Chapter 4

Jaina woke to the sound of the door opening later, her head throbbing, but clear. Ouch. She pushed her hair out of her eyes and slowly sat up, blinking rapidly to adjust her vision to the dim lighting. The sun was going down. She rubbed the side of her head where it had connected to the door, unable to remember what had happened once she hit the bed. Had she simply passed out?

She swung her legs off the bed, shivering as she felt her bare feet touch the floor. He had removed her boots and socks. She smiled, despite the throb in her head. How touching.

She looked around, the bedroom illuminated in the dying daylight.

The bed took up a good portion of the space on a slightly raised platform in the center of one wall with two night tables and lamps, one on each side. Weights and an exercise mat were placed in one corner, leading to a smaller fresher than the one downstairs. She couldn't see it very clearly and turned back to the room.

Across from the bed was a second, small fire place, like the one in the living room, a soft carpet of bantha hair stretched out the width of the bed in front of it. Two chairs with a plain table between them, made up the last of the furniture. The walls were bare, but for the dark, damask curtains and a wilderness scene, depicting a hunt of the native animals of the planet they were on.

She smiled. Much more comfortable than the room at the other cabin. She pushed the thought away and rose to her feet. She hoped Kyp would be dressed when she saw him next; she wasn't sure she could deal with him half-naked again. Not until her head stopped throbbing.

Yet it wasn't the throbbing in her head that made her shiver when she thought of that gloriously sculpted body and the sharp mind attached to it. Or was it the other way around?

"Feeling better?"

She froze, looking up slowly. "Kyp."

He stepped into the room, looking at her with concern. "How's the head?"

"It hurts, but I think I'll live. How's dinner coming?"

He offered her a pill and a glass of water. "It's ready whenever you are. Here; it's a painkiller."

She accepted it gratefully, swallowing it down quickly, the water cool on her throat. "Thanks."

"Anytime. Would you like a hand down the stairs?"

She placed the glass on the nearest nightstand and held out her hand. "I'd appreciate it, I'm still a little dizzy."

He stepped next to her, folding her hand in his, and she felt as if she'd been jolted for a second time. She swallowed, her palm beginning to sweat as he guided her out of the room and to the stairs.

She locked her knees as they walked, starting to feel them tremble. She was shaking by the time they reached the ground. She had to tell him, but her tongue was tied. His effect on her was almost overwhelming. Kyp frowned at her before unexpectedly scooping her up in his arms and carrying her to the couch in front of the fire.

"I think you're not feeling as good as you let on. Shall I serve dinner here?"

She looked up at him, shaking her head once. "No no, I've seen the table you set. So much work... I couldn't possibly eat right here knowing you went to all that trouble."

Kyp crouched in front of her, taking her face in his hands. "Jaina, I don't want you to do something simply because I made an effort. I can reset the table just as easily here. I want to make this as easy on you as possible."

She clasped his hands, squeezing. "Are you sure? I mean, all that work..."

"I insist." was his dry response.

"Thank you, Kyp. I think I'd feel more comfortable on the floor. That way, if I fall, I have less of a distance to go."

He chuckled, leaning forward to place a gentle, daring kiss on her cheek. He rose quickly, "Stay put, I'll bring dinner to you."

She stared after him, one hand going to her cheek and the feel of his lips. They were dry, but warm, having molded themselves to the contour of her face like they were made for it. She shivered, pulling the blanket off the back of the couch and wrapping herself in it, knowing as she did that it wouldn't help.

She watched as Kyp emerged, the vase of wilted flowers in hand, and solemnly set them on the coffee table. Slowly, one trip after another, their place settings emerged, facing one another, horizontal to the fire place. The light of the flames danced on his features as he set each item down, causing shadows and hollows which lent him a mysterious air.

Not that he needed it.

Jaina could feel herself going from hot to cold and back, her body unable to control its temperature as he finally brought out hot plates and began placing the individual dishes on the table. Her mouth began to water as the aromas drifted to her, laden with the promise of a delicious meal.

Lastly, he brought out a bottle and a large bucket full of snow. The bottle was placed inside the bucket to chill as Kyp took his seat and motioned for her to join him. "Dinner is served."

Jaina looked at the six different pots, her eyes gleaming. "This is a pleasant surprise, Master Durron. When, during the last few years, have you ever had a chance to learn to cook?"

He smirked. "My secret. Let's see if it's up to your standards, shall we Lieutenant?"

She laughed easily, settling into a place on the floor, a pillow considerately placed for her to sit on.

Kyp tugged the bottle out of the snow, turning it so she could see the label. "A local vintage, perhaps?"

She picked up the crystal glass eagerly. "Always game to try something new. What is it exactly?"

"Something they call Champagne. Supposed to be like the rare, lighter, Alderaanian wines, but more bubbly."

She waited until he had served himself a glass and put the bottle back in the snow bucket. She lifted her glass. "To lasting friendships that blossom and grow!"

He raised his glass. "To friends that stick with you even through your worst mistakes!"

She laughed at him, and took a sip. The bubbles tickled her nose and the back of her throat, making her eyes water. "Ooooo, I like this."

Kyp chuckled. "I had hoped you would. So, where should we start?"

She blinked her eyes clear and motioned for him to serve. "You're the cook, you tell me."

"It's chef my dear, chef."

She giggled, slapping a hand over her mouth at his haughty pretense. He winked at her. "So tell me, Jaina. What brought you to this world with Jag?"

"I don't honestly know." She admitted. "We'd been planning to get away, from the war and the military and technology," she waved her hand at the fire place. "But Jag is a techno-weenie."

Kyp, in the process of taking a sip of his Champagne, snorted and almost spit his drink across the table.

Jaina grinned wickedly. "Well, it's true!"

Kyp swallowed, laughing at the look on her face. "I couldn't have said it better myself. So why did he agree?"

She shrugged, watching the crisp greens he piled onto her plate, followed by mashed tubers. "He wanted to make me happy, even at his own expense. Did you take a hint from me today?" she laughed as she saw he had gravy to go with the tubers.

Kyp winked, "I figured you'd probably get upset if I roasted Jag, even if you did break up with him, so I settled for the last half of your recipe."

Her smile was delighted. "This smells wonderful, Kyp. Don't ever let me cook for you; I can't put together anything like this!"

Their conversation was easy, turning away from Jag and to her family. Kyp asked after her father and mother, her uncle Luke and aunt Mara, and her cousins. He asked after her brother and his quest.

Finally, the divine meal resting comfortably in their stomachs, Jaina set her fork down and stretched out, her glass in one hand. "I couldn't eat another bite. You could make me fat on all that goodness!"

Kyp chuckled, stretching out comfortably until his feet met hers and began playing with the bottoms of them, running his toes down the outside and then up the arch. He felt her shiver but not pull away. "I'll take that as a compliment. I guess desert will have to wait."

She nodded. "That's a good idea, I need to let my food settle."

They were silent for long minutes, staring at each other, before Jaina finally shifted uncomfortably in her spot. Kyp raised his glass. "Sorry, beautiful, but the fire is doing something stunning with your hair."

She blushed, pleased with his compliment. "Thanks."

"So, are you going to tell me what you were writing me this morning before I interrupted you?"

She shifted away, putting her back to the couch.

Kyp rose, moving to sit next to her, their shoulders brushing. "I'd like to know Jaina. Your letter it... well... it made me do a lot of thinking today. Thinking I probably shouldn't be doing. I'd like to know if I'm right."

She sighed, staring into the flames. "This is so difficult to explain, Kyp."

"Why?"

She slanted him a look. "Because of who you and I are. What would my dad say if I told him I was asking you to marry me? What would he say if I told him I loved you? You, Kyp Durron, the kid he pulled out of Kessel?"

Kyp stared at her speechless, unable to believe what he's just heard. "What?"

She turned to face him full on, searching his gaze. "I love you, Kyp. I think I always have. Jag was close, he was a lot of things you are, but he's not you. You're fundamentally different in so many ways that have nothing to do with looks. I think I was telling myself that I wanted Jag because he was safe, because, in the end, he'd never be able to hurt me. You've had my heart for a long time, Kyp. Held it, and kept it safe, and that thought it terrifying. Of everyone I've ever met, no one knows me like you do. No one cares to know me. That gives you the power to hurt me. You know my weaknesses, my strengths, and you know-"

Kyp leaned in, cutting her off and pinning her against the couch as his lips settled over hers.

Jaina's arms came around his neck, pulling him closer as her lips welcomed him with such sweetness, it would have driven him to his knees had he been standing.

The kiss lasted for long minutes, Kyp moving her to lay on the floor, her hair spread out in a halo behind her as he reluctantly pushed himself up on one elbow. Her mouth was kiss-bruised, her face flushed and he could feel the excitement racing through her. He shook his head slowly, a smile on his face, one that completely reached his eyes. "You're something else Jaina Solo."

She smiled, reaching up to tuck on lock of his longish hair behind his ears. "I could say the same thing for you. I love you Kyp."

His smile was soft, just for her. "I know. Why do you think I couldn't leave you alone? I love you too, Jaina. More than life."

She pulled him back down, reaching for his lips even as she felt his surrender to her. Their kiss was a meeting of passions, of souls finally submitting to a force stronger than will power. Of the Force rejoicing in such a union.

It was long hours later when Kyp finally lifted his head. They'd spent their time kissing and caressing, talking in low tones of what they'd been doing, yearning for, in the last years. He told her of his escapades, she told him of her slow disillusionment of Jag.

He chuckled, caressing her at every opportunity, no longer jealous of the other man. He now had what he wanted, and she'd come to him willingly.

"I should get that desert."

She made a face, unwilling to let him go, even for a few minutes. "Can I come with you?"

"Nope." He smirked. "Waiting for something will do you good."

She threw the pillow at him as he scrambled to his feet and went for the kitchen. She pushed herself up to relax against the couch again, her headache completely gone.

Jaina sighed, a happy, satisfied smile on her face. Step one hadn't been so hard. Step two... she wondered if Kyp had even heard her ask him to marry her. Probably not. She grimaced at the fire. She'd have to ask again.

A bowl materialize beside her attached to the skilled hands of the man she intended to be the father of her children. "What's this?"

Kyp grinned, a similar bowl in his other hand as he sat back down next to her. "It's a surprise. Something sweet for my sweet."

She rolled her eyes before checking out the concoction. Whipped cream on top of something she couldn't make out, with a black cherry to top it off. "Was this for buttering me up, Kyp?"

His smirk was pure evil. "Careful, goddess, or you'll end up wearing it and becoming desert."

Her face flushed as she pictured herself on the rug, covered in the whipped cream concoction and Kyp... she shook the image away with difficulty. "I... uh..." she stammered, trying to remember what he'd said. Oh right, wearing the desert. "I don't think so."

"So try it already."

She dipped her spoon into the desert, and carefully lifted it back to her mouth. Her eyes opened wide in surprise as a chocolately taste melted with cream and cherry on her tongue. She sighed, moaning softly. "Mmmm, oh Kyp, this is delicious!"

"Chocolate pudding." He smiled at her reaction. "Sinfully delicious when augmented with real chocolate squares."

Jaina had to agree. She finished the desert off in several bites, savoring each one. "Now I know I have to keep you. This is incredible, Kyp!"

He placed her empty bowl on the table next to his own and pulled her against his chest. "Keep me, Jaina? I thought I was your keeper."

She snuggled into him, unable to keep the smile off her face. "No, but I don't need a keeper anymore. I know I said this earlier Kyp, but..."

"Yes."

"What?"

He nuzzled her ear. "I'll marry you, Jaina. Your dad is going to love your choice of son-in-law."

She laughed, her heart bursting with emotion as she wrapped him in a tight hug. "Oh, Kyp! Thank you, thank you!"

He chuckled, hugging her back just as tightly. "Only one thing, Jaina."

"Yes?"

"You get to wear the engagement ring."

Her laughter echoed through the small cabin and was swiftly silenced. Kyp took control and Jaina willingly surrendered.

Almost Perfection? Jaina knew she'd never again settle for anything less than perfection.

Almost just wasn't good enough.

Fin