Romance of the Century
Art by Leela Starsky
see You Could Use Another Good Kiss home page
L eia hated Han. Really, truly hated him. She hated him so much that she wanted to rip out all his insides, stomp on his intestines, and cut his limbs into little, tiny pieces. How could Rieeken have entrusted Han Solo with this mission?
"What the heck?!" The real Han Solo sat in shock over the datapad before he recovered enough to throw it in the trash compactor. Every morning, it seemed, he would find ten such datapads awaiting his perusal on the doorstep or being thrown into his speeder while he traveled to work. Each pad included a note that read something along the lines of, Hi. Congratulations on your engagement! Look at the story and tell me if it's anything like reality.And always it was followed by an address or access code.
It had all begun nearly a month ago with the public announcement of his and Leia's impending nuptials (a complete surprise to everyone who had heard the rumors of how many hours the couple spent attempting to kill each other). But after confirming twelve times that it was indeed a love match, the intergalactic populace's previously flagging interest had skyrocketed, and what resulted was...
"The Han and Leia Story Contest?" Leia examined the datapad she held as one might a piece of fecal material. Han had brought it over for evaluation after realizing that the romance-mania shooting through the public was more than a passing phase.
"Whoever can come up with the most accurate fictional account of our 'torrid love affair' wins lots of credits," explained Han as he hefted a gigantic rucksack onto the table and turned it upside down, effectively dumping countless datapads into Leia's lap. "These are all the ones they threw at my head today."
The princess gaped from behind the massive heap and selected one, knocking the rest to the floor. "How could I not have known about this?"
Han shrugged. "I'm easier to find, I suppose. You work and live in high-security places. I inspect spaceports." He motioned toward the pad Leia clutched in her hand and asked, "Are you reading?"
Leia nodded distractedly.
"Han, I reelize that I havent always bin kind to you..." said Liea.
"Why can't anyone spell my name correctly? It's four little letters...Is that so hard to remember?"
"Well," answered Han, "the combination of the 'e' and 'i' results in a long 'a' sound, which is real tricky for people without a decent grasp on grammar."
She rolled her eyes in protest. "That's just a bad excuse. After all, you got it and you have the education of a bantha."
"I do not!" argued a wounded Han. "I don't seem to recall any banthas making it into the Imperial Academy. In fact, I don't remember youmaking it into the Imperial Academy. Why is it that everyone assumes I don't have the intelligence to comb my own hair?" There was a slight pause as Han realized what he'd said. "And the fact that I don't comb my hair proves nothing."
Leia allowed his combing abilities to stand undisputed, but felt the insult to her own education merited a response. "Han...darling...let me remind you that I am a woman, and women were not accepted to the Imperial Academy."
He rolled his eyes. Did she believe he was thatuninformed? "Well, that didn't stop Admiral Daala."
The smuggler threw down his hands in exasperation. "Never mind. Point is, I don't have the education of a bantha."
"All right, I'll give you a one hundred and ninety-eight-word apology in the morning." Hoping to end the conversation, Leia selected another datapad and activated it to find the title:
A Brief Affair on Ord Mantell
Immediately she abandoned it for another.
Dangerous Liaisons on Ord Mantell
Ord Mantell's Steamy Nights
Ord Mantell: A Night to Remember
The Bordello of Ord Mantell
O.M.: The Acronym of Trouble
Ord Mantell...Ord Mantell...Bespin...Ord Mantell...Bespin...Bespin...Ord Mantell....
Leia let out a low wail and chucked the pads across the room. Why did these people always focus on the most frustrating moments of her life? Was it all about Ord Mantell (where she hadn't gotten any kisses) and Bespin (where she hadn't gotten any sex)? Couldn't they write about happier times? Like on Endor with the fuzzy little Ewoks. They had been so cute with their fur and their complete inability to speak below a soprano pitch... But then she began to see how that wasn't good writing material.
However, Han had not noticed her agitation due to his preoccupation with another story. "Here, this one isn't so bad. Let me read it to you...."
"...In the dark she fumbled for the clasp on her helmet, longing to reveal herself to the man she had sought for so long.
"I'm someone who loves you," she whispered as tears of joy ran down her face.
"Leia!" he exclaimed, reunited at last with his love. He felt her lips shiver across his own and then her hands as they moved lower, to the buckle of his pants..."
"Toss it." The irritated princess tapped her fingers nervously on the table, but Han was immersed in the story and totally oblivious to her request.
Instead, he continued, "Her hand reached inside to cup his..."
"Stop it, Han."
"STOP STOP STOP!" She reached across the table and snatched away the pad, glancing only long enough to say, "Is all this stuff the crap I think it is?" She picked another pad, only to throw it down in disgust.
Han shrugged. "Not allof it."
She considered for a moment and suddenly kicked away the clutter on the floor as if in the heat of a brainstorm. "Let's write our own story. No, don't look at me that way. I'm serious. We could use the money on the wedding. After all, how could we lose a contest based on our own lives?"
Two standard months later...
"Well, our wedding is gonna be one hell of an affair." Han ran his hand gluttonously over the mass of credits sitting on the kaffe table while Leia brooded by his side. Although he couldn't see why, Leia didn't share his enthusiasm for the money.
"I can't believe you." Her arms were crossed rigidly across her waist.
"What?!" he exclaimed, accidentally sending a credit whizzing under the couch.
As he reached to find it, his fiancée took the opportunity to slap the back of his neck. "You sold my slave costume!"
"Ouch! Stop!" He warded her off and moved to a different section of the couch. "All the contest writers wanted to see what it looked like. Don't worry, they paid good money!" He ducked another slap.
Leia's ears began to smoke. "Do you knowwhat kind of story won? Over ours?!...Bondage! That's what won."
He snorted. "C'mon, what's so terrible about that?" He bent lower, still trying to recover the dropped disk.
Leia pondered this for a moment, but the sight of Han's luscious backside overpowered her ability to receive conscious thought. Taking advantage of his position, she suddenly lurched forward and knocked Han to the floor. Ignoring his shout of protest, she jerked his shirt up over his head, trapping and pinning his arms. She straddled him, brandishing her most seductive grin. "Nothing's wrong with bondage, Han. Nothing at all."