The portside bar had that ingrained, beer-soaked smell that marked the oldest barracks stairwells, seediest Coruscant alleyways, and most affordable drinking establishments, which made it a popular choice for cadets on leave. The lighting was dim by necessity—the city electrical grid barely serviced this block sector, and it wasn’t unheard of for the proprietor to advertise glowrod party nights to save on his bills.
Luke finished his third Corellian ale and elbowed Wedge’s ribs. His wingman rolled hazel eyes, interrupting the conversation with Iella, seated next to him.
Growling through a smile, irritation clear, “Better be good, Luke, not like last time.”
Grinning, Luke put both hands on either side of Wedge’s head and directed the other man’s gaze across the room.
“The redhead?” Wedge shook free of Luke’s fingers with a sigh. “What am I saying, of course the redhead.”
The redhead in question had waltzed in about fifteen minutes earlier, capturing more than a few stares in the process. Luke had waited, watching, checking to see if she was meeting anyone. The woman had glided with grace that seemed both misplaced and superfluous for the venue, floating through the raucous crowded room. She had smiled—she had an amazing smile, Luke thought—at a few patrons, ordered her own drink, and then settled at the far end of the bar near one of the X-wing maintenance instructors with legs primly crossed. The two seemed to know one another, but didn’t converse much, and Luke definitely wasn’t picking up any romantic vibes between them.
A few other cadets were also eyeing her, and Luke wasn’t about to let someone else make a move before he took a shot. And Luke wasn’t going to leave Wedge in peace until he’d done his wingman’s off-duty duty.
“Fine.” Wedge agreed with an air of martyrdom, apologizing to his wife. Standing up, he placed a brief kiss atop her blonde head.
“Are you boys going to go harass that pretty lady?” she teased.
“Hey, the serenade worked on you!” Luke pointed out, grabbing two new ales from the barkeep and passing one to Wedge.
“He creeped me out, I’m not gonna lie,” Iella said, with a fond look at her husband.
“She likes creepy guys,” Wedge shrugged, taking a long swing of his drink. “I got lucky.”
“Yes, yes you did,” Luke and Iella replied in unison, clinking bottles to punctuate their synchrony.
“We’re gonna have a good time,” Luke reassured Wedge with a confident smirk.
“Always,” Wedge smiled back, following Luke in the direction of the handsome pilot’s latest prey.