Revised 7/19/10

She never stops talking, does she? Anakin thought with a smile.

It was true. Ever since he had paid her a visit to return a borrowed datapad she had been in a long, practically one sided conversation.

Right now she was talking about… well, he wasn't exactly sure what. She was running her mouth a mile a minute.

" Darra? Would you mind slowing down?" Anakin interrupted.

"Oh, right. Sorry," Darra rushed to apologize.

"You're awfully talkative today," Anakin remarked.

Her ears turned pink. "It happens sometimes."

"Why does it usually happen?" Anakin asked.

"I don't know!" She fiddled with the ends of her hair; not meeting his eyes. "It happens a lot. When I'm perplexed or nervous or peeved."

"Peeved?"

"You know- when something gets on your nerves," She explained.

"Like a pet peeve," Anakin nodded.

"Exactly."

"So you're peeved. What is your pet peeve?"

"Silence," Darra laughed. "Restlessness, doing nothing, animals that leave trails of goo… people who say 'almost.'"

Anakin chuckled. "I think I almost understand you."

Darra rolled her eyes. "Really, it's annoying. And I'm almost fed up with you."

"I'm almost ready to leave, then."

"And I'm almost ready to ask you to stay."

"So I'm almost ready to ask you why."

"Because you almost didn't tell me your pet peeves."

"True," Anakin consented. It was only fair. "True. Let me think… people who say almost…"

"I almost guessed that!" Darra brightened.

Anakin made a face. "Bureaucracy, cold oatmeal, sand in my hair, and butterflies in my stomach."

"Do you get butterflies when you're nervous?"

"Typically," Anakin admitted.

"So why are you nervous now?" Darra prompted.

Anakin was taken aback. "How do you know?" He wasn't going to lie; he always had some sort of butterflies in his stomach when they were alone.

"I guess I just know you well enough," Darra shrugged him off.

Anakin thought for a moment, trying to find some sort of comeback to justify his open emotions. "Well… you mentioned you were nervous. That was why you were talking so much wasn't it?"

Darra shifted uncomfortably. "I also said it could be because I was perplexed or peeved."

"I know," Anakin said smoothly, playfully baiting her. "But face it; you're nervous when you're around me."

"I'm not!" Darra said furiously as blood rushed to her face.

"Tell the truth, Darra," Anakin said earnestly, leaning back in his chair. The butterflies he felt were increasing; and they had nowhere to go but up- into his heart. "I was truthful with you."

Darra fell silent for a moment. Anakin waited patiently, already anticipating the answer. "Yes. I'm nervous. Don't ask me why; I don't know. I could be for any number of reasons."

"Maybe. But maybe it's for the same reason I am," Anakin suggested softly.

"What?" Darra demanded. It came out as a squeak.

"I don't know, either." Anakin clarified. It was time to be open; they were friends, after all. "But I'm happy when I'm around you."

"I'm happy with you, too."

When she put it like that, things seemed a lot more comfortable. It was as if a strange calm had settled over them.

They were sitting close together, so before he knew it his hand was in hers.

It was just as easy to lean over and touch her warm cheek with his free hand. After mustering up his courage, he gave her a subtle peck on the lips. As he drew back, Darra caught him just in time to kiss him again. This time it was deeper; sweeter- and Anakin didn't try to escape.

But Darra seemed oblivious to the fact he would have liked to extend the moment, because she broke away. She seemed a bit flabbergasted, if not pleased.

"That," She said, "Was almost perfect."