Elsewhere among the room, a window allowed light to filter in, the blinds pulled up. There was a wardrobe pushed against one wall, and a painting hung on another, illustrating the landscape outside. Once he had taken it all in, and had time to think, Red's eyes focused back on the person in front of him. “Figure we should.”
Paul took in a deep breath, staring off towards another part of the room. In that moment he seemed simply distant, as if he had drifted off somewhere else, but the moment passed, and soon he was back. “We left on a pretty bad page. I don't want to keep it that way.”
Redamous began to drum his fingers against his legs, the last time moving quickly through his mind. “We did. Can't really speak for the other two, since they ain't here, but...”
“If they're not here, that ain't your fault, Red,” Paul said in his thus far standard flat tone, “I don't want to talk about them right now.” There was another span of silence, before he broke it, “What have you been up to?”
He gave a simple shrug, “Here and there. Alderaan, Balmorra, a couple weeks back I think I was on, oh what was it. Some little backwater. Hauling supplies out there. I'd say you know how that is but...”
Paul smirked, the first time he had allowed himself to do so, “Except we're a backwater that doesn't accept supplies.”
His father nodded, curiosity piqued by what was said, “What were you doing on Alderaan? Rubbing shoulders with a few nobles or something?"
“No, no. Can't hardly stand the nobles,” Red said, rubbing his temples, “I didn't like it back when you and ma were stationed there, and I still can't say I like it now.”
There was a sense of approval from the nod his father gave him, “I wasn't a fan back then either. So, if you weren't there for the nobles, what were you there for?”
He grinned, “I didn't say I wasn't there for the nobles. Some o' those noble women are pretty girls.” His father allowed himself to return the grin, but he wasn't overly amused with the joke, “That, and they tend to order a lot of booze. Old stuff, too. Willing to pay an arm and a leg for it.” Red awkwardly scratched the back of his neck, “I got stuck there for a few days longer than I wanted. Cooler.”
“Cooler as in, a jail cell,” Paul asked, though it came out more as a statement than a question. At Red's nod he frowned, “Why were you in a jail cell?” He already had a reason picked out in the back of his mind.
Redamous offered a wry grin, “Decked a noble.”
Paul Malcolm laughed. It wasn't a strong laugh, nor did it last long. Really it was a short laugh that soon turned into a hacking cough, but what mattered was that he actually laughed. Taking a moment to recover, he finally managed to push out a few more words, “You did what?”
“Punched him. Pretty sure I broke his nose,” Red said, slightly concerned. “Probably would still be there, 'cept I'm one of those guys's booze runner.” The ship captain bit his lip, not sure how well that part of the tale would go over, but satisfied with the results thus far.
“That so. Balmorra, then? Hear they're having a good little war.”
“Oh yeah. If that's what you want to call it. Everybody wants their weapons,” Red grumbled. Noticing his father's gaze falling on his own weapons, he sighed, “Some of us need 'em, too. Not that I like needin' 'em. Was droppin' of some supplies. Rep troops don't got much in the way of getting stuff there without outside help. It's nice helpin', too.”
His father seemed shocked at the prospect, and didn't speak for some time. They sat in silence, before he allowed a yawn, tired out from his laughter, “There's a place down the road. Cantina, might've seen it already. Go get yourself something to eat. I need a nap.” It was an order more than a suggestion. One that Red was more than happy to comply with.
Night had come fast on the planet. For Red it was hard to keep track of time, or seasons, or dates with these backwaters, but that rarely bothered him. Standard Galactic Time, though was putting his brain at about five in the morning, and he had yet to sleep. Considering the sun was still going down, though, he managed to convince himself to stay awake.
Wandering down the street seemed like an entirely different experience than it had been earlier. People were going this way and that. Some were heading home, others were funneling in a door here, or a business there. Food to be bought for the night's supper, or a tab to be started. For Redamous, it was the latter.
Entering again, the barkeep gave him a short nod of approval. With his hopes higher that he wouldn't be told to leave again, he found a table near the back, and propping his feet up, relaxed. To his surprise the bar, as small as it was, did actually have a serving droid. Avoiding the other inhabitants was something he felt rather okay with, and so he was perfectly fine simply dealing with the droid. From where he sat he could make out a few people giving him odd glances when they walked in.
When the droid returned with the bottle of whiskey and glass he ordered, he pulled his feet down, and poured himself a drink, before his feet were back in place. What few patrons the place had settled in elsewhere to talk amongst themselves. Here and there he managed to catch a snippet of what was being said. Something about a road being nearly done, or how good the crops were looking. Nothing exciting, but that was just backwater chat. They weren't exactly exciting planets. Most were kept entertained with people like himself, travelers from out of town who had many a story to tell. Whether those tales were true or not where debatable.
But since no one had noticed him, or if they had they had shown no interest in him, there was no story telling tonight on his part, not that he minded. He was content to dwell on other things. Seeing his father had thus far been a success based on what he had seen. His dad seemed to be in a rather forgiving mood, though that was hardly a surprise.
Nearby he heard someone mention seeing a “Malcolm boy” walking around, but he didn't give it a second town. Another part of small communities was gossip, and he expected to be a topic while he was there and for at least a few days after he was gone. A yawn escaped him, before his eyes closed and sleep took him.
Someone was shaking his foot when he woke up. It took a few seconds for his vision to stop being blurry, after which he noticed Nicole Brenner, or rather Nicole Stewart, staring down at him. She smiled, taking the seat across from him, “Tired?”
He let out a grunt as he sat up, pulling his feet down, “Just a bit.”
Looking at her made him hate himself. It was essentially the same face he could recall, just a few years older, and as he could have guessed she had aged horribly well. Her eyes held a small hint of amusement at his sudden start, but that didn't carry over to her usually calm voice, “Too many long nights, mister Captain?"
He bit his lip to hide the grin, slowly shaking his head, “No, no. Just the time change and all that.”
“How'd talking to your dad go?” she asked, voice growing gentle. Red shot a glance to the other people nearby but none of them seem too concerned with their conversation.
With a sigh, he shrugged, “Got him to laugh, once. We didn't talk long. I'm guessin' death's door's kinda making him want to get things cleared out but he ain't willin' to just come out an' say that, know?” She nodded, and in return he tried to do his best to change the subject, “We've been talkin' about me since I showed up. How've you been, Nic?”
“Been out here. Not much to say, really,” she said, glancing around the room. Holding up his left hand, he tapped his ring finger raising an eyebrow. “Oh. Yes. That...”
He kept the brow raised, “Most folks don't refer to it as 'that', you know. An' they tend to be a bit happier about it.”
An annoyed look crept onto her face as she slumped backwards in the chair, “It isn't me that isn't happy, Red. I think it'd be you.”
“Darlin', if you're happy with it, I'm more than happy for you. I ain't gonna get upset or nothin' over you being happy.”
“Really now? You aren't jealous or anything like that?” she said, hardly convinced.
He shook his head, “Never be jealous of something you couldn't get yourself, sweetheart. Nice little rule to follow.”
He yawned again, before focusing back on her. She was managing to hide what she was feeling. Either that or it was getting later and later and he was still going. Apparently she took note of that. “You got a place to sleep?”
He nodded, “Yeah, my folks got a spare room or somethin' that they're gonna lend me.” He reached forward to pour another glass, but she pulled the bottle back. “Maybe I should get some sleep.”
“Sounds like a good idea,” she said, rising from the table. “Come on. I'll walk you home.”
“So he didn't take it very well,” she said, the lack of surprise in her voice unsurprising. She had told him that he wasn't going to react well, not that he had needed to be told.
The street was silent, with only two people standing on it. Had the streetlights been off, no one would have even noticed them. They were sitting on a bench under one of the lights, whereas some might have expected them to be off hiding somewhere out of sight. Of course, with it being a small town that's what people would've expected as they tried to spice up their day to day lives with some thought of secret hidden romance.
He had his arm wrapped around her shoulder, a look of relaxed happiness on his face. She was resting her head on his shoulder, seeming content enough. “No, no I wouldn't say so.”
She shot a glance up at him, trying to figure out why he wasn't really put off by the fact, “And you're okay with that?”
He shrugged his right shoulder, as to not move her head, “I didn't see it working out too well, honestly. I've known the guy for a long time, Nic. Trust me when I say I it wasn't too hard to figure out how he'd take it.”
“You've known him for that long? Gee, Red, someone might just guess he was your dad or somethin' and that you might be a bit sad that he doesn't want to talk to you,” she said, sarcasm evident.
“He'll come around at some point, even if it ain't soon. I figure it isn't anything that I need to let bother me right now. Got other things to worry about.”
She snorted softly, “So. A ship, huh?” He nodded slowly, “Hate to say it, Red, but I don't do spacers. Too...What's the word I'm lookin' for? Inconsistent.”
Red smiled, laughing softly, “Yeah? Well, hey. Maybe there'll come a day where'll I'll have hit it big and be able to just settle down peacefully, huh? Or maybe it just won't be the life for me.”
“Maybe. You've never struck me as the spacer type,” she said, sitting up. Her eyes shot over him, examining him, “Nope. Too clean, too nice, and too...” Nicole tapped her chin, trying to find a word, “Upstanding?”
Redamous let out another laugh, nodding, “I'm gonna have to try to get rid of the fact that my parents raised me right ain't I? Learn how to cheat, lie, and steal and all that.
“Not steal, Red. You said you were gonna be a shipper, not a pirate or somethin',” she said flatly. It came off to Red as more of an order than a statement.
“Right, right. Forgot,” he said, smiling.
“So you're gonna come back around, then? Is that what you're saying? Take your little spin, waste your time and then come back, huh?”
“I just might.”
“Then I might still be here.”