Yub Yub, Lieutenant
Shalla Nelprin took a sip out of her glass and watched in amused detachment as Wes Janson tried to start line dance with Elassar and Runt. He was, at the moment, unsuccessful. Shalla didnít mind though. As amusing as it would have been to see the dignified Elassar kicking his legs up and down, Wes Jansonís current state of undress made for a good form of entertainment anyway.
She hadnít been kidding when she had told him that he had a nice rear. He did. The Commander was a stickler for physical fitness. Shalla suspected that Wes passed with flying colors in every respect - she had known this by how wide his shoulders were, and now she knew that it remained the case farther down.
That thought made her smile slightly and she took another sip of her glass of Whyrenís Reserve. She had to give Han Solo credit. It didnít matter how far away he was from civilization, his liquor cabinet was well-stocked. Shalla suspected it was a Corellian thing.
She grinned as Jansonís bright orange cape flipped up, exposing a well-defined calf muscle. She knew he had noticed. She knew that he had no shame.
Myn Donos had shared the details of his conversation with Wes two days ago. You canít look dignified when youíre having fun. The fundamental principle the second-in-command of the New Republicís chic new fighter squadron based his life upon. If Wes had ever, at any time in his life, been serious, it would come as the greatest shock since Greedo shooting first. If Greedo had shot first, Shalla mused, she wouldnít be drinking Corellian brandy at the moment, watching a superior officer make an ass of himself. Hence, there was little chance that Wes had ever been serious.
She re-ran that analogy through her head and concluded that she probably didnít need anymore brandy. What the hell. She took another sip.
There was a thump as Dia Passik tossed herself against the wall. She leaned back and followed Shallaís gaze to the center of the room where Wes had managed to conscript Kell Tainer, Face Loran, and Hobbie Klivian and Corran Horn of Rogue Squadron into his congo line.
"Ah," Dia said, a knowing smile on her face, "I get it."
Shalla glanced over at her bunk mate. "What?" Stupid question. Dia knew exactly what she was looking at. She grinned. "Oh, you mean the lieutenant."
Dia raised what would have been an eyebrow had she had one. "Nice rear, huh?"
Shalla nodded and took another sip of her drink. Sheíd need a refill in another minute. She smiled at Dia again. "Nice rear."
The Twiílek laughed. Shalla joined her. Dia appraised the congo line which had grown in size. Hobbie Klivian and Wes Janson had gotten hold of Tycho Celchu, the commanding officer of Rogue Squadron in Commander Anitillesí absence. Corran Horn had grabbed Nawara Ven, Rogue Squadronís XO. The line had doubled in magnitude. Shalla had to give Wes credit.
Dia threw back her lekku and smiled at her boyfriend. Face winked back. "So, you going to move on it?" she asked after a moment.
Shalla had drained the last of her brandy. It returned itself to her glass as she spit it out in shock. "Excuse me?"
Dia looked at her, red eyes wide with false innocence. Somehow it didnít quite come across the way it was supposed to. "Didnít you hear me?"
Shalla rolled her eyes. "Youíre ridiculous."
Dia dropped the innocent shtick. "Perhaps." She grinned again, displaying a row of sharp teeth. The congo line was breaking up. She shrugged as she detached herself from the wall to rejoin Face. Turning back towards her roommate, she added, "By the way, Iím staying in Faceís room tonight."
And with that, she ducked into the milling crowd of pilots. Shalla made a face. Good eye candy, nothing more, she told herself.
There was another thump as an orange clad body launched itself at her wall. With Dia, Shalla had only felt the vibration. With Wes, greater mass in greater concentration made her bounce with the impact.
"You the wallflower for the night?" he asked her and grinned, displaying a row of even white teeth.
Shalla grinned back at him. "Yub yub, lieutenant."
Wes sighed and smacked a hand over his face in an exaggerated gesture of despair. He groaned. "Iím never going to live that one down."
Shalla laughed and patted the side of his face. "Itís okay, Wedge will tire of it eventually."
They exchanged a look. "No he wonít," Wes said, laughing. "But Iíll let him have his fun on this one. Iíve got plenty of memories of pranks equally unforgetableÖ"
Shalla raised her eyebrows and looked down suggestively at Wesí demurely covered bottom half. "Iím not sure thatís the case."
Wes grinned rakishly at her. "And you havenít seen the best of it."
She opened her mouth to respond and then quickly shut it again. Wes was flirting with her. Not that that in itself was all that great of a shock. Wes had half-girlfriends and girlfriends all throughout Intelligence Division and Starfighter Command. That was one of the running jokes of Wraith Squadron - who would be seduced by the lieutenant first? Bets had been given and a pool had sprung up. Wes himself had bet in favor of Koyi Komad, the Rogue mechanic. But it wasnít Koyi Komad, Shalla mused absently. It had been Shalla Nelprin, resident ass-kicker.
She didnít think anyone had bet on her.
She smiled back at the lieutenant, making sure she employed the dimples that had been so effective in the past. This increase in charm was not lost on the lieutenant. His eyebrows went up and his boyish, handsome face took on the cool look she knew he employed when he recognized a competition.
Specifically when he wanted to win.
Take a dose of your own medicine, sir, Shalla thought to herself. "Is that an offer of a private showing, lieutenant?" she said aloud.
Wes waggled his eyebrows. "You a bit eager, lieutenant?"
"No more so then you seem to be."
Shalla smiled again and glanced down at her empty glass. "Thereís always the traditional way to get what you want."
Not much went by Janson, and he missed nothing at all when it came to his specific strengths. Seduction was a game he knew well. His smile was charming and debonair as he bowed deeply. "I will get your refill, miss." He took the glass from her hand and allowed his control of the cloak to slip slightly, revealing muscle definition and a dusting of dark hair on pale skin. Shalla felt her breath catch. Those shoulders were every bit as muscular as she had allowed herself to daydream about.
Wes heard her. As he ducked back towards the bar, Shalla noticed that the smile had turned triumphant.
She wasnít sure she would mind losing this round.
By the time Janson returned with two fresh glasses of General Soloís best, Shalla had regained her bearing and had shaken off the effects of his carefully revealed shoulders. She had also formulated a much better laid plan. The effects it had were apparent immediately after Wes returned to their back corner.
That wasnít exactly true. It took him a moment to notice that her flightsuit was unzipped a little lower than it had been before. The genuine shock that had registered on his face, however, was enough that Shalla to added a point to her side of the tally she was keeping in her head.
Never tell me that keeping up the image of a prude never helped anything.
She brushed her braid out of her eyes, making sure that the movement had plenty of bounce behind it.
Wes smiled at her sourly. "Ouch."
Shalla put her hand down and grinned at him. "People usually just succumb to you, donít they?"
He sipped at his brandy and made a face. "How can you expect them not to. Rugged good looks; dark, unruly hair, that makes fingers just itch to brush it back; ice blue eyes that can reflect any emotion, dark and mysterious or light and innocent; a figure that just screams to be - "
Shalla put her hand up. "How you fit yourself into an X-wing cockpit with an ego that size, I donít know."
"It was much easier in a Y-wing," he admitted. He took another drink. "So, you going to fix that?" He gestured at her half-exposed chest with his brandy glass.
Shalla looked down. "I suppose so, now that the shock factor has worn off. I must say though, that the look on your face was priceless." She looked back at him. His blue eyes were twinkling mischievously. "Unless you object, sir."
He leaned in closer, so close that Shalla could smell the sweet smell of the whisky he was drinking. It hadnít gone sour yet. Thank god for your training, dad, Shalla thought as her pulse started to race. Cool under fire. And she had to call on every little bit of combat training she had to keep desire from manifesting itself on her face. She stared back insolently even though she really wanted to reach out and touch him, sans obnoxious cloak.
"Well?" she asked when he had failed to answer.
His voice was huskier. Suggestive of the way male voices often sounded when they wanted something specific. It had its desired effect, as Shalla found herself wanting him even more. "I think that would be a war crime, lieutenant," he murmured in her ear.
She crossed her arms over her chest hiding the object - objects - in question. "Sometimes I think you have these phrases planned out before hand."
He withdrew, leaving her feeling empty somehow. He grinned rather lopsidedly, making his countenance appear boyish once again. "When youíre right, youíre right."
He leaned back on the wall and handed Shallaís forgotten glass of brandy to her. He scanned the crowd, which was rapidly thinning out as people from all off-duty squadrons disappeared to get some sleep before they returned to war tomorrow. He gestured towards a blond pilot with what was normally a very dour face, but was, currently, thrown back in a raucous laugh. Shalla knew him as Lieutenant Derek "Hobbie" Klivian, currently Rogue Squadronís second-in-command, and like Janson, Commander Antilles, and Colonel Tycho Celchu, one of the Rebellionís greatest fighter pilots.
"Thatís my roommate." He paused and considered for a moment. "And my partner in crime. Well usually, anyway. In the last few days, he has been in our quarters while off-duty a total of twice, both times to gather fresh clothing and basic amenities." Shalla figured that she knew where this was going. "Heís not slept there for some time. I do not expect him to sleep there tonight."
Shalla looked at him. You couldnít get a more blatant invitation than that. She smiled and took a sip of her whiskey. This was going well. "Funny you should mention that. Diaís not returning, either."
Wes smiled smoothly. "Well that settles it then."
"Which one?" she asked.
He pulled on her hand - the one that was not currently holding a drink - and said, "Weíll let fate intervene on that one. Whoever cracks first." He kissed her hand and winked. "Until later, lieutenant."
And with a swirl of orange, he was gone, leaving Shalla with a racing heart and a sardonic smile. "That man definitely practices in front of a mirror," she said to herself and drained her glass.
Continued in Part Two