The Other Woman
Many thanks to Carmen for discussion, "The Other Woman" Anne Sofie von Otter and Elvis Costello, Labiach for unnecessary inspiration, and Wraith6 for bitch-support.
Young Iella Wessiri sat quietly in her room, waiting for the comm signal that would indicate her lover was available to meet her. Sometimes she would wait for hours; sometimes she would have to rush to get to their designated meeting place. If anyone knew what was going on as the young girl sat in her room in silence, they'd probably be tempted to knock some sense into her.
Iella is what would politely be termed as "the other woman," the dirty secret that a man keeps from the world. Her paramour is a married businessman with children and property, with everything to lose if his indiscretions became public. Yet Iella provided him with something he craved and was willing to risk his reputation on. He didn't think of her this way, of course. He knew he was in control of the situation, and that Iella adored him. She loved him in a manner he had never been loved before; she loved him so much that she accepted her relegation to being "on call" for him without complaint.
That's not to say she was happy about the situation. It's not that she fantasized about marrying him or being his "public woman," because she didn't. She enjoyed knowing that she provided him with things he couldn't even ask of his wife. Even at this young age, she knew that being "the other woman" was something she found exciting in a dark and perhaps kinky way.
But she wanted him to be more demonstrative of his need for her. She didn't like waiting and waiting for him to call; sometimes the call never came, not even to apologize and say he couldn't meet her today. Iella knew that she was very low down on his list of priorities, but she couldn't reconcile that with the obvious pleasure and need he had of her. Why was she always the last thing on his list to attend?
She needed to be needed in an intense and passionate sense. Perhaps that's why she'd entered into this relationship under such onerous terms. She felt he needed her, and that would be enough. But her desire to be told repeatedly this fact was burning hotter, and he simply did not understand this. Perhaps he couldn't do it. Perhaps he didn't really feel that way.
That last doubt ate at her and made her cry. If anyone had walked into her room, they would have seen her sitting upright, silent and copious tears running down her face. When the commlink chirruped and her lover's voice was heard, it was as if the sun had broken through the clouds. Even through the tears, her mood would be one of profound happiness.
It was an awful way to live. She ignored other aspects of her life, even while her lover attended to the aspects of his own life. Their two lives focused intently on his life.
People never really understood why she eventually married a man 20 years her senior. It was that he offered her what she knew she craved -- his absolute and unwavering attention. She knew she needed this because of her experiences as the other woman. Iella had chosen to be such a woman because she was addicted to the intensity of emotion that such a position required. But as time wore on, she needed more of that intensity, rather than less.
Diric Wessiri married his student, a girl with intense passions and intense desires. She was not the best or most skillful women he'd ever bedded, but she was the most sincere. He loved her, he loved lavishing her with attention, both physically, mentally and professionally. He'd never seen a woman blossom as gorgeously as Iella when he paid attention to her. He'd also never seen a woman wilt so badly when he neglected her.
He was in love with love; thus he had never committed to a permanent relationship before. But Iella was different. Her need to be absolutely appreciated played into something he knew he could give. And by giving that to her, he could be whole, himself.
Diric had mentored many, of course, but Iella was profoundly different. No one ever genuinely needed him as much as she did. He found that addictive. For a man in love with love, Iella was the means to live that fantasy forever.
No one really understood their relationship, but it seemed to work. The clichéd benefits of a May-December romance totally applied to Diric and Iella; she blossomed under his attentive gaze, and he was energized and rejuvenated by her love. It always left people wondering but they thought it was sweet.
The truth is that with Diric, Iella had become a permanent "other woman." She was always and absolutely available for Diric. He would call and never question what her plans might be. She loved that she would drop everything to do as he asked. He loved that he had such devotion; it was so wonderful that it felt illicit.
Iella was forever grateful that Diric had saved her from the loneliness of being the other woman, yet that's what she would always be. The stuff she loved about being that woman was what Diric wanted to give her. He showered her with tokens of affection, flowers and little baubles. He actively enjoyed the looks he got when he took his beautiful young wife out with him. He appreciated her mind, her body ... but mostly, he appreciate that she absolutely needed him. She hungered for that level of intense devotion.
When Diric disappeared during an Imperial crackdown of suspected Rebel supporters, Iella's world collapsed. He remained missing for years, and she was forced to conclude he had died. She mourned him as only a woman who had loved a man she shouldn't have could mourn. She did it silently; the feelings ran too deep to explain. Iella skillfully hid the nature of her hurt, but she couldn't give herself to another man. No one approached Diric in understanding how much she needed him.
She did start a flirtation with a prominent pilot, who didn't understand why she wouldn't demand he stop seeing his girlfriend. Wedge Antilles felt that if only she would lose her icy cool and declare what he knew she felt for him, he'd dump Dr. Qui Xux. But he was afraid to cut Qui loose without Iella's say-so; what if he was wrong? There was that one kiss he shared with Iella, but perhaps it was just a friendly kiss? Deep in his gut, he felt Iella was a firecracker of passion; he just didn't know how to release it. He longed to feel that passion wash over him, but he feared the consequences.
Iella fumed with frustration that she could love a man who wouldn't demonstrate how much he needed and wanted her. What kind of a man was this Wedge Antilles? He wanted her, she could feel it! After many relationships as the illicit mistress, she had developed a sense for this ... she decided she simply couldn't respect a man who didn't take the lead in pursuit. She was not that type of woman.
She contemplated having an affair with her now-married former CorSec partner, Corran Horn. But he was such a pinnacle of virtue that she doubted he would have contemplated bedding her after he'd met Mirax Terrik. Still, the desire for a dirty and secret relationship burned in her, and so Iella and Mirax enjoyed furtive groping and pillowtalk on many shared missions. Corran never knew about his wife's indiscretions, even with his telepathic Force abilities. The one thing Iella knew about her former partner: if something was outside of Corran's moral structure and beliefs, it wouldn't even occur to him that it might happen. Mirax told him she never slept with another man after she'd met him, and it was the truth.
Then Diric came back, having been enslaved by the Empire during his absence. Iella was elated to have him, initially buoyed that now he needed her so much more than he had before. But something had changed between them; she had become independent and resented his interference in an important murder and espionage trial. The relationship they had had was broken; he did need her, but not in the kinky, dark manner he had before. His need was more ... common and vulgar ... more basic. And she no longer really listened to him. Words and concepts like "loyalty" and "caretaking" entered her vocabulary when discussing Diric.
When Iella and Nawarra Ven were escorting Imperial turncoat Kirtan Loor, a tall, thin gunman opened blaster fire on the three of them. An excellent marksman, Iella shot the attacker and was aghast that it was Diric, who had been brainwashed and was acting as commanded by Imperial Intelligence. Loor was successfully assassinated, but Diric had been fatally wounded, too.
Iella had a lot of trouble sorting out the turmoil of her emotions. She was acting in self defense and in defense of those in her care, and was absolved of any wrongdoing. But she wondered if she knew the tall, thin gunman was her husband, the man who no longer needed her the way she needed to be needed. The guilt and relief roiled in her gut; in his last living moments, he seemed to let her know it was better this way. He understood that he could no longer be the man for her, and that like her previous lovers, he'd fade away. Diric no longer needed Iella.
She took on more undercover work, more dangerous assignments so that she could experience the thrill of being needed. This time, the need was not wrapped up around one person. Whole planets and systems would need her. She threw herself into her work, determined to fill the hole Diric left when he first disappeared. She still relished the role of mistress and "other woman," but when she found herself embroiled in new affairs, they did no more than remind her of her losses. She needed to be needed, and she would replace the need of a man with the need of the whole New Republic.
Corran had often pointed out that Wedge would still look at her like a sick nerf, mooning with desire for her. Corran would have the nerve to point out that she and Antilles were well matched. Thank goodness that she had the memory of Diric to divert his matchmaking efforts. Iella had already decided that if Wedge couldn't make the pronouncement, if he was going to be forever put off and made passive by her apparent indifference, she wanted nothing of him. She needed a passionate man who would pursue her and wrestle her down, to show her how much he wanted her! Wedge would never be that man. He would never burn with the white hot need of her.
She had known that Rogue Squadron pilots would be on Adumar, where she was working undercover. She knew they might recognize her, and she took steps to make it seems like a natural meeting. She hadn't expected Wedge to want to talk to her. As she walked the deserted streets to meet him, she wondered if he still wanted her, and how would he state his case? Unfortunately, he failed to excite much emotion in her, other than annoyance.
She did respect that he had taken to stalking her. Some of the old feeling of being a desired prey was rekindled; Iella remembered how the men would come after her, with great risk to themselves if they were discovered. It was childish, but it was a primal need for her. She needed to be pursued and her resistance beaten before she would relent! She often scolded herself for not growing up emotionally, but she couldn't deny the need. It was not a simple matter of turning it off.
She sniffed at him when she saw him at her door, with Wes Janson standing behind him. He was so frightened of her that he needed a bodyguard to protect him! He pretended he needed a way to get a message to the New Republic ship orbiting Adumar, and her opinion of him deflated further. What a little boy Wedge Antilles is!
But then he turned on her, grabbing her, insisting, finally demonstrating his feelings for her. She was surprised and delighted. The rejections she'd handed him and his own vacillations seemed to serve as a hard cap on his swelling emotions. The pressure of these frustrations had built and she was witnessing the venting! It was exciting and she found herself falling into him. She felt the urgency of his needs and was thrilled. Iella felt herself exploding with need herself, responding to his demands ...
Wedge had always thought men who articulated what they wanted were selfish. He felt himself converting over to what Wes Janson referred to "the dark side." By demanding what he needed, he got his heart's desire. And from Iella's reactions, she loved him more this way. He'd remember this any time he felt her growing listless or unhappy.
Iella encouraged Wedge to give orders and make demands. He was basically a nice guy, but he needed her desperately, and he learned to make it show. The shame he felt at being selfish was nowhere near the desire to make his woman happy. He finally ordered her to marry him, and she jumped to make all the plans. But he was keenly aware that he could not afford to fall back to his more passive ways. Any time he did, she started to think about roaming, of being "the other woman" for real. It was enough to keep him selfish! He never threatened to leave her, because that's not what would make her stay. Wedge would simply make the effort of treating her like an illicit lover ... making her his lover, as well as his wife.
As he felt his wife wrap herself around him, he marveled why Wes had never told him this was the way to handle women?? He had, actually; Wedge had simply never believed him before ...
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