The Lack Thereof
She was, in a word, broke. Actually, she would have to have forty credits to be considered broke. She'd played a rather unfortunate game of Pazaak with one of the guys in the gaming room of Jav's Cantina, costing her eighty credits, half of which she was definitely lacking.
Dari sat at the table across from Mission and Zalbaar, thankful that the twi'lek girl had an inside connection get her a free Juma. She was trying to decide how she would go about telling Carth about their credits. Or, rather, the lack thereof.
Definitely while Zalbaar and Mish were there. If he murdered her right there in the apartment, she'd rather him not have an easy time of trying to tell the authorities that she slipped, tripped, and fell on the end of his shock stick. Dari giggled to herself at that thought.
"What's so funny?" Mission asked, eyes twinkling.
"Just thinking about Carth's 'shock stick'."
Dari was glad the young twi'lek had the willpower to swallow her drink, rather than try to give her companion a shower. "Excuse me?" Mission sputtered. "What do you mean by that?"
"His choice of murder weapon once he finds out I lost the rest of out creds to that slimeball chuba-face!" Dari called, throwing the insult over her shoulder towards the game room.
Said slimeball chuba-face only waved in her direction with a smirk on his ugly face. Dari threw him a rude gesture and turned back to her companions.
"He won't kill you, will he?" Mission asked, concerned. "Carth doesn't really seem like the murdering kind, but he was a soldier, after all."
"He won't as long as I'm around." Zalbaar assured.
Dari pursed her lips, glancing around the cantina for some kind of idea. Unfortunately, her gaze landed on a door marked 'Private' and she knew exactly what she would do.
"Mish, you know Jav, right?"
Carth felt old… And useless. Like a gray sock with a hole in the heel of it. He, decidedly, did not like this feeling at all. Which was what lead him to be walking down the streets of Upper Taris so late in the evening. He was tired of waiting for Dari, her pet Wookie, and Mission to get back from relieving their stress.
As if a kid like Mission was even winded by running through sewers, rescuing her best friend from Gammorean slavers, slaying rakghouls, breaking into a gang's headquarters, and battling countless members of said gang. It was all in a day's work for any member of Dari's faction.
Carth was now striding down the street toward the lift to the Lower City. The cantina in the Upper City didn't stay open this late, so he knew the trio must be in the lower recesses of Taris. He flashed the authorization papers (which Mission had copied in triplicate) at the Sith guard and climbed into the lift.
He wasn't old. He was only a year or two older than Dari herself, in fact! He was sick of it. Sick of being left out of their little 'party-goer' clique. He was sick of being out of the loop.
The elevator door slid open and Carth strode down the street to the entrance of Javyyar's Cantina. He'd show them who was old! He could still drink any one of them under the table! Well, except maybe Zalbaar.
As he stepped out of the Pazaak room into the center chamber of the bar, Carth knew something was up. Mission and her Wookie were sitting at a table across from an empty glass of Juma and a garment that looked a hell of a lot like Dari's Ronto-hide swoop jacket. The little twi'lek was whispering frantically and Zalbaar (from what Carth could tell) was trying to calm her down.
"… are we gonna tell him?! What if…"
As Carth approached, her frantic stream of words trailed off into space and she was looking at him with big blue eyes that were so scared he almost felt bad. Almost.
"Where is she?"
"She? Meaning who?"
"Meaning Dari," Carth replied, annoyed. "Tall, redhead, drinks like a fish?"
Mission leaned back, the nervous look in her eyes fading bit by bit. "I, uh, haven't seen her."
"Cut the poodoo, Mission," he snapped. "where is she?"
Carth blinked. Once. Twice. "Do what?"
She took a breath and pointed over his shoulder. "There. Him."
Carth turned and saw what she meant. There was a Rodian standing there, arms crossed, in front of a door with a sign on it that clearly read 'Private'. Carth suddenly got the impression that Dari was, once again, in over her head.
"She lost all our credits in a Pazaak game."
"She didn't want you to get mad, though!" Mission defended. "So she was trying to find a way to makesomemorecredsandsheaskedifIknewJavyyarandI—"
"Slow down, Mission!"
"And I said I did. So now she's back there trying to… uhm… make some credits?"
Carth was beginning to wish he'd simply stayed at the apartment and been the holey gray sock of the group. Sighing, he decided that the most important thing was getting Dari out of that room without causing a big hubbub. He'd send Mission and Zalbaar back to their makeshift base to get some rest. He could deal with this on his own.
"You two head back, I'll get her and we'll meet you back there within the hour." Carth ordered. "Don't wait up… Mission."
"Okay, Gramps." she retorted, following Zalbaar out of the cantina.
Dari spotted him easily in the crowd of pawing lechers. Holdan. The thug that put the bounty on Dia's head. What a frakkin Lurdo… She was decided he would be her mark for the night. She knew he had at least the two hundred credits she'd paid him to amend his 'wounded pride.' She smiled and adjusted herself before swaying delicately over to him.
"Hey baby!" he exclaimed, grabbing her around the waist. "Long time, no see! You gonna give Big Holdan a little shimmy, sweet thing?"
Dari ground her teeth and removed his hands from her person.
"Sure thing, honey." she replied sweetly.
She took his hand and led him to a chair, nodding for the bouncer to keep an eye out. The muscled Zabrak nodded, arms crossed.
Javyyar had agreed to let her come on and try her luck as a dancer in the back room for the night, as he was feeling generous and sympathetic. Of course, some Persuasion on her part hadn't hurt any, either. So, here she was, trying to earn some credits so their little ragtag group didn't have to run around hoping to find a corpse to snag supplies off of.
"Now, remember, big boy," she warned, a smile on her lips but a gleam in her eye that promised pain if he didn't listen, "don't touch the dancers. We can have a pleasant evening in the cantina, or you can… not."
Holdan, for all his big talk, only nodded. Of course, that probably had somethingto do with her outfit. He was probably trying to figre out if she had her own blade tucked away somewhere clever. Although, she couldn't see where she'd put it.
Carth stood at the door of the back room. He suddenly felt much older than before he left the apartment. Guys that were only a bit younger than himself, most of them soldiers for the Sith, were getting dances from women much younger than Carth.
He hadn't seen a half-naked woman for a very long time, and he was somewhat embarrassed to say that she definitely hadn't looked like this the last time he had. These girls were… well, just that! Girls! Most were young women, but none of them had the curves that an adult woman had. Carth liked his women with more that simply skin and bones.
He looked around the room, seeing mostly just men in chairs and women on top or in front of them. He couldn't believe his stupidity. He'd simply assumed Dari had gone to the 'back room' for a high-stakes game of Pazaak to try and win their money back. Either they were playing very high stakes, or she was dancing for her money.
Just then, he spotted Dari. She wore a strapless corset that showed off her bosom and belly and a pair of short-pants that hardly covered her backside. Both garments were in a dark shade of emerald that went nicely with her fire red hair and fair skin. Her feet were bare, which was unusual, but perhaps it was easier to dance when one lacked footwear.
She was in the far corner, a familiar-looking man in a chair while she stood dancing in front of him. Carth didn't know much about dancing, but he could tell she had only begun. She stood, wrists crossed lazily above her head, swaying her hips lightly to the slow, erotic beat thumping through the atmosphere. As the beat of the song pulsed on in the same manner, she kept her hips rocking at the same slow pace whist her hands began to twist and caress her arms in a surprisingly erotic act.
The beat picked up, subtly, but noticeably to anyone watching those hips. Their pace picked up just as the beat did, now working her abdomen and chest more prominently than before. Her hands caressed her face and neck lightly, drawing the observer's attention to her other appealing features. Her eyes were closed, lashes barely resting on her cheeks and her face was a picture of calm.
There was a more sudden pick-up in the beat than almost startled him. Not because of the noise, no, but because of her sudden change in movements. In one beat, she clapped her hands together above her head, snapping her eyes open at once. The face of calm was gone, replaced with a determination that was rather appealing on her features. She brought her right leg up then, swinging it high and sharp, then bringing it down, hooking her knee on the man's left shoulder.
Dari rolled her whole body with the beat now, arching her back with the apex of her thighs very near to the man's face. Just as suddenly as she'd put it there, though, she swung it back down. She opted, instead, to straddle the man's lap, grinding against him slightly, but putting more focus on accenting her breasts now.
That was when Carth saw it. Her right hand slid down into the man's pocket. He almost laughed out loud. She was dancing for her money, alright! She slipped the credits into the edge of her shorts and smiled saucily at the man. Carth found himself smiling as well.
She slid down, bringing her legs under her as she slid to the floor, her hands resting on his knees. She pushed herself up again, turning around to press her bottom onto his lap. The beat was slowing back to the pace it had had earlier and she swayed her hips lazily again as she sat on his lap, her hands still resting on his knees.
The song ended. Dari stood, and Carth sighed. He was too old for this.
Dari smiled at the tipsy Holdan and he gave her a bleary, disturbingly enamored look.
"Nice shimmy, baby." he commented. "I think I'll give you a tip."
He, thankfully, reached into his right pocket. Dropping credits into her hand, he left. Dari sighed in relief and turned, running smack into Carth Onasi.
"Onasi!" she exclaimed, nervousness flashing across her face. "What are you doing here?"
He smiled. "I felt old. Got tired of being left out."
"You aren't old." She laughed, all nerves gone. "So I take it Mish spilled the beans?"
"Well, here's five hundred credits right here." She shook the chips in her hand, having pulled them from the hem of her shorts moments earlier.
"I think that'll be enough to last us a while, beautiful."
"Good." Dari smiled. "How about this outfit?"
"Or lack thereof."
"Aw, shuddup flyboy!" She smiled. "I might make you shimmy for the credits next time!"