hand. "You're very strange."
"Is that a problem?" She arched an eyebrow at him.
- - - - - - -
"We've got four bedrooms, so there should be plenty of room," Elizabeth unlocked the door to the cabin. "I can bunk with Claire."
"There's laundry stuff in the back, too, if you want to wash your clothes." Antigone added.
Tycho wandered into the laundry room. "How does this work?" he called back.
"Don't ask me," Antigone shrugged. "I'm domestically challenged."
Elizabeth threw herself onto the couch next to Wedge. He yawned and stretched out, throwing his legs over the arm.
Wes sat in a chair beside them. "I guess I'll share a room with..." he trailed off, looking at Antigone. She rolled her eyes and shook her head. "...Tycho."
The Alderaanian nodded and pointed toward one of the doors. "Does it matter?"
"No. We haven't settled in," Elizabeth assured him. She leaned her head back against the couch and closed her eyes, wondering at her day, hoping it wouldn't all turn out to be a dream. Antigone excused herself and chose a bedroom. Wes came sneaking through the common area wearing a towel on his way to clean his clothes, prompting sleepy catcalls; then he, too, retired. The two couples sprawled across the overstuffed furniture and talked into the night.
Continued in Part Five