A Luke/Mara One-Shot. For as much as he hates to accept it, Luke knows he needs to move beyond his unreciprocated feelings. A very loose sequel to "If Only". Thank you to @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha for proofreading this story and for always helping me to stay on track "Concert Night" by Jâd Sphera (JadeSphera). Antara, the number one entertainer in the Galaxy. Billions of fans and holorecords sold. Her music reaching the farthest corners of every known world. After two massive concerts she’d given in Coruscant, Antara’s Agent had insisted she should make room for one last, more intimate presentation. This last event consisted of a private session in one of the most exclusive, trendiest clubs in town, specially put together to give her exposure to the elite of Coruscant’s society. Luke Skywalker found it kind of surreal that he had ended up attending an event where he felt he didn’t belong. The Jedi had been invited by Antara herself. They’d been introduced the night of her first concert. He’d been there by chance really. His nephew and niece, Jacen and Jaina, had had tickets to the concert and at the last-minute Leia couldn’t make it, so Luke and Han had taken the kids to see their beloved music idol. Thanks to their parents status in Government, both children had gotten courtesy backstage passes, and at the end of the concert had gone to meet the singer in person, gotten autographs and holopictures. Luke had gone with them into the area as their adult escort. The moment the visitors had stepped in Antara’s dressing room, the Jedi had caught the singer’s eye, and the woman had broadcasted her interest with no inhibitions. After some small talk, Jedi and singer had exchanged their private comm numbers, and before an hour of their meet had gone by, he’d received a message from Antara inviting him over to her hotel room for drinks and dinner that very same night. Luke didn’t think it too much, very uncharacteristically he’d said yes in a heartbeat. After that first night, similar arrangements had been made for the night after, and now on her third and last night in town, here he was, feeling awkward and out of place. Despite her petite size, Antara was magnetic. She was indisputably charismatic and beautiful. She was gifted with a wonderful, powerful voice and was a hell of a performer. On top of that she was funny, easy to talk to and very down to earth, qualities one would have never expected to find in an entertainment celebrity this big. Who would have thought that a farm boy from Tatooine would end up spending three exciting nights with the trendiest, biggest, most beloved super star in the whole Galaxy. It was true that he was not that farmboish anymore, years had given him experience and maturity; travelling around the Galaxy for the past nineteen years of his life had turned him into a worldly man. But despite all that, he’d remained the same old Luke at heart, and he knew that this whole Antara fling was only a fleeting thing, and knew she knew it too. Soon both would say their goodbyes and go back to their so different lives, their encounter transformed into just a lovely memory. Antara’s short performance of the night had not taken place yet, and in the meantime modern, upbeat music was being played in the sophisticated sound system of the venue, as the guests took places around small, tall tables, or cushy semi-circular booths, while enjoying exotic alcoholic drinks served by attentive waiter droids. Luke stood alone at one of the small, tall tables, having a drink poured in a stubby, short glass. “I didn’t expect to find you here!” the recognizable voice of Han solo greeted the Jedi. “Why didn’t you come with us?” “Oh, Hi! It’s all right. I decided to come on my own this time,” Luke greeted back. “Where are all the others?” Han turned around expecting to see some of the other Jedi. “The Academy was not invited,” Luke clarified. “Was not?” Han’s face of shock soon changed into one of amusement. “I guess they didn’t want a bunch of stern, solemn Jedi ruining their party,” he teased. “Then why are you here?” Luke shrugged and said nothing. “What are you not telling me?” Han pressed. The Jedi just took a small sip of his drink. Milliseconds later, deep in the Corellian’s mind it all came together. That suspicious, casual demeanour the Kid was faking only meant one thing. “You whore!” Solo whispered in his deep voice. A veiled smirk was all Luke gave away. A smirk so small that only Han, who knew his brother-in-law so well, could decipher. “What’s going on?” Leia asked approaching the two men from behind and kissing her brother’s cheek as a greeting. “Nothing!” both answered in unison. Leia eyed them both, noticing the tension in the men’s posture. “Those answers in unison always tell me that something is what is really going on. But I’ll let it slip this time, because I also know it must be boys stuff.” Cocking an eyebrow at them, she then walked away and let them be. Both let out a breath neither of them realized they’d been holding. To their annoyance, Leia did that to them all the time. Back on their own, Han and Luke continued their chat. “So, are you dating this singer?” Han muttered, getting closer to his friend in a gesture of complicity. For all of his friend’s secrecy, it had to be that! “We’ve been hanging out for the past couple of days,” Luke casually conversed, confirming his friend’s suspicions. “She’ll be gone tomorrow, to continue her Galactic Tour. We’re just friends.” “Right… Friends,” Han offered a lecherous smile. “All I can say is that being the Jedi Master really comes with its perks!” Luke rolled his eyes. “This has nothing to do with me being a Jedi--,” he made an abrupt stop. “What is she doing here?” “Who? Leia?” Han looked confused, but when he was about to ask, Luke was not there anymore. The Jedi had already started walking away and towards the beauty that had just arrived, drawn to her like a mynock to an exposed power cable. “Mara!” “Hello, Farmboy.” Luke had not seen her in months and couldn’t help but to notice how stunning Mara looked in her night-out outfit, a dark green minidress that made her legs look kilometric and her lean body simply perfect. “Are you alone?” “Karrde was the one invited,” Mara added drily. “But he couldn’t attend and thought it was utterly amusing to send me, of all people.” Her boss certainly knew how much she hated this things, but he had not cared, telling her that it was not all work and that she should relax and have fun sometimes. “It’s good to see you,” Luke said, only focused on how her presence made him feel and not really interested in her predicament. If that had got her here tonight, then it was fine with him. The music stopped, the light changed intensity and the Master of Ceremonies announced the main event. Antara stepped on the stage singing one of her most famous hits, working the small area with her superstar expertise. The crowd cheered and danced along, bewitched by the singer’s performance. As the show developed, Antara couldn’t resist to now and then eye the handsome Jedi standing amongst the crowd, and to sing a few phrases aimed specifically at him. Mara couldn’t help but to notice. That woman was doing nothing to conceal her interest in the Farmboy standing next to her. The rest of the crowd seemed oblivious, but there was no doubt that the singer was singing to him! And the most unsettling part of it all was that, for some unknown reason, Mara was having trouble with the fact! Antara’s performance came to an end. The crowd went back to enjoying themselves, exhilarated by the musical experience they had just shared. Before Luke or Mara could start talking, a security guard approached the Jedi and said something in his ear, the music was too loud and Mara couldn’t get any of it. Soon the man was gone and Luke turned to her. “Antara is inviting me backstage,” Luke told Mara. “You wanna come?" With a cute, radiant grin he signalled her with his head to follow him, “Come on!” Mara just shrugged in an attempt to look disinterested, but the truth was that every time the Farmboy looked effortlessly innocent there was no way she could do other thing but what she was told. How could she resist that disarming grin? She mentally kicked herself. Despite her better judgment, she did follow, cursing under her breath as she walked close behind. Gently pushing through the crowd, Luke kept his hand extended back towards her, but she never took it. Escorted by the bodyguard, both made it to their destination. The corpulent man opened the door of the dressing room for them and stepped aside to let them in. “Luke!” Antara greeted gleefully, coming to his encounter. “You brought company!” “This is my good friend, Mara Jade,” Luke introduced the redhead. Both women greeted one another cordially. Although it was unexpected, Antara graciously accepted the stranger’s presence. “That was a stunning performance,” Mara made the other woman a compliment. The Trader knew perfectly well how to make small talk and to carry herself in a civilized manner, and what she just said was actually true. “Nice to hear that you enjoyed it!” the singer said with a frank smile. The conversation soon moved on to pointing out the actual state of Coruscant and the newest sights in town. With discretion, Mara appraised Antara as they talked. The woman was undoubtedly talented, as well as a good converser. The singer was shorter than she was, but her petite form was exquisitely sinuous and had sexy written all over it. Her long, dark mane pulled back in a tall ponytail had a lustrous, captivating shine. Her flashy appearance and dramatic makeup only made Antara’s beauty stand out effortlessly. If this woman had captivated the Jedi, it was with good reason. And she was in the middle. “I must leave you now,” Mara said. “It was very nice to meet you, Antara.” “It was nice meeting you too, Mara.” “I’ll walk you out,” Luke offered. Both friends walked next to each other, making a quick stop at the coat-check, and then heading to the exit of the venue until they found themselves standing on the sidewalk. It was the latest part of the night, and the street was quiet. “Did you bring your speeder?” he asked, digging his hands inside the pockets of his dark coloured coat. “No, I’ll take a speedercab,” Mara let him know as she tugged her long coat around her body, it was a chilly night. “I have already sent the request.” Luke stood next to Mara, determined to wait there until her ride arrived. But the speedercab was really taking its time. “I can take you home,” Luke offered. “My airspeeder is just in the parking lot around the corner.” “Oh, no!” Mara refused. “It’s your night out and I’m not going to ruin it.” “You won’t, I can just- –” but he couldn’t finish. “Are you sleeping with her?” she asked out of the blue, her emerald eyes sparkling with intensity. A knot got caught in Luke’s throat. Why was she asking him this so boldly? Her question made him feel embarrassed when he shouldn’t be! “It’s none of your business!” he managed a half snort, a half nervous laugh. He better put an end to that line of conversation. That was such a confirmation. Yes-he-was! Mara realized. “You’re right is none of my business,” she then said, her discomfort evident. Luke noticed her demeanour had changed all of a sudden. Why was she so upset? “You know what… I think I’ll walk,” she suddenly changed her mind. She just needed to get as far away from him as she could, fast! “Mara! Don’t be silly! I can’t let you go home on foot at this hour—” “I’m a big girl, Farmboy,” Mara interrupted him. “So, don’t get all overprotective on me.” Mara turned and walked away, leaving a completely baffled Luke behind. A man too afraid of running after her and risking her rage. If she’d just said the words, he would have dropped everything and be gone with her in an instant. The sound of her high-heeled steps faded away as she made distance in the quiet street. He knew she’d be all right, what could happen to the former Emperor’s Hand in the high end of Coruscant? She certainly knew how to handle herself in places that were sordid and dangerous for real, so he shouldn’t worry, yet he could not help it. Yet, a part of him kept urging him to run after the beautiful redhead and go home with her. Instead, he just stood there, looking on the empty street she’d just vanished in, and cursing his luck on why the one woman he really wanted in his life did not have the slightest romantic interest in him. The distinguishable sounds of holocamera shots, flashes, and crowd murmurs, snapped Luke out of his reverie. Antara was leaving the venue, her air-limousine already by the door. Wrapped in a luxurious white coat, the pretty singer approached the Jedi with confidence, masterfully walking on her trademark high heeled shoes, ignoring the fuzz about her departure. “Are you coming?” The Jedi had come to see Antara tonight, that had been their agreement. This was his night out, and Mara was gone. The fact that he and the beautiful Trader would remain just friends was no one’s fault; it just was what it was. Something not meant to be. And for as much as he hated to accept it, he needed to move beyond his unreciprocated feelings. Luke gave Antara a polite smile and a nod, and followed the singer into the limo, not giving a damn about the paparazzi and the next morning’s headlines. The ride to Antara’s luxury hotel was quiet. Once in her suite, both enjoyed dinner and chatted about their life way before they became famous and recognizable in every world in the Galaxy. Both agreed that fame and recognition did put a lot of stress in their private lives, and that anonymity was not an option for them anymore. The night was getting old, and tonight although he tried to remain engaged in his conversation with Antara, Luke’s thoughts drifted away incessantly with other matters that kept him sort of distracted. Matters that involved a temperamental, elusive redhead. Antara noticed her guest was not really there with her tonight. In an attempt to get his full attention, she stood up and extended her hand towards him, “Dance with me!” she invited. Luke gave her his hand and stood up. She led them to a small area in the suite clear of furniture and gave the automatic systems a command to play slow music. The lights dimmed and soft, melodic music started to play in the inbuilt speakers in the room. The song was romantic, and the lyrics that spoke of unattainable love and deep longing were full of meaning for both dancers, to each in their own different way. Without saying a word, singer and Jedi danced. The Jedi held his dancing partner with gentleness, as he swayed with her following the soft rhythm. Antara was nice and beautiful, and yes, he could tell she wanted more of him, but he just couldn’t. His recent encounter with Mara had made him realize that no one could ever take her place in his heart, it was already committed, it belonged to her. Even if this unrequited love ruined him, there was nothing he could or wanted to do about it. Antara rested her head on his chest, enjoying the few moments she knew she had left with him. Soon she’d be gone, leaving behind the handsome Jedi. She’d only known him for three days, but she could tell he was an extraordinary man, too different from what she had expected him to be. “You wanna a piece of advice, Master Skywalker?” she said with softness. “Huh?” “Don’t spoil what’s right in front of you,” she whispered. Clueless, Luke looked at her with a bewildered look that made him appear way too young. Antara let out a soft giggle, her dark, sparkly eyes looked back at him, “That exceptionally beautiful friend of yours… She’s nice. And you’re a little too much into her, even when you try so hard to hide it.” She kissed his cheek, “It shows.” Luke felt himself blush, he didn’t want to offend Antara, but what she just said was the truth. “That’s all I wanted to say,” Antara finished. “Thank you for three wonderful nights, Luke.” She then kissed him fully on the lips, a deep, lingering goodbye kiss. He accepted the kiss and let her hold him in a tight hug until she let go. “I have to get ready, my shuttle leaves in a few hours,” she said, some disappointment sipping through her words. “I’ll let you be,” the Jedi politely offered. Both smiled at each other, the excitement of those three carefree nights had finally come to an end. Luke left the suite wondering why his love life was always this complicated. oOo The Jedi arrived to his place in the wee hours of the morning, and it was still dark. Without contemplating any other option, as soon as he crossed the threshold of his door, he walked right straight to the bedroom and let himself fall on the mattress; he was more tired of what he’d realized. The first rays of morning came after just a few hours, and since he was an early riser, there was no power that could keep him in bed once the sun was out. Luke got up and showered, then headed to his kitchen feeling refreshed but utterly famished. Blond hair damp and tousled, barefoot, shirtless, and only wearing a pair of oversized sleeping pants that clung perilously to his hips, the Jedi searched his fridge unit with starving intent. The sight was quite something, the Jedi looked some kind of casual-sexy. No wonder that singer was bedazzled with him. Very gently, she let her Force shields drop. The moment she let her shields drop, he immediately perceived and recognized her presence. “Mara!” Luke exclaimed when sensing she had her eyes on him. On instinct he turned to look towards his living room. There she was! Comfortably sitting in his couch, looking relaxed. “You sneaked in!” he shot in disbelief. She’d been shielding her presence from him, and he had not felt her. “Good morning to you too, Farmboy,” she greeted, clearly amused and gloating on her excellent infiltration abilities. She still had the touch! “I’m sorry… You startled me,” and the Force knew no one could do that to him. What in the whole swamps of Dagobah was she doing here? Noticing his perplexed state, Mara hurried to explain. “I came to apologize,” she blatantly revealed, looking unsure, restless. “About last night…” “Don’t worry about it,” he dismissed. “It’s what we do.” Yes, it was exactly what they always did, being close but somehow always managing to do something that kept the other at bay too. “Shouldn’t we stop?” the words sprout from her mouth before she even considered them. “Maybe,” she added, shrugging a bit defensively. The Jedi narrowed his blue eyes, there was something profoundly serious about all this. He walked the distance from his kitchen into his living room and sat next to her on the couch. Where was she going with this? “That singer, the one you’ve been banging for the last few nights…” Luke made a face, his mouth opened to say something. “Hold it!” she put her hand up. “It is not my business who you sleep with. And you’re right, absolutely,” she paused, a look of uncertainty on her face, one that only he could recognize. She finally made up her mind, “It’s just that… It made me jealous.” An even more odd look showed on Luke’s face. “She made me jealous,” Mara admitted. Luke had to consciously stop his jaw from dropping. Mara Jade was jealous of Antara? “It made me jealous to think that she had you, all for herself, for the night.” It all had sounded so reasonable in her mind but sounded too idiotic when said out loud. “Mara, you’ve had me all for yourself for full weeks!” He pointed out. They’d been away together on missions so many times that he’d lost count already, for weeks long! “It’s not that to which I’m referring to, Farmboy!” she felt her irritation rise. Why was he like this? He needed to pay more attention. It was not their friendship she was talking about! “You and I… This!” she moved her hand back and forth between them. “It’s been going on for way too long. And I don’t know why neither of us can make up their mind!” ‘Oh, crap!’ Was she saying what he thought she was saying? But he’d always though she was not interested! He was in fact, convinced! He took a careful breath, thinking about it did not even let him breathe. “Do you remember that time I got into that drinking bet with Dankin? When I won, but you had to come to the rescue?” “Yes,” he smiled at the memory. “You were completely wasted!” “And besides being too drunk, I was also too prone to truthfulness,” she confessed. After a small pause that felt like ages, she continued, “I do remember everything I said that night, afterwards I just pretended I didn’t, and never brought up the subject.” “It’s okay, I understand why you would do that.” “I also remember everything you said,” she looked at him right in the eye so she could get his reaction. That made Luke stiffen and blush. “Uhm…” he hated the feeling of being in the spot, but what the hell? He said what he had said, and he would not take it back. “I won’t take back what I said. I was also being truthful, and at the same time thinking that you were already asleep and were not hearing anything I was saying… Although deep down I wished you were listening.” It was contradictory crazy, he knew. “Well, I did hear you, Luke.” She straightened in her seat, “And I’m not taking back what I said either, making and excuse of how drunk I was.” Complete silence enveloped them, neither of them knowing what to say or do next. How to go about this? They both already knew they felt attracted to each other, they had both openly admitted it… And they knew they cared for the other… The realization had frozen them like if in carbonite. “What about dinner tomorrow?!” both spat at the same time. They laughed, which helped ease their tension. “This is silly, Mara,” he started. “We’ve been friends for ten years! We know each other, we trust each other… Being honest about wanting something different shouldn’t be hard!” “Perhaps it is hard because we don’t know how to behave with one another, other than just like friends,” she pointed out. “Perhaps…” Luke agreed. “Then we have to overcome that. I am willing to put that aside and see you under a different light. I know what I feel, what I want,” he earnestly declared. “After tonight, I know that I’m not ready to let you in anyone else’s life, but mine,” she disclosed. Luke swallowed. She wanted him! With her! She’d just said it! And he so much wanted her! Without any preamble, Mara stood up and walked towards the door. “Where are you going?” his mouth a small gap of disbelief. “My business here is finished,” she declared as she turned around gracefully, her red mane catching the light in the room, making her look sexy and tempting. “Farmboy, I’m a lady. Ladies like to be wooed. What are you going to do about it?” Luke grinned; the game was on! He very well knew she’d make him work for it, burn with anticipation. “Pick you up at seven tonight?” “That sounds nice. We have a date then.” “Our very first,” he said, feeling giddy. Mara chuckled, the Farmboy was adorable! She’d never liked adorable, but with him she could make an exception, his adorableness was so unique and refreshing! “See you later,” she whispered and disappeared through the door. The Jedi remained seated on his couch for several minutes after Mara had left, processing what had just transpired. His brain could not yet accept the fact that he had a date with Jade tonight! Where should he take her? Somewhere she’d like. It had to be special. As he went about his day, the prospect of ending this and many other days after this with Mara as the finishing event made him feel utterly gleeful. Luke knew in his heart that this was just the beginning of a wonderful endeavour, one he’d be sharing with his beloved friend, perhaps for the rest of their lives. And there was nothing else in his life he’d ever wished for more, than just that. The End.