Marc offered a quick nod to Sophia, hoping that she
would keep her promise and not get them into any hot water this time. He
let out a deep exhale as he prepared to open the Nerf Herder's hatch,
popping it open to reveal the inside of the massive Imperial hangar in
Esseles' mountains. Once again wearing the suit of custom-designed
armorweave, the hunter stepped out of the ship and set foot on the cold,
metal surface of the facility. His eyes roamed the hangar, but neither
Min Traebor nor Tosha Previn was visible. He turned to look at Sophia,
shrugging his shoulders in confusion.
Suddenly multiple bolts of blue energy shot forward
from the darkness and impacted with Marc's armorweave, sending him
staggering backwards against the hull of the Nerf Herder. He took
a moment to consider why he was not dead, when he quickly realized they
were using stun weapons that had no effect through the protection of his
armorweave. "Stay in the ship," he yelled to her as he moved back
towards the hatch.
"In the head! Shoot him in the head you idiots," the
foreboding voice of Major Min Traebor was heard to shout from the
darkness. The Imperial Intelligence officer was irate at the
incompetence of the troopers around her and grabbed one of their DH-17
blaster pistols. She leveled it clearly with the Nerf Herder's head and
pulled back on the trigger with deadly accuracy.
The bolts from the other troopers flew all around Marc
as he made his way back to the ship, slamming into the hull and
harmlessly dissipating over the small transport. The blast from Traebor,
however, slammed into his righ temple and he froze dead in his tracks,
less than two meters from being back inside the ship. He fell forward
like a sack of potatoes, landing face forward on the deck, unconscious
before he hit the ground. He had been successfully stunned by the
She stayed in the ship, her eyes were wide she had no idea what was
going on "Hey! ":he had told him she would not cause any trouble. How in
the hell had she done so without ever stepping out of the ship? Her
heart was pounding as she watched him, and the moment it hit his temple
she was down for the count making her way to him. She stayed quiet as
she pulled him to her, checking for a moment before she would stand up
and move to the hatch and glaring out of it "The hell was that for? The
mark is dead." Her hands were gripping the metal of the ship before she
would try and fill the large gap, blocking the fact that Marc was down.
She was a damned good shot, so she kept her hands high though she kept
hold of the edge of the hatch. She licked her lips slowly, glancing
behind her for a moment before back to them. "Tell me your reasons."
Major Min Traebor stepped forward from the shadows,
presenting herself to Sophia in the clear of light. Her eyes moved
towards the young hunter's gun and a confident smile formed on her lips.
"Shoot me if you wish. It will make you feel better for the brief moment
you live before the troopers in this hangar destroy your ship and you
along with it," she said with a smug look as she stepped towards Marc's
body. Her gaze shifted down and she thrust a booted foot into his side,
just to make sure he really was stunned. Confident that he was, she
tilted her gaze towards Sophia and laughed.
Tosha Previn was quick to follow from the shadows,
believing that this it was a bad idea to make a move against the
hunters. "While the 'Nerf Herder' may be an enigma to us ... we know all
about you Sophia Cromwell," she said, spitting out the name with disgust
and contempt. She shook her head at the fallen body of the master
hunter, wondering how he could have allowed himself to get entangled
with the likes of her.
"We know all about your parents, Miss Cromwell,"
Min quickly added as she placed her boot on top of Marc's chest and
used him as a foot stool. "We know about Asher Arkovich as well," she
said with a soft chuckle as she shook her head at the young woman. "You
should have stayed on Sulon and married him, my sweet. You might have
been happy," she added as she wagged a finger at her, as if to indicate
she had been naughty.
"You were followed to Sulon by one of our agents,"
Tosha explained as she moved closer towards Traebor, her eyes looking
wearily down at Marc. "We sent you there as a test to find out if you
could be trusted given what you have learned her..." before she could
continue she was quickly, and rudely, cut off by her counterpart.
"...and we found out we couldn't!" Min interrupted,
shaking her head in disappointment at Sophia. "If you want your ...
lover ... to walk out of here we have another assignment for you," she
said with a visible sneer as she looked over towards Tosha to allow
her to finish.
"You will return to Sulon and eliminate Asher
Arkovich," Tosha said as she folded her arms in front of her chest to
exert her dominance. "Not only is he part of the Rebel Alliance and a
traitor..." she said as she narrowed her gaze on Sophia. "...but he is
your last connection to your former life. Only when you give yourself to
us completely will we be able to trust you," she explained as her eyes
moved towards Marc again. "...and him," she coldly concluded, feeling
they had made their point clear.
She stood there staring. "I wouldn't shoot you, I'm
not an idiot." Then here eyes began to drift from the to of them. She
kept her back straight and just continued to watch the women. She never
once looked down to Marc, never once had the urge to go to him. She
licked her lips slowly and her muscles tensed before anger was seething
around her. Her body shook with the amount of anger that poured through
her veins "Kill Asher?" She bit her lower lip and her hands lowered. She
rested her hands to her sides then and glared at them. "Fine. I'll
prove to you, you can trust me. I'll...kill Asher..." She slowly took a
step back into the ship, her eyes watched them before she turned to
Tosha "What will you do with him while I'm gone ..?" She had been
careful this entire time not to say his name, not to show any emotion
towards him...well as much as she could anyway. She continued to watch
Tosha and not the other, almost ignoring her really. "And what will
happen to us when I get back, when I succeed with this mission?"
Min smiled up at the young hunter as she looked
towards Marc's body, on which she still rested her foot. "We will take
good care of him," she said as a sinister grin plastered its way onto
her beautiful human visage. "And if you prove us wrong and show that you
can be trusted..." she added as she looked towards Tosha for a brief
instant. "...then you can continue to work for us until you screw up and
get yourself killed," she said as show slowly began to laugh.
"You agree to this." Though she heard her words, she
was ignoring Min, instead she kept her eyes on Tosha. Watching her
face for any sort of hint or something... She sighed then and nodded "Get
the hell away from this ship then and I'll leave right away. I'll prove
to you...that you can trust me." She took a step back into the ship, her
body still shaking from anger "I swear I'll be back to get him, and
we'll do your damned jobs. I won't take long." She had not yet let it
hit her what she had to do to save Marc.
"He will be quite safe with us," Tosha said as she
nodded to the ambitious young hunter. This would be an excellent
opportunity for her to test how far the bounds of 'love' would actually
strain before breaking. Personally, she felt she would never encounter
Sophia Cromwell again.
The moment she sat down in the pilots chair, she began
pressing the buttons to go. She hesitated, but she did not glance back.
The hatch door closer, the engines roared to life and she was off.
Mimicking everything that Marc had done she thought of nothing but
leaving that place, typing in the coordinates so that the moment she hit
the stars she could jump into hyperspace...She was not use to this
flying without him. The moment the was away though she broke down.
Sophia cried. Cried for not being able to protect him, cried because
they knew her...and cried for what she had to do. She would do anything
but sleep until she reached her destination, finding herself back in her
pilots seat, angry again to land the Nerf Herder.
It was a long and lonely flight back to her home
planet. And it was a short ride to his old home. She stood outside for
the longest time. She was debating on whether or not to go inside. Her
whole body was shaking. She was going to save Marc, she knew she was
going to kill Asher...She just did not know how hard this was going to
be. She stood out there for a good fifteen minutes before she would walk
down the stairs to his home calling out softly "Asher?"
The Arkovich homestead was an unassuming structure in
the Wastelands of Sulon, not too far from the capitol of Barons Hed. The
modest home once belonged to his parents who toiled long and hard for
Sulon Incorporated for minimum wages before dying young from the
backbreaking work. In the bedroom he used since he was a child, Asher
slept, still recovering from his leg injury from his last encounter with
Sophia. He had been dreaming of her each night since, struggling to
purge her from his mind. He very much still loved her.
She knew the house like the back of her hand. She moved through it
easily enough keeping quiet. She moved towards the kitchen first pouring
him...some sort of drink, before she moved towards his room. She saw him
sleeping, pulling up a chair towards the bed she set the drink down on a
night stand before whispering lightly so as not to scare him
"Asher...Asher wake up..."
Asher shivered as he heard the familiar voice, his
eyes opening so quickly that it caused him to experience a headache. He
stirred slowly, trying to lift his head off the pillow. It was dark in
the room and all he could make out was a silhouette, but he could feel
her presence and he immediately knew it was her. "Sophia?" he cried out
excitedly as he placed his hands on his side to boost him off the bed.
"Stop." She sighed lightly reaching out she rested her
hand on his shoulder. She licked her lips slowly and gently pushed him
back to lay down, taking in a deep breath she gently let it out "You're
still wounded Asher you shouldn't be moving around too much. You know
that..." She bit her lower lip then, and picked up the glass from the
table, swishing the liquid around it gently.
A soft sigh escaped Asher's lips as he settled back
down into the bed, smiling up at her in eager anticipation. His heart
began beating in his chest more rapidly, a deep sense of longing that
had gone unfulfilled began to flow through his body. "Have you come back
to me?" he asked, his hand moving to gently brush across the unfamiliar
texture of her armor. He always remembered her wearing such soft
"No..." Her voice though she tried to hard not to let emotion slip
through she could not. "No...I haven't come back to, I've come to say
good bye..." Her voice was full of pain...hurt...and sadness... She took in
a deep breath then gently let it out. She kept her eyes on the glass in
her hand, still watching the swishing liquid.
"Goodbye?" Asher repeated sadly as his eyes focused on
her, small tears beginning to well in the corner of his eyes. He sighed,
taking in a deep breath as he shook beneath her. "Sophia...no..." he
said as panic began to overtake him, having always believed they would
one day be reunited.
"Asher..." Her voice was harder, but he would not be
able to see her, he would not be able to see tears begin to fill her own
eyes. She took in a deep breath then gently let it out. "Men aren't
supposed to cry Asher..." She could see him much better than he could see
her. She watched him, before she licked her lips gently and spoke
lightly "I left you Asher, why aren't you mad at me... I don't understand
"Because I love you, Sophia..." Asher admitted as he
inhaled again, bringing his hands up to wipe the tears from his eyes.
"Why are you here? Just to tell me this?" he asked weakly, his head
turning to the side to break the uncomfortable strain of the eye
"Yes. Here..." She reached out and handed him the glass "It'll help you
relax." Her hand shook lightly as she handed it to him and a tear
slipped down her cheek. "I'm sorry I left you Asher..." She shook her head
slowly "You were wonderful...it's just...maybe it was me."
By now Asher was quite overwhelmed and needed the
drink and accepted it willingly into his hand. He brought it to his lips
and drank it down quickly, blissfully ignorant as to its poison
contents. As he finished, he smiled at her and let out a content sigh.
"Not a day went by where I didn't miss you..." he said to her as he
began to feel his body warm slightly.
"Please don't say things like that." She moved out of her chair and
she would feel his bed sink in a bit as she sat beside him. She moved to
lean forward and press her lips to his cheek "You were too good for me,
Asher... you deserved someone better. Please forgive me...for everything."
"I forgive you, Sophia..." Asher replied weakly as he
offered a soft yawn. Suddenly he felt very tired and his cheeks began to
flush red as his body temperature began to rise. His heart beat began to
slow and he felt tingling in his arms and legs. The poison was beginning
to work, but he was too simple-minded to understand the implications.
"Thank you." Before he would leave her completely she leaned over and
her lips pressed to his own warming lips. She closed her eyes and a tear
fell on his cheeks. "Forgive me for everything...I'm so sorry Asher..."
Then she stood and left the room. She began moving through the house, he
had old pictures of the two of them together. She broke them...dropped
them so she would not have to see them. She stopped at the door, there
was a table next to it, on top...was Asher's addiction, something she
hated. She picked up the pack and left. On the way back to the Nerf
Herder, she slid one of those damned white sticks out, placing it
between her lips before she took the tiny lighter that actually came
attached to the packs and lit the cig. Taking in a deep breath...before
slowly letting it out...now it was back to Marc.
"Hmm. So she did return," Major Min Traebor commented
as she watched the Nerf Herder land inside their hangar facility on
Esseles. "Perhaps love does triumph over all," she added as she walked
around towards the hatch with a smug look on her face. Her arms folded
over her chest and she tilted her head, waiting for the pilot to emerge.
"I had a feeling she would choose love," Tosha Previn
added as she remained in the shadows. Still unsure as to whether or not
the bounty hunter would emerge from the transport with guns blazing,
attempting a foolish rescue mission.
The hatch opened and made a pounding sound as it hit the ground. She
stepped outside, there was a cigarra between soft lips. It had made
her feel better on the way here, as well as it reminded her of Asher.
But out of politeness or...whatever she was feeling at the time she
sucked in one last puff before pulling the butt from between her lips
dropping it on the hatch stairs and grinding it in as she made her way
down, gently blowing out the misty air. She licked her lips slowly. One
hand to her hip the other just rested at her side. It was obvious
something in her had clicked.. had changed. Her face was blank, her
heart was cold...and she just stared at the two woman, waiting.
"Well you certainly have changed," Min commented
with a soft chuckle at the young hunter's appearance. Clearly, she had
killed the man, but she planned to have her fun yet. "Those will kill
you," she said as she reached down into her utility belt to produce her
ornately crafted cigarra case. Pulling a long white cylinder out she
slipped it to her lips and lit it with a gold-plated lighter. Exhaling a
plume of smoke at Sophia's face she smiled knowingly.
"Have you completed your mission?" Tosha asked as
she emerged from the shadows, her eyes moving over her with singular
purpose as she tried to read her body language.
She completely ignored Min. She made no comment, she didn't even
flinch at the woman's words or actions. Instead she turned her body to
obviously show how she was ignoring her and faced Tosha instead.
"Yes." One word. It held no emotion, well except for a bit of hatred
that slowly traced it's way around such a small enticing word. She took
a step away from the hatch, but not towards anyone in particular. She
was waiting silently for Marc.
Tosha raised her hand and motioned towards herself,
the rest of her body and her face not moving the slightest muscle. For
the first time she was impressed with this bounty hunter and believed
that she was now capable of greater assignments.
From the shadows two Stormtroopers dragged the
unconscious body of Marcus Rodney from an unknown location. His body was
bound with cuffs at his wrists and ankles that would prevent him from
any form of movement. Without any form of ceremony, they lifted his body
like a sack of duracrete and tossed him into the hatch of the transport.
Min nodded to the hunter and tossed her ornate
cigarra case and lighter to her. "Your payment for a job well done,"
she added as she turned her back to the pair of hunters and began to
withdraw into the shadows, leaving a trail of smoke behind her as she
She reached her hand up and caught both the lighter and the case, but
she said nothing. Her eyes glanced to Tosha for a moment before she
moved back into the ship, slamming her hand on hatch button to close it
quickly. She did nothing for marc just yet. She moved to the pilot seat,
mashing buttons before she would get them out of here, out of the
atmosphere and back into space. Once she was free to hit the autopilot
button did she finally move back to him. Took a moment to lift him onto
the cot, unlatching his cuffs, then she began working on waking up,
but...she did not seem excited about it.
"Ugh..." Marc groaned as he slowly began to come
around. He could not see very well and everything appeared blurry,
adding to his sense of alarm. "Where...where am I?" he asked in a dazed
voice, his head sliding from right to left as he tried to regain his
senses. The last thing he remembered was attempting to make it back to
the ship. That is when he gasped and immediately surged upward into a
seated position, wondering if perhaps he was still under attack.
Her hand caught against his chest and she pressed her palm against
him roughly pushing him back down to the caught. "On your ship." She
shook her head and reached over putting something like a straw to his
lips...it was simple water for him to drink, placing a wet cloth to his
forehead as she spoke lightly "Lay back, they hit you with everything
they had to stun you...gave me a mission...now I got you back and you're
Marc drank the water she offered him slowly, choking
slightly as he drank it in the prone position. The words she were saying
seemed to go in one ear and out the other as his mind awoke from the
effects of the stun. "Mission?" he asked weakly. His head lay back
against the thinly padded pillow of the cot, his eyes looking up at the
bulkhead to try and regain focus.
"Don't worry about it." She shrugged lightly and stood up. She had
made sure nothing was broken, that everything was working correctly
before she left him and moved towards the pilot seat again. She needed
to go somewhere, far away from those ladies, as well from Sulon. She
pressed a button, the map of the system they were in popped up and she
Marc let out a steady groan as he forced himself to
sit up and swung his legs over the side of the cot. He placed his hands
firmly on the side of the cot and pressed down, forcing his body up and
back on to the ground. At first, he found it hard to walk, but then
began to slowly make his way towards the cockpit with an awkward walk.
He looked over towards her, tried to smile, before weakly plopping down
in the co-pilot's chair. "You all right over there?" he asked as he
unleashed a deep sigh.
"I'm fine." She waved her hand behind her back towards the cots "You
need to be laying down." She looked towards him, but it wasn't the same
look she use to give him, something was haunting her, something darker
then what she was use to. She licked her lips slowly before she took in
a deep breath then sighed "Where do you want to go to rest?"
"Is something wrong, Sophia?" Marc asked as he
swiveled his chair around to face her directly. Her facial expression
looked somehow different and he frowned, shaking his head slightly. "Did
they hurt you?" he asked, a mix of anger and nervousness permeating from
his lips as he spoke.
"'They' didn't do anything. Tell me where we need to go, Marc, then
go lay back down." She watched him for a moment before looking away "You
shouldn't be up right now." She was sitting uncomfortable, before she
reached down under her and pulled the lighter and cigarra case out,
setting down in front of her and stretched a bit.
"Corellia. Let's go back to Corellia," Marc said as he
rose from his seat, preparing to take her advice and get some rest. As
he began heading towards the rear compartment he froze when he noticed
the lighter and cigarra case. Turning to look at her, he tilted his
head and stared down at her. "...that's new," he commented in a confused
tone, bringing his hand up to rub the side of his face. "How long was I
out?" he joked softly, observing how much had changed.
"A day or so." She looked to the case, then back to the map, before
she began setting in the coordinates and putting everything on
autopilot. "One of witches tossed it to me." She shrugged gently before
she moved to lean back against the pilot chair as she watched him,
crossing her arms over her chest a bit "Now go lay down."
Marc shook his head at her, wondering what had
happened while he was under. He did not want to push her and hurried
towards the cot, still feeling a bit woozy. As a soft groan escaped his
lips, he found himself sitting back down on the cot and holding his head
up as he stared down between his legs.
She took in a deep breath then slowly let it out and moved away from
the pilot's seat and towards her cot. "That's not laying down. You're
going to make yourself sick if you don't lay down and just rest." She
shook her head and moved to sit on her cot, leaning back against the
frame of the ship a bit.
"Come lay with me?" Marc asked as he put his feet up
on the cot, swiveling his body so that he could lay back down. Something
about her was clearly different, and it did not sit well with him. He
was worried and struggled to regain his capacities in case she had been
corrupted by them somehow.
She watched him for a moment then took in a deep breath and slowly
let it out "No, you need to rest and I need to watch you to make
sure...they didn't do anything else while I was gone." She licked her lips
gently and crossed her arms over her stomach her eyes staring towards
her lap "Just sleep, I'll be right here."
She had never turned down an opportunity to lay beside
him before, which caused him to fear the worst. He rolled over onto his
side, turning his back to her as he slowly closed his eyes. In the back
of his mind he worried that she may try to kill him, but the effects of
the stun made it impossible to stay awake and soon he drifted off to
She took a deep breath. Once she was sure he was asleep did she
finally break down. She buried her face in her hands, she would not cry
again, but she was trying to hide from the world. Trying to hide from
things that she had done, hoping those witches would never make her do
it to someone...she would give up her life for. Eventually though she
would fall asleep herself, hugging her pillow to herself.
The next time Marc's eyes opened he felt as if he had
regained his focus and more easily rose from his cot. He looked over at
Sophia on the cot and let out a soft sigh, moving past her to find his
way into the cockpit. Plopping down roughly into the pilot's seat, his
attention moved towards the navigation computer to determine the
progress they had made. They were coming up on the Corellian system and
soon he would be able to peel this armor off, clean himself, and relax.
If he were lucky, he might even be able to determine what happened to
She groaned lightly, mumbling in her sleep. She mumbled something,
words slipping in and out of a whisper. "Drink", "Asher", "I'm sorry",
but then she began to stretched and whimper as she moved to roll over it
woke herself up. She reached her hands up and rubbed her eyes gently
before she slowly sat up with a gentle yawn she blinked looking towards
the cot, before she would glance off to the side and look towards the
cockpit seeing him in the seat she just laid back down and stared up at
Marc did not hear her wake up and when the transport
suddenly emerged from hyperspace the small craft lurched noticeably.
Deactivating the auto-pilot, he plotted a course towards the nearby
planet Corellia. Settling into the pilot's chair his hands gripped the
controls as he accelerated the craft to its top sublight speed. The
distant terrestrial planet began to grow larger in the viewport as they
neared their destination.
She sat up when the ship lurched. She leaned over to the edge of her
cot peeking more towards the large window before her. Licking her lips
slowly she stretched before she got up, taking a few steps towards the
cockpit, she still didn't speak until she reached forward and grabbed
her case and lighter, moving away from him back to the cot. She was a
grumpy girl in the morning.
"Good morning," Marc said with a soft chuckle as he
only caught a soft glimpse of her. As his hand moved to the throttle he
began decelerate as he descended through Corellia's atmosphere. Through
the viewport a the familiar Corellian beaches came into view. "I
promised we'd come back..." he said quietly, positioning the ship over a
makeshift landing space. As he descended, the front landing claw touched
down beneath the water line and the hatch provided direct access to the
"I know." She sat down, opened the case and placed the
butt of the cig to her lips, taking in a soft breath as she flicked the
lighter and lit the end of it. Inhaling before removing the stick from
her lips and letting out a gentle breath as she watched the hatch doors
open, staring out at the beaches with a sigh.
Marc did not comment on the smoking, feeling that
whatever would calm her nerves in this line of work was worth using. He
feigned a smile towards her, but could tell something was wrong. "Won't
you tell me what happened?" he asked as he unstrapped himself from the
seat, taking in some of the fresh sea that mingled with her smoke inside
of the cockpit.
"No." She looked up to him, before she stood leaving the case and
lighter inside, but she kept the lit stick between her lips before she
moved towards the hatch. She inhaled deeply before letting a stream of
soft white smoke out between her lips, her hands reaching up, fingers
clamping at the end of the stick and pulling it from between her lips.
"I'd rather not."
Marc slowly came up behind her, pressing his chest
against her back as they stood at the hatch. His hand move around her
waist and pulled her back against him as his face moved down to press a
gentle kiss on the back of her neck. "Tell me when you're ready..." he
said to her quietly as he looked out at the beach in front of them.
She closed her eyes. She wanted to lean into him, she wanted to let
him protect her from the world. But she had just done the dirtiest deed
she could think of, and it seemed wrong to fix her broken heart with
him. So instead she opened her eyes and pulled away from him. "I can't.
I won't be ready." She licked her lips then occupied such soft petals
with that white sticks, that way she wouldn't have to worry about saying
anything else as she moved down the steps to the sand.
Marc stood there as she withdrew from his grasp, his
head sinking dejectedly as he remained silent and motionless behind her.
He closed his eyes tight to prevent any tears from forming and then
proceeded to strip the suit of protective armorweave from his body and
descended to the beach below. He sighed as he felt the warm sun bake
down upon his flesh, moving past her to descend into the warm water to
cleanse his body. He could not look at her and intentionally fell
forward, letting his entire body splash down into the sea.
It hurt her, to leave him. But there was something about her
now...falling into the arms of the man whom she did love, while having
the death of a man who loved her on her shoulders just didn't sit well
with her. Yes she was happy, she was beyond happy at the fact that she
found him safe and sound. That she went through it, but she still felt
wrong because she thought of no other way. She moved to the water, still
wearing her suit and letting hte water splash over the material.
Marc's exposed rump settled into the sandy bottom of
the sea, the water going up nearly to his neck line. He stretched as he
sat there, a large fish swimming by as he watched her. "You won't get
clean like that..." he observed, watching her move through the water in
the suit of armor.
"I know." She stood there, watching the waves hit her armor before
she would turn around and move back towards the hatch. She licked her
lips and dropped the stick into the sand burying it with her boot before
she would keep her back to him, slowly removing her suit.
Marc splashed water over his body, attempting to get
clean as he sat in the crystal clear waters of Corellia's golden
beaches. His eyes roamed constantly towards her, feeling a distance
between them that caused him nothing but displeasure. He sighed and
tried his best to avoid looking at her, instead choosing to focus on
getting himself clean.
Soon she was nude to the sun's rays and the entire planet, but the
only one that mattered was Marc and she was doing her best to ignore her
feelings for him. She licked her lips gently and moved towards the water
though clearly keeping distance between them as she went till it was
deep enough to dive into.
Marc could not stand it anymore. He could not allow a
woman to be this close to him without knowing what her intentions were.
Situations like that often led to death, particularly with the
information she had about him. He swam towards her, closing the distance
very rapidly as a determined look crept over his face. He grabbed at her
roughly, attempting to keep her from escaping. "What happened?" he
demanded, unable to control himself any longer.
He shocked her. Her eyes were wide as she stood there, well mostly
floated in his grip. She watched him, her lips parted gently as a soft
gasp and a whimper of gentle pain left her. She did not struggle to get
away, she welcomed his strength, but she still denied him any
information, though her voice wasn't harsh anymore...it was soft and
shaky "Nothing happened, Marc."
"Then why are you so distant?" he asked as his hands
squeezed roughly against the soft flesh of her arms, drawing her tighter
into his grasp. His eyes narrowed towards her, focusing in an intent
glare. She was holding back. It did not take an expert psychologist to
Her eyes welled up. "You're hurting me..." Her voice was hardly a
whisper, and her eyes welling up hardly had anything to do with the pain
in her arms. She wouldn't look at him, this was a secret a pain she
thought she was supposed to carry alone. She glanced off to the side as
the first tear rolled down her cheeks.
"Damn it, Sophia. I love you..." Marc confessed as he
released his grip from her, moving sway slightly as he exhaled a deep
sigh. There had been a definite change in the nature of their
relationship and it was not one he was comfortable with. He shook his
head at her, almost disgusted with the way she was holding back what had
Her heart was aching, pounding. Her lower lip trembled and she turned
her back to him. The moment he was out of her sight, the moment she was
out of his...did her shoulders shake. Did the tears spill over and her
arms slipped around herself, hugging herself. She felt completely
vulnerable and hated it, hated herself...but she said nothing ...did
nothing more then stand there in the water and cry.
Marc froze when he heard her begin to cry, spinning
around quickly to take a careful look at her. "If you won't tell me what
happened ... then I'm going to make those two harpies tell me..." he
said as he moved swiftly towards her. There was a look of determination
in his eyes as he moved swiftly towards her. He leapt forward out of the
water, in an attempt to pounce on top of her and arrive on top of her in
the wet sand.
Despite how adorable that would have been at any other time she
wouldn't look up to him, at least not at first. Slowly thought her eyes
found his, she watched him silently, a soft sniffle. "They will kill you
Marc. The second you land there...and you won't be able to stop them."
She shook her head slowly "Just leave them out of it, they've done
enough damage to us both."
Marc pinned her to the wet sand as the tide washed
over them, the warm water coursing between their bodies as his face
looked down upon hers. "I will deal with them," he informed her
confidently as his face descended down, placing a rough, quick kiss upon
her smoky lips. She tasted different since she had begun smoking, but it
did nothing to prevent the intensity of the kiss.
She whimpered, at first she wanted to fight him off, to push him
further away from her...but being this close to him, kissing him. Soon her
whimper was one of defeat. She kissed him back, her hands, her arms
managed to get free to wrap around him, pulling him down to her. She
wanted every inch of him, his strength, his comfort, she needed him so
badly then that denying it before had hurt her worse.
"I love you, Sophia," Marc admitted again as he placed
a soft kiss upon her lips. For the moment he had forgotten all about the
women on Esseles and the secret she was keeping him. He was such a man.
With a soft groan he rolled off her, laying back on the sand as he
stared up at the beautiful, clear sky. His chest was heaving, his body
tired and the gentle tide began to wash away any traces of their
"I..." She moved against him, the front of her body
hugging his side, her leg sliding over his, her head resting on his
shoulder, her arm trailing over her stomach, her hand caressing the
opposite side she would be laying on. "I love you, Marc..." She sighed and
cuddled him into her tightly.
"Lay with me here, my love," Marc implored as the sun
began to set over the water. The shimmering light continued to cascade
on their bodies as they lay in the sand, a gentle cascade of water
continuing to wash over their bodies in a gentle massage. It was
paradise and they were the only two ones there. Neither would notice the
small device on the ship that was monitoring their every move,
broadcasting their love making for the amusement of their employers back