Chapter 25----

Jaina lay in her bed staring wide-eyed at the ceiling. Sleep just wasn't happening. Morning would come all too soon, and she knew she would be a zombie if she didn't get some rest. But she just couldn't. The excitement of her new assignment with Aunt Mara and the disappointment of leaving her family again so soon were only part of the reason she was still bright eyed and bushy tailed. No, the main thief of her slumber was a certain Jedi Master, and the realization that Kyp was going to leave without knowing how she really felt had her head spinning, and it wasn't about to slow down.

She sighed heavily and rolled onto her side. That didn't work, so she flipped to the other side. She tried fluffing up the pillows, counting gundarks, even imagining that she was listening to Threepio drone on and on about all of the languages he was fluent in, but still no sleep.

Her mind focused on her decision not to run after Kyp like some silly little girl. Besides, her pride wouldn't let her despite the reassuring conversation she'd had with Leia earlier that night. No, Jaina had chosen to wait for him to make the move. Isn't that how it was supposed to be done? The man making the first move?

Forcing her eyes closed, she let her mind drift where it wanted. In a few seconds, the corner of her mouth curved into a lop-sided smile as Kyp came sharply into view. He was bursting through the door of the warehouse, that black cape billowing behind him, his dark hair all tousled and a wild look of danger in his eyes. Her mind instantly recalled memory after memory of Kyp--- Kyp with no shirt on---Kyp straddled on top of her after their first duel, his body, even then, betraying his feelings for her--- Kyp pressed against her on the side of the cliff--- Kyp was simply everywhere!

Jaina kicked the covers off with an unladylike grunt. It was getting a bit stuffy in her room, she noticed.

She spent a few more minutes trying to shove those beloved memories out of her mind, but finally admitted defeat. Lying down in bed was not a safe place to be when thinking of Kyp Durron. So Jaina jumped up and went to the refresher. After getting a cold drink of water, she walked to her small flight bag and double-checked her luggage. All there, she noted as she plopped down in a nearby chair.

Glancing around her small cabin, her eyes came to rest on the edge of the bed where only days before she and Kyp had shared a passionate kiss only to be interrupted by her brothers. She laughed out loud, but only to keep from crying. How had things gotten so out of hand? He had gotten under her skin, that's what had happened, and she couldn't get him out of her system. Getting to know the real, vulnerable Kyp Durron had been her undoing. Holding him while he had the nightmare about his parents, seeing the look on his face when he saw her dressed up, dancing with him at her birthday dinner--- knowing that he was willing to keep their relationship a secret until she could tell her family--- all in all Kyp Durron was quite a man.

Yes-- quite a man, Jaina thought as she leaned back in the chair, her eyes closed in thoughtful contemplation. Not many people would have put up with her inconsiderate request. And not many people could see through his obnoxious exterior. They were made for each other.

Suddenly, she jumped up from her seat, now perfectly clear on what to do next. Grabbing the flight suit she had laid out for the morning, she slipped it on and headed out the door. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~ Kyp zipped his pants just as his door buzzer sounded. As soon as he pushed the open button, a small, yet strong hand pushed against his chest forcing him back into the room.

"Jaina?" he asked shaking his head in confusion. "I think I'm having déjà vu. Haven't we done this whole scene before, say about three months ago?" he motioned with his hands.

Without even looking back, she slapped the close button and continued moving toward Kyp her hand still firmly on his bare chest.

"Not exactly," she replied a strange grin on her face. She stopped and glanced over his shoulder to the bed and his flight bag. "You all packed?" she asked dropping her hand. Kyp thought he sensed a hint of disappointment in her voice but didn't want to read more into it than it was. Had Jacen told her he was leaving early?

He reached behind his head and rubbed the back of his neck, "Um, yeah, almost. I've just got a few more things to toss in before I go."

"Oh," Jaina muttered as she walked aimlessly around his small quarters. She was trying to remain cool and collected, but was having trouble. Force, does he smell good!, Jaina declared silently. His hair was still a little damp from a shower, and seeing him shirtless again. well, that was making remaining calm a lot more difficult.

Kyp's gaze followed her around the room. He was trying to read her in the Force, but she had put up a block against him. Reading women without the use of the Force was like trying to out-fly Han Solo. possible, but not likely to happen in this lifetime. Suddenly, his palms started to sweat. He was nervous. Part of him wanted to hear what she would say, while the other part wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out.

"So," he began, "you'll be going with your Aunt Mara tomorrow."

"Yeah, we're going to check on some smugglers, or refugees, or something like that," she replied half-heartedly. "Where are you going again?"

"I'm escorting Danni Quee and those other scientist types to Eclipse. Supposedly she has a lead on manipulating those yammosk things."

Jaina was still wandering around, avoiding eye contact with Kyp. "I like Danni," she stated. "Jacen had a crush on her a few years ago, you know. But he was still pretty young, and she was older. I think he was pretty disappointed about it though."

Kyp's eyes narrowed as he continued his attempt at deciphering her motives. Finally, she stopped and sat down on the edge of his bed, and Kyp, deciding that honesty was for once the best policy, spoke.

"I'm leaving tonight, Jaina," he announced bluntly.

Jaina looked up at him for the first time since she had entered his room. Had she heard him correctly? "Tonight?" she muttered in response. Kyp merely nodded weakly. "Why tonight?" she asked.

Kyp took a step away from her and began fidgeting with his travel bag. "I thought it would be best. for both of us."

Studying the man in front of her, Jaina tried to wrap her mind around his confession. As she tried to figure out how to reply, she felt her temper begin to rise. "Just what I need--- someone else to decide what's best for me. You weren't going to even say goodbye, were you?"

Kyp winced as the truth of her words stung. The Jedi Master could easily sense Jaina's anger building and braced himself for what was to come. Whatever it was, he deserved it.

"Were you?!" she demanded. He ventured a glance over at her and saw the fire blazing in her dark eyes. "How dare you! How dare you treat me this way! After all we've been through---," here she paused and forced down the lump in her throat. She would not give him the satisfaction of seeing her cry. "I thought I meant something to you, Kyp."

Oh, Force! She's going to cry!, Kyp thought. His first instinct was to go to her and envelop her in a comforting embrace, but he stayed his ground. If he touched her now, he might not have the strength to leave like he should.

"You do, Jaina. You know that," he said more softly than he intended.

"Then why? Why were you going to leave without even saying goodbye? Especially after telling me you loved me the other day. Was that just a lie?"

He could see her eyes glistening now, filling with tears, and it was tearing his heart into pieces.

"No, of course it wasn't a lie. But you and I both know that we could never work. I've driven a wedge between you and your family, and that's unacceptable to me. I'm not worth losing your family over, Jaina." Kyp dropped his head and returned to his packing.

Jaina stared at Kyp as he worked, not knowing what to say to him. Their bond was strong enough for her to know he wasn't lying. about any of it. He did indeed love her, yet he also believed whole-heartedly that he didn't deserve to be loved in return. How horrible for him to feel so worthless, she thought. To think that he shouldn't have anyone to care about him. A single tear trickled down her cheek, and she determined then and there to convince Kyp Durron that he was meant to be loved. by her.

"I was coming to see you that night." Swallowing hard, she stood and moved towards him.

"What?" Kyp asked, not daring to stop and look at her. He could sense her coming closer and his temperature started to rise.

When she was close enough, she stopped. Now she was only inches from him and the electricity between them was beginning to spark. "My mother tricked me into a family get-together and I couldn't leave until it was too late. I fell asleep before I could change to come see you." Jaina reached out and lightly traced a line down his finely muscled arm from bare shoulder to elbow. She felt him tremble beneath her touch, emboldening her to continue, but he still refused to look at her.

"Don't you want to know what I was going to say?" she asked in a husky whisper as she leaned up on her toes close to his ear.

He gulped audibly and felt the blood start to course through his veins with her every move. Next, she reached up to caress his face and forced him to look at her. When he finally turned around, one gaze into her deep brown eyes had him mesmerized. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't help but love this petite bundle of energy standing in front of him.

"You just shaved," she said softly.

"Huh?" he muttered with a quiet snort. She was making absolutely no sense, but he just hoped she wouldn't stop touching him. At that instant, her other hand slid up his chest and then down his arm. Wish granted.

"Your blast wound is almost completely healed," she noted as she studied it more closely and then placed a tender kiss on the remaining scar. Kyp cleared his throat and tried unsuccessfully to clear his mind of the carnal thoughts he was suddenly assaulted with.

"Yeah, it's, uh, it's just going to leave a bit of a mark is all," he tried to add without losing his mind. Jaina had leaned up on her tiptoes and was placing feather-light kisses all along his throat. He gulped and tried to speak. "Wh-what are you doing?"

She moaned a little in between kisses and then whispered in his ear, "Nothing."

"Oh, you're doing something all right," Kyp declared, trying to push her away, "something you shouldn't be doing, if you know what's best for you."

She giggled a sexy little laugh as she looked up into his eyes. "Well, you see, that's just it. I do know what's best for me, except no one else seems to realize that fact. But you're about to."

Unexpectedly, Jaina shoved him and he landed with a plop on the bed. He sat up and straightened himself just as she moved in front of him. Hoping desperately that this was headed where he wanted it to be headed, Kyp simply sat and let her take control. He didn't want to make a move and then realize too late that it wasn't what she had intended. She pushed his knees apart with her legs so she could get closer and wrap her arms around his neck. They were just about eye-level with one another now, and she got an innocent expression on her face.

"I think I'm ready for that dessert now," she said seductively. She'd never had cause to be sexy, but somehow with Kyp it was coming naturally. Or so she thought.

Kyp laughed out loud. Jaina's expression quickly changed to hurt and was on its way to anger as she jerked away from him. He reached out and grabbed her arm pulling her back to sit on his lap. She struggled for a second, but he wouldn't let her up. Instead he forced her to look at him.

"Are you seducing me, Jaina Solo?" he teased as he gently stroked her hair.

Her big brown eyes looked deeply into his. "Is it working?" she asked sincerely.

Kyp laughed again and again she tried to get away. He somehow managed to keep her on the bed next to him. "Now just calm down, will you? I want to get this straight. You-Jaina Solo, Jedi princess-are coming on to me-rebel of the universe. Is that right?"

Jaina growled and jumped up only to be pulled back down.

"Hey, I'm not laughing at you," Kyp confessed. "I'm laughing at myself."

Jaina shot him a 'yeah, right' look before he explained. "You. here. like this," he shook his head in disbelief, "it's like a dream." Her expression softened a bit as he took her hand in his and continued. "I know I don't deserve you, Jaina-"

Kyp didn't get to finish what he was going to say. Jaina promptly shut him up with a kiss, her mouth so hungry for his that it was a struggle for both of them to get enough air to keep going. but somehow they managed. After several moments of passionate exchanges, they pulled breathlessly away, Kyp nuzzling into her soft, creamy neck.

"I love you, Kyp," she whispered into his ear before nibbling on his lobe. "That's what I was coming to tell you--- that I love you, and I need you, and--- I -I want you." Both were gazing into each other's eyes, their desire as palpable as their rapid heartbeats.

"Are you sure about this?" Kyp asked, knowing that if she showed any doubt his heart would be crushed beyond repair. "I thought you were worried about what everyone would think?"

For the third time in one day, Kyp stared into a face sporting the infamous lopsided Solo grin.

"Yeah, well," Jaina began with a twinkle in her eye, "I got over it." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

I hope you've enjoyed this little tale of romance I've shared. ( Please review, if you like, and be sure to check out my other fics.