She sat there, staring out of the transparisteel viewport, chin resting in the palm of her hand, trying to forget the scene. His laughter, her smile-as he had swept her into his arms and kissed her. His real love, Iella Wessiri.
Who was NOT Cheriss ke Hanadi.
Cheriss wiped a stray tear the threatened to spill down her freckled cheek. It was stupid-it really was. General Wedge Antilles was twice her age, handsome, a starfighter pilot and a hero. What would he want with some kid from an unknown world? Who was she fooling?
"A credit for your thoughts?"
Cheriss jumped at the mournful voice.
"I'm sorry, did I startle you?" Derek "Hobbie" Klivian asked. He ran a hand through his tousled blond hair and looked at her with steady blue eyes.
She blushed. "No, it's okay. I was just looking out. I've never been in hyperspace before-it's quite beautiful."
Hobbie knew she was lying. It was obvious she had been watching Wedge and Iella cuddling together in the main lounge. Hell-everyone had been watching Wedge and Iella-they were enough to make a Talz vomit.
Instead, he sat down beside the young girl, sinking into the cushions of the Star Dome. Appropriatly named, the Star Dome was simply a small, round "room" with the upper "walls" and "ceiling" constructed entirely of transparisteel. This enabled passengers to sit down and enjoy the spectacular views of hyperspace.
Cheriss turned around and looked up into the Rogue pilot's face. "Did you want something?"
Hobbie shook his head. "No, I just thought I'd join you." He stretched his booted legs out before him. "No matter how many times I've been in space, I never get tired of looking at it." He grinned at her. "Besides, I always like seeing the reactions of hyperspace virgins."
Cheriss's cheeks turned bright crimson. Hobbie laughed, then grew a bit more serious. He reached for her hand and squeezed it. "Are you okay?"
She nodded. "I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be?"
Hobbie looked at her a bit more closely. She really was a pretty little thing-silky black hair framing her soft, freckled face. Dark blue-violet eyes fringed with long lashes. "You're lying."
She scowled. "And how in the felching suns would that be any of your business? I'm going back to my room." She stood up and turned to stomp off. Hobbie leapt up and grabbed her wrist.
"Wait! Don't go, Cheriss." She turned around, biting her lip. He could see tears forming in her eyes. "Cheriss...don't."
"Shut up, all right? I know what you're going to say-I was a stupid, stupid kid, a little nobody-"
"You are NOT a 'stupid little nobody kid,'" Hobbie cried fiercely. "Stop beating yourself up like this. And quit being so overly nice to Iella. You have nothing to feel bad about."
Cheriss was mortified. Was she that transparent? "Major Klivian-"
"Hobbie-let me go!" He let go of her wrist and watched her flee.
"Women! Sithspit-how does Wes do it?" Hobbie muttered to himself, and stalked off to his own quarters.
To be Continued...
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