Author's Note:  This is another one of my Mara Jade POVs.  This time Mara begins to realize that she's falling for the farmboy.  This takes place sometime after the Callista episode, but before Specter of the Past.  I do not own Mara Jade, nor the entire Star Wars galaxy.  Believe me, if I did, this stuff wouldn't be fan fiction, and Luke and Mara would have gotten together long before Vision of the Future.  And Lando would have never figured in the picture.  Enjoy!

                For the fifth time tonight, I glance over at the chrono on the wall.  It's only 0220, five minutes later than when I last checked it.  And to think I actually expected to get any sleep tonight.  I sigh as I sit up in my narrow bunk aboard my pride and joy, the Jade's Fire.  If I can't sleep, I might as well work.

Although I keep my ship impeccably clean, there's always something that needs cleaning.  I attack the small kitchen onboard.  I rarely use it, but maybe I will in the morning.  Well, later today.  It's already morning.  No, I'll just get out into the city.  I'm already onplanet, in fact I arrived late last night, so I didn't bother going to the apartment I keep in the Imperial Palace.  Yeah, I'll just go to one of the tapcafés.  I've never been one to cook much.  At all.  Same thing.

Well, I take that back, I can make a pretty good cup of caf.

Tomorrow…I mean, later today I'm supposed to meet with one of Karrde's associates.  Some contract Talon wants me to make with the Twi'lek ambassador.  Nothing to worry about.

I polish the durasteel counter.  And then after that, I'm off to Corellia for that shipment, then to Borleais, then—

I frown.  My vacation.  Karrde's insisted that I take a vacation.  He said I've worked so hard for so long that I need some time off.  I don't want a vacation.  I don't even need one.  In all the years I served the Emperor, I never had a vacation.  When I wasn't on a mission, I was training.

I wouldn't know what to do with a vacation.

Maybe I'll do some work on my small trading business.  I haven't had much of a chance to build it up past a few select customers.  Or I could go visit Skywalker's little Jedi Academy for a while.  Maybe if I did that, then he'd let me alone next time we meet.

And, I admit, I wouldn't mind seeing him again.

Well, I mean, he's okay to talk to, but his farmboy earnestness…

…is, well, him.  Damn it.

I frown and scrub harder at an imagined spot.  What in all nine Corellian hells am I thinking?  I sound like some damned foolish school girl.  What am I supposed to say next?  That he's cute?  That I have a "crush" on him?

I laugh out loud.  I must be crazy.  Talon was right.  I have been working too hard.  If I actually think of Skywalker that way, I must be completely out of my mind.

Maybe it's from not getting enough sleep.

Every time I close my eyes I see him.

What's gotten into me?  This has never happened before.  I've never allowed it to happen.

Allowed it to happen?  What am I thinking?

I drop the rag on the ground, but I quickly snatch it back up.  After placing the piece of cloth in its cabinet, I lean against the wall.

What's my problem?

Could I actually like him?

No.  Impossible.

Sure, he's a friend.  That I can accept.  But anything more than that is unreachable.  I mean, come on, Mara.  Wake up and smell the flowers.  You were the Emperor's Hand, for Sith's sake!  You are unable to have a normal life.  Karrde's organization is the most normal you'll ever have.

Sliding to the ground, I put my head in my hands.  If that's true, who do I keep seeing Luke?  Why can't I keep him out of my head?

I've only felt this way once before, and definitely not with Lando Calrissian.  It was with an Imperial Commander.  I guess we got too close.  He was executed as a traitor.  The Emperor explained to me that my lover was planning to defect to the Rebel Alliance.  He told me that any man could betray me, because they thought I was weak-minded.  Angrily, I responded the way the Emperor must have expected.  I went after the Rebellion.  They would pay for Jerik's death.

Could it possibly be happening again?  Am I falling again…for Farmboy?

It would never work out.

As soon as this though made itself manifest, I realized I'd answered my own question.  It was true.  I was falling for the farmboy, not to mention the only living Jedi Master in the galaxy.

Oh, what am I thinking?  I am just setting myself up for heartbreak again.  He'd turn me away, and our friendship, something I've come to value so much, would disappear.

Or would he?  I really don't know.  I've notice that he looks at me longer than the others when we see each other, but it's not the same way that damned Calrissian does.  Lando's and my business relationship was filled with his constant attempts to charm me into his bed.  Needless to say, it didn't work.

But Luke's not like that.

Oh, he's still in love with that Callista.

Maybe after he gets over her, I'll see what happens.

I think I'll spend my vacation forming my business.

Maybe I'll see Skywalker somewhere along the line.  I feel a smile growing on my face at that thought.  Not a secretive smile, or one where it seems I'm wearing a mask.  A genuine smile.  It's been too long since I've done that.

I must be insane.