Title: Third Time's A Charm
Summary: Sequel to 'Tea For Two'. Four years after the rise of the Empire, Obi-Wan and Dormé meet again.
Rating: M for humor
Disclaimer: Star Wars is the property of George Lucas. No disrespect is intended.
Notes: Try number two for this chapter. Power went out before I'd remembered to save it and I lost the first try.
The meeting with LeeLee didn't take long at all, it was the waiting that was the longest, but soon Dormé was free to leave the office. Going to her room, she commenced with packing, which primarily consisted of stowing the pictures safely away and returning clothing items.
Carefully, Dormé packed up the pictures, wrapping the bulk of them and setting two on top. She left the bag on the bed while she went to return items to Resa's friend. Returning, she opened it and found exactly what she'd thought she would. Dormé closed the bag with a sense of satisfaction.
Val was so predictable sometimes. She wondered if he'd ever realize he'd been had. Shouldering her luggage, she carried it downstairs.
It took three minutes to zip down the hall, grab the pictures on top and zip back out. Val knew that because he timed himself. Any longer and Dormé would return. He had no desire to be caught. Slipping into Resa's room, Val shoved the two pictures under some of her shirts in that case she had ready to go. Now to get it to the ship without Dormé or Ben realizing any of the pictures were gone.
Val was awfully nervous, Obi-Wan thought, watching the man stride back and forth along the ramp. He had not stopped moving since they'd arrived at the ship and every so often, he'd pause and stare at the case at Obi-Wan's feet. With a glance to his left, he saw Resa still telling Dormé goodbye.
Resa was leaving with Val and breaking contract with LeeLee. She insisted that what she and Val had was true love. After all, he'd fought a man over her and wasn't that the most romantic expression of his love? Obi-Wan wasn't certain that occurrence was an accurate expression of affections save in his case, nor was he sure how blood and gashes could be considered romantic. Resa could not be talked out of leaving with Val. He and Dormé had both tried.
"Will you get on the blasted ship woman? For one, I owe a guy some funds and two, I wouldn't put it past dear LeeLee to send someone after you. Hurry it up over there." Val ran a hand through his hair and nudged Resa's case up the ramp a bit with his foot.
"I'm saying goodbye," Resa replied, enfolding Dormé in yet another hug.
"Get that hiney moving! If we're not outta here in five, I might not have a ship to carry you off in."
"Headed any place special," Obi-Wan asked politely. He didn't really care; he was just glad to see Val go. He could only take so much of the man and he'd reached his limit the previous hour.
Val picked up Resa's luggage, cast a suspicious glance Dormé's way and strode up the ramp, setting it inside the ship. Upon return, he began once more to pace. "Nowhere special. I need to travel, be out there, you know? Out there in space. Away from here."
Obi-Wan fully understood the need to be away from Tatooine. He'd leave it himself for good if he was able. It was a hot, miserable planet.
Resa came to him now, enfolding him in a hug as enthusiastic and friendly as the ones she'd been giving Dormé for the past twenty minutes. "Take care, Ben. I'll miss you."
"I'll miss you as well." He patted her back gently and set her from him. "Now don't keep Val waiting much longer."
With a nod, she hurried up the ramp.
Finally, Val stopped pacing. A nervous energy surrounded him. "I'd say see you, but I'm not ever coming back to this planet. Take care of yourselves." He blew a kiss at Dormé. "He's a good guy, babe. Got yourself a keeper. Bye."
In minutes, the ship had lifted off and they were alone. There was no Val, Resa, LeeLee, Rix or other person there to interrupt their time together. He planned on taking full advantage. They could have dinner, then slip off to her room...
Why had Val been so nervous? The thought wouldn't leave his mind. Not only that, but why had he kept staring at Dormé's luggage? Tendrils of alarm wrapped about him and would not let go. The luggage was where the pictures were. Surely Val hadn't had the time... Crouching, Obi-Wan opened her case.
Yes, Val was predictable, right down to the pacing when nervous. There was no man he owed funds to, only Dormé he'd stolen pictures from. She stepped closer to Obi-Wan, watched as he opened the case.
"Dormé, two pictures are missing." He stared up at her with wide alarmed eyes.
Crouching, Dormé removed the two pictures she'd had hidden beneath her cloak for the past hour and handed them to him. "Sure hope Val enjoys those pictures of Resa I paid extra to LeeLee for them."
"When?" He took them, glanced at them and tucked them away from sight.
"When I squared the account with LeeLee earlier. She had two more copies brought down at my request. That's why I was later coming down."
Understanding and humor grew in his eyes. "You knew he'd try to steal a couple?"
Dormé nodded. "Well, I guessed. He did say several times that he's never coming back here and I believe him. He won't come back, so how could he resist, especially since he thinks they're pictures of me? He would assume I'd be unable to try and take them back. As for the number, he didn't have time to really make off with the entire load, nor could he without leaving me suspicious. Two was a nice number and I'd wrapped the rest so he would have had to undo it all to get at more."
He stood and she did as well. "You conned him."
They shared a laugh. It felt good to do so. When their amusement faded somewhat, Obi-Wan picked up her luggage and offered her his arm. "Well then, let us have a nice, quiet evening alone. Dinner first and then we can decide what we wish to do."
Arm in arm, they strolled towards his favorite restaurant.
While Val was busy piloting, Resa occupied herself with putting away her belongings. She was so happy to be with him at last! It was good to know he'd not been after that one thing. He loved her. Opening her bag, she found something she knew she hadn't packed. Hugging herself in delight, Resa allowed herself a pleased giggle.
That Val was such a sweetheart! Stealing pictures of her. She knew it was her because she had a mole on her hip and the woman in the original didn't.
Joining Val in the tiny lounge, Resa made sure to give him a big long kiss.
She was finally sound asleep, freeing Val to take out the pictures and really study them. He chuckled to himself. He kind of wished he'd been there to see Dormé's reaction, but then he thought about Ben and decided it was better this way. It was best that he was nowhere near when she realized he'd stolen two of those pictures of her.
He let his gaze slip over the curves. Yup, for the best. Man, she was a good looking gal! The longer he studied the pictures however, something nagged at him. With a frown, he put them away and rejoined Resa, snuggling himself against her and running a gentle hand along her hip. He kissed her neck, fingers touching the little mole on her hip, returning to it again and again.
Suddenly Val sat. The mole. Hurrying from the bed, he took the pictures back out and held them up. The mole, right there. Lowering them, he looked at Resa, sound asleep. On her hip was the mole. The same mole as in the pictures. Slowly, he began to laugh.
He'd been had. Somehow, the pictures had been switched. Shaking his head, he set the pictures down and returned to bed. That Dormé. What a gal!
He hoped Ben knew what he was getting into with her.
Their quiet evening was not to materialize, much to Obi-Wan's disappointment. No sooner had their food arrived than LeeLee's assistant found them, informing Dormé that LeeLee wished to see her first thing in the morning. Grudgingly, he decided that he'd better take his supplies home before they were stolen a second time. Once that task was completed, he'd have time to return and they could go about their plans.
"I will return in two days," he told her as he tied down the last of it. He had just enough time before twilight to reach home. "Don't leave town, Dormé. In fact, don't go anywhere except to LeeLee's. I want to see you and I'll not have a repeat of the other day. If I am longer that two days, do not hesitate to come to my home."
"Don't worry," she assured him. "I've no plans to go anywhere."
Still, he felt the slightest twinge of misgiving in his mind as he headed for home. He was very afraid he'd never see her again.
LeeLee's office was the same one Resa had led them into. Dormé sat in the comfortable chair and waited for the woman to tell her the reason for the meeting.
LeeLee crossed her arms and rested them on the desk edge. "You're a bodyguard. Why didn't you tell me?" Her tone was mildly accusatory.
"I didn't realize it was important."
"Of course it's important," she replied. "Do you know how hard it is to keep the slave traders away from my models? I have to keep a full staff of security and bodyguards for whenever they travel outside my buildings. Even a simple shopping trip could see a prized model snatched away." She sighed. "Rix told me. I find it difficult to believe, though. You could be one of my girls, Dormé"
"I'm not just any bodyguard. I was trained in a very specialized field within that category." She recalled making idle conversation with Rix while she'd patched him up from the fight. She'd mentioned her career a couple times. "I'm a handmaiden, fully schooled and certified."
"Do you have references I can check?"
"Of course I have references, but you can't simply check them." This, she realized with a jolt, was a job interview.
"Because. Among my clientele I've had a much loved former Senator who would not be easy to reach for comment." She let LeeLee think on that. Padmé had been loved and influential in some sectors, and she was both a former Senator and hard to reach, seeing as she was now dead. Dormé remained sitting tall and straight in her seat. The wording and bearing were important, giving an impression that wasn't entirely correct.
Interest sparked bright in LeeLee's eyes. "This Senator, did he...or she...go on to become much more?"
"Yes." Technically it was true. She certainly considered being a mother, however brief that state had been, to be much more than a Senator. Not to mention Padmé had also been a wife. Yes, both counted in her opinion.
"Well, why did you leave the service of that Senator?" The woman was looking at her like she was crazy.
"My husband transferred."
"You're married?" Her fingers tapped on the desk and she smiled. "Ahh yes, the man with you. Ben. So how did you end up here?"
"Let's just say the empire eliminated my husband's position and he was no longer needed." She'd managed to tell the truth without giving anything away. Tepin's position had been eliminated. LeeLee made her own assumptions.
LeeLee stared at her, then nodded. "Okay, here's what I'm prepared to offer..."
By late afternoon, Dormé was on her way to Obi-Wan's home, following the directions he'd given her. As she parked the speeder, he came to the bottom of the steps, obviously surprised to see her. Dormé climbed out and ran to him, hugging him tightly.
"I got the job!"
"That's wonderful," he said, squeezing her against him. "What job would that be?"
She released him. "Oh, with LeeLee."
"I'm happy for you."
She laughed, her hands on his arms. His own hands settled at her waist. "It was the most bizarre interview, but I'm to work steady hours, two days off a week and the salary is as much as I earned with Padmé. Not to mention the perks."
With a little tug, he directed to up the stairs and they climbed, still embracing. "What sort of perks," he asked.
"I have a company apartment and personal speeder, which I'm driving today, and enough high-tech gadgets to choke a bantha. The health and dental plan is top-notch and I can hire an assistant if I wish." She paused, uncertain how to say the next part. Perhaps blurting it out would be best. "She thinks you're my husband, Obi-Wan. She said she knows how hard it is to have two homes, so you're welcome to stay in the apartment whenever you like."
He was silent until they'd reached the top of the steps. "Would you like that? Me staying with you on occasion?"
Dormé turned to look up at him. "Yes. I'd like it very much."
He raised a hand, slid it through her hair. She'd left it loose, knowing he probably liked it that way. "You'll stay on Tatooine, then? Live here?"
"Where else have I to go? This is my new home planet."
He nodded. The sensation of his hand through her hair was more than pleasant. Now he touched her face, thumb sweeping along her lower lip in a tickling caress. "What might have been may be after all. I seem to remember we never had a chance to really kiss."
Her heart beat fast in her chest. Was it time? Would her desire of years ago at long last be fulfilled? "We almost did."
"For what? Four, perhaps five seconds before that mugger interrupted? Almost does not count."
She gave a soft giggle. "You know, I had waited all afternoon for that kiss, too. I was not pleased to be interrupted."
"I could not tell."
They had a moment of quiet as the suns began to set on the horizon. Splashes of purples, pinks and reds mixed together in a beautiful play of color. Dormé barely noticed the beauty. She was too intent upon Obi-Wan.
This time, she knew he referred to the personal, not professional. Things had changed. Fate had brought them back together and this time, Dormé wasn't afraid to follow her heart. This, with him, was where she belonged. "As long as you'll have me."
"My Dormé." His other hand raised as well. Her face was cradled in his hands. "There's no child or mugger to interrupt us. Shall we try for that kiss? The third time is a charm, or so I was once told."
He bent his head and kissed her and it was everything she had thought it could be that day long ago.