Septangst 22: Irrational
He was proud of her. She’d found a job. She’d found something to do, something to break up the monotony, something to keep herself occupied with, something to contribute to.
He went with her the first few times. Not that there was anything he could do. But he could watch. He could also get out. Most importantly, he could still protect her.
It’s what he told himself.
He didn’t notice the other Bothan at first. He didn’t notice when the other entered the picture. When they started talking. When they started chatting about more than just the job she’d been hired for.
But one day, he blinked, and the other Bothan was helping her carry something, laughing with her, and she - she was laughing with him. With his deep, chocolate brown - almost black - fur, and the reddish pattern so equally dark you’d miss it but for the sun casting a shiny gloss across it, he made a striking figure in his Mandalorian red and black armor.
Blakk got to know his boots the most. The way they glinted in the sun as he walked with her back to the speeder. They way they sounded, clap-clap-clap, across the wooden floor when they approached her at her painting booth. The lines, smooth and angular, with their heels toward him as they leaned over the table and worked the design together.
And his voice. As he laughed. As he brought her coffee in the morning and asked about her progress. As he complimented her on her colors and shapes. As he dropped her name from his lips when he congratulated her on the festival’s finished graphic, the colors chosen to represent it.
All things Blakk might have said, had he been able to say it.
As he asked her to the Springturn Eve dance.
His smile, too. The way his pearlescent teeth caught the light when he looked at her. The way they flashed when he spoke or laughed, when he snarled at the belligerent smith who happened by once, when he did all the things that Blakk couldn’t.
Blakk doesn’t remember his face. But his teeth, and his voice, and his boots. Especially the boots.
As much as he tried, he couldn’t find fault in them.
Eventually, she stopped taking him to town with her.
She seemed … happier.
Now that she was leaving him.
Septangst 23: Hesitation
“With… you? You mean… together?” Ahuska stared, dumbstruck, and immediately felt her ears flush and her insides wobble. Her gaze flicked to the side, down to her feet, but she didn’t spy Blakk. Was he still about, was he curled under the table somewhere? Did he hear, did it matter if he heard? Why did it feel like it should matter? “I’m sorry…”
The dark bothan’s smile faltered, the creases in the corners of his eyes softening a little.
“I can’t,” Ahuska stammered, her gaze completely defocusing as she stared at the ground across the street. “I can’t, I… it’s… lovely you asked, thank you, I, i-if it was another time, but…”
He watched her thoughtfully, optimism slowly giving way to caution. “It’s alright. Don’t go tripping over your tongue there, I just thought I’d take a shot, if there was nobody else…?”
Ahuska felt the way he left that thought hanging. A little piece of bait, fishing for information. She hesitated, not at all knowing how to reply. There wasn’t anyone else, was there? Not… not really. All the hoping in the world wouldn’t change the fact that Blakk wanted as little as possible to do with her, that they had never been what she’d imagined all this time.
And yet he still held her whole heart, if only he knew. The thought of a date with someone else felt… disloyal. The thought of dancing with anyone, the implication of inviting hands around her waist, holding her hips, hooking under her leg… her heart flipped as though in a panic, and her stomach churned with anxiety. She couldn’t.
“I don’t know,” she finally said, the most honest answer she found it in herself to give, and she looked so miserable about it that the bothan didn’t have it in him to press any further.
“Well, I hope I see you there anyway, whether or not you’re on someone else’s arm. It’s always a hell of a night.”
He was nice. Handsome, even, in a way. She enjoyed the way he treated her, like she was worth having around and listening to, the way he would help her carry things not because thought she couldn’t, but because her arms were already full with something else. She watched him continue down the street, and wondered if regret formed any part of the uncomfortable feeling twisting inside her.
She wondered if he’d shoot her if he caught her out on the wrong night of the month.
Later that night, as she tried to sleep, her bed felt larger and emptier than ever.