World's Sexiest Men


Hi guys, just feeling at a loose end so thought I would post an entry. I am listing my idea of the ten sexiest men and would love input from you guys.

1) No contest has to be Johnny Depp - the brown eyes, the facial structure, the extraordinary talent just a perfect specimen.

2) Keanu Reeves - I know he's ageing but is still too cute for words.

3) Hugh Jackman -Gorgeous body, gorgeous face, amazing talent and a genuinely nice guy.

4) Jude Law - Those eyes do me in every time.

5) Josh Hartnett - Big brown eyes, so cute.

6) Dermott Mulroney - That little scar on his top lip just begs to be kissed.

7) Shemar Moore - Derek in Criminal Minds, an adonis if ever was one.

8) George Clooney - Makes every list, will be sexy until dead.

9) Taye Diggs - Sam in Private Practice, just gorgeous.

10) Last but not least Brad Pitt - Didn't like him in the past as he was a pretty boy but is definitely improving with age.

Anyway these are my thoughts, would love to hear others.

I hope everyone has a wonderful xmas and a safe and happy new year.

AYC out!




Luke sat in the dining salon of their apartment gazing at the fancy gourmet meal his wife had just dished up for him. Having come from a rural environment Luke had always preferred simple food. He stared at the small portion of an unfamiliar meat covered in a sticky looking orange sauce. All of these rich sauces and strong spices he had been consuming lately were wreaking havoc with his digestive system. The constant indigestion and intermittent nausea only added to his already poor health. He realized he could not allow this situation to continue. He knew a marriage dissolution was possible if both parties were agreeable. He cleared his throat;




‘Yes my love?’ she responded the familiar smile on her face.


Luke flinched at the term of affection, the frequency of which was upsetting his digestion as well. If this continued he would have to give up eating altogether.


‘Ciella are you happy?’


Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open in a little O.


‘Why of course I am happy honey. You silly boy thinking you are not making happy.’


Luke frowned this was going to be harder than he thought;


‘Ciella, I am not happy.’


She jumped up from her seat and rushed to his side, her eyes huge and shimmering with tears, lower lip trembling;


‘How can you say that Lukie? I work so hard to keep a nice home and cook you wonderful meals. What am I doing wrong?’


She clung to his arm desperately her hands alternately gripping his arm then reaching up to stroke his face. He couldn’t stand it anymore and leapt to his feet,


‘Ciella this isn’t working, I think we should talk about getting a marriage dissolution.’


His young wife’s face changed dramatically. The vulnerable teary expression was gone in a flash and a hard, thin lipped expression of rage took its place. Luke gasped in shock. Ciella rose and slowly stalked toward her husband her expression dangerous. Luke unconsciously began backing up until he was close to the wall,


‘This marriage will end when I decide it should end,’ she hissed, ‘preferably when you are dead!’


Luke looked confused, ‘Ciella I don’t understand, what’s gotten into you?’


She threw back her head and laughed, ‘Oh you really are a hick aren’t you?’ her voice was scathing.


Suddenly her hand shot out and seized a handful of Luke’s hair slamming his head against the wall. He was so surprised he could not react quickly enough before she rammed a knee into his groin. Luke doubled over in pain. Ciella leaned close to his ear as though whispering to a lover;


‘Did you really think I would let you plant your filthy seed in me?’


She gave him a hard shove knocking him to the ground Luke caught himself on his hands and immediately rolled onto his back. He blinked the tears from his eyes and instinctively reached for his hip looking for his lightsaber then remembered he didn’t wear it at home anymore. He stared up at what had been his sweet, gentle wife and could not believe her transformation into a sharp featured shrew. He tried to rise only to find Ciella’s knee pressed into his chest holding him still. He gasped when he realized she had a vibroblade pressed to his throat.


Luke tried to call on the force to give strength to his muscles hoping to throw her off. But his physical weakness combined with lack of sleep made his force control weak. Maybe it was better if it ended now. He really didn’t think his life could get worse as he felt the slow trickle of tears down the sides of his face. He closed his eyes trying to send a force message to Leia, the children and finally to Mara, telling her he loved her. A sudden bang made him turn his head. Framed in the doorway looking like an avenging angel was Mara Jade, her fiery hair blowing around her and gleaming from the overhead light as her foot rested on the door she had just kicked in, her lightsaber ignited and held firmly in her two handed grip. Surprisingly she smiled,


‘I love you too farmboy’


Her gaze turned to Ciella and a slow smile crossed her face as she took in the weapon in her hand;


‘You want to play with blades bitch?’ she paused ‘Well let’s play’


Ciella rose slowly a snarl coming from her throat. The two women approached each other as Luke lay on the floor transfixed. Mara moved her lightsaber in front of her as her eyes locked on her opponent as she slowly circled her. Ciella’s hand slid behind her back and Luke saw her reversing the blade in her hand. She was clearly preparing to throw it.


‘Mara, look out,’ he cried seconds before the razor sharp blade flew through the air.


Luckily Mara’s finely honed danger instincts and strong reflexes were faster. She had thrown herself to the side then rolled and pivoted her feet under her launching her back upright. She smiled as she realized her opponent was now unarmed. Ciella did not look concerned as she slowly circled around Mara. Mara’s lightsaber hummed held in the en guarde position, her eyes following her opponent. Ciella turned so that her right side was facing Mara, her left hand slipping into the thigh high slit of her gown, seconds later she dropped to one knee a small deadly looking blaster in her hand. She fired. Luke cried out as he saw Mara fall backward.


‘Mara!’ he screamed, ‘No! please no!’


Ciella approached her husband smiling at him, ‘You make me sick you pathetic man.’


‘Oh yeah,’ a voice said behind her.


She turned to find a tall angry redhead right behind her. A small trickle of blood could be seen trailing down from Mara’s shoulder. She reached out and snatched the blaster from Ciella’s hand,


‘You’re a lousy shot,’ she commented before spinning around and sweeping her lightsaber down in a lethal arc. Ciella fell to the ground an expression of surprise still on her face. Luke stared at his dead wife the only sound in the room was Mara’s ragged breathing. Luke pushed himself up to his knees unable to believe what he had just seen. Mara came toward him then dropped into his open arms her arms wrapping around his neck in a vice tight grip.


‘Oh, Mara’ he gasped fighting back tears, ‘I thought I had lost you!’


Mara trailed kisses up his throat then pulled back. Tears were coursing down her beautiful face,


‘You’ll never lose me farmboy!’ she murmured before leaning in for his kiss.




Three months later….


The newlyweds entered their hotel room in a tangle of arms and legs, closing the door with their elbows as their hands and lips were occupied.


‘Hello Mrs Skywalker,’


Luke leaned back gazing at the beautiful green eyes of his new wife. His eyes travelled over her lustrous red gold hair spilling in curls down over her shoulders. Her creamy shimmersilk gown hugged every curve as his hands traced slowly over her back, waist and hips. He drank in everything with a smile only to see a small frown creasing Mara’s brow,


‘What’s wrong my love?’ he asked his hand cupping her face.


‘Oh, it’s nothing,’ she murmured.


Luke locked his thumb and forefinger on her small square chin. He held his hand there until her eyes met his,


‘Mara, no secrets, no lies, remember?’


She nodded, leaning forward to brush her lips against her husband’s;


‘It’s just I’m not the first Mrs Skywalker am I?’


Luke slid both hands into her silky hair as he brought her closer,


‘Mara in my eyes, you are the first, the last, the only Mrs Skywalker!’


He bent slightly to lift his wife into his arms. Wife, that word now echoed in his mind filling him with wonder and joy. His mouth closed over hers as he moved toward the bedroom. Mara returned his kiss enthusiastically as her hand rapidly undid the buttons at the neck of his tunic. Mara’s mouth moved along his jaw line until her teeth closed gently on his ear lobe,


‘Hey Luke,’ she murmured,


‘Hmmm,’ he replied while he nuzzled her neck.


Now it was Mara’s turn to tilt his head up to meet her gaze, ‘I was just wondering how you feel about walls.’


Luke wasn’t sure he heard her correctly, ‘Walls?’ he asked.


Mara slid her fingers up to his temples sending him the force image of her erotic dream that now seemed so long ago. She heard her husband gasp,


‘Why Mrs. Skywalker I am sure I can grow to love walls.’




On the other side of Coruscant Leia Organa Solo tucked her youngest son into bed. He reached his arms up to her for a hug. She closed her arms around him kissing his velvety soft cheek,




‘Yes Ani?’


‘Uncle Luke is very happy now.’









Ciella Skywalker glanced at the chrono as she hurriedly finished a holo call with her father. Luke would probably be home soon she thought, irritated.


‘Ciella is everything going according to plan?’ he asked his formerly beaming rotund face looking harsh.


‘Yes, Papa, the Jedi master looks paler and unhappier every day. I do not think he could access his precious force even if he wanted to right now.’


Goran Harcourt smiled, ‘Excellent my dear,’


Ciella glanced over her shoulder listening for approaching footsteps and heard nothing;


‘Papa how much longer must I do this, I hate this place.’


‘Patience my dear,’ he said sharply, ‘the damage we do must be irreversible the Jedi must be destroyed mentally and emotionally. Killing him would be too easy and too quick. He must suffer. The Chief of State must also be taken out.’


Ciella smiled, ‘Oh don’t worry Papa, Organa Solo is looking as miserable as her precious brother these days,’


‘It is not enough Ciella, she must step down. Then the infighting in the New Republic senate will tear it to shreds,’


‘Of course Papa, it is what we both want. I just wish it would be faster, I can’t stand it when that man touches me,’ she hesitated, ‘although fortunately he doesn’t really do that much anymore!’ she broke into peals of laughter.


Her father smiled indulgently, ‘I am anxious for you to come home too my darling daughter. Soon my love.’


Ciella blew a kiss to the monitor then turned as she heard softly approaching footsteps accompanied by the annoying beeps of that wretched droid. Ciella stood up brushing a hand down the front of her new black gown. She knew the colour was striking against her creamy skin. It was important she gave the impression of a woman anxious to please her husband. She sniffed the appetizing smelling meal warming in the kitchen. Really the woman she had hired to prepare these meals then leave was quite a good cook. The woman she paid to come in and clean the apartment was equally efficient. Both women had been paid to keep their mouths shut. Ciella had never done housework in her life and she was not about to start now.




Mara found herself seated in the library in the old Imperial palace a few days later. She had taken to spending quite a bit time there lately. It seemed in the disorder and uncertainty of her life presently she had started yearning for the stability of the Empire. So she found herself idly browsing through data cards of old Imperial records.


She had come across a card box containing records of all the Imperial staff lost when the first death star exploded. Although Mara would never wish for the return of the emperor she knew she could not forget the thousands who perished aboard the massive battle station, many of whom had been friends of hers. She still remembered the slam she received through the force that day. It was similar to the force rupture from the Alderaan destruction. Any massive loss of life created an almost irreparable tear in the force. Mara knew that Luke had never taken those deaths lightly either. His strong moral compass was one of the things she loved about him. Her hand froze over the data card box. Did her mind just throw the word ‘love’ at her? She took several deep breaths as she tried to deal with what she had just realized. That she loved Luke Skywalker very much. Sithspawn! She muttered to herself taking the box down knowing that scrolling through a massive list of dead people’s names should provide an adequate distraction.


An hour later Mara still sat perched on the uncomfortable library chair feeling shellshocked. It was staggering reading through card after card of victim’s names. So many familiar names had jumped out at her, Marcus Aarenson a TIE pilot who used to tease her about her hair, Mariander Barrow who she had shared a dormitory room with on the Executor, Vader’s super star destroyer. Mara remembered many nights of whispers and giggling and she felt a massive lump in her throat. She now understood how Leia Organa Solo probably felt every day.


Mara’s hand shook as it came to the last card. This one listed the senior officers on board the death star. The card would be more detailed Mara knew. It usually contained details of the officer’s families. The emperor felt very strongly about maintaining superior genes and the value of a strong family line. Mara slipped the data card into the viewer and gasped as the first name jumped out at her;


Governor Randall Tarkin – Senior Admiral – Imperial service 25 years, former TIE fighter pilot and personal assistant to emperor Palpatine.


Wife Vallay Harcourt - Offspring – one daughter Niaranda Ardiff married to Captain Barlow Ardiff.


Mara froze Harcourt? It couldn’t be the same Harcourt could it? She continued reading.


Siblings – Marcello Tarkin – brother, commanding officer of stormtrooper brigade 565

Wife Aiellie Stormwriter,  Offspring - Nil


Siblings via marriage – Gorad Harcourt – Wife – Aranie Fel, Offspring –one son Goran Harcourt.


Mara felt a wave of nausea pass through her, tiny spots danced before her eyes. She gripped the edge of the table. Her mind reeled wondering what the hell these people were playing at. She thought back over the last few weeks at the holo pictures she had seen of Luke looking thinner, unhappier and paler. It would seem this relative of Tarkin enjoyed the art of torture just like his uncle.


Well they were going to harm Luke Skywalker over her dead body.


Mara slammed the card box back in the shelf, adjusted her lightsaber and stormed out of the library heading for her speeder.







Leia Organa Solo and her noisy brood had finally left the Skywalker apartment. Ciella sighed in relief. She really hoped she would not have to put up with Luke’s extended family on a regular basis. Then she remembered that the sweet, gentle Ciella they knew would be happy to entertain Luke’s friends and family. She snorted, her eyes hard, how much longer would she have to play the sweet, simpering wife before she could put her father’s plan into action? Ciella smiled as she thought about the sad face of her husband, it often took all of her self control not to laugh in his face.


Clearly none of these simpletons realized that Goran Harcourt was the nephew of Governor Tarkin. The man who once been Prime Minister to emperor Palpatine. The man they had destroyed with the first death star. The death star he had been in command of and that had disintegrated at the hands of Luke Skywalker. The Luke Skywalker they would destroy piece by piece.




A week later Talon Karrde was back in his command chair on board the Wild Karrde. This time however he felt marginally better as he gazed at the back of Mara Jade’s head. Her hair was neatly braided and to all outward appearances she was the same woman who had always operated the navigational system of the freighter. Yet Karrde could see the marked differences in her. What was before him was a pale reflection of the fiery, intelligent woman who had a sharp wit and an irreverent humour. He wondered if that Mara would ever return.




Leia Organa Solo sat at her desk trying to focus on the budgeting proposal laid out before her. Within moments she knew she was kidding herself. She couldn’t get Luke’s gaunt pale face out of her mind. She also couldn’t forget that she was largely responsible for her brother’s misery. Her desk comm. sounded and Leia sighed hoping it wasn’t someone like Borsk Feyla wanting to see her.


‘Yes Winter,’


‘Your highness, General Solo is here to see you,’


Leia’s face lit up with a bright smile, it was not very often her beloved husband came to visit her at work. The door slid open and she saw the familiar lop sided grin and confident swagger that was so much part of the man she loved. Leia rose from her desk and walked around and into her husband’s outstretched arms.


‘Hey beautiful,’ he murmured kissing the top of her head.


‘Han, I’m so glad you came,’


The couple moved across to the sofa that sat across from Leia’s desk. The sofa was in front of the floor to ceiling windows and enjoyed a spectacular view of this remarkable city. Leia sat for a moment enjoying the warmth of her husband’s arm around her shoulders then sighed;


‘Did you find her?’ she asked knowing this conversation needed to be dealt with.


He nodded but remained silent.


‘How is she?’ Leia was terrified for a moment hoping with all her heart that Mara Jade was once again her old self.


Han shook his head, ‘She is not good,’ he replied, ‘in fact I’d say she’s in as bad if not worse condition than Luke.’


Leia rose to her feet and began to pace around her office feeling tears sting her eyes. This mess seemed to be getting worse. Leia now avoided spending time with the newlywed couple. Ciella’s cheerfulness and blindness to her husband’s moods made Leia want to strike her. While Luke’s pallor, quietness and increasing age and grief lines on his face almost tore her heart out.


‘Oh Han,’ She murmured stopping in front of her husband feeling the constricting pain in her chest, ‘what can we do?’


She started sobbing and Han was on his feet his strong arms holding her as he shushed her murmuring meaningless words of love. ‘I don’t know sweetheart, I just don’t know.’




Mara was moving her belongings back into her Coruscant apartment. Discrete enquiries had assured her that the new Skywalkers were living in a new complex on the other side of the city. Mara hoped that meant she would not run into them. She didn’t know if she could bear looking into those familiar deep blue eyes, at least not without falling apart. Mostly she didn’t think she could tolerate seeing the smug face of Ciella Skywalker.




Luke sat in his X-wing digesting what he had just been told. Mara was back on Coruscant. Every impulse in his body screamed at him to rush to her side. But he knew he had to be careful. He was not willing to put Mara in a position for potential gossip. He had tried to contact her multiple times through the force but her shields were impenetrable. It made him realize she was growing stronger in the force and there was nothing he could do to help that development. He didn’t actually know what he would say to her, he just knew he had to try. Missing her was a 24 hour ache. Luke had taken to spending long periods of time either working on or just sitting in his X-wing. There was something very comforting about being in such a familiar place. The new apartment in an unfamiliar part of Coruscant was still unsettling him after almost two months of marriage. Had it really been that long? He asked himself, it felt like a millennium. But he knew he only had himself to blame. If he hadn’t been so desperate for that committed relationship and the possibility of having children he may not have married Ciella. Well at least children were still a possibility. Ciella assured him every night that she was as anxious to have little ones as he was. Although Luke doubted the wisdom of bringing children into a loveless marriage.


Luke glanced at his chrono and realized he should get back. His wife would be wondering where he was. Wife, that word again. In the past it had always represented something positive. Now it was a millstone around his neck. He glanced over his shoulder at Artoo,


‘Are you ready to go home Artoo?’


The droid tootled uncertainly. He then made a sound that was undoubtedly a raspberry. It seemed Artoo didn’t like Ciella much and the feeling was mutual. Ciella had made it very clear that it was strange for Luke to have conversations with a droid. But Luke did not see Artoo as a droid, he saw him as a friend. After everything they had been through together plus the insightful and slightly mischievous personality Artoo had developed made him treasure the little droid. It was why Luke had never had Artoo’s memory wiped as was the common practice among rogue squadron pilots. He like Artoo just the way he was.


Luke sighed as he watched the hydrolift lower Artoo from the droid socket. He patted the little droid’s dome affectionately and said;


‘Come on Artoo’


Artoo rolled quietly along behind his master. He noted the slump of his master’s shoulders and his dragging footsteps and knew the cause of his sadness was the peculiar woman now living with the master. Artoo much preferred Mara Jade she was feisty and funny and made his master smile.








Mara woke up on the floor of the seedy motel room she had rented. She raised her head then gasped as a piercing pain shot through her skull. Her mouth felt like she had gargled with sand. Her eyes stung at the weak sunlight coming through her closed drapes. Drapes that she had not opened in the three days she had been here. For some reason the dark suited her mood better. She turned her head feeling the rug scratching against her cheek as the smell of dust almost made her gag. She honestly couldn’t remember the night before. She idly wondered how she had gotten back to her room then realized she didn’t care. She closed her eyes and tried focussing on the force to try and relieve her hangover. If Skywalker was here he would probably tell her she was misusing the force. A small smile touched her lip before her brain caught up with her and she moaned in pain. She had seen the holo reports showing what seemed like an endless supply of pictures of the happy couple. The lovely Mrs. Skywalker had clung to her husband’s arm as if showing off a prize. Although if Mara was honest with herself she would acknowledge that Skywalker didn’t look happy in most of them.  So why the hell had he gone through with it? Damn that farmboy, if he was in front of her she knew she probably wouldn’t be able to resist the urge to vape him with her lightsaber. The lightsaber he had given her. The lightsaber that was his only link to his father. For a moment Mara wished she had gone through with killing him all those years ago then froze. No, she had never regretted not carrying out the emperor’s final command at least not in the way he had intended. Mara closed her eyes against the sudden sting of tears. When would this end?




The following day Talon Karrde found himself seated across from Han Solo in a rather quaint bar. Karrde glanced around at the interesting assortment of knick knacks that decorated the bar and had clearly come from all over the galaxy. Han returned to the table with a glass of whiskey for each of them. Karrde accepted his drink then frowned as he noticed a lip print on the edge of his glass. How hard was it to wash a glass? He pushed the drink away, then watched Solo sipping at his drink. Apparently he was fortunate enough to get a clean glass. Karrde waited him out then finally lost his patience;


‘So what is this about Solo? What do we need to talk about?’


‘Luke and Mara,’ Solo replied keeping his gaze steady on the smuggler turned information broker. Karrde’s eyebrows went up again.


‘As Skywalker is now a member of your fraternity he is hardly relevant to Mara is he?’


‘I disagree,’ he commented briefly trying not to let Karrde rattle him.


This man was in a different league to what Han had been in his smuggling days. Talon Karrde was polished, educated, articulate and extremely protective of all of his employees. He was also the wealthiest and most successful of the smuggling chiefs. Han knew it was this protectiveness that was making him lash out


‘So what exactly are you suggesting Solo? Do we kidnap the new Mrs. Skywalker or her husband?’


Han sighed, this was the root of the problem, he just didn’t know what to do.




Leia was helping Ciella put the final touches to their new home. Leia had watched in curiosity then horror as Ciella wandered around the apartment humming to herself as she placed a variety of knick knacks in different places. Leia was wondering how she could just disregard her husband’s obvious unhappiness. Leia knew that she felt it as soon as Han was upset or unwell. But she didn’t really think it was her force ability that allowed this. She actually believed it was just the way a couple committed to each other learned to read each other. Perhaps Leia was being too hasty after all Ciella and Luke had only been together five months. Maybe Ciella just needed more time to understand her husband. Leia tried to broach a subject she was curious about;


‘Ciella I wondered have you and Luke talked about starting a family? I know Luke would make a wonderful father.’


Ciella had been in the process of placing a delicate china vase on top of the bookcase when her hand slipped causing the vase to fall to the floor and shatter. She spun around to face Leia;


‘Children? You cannot be serious.’


Leia frowned glancing around at her pride and joy who were sitting quietly on the floor playing a game;


‘But why not? They can only enrich your lives and your marriage.’


Ciella gave a delicate little shudder, ‘No thank you. I don’t want some messy smelly little child messing up my home and my life. Not to mention my figure.’


Leia gasped in horror and turned to see three small shocked faces watching the conversation. Anakin frowned at his new aunt. Did this strange lady just call him smelly? Ani had been prepared to give his new aunt the benefit of the doubt. He really tried to like her even though she had a very strange force signature. Looking at her was like looking through a foggy window. He honestly wondered how his Uncle could have missed that then he realized that his Uncle’s force sense was much weaker than it usually was. He could have overlooked her strange signature if she had made his beloved Uncle Luke happy. But clearly she did not. Anakin thought again of Mara Jade and shook his head. Grown ups were very strange, ignoring the thing they needed most.




The two men entered the seedy motel room after demanding the manager open the door. The room was dark and smelled stale as if it had been closed up for a long time. A familiar red headed figure lay curled up on the floor. Han nodded to the window and Talon Karrde crossed to open both the window and the drapes. As the sunlight spilled into the room the figure on the floor moaned and covered her face with her hands. Han reached down grasping Mara’s upper arms and lifted her to her feet. Mara roused herself coming out fighting. Her fist connected with Han’s jaw;


‘Let me go!’ she yelled before seeing who was actually holding her, ‘Solo?’ she questioned in confusion, what the hell was he doing here?


‘Hey Red, come on let’s get you cleaned up,’


Both men led Mara towards the fresher, collecting a change of clothing and clean towels. They stood outside the door listening until they heard the water running then left to give Mara some privacy.


Fifteen minutes later she sat at the small table staring at the cup of caf Han had made for her. Even though she was now in clean clothes with neatly combed wet hair her jade green eyes were red rimmed and her face was pale. She looked exhausted and just plain shattered. Han realized he was seeing the same lost, wounded expression that had been on Luke’s face when he took him to the bar that night. He sighed wondering how they were going to achieve what should have happened in the first place. Namely Luke Skywalker married to the right woman.


Mara’s hand shook as she reached for the mug, finally glancing at the two men;


‘How did you find me?’ she asked her voice hoarse.


‘I had a homing beacon fitted to your ship before you left Coruscant. I was concerned about you,’ Talon Karrde replied shocked at the haggard appearance of his bright, brilliant second-in-command.


‘Next question, why did you come here for me?’ she said softly.


‘We just want to try and help,’ Han replied gently. Mara raised her stricken eyes to his face. Finally she swallowed hard and looked away mumbling;


‘You can’t help, he made his choice and that choice wasn’t me.’





 A couple of hours later the Solo clan were helping the newlyweds move into their new apartment, another gift from Ciella’s father. It would seem the mineral industry was highly lucrative. Probably explained why Lando Calrissian kept going back to it Luke thought. He knew he should feel incensed by his father-in-laws interfering but he really couldn’t summon the energy to feel anything. Anything that is apart from an enormous sense of loss. He haphazardly moved boxes around, and tried to look interested as Ciella and Leia compared fabric swatches. After a few minutes he became conscious of his brother-in-law watching him closely. He turned to find the hazel eyes of Han Solo studying him intently. Finally he spoke,


‘Hey kid, how about we leave the women to their decorating and you and I go for a beer?’


He turned to look enquiringly at his wife, missing the almost imperceptible nod that passed between Leia and Han.


‘It’s fine with me honey,’ Ciella shrugged, ‘I know you boys needs your little male bonding sessions.’


Luke found his hackles rising. There was something quite patronizing in Ciella’s response. The endearments were also becoming annoying. He could not remember Ciella using his name once in the last three weeks. It was always honey or my love or darling. If he didn’t know better he would think she had forgotten his name. For a moment he longed to be called, Skywalker so badly it was like a punch in the stomach. He turned to his brother-in-law in gratitude;


‘I’d like that Han.’


The two men left, leaving their wives to shake their heads. Ciella went to the kitchen to make a pot of caf and Leia stood for a moment gazing at the door her husband and brother had just departed through. Even if she didn’t share a force bond with her brother she knew she would have to be blind to not see how unhappy he was. Yet Ciella seemed oblivious. Leia began to wonder idly if Ciella was so thrilled with being Mrs. Luke Skywalker wife to the Jedi Master that her husband’s happiness was insignificant.




Mara Jade slammed her glass down on the bar trying to get the attention of the barkeeper studiously wiping glasses at the other end. He turned to glare at her;


‘Hey lady you break that glass you’re paying for it!’


‘Then fill the damn thing up!’ Mara snarled.


She was sitting on a decidedly rickety bar stool in a dive of a tavern in the Rystol system. The last three weeks had been a haze of alcohol and grieving. When she wasn’t plastered she was crushed with pain. So she drank to numb her pain. Even though she still hated the taste of the Correllian whiskey it did the job. For a short time it sealed up the gaping wound in her soul. She had not done a single transporting job in that time. She fully expected Karrde to fire her. Yet he remained tolerant with her, clearly waiting for her to pass through this phase. The problem was Mara didn’t feel like it was a phase. She could see her life stretching out ahead of her, an endless series of lonely miserable years. Mara had never concerned herself about the future before this crippling event. She had instead focussed on the present doing her best to create a comfortable stable life for herself. Twenty years of living under Palpatine’s thumb created in her the fierce need for independence and security. Now all she could think about was the future and the bleak emotional wasteland it represented.




Luke and Han sat across from each other in a little tavern Han liked to frequent. He had forcibly pushed a small bottle of ale on his brother in law despite Luke’s protestations that alcohol impacted negatively on the force. Han figured things couldn’t be much more negative.


‘Just drink it kid,’ the older man ordered.


Luke hesitantly took a sip and decided he quite liked the malty flavour.


‘So spill it kid,’ Han continued.


Luke looked up at his brother in law in surprise, ‘Spill what?’


Han sighed, ‘Whatever has you looking like a Hutt who just lost his food supply.’


Luke sat for a moment gazing at the table while his fingers idly peeled the label from the beer bottle.


‘Everything’s fine,’ he said finally.


Han raised his eyebrows, ‘Fine is it? So I have a newly married man in front of me looking like he just came from a funeral and you tell me everything’s fine.’


Luke shrugged, ‘I’m just tired it was a long trip back.’


Han surprised him by reaching over and squeezing his hand.


‘Kid, it’s okay,’ he said softly.


Suddenly Luke knew he couldn’t keep the pretence up anymore and his shoulders began to shake silently as the pain of the last two weeks caught up with him. Laying his head on his arms he began to weep quietly. Han was out of his seat in a flash and beside Luke placing a strong arm around his shoulders. He glanced around at the curious stares being directed their way. Turning a lethal glare on the culprits he managed to avert their curiosity. Han saw this young man more as a brother than a brother-in-law and his heart bled for the younger man’s pain. He had also heard the rumours about Mara Jade and grimaced knowing his wife’s meddling had possibly destroyed the lives of two people they really cared about.


Finally Luke raised his head and gazed at his brother in law with his remarkable azure eyes,


‘Oh Han what am I going to do?’




Talon Karrde sat in his command chair aboard the Wild Karrde idly drumming his fingers on the arm of his chair. Mara still had not returned to her position and although he couldn’t show it, Karrde was worried sick about her. Although Shada Du’kal was filling her position more than adequately Karrde missed Mara. She had always possessed a level of insight and no nonsense people handling skill that Karrde admired. He had expected her to take the news of Skywalker’s marriage hard but he had not expected the level of despair the news had evoked in her. Normally Mara was so in control of her emotions excluding her temper that he really didn’t know how to even start repairing the damage. Damn, Skywalker he cursed silently. That innocent farmboy persona didn’t fool Karrde for a minute. He knew the Jedi Master had a remarkable astute mind and had been quite ruthless with his campaigning for funding for his Jedi academy. Well it looked like Mara was never going to complete her Jedi training. Karrde’s com board pinged suddenly. It looked like a call coming in from Coruscant, he could only hope it was Mara. He flicked the switch and was a little surprised to see Han Solo gazing at him calmly. He covered his surprise well, merely raising one eyebrow and commenting;




‘Hello Karrde,’ he responded, ‘you and I need to talk.’


Karrde’s eyebrows shot up at the non compromising tone in Solo’s voice. ‘Do we?’ he responded shortly.








Later that day Luke sat cross legged in his exercise studio. It was an empty loft above his apartment that he had leased and turned into a work out area. He had just completed a vigorous work out session and now sat trying to become one with the force through meditation. His conversation with his sister earlier in the day kept going through his mind. Was it true? Was Mara really incapable of loving anyone? He hated to think that but then he remembered her screaming at him during their last encounter. Clearly she did not and probably never would love him. He felt a pang of regret at that thought. Then his mind focussed on sweet, beautiful Ciella. Maybe he should consider marriage to her. After all he was not getting any younger and he did not want to pass up what may be his last chance at happiness.




Six weeks later a joyful ceremony was held in the huge courtyard behind the Imperial palace. Hundreds of well wishers filled the space, watching the wedding ceremony between the Jedi master and his lovely bride. Standing at the back of the gathering were three impartial observers. Talon Karrde and his two associates Aves and Dankin watched the ceremony their thoughts not on the occasion unfolding in front of them. They were instead thinking of Talon’s fiery second in command and wondering how the hell they were going to tell her that Luke Skywalker had just married another woman




Now Mara stood in front of Dankin, her face paper white.


‘What did you just say?’ she asked softly her voice cracking.


‘Mara he got married a week ago,’ Dankin reached out hesitantly taking her hand, ‘I’m sorry.’


All of the Wild Karrde crew had observed the tempestuous relationship between Mara and the Jedi Master. They knew only too well the complicated personality of Talon’s second in command. They knew how difficult it was for Mara to trust anyone, even more difficult for her to allow people into her heart. They also knew Luke Skywalker seemed to be the only person capable of really rattling her cage.


Suddenly Mara swayed on her feet then pitched forward. Dankin flung himself forward catching her before her head smashed into the duracrete.




Later that night Mara was locked in her apartment alone. She had forcefully sent Dankin on his way and had been avoiding holo-calls from Karrde since then. She sat in the dark curled up on her sofa her arms locked around her legs slowly rocking as her body was wracked with sobs. Oh, Luke why? Why? The single thought kept circling her mind. But she knew why, she still remembered the hurt look on his face at their last encounter. She had spent so long pushing him away she had no right to feel surprised that he would try to find happiness with someone else. Still her heart ached as she realized she had lost the one thing that mattered the most to her.




Luke sat across from Ciella in the restaurant on the resort planet of Carmen 9. They had been staying here for almost a week. The resort was luxurious, a magnificent multi storey hotel set on a cliff top overlooking a shimmering ocean. Ciella’s father had surprised them with the tickets for the trip at their wedding reception. Luke remembered very little of the actual ceremony. Only the throng of people all wanting to slap him on the back and congratulate him. He remembered how beautiful his bride had looked in the shimmery white gown, her head covered by a gauzy veil. He still remembered peeling the veil back and for a moment his heart stopped when a crown of lustrous red gold hair was revealed. Then his vision cleared and it was Ciella’s glossy black locks under the veil. He could not remember making his vows yet clearly he had. He knew he should not feel disappointed on his wedding day but he did nonetheless.


Luke gazed across at his beautiful new wife. Wife, the word spun around in his mind. He had spent so many years longing for this and thought he would feel complete. But he just felt hollow. The realization that he was now tied into a life long commitment with someone he didn’t love left him empty.


Suddenly a wave of pain and despair ricocheted through the force to him making him gasp and clutch the table trying to steady himself. Ciella looked at him worriedly, reaching across she squeezed his hand,


‘Honey are you okay?’


He tried to smile at her, as the waves of pain rolled through the force he knew they were coming from Mara. Their force bond was as strong as ever. He realized she had just learned of his marriage. He also realized how much he had hurt the woman he now knew he loved. Finally he returned the squeeze to his wife’s hand and pushed back from the table.


‘Ciella, do you mind if I go for a walk? I need some exercise to work off that big meal.’


Ciella looked puzzled for a moment then smiled, ‘Of course my love, take your time, I can go back up to our room on my own.’


Ten minutes later Luke found himself down at the water’s edge dropping to his knees his head in his hands a single phrase circling his mind, Mara, please forgive me!




Two weeks later the newlyweds returned to Coruscant. Leia stood waiting for the shuttle to arrive, excited about seeing the happy newlyweds. Her three children waited expectantly with her. Jacen and Jaina hopped around excitedly anxious to see their uncle and hoping they would not to have to wait long for a little cousin. Only Anakin looked troubled, his huge blue eyes turned up to his mother. She gazed down at him thinking how much he resembled Luke. She wondered what was troubling her remarkably force strong youngest son.


‘What is it honey?’ she asked anxiously stroking his face.


‘Momma, is Uncle Luke happy?’


Leia frowned, ‘Why of course he’s happy Ani, why would you ask such a question?’


Anakin shrugged, ‘He doesn’t feel happy in the force. Mara Jade is really sad too.’


Leia gasped, how on earth did Anakin think Mara was involved in Luke’s happiness? Leia had heard rumours over the last couple of weeks of Mara Jade’s unpredictable behaviour. She apparently had spent quite a few nights drinking heavily in some of Coruscants seedier establishments. Then two days ago she had blasted out of Coruscant like a scalded cat when she learnt of Luke’s imminent return. Part of Leia could not help but feel a twinge of guilt. Maybe she had been wrong about Mara. Well it was too late now she knew Ciella would make her brother happy.


The transport had arrived and the hatch was being lowered as Leia’s three little ones began jumping up and down with excitement. A glowing Ciella Skywalker appeared at the top of the ramp. She was joined shortly by her new husband. Leia’s eyes passed over the pale, rather gaunt face of her twin brother. Oh, Luke what have I done to you? Ani was tugging her sleeve,


‘Yes Ani,’ she smiled down at her six year old.


‘I told you momma, Uncle Luke is really unhappy.’







Leia was encouraging the match. The benefits to the N.R were enormous, but Leia also desperately wanted to see her brother married and happy. She had witnessed first hand what Callista’s desertion had done to him. She believed Ciella Harcourt would not be so blasé with her brother’s heart. At least Leia hoped not. For a moment the image of Mara Jade crossed Leia’s mind. Strange she thought, why should she think of the master trader at a time like this? Leia shook her head, she had known of her brother’s friendship with the beautiful red head but she was definitely not suitable as a wife for a man like Luke. Besides Leia seriously doubted Mara Jade was capable of that kind of feeling. She nodded to herself in satisfaction Ciella was the right match for Luke.




Luke found himself a few days later escorting Ciella back to the apartment her father had leased for her before returning to Tyrium. Goran Harcourt had seemed quite keen for his daughter to spend more time on the core capital.


Luke and Ciella had just attended a theatrical performance of a new musical that had all of Coruscant buzzing. Luke could not help sitting watching the graceful movements of the dancers and picturing Mara in their places. His head turned as he felt Ciella clasp his hand, he looked down to see her smiling at him, her remarkable eyes glittering in the low light of the theatre.


As they walked home Ciella unconsciously linked her arm through Luke’s. He had to admit he had missed having a woman so close to him. Many people saw Luke’s position of Jedi Master as an almost monk like existence. But he was a normal man with a normal man’s needs. And it had been too long since he had felt the soft touch of a woman. Ciella’s light floral scent rose to his nostrils. It was pleasant and feminine. For a moment he thought of the warm, slightly spicy fragrance that was so much a part of Mara. What was he doing? He thought. Here he was with a beautiful woman and all he could think about was a sharp tongued, force strong woman who couldn’t stand to be near him. Pausing under a street lamp he turned and faced his lovely companion. She gazed up at him a small smile playing at the corners of her lips. Luke placed a finger under her chin and tilted her head up. Slowly he lowered his head until his lips closed over hers. Ciella clearly was no novice to kissing as she gently parted her lips under his her small tongue flicking out to touch his lips. Luke groaned then deepened the kiss.


Finally they broke apart and Luke brushed the back of his fingers down Ciella’s cheek.


‘That was wonderful,’ she said softly, ‘you really are gifted aren’t you?’


Luke couldn’t help a small laugh bubbling to the surface. He turned and grasped Ciella’s hand to continue their walk back to her apartment. For some reason he still could not get the image of Mara out of his mind. Or the speculation of what it would be like to kiss her.




Two weeks later all of Coruscant was buzzing with the news of the romance between the beautiful Ciella Harcourt and the Jedi Master.


Luke found himself in an uncomfortable position. He could almost feel all of Coruscant looking at his current relationship with approval. Sometimes he felt his private life was an open canvas to the entire galaxy.


Ciella was everything any man could want he kept reminding himself. He did care about her deeply. Yet something was missing. Something he could not quite put his finger on. It was a spark a passion that would light up his soul and make the whole world brighter. Even when they shared the most intimate embrace and Luke lay listening to Ciella’s cries of ecstasy he would imagine it was another voice he was hearing, another body he was holding.




Approximately one month later Luke walked along the corridors of the N.R administration building heading to his sister’s office. He had received a cryptic holo-message from her that morning asking him to come to her office for a chat. He could not help but wonder what his sister was up to this time. He loved his twin deeply but her attempts to run his life frustrated him constantly. He could see the situation heading toward a confrontation. He pressed the door release outside the Chief of State office suite. He walked into the outer office to see Leia’s assistant Winter Celchu sitting at her desk. Her posture was as disciplined and well ordered as her mind. Luke smiled, Winter’s husband Tycho was one of the best rogue squadron pilots.


‘Welcome, Luke,’ Winter said in her smooth cultured voice, ‘her highness is expecting you.’


Luke proceeded to the inner office. The door slid open and he entered the huge Chief of State office. His petite sister sat behind the massive greel wood desk her head bent over her work. Luke could not help but feel a sense of relief that it was his twin who had to deal with the mountain of paper work in front of her and not him. She glanced up and a huge smile covered her pretty face,


‘Luke!’ she cried hastening around the desk to fold her twin into an embrace.


‘Hi, Leia,’ he murmured brushing her forehead with a light kiss.


He sat down on the opposite side of her desk and his gaze fell on the holo-cube images of Han and the children. A part of him felt an unexpected pang at the sight of his sister’s family. Jealousy was not in his nature but he could not help but feel a sense of regret that everyone else seemed to have the one thing he could not obtain. The thing he most wanted, a loving committed relationship and children. His mind touched on Ciella for a moment, he knew without a doubt she would make a wonderful wife and mother. He found himself consciously pulling his mind back to the present.


‘How have you been?’ Leia asked her eyes scanning his face anxiously.


Luke smiled, ‘Stop hedging Leia, why did you want to see me?’


Leia sighed she should have known she couldn’t conceal anything from Luke.


‘I just wondered how your relationship with Ciella is going?’


Luke nodded, ‘It’s fine, she’s a lovely young woman,’


Leia smiled, ‘I knew you two would be great together.’


Luke frowned momentarily, ‘You sound as though you planned this’


Leia had the grace to flush guiltily, ‘Luke I met Ciella six months ago when I travelled to Tyrium for the initial talks. I thought she would be perfect for you.’


‘Perfect for me?’ he repeated, ‘perfect for me how?’


‘Oh Luke, I so want to see you married and happy like me,’


He sighed in exasperation, ‘Leia I know you want that, but it is not your place to select my life partner.’


‘So why don’t you want to marry Ciella?’ she asked suddenly.


He shrugged, ‘I don’t know,’ he replied looking down, ‘I haven’t really thought about marrying or not marrying her.’ He replied remembering his earlier thought he flushed guiltily. Maybe he had thought about it.


‘You are not thinking of Mara Jade are you Luke?’ Leia asked her voice sharp.


Luke’s head shot up and his gaze narrowed. Leia had just crossed a line.


‘Leia you are my sister and I love you but do not even think about telling me who I should or should not have in my life.’


Leia flinched at his tone. His transformation frightened her, before her now sat the Jedi Master, his gaze flinty. He was no longer her sweet tractable twin.


‘Luke I am only trying to protect you,’ she cried suddenly, ‘Mara Jade is not capable of loving anyone you know that.’


Luke found himself on his feet and heading to the door before he lost his temper. Leia rushed around her desk and seized his arm trying to prevent him walking out on her.


‘Luke please!’ she begged, ‘I only want you to be happy.’


He gazed down at her wide brown eyes and felt her warmth and concern flowing through the force. He relented and leaning down he hugged his bossy twin. A thought crossed his mind, to think Mara had called him pushy. Oh Mara, he thought, I wish you were here.






Six months earlier….


Luke paced across the lounge of Mara’s Coruscant apartment,


‘Mara I wish you’d think about it, you could be a powerful Jedi who could do so much good in the galaxy,’


A short laugh escaped from Mara,


‘Just hand over my life carte blanche to the rest of the galaxy to be used as they see fit, is that it?’


Luke sighed, ‘Mara you know it’s not like that, Jedi are the guardians of the galaxy.  It’s why we have been granted the force ability.’


‘Very noble I’m sure,’ Mara snarled, ‘you forget Skywalker I’ve already been a servant to a powerful master and it’s a road I am not willing to go down again!’


Luke hesitated, Mara could be incredibly stubborn, but he so wanted to help her develop her extraordinary power. Mara’s force presence was like a beacon, shining over enormous distances.  He understood the emperor had only allowed her to develop a small percentage of her true abilities. It was quite possible he had been aware of her enormous potential and chose to quash it for fear she could overpower him one day. He knew he had to try once more, he could sense her resolve starting to crumble and he didn’t want to let this opportunity pass by.


‘Mara please, just come to Yavin for one month, surely Karrde can spare you for that long’


‘You pushy, controlling son of a Sith!’ Mara screamed suddenly when she felt his gentle mind probe, ‘stay out of my head and out of my life!’


Finally Luke realized he could not force her to do what she did not want to do regardless of how much he wanted it. He turned and walked to the apartment door saying softly,


‘If you change your mind you know where I am,’ before walking away from the apartment, the last thing he heard was what sounded like a pillow hitting the door.





Two months later…


Luke Skywalker sighed as he checked his reflection. Dressed in his best Jedi blacks, with his boots polished to a high lustre, he decided he would pass inspection. Even his lightsaber had been polished and hung gleaming softly at his hip. He hated these formal events but Leia had been quite insistent that his presence was required at this civic reception. The new republic had almost completed negotiations with the core world of Tyrium. These negotiations were imperative Tyrium had a wealth of mineral deposits that would be a huge benefit to the N.R. Leia mentioned to Luke that the chief minister for Tyrium, Goran Harcourt had specifically requested to meet the Jedi Master. Luke had the awful feeling sometimes that his sister saw him as a N.R trophy. Like he was something to be brought out and shown off to impress people when required.


Besides, he missed Mara. His mind kept going back to the fight they had before she left Coruscant. Maybe he had been pushing her too hard to finish her training. It made him curious, he had never been so insistent with any other trainee Jedi. One of the main creeds of the Jedi was to respect freedom of choice. Yet he could not help the feeling that Mara’s and his futures were somehow tied together and were important to the galaxy as a whole. He now regretted his behaviour of blocking her out when she tried to contact him shortly after she left. But he had been hurt and didn’t feel like forgiving her immediately when he heard her call. Later he did regret it, but didn’t know how to apologize. It would seem both of them could be very stubborn.




An hour later a hush fell over the main ballroom of Coruscant as the door attendant struck the floor sharply with his cane to announce an important arrival. When everyone assembled had turned to face him, he spoke;


‘May I present his excellency Goran Harcourt and his daughter Ciella Harcourt.’


Luke glanced up to see a rather portly middle aged man standing beside a willowy, dark haired green eyed vision. He could not prevent his eyes travelling from the short plump man to the stunning woman on his left. Clearly the beautiful Ciella favoured her mother. The two people approached where Luke stood beside Leia. Luke felt a nervous flutter in his stomach he usually only felt in the presence of one woman. He pasted a smile on his face as his sister held her hand out to Mr. Harcourt. Leia was so well trained for this type of event. Her manner was both regal and welcoming and Luke could never hope to imitate it. As much as Leia would wish it, Luke knew he would never be suited to politics. The minister and his daughter moved until they were standing directly in front of Luke.


‘This is a great honour Jedi Master,’ Mr. Harcourt spoke quickly his face colouring alarmingly. Luke felt himself blush in return. He had never been able to cope with the open adulation his position sometimes inspired.


‘Just Luke, thank you, Mr. Harcourt’ his eyes moved from the nervous stammering father to his daughter and he felt his breath catch in his throat.


Her eyes were remarkable, a glittering emerald green that reminded him of Mara. Yet Mara had that magnificent mane of red gold hair. Ciella had long, glossy black hair that had been manipulated into an intricate style. Her eyes were framed by the thickest blackest lashes he had ever seen. A rather arch smile decorated her face showing her tiny white teeth.


Luke swallowed nervously, ‘Miss Harcourt, welcome to Coruscant.’


The young woman held a small creamy white hand out to him. Luke hesitated then brought her hand to his lips.


‘If I may call you Luke, you must call me Ciella,’ she replied in a low, slightly husky voice.


Luke coloured again. Good, lord he thought, why was he acting like a nervous schoolboy? Finally he nodded then offered to get refreshments, moving away from the disturbing young woman with a sense of relief.




Over the next three weeks Luke found himself escorting Ciella Harcourt around Coruscant. He did enjoy her company she was intelligent, well read and had a good sense of humour. It was funny in so many ways she reminded him of Mara. Yet Mara’s attributes were often covered by a veneer of hostility and sarcasm. The only explanation he could think of is the wide difference between how the two young women were raised. Mara was raised by an evil manipulative despot. While clearly Ciella Harcourt had grown up in a privileged and loving home.


He also could not help the nervous flutter when she unconsciously placed a hand on his arm or leaned close to whisper something. She really was lovely. So why couldn’t he just surrender himself to someone like Ciella?






Mara Jade shut down the engines on the Jade’s Fire after docking in bay 347 in Coruscant’s main landing platform. She glanced out the viewport at the extraordinary city stretching out in front of her. It was just on nightfall and a myriad of lights were beginning to twinkle over the city, each looking like the centre of a precious jewel. She could not believe it had been six months since she had last been here. Karrde had her negotiating transport contracts with some backwater outer rim planet. These negotiations had taken far longer than they should have. For such an insignificant speck of rock the locals were pretty particular about everything. Mara had breathed a sigh of relief when she was finally able to leave.


Slowly rising from her pilot’s seat, she walked down the short gangway then hit the release valve on the Fire’s hatch. A whirr of hydraulics sounded as the hatch slowly lowered to the ground. Mara walked down the ramp then paused for a moment arching her back, her arms stretched over her head she really had spent too long in the pilot seat. To any observer they would see her lithe dancer’s body graceful in even the most utilitarian postures. Mara was surprised to see Dankin approaching her ship as if he had been waiting for her.


‘Hey, Dankin,’ Mara said wondering why Karrde felt she needed a welcoming committee. All she wanted to do was take a long hot shower to ease the kinks out of her back then have a decent meal and a good night’s sleep in a real bed.


‘Good to see you Mara,’ he replied. Mara had always liked Dankin, a laid back yet remarkably perceptive member of Karrde’s crew.


‘How was your trip?’ he asked casually falling into step beside her.


A single arched red-gold eyebrow was his only reply. Dankin persisted in making small talk,


‘So what are your plans now you are back on Coruscant?’


Mara stopped in her tracks and turned to face him, ‘What’s with the twenty questions, Dankin?’ she asked her tone frosty.


He shrugged, ‘I’m just curious,’


‘Well fine,’ she responded tartly, ‘I want a decent meal, a decent night’s sleep then I can think about catching up with a few people.’ As the last words came out of her mouth a tinge of colour touched her cheeks.


‘Oh,’ Dankin replied, ‘would the Jedi Master be one of those you plan to catch up with.’


‘What’s it to you?’ Mara snapped, ‘Skywalker may be an annoying idealist but he’s a friend.’


Dankin nodded.


Mara watched him for a moment. There was clearly something he was not telling her. The last conversation Mara had with Luke was an argument as usual. He was insisting on Mara completing her Jedi training telling her she will always regret it if she didn’t. Mara responded by calling him a pushy, controlling son of a Sith.


She regretted her words as soon as she had departed Coruscant. Luke may be many things but controlling was not one of them. There had been no contact between them since. Mara had waited a couple of weeks then tried to reach him through the force to apologize but he had his shields firmly in place. She decided that if he wanted to sulk then he was quite welcome to. Then out of the blue about two months ago he tried to make contact with her. Mara had woken up one night from a particularly vivid and rather erotic dream featuring none other than the noble Jedi Master. As she lay for a moment she tried to hang onto the final image of Luke having Mara pinned against a wall and plundering her body with his hands and his mouth while she moaned with pleasure. Mara ran a shaky hand over her face then climbed out of bed meaning to splash water on her face. Just as she reached for a towel she heard it again, Mara, I need to talk to you. So that was what woke her. Well if he chose to give her the silent treatment for so long it could work both ways. She slammed her shields up then felt regret for a moment when his voice faded from her mind.


‘So what has the farmboy done this time?’ she asked impatiently, ‘gone off on some mad one man to save the galaxy adventure. One from which he will undoubtedly need to be rescued.’


Dankin shook his head eyeing her carefully,


‘You’re going to make me keep guessing aren’t you? Well I gather he’s not here and if he’s not on some heroic quest that really only leaves two options. Either he’s gone back to that sweltering wilderness where he chose to build his precious academy. Or worse he’s taken off back to that outer rim dustbowl he came from.’ She paused, ‘so which is it?’


Dankin continued to study her closely then sighed,


‘Mara he’s on his honeymoon.’


Mara felt as if the ground had just opened up under her feet. She swore her heart stopped beating for a moment and a cold wave of nausea swept through her. What had she done?





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