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Beyond - Legends After Her - Update 01/19/16

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by EmeraldJediFire, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. EmeraldJediFire

    EmeraldJediFire Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 23, 2012
    A/N: Firstly, I have Jedi-lover's permission for this piece. This idea was adapted from her story Alter of Waru. It was inspired by Luke mentioning he had friendships with women but no desire for them to be romantic after Mara died.

    Note: Takes place 10 years after Mara's death.

    "Luke, this is Melinda Rotham." His sister introduced. "She works in the Senate."

    Luke winced inwardly; his sister obviously hadn't gotten his message when he professed no wish to date. Yet, here was this woman so obliviously set up. Rotham obviously wasn't familiar with his sister's matchmaking tendencies; even when Luke had been young Leia had been very upset by her brother's inability to settle down.

    Not that Luke hadn't tried. He'd tried several times during his lifetime, before he married Mara—most of his tries ended with the relationship going down in proverbial flames.

    Rotham offered her hand. "Pleasure." She said, smiling genially.

    "Likewise." If he had to do this, Luke decided he might as well do it well.

    He grasped her hand gently and brought it up to his lips. He kissed it only for a moment before lowering it.

    Once his loving sister was satisfied with the display, she left as quickly as she had come.

    "I fear we've been set up." Rotham said conversationally.

    "Was it that obvious?"

    He studied her for the first time. She was a woman of his height; with deep brown eyes and mahogany hair, traces of grey in it. Her eyes glinted with a mischievous smile as did her lips. She was dressed elegantly yet simply in a long red shimmersilk dress.

    "Not to most, but I have heard rumors about your sister."

    Luke arched his brow.

    "Have you?"

    "Yes. Look, Master Skywalker, it's clear that this wasn't of your making or mine, so I'll let you off."
    She started to retreat.

    "No. You don't have to go."

    She paused. "Are you sure?"

    "Positive." He smiled. "I'm sorry about this really. I'm afraid my sister still treats me like a child, even at my age."

    "Then why don't you turn her down? I'm sure you're capable of doing that." She paused.

    "Perhaps…you're afraid?"

    Luke laughed. "Not afraid. I just know when to pick my battles; I've learned sometimes it's easier to go along with Leia instead of fight her…That is, if you'll still have me after those remarks."

    "No offense taken." Rotham assured. "After all, we were both set up weren't we?" She perused him. "Besides, you're not such bad-looking company." She winked at him.

    "Well, that's a relief." He looked around. "Join me for a drink.."

    "As in alcohol?"

    "Of course." Luke grinned. "I imbibe once in awhile." He examined her face as if searching for something. "Surely you don't hang on to the misconception that Jedi are monks, Ms. Rotham."

    "I don't. I just never thought you would offer. I've never seen you drink much at these functions."

    "You've been watching me."

    "You don't need to say it as if I were a stalker. Merely, observing. I like to watch people; it's fascinating." She flashed him a smile. "Now, I believe you mentioned a drink. Shall we, Master Skywalker?"

    "After you—but I insist you call me Luke, Ms. Rotham."

    She stared at him through upturned eyes. "Very well…Luke. Then I insist you call me Melinda. Do we have a deal?" She held out her hand.

    He nodded genially, reaching out to clasp her hand.

    "Melinda it is then."

    DARTH_MU Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 9, 2005
    Yes! Yes! Move on Luke! The Force commands it!
    But don't trust a politician.
    EmeraldJediFire likes this.
  3. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    Leia is meddling again...but that's okay. Luke is too hot to be a widow. I would like to see him to find love again.
  4. EmeraldJediFire

    EmeraldJediFire Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 23, 2012
    In all fairness, she works in the Senate but is not a politician of any type.
  5. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    This is another one of your stories that I've enjoyed. I don't normally do Luke/OC stuff, but I really like this one.

    Leia is, like all good sisters, a meddler.

    And I can't believe you got JL's permission for this. Last time I said I had an idea for a post-LOTF story involving Luke and a romantic partner, she replied with a puke face or something.
  6. EmeraldJediFire

    EmeraldJediFire Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 23, 2012
    In all fairness, it was based on her own statement. So, she can't shoot me for it can she?
  7. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    You got me mixed up with somebody else. I was the person saying if it was written correctly people would accept Luke finding love again. [face_not_talking] Now, I think I ragged on EmeraldJediFire about Luke hooking up with a younger woman. I sent a bunch of PMs complaining about Hollywood always hooking up with the action hero with younger women and I professed how much I loved the movie R.E.D because it featured older actors.
    EmeraldJediFire likes this.
  8. EmeraldJediFire

    EmeraldJediFire Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 23, 2012
    Boy did she ever...I was like geesh okay okay...I settled on the character being only slightly younger than him.
    Jedi_Lover likes this.
  9. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    YOU CALLED MY IDEA INCEST BY PROXY! And there was a little pukie face. And then you dared me to write smut about it. If you would like to further this argument, get over to the SJRS.

    Sorry EmeraldJadeFire for ranting on your very lovely story thread.
    Irish_Jedi_Jade and Jedi_Lover like this.
  10. EmeraldJediFire

    EmeraldJediFire Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 23, 2012
    .[/quote]Sorry EmeraldJadeFire for ranting on your very lovely story thread.[/quote]

    . I'm too amused to be bothered.
    Briannakin likes this.
  11. EmeraldJediFire

    EmeraldJediFire Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 23, 2012
    I'm sorry glad this is being received so well, so I decided to post the second chapter for my new readers.
    In the days that passed the Winter Festival during which they had first met, Luke and Melinda grew close. At first, he had been annoyed with his sister, but now he was glad he hadn't dismissed her so easily. Their relationship wasn't the romantic type but a different sort of connection; one he hadn't had in a long time since Mara had died. During those following days, he had learned small things about her; one in particular that registered to him why Leia had picked this particular woman.

    "You're married?" Luke asked over caf and dessert.

    "Was. I'm a widow." Melinda put her cup down. "His name was Charles; he was a very dear man."

    Luke took a moment to digest the information. "How did he die if you don't mind my asking?"

    "Cardiac arrest." She answered. "He was otherwise very healthy but he loved his sweets way too much—and too often. I would often find Charlie raiding the refrigeration unit for an extra piece of cake. It became his undoing."

    "I'm sorry."

    "It's all right. I do miss him, but it's been awhile….I was a much younger girl back then."

    "You don't look your age a bit."

    Melinda had hints of grey in her hair but she seemed so youthful he wasn't sure he could pinpoint her exact age.

    "Master Skywalker, is that a roundabout way to ask my age? Very naughty."

    "Just trying to find out what I'm up against. You've yet to relinquish that fact." He paused. "And I told you to call me Luke."

    She countered playfully, "And I thought it was common knowledge it was impolite to inquire into a woman's age."

    "Maybe I tuned out during that particular life lesson." He rejoined, and took another sip of caf.

    "Somehow I doubt that."

    There was a bit of silence for a brief moment as they stared at each other as if waiting the other out.

    "So are you going to tell me?" Luke asked.

    "I suppose you won't quit until you know."

    "I'd tell you my age. Isn't that a fair trade?"

    "I'm not sure…"

    He sighed melodramatically. "I give in. I'll let you go with that particular secret."

    "Quite the gentleman, aren't you?" Melinda laughed lightly.

    "Well, I'd never push a woman into doing what she doesn't want. It's not my nature."

    "Oh, that's your tactic. Well I won't tell you then."

    Luke stuck his fork in the cake. "I don't know what you're talking about."

    "Fine, play coy." She threw her napkin to the table in a grand show. "I'm leaving."

    "If that's what you want." He responded then took a bite of the dessert.

    "You know it's not." She raised a brow. "Aren't you going to try to stop me?"

    "What for?"

    "What for?! I'm going to leave." When he didn't move, she threatened, "I am."

    He cracked a smile, eyes twinkling. "Then go—you and I know you're much too old to be playing these types of games."

    "Old?" She responded looking incensed. "I am not old."

    "Prove it." He challenged good-naturedly.

    She rolled her eyes. "I suppose you'll relent if I sit down."

    "It's a possibility."

    Melinda studied him for a moment before seating herself. "All right." She looked around. "Now what?"

    "Now we continue our meal."

    "We're having cake. Hardly a meal."

    "Our caf then." Luke shrugged his shoulders.

    "You're frustrating, do you know that? Has anyone ever told you that?"

    "By my wife, yes."

    "She was very smart woman."

    "She was." He agreed, a distant look in his eye.

    "I'd like to know all about her, if you don't mind."

    He looked up. Talking about Mara became easier over the years, and he found he actually enjoyed talking about her to various people. He'd done so most often with his son, relating to the boy details about his mother.

    "I don't mind." He said finally. "I'd love to."

    He spent the next minutes discussing traits he had loved about his wife. Her vibrancy, her strength, her independence, her cunning, her intelligence; the
    way she always kept a clear head, the way she held loyalty to her friends, and most importantly…the way she strengthened him just by being there.

    "So even you need strength." Melinda said curiously.

    Luke ducked his head slightly. "Yes. There were times when I needed her strength; especially the early days of our friendship." He held his napkin in his hands, fiddling with it. "I was arrogant and sometimes unsure; Mara would often cut me off at the knees. It was refreshing having her around since there weren't many people who were going to challenge a self-proclaimed Jedi Master. I think truly needed a few good proverbial whacks to the head at the time.

    "She was rough around the edges in her doing so, but it was just the way she showed she cared. Mara was a very introverted person, so any interest she showed in another being was always a good sign for her. I guess that's why I loved her so; because she wasn't afraid to tell me off, that she had that strength, that fire. I suppose….that's why it hurt me so bad to lose her so suddenly."

    Melinda comfortingly reached over and covered his hand with hers.

    Luke looked at it for a moment and smiled sadly. "I'll be okay. I just need a moment. It doesn't come too often these days, but now and again this intense sadness sweeps over me without warning."

    "Grief often never calls ahead, dearie."

    "I suppose you're right."

    "Will you be all right?" She inquired.

    "Yes. For now, I'd like to hold on to these feelings for a bit. I want to never forget that I loved her—that I still do."
    Seeing her new found friend was becoming distraught, she called for the waiter and paid the tab. Luke protested initially saying he would pay for it but Melinda quickly dismissed him.

    "Don't give me that." Melinda admonished. "Please don't tell me you believe that the man must pay at all times."

    "You could have let me." Luke responded wryly, having gathered his bearings. "I wouldn't have had a problem. I could have managed that much."

    "Yes, yes." She said dismissively. "But it's already done. Now, let's go."

    They left the café and began to leisurely stroll down the darkened boulevard, passing under the glowing blue lamps as the snow fell down around them. They walked in the chilled night, fallen snow crunching under their boots as the silvery moon above provided additional lighting.

    Luke had his hands tucked deeply into his pockets of his long coat, a muffler wound snuggly around his neck to protect it from the bitter cold, earmuffs over his ears. He slid a look at Melinda. His companion was dressed in her own winter ensemble, a heavy red thermal coat draping her form with matching knit hat and gloves. He could hear her teeth slightly chattering, her breath coming out in cold puffs as his own.

    "Cold? We can call it a night." He suggested.

    She gave him a caustic glance. "I'm not such an old woman that I can't handle a bit of cold." She quickened her pace. "Catch up with me if you can."

    He watched her for a bit then with a shake of his head followed after her. Luke walked beside for a good while, neither of them saying a word.

    "Don't." She said just as he was about to speak.

    "I am sorry."

    "What do you have to be sorry for? Your wife died. It's nothing you should apologize about."

    "I know, but I still apologize. Sometimes, I sink way too much into my own grief. I forget that I'm not the only one who has felt the pain of loss."

    "Luke, you don't have to do this. You've done nothing wrong."

    She looked into his eyes, their gazes locking. He regarded her calmly then said, "Sometimes I wonder if that's true." He then turned his eyes forward and continued on.

    Melinda watched him silently. What could have possibly happened so badly for you to think that? She wanted to know desperately, but she wanted him to bring it up.

    "Guess I'll wait..." She murmured.
  12. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    Great chapter. I love how Luke talks about Mara. He still loves her even a decade after her death.
    EmeraldJediFire likes this.
  13. EmeraldJediFire

    EmeraldJediFire Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 23, 2012
    I've always seen Luke that way; that even death couldn't stop him from loving her.
  14. lukemaraben

    lukemaraben Jedi Knight star 1

    Sep 2, 2012
    I've always wondered how I would feel about Luke getting together with someone after Mara. I like how you're doing it! Great story!
  15. EmeraldJediFire

    EmeraldJediFire Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 23, 2012
    And now you know *grins* Okay, off topic but I was just going to cite that line from the old GI Joe cartoon.
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Hi Emerald. I love Mara for Luke and no one else. Period. He and she should always be together & she's a very hard act to follow. That being said, =D= if/when he finds love again, it has to feel right for him, i.e., be someone he can respect and be himself with first; someone who is also ready to be real around him; someone who isn't an airhead on top of that. Very hard to do with an OC that is following after Mara but kudos! Somehow you have. I'm quite impressed. The pacing is great too, not too fast or slow. They're feeling each other out as you would expect after such a loss. @};- :D
  17. EmeraldJediFire

    EmeraldJediFire Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 23, 2012
    Thank you, at first I was worried, but thank you. I think you'll be pleased with Melinda; Luke needs to be happy again and if he can feel again after Mara than I'd want him to. (I love Mara I really do...and it sucked that they killed her off)
    Jade_eyes likes this.
  18. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    Luke, you don't ask a lady her age! You get Ghent to hack into her personal files and find out that way. ;) Sorry, that sounds more like something Mara would do.

    Very nice update! I want to see Luke happy again.
    lukemaraben likes this.
  19. EmeraldJediFire

    EmeraldJediFire Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 23, 2012
    In his defense, he was trying to be tactful and he didn't press it.
  20. EmeraldJediFire

    EmeraldJediFire Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 23, 2012
    Thanks all! I feel so loved! It's always good whens someone enjoys what you write.
    Chapter 3

    They spent their evening walking around the city, staring at all the glistening lights and the Winter Festival decorations strung atop lamp posts and buildings and walk ways. Luke and Melinda stopped at the ice rink, looking out onto it.

    Melinda nudged him. "Can you do it?"

    "Do what?" Luke sounded perplexed.

    "Ice skate."

    "Who me?" Luke laughed. "I'm afraid not."

    "Why not?"

    "Let's just say, farm boys aren't meant to be on ice."

    "But you're not a farm boy anymore."

    "My wife would disagree."

    "Hmmm. How do you know you can't do it if you never tried it?"

    "Because I know I'll fall straight on my butt and I'm positive that ice is cold."

    "You don't like the cold?"

    "Not in particular, no."

    "So when you were inquiring if I was cold, could it be perhaps because you were."

    "Of course not."

    She examined him closely.

    "Oh Luke why don't you just admit it."

    "And what am I admitting, Mrs. Rotham?" A sparkle was in his eye.

    "Melinda." She corrected. "Now, stop avoiding my question."

    He seemed to ponder this. "Do I hate the cold?" He finally responded, shrugging. "What is their exactly to like about it?"

    She could tell his answer was genuine.

    Luke continued, "The weather nips at you and you can fill this chill all the ways down to your bones. I put on layers of clothing and I never can get myself warm enough. It's simply not good for one who's lived in the dessert."

    "I would have thought someone who came from warm climate like Tatooine would find the cold weather refreshing."

    "Not on your life," He said. "Weather like this just isn't suited for me. Why do you think I wear dark clothes during this time of year?"

    Melinda laughed at this.

    "So it's not a fashion statement?"

    Luke grinned. "Well…I'd be lying if I said it wasn't half the reason." He pivoted as if modeling. "What do you think?"

    She pursed her lips as if trying to stifle her laughter.

    "You know, you can give me an honest opinion. I won't go darksi-" His response was cut off as a particular strong bout of cold shot through him. He visibly shuddered, tightening his coat against the bitter chill.

    Melinda noted this. "You are cold."

    Luke shook his head. "I'll be fine."

    "No, you're obviously not." She took his arm and lopped it through hers. "Come, my apartment is not too far from here. We can go there and get you warmed up."


    "Not another word." Melinda chastised him. "I won't have any of your heroics while you're so obviously freezing." She rolled her eyes, muttering, "Difficult man."

    They entered her apartment, Melinda immediately ushered Luke over to the living area.

    "Sit, sit…" She commanded, stripping off her outer garments.

    Luke watched her from the foyer.

    "Well," She demanded, putting her hands on her hips. "Off with those clothes."

    "P-pardon?" He stuttered.

    She stared at him sharply. "Oh, for Force's sake, I meant take off your coat."

    "Oh, right."

    He walked further in, taking off his outerwear and hanging it on hook near hers. When he had rid himself of his damp coat, he stepped down into the living area, looking around.

    "You have a lovely apartment." He commented

    "Thank you." She responded.

    Melinda had entered her kitchen and was puttering around. Luke heard the slamming of cabinets and the clinking of ceramic wear.

    "I'm going to put on some tea." She announced, coming to the door once more. "How does that sound?"

    "Sounds good." He sat down on her couch, laying his gloves down upon the caf table.

    "If you're still cold there's a controller on the table, it turns on the fireplace."

    A smile came to the corner of Luke's lips. He laughed.


    "Remote-controlled fireplace—tell me that doesn't sound like some make-out tactic."

    Melinda exited the kitchen. "Really?" She came toward him, dressed snugly in a thick blue tunic and tan trousers. She was full-figured, not thin in the least, and her clothing only seemed to extenuate it.

    She was entirely different from his Mara, but not less appealing.

    "Do you always stare so at a woman's body?"

    "Hmnm." Luke looked up into her eyes. "Sorry...I didn't mean to stare."

    She looked at him with a penetrating stare. "Hmmm." She examined him. "Oh, all right. I think I'll let you off."

    She sat down next to him, and leaned over and picked up the controller, tapping it with her index figure. Luke watched as the fireplace burst to life. Melinda pressed another button and the light adjusted slightly. She turned the controller over in her hand.

    "I guess I can see what you mean." She laughed and re-adjusted the lighting. She caught a glimpse of his face and laughed some more. "Oh, don't look so mortified. I promise not to jump your bones, Grand Master."

    He took on a mortified look. "You would actually do that, Melinda?"

    "Only if you didn't mind." She promised just as the tea pot went off.

    Luke shook his head wryly, running his fingers through his graying strands. Melinda came back with two teacups, placing one before herself and one before Luke.

    "Potential make out tactic or no, it's pretty isn't it?" She commented and took a sip. "My husband loved them though. When we first married, Charles and I lived on Chandrilla. He was an architect and was the primary builder of our home there. He had a personal hand in constructing the fireplaces. So, I love fire places…especially remote-controlled ones." She smirked at this. "So what about

    "What about me?"

    "Do you like fireplaces?"

    "Not especially; but Mara liked them. She found them to be a great make out incentive."


    He lifted the cup to his lips. "I agreed."
  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, what a wonderful chapter. :) Melinda is a tell-it-like-it-is person, yay! ;) I think fireplaces are amazing too for ... mood-setting [face_mischief] I adore that Luke is still shy underneath, after all. :* I want to feed him chocolate covered berries LOL ... because that too is romantic :) :D
  22. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    [face_laugh] Sure you did. I bet if she turned around and he was standing in his boxer-briefs she wouldn't complain. ;) And neither would I.
  23. EmeraldJediFire

    EmeraldJediFire Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 23, 2012
    Hmmm. Interesting thought. lol
  24. EmeraldJediFire

    EmeraldJediFire Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 23, 2012
  25. EmeraldJediFire

    EmeraldJediFire Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 23, 2012
    Everybody becomes overly concerned with Luke's love life...or anywhere close to it. :D

    Briannakin, Jedi_Lover, lukemaraben
    Chapter 4
    "Well, I should go." Luke said, setting his empty teacup aside.

    Melinda looked at the chrono. "So soon? It's not even that late."

    "I know, but I have responsibilities—Jedi Grand Master and all."

    "Not even for one night. Surely, you have someone you can get somebody else to handle things for you." She gave him a concerned look. "You work yourself too hard, Luke."

    "I'm sorry." He took her hand.

    She sighed. "You obstinate man."

    "So I've been told." He smiled kindly then kissed her hand.

    "I suppose there's nothing I can do to change your mind?"

    He shook his head. Luke got up and Melinda followed suit.

    "At least let me walk you to the door."

    "All right..."
    They walked in silence to her front door, Luke stopped to slipped his coat back on, then they briefly paused once more at it as it opened. Luke put a hand on the door frame to hold it open and turned to her. He pressed his lips together, obviously thinking deeply.

    "Tell you what," Luke said finally. "How about we have lunch the day after tomorrow?"

    She smiled slowly. "I'd like that."

    "Thank you for the tea…" He paused. "And the company; both were wonderful."

    "My pleasure."

    "Good night." He reached out to squeeze her hand then stepped through the door.

    "See you for lunch."

    He nodded.

    Luke stepped off the lift onto main floor of the Temple, greeting various Jedi before heading for the dining hall. He entered the hall, spotting Kam, Corran and Kyle sitting down for breakfast. He approached them first before heading to the line.

    "Well," Corran said, lifting his head from his meal. "Someone was out late last night." He grinned.

    "Do you normally keep track of my comings-and goings, Corran?"

    "Not normally, but a little bird told us something interesting."


    "Like a certain Jedi Grand Master was seen the company of a very beautiful woman."

    Luke sighed. "It was Mirax, wasn't it?"

    "I'm not going to reveal my source."


    "Nice try, Luke."

    "Forget it," Luke dismissed. "I don't have time for your games, Corran." He began to retreat.

    "Where are you going?" The Corellian Jedi called out.

    "To get some breakfast, then get back to my room."

    "Spoilsport." Corran muttered and returned to his meal.

    Later that day, Luke received a comm call from his overly eager sister.

    "So, I hear you saw Melinda again."

    He let out a breath in exasperation. "Does everyone know my business?"

    "Then it's true."

    "Leia, please. Can I just have my personal business stay personal?"

    "I just want you to be happy."

    "And I have been."

    "Not since Mara died."


    "I've been content with my life. I have my son—and the future of the Order is flourishing."

    "Content is not the same as happy. Tell me the truth, how has your outlook on life been since meeting Melinda. It's been better hasn't it? No, don't
    answer me. You don't have to, because I know it has. I can feel it in you, brother. I can feel this emotion I haven't felt in you in awhile. Tell me you haven't felt this way in a long while."

    When she didn't get a response from her brother, she continued her inquiries:

    "You can't can you, because it's not true."

    Luke closed his eyes, lowering his head slightly. He heard his sister sigh.

    "Luke, I'm not trying to be a busy-body. I'm really not. I just can't stand to see you so alone. For years, I kept hoping that you would find someone to love you back then. When Callista left you, I began to doubt you ever would and I couldn't help but feel sad. Then you found Mara—you two found eachother and though I didn't quite understand it, I saw how happy she made you and how happy you made her. I couldn't be more content to see you finally find someone…

    "And when Mara died, I saw how much it hurt you. I saw it break you, I felt it."


    "How couldn't I? I was your twin, your sister. I held off for awhile because I knew you were still grieving over her—but it still hurt to see you so miserable. I just wanted to see you find someone again. I wanted you to love again; to find that happiness you use to have."

    "Leia," Luke lifted his head. "Leia, my sister, I appreciate your concern. I truly do. But I can't, I never could. Mara….was the love of my life, I could never replace her. Please understand that."

    "I know, I'm sorry." Tears entered Leia's eyes.

    "Leia, don't cry." Sadness entered his eyes. "I know you meant well. I'm just not ready. I never will be."

    She nodded sadly.

    "But, I do thank you."

    "Thank me?" She sounded surprised.

    "Yes," He shifted. "It's true; I'm starting to feel in a way I haven't felt in awhile. It's not love…not in the way I loved Mara, but I feel it is something. I haven't felt this way...this connection with a woman in a long time. Not since Mara…died." He could feel a lump entering his throat.

    There was a knock at his door.

    "Please excuse me, Leia, but I have to go. Someone's at the door."

    "All right. Don't be a stranger.

    "I won't."

    The screen blinked off and Luke got up and went to answer the door.

    He stared at his visitor: "Ben…"