Makeover for Bubbie
Many thanks to Csillag and Runt for helping me think this through, and for watching "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" with me on many evenings!
The chatter of female voices protesting at being excluded from whatever the boys were planning stopped abruptly when Voort saBinring slammed the door. He sighed and his mechanically modulated voice actually conveyed relief, "Take that, wenches!"
Myn Donos, until a few hours ago, had been a member of Wraith Squadron. But upon the Wraiths being made into an Intelligence unit, he'd resigned his commission. He wanted to fly, and his application to join Rogue Squadron had been -- to his surprise -- personally approved by Commander Wedge Antilles. He could join them immediately.
However, Antilles had decided that Myn needed to take a break before accepting his new commission. During their last battle with Warlord Zsinj's mercenary troops, the traitor Lara Notsil -- a.k.a. Gara Petothel -- had reappeared to help rescue Wedge Antilles from certain capture or injury. She had been reported as a casualty, her demise "witnessed" by Antilles himself. But shortly after the battle, a holo had arrived from a woman named Kirney Slane of Corellia, addressed to Myn Donos. She'd asked him to come and see her. Though she had long red hair and a look of innocence about her, it was undoubtedly the bob-cut blonde Myn knew as Lara.
Wedge knew that Myn would need to decide what to do about this invitation, so let him have some time to think it over. To help him along, he and General Han Solo had decided to accept the holomessage at face value, and quashed any inkling that it might be Lara. This cleared the way for Myn to see her -- not as a vengeance-addled redeemer -- but on whatever terms he wished.
To everyone's surprise, Myn decided to go and see her immediately. But he confessed to Wedge that he had no clue what to do once he got into Corellia. He'd have no trouble sneaking past the Corellian authorities even though he was considered a traitor to the Empire. The question was .... then what? What would he say? What would he do?
Wes Janson, second-in-command among the Wraiths, was present when Myn made the request for leave. Before Wedge could approve or disapprove, he jumped into the discussion, "You'll need to remake yourself, for sure! They'll recognize a guy like you in a heartbeat, no matter what your papers look like. Trust me!"
Myn looked perturbed, "I'm not a high-profile fugitive like the Commander here ... and I'm not a distinctive looking guy. And I doubt I'd have Face Loran's abilities to act anyway. Any attempt to do so would be like a red flag. I'm sure I could sneak past just being me with some pap-"
"No, no, no," Wes shook his head vigorously, "I am not talking about becoming General Kargin" -- referring to the disguise Face Loran effected to infiltrate the Zsinj camp -- "we're talking about improving you. You know, turn you into someone nice and normal!"
Myn looked stunned, "What are you saying?"
Wes smiled, "That you're grumpy and terse and everyone knows it. It's not attractive."
Wedge decided to interrupt, but he did agree, "Wes, what are you talking about?"
Now that Wes had their complete attention, he stood up to better enjoy the spotlight, "It's not just what he looks like, but how he acts, how he thinks. C'mon, Wedge ... you trained the Wraiths, you know what I mean! Myn's not exactly desirable to women, don't you see?"
Myn's hands curled into fists, "What are you implying, Lieutenant?"
Wes made a gesture, waving away Myn's building anger, "No, no, no ... you're completely straight. And that's the problem!"
Wedge didn't even bother to sigh, knowing this was going to be either one of Janson's brilliant insights, or one that would eventually get him killed.
"Myn, you're simply not sensitive enough, not considerate, not well-groomed enough. Let's face it, you want to see Lara to get together, maybe even get her in bed?" Wes looked irritatingly merry as he criticized the former Wraith.
"Uh ... well ... I wouldn't ... I mean ..." Myn blushed a bright shade of red, trying to find a way to deal with so blunt a question.
"Okay, that's my answer," Wes didn't bother torturing Myn further, "you want her, she obviously wants to see you, at the very least. But you have to convince her that you're worth keeping, right? I mean, just dropping in for a bit of slap and tickle isn't going to mean the start of a hot relationship. She might just be looking for closure, or whatever women do to say goodbye. But you are willing to risk arrest to see her on her terms and her turf, right? So you need to convince her that you're in this for the long term, that you are a good catch!"
Wedge tried not to smile. Wes had done this to other mutual friends.
"So," continued the second-in-command, "you need some advise, and quite honestly, you need a makeover, Myn. You look like something a nexu would have been gnawing on without gusto."
Donos looked a bit miffed, "I've been actively participating in a war, Lieutenant ..."
"So a good time for a clean up and a makeover! We're on Home One, there are many amenities and supplies on board, and I'm sure the boys and I can help clean you up so you're something any woman would be proud and pleased to have in and on her!" Wes was very excited now, and didn't notice the silence from his audience at so coarse a reference to sex. He'd left the room, searching for who-knows-what.
* * * * *
Wes came back about an hour later, followed by the male members of Wraith Squadron, who had to shut the door firmly on the female members who were upset at being omitted from whatever was going on. "Wes," Wedge started ...
"Wait, wait ... this won't cost anything, if that's what you're worried about ... We have every specialist we need within the squadron! Allow me to introduce," he stepped from man to man, "Face Loran, fine actor and heartthrob, and one who will assist in grooming our dour Mr. Donos into a fine, presentable, amiable specimen whom no woman can resist!" Face looked surprised, but bowed graciously.
"Next, we have Kell Tainer, a fine specimen himself. But his talent is not in attracting women with his charm and good looks (his personality gets in the way, you see), but in knowing how the female psyche works. In essence, he's good at troubleshooting botch-ups with women, something with which he has plenty of experience! He is the proud brother and son of women, and will advise you on what the woman of your desire wishes to hear. It's surprisingly predictable -- almost a science, as well as a an art!" Kell bowed less gracefully than Face had, but looked no less surprised at being assessed in such a manner.
"The next specialist is Runt Ekwesh, of the many brains. This is a sensitive man, and considerate of everyone around him. He will teach you how to collect and process feminine signals; women give it off with every gesture, ever sigh. You have no clue what these mean, but one of Runt many brains will help you unlock the mysterious meaning behind her sudden interest in patting parts of her body!" Runt didn't bow, but he did look toward the men to his left and right, gesturing to them, wondering who Wes was talking about.
"Piggy saBinring, academic, erudite, impressive with facts. He will stuff you with information and subject material to make you seem smarter than you really are, or will knock the stuffing out of you to make room for it!" Piggy settled for looking puzzled.
"Finally, we have Elassar Targon, a man with the ability to heal and to invoke good luck. And Myn, you will need to do plenty of both. Listen to this young man, you'll learn a lot ..." Elassar bowed much more flamboyantly than Face had.
"As for me ... let's just say my technique and success rate are excellent! And I would offer our former commander's services, but he has nothing to add. He's as big a loser as you, Myn."
At that point, Wedge decided to keep his mouth shut, and settled for vacating his own office. He wisely decided to let the others set to work preparing Myn for what might be the meeting of his life.
* * * * *
In truth, none of the men were anywhere near specialists in the things Wes had described, but now that they knew the parameters of the assignment, they turned out to be surprisingly knowledgeable and helpful.
Kell did, indeed, have many sisters, and was raised by a woman who had been widowed early in Kell's life. Surrounded by so many girls, even at a young age he had grown up constantly worrying about them when they came home after an unsuccessful date, mooning over the men who had treated them badly. They'd be depressed and moody till another man showed interest, then they were all aflutter again.
He explained to Myn that women are resilient creatures, but deliberately give signals that seem mixed to men ... but in fact, are clear to them. For instance, if a man treats them badly, she might shriek to never contact her again. In fact, she expects you to call and beg her forgiveness ... she will continue to disdain you, but eventually, she will break down and cry and declare her love for you. If you didn't do this, they would be heartbroken. Myn was totally perplexed why Kell's sisters would do this. Kell had a hard time explaining that this was how women communicate. "Don't try to understand it, or you'll go insane, and you'll always be wrong. Just accept it, and do as I tell you."
In order to demonstrate, the group role-played, with Kell playing a woman who had learned her man was untrue, played by Face Loran. Kell stomped up and down at Face, even slapping him. "And don't you dare speak to me, ever again!" and turned his back in a gesture that any man would have been familiar with ...
As he stormed off, Face waited a moment, then ran after Kell, "Sweetheart, don't ... I didn't mean it ... honestly, you're right. I'm a cad, but believe me, I did it for us! Those girls never meant anything, but I missed you so ...!" He went on, telling her that everything he'd done, good or bad, were all for her. "And what's more, you are the best of them all ... the sweetest kisses, the softest skin ... forgive me darling, but being with any other woman showed me how superior you are ..." The performance was impressive, and eventually, every man applauded the arguments Face presented as the guilty paramour. Myn wondered aloud why any woman would buy that drivel for a second, when Runt pointed out that overkill on sentimentality works every time, no matter how angry the female. One of Runt's brains was an observer, and he'd seen an logged a lot of apparently irreparably broken relationships suddenly come back together, thanks to the man absorbing all the blame. "It's like a storm buffer -- it seems she eventually loses all her vitriol and is left only with desire. Persistence is the key in breaking through a woman's anger, Myn."
Elassar volunteered that a small but expensive gift will smooth over any number of caddish behaviors from men, when it came to getting a woman to forgive him. "Sparkly things, especially, are welcome. And it has to be small, so you can surprise her with your consideration."
Piggy added that anything could be logically twisted to suit an errant lover's case. Passive arguments could actually be pressed aggressively so that the woman would come to think it was her doing that caused the incident.
Myn protested, "But it IS Lara's fault!"
Face warmed to the task, "And in the case where the blame is squarely on the woman, and yet YOU did something stupid to break up the relationship, then you have to shoulder all of her blame load."
Myn was completely perplexed, "That's stupid!"
At this point, Elassar pulled Myn's head back and was massaging some exfoliant onto Myn's face, so the exclamation came out garbled. The human yelped a bit as the abrasive scoured his skin. "Stop complaining," Runt applied an electrostatic paste to some hairs on Myn's ears and between his eyebrows, "women do this every day and you don't hear any of them whining!"
Myn mumbled something unkind about hairy and non-hairy non-humans giving him grooming advice. Piggy chortled, "We see you from the outside, Myn ... we know what the ideal specimens should look like."
"And you are not it!" Elassar wiped down the exfoliant with a rough brush. "This will stimulate circulation, and make your skin glow ... and removing the extra hair will just plain make you look better!"
Kell nodded, "One thing I did learn from my sisters ... the reason they wanted to look good went beyond simple vanity. They wanted their boyfriends to be proud of them, and pleased to have such a beautiful girl on their arm. In a way, they appealed to the man's vanity."
Myn would have retorted, but he instead shrieked as Runt tore an adhesive-backed cloth off his ear, ripping out hair from where it shouldn't have been. "Seriously Myn ... I know it doesn't make sense, but if you look good, the girl will appreciate that you care enough about her to look good. You need to make her proud to be with you!"
By then, Wes had brought a box from Myn's room containing what served as his wardrobe. Like all soldiers, he tended to have only one or two changes of civilian clothing. Wes and Face ignored Myn's cries of outrage as they rooted through his things. Wes had also brought things from the quartermaster's stores and from the officers' locker room and was combining them with Myn's things to try and create a good "look" for when he saw Lara/Kirney again. Fortunately, Runt and Piggy were holding him down for the body hair removal process, so the others were free to mix, match and make rude comments..
* * * * *
"Chest out! Head up! Hands in pockets! Put some swing into that gait! Look like a confident man, not a soldier with a stick up his backside!" Wes was barking out commands, trying to get Myn to walk properly. "Think Han Solo, not Jabba the Hutt! Smile! Laugh!" The other Wraiths were walking with Myn, trying to show him their renditions of a "confident walk." It was quite comical, and soon the men started doing very silly walks and even skipping and dancing to the rhythm Wes was pounding out. Fortunately, no one else was watching them.
Even Myn started to relax as they all laughed at each other's efforts, and the desired effect finally came about. Myn's stiff gait -- the result of a lifetime of military training, started to loosen up and he looked more like a civilian. Face had demonstrated during their war against Zsinj that a way a man walks betrays his cultural, homeworld, and medical history. Thus it was imperative to have Myn walk less like himself, not only to pass through security on Corellia, but to have Lara/Kirney forget that this man sought vengeance against her when he was a soldier ...
They coaxed Myn into talking about what he knew about Lara/Kirney (they had to coach him to call her by her new assumed name), so that he could come up with a gift idea for her. As the exercise progressed, Myn felt betrayed by Lara because he thought they had shared so much between them; in fact, he knew nothing. Kell told him not to feel badly; he had fallen in love with women in the past, and the less he knew about them, the more convinced she was "the one."
Still, it meant that Myn needed a "significant and heartfelt" gift, despite knowing little about Lara/Kirney. They ended up advising him to pick something up dirtside once he got through customs and immigration procedures. After many discussions, he agreed that a pendant would be best -- he didn't know her size for anything, so clothing and finger jewelry were out. Though Elassar pointed out that now she had lots of luxuriant red hair, a hair clip might be nice gift? Myn was starting to understand how this works -- find a significant feature about the girl and choose a gift to enhance it. This would seem more thoughtful and personal than a lomin mug (which had actually been his first choice ...)
If Myn couldn't find something he thought would suit, Runt suggested flowers -- they were adequately generic, yet women seemed to love them. Candies were likewise something women seemed to enjoy receiving. "These, I believe, need to be accompanied by empty promises and heartfelt praises that mean nothing. I believe you humans call it poetry? I know women of any species like being told they are beautiful, and they like to feel that you are not lying to them." The men all concurred, and told Myn he'd have to find ways to say she looked good, without repeating himself.
Piggy, ever the logical one, pointed out that Myn would have to take her out for a meal and entertainment. Myn tried to pass that off on a "wait and see" strategy. "Oh no, you don't!" Wes yelled out, "You are not getting out of at least thinking about it in some detail. You're the type of guy who thinks taking a girl to a tapcaf is fun, and I'll bet you're all confused as to why she never answers your comms ever after?"
There was a heavy silence as the squad let this thought sink into Myn's skull. It was especially uncomfortable, since all the men present were guilty of this effort at dating.
As he scanned the faces in the room, Wes softened his features, "Well, that sure explains a lot. I'll tell you this -- you know that saying about if you want to make money, you have to spend money? In the case of women, you have to make the investment in time, money, attention to detail -- sometimes over an extended period of time. This means if you want something from her, you need to give her something she wants, too."
Myn was surprised at what the Lieutenant was implying, "Don't women want the same stuff as guys?"
"Nuh-uh, absolutely not, wrong answer, jackass!" Wes expressed exasperation at what he was hearing, "They don't ... why do you think stuff like operas and cotillions take place? No guy ever wants to attend one of those frou-frou things ... but the chicks do!"
Piggy looked thoughtful, "Well, I like operas ..."
"No you don't, Piggy ... not like girls do." Wes was insistent.
Myn had a sudden thought, "She likes to dance! I should take her dancing!"
They all slapped him on the back, "Atta-boy!"
"But," Myn looked chagrin, "I can't dance!"
"Oh, I don't know," said Kell, "you did pretty well when you were dancing with her on that base we used ... she's a good dancer, just move rhythmically and let her do the moving! That's what I do ..."
They all laughed, knowing that with Kell's height, it was best he didn't move too much on the dance floor. "Rhythmically means clap and move your feet just a bit," added Piggy.
"You have to look at her eyes," Face decided this detail was important, "not just at her tits! Remember, wherever your eyes are drawn, go UP about 25 to 30 centimeters ..." This was met with more laughter.
"And ...?" Wes interrupted the hilarity, "What are you going to eat? Bar snacks?"
Myn furrowed his brow, "Um ... I remember she liked ... uh, I don't know, actually. I only ever had rations with her."
Wes pressed him, "So? What do you think she'd like to eat?"
When this question was met with a blank stare, Kell chimed in, "They like the lighter foods ... like white meats, vegetables, salads ... the svelter they are, the less likely they honestly want to eat."
"And Lara ... I mean, Kirney ... Kirney isn't stick-thin, she's more curvy," Myn's brain was getting into this exercise, "I remember before I left Corellia, there was this all you can eat place wh--"
"NO!" Wes gasped in horror, "That's a GUY sort of thing! Girls want good service, they want to be fawned over, they want undivided attention! You need to be in a situation where you can put your entire consciousness on her, from the moment you walk it, to pulling out the chair to seat her, to taking interest in anything she says or does! And you are not to deviate from her, not for a second, do you understand?"
"So where should I take her?" Myn was confused again.
Wes furrowed his brow in disappointment, "Take her to a swank place in Coronet City, you cheapskate! And order the most expensive things on the menu -- she'll take her cue from what you order before ordering herself. She'll want to know how much she can spend of your money, do you understand? What else do you spend your money on anyway? Remember, you make money to spend on a girl so you can get laid!"
Even Face Loran cringed, "Don't lay it out so bare, Lieutenant."
Wes ignored him, "That's it plain and simple, Myn. Look at any animal in the galaxy! We men are here to attract women to us ... they hold the cards in that they determine who they want to mate with. But we can enhance our chances by pandering to what they want. What they want is a sensitive, considerate, generous, tasteful, knowledgeable, well-groomed, good looking guy! I know it sounds gay as hell, but that's the way it is -- be gay on the approach, be straight in the execution, and you'll never go wrong. Oh, and having a big penis would help, too, but only to a point! You have to know how to use that thing, let's see the equipment you're packing ..."
Fortunately, an alarm rang, signaling that it was time for Myn to pack up and prepare to get to Corellia. And Myn was not the only one who breathed a sigh of relief at the timing!
* * * * *
Myn had a small case with a change of clothing, his forged identification papers, and some decoy items to match the identity he was faking in order to be admitted into Corellia. On his body, he wore the clothing his squadmates at laid out for him. Ready or not -- this was it!
"Myn, we will wire you so you can signal us if you need help. We'll be watching, so be on your best behavior!" Wes brushed some lint off the jacket they'd stolen from some officer's locker, that happened to fit Myn very well, "There! You look gorgeous, Bub Striker, class 2 mechanic!" They all laughed at the alias Myn would be using to get into Corellia.
"The recording device looks like a flying insect or a large dust mote. Don't look at it directly, and she'll never notice it there, and you should just forget it's shadowing you, and act naturally. We'll be with you the whole time! Even though we'll only get a flat two-dimensional projection, the resolution is good enough that we'll be able to see how horny you get." This comment was met with a concerned look from Myn and surprised giggles from the others. Did they really want to be checking out his state of arousal?
"Just open your palm outwards with your fingers open if you are stuck ... the transmitter will come closer so you can lodge it in your ear and we'll be able to talk to you. So relax ... Any final words?"
Myn worked his dry mouth, trying to speak. He settled for whispering hoarsely, "Uh ... Lieutenant, please ... I'll be nervous enough ... promise me you won't ... look at my penis??"
* * * * *
The men had locked themselves into Wedge Antilles's office, once again excluding the women of the squadron. Commander Antilles was with them; they figured it was his office, after all. They got comfortable and poured themselves drinks. Wedge told them he was allowing them to do this under protest ... he didn't think it was right to spy on Myn, but Wes shushed him. Meanwhile, Kell and Runt had been working on projecting the images from the holocam that was shadowing Myn. At last, they got a good signal and the men cheered!
Myn was navigating through an official-looking, blandly decorated corridor. Obviously, he had cleared the bureaucratic hoops to get on-planet and was now out on a street and was hailing a taxi. They heard him give an address, the one Lara/Kirney had given to him in the holo she'd sent shortly after their last battle.
It wasn't far from the port, and in about half an hour, the hovering holocam had caught up with him, and they saw him standing in front of an industrial looking building. He was fidgeting and Face yelled out, "Stand up like a man, you idiot!" The others joined in, "Look at him, he's like those invertebrates! Ohmigosh, no woman would want him with that posture! What's he waiting for, go ring the door alarm!" Wedge looked startled at the level of intense feeling from the men toward their hapless former squadmate.
Myn remembered the pocket square in his jacket pocket and wiped his forehead. Elassar actually shrieked, "No! You dab the perspiration off! Don't rub! Now you'll have pink streaks on your face!"
Runt muttered, "He needs to take some deep breaths. He is too nervous. I can hear his heart pounding!"
On cue, Myn did take a deep breath and at once did appear calmer. He paced back and forth in front of the building for a few minutes, trying to get his "confident civilian walk" to work for him. At last, he rang the door alarm. Piggy sat up suddenly, "He doesn't have the gift!" They all groaned, knowing if he'd just stopped to buy some flowers, he'd at least have something to start the conversation with!
To everyone's surprise, the door was opened by an Ewok, who eyed the visitor suspiciously. "Uh, I'm looking for La... I mean, Kirney. I'm looking for Kirney Slane. I'm a friend of hers, she invited me to come see her? We used to ... to ... to work ... yeah, we worked together."
"Oh, please," moaned Kell, "that fuzzball will slam the door on his sorry face now ..."
But to their surprise, the door remained open and a beautiful, familiar-looking, red-headed girl showed up at the door. She dimpled when she smiled, "Hello, I'm Kirney. And you are ...?"
Wedge was impressed, "She's letting him state his alias, wow, she's smart!" The others shushed him, as they strained to hear Myn's response.
"Cubber ... no, not him ... I'm Bubber ... Bub ... Bub Striker. We ... worked together?" Myn was visibly shaking now.
"She's offering you her hand, you dolt!" Wes yelled at the projection, "Take it! Gah ...!"
Kirney stepped forward and took Bub's hand in her own, "It's nice to see you again, Bubbie. My, you look handsome! What have you done with yourself, you look so good!"
The men all shrieked with giggles, "Isn't that cute????" They cheered when she leaned further into him and kissed him on the cheek. Myn seemed to get more tense for a bit, then slowly relaxed. He had been shocked at first, but was now realizing she was not going to reject or hurt him.
"It's been a while, hasn't it, L... Kirney?"
Kell let out a rude noise, "Her name is KIRNEY ... not L'KIRNEY!"
"Why is he so nervous?" Runt seemed perplexed at Myn's state.
"Well, he did try to kill her," Elassar reminded him, "Face had to get between them. I think he has every reason to be nervous. Do you think she'll try to kill him?" They all remembered that day when Lara Notsil had run away from them. She had been the spy, Gara Petothel, but she would have surrendered to them, if Myn hadn't shot at her.
Myn continued, "I ... I got you something." The men in the office expressed their surprise. Perhaps Myn had gotten a gift for her after all?
She waited while he fumbled in his pockets, looking for the gift. The men watching held their breath, wondering if he'd screw this up somehow. Finally, he pulled an object out of his pocket and stuffed it into her hand.
Wedge was incredulous, "Wes, I am NOT as bad as Myn! Even I know that you put a gift in a box, not take it straight out of your pocket!" The others muttered their agreement.
Kirney stared at the object in her hand, "How sweet of you, Bubbie! You shouldn't have!" The men clustered around the flat projection, trying to see what it was he'd given her. "Can you help me put it on, Bubbie?"
Myn nervously unclasped the necklace and placed it around her neck. There was some laughter as he placed it on her backwards, and had to undo it to put it on her properly. She lightly encouraged him, and when he at last was done, she stepped back. "How does it look on me?"
Myn's squadmates gasped. It was a gorgeous piece of fossilized amber, mounted in a silver-toned frame. It dangled from a purplish chain of glass beads, and complemented Kirney's red hair beautifully. Where had he found such a piece? They wondered where he could have bought it, especially since they hadn't seen him enter a shop after coming out of customs and immigration at the port. In addition, the necklace was not shop-packaged. Where had it come from? Surely he didn't have it on him when he left for Corellia!
Piggy immediately realized the solution, "Myn must have bought it from a fellow passenger!" The others exclaimed with incredulity, but Piggy reiterated, "No, really! It's the simplest explanation. And Occam's Razor states that given a variety of possible explanations, the simplest one is the correct one. He simply saw a woman of Kirney's coloring and features wearing it, and he bought it from her. That's why it suits Kirney so well, and why it has no presentation packaging." They didn't know whether to revile Myn for his gaucheness or to congratulate him on his cleverness!
By the time their chattering had died down, Myn and Kirney were on their way somewhere else. Runt reported that he had heard Myn ask if she'd like some dinner, and asked her for a suggestion. She had replied that she knew of a nice place a few blocks away, and they agreed to walk there.
The Wraiths congratulated one another on Myn's handling of that situation -- by having her choose the place, he shifted the responsibility of the enjoyment of the meal away from himself a bit. Still, they hoped he didn't relax too much; there were still plenty of ways he could make critical mistakes.
It turned out to be a nice place, not too expensive. They knew how much cash Myn had taken with him (for security's sake, he was not to pay for anything with chits or traceable credits), and they voiced their hope that Myn would use the savings to take her to a fancier place for dessert and dancing. They all groaned when he sat down first, forcing Kirney to seat herself. "You dolt!" Face hollered at the projection, "Selfish brute!"
Fortunately, Myn remembered Wes's instructions and ordered a relatively pricey dish, and Kirney predictably ordered something just a smidgen less expensive. "At least she won't think he's a skinflint," Elassar had wept over Myn's faux pas with the seating. "I hope he knows how to use a knife and fork ... we forgot to check if he knew how!"
They were all tense as they watched Kirney smile and make conversation. Myn looked uncomfortable, but not unhappy. "That's something," agreed Wedge. When the food came, they watched in horror as Myn picked up things with his hands, validating Elassar's fear. But as Kirney started eating, Myn watched her and seemed to come to his senses, and he did remember to use the cutlery. The rest of the meal, fortunately, went without further negative incidents.
As the 'droid server cleared their plates, they heard Myn ask Kirney if she'd like to go dancing? She smiled, "Oh, Bubbie! You remembered I love to dance? How thoughtful of you!" The men gave each other high-fives and cheered.
Myn told her he'd love to take her dancing, but she demurred, "Bubbie, I haven't seen you in so long, I'd rather just talk to you. Would you like to leave and come back to my place? I want you to meet my family. Do you have to go soon? Can you spend the evening with me?" The men watching were up on their feet, whooping and shouting, "Yes! Yes! Yes! Don't screw up, Myn! She wants you, we don't know why, but she wants you! Do us proud, boy!"
He smiled at her ("He's really not bad looking when he smiles," observed Elassar), and said he'd be honored to meet her family. Myn didn't even look the least bit freaked out that he hadn't known she had been living with anyone. The watchers wondered if that Ewok was a member of her family? "Come to think of it, isn't it weird that an Ewok answered the door?" Wedge was wondering what that was about?
Myn paid the bill, much to everyone's relief. For a brief moment, they all wondered if he'd let Kirney offer to pay for her part of the meal, but they had all been afraid to say it out loud. They settled for exhaling audibly. They watched as Myn, now suddenly remembering the seating thing, hurried over to pull Kirney's chair out for her. "He's slow, but she seems charmed by him," Face observed, noting the warmth of her smile. "She's really too good for him."
Outside, Myn offered Kirney his arm, and told her she looked beautiful. "Thank goodness he remembered!" gasped Runt.
The two former-Wraiths walked together slowly as the sun started dipping down in the sky. They stopped at a park and walked to the shore to watch the setting fireball reflect on the water, and Myn carefully put his arm around Kirney's shoulders. She snuggled up against him and turned her face toward him.
"C'mon, Myn!" Kell whispered, "That's the signal, kiss her, you fool!"
They all sighed when he finally turned his head toward her and pressed his lips to hers, softly. They watched as her arms wrapped around his waist and she pressed her body into his.
All the men were watching intently, till Wedge cleared his throat, "Wow ... should we be watching this?" Wedge was feeling like he was infringing on Myn's privacy, "I mean, he's succeeded, don't you think? He doesn't really need our help now, right?"
Abruptly, Myn spread his fingers out from his outstretched palm. Seeing the signal, Runt and Kell used the remote controls to finely maneuver the hovercam toward Myn's ear. But instead of letting it set down, Myn grabbed it and crushed it between his fingernails, causing the signal to abruptly halt and then fade to static. Myn must have decided his audience didn't need to see the rest of the show. Wedge laughed at the timing of Myn's response to his previous query.
Then, as if seeing the curtain falling at the end of a good play, the men all got onto their feet, applauding and whistling, shouting, "Encore! Encore! Bravo!" They were proud of their boy! "It was worth it," beamed Wes, "snaps to Myn for nearly screwing it up, but pulling it off at the end and even looking cute in the process!"
Wedge laughed, "A toast!" They all raised their glasses, "To 'Bubbie and Kirney,' may they have a splendid evening, and maybe more!"
They all yelled out in reply, "Hear, hear!" They boisteriously clinked their glasses and mugs with gusto and glee.
"And," Wedge continued, "to the men of Wraith Squadron, who recognized Myn's failings, but loved him enough to help him succeed in this most difficult of missions. The New Republic is grateful to you for all you've done to recover a great pilot from the ultimate despair." The men whistled and hooted in agreement with their former commander.
"And finally, to all the Wraiths, formerly of Starfighter Command, and now of Intelligence. May all your missions succeed as well as this one, though to be sure, I hope your missions are more orthodox than this assignment!"
Amid the cheers, Wedge raised his voice for a coda, "Oh, and if you ever decide I need help with the ladies ... please don't!"
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