AN: Blame the oddness and sarcasm on caffeine. I don't know why this one came out like it did, but…well, it's certainly unlike other viggies I've written. Whether that's good, I don't know. Enjoy!
I hate my cousin.
I know, the statement may sound a little cruel and harsh, but it's absolutely true. My cousin, Lady Juliene ke Greso-Bacherr, is one of the dippiest, ditziest, haughtiest women this side of the sworl. She has an empty head, a vacuum for a brain, and the most irritating friends.
The fact that she's my little cousin only makes it worse.
Some people would say that it's not so much hatred that I feel, but envy. Envy for her beautiful face, her fabulous figure, her caring husband, and her altogether perfect life. But I don't think that's true. Yes, sometimes I wish that I too had an easy existence, and someone who could hold me in his arms and force every worry from my mind. Those are just wishes, though, dreams that could never be fulfilled. They're too aerial, too unrealistic for me.
There is only one belonging of the illustrious Lady Jule that I do covet: her appearance. The Force must have a sense of humor, for how else can you explain the fact that she's tall, slim, and attractive while I'm…I won't even go there. I just wish I could scrap my genes and begin anew. I mean, Jule's my first cousin; where the hell did my features come from? I'm short, with a figure that resembles an hour-glass/pear hybrid, an ample derriere, too large everything, and the most blah hair in the galaxy. My face? Irregular, with a large, full mouth, very prominent cheekbones, wide-set slanted eyes, long nose, and sharp chin. I'm not pretty; my only noticeable quirk is that I don't look like your average plain Laine. I think my mother's to blame. She was curvy, too, but at least she was tall and stately. I'm only 160 centimeters, and my weight…
I digress. I haven't fought those inner demons for a long time, having vanquished them when I reached adulthood. But they returned.
And it's all due to my detestable cousin.
Last week, I was enjoying a short respite from my Intelligence work on Mon Calamari. Free time is rare for one of my occupation, so I was utilizing my time wisely. And of course, that meant I was raiding local boutiques for genuine bargains. I have some feminine instincts, and of those shopping is the strongest. I get the oddest satisfaction when I'm able to drag fifteen outfits home and boast that I only paid 100 credits for the pieces. It fulfills my womanly duties, and I don't always mind showing my softer side.
It was on one such occasion that I received a comm call from that damned cousin of mine. Jule's high-pitched drawl is unmistakable, but the words she uttered were even more painful. "Del sweetie! Are you busy tonight?"
I tried to invent a previous engagement, so I could truthfully refuse her offer. But unfortunately, I couldn't improvise a lie for the life of me. It was one of those odd moments: Delila ke Blaec, experienced Intelligence agent, incapable of fibbing to an ignorant blonde. I could have shot myself. "No. What do you want?"
"Well, dearest cousin of mine, I just wanted to have you over for a little girl talk and all. Chris is on a mission, and Mother took baby Iarla for a few weeks, so I'm a little lonely. Can you come?"
"Sure," I said reluctantly. I couldn't stand talking to Jule for more than five minutes; she sounded so forlorn, though, that I couldn't refuse. Depressed Juliene was a new experience that I didn't want to miss. "What time should I come by?"
"1800. And dress nicely for a change."
She clicked off before I could come back with a biting retort. Stupid flake. But I still showed up on her doorstep, dressed in my new palazzo pants and silk tunic, hair arranged in the new Rylothian style, and face tastefully painted. I guess I felt like making a good impression, and showing that I've got some fashion sense buried beneath my sarcastic exterior.
Jule answered the door, and I felt like a frumpy old maid immediately. She was wearing casual clothing, a simple blue shift, but the difference in our appearances was enough to make me shriek. For that is another thing I hold against her: the way she can wear anything, from a ballgown to a baggy flightsuit, and yet still look attractive. I narrowed my eyes in disgust, and was prepared to walk away when she grabbed my arm and dragged me into the living room.
"Oh, Del, I'm so glad you showed up on time! I detest tardiness." She pushed me onto the sofa and pulled up a chair opposite me before I'd even realized I was trapped in her quarters. "Is that new? Very nice. And your hair looks…um…interesting! I hope you've given up on that dark lip-gloss. The color just doesn't suit your skin tone, dear. If you want, I can take you out for some new cosmetic products tomorrow."
She glanced down at me hopefully. I glared. "I happen to like crimson. It makes me stand out in a crowd. Now, are we going to spend the whole evening criticizing my taste or shall we attempt more intelligent conversation?"
Jule snorted, and the way she wrinkled her nose reminded me of a wild nerf. It was an amusing sight, but I refrained from laughing. I'd learned that it was acceptable for Her Flightiness to giggle at things; however, if even her husband let out a little snicker she would retreat into a sulky fit for at least fifteen minutes. Chris Bacherr claimed it was the result of too much estrogen in her system, but I had my doubts. She was just an annoying person. "Del, you are so funny! Do you know what the baby did the last time I tried to give her a bath?"
"She bit your finger."
"How did you know?"
I groaned. "You've told me this story five times already. It was cute the first time I heard it, but it seems to increase in stupidity with each subsequent retelling."
She huffed, insulted, and I noticed that she kept on looking furtively over at the entrance. Strange. Who was she waiting for? It couldn't be her mischievous partner in crime, Wes Janson, because Chris had forbidden that man from getting within 1000 meters of the apartment after Janson stole the E-wing pilot's underwear. Since the consequence of breaking that rule would mean the destruction of Janson's beloved Kettch, Jule would never risk smuggling the man over to plan more evil schemes. No, it must be someone closer to home. That clueless Jedi, Brodey whatever? Jule's former handmaiden, Xia Lein? One of the Wraiths?
"Del, I would have expected better of you. After all I've done for you, why must you always insult me?"
"I'm just telling the truth."
"Whatever. You're so mean sometimes."
She pouted, and I couldn't help grinning. "Thank you. I take pride in formulating the most cutting statements possible. Honesty always works better with a hint of malice."
But really, cruel words were my most effective disguise. No one wants to befriend a bitter-tongued hag, so I was often left to myself. That was fine with me. The fewer idiots to deal with, the better. The majority of people never took the time to look past my sarcasm and discover what I really was: a lonely woman. I'd never had any suitors, like lovely Jule, or tons of amiable buddies. Or even one good pal, for that matter. I spent my working hours absorbed in my assignments, and my unoccupied times in solitude. A little disappointing, sometimes, but I've learned to live with it.
"Delila," Jule said, her face utterly serious, "I'm worried about you. It's not right to be by yourself so much. I've been thinking that-"
The door chime sounded. She jumped up, an excited glow spreading across her cheeks, and scrambled to answer it. "I wonder who this could be…"
What a little liar. Didn't she realize that it was blatantly obvious what was going on? Concerned with my aloofness, she must have rung up some close acquaintances for a lively chat with her melancholy cousin. I tried to spot a possible escape route. There were none. Sighing, I sank into the cushions and consigned myself to this fate.
The door slid open, and I strained my neck to spy the mysterious visitors. Actually, there was only one. I caught a glimpse of a tan face, long black hair, brooding eyes, girlish eyelashes, and a white-teethed smile; I almost threw up. Swallowing bile, I settled for screaming.
"You little kriffin' sithspitter! Get out of here now!"
Kyp Durron winked. "Is that any way to greet me, Miss ke Blaec? Good evening to you, too."
My behind was stuck in the crack between two cushions, and I couldn't stand up, much less run away. More obscenities spewed forth from my mouth. "Have you made it your krelling goal in life to bug the hell out of me? Dammit, Durron, go back to Byss where you belong."
Jule appointed herself the unofficial referee of this rather one-sided argument. "Now, Del, Kyp is my friend, so he has as much a right to be here as you do. I'm not kicking him out of my apartment just because you don't like him. That's why I invited him over in the first place. You two need to talk out your differences and forgive each other. Grudges are unhealthy."
"I'm not holding anything against our little demon here," Kyp replied, his eyes twinkling. "I've forgotten all about that little incident on Usher."
I finally rocked to my feet and stalked towards him. "Well I damn right haven't. I swear, Durron, if you provoke me again I will do worse things than just slap you."
"Like killing you, for instance."
Jule butted in. "That's not very nice talk, Del. Would you like some rhyscate?"
"No. You can stuff your dessert back up where it came from for all I care. Master Durron used his creepy powers to play a trick on me and I refuse to forgive him."
Kyp laughed, and I felt my hands balling into fists. I would have loved to see him with a bloody nose, but Jule would've freaked at red stains on her white designer carpet. Internally heated and Kuati-manufactured, no less. I relaxed and tried to expel some of my anger while he spoke.
"Del, I must admit that is true. I meant it only as a bit of fun, and I apologize if I scared you or injured your pride in any way."
Jule reemerged from the kitchen, and handed me a glass of some alcoholic beverage. "See? That was easy, wasn't it? Now, why don't we all have a drink? A toast, anyone?"
"How about to Durron's upcoming demise?"
"Or to Delila's approaching unemployment?" Kyp countered.
I rolled my eyes. "Or in hope that Master Durron will get a new haircut soon, because it looks like a mutant whisperkit is glued on his head."
"Please…" Jule whispered, tears forming in her eyes.
"Or in preparation for the extensive plastic surgery Miss ke Blaec is about to undergo, so she'll no longer resemble a female version of Emperor Palpatine. Here," he snapped, throwing a five-credit coin on the ground, "is my donation towards that operation."
I looked him straight in the eye and growled. "I hate everything about you, Kyp Durron."
Jule fled from the room, sobbing, and he smirked. "I'm afraid I can't repay that compliment. I hate everything about you but your bum. It's sexy."
And before I had time to react, he reached around and smacked that same body part.
I turned the same shade as my lipstick, stood bewildered for a second, then tossed my drink in his face.
But as I left, I couldn't help dwelling on one thought: Kyp Durron actually liked something about me.
Maybe I'm not that ugly after all.