The trio made their way through the crowded nighttime streets of Coruscant to the posh restaurant where Adara Lon would be waiting. Anakin was the only one who had been talking since they left the temple. Sari chuckled under her breath. She didn't know who was more nervous between them--- her at the thought of spending the evening with a woman who apparently wanted the same thing she did... Obi-Wan, or Anakin at having to figure out how to handle his master's new relationship. She could tell Obi-Wan was also a bit uneasy but wasn't sure exactly why.
Sari knew that Adara Lon was expecting Obi-Wan to be her own escort, not Sari's. She couldn't help but wonder how he would handle the situation. It was apparent that she was a woman used to getting what she wanted. The fluttering anxiousness in Sari's stomach kept growing until she thought she might throw up.
Obi-Wan came to a halt on the sidewalk and took Sari's small hand in his larger one. With that one small touch he was certain about the nervousness he sensed coming from her. She was like an open book to him and he longed to read more of her 'pages'.
Anakin, however, was still walking and talking, oblivious to the fact that he was now continuing on alone. Obi-Wan snickered as he watched his padawan receive strange looks from several passersby. "He has no idea we've stopped." Then he turned his attention back to the beautiful woman at his side. "Are you all right, Sari?"
*How did he do that?*, she thought. He always seemed to sense when she was struggling with something in her mind... or heart. "I'm.... I'm okay," she replied lamely, taking a deep breath and offering a weak smile. Obi-Wan gazed into her eyes and knew all was not well.
"I don't believe you," he stated flatly. She bristled at his claim. "You know," he said stepping closer to her and lowering his face to hers, "it's near impossible to successfully lie to a Jedi." He gently brushed her cheek with his hand and smiled as it brought a slight flush to her face. Sari grinned at his teasing.
"Is that so?" she asked mockingly feigning disinterest.
"Yes, it is," he answered, pulling her hand to his lips for a quick kiss. Never before this woman had he felt such a desire to be near someone, to touch someone. "Especially when the Jedi is focusing all of his energy and attentions on his chosen target." His hungry hazel eyes lingered on her soft face, and she could feel more than her face heating up under his sensual scrutiny.
"Is that what you're doing?" she whispered. "Targeting me?" She had to admit, the idea of being his sole focus was quite satisfying.
"Who else is there?" he replied, sincerely oblivious himself to the throngs of people on the streets around them. To him, there was only Sari that existed in his world at this moment.
"Maybe Adara Lon?" she ventured, wishing she hadn't as soon as the words left her mouth.
"What?" Obi-Wan said, startled, his brow wrinkling into a frown. Sari pulled her hand out of his and looked away.
"Oh, never mind."
It took a few seconds for Obi-Wan to comprehend what she had said and why she had said it. A sly grin spread across his face, and he cupped Sari's chin in his hand forcing her to look at him. "Sari Zendar--- are you jealous?" He had seen her like this once before in a certain alley and had thoroughly enjoyed the outcome. Sari knew it was useless to lie, so she simply stared at him in silence.
"What in the world would you have to be jealous of?" he asked innocently as if hers had been the most preposterous claim ever made.
*Was he serious?*, she thought. "Um, maybe her tall, perfect body, her beautiful, blond hair, her gorgeous face, her---"
Before she could say another word, Obi-Wan had silenced her with a kiss and instantly she melted against his solid chest.
"Hey, you two! Can you save it for later, please? We're going to be late." Anakin had finally realized that he had lost his two companions. When he had turned around to find them lip locked, he had felt a bit embarrassed. Seeing, Obi-Wan, his wise, straight-laced master, shamelessly embracing a woman in the middle of a crowded city street felt very strange to the teenage boy. It seemed almost... unnatural. Or maybe it was just him.
Sari chuckled while still kissing the older Jedi, and Obi-Wan forced himself to pull away from her warm, soft mouth. Then he grabbed her hand again and they made their way to dinner and Adara Lon.
"Now," she stated searching the restaurant for a sign of the Jedi and the teacher, "they should be here any minute. Make sure you stay out of sight. They may recognize you despite your new dye job and that quaint little goatee you're sporting tonight."
Adara Lon flashed Deek a toothy grin that a more experienced man might have realized was not genuine, but, being young, it caused the man's heart to race. He was unaware of her feminine manipulation, which is exactly how she wanted it to be.
Deekoran Hunsu slid out of the booth without taking his eyes off of the woman sitting on the opposite side of the table. Even if he didn't fully trust her, he could still appreciate her feminine charms, her low-cut red dress accentuating her ample 'assets'. If he played his cards right, he might be 'rewarded'. In fact she had basically assured him of the possibility at their last meeting, and he had not forgotten the kiss that sealed the deal. He would get rid of the girl, or the Jedi, or both and then..... well, he forced himself not to be distracted by what would come after the job was done.
"Later, babe," Deek muttered with an awkward wink at the gorgeous woman he was leaving behind. Once he turned away from her, he didn't see the snarl of disgust that appeared on her face.
"Ugh!," she mumbled under her breath. Sometimes her work was not entirely enjoyable despite how successful she was.
Deek settled into a chair at a far corner of the restaurant bar where he could clearly see Adara's table. He had been following Obi-Wan Kenobi for the past twenty-four hours, for what it was worth. The man had only gone to Adara's office and back to the temple-- not much effort required there. But the night was young, and they were to be dining with Adara. They would eventually have to leave and return to the temple. He would get his chance soon enough.
Sari gasped in awe when they entered the Bela Astrea restaurant and could readily see why it was called the 'beautiful star.' Never had she seen such a resplendent, opulent place in all her life. She had been in some nice places on Teemar, but nothing that could rival the spectacle of the Bela Astrea.
Obi-Wan watched her and couldn't keep a small grin from his face while she studied her new surroundings with such obvious wonder. "Welcome to the Bela Astrea, my dear. The loveliest dining establishment on the planet of Coruscant." Sari looked up at him with a smile. "But not as lovely as you," he added with a whisper and a wink, then he gallantly offered his arm which she graciously accepted.
Did he realize how utterly under his spell she was? No wonder she had come all the way across the universe to see to his safety. If something were to happen to him, she was certain she could never go on living. It was terrifying to care so much about another person, but absolutely wonderful at the same time.
"There she is... over there," Anakin announced once he spotted Adara Lon.
Suddenly, the nauseating churn returned to the pit of Sari's stomach. Again, Obi-Wan sensed her need and slid his arm out of hers and firmly wrapped it around her hand. She shivered for a second at his touch, but soon felt a soothing calm filling her body. She smirked at the realization that he was using the Force to help ease her nervousness. She lifted her blue eyes to meet his green and offered a silent 'thank you' for his kindness.
"You're welcome," he muttered only for her ears.
*How did he do that?!*, she thought, but couldn't force herself to be angry with him.
Adara saw them coming and stood to receive them, noting the bearded Jedi's grasp around the woman's hand. Anakin was the only one to notice the jolt of jealousy briefly flash in the blonde's eyes before she quickly regained her composure and motioned for all to sit down.
"We hope you haven't been waiting long," Obi-Wan offered diplomatically. This was an intriguing side of him, Sari noted, a side that knew how to handle people with finesse. He was good at what he did.... keep the peace.
"No, of course not. You're right on time. As a matter of fact, I just sat down a moment before you arrived."
Adara forced a smile at Sari and mentally compared herself to this plain, average woman. What could he possibly see in her? Although Adara had no intentions of creating a real relationship with the Jedi, she had thought that a dalliance with him might be quite entertaining as a sidebar to this job. He was handsome enough, and his stand-offishness toward her had only been a challenge to her womanly skill. However, he seemed to be smitten with this ordinary looking woman,..... and her a teacher no less! The insult was almost unbearable.
Adara eventually got past her jealousy and refocused on the matter at hand. She needed to find out what they knew about Perrin and his 'employer' before Deek disposed of them. She wasn't completely convinced that the boy could do the job, but the chancellor had assured her, and she wasn't about to question the chancellor. More than once he had reiterated that failure was not an option.
Sari had never tasted more delectable dishes than the ones at the Bela Astrea. Every bite was better than the last, and she knew she could get used to it all too easily. Focusing on the food helped to ease her discomfort with the company. She noted how Adara Lon asked question after question of Obi-Wan while still trying to seem slightly disinterested in the whole situation. Every so often, the woman would shoot a question at Sari, let her begin to answer, and then halfway through turn attention back to Obi-Wan. It was very inconsiderate behavior, something Sari would discipline her students for, but found it amusing that someone as outwardly fetching and 'well-bred' as Adara thought naught of it.
Apparently money and position didn't ensure good manners.
Anakin ate ravenously, not at all apprehensive about trying new dishes with totally foreign names. It wasn't often that he as a Jedi got the chance to eat so well, and he intended to take full advantage of the opportunity, despite the few sideways glares his master shot at him throughout the meal. He knew he'd probably hear about it later, but he also knew that Obi-Wan's bark was worse than his bite. As soon as Obi-Wan looked away, the boy shoved another mouthful of he-didn't-know-what into his mouth.
Adara Lon could talk the ears off a gundaark, to quote an old saying Anakin remembered from his childhood on Tatooine. He was beginning to think she just enjoyed hearing the sound of her own voice. Whatever the case, he still didn't feel quite right about her. While Obi-Wan gracefully endured her probing chatter, Anakin kept his senses alert... and not just his sense of taste.
"Well, Obi-Wan Kenobi," Adara sparkled as she held his hand in hers a little longer than necessary, "thank you for a wonderful evening. I look forward to meeting you again."
Sari noted the intended slight of herself and Anakin and couldn't resist. She pushed herself in between the woman and the Jedi, effectively breaking her grip on his hand.
"Thank you so much, Miss Lon!" Sari gushed as she swung her arms around the unexpecting woman and gave a big squeeze. "Dinner was just great!" She pulled back and forced a large smile onto her face. "We'll have to do it again.... soon!"
Adara had stumbled from the hug Sari had surprised her with and couldn't keep the shocked look off her face. Clearing her throat, she moved to regain her composure by straightening her dress and hair. Anakin had to bite his bottom lip to keep from laughing. The more time he spent around Sari, the more he liked her and was sure she was perfect for Obi-Wan.
"Oh, well, yes... of course," Adara stuttered before flashing one of her insincere grins to the trio.
"Good night," Obi-Wan said with a courteous bow. Then they turned and left Adara Lon standing alone at the table, unhappy with the result of the evening. Glancing back up to see them leaving, Adara felt the anger swell in her as the young teacher turned around and waved heartily with a huge smile on her face.
Adara hated that woman with a passion.
A figure caught her attention out of the corner of her eye, and she looked toward the bar. Deek was standing and trying inconspicuously to gain her attention. He shot her an expression that waited for her further instruction, and she jerked her head in the direction of the parting threesome. With a small nod, Deek threw a few credits on the counter and headed out the door determined to get his reward from Adara Lon.
More to come!!....