“Like you don’t help Queen Breha with her hair all of the time.”
Maul ended up smiling to himself as he worked on teasing the glittering barrettes and pins out of Dani’s hair, sitting cross-legged behind her as she basked in the glow of the fireplace. “Her hair is straight, and your curls are daunting. They catch everything.”
Winter was drawing to a close; when he had been invited to an environmental summit at the same ski lodge they had visited during the Festival of Stars, this time discussing the long summer fire season and how to manage it in the many old growth forests of Alderaan, he had invited Dani along as his date. He hadn’t necessarily expected her to be free, her duties often took her any number of places well outside of the range of Corellia or Alderaan, but she had readily agreed; she landed on the platforms of the palace at Aldera, dressed in a sweater just a hint off white towards dove-gray and darker slacks, covered by a stylish modern long coat, with her hair already pinned up elaborately and sparkling. That left Maul scrambling to figure out what he could wear in order not to be an embarrassment to her, since he had just planned on going casual himself.
Naturally, every scientist there (and half of their partners or more) were enchanted by her. And really, it never failed to make Maul feel warm, the way she absorbed knowledge about the subject and invited herself into the conversations, using her unique perspective as a law enforcement officer to add a different take on things.
Now, though, they had retreated to their own rental and had the evening free and plans to go skiing the day after, and Dani had asked for help getting her hair down.
“You won’t hurt me. Iron scalp here,” she said, tipping her head backwards to give him better access to the clips close to her temples, the long cascade of brown and blue falling down her back now.
“Maybe I just like taking my time on it,” Maul answered, though he realized the trap he walked into the second it left it his mouth.
Surprisingly, though, Dani didn’t take the unintentional bait. Instead, she hummed back a pleased note as he finished another clip and worked his fingers against her scalp where it had been; it was such a nice sound that Maul had to try to suppress a shiver. “I’ll bet you give the best backrubs, too,” she said, wiggling her shoulders some.
“Would you like to find out?” he asked, before he could talk himself out of it.
That got Dani to laugh, as she reached up and plucked out the last pin herself, setting it aside; the sudden brightness of the sound made Maul smile despite his own nerves immediately flaring up. “Are you kidding?” Dani asked, turning half back to eye him with mischief in her eyes. “That’s the best offer I’ve gotten all week, handsome.”
There were a number of ways that this could end up in them moving beyond the occasional makeout session. Even as he thought that, Maul realized that he wasn’t averse to the idea, however nervous he was.
If anything, the opposite.
“Here, or in a bed?” he asked, trying to keep from sounding too thready or quivery, though likely not perfectly.
Dani eyed his face over, as he reached out and slid his thumb up the side of her neck to nestle behind her ear, the rest of his fingers just barely skimming her smooth skin.
Apparently she liked whatever she saw in his expression, because she gave him a thoroughly devastating grin. “Here’s fine,” she said, turning her back to him again and rising up on her knees, pulling her form-fitting sweater over her head, revealing the long, elegant line of her back, broken only by the straps of her bra.
I’m a dead man, Maul thought, mouth suddenly dry and heart pounding, as he managed to get to his feet in one of the least graceful movements of his life so he could drag the cushions out from their stack and lay them out in front of the fire for her.