“This whole house stinks. How many people live here?”
“Wow, already? Live a little, Jarrus, it’s Friday!”
Skelly’s palm hit Kanan’s back with a resounding thud, sending Kanan forward into an end table that must have spent the better part of its life in a dumpster. He caught himself before either he or the table fell, pushing himself off the rotting wood and rounding on his friend.
“What the hell, man?” he demanded, brushing his hands off. “How many have you had?”
Kanan had a good foot on Skelly, and the shorter man shrunk back in his shadow, scratching his neck.
“Not that many,” Skelly mumbled, hiding the six pack he brought behind his back. Kanan didn’t need to see it to know there were only five beers left. "Geez, where’s fun Kanan tonight?”
“Fun Kanan died last night, leaving only the world’s worst hangover in his wake. Fun Kanan is not going to keep you out of trouble or drive you home.” Aspirin and lots of water had alleviated most of the hangover, but Kanan still didn’t feel right. Unlike Skelly, he couldn’t go three nights in a row.
Moreover, “fun Kanan” was always less appealing after waking up on the kitchen floor with a mouth drier than a sand pit and no idea how he got home.
“Sure, fine, but is grumpy Kanan going to get me laid?”
Kanan shook his head in disgust, following Skelly through the ramshackle house. At least he wasn’t spouting another conspiracy theory. They passed at least three people from their Modern Philosophy class on the way and Kanan tried to avoid eye contact. Skelly’s chances of hooking up with any of them were slim to none after his rant about Nietzsche in lecture that morning. Maybe it just seemed louder after a night of overindulgence, but it wouldn’t have surprised Kanan if the whole campus had heard his tirade.
He made it all the way to the kitchen before he realized he had lost Skelly. Then, like a beacon, shouts rose from the hallway.
“Hey, sweetheart! Where have you been hiding all semester? I mean, where have you been all my life?”
No, it wasn’t the hangover. Skelly really was that loud. Kanan slapped a hand to his forehead and headed back, arriving in time to see his roommate getting politely rejected by a female Togruta.
Skelly shook his head at the woman’s retreating form. “I'm hopeless. How do you do it, man?”
“Well, for starters, I don’t shout,” Kanan replied, noting that the six pack was down to four beers already. “You’re coming on a little strong.”
Skelly frowned, cracking open beer number three. “How else will they know I’m interested?”
“Skel.” Kanan placed a hand on his roommate's shoulder. “You do realize asking someone where they’ve been hiding sounds a little threatening, right?”
Stopping mid sip, Skelly’s mouth hung open as if this was a revelation. “Yeah, I guess I can see that. So what do I say?”
Kanan took a step back--Skelly was getting too loud again, even with the thumping music--and shrugged. “I don’t know. Ask about their major? Classes? Holonet vids? I can’t just explain how to be charming.”
Skelly looked around at random, eyes landing on a male Lasat. He tugged on the man’s shirt. “Hey, what’s your major?”
The Lasat eyed Skelly in confusion for a moment before turning back to his friends, shaking his head and muttering about undergrads.
Kanan cringed. Skelly’s shoulders drooped, then he downed his beer, laying the bottle on a table that was already cluttered with garbage.
“Show me, man. I’m a visual learner, you know that.”
Skelly scanned the room again, then pointed towards the kitchen, his eyes lighting up. Kanan followed his finger to a green-skinned female Twi’lek, and he nearly did a double take.
She was gorgeous, green eyes sparkling as she laughed at something. A smile formed on his lips. This was Skelly’s first good idea all night.
Then, he saw what had her in stitches. A red-haired guy next to her was waving his arms frantically above his head, beer in hand, probably doing some sort of impersonation. The Twi’lek doubled over and Kanan turned back to Skelly.
“Nice thought, but she’s with someone,” he reported.
Skelly shook his head. “I don’t know, man.”
And he was off, leaving Kanan scrambling to catch up before his roommate made a fool of himself.
Kanan grabbed Skelly’s elbow before he could finish his question, and the Twi’lek and her (short) human friend looked on in disbelief.
“Let’s go, dumbass," said Kanan, voice firm.
“What’s your problem?” It was the Twi'lek, and her voice was just as lovely as her face, only now she was sneering.
It took Kanan a moment to realize that she was sneering at him, not Skelly. “Excuse me?”
The Twi’lek straightened up, and she was almost as tall as Kanan. All traces of laughter left her voice as she looked him right in the eye. “Leave that guy alone.”
Kanan released Skelly’s arm. “Who, my roommate? I was trying to stop him from making an ass of himself in front of you and your boyfriend.”
She clasped her hands together and batted her eyelashes. “Oh, thought you’d sweep in and just save the day, tough guy?”
Kanan shook his head with a short laugh. “Look, you really don’t get it. My friend here is a mess, and I’m keeping an eye on him. It has nothing to do with you.”
Her eyebrows shot up. “That’s not a very nice thing to say about your friend, so forgive me if I don’t believe you." Air quotes framed the word friend.
Kanan smacked his forehead with his palm. “Wow, you are so perceptive! Please, tell me more about things that you couldn’t possibly understand.”
“Sure, let’s recap.” She began ticking things off on her fingers. “So far, you’ve yanked your friend around, insulted him, bothered me and MY friend, oh, and you called me stupid. Did I miss something?”
“You got all that out of what I said?" He let out a low whistle. This one had an active imagination. "If I wasn't making assumptions before, I sure am now! And yes, I caught your not-so-subtle hint that you're single."
The woman's eyes widened and her hands flew to her hips. "That is not what I said!"
"Not fun to have people jump to conclusions, is it?" He stared her down, smirking at his own victory, but her eyes narrowed in response. She pushed herself up on her toes to better match his height. There would be no concession on her part, and Kanan wasn't going to give her one either.
"I stated facts, you're the one jumping to ridiculous conclusions." She rolled those green eyes and her upper lip curled. "I knew you just wanted to talk to me," she muttered.
This was the woman who had caught his attention from across the room? She couldn't even admit to being wrong about something petty.
"Oh, really?" He cocked an eyebrow. "Were you watching me or something? Not that I'd blame you."
Her nostrils flared and her mouth fell open. "In your dreams. You were the one who insisted on coming over here, remember? Or are you too drunk?"
"Ha! There you go again!" He pointed a finger at her nose, leaning closer. "I haven't had anything to drink today."
"I wouldn't be so quick to admit that this is just how you normally are." Boring into his eyes with her own, she pushed his finger aside. The movement brought them so close that their chests were almost touching and, to his chagrin, her palm was soft and warm.
"And I'm assuming you owe your charm to some fruity concoction?" he countered, pushing her hands from his mind. She didn't have alcohol on her breath; in fact it was minty.
"Please." She rolled her eyes again, somehow gaining another inch so they were nose to nose. "I don't drink, I'm just doing my friend a favor so HE can drink and meet people. That's what friends do."
"Thanks for the lesson, but it's like I told you." He lifted his hand to tap his chest, brushing her arm on the way. "I'm only here to keep an eye on my roommate."
For effect, he reached over to where Skelly was, groping for his jacket. When his roommate said nothing, Kanan tore his eyes away from the woman's glare and was shocked to find that Skelly was not alone. She turned to look as well.
The woman's friend and Skelly were making out against the wall.
The betrayal rendered Kanan and the woman speechless for several seconds until they shouted at the same time.
Their respective friends sprang apart.
"What the hell, Chop?" the woman demanded.
The redhead wore a smug grin. "Well, you and your new friend were so busy making eyes at each other that I got bored and found someone to make eyes with. Hera, this is Skelly."
"Yeah, thanks for the lesson, Kanan," Skelly added. "I think this makes us even. Anyway, we're heading out."
"Wait, where are you going?" Kanan and Hera asked in unison.
"Back to my dorm. It's right across the street." Chopper tossed a thumb over his shoulder, then turned to Hera. "Don't wait up."
Skelly grinned and waved at Kanan. "I won't be home until tomorrow morning," he said, throwing in a salute and a significant wiggle of his eyebrows.
And the two walked out together, leaving Hera and Kanan flabbergasted and still standing chest to chest.
When they turned back to each other, their noses brushed. Hera's eyes narrowed, but there was that persistent sparkle that had caught him from afar. She made no attempt to back away, and Kanan didn't feel like moving, either.
Maybe Skelly and Chopper were onto something. It had been a while since he had been with anyone, and this Hera certainly was spirited. There were worse ways to channel tension.
Then again, maybe she wasn't interested. She really didn't seem to like him, and he wasn't too fond of her, either.
She's more likely to punch me than--
But before he could second guess her intentions, one of her hands curled around his neck and the other smacked the wall next to his head. Her glare softened just before he closed his eyes, and everything went fuzzy when her lips crashed into his. Thoughts quieted, he grabbed her waist, returning the kiss on instinct.
At first, it was all he could do to keep up. She was rough, tugging at his lower lip with her teeth and stoking the fire that was already burning within him. He formed his palms to the curves of her back as her hand dropped from the wall to rest on his chest.
Nudging her head up with his, he broke contact for a moment to reposition himself. He hovered over her, taking a breath of the air they shared. A soft gasp escaped her lips as she tried to resume the kiss and he smiled, pulling back just a fraction more.
"I thought you didn't approve of such rough tactics," he said, mouth so close to hers he could feel the heat radiating from her lips.
"This is different." Her nails grazed his skin through the fabric as she grabbed a fistful of his shirt, and he couldn't tease her anymore. Hera welcomed his kiss with an open mouth, their frenzied pace slowing to a luxurious crawl.
Kanan leaned back against the wall, hands falling to her hips as she molded herself to him. She wedged one of her legs between his. There was no hiding it now; he was ready to leave if she was. His lips met with the front of her teeth as she broke into a grin.
A tantalizing trail of kisses up his jaw left her at his ear, her quick breaths driving him mad. Her voice was soft, lips grazing the sensitive skin. "So, I hear your place is free."
He took in a deep breath through his nose, face brushing against hers as he nodded.
"I'm all yours if you'll have me."
She pulled back, eyes sparkling and lips curled in a devastating smile. "Then let's go somewhere."
They only made it as far as his car.