This has been sitting on my harddrive for the past few months, so I figured I should finally upload it. (More Mass Effect stuff coming soon, I promise, haha)
This is dedicated to my fellow Corso fangirl strawbeki, for being awesome :D
"So... Darmas, huh?"
Corso was doing his best to sound as if he didn't care, but Edris had learned quickly that he wasn't great at hiding his emotions. He tried to act casual and glanced over at her from his seat on the chair next to her, and she smiled, hiding it by turning away and pretending to admire the décor.
Darmas's new job working for a senator was apparently important enough for him to justify throwing a massive party, which they "simply had to attend," according to the man himself, and the two of them had been there perhaps an hour, schmoozing and chatting with Darmas and his friends. But when the music volume became near-deafening and things started getting rowdy, Edris knew that sweet little farmboy Corso probably needed a break, so she suggested they go sit in one of the empty side rooms.
"He's quite the charmer," she replied. She leaned back against the cushy couch in Darmas' private lounge, watching Corso out of the corner of her eye. "I owe you one for introducing us."
He shifted uncomfortably. "But- I mean, isn't he a little old for you?"
"He's not that old."
"Old enough! No offense, captain," he added after a pause. "Just strange to think of you dating someone his age."
"Who said anything about dating?" she asked with a devilish glint in her eyes. He squirmed, grimacing, and she couldn't help but laugh. "I'm teasing you, Corso. You're way too easy to wind up. You've gotta learn how to relax! All this Empire-hating, righteous vengeance stuff has to be exhausting."
"It's important to me," he said quietly, looking down at his hands, resting on his knees.
"It's important to everybody," she agreed, not wanting to offend him. "But you've gotta live your life sometime. Kick back, let loose, enjoy yourself! Be selfish every once in a while! When's the last time you had a real night off?"
He looked thoughtful, then shook his head. "It's been a while," he admitted, then grinned at her. "You've been keepin' me too busy saving people to do much relaxing, Captain."
She laughed. "Who, me? In case you haven't heard, I've got a bit of a reputation for making insane amounts of money, drinking on everybody else's credits, and being totally self-centered."
"That so?" he asked with exaggerated gravity. "The truth as I've seen it is that you're a hell of a taskmaster when it comes to doing good deeds and helpin' the less fortunate."
"Oh, so that's what you think?"
"I'm only saying what I've seen so far." It was his turn to lean back and grin.
Edris knew she was doing exactly what she wanted, but it was too good a chance to pass up. And he did have a point, she thought. She'd been way too responsible lately.
She stood up from the couch and reached down to grab his arm, ignoring the look of surprise on his face as she hoisted him up off the ground and onto his feet.
To her surprise, he didn't protest as she dragged him back out into the main cantina floor, where the bass thumped loudly and many people's too-loud laughter filled their ears. They made their way up to the bar, shoving through big groups and past plenty of twi'lek dancers, which made Edris curl her lip. But she put it out of her mind and made her way up to the bar, Corso close behind.
"So this is your plan for making me relax?" he asked. He practically had to yell into her ears to be audible over the music, and he leaned in close, putting one hand on the bar right next to her to steady himself.
"I don't know what you're talking about," she lied, though having to shout took away some of the effect. "I'm just proving to you that my reputation for debauchery is well earned."
The amount of people crowding around the bar had pushed her right up against him, and her heart fluttered despite herself. He half-smiled, his eyes dark. "I know you can talk the talk, captain, but can you walk the walk?"
"Like you wouldn't believe, flyboy."
Darmas had paid for at least three bartenders to handle the large number of people he'd invited to the cantina for the party, but the amount who had shown up was beyond his expectations, and everyone was busy. She could see one bartender at the far end, but he was so focused on filling orders that her entire section was drinkless and grumpy. This would not do.
She leaned far over the bar, balancing on her stomach and elbows, so far that her feet came off the floor, and waved her hand to get his attention. The maneuver earned her surprised and appreciative glances from the others around the bar, and she glanced over her shoulder, smirking at Corso. He wisely kept his mouth shut, crossing his arms and smiling at her, shaking his head in silent amusement.
Now that she had the bartender's attention, she ordered two shots of a brutally strong whiskey she'd been introduced to on Nar Shaddaa, then struggled to turn around in the limited space and give one to Corso without spilling it.
"What are we toasting to, captain?" he asked, accepting it gingerly so he didn't spill a drop. He looked at the strange red liquid with a critical eye.
"Friends who pay for open bars?" she suggested brightly.
He laughed. "I'll drink to that."
They clinked their glasses and took the shots. Edris was used to the firey stuff, but apparently this was Corso's first experience with it. She laughed uproariously as he grimaced and wrinkled his nose, shaking his head and dropping the glass on the bar like he'd been holding a hot coal.
"I thought I'd had the worst alcohol the galaxy had to offer." He sounded shocked. "What was that stuff?"
She waved for another round. "Doesn't matter, you're doing another. See what you get for calling me responsible?"
"Would you believe me if I said I learned my lesson?"
She snorted and grinned. "Don't even think about backing out on me now. We're just getting started."
"What'd I get myself into?"
"You have no idea. Nobody calls me a do-gooder, and I don't plan on letting you forget it any time soon. Ready for another?"
"Not a bit, but hand it over."
Another shot, and even Edris had to stop herself from pulling a face this time. The drink burned all the way down.
A third shot and Corso waved the white flag, putting one hand to his chest and leaning heavily on the hand on the bar, his eyes squeezed shut. "Truce, captain!"
She grinned and set her glass down, feeling the buzz of the alcohol beginning to affect her system. "Already? I thought you country boys could hold your alcohol. That's a disappointment." She sighed dramatically and started to push past him. "I'm sure somebody here can keep up with me. Have you seen Darmas lately?"
The hand that he'd been holding to his chest shot out to stop her in her tracks, holding on to one hip. He pulled her close, their faces nearly touching, and she could feel his breath on her cheek.
"Forget Darmas," he murmured into her ear.
She shivered and smiled at him. "Since you asked so nicely," she whispered, then grabbed his hand and turned him around, dragging him after her. "Time to dance."
"Whoa whoa, hold on a second," he said, pulling her back. "Dancing? Drinking, sure, but no way I'm going out there."
She turned and looked back at him with a wicked gleam in her eye. "Scared?"
He chuckled and nodded. "Terrified. Trust me. Better if I stay behind."
"Oh, so I'm supposed to dance alone? What happened to a night of letting loose?"
"How about you show me how it's done?"
She grinned. "That I can do."
Corso ordered himself a beer as Edris made her way out to the dance floor, aware of his eyes following her. Normally she would have waded into the thick of things, crushed into a limited space with a hundred other strangers, but that would miss the point of this little exercise, so she remained on the fringes. She knew that it appeared like she'd forgotten entirely that he was there, but she couldn't have been more conscious of it, and she smiled to herself.
A hand on her shoulder made her turn around with a smile, expecting Corso, only to find herself looking into the face of a big, ugly Trandoshan.
"Somethin' I can do for you?" she asked. The mass of people behind her would make ducking through the crowd difficult, and- oh, of course, there were two Gamorreans coming up to surround her. Wonderful.
"You in trouble, captain," the leader hissed. "Rogun pay well for your head."
"I'd really prefer to keep it," she replied, looking for an escape route out of the corner of her eye. Maybe if she could duck between-
-but the Trandoshan's hand shot out before she could even begin to move, grabbing her by the arm with a painful grip. "Come now and maybe we deliver you alive."
"There a problem?"
The three turned around to see Corso standing behind them, his eyes narrowed.
"None of your- oof!"
Edris took the opportunity to elbow the Trandoshan in the stomach, and the moment his grip faltered, she ducked under his arm, twisting it backward and forcing him to let her go in surprise.
"Run!" she shouted to Corso, and he took the hint and turned on his heel, the pair of them shoving their way through the crowd, much to everyone else's annoyance.
They made it outside and ran through the halls, their pursuers lost behind them, and Edris looked over at Corso next to her and began to laugh as she slowed her pace.
"What?" he asked with a grin.
Her eyes sparkled with mirth. "Was that irresponsible enough for you?"
He laughed at this too. "You proved your point, captain. Just, next time we go drinking," he said, taking a step closer to her, "let's try not to find any bounty hunters, yeah? I'd like it a lot better being able to watch you dancing without thinkin' somebody's gonna come ruin it for me."
She grinned, her heart thumping against her chest as his nearness. "I bet you could stop that from happening next time," she offered.
A smile spread across his face, the warmth of his eyes like miniature suns. "And how's that?"
"If you'd come dance with me," she replied impishly.
He chuckled. "Next time."
He reached up to draw an X over his chest. "Cross my heart."
There was a pause, and she suddenly realized how close they were standing. She could feel the tension like electricity crackling between them, and she pulled back quickly, turning and heading for the elevator. "That's enough excitement for one night," she said, glancing over her shoulder at him.
He stood there smiling after her for a moment, then nodded and follow after her. "Certainly was."