Chapter 41: Paraven Pt. 3

While Leta grappled for a response, Corra was offended on her behalf. “What’s that supposed to mean?” she demanded, flaring up.

Fiearius shrugged one shoulder, glancing toward the ceiling. “It just means that a little flirtation is harmless, that’s all.”

“Oh really?” Corra snapped back, planting her hands on her hips. “Think Ren would agree with that?”

“Corra — “ Leta muttered warningly, suddenly willing this conversation to end before it built up and exploded. Fiearius and Corra got into tiffs often, but never about her.

But neither of them listened. “Not if he never finds out,” said Fiearius bluntly, and Leta gaped at him.

“Yeah, let’s all take relationship advice from Mr. Non-commitment,” Corra said, her voice laced in sarcasm. “That’ll turn out well. What’s the longest you’ve even been with someone? Four hours? And then just find someone new to sleep with at the next dock?” She rolled her eyes and told Leta firmly, “Don’t listen to him, he doesn’t know anything.”

“One, what I do in my shore leave is none of your damn business. And two, it’s not like it matters,” Fiearius argued. “Getting a drink and having a chat isn’t fucking, it’s just getting a drink and having a chat. It’s innocent.”

“But it can lead to something that’s not innocent,” she pointed out.

Fiearius’ eyes narrowed. “Or it could not.” Just as Corra opened her mouth to argue back, he cut her off. “Not giving much credence to self-restraint, are you? It is possible to hold back primal urges, y’know.”

Leta glanced between them. “Why are we even talking about this?”

“No no, self-restraint’s possible,” Corra went on, ignoring her, “but even if you can hold back, the intention’s still there.”

Fiearius scoffed. “What intention? Just because you talk to someone means you wanna fuck ‘em?”

“No, but– “ Corra began confidently before she was interrupted.

“No, that’s right,” Fiearius snapped. “It doesn’t mean that. So why can’t she have a drink and have a chat without her boyfriend getting dragged into it, huh?”

Corra suddenly cocked her head to the side dangerously. “Why are you so intent on getting her to be unfaithful?”

“It’s not being unfaithful, that’s exactly my point.”

“Yeah? If you were engaged to her,” she gestured to Leta, “would you want her flirting with other men?”

Leta was certain she was blushing bright red by now, even more so when Fiearius said loudly, “If I was engaged to her, I sure as hell would be confident enough in that to not get all worked up over it.”

Corra crossed her arms, unconvinced. “But why the hell are you being so defensive about this anyway?”

“I’m not being defensive.”

“Yes you are.”

“No I’m not.”

“Clearly, you are — “

“Would you stop?” groaned Fiearius. Before Corra could speak again, he snapped, “Look, I don’t give a shit what she does or doesn’t do, okay? So stop.”

“Well obviously you do give a shit if–”

“Enough, already!” gasped Leta, finally bursting with anger and embarrassment.  “Just – quit talking about me like I’m not standing right here, would you?”Pointedly avoiding Fiearius’ eye, she muttered “I’m going to find Cyrus,” and pushed away from the bar.

Behind her, she could hear Corra yelling at him (“look, you upset her, ass!”), and while Leta did not want to admit it, their argument had taught her one thing: it was time to do something about Fiearius.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

“Lady problems?” posed Finn’s cheerful voice in Fiearius’ ear, elbowing him pointedly as he sidled up at the bar. Apparently, Finn had witnessed the last five minutes of Corra raging at him before finally, mercifully, she stormed off after Leta.

Fiearius only groaned in response and dropped his forehead on the bar.

“That bad huh?” said Finn, now sounding amused. “What the hell happened?”

“Fuck if I even know,” Fiearius muttered under his breath.

“Nice. Well, I just spent a half hour flirting with a married woman whose husband, she regrets to inform me, is a bounty hunter, so before I’m slaughtered, I think it’s time to play one last drinking game.” He waved over the bartender.

“Good plan,” Fiearius agreed, pulling himself up to attention. “I propose a game we’ll call ‘Tank the Tiki’. The rules are simple.” He lifted his ridiculous glass to his friend and smirked. “Whoever gets drunkest fastest wins.”

Finn seized his drink. “You’re on.”

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