Chapter Four

You just gotta give more, more, more,
Than you ever have before.
And you gotta move fast, fast, fast,

If you want this good thing to last.

~Madonna, "Dance Tonight."

No woman had kissed him since before Khorm.

Well, that wasn't entirely true, but Khorm had been the turning point, after which it'd been all but impossible for him to find a woman who wanted to kiss him, let alone anything more. There had been some talk about women who found battle-scars sexy, but he'd never come across any.

Until now, apparently.

Wolffe's head was spinning and a part of him knew it wasn't just from the namana-massage, but right now, in this moment, he found it difficult to care. Later, he would probably feel chagrin for letting his guard down like this, but in the meantime Melusiné was kissing him and he was kissing her back.

They were seated beside one another on the cedar bench in the sauna and it was so kriffing hot he thought he was about to catch on fire, but none of it mattered when her arms wrapped around his neck and she pulled their bodies closer, closer. Fek, her skin was hot, even beneath his burning fingertips, and she tasted sweet and spicy all at once. Round, full breasts were pushed against his chest and his hands were torn between finding places on them, or her hips, or tangling in her hair.

He wanted all of her, all at once, and nothing less than every part of this woman would satisfy that singular desire.

It'd been a long time since he'd kissed anyone, but he remembered how to well enough, even through the namana-haze, and he gave her everything he had because it seemed to please her. Her lips had parted eagerly to allow his tongue entrance into her mouth, and the moment he'd done so, she'd let out a wordless noise of approval and clambered into his lap.

Everything was happening so fast and the heat of this room was enough to choke, but Wolffe didn't give a kriff about anything but the rosy-skinned woman that he was kissing again and again. He rested his hands on her hips, savoring both the way she was rocking against him and the friction of his shorts against his swollen skin.

The dress she was wearing was tight and short, and when she'd climbed into his lap, the movement caused it to slide up around the lovely swell of her hips. When he realized she was bare beneath the dress, he couldn't help his own groan at the notion, nor another when his thumbs brushed lower, between her thighs, and he felt that she was ready for whatever he could give. The notion that she wanted him, too, nearly caused him to lose what fragile threads of control he'd managed to cling to so far. It had been so long, after all.

Throughout all of this, Melusiné continued to move her body against his with enough eagerness to drive him completely insane as the pulse of his desire elevated. Slender, agile fingers grasped at his neck and his shoulders, alighting on his chest and his cheeks, like she wanted to touch him everywhere, all at once.

After a few minutes they pulled apart, gasping; her skin was a deep, deep pink and she was smiling at him. "These shorts," she managed, reaching down to tug at the waistband. "Have got to go."

"Your dress, too," he said even as she leaned up to allow him to remove the shorts. When he looked back up, she'd shucked her own clingy garment and it was all he could do to keep from gaping at her.

She was more beautiful than anyone he'd ever seen.

It's the namana making you act this way, he told himself as he skimmed his fingertips along the swells of pink skin that beaded at his simple touch. Or her pheromones influencing you. She's a Zeltron; it's what they do.

Wolffe tried to tell himself that none of this was real.

It was no dream, but it wasn't quite a reality, either. He wasn't sure exactly where in the void he was, but then she looked into his eyes and gave him the smile that was his undoing, so he reached for her again, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her into his lap once more. They were skin-to-skin and he thought that any moment he'd catch fire, and he wanted to tell her how beautiful she was but all that came out was her name, barely a gasp because it was so hard to catch his breath.

Then she pulled back. Like him, her breath was short; there wasn't a plethora of light in here but he could see that her lips were flushed a deeper pink than any other part of her from kissing him, and she was looking at him with uncertainty. Alarm coursed through his body, smoothing away the sharper edges of his arousal. He was unfamiliar with the customs of a pleasure-house, after all. Had he done something wrong? Had he offended her in some way?

Kriff, we don't have any protection, he realized, and fought to catch his breath so he could speak.

But she beat him to it. She leaned closer to him, nudging her lips to his with a feather-touch. "Ava," she whispered.

The word emerged unsteady as a newborn fawn, and he wondered at it. "Ava?"

Her lips parted in a smile that was as genuine as it was nervous. "My real name."

Ava. He said it again and watched the uncertainty in her face recede a little bit.

"I wanted you to know," she added, and frowned as if to herself, much as he did when he understood something he wished he hadn't.

"Ava," he replied, kissing her lips once, gently. Her body was still hot and quivering in his lap, but he held back the myriad of insistent urges and schooled himself to patience. It occurred to him that he should tell her his own name, but he was still on a mission, lax as he was being at the moment, so he only gave her a smile and added: "It suits you."

She smiled back, and it was better than anything else he'd ever seen. "Kiss me again," she whispered against his mouth. "Please."

When obliged her, Ava knew she was a lost cause.

He was all strength and purpose, but the gentle brush of his lips to hers as he'd said her name struck something within her, something that had been strung tight with tension but resonated at his touch, and she was still reeling from the smile he'd given.

There were more heated, breathless moments as they clung to one another, still not crossing that last barrier, and she sensed a kind of hesitation from him, so she pulled back again and met his silver-gold eyes. "You want protection?"

Everyone at House Ambrosia was clean, as she'd told him before. Despite her status as a slave, Ava was still considered valuable in a sense, and it behooved Jurma to keep her healthy; as such, there were all kinds of exams and vaccinations that she underwent several times a year that protected her from diseases, and she couldn't get pregnant. However, there was no way that Silver-and-Gold would know any of that, and she thought again that he showed remarkable restraint, even now, when they were so close.

"Yeah," he replied, looking down at their nearly-joined bodies before meeting her eyes again. "No offense, but-"

"None taken." She glanced down, searching for his discarded shorts. Finding them, she braced herself against him for support as she fished around in the pocket for what she knew was placed in each article of clothing provided by House Ambrosia; it was a common-enough practice for most pleasure-houses. Moments later she withdrew a small package and his eyes widened.

"That's...handy," he said as he reached for the packet.

But she didn't relinquish it, instead giving him another smile as she tore it open and withdrew the synth-skin condom. "That's the idea."

It went on quickly and easily, and she delighted in the way he sucked in his breath at her touch. She also took a moment to delight in him, in his entirety, and again she felt a thrill of anticipation course through her veins.

"Better?" she asked once everything was secure.

His arms were resting on her hips; at her word, he pulled her close and gave her a fierce kiss against her mouth. "You can't imagine."

"That sounds like a challenge," she said as she allowed her body to be maneuvered; he was so close, now, she could feel him brushing against her center, and it was an effort to keep from begging again. The air was so hot, her heart was racing and she could hardly breathe, but she didn't care. There was nothing else in the galaxy other than the only thing she wanted, more than any other.

Silver-and-Gold, all of him. Now.

The look in his eyes was pure desire, but still he held himself at a maddening distance and threaded one of his hands through her hair as he studied her expression. So close. Ava sucked in her breath, willing herself to calm down, to wait. So often this part was rushed, but now that she was here, she wanted nothing more than everything.

Kriffing hell, he seemed to know it, too. Fragging pheromones.

"Now?" he murmured, a ghost of a smile on his face even as he brushed himself against her once more. "Ava?"

It was her name, her real name, in his baritone that was her undoing. "Please," she said, her head falling forward and her arms tightening around his shoulders. "Now."

Everything was silent for a heartbeat, then he was inside of her, filling her completely, and nothing in her life had ever been this right. There was a moment where neither of them moved and she wondered what in the nine Corellian hells he could possibly be waiting for; their breath mingled in the heated air and she felt his heart thundering beneath her chest, then he was speaking in her ear. "This is alright? I'm not hurting you?"

Ava would have laughed had she been able to catch her breath. As it was, she rocked herself against him, allowing her body to speak when her voice could not and hoping he'd get the idea.

But either he was stubborn or his reserves of control far, far outmatched her own. Strong hands reached up to cup her cheeks, forcing her to hold still and meet his gaze; when he spoke his voice was deliberate. "Is this okay? Yes or no, Ava?"

She could not remember the last time she'd truly had a choice, if indeed she ever had. "Yes," she gasped, rocking her hips again and savoring his answering groan of acknowledgment. "Yes."

The heat within the room did not just surround them, it filled them from the inside-out, and her head was spinning with the race of her heart and the continuing shortness of her breath. Some dim corner of her mind warned her that with the she was perilously close to over-exerting herself in the high temperature of the sauna, but the rest of her brain and body did not care.

All she cared about was beneath her, within her, murmuring her name while he held her close, like she was something precious, something to be cherished and protected even here, even now. Even though she was completely in her element, this experience was nothing like she was used to. It was unique, just like him.

They peaked together; another advantage that her pheromones gave. When he said her name, it had never sounded like it did in his accented voice.

Ava said nothing. She couldn't even catch her breath enough to cry out as was her custom, but she didn't dwell on what such a thing meant. When it was over her heart was still racing and her vision was swimming, and she heard him saying her name again, breathless but slightly worried this time, so she tried to smile at him but she thought the expression came out a little slippery.

He swore, then slid out of her body, but before she could miss his absence she felt herself being lifted up in his arms again, which was odd, because her heel wasn't hurting and she could walk just fine, but when she tried to tell him he only cursed again. The door to the sauna burst open and he stepped out, his arms full of her, and the next thing she knew she was being assaulted with air that should not have felt as freezing cold as it did, so she pressed herself closer to him, to her Silver-and-Gold. Such a pleasant source of heat.

The slosh of water hit her strangely, but before she could complain she felt something cold lap at her feet, then her calves, and she looked down to see purple, right as he immersed her in one of the tepid pools of the spa room.

As the chill covered her up to her neck, Ava found her voice. "Kriff, that's fragging freezing!"

He made no response other than to settle beside her, keeping his hands on her body to hold her upright. A moment later she felt the cool wetness of his hands against her face, as if he was trying to smooth the water across her burning skin. "Ava," he said at last. "Ava, look at me."

When Ava met his eyes, somehow, even through the lightness of her head, she noted the concern within them both, the silver and the gold. "It's easy, because you're so kriffing beautiful," she told him. "But you need to smile more."

"I'll work on that," he said, his gaze still searching hers. "How do you feel?"

"Cold." She frowned and tried to move closer to him, sighing with relief when his arms embraced her. "Mmm...better now."

She felt the movement of his chest as he exhaled and his arms tightened around her, and for several minutes neither of them spoke. As her heart slowed to a more normal pace, she found that she was able to catch her breath, which allowed her head to clear. When she looked up, he was watching her with that same wary expression she'd seen him wearing earlier.

"I got carried away," she said, leaning her head back against his chest. Solid. He was warm and so solid. "Sorry about that. You were worth it, though."

A chuckle escaped him, but his tone was solemn. "We both got carried away. Are you feeling better?"

She grinned and kissed his collarbone. "Yes, Mr. Dorin."

There was a pause, then she noted the amusement in his voice. "I thought we were on a first-name basis, now."

"Right," she said, pressing herself closer to him as she recalled his pseudonym. "Kell, wasn't it?"

Another pause, one that carried more weight. "Wolffe."

"Wolffe." This made her lean back to look at him, and she saw at once that he'd not meant to say the name, which was how she knew it was really his. "That explains a lot."

At his look of confusion she arched her brow. "Because I knew you were dangerous."

His hands tightened around her body and there was silence for a while longer. The water felt better and better as her core temperature normalized. It was peaceful, here. Even the music had stopped.

The music.

Oh, kriff. Ava sat up, looking around the room. No one had come in, but it was just a matter of time. They should probably least find somewhere more private.

"What's wrong?" There was alarm in his voice, but only a little, like whatever her answer was he knew he'd be able to handle.

"We must have taken longer than I realized; the night shift is starting."


Ava gave him a wry smile. "I heard that my boss is supposed to stop by, tonight, and I'm breaking quite a few rules, right now."

Confusion crossed his features, but smoothed after a moment; even so, she could sense embarrassment roiling off of him, which amused her a little. He cleared his throat. "You're not...I mean, you work here, don't you?"

"Yes, I work here," she said with a nod. "But I'm not insured for sex with clients. I'm not a whore. Well," she amended, seeing his embarrassed look deepen. "Not at this exact moment."

He blinked at her; she could practically see him trying to shake off his emotions at her words, which she found oddly adorable, especially when his face was tinted purple by the lights of the pool. "I'm afraid I don't understand."

"I'm-" she paused, recalling the phrase that Jurma had told her to use if anyone asked her to describe her position at House Ambrosia. "-a bonded servant," she said at last, leaning against his chest and savoring the feel of his body against hers.

It was not the truth, but it was close enough Besides, people tended to react very strongly to the word slave, and she had no wish to see him regard her with disgust or, even worse, pity.

Because her head was still a little muzzy, she very nearly said Jurma's name, but caught herself at the last minute. "Sinopé Scota owns my bond-price, which means I've a debt to pay off, so I take what jobs I am assigned until I do so. Right now, I work here as a hostess, but not a sex worker, because Sinopé didn't want to pay the insurance on another Zeltron. I hear it's astronomical."

Another glance up at him showed her that his expression was thoughtful and distant, though a moment later he looked down at her again; she watched as his gaze flickered across her body to rest on her right heel, where she could see through the violet-colored water that the waterproof bandage was still in place. "What will your boss do to you if you get caught with me?"

Kriff, she really should get up, but he was so warm and solid, and somehow still remarkably cozy. When she spoke it was against his chest as she brushed his skin with her lips. "There's a fine, at least, and a probationary period if Sinopé is really annoyed."

"A fine likely means more debt," he replied, his hand lifting to tilt her chin up to his face. "I'm sure you don't want that."

The look in his eyes was all concern but she sensed his arousal – again – and her body reacted with a shift against his; she was nearly in his lap and it was difficult to concentrate on anything but the press of him against her thigh. "No," she said at last. "But what I want doesn't really matter, does it?"

Wolffe scowled at her again, which only made her smile, though after a moment she sighed and rolled her eyes. "We should leave," she admitted. "I'm sure you have to get back to...wherever it is you come from, anyway."

"Actually..." He paused and seemed to debate something, then he shook his head, his expression an odd mix of resignation, annoyance and...amusement. "I don't leave, just yet."

It was silly how happy his words made her, but there was no way she could hide her smile. Ava had learned this lesson long ago: the good parts of life never lasted long, so it was best to enjoy them while they did.

What did it matter, what he was? He was here, now. That was all that mattered. She shifted her hips and grinned when she felt his body continue to respond; the water was pleasant and warm, all trace of its earlier chill having faded now that her core temperature had returned to normal.

"Unfinished business?" she teased.

"Something like that," he replied, skimming his thumb across her lips, which only made her smile broaden. He paused, frowned, then glanced around the room before looking back at her. "Ava, I want to spend more time here, with you, but not if it will cause you any trouble."

Here, with you, she noted. Not one or the other; perhaps he did want her, but there was something else keeping him around as well, and she remembered her earlier assessment. Yes, he was probably Republic. Probably military, which likely meant a spec-ops agent of some kind.

But if that was the case, if he was Republic, if he was here to track down Sinopé...where did that leave her? Not that Jurma had any loyalty to the Corellian woman, but Ava knew well-enough that she could shift this encounter a number of ways; she could confess everything she knew to Silver – Wolffe – and see if her instincts were right, or she could enjoy his company all night long, then comm Jurma later and let the Hutt decide what to do with the information.

Neither option was entirely palatable.

In fact, the only thing she knew for certain was that she didn't want him to go, so she shifted in the pool, straddling herself over his thighs again, facing him as her movements made the water lap gently over the pool's edge. "You can rent a room for the night," she told him. "It's not uncommon. And I have it on good authority that you wouldn't have to spend the night alone."

Another, faint smile as his hands trailed up her spine, light enough to make her shiver and want more. "Is that right?"

"The room is pricey," she added, tilting her hips against his, watching with satisfaction as his pupil dilated; the gold eye was so easy to read, while the silver continued to regard her, unchanging. "It's kind of a scam, actually. If you were paying for me, my rate would be a lot cheaper than the room. If I offended easily, it'd be kind of insulting."

The trace of a smile faded, replaced by a frown, and his hands fell back to her waist. He seemed to consider her words for a moment, so Ava waited as patiently as she was able, even though within her chest, her heart had started to beat faster at the thought of having this man all to herself, in a proper bed. If he agreed to that much, she would figure out the rest as it came.

It occurred to her that she was unused to bargaining with anyone like this, hoping for an answer she liked; in the past, all she had to do was show up and things would fall out pretty much as expected. Now, though, she was in unfamiliar territory, not only because she was hoping to stay in his arms but because she, despite everything else.

It wouldn't last, of course. Nothing good ever lasted.

That was why right now had to be more than enough.

"Okay," he said at last, smoothing a thumb across her lips again. "I need to check something first, but if I can, I'll stay the night."

When he kissed her, Ava's heart leaped, her stomach twisted into agitated knots, her brain pinged a warning and her fingertips ached with unfulfilled longing.

She ignored them all and kissed him back, as hard as she could.

Thanks for reading! As usual, any and all comments, thoughts, or feedback are welcome. :)

Next time: Wolffe tries to balance his mission parameters with his personal preferences.