The longer the femme fatale lived with you, the more you got used to her.
When you returned on Monday after the hospital with Qi'ra and McDonald's, your mother was amazed at how well you two got along with each other within a few hours.
When you revealed to her with pleasure your lovely bandage and told her the story behind it, she nearly made a scandal out of it.
Even though you still didn't know if you should trust Qi'ra, you peacefully started to join her and your mother at the table for lunch. That was a good start, and it brought your mother joy. As long as she was happy, it made you happy too.
However, day by day, things started to change.
The following day, your mother decided that the only way you would get to school is by car. In the morning, she would drive you to school, and in the afternoon, Qi'ra would come and pick you up. From time to time, they would swap positions.
Later on, Qi'ra installed a camera and an alarm system in every room. If that was not already strange, they also put a chip in your mobile phone, so they were aware of your location. Additionally, they asked you for every single contact number on your phone, including where they lived.
It seemed like both of them have never heard of a well-known word called privacy.
No matter how much you protested, they didn't care and repeated the sentence, "You will thank us for this later."
You got tired and decided to stop bombarding them with questions. Obviously, it had something to do with the trouble that your mother got herself into. You acted as if you had never heard of it and remained positive, that everything was fine as always.
But these abrupt changes in your life and seeing your mother at home every single day now was not okay, and your inner you knew this.
Even if they wouldn't tell you any time soon about the danger they were expecting, you had to accept the fact that everything would come when the time was right. You just had to be patient.
In the end, everything happens for a reason. If Qi'ra and your mother decided not to tell you, then it's because they have something in their mind of which you knew nothing about. And you had to respect this.
"Qi'ra, I understand, and it's obvious that my mother is worried ... and- and overprotected, that something might happen to me, but seriously! You're now like my babysitter, and at the same time bodyguard who drives me everywhere I go and follows each of my steps, and it's so ... I don't think I know a word for this," you complained, removing the fuzz from your hat.
"You should thank me! Otherwise, without me, your mother would never allow you to go to the basketball game," she mentioned with her honey voice.
In the beginning, your mother wasn't pleased with the idea of you going back to work with your injured hand since it hadn't healed properly, and you hadn't been to school all week. Your hand hurt less than before, and you didn't want your injury to prevent you from completing your daily routine. If Qi'ra hadn't convinced your mother, you'd still be sitting at home.
"And I'm thankful for this, but I know that you don't want to babysit me! And besides, you don't even know what teams are playing."
"The Resistance against the Pirates. This is the first game after three years, where the men's Premier League of the Pirates will play against the men's Premier League of the Resistance," she announced confidently.
She swung her head to you and laughed at your puzzled expression. The price was already blinking in her eyes.
"How did you know?" you asked, fascinated at the information she possessed.
"Do you really think I would go somewhere without being prepared?"
You were grateful for what Qi'ra did, but you wanted to be left alone where you could have some time for yourself. You really needed this. A peaceful place where you could be around people who didn't live with you 24/7 and weren't stuck on your shoe like a piece of chewing gum.
You raised your brows and leaned your head against the cold window.
October has never looked so colorful on the trees as it did this year. The cash register at Starbucks rang already with the most successful, warm-filled pumpkin spice latte. Mounds of leaves were rifled by small animals, and spooky, Jack O’Lantern faces sat at the front doors. While little kids ran around the neighborhood dressed as ghosts with their white sheets, the adults dressed up in their traditional folk costumes. Everyone prepared themselves for the Munich beer festival or, as you liked to call it, the 'drunk festival.' During this time, beer became the new water, and sleep was for the weak.
After a short drive, you arrived at the sports arena and climbed out of the car.
"Trust me, if it wouldn't be for your mother, I would literally have no problem letting you go all by your own. And although I would rather be somewhere else, I'm only doing this because," Qi'ra paused, eyebrows down and furrowed in doubt. "I truly need a break from that woman."
You laughed aloud in wonder at her confession as you placed the hat on your head.
"Why didn't you say that! Okay, hear me out! You go where you wanna be, and in four hours, you come and pick me up, and we simply tell my mom that you've been with me the whole time. Deal?" you proposed with a grin.
"Nice try, Smurfy," she sneered and locked the door.
"Oh c'mon, not you too! Stop giving me nicknames! They really start to piss me off!" you chided and marched behind her.
First Chipmunk and Granny, then sweetie plus love. Not to forget, the nickname you hated the most was 'little Witch.' Smurfy was also now added to the collection and was hopefully the last one.
With one hand, Qi'ra effortlessly opened the front door of the arena. She made it seem so easy and signed for you to walk in.
When you entered the building, the first thing your eyes caught was the painful color yellow. It was like a sting in the eye. As if you had just been woken up.
In front of you, next to the stairs, stood Lando Calrissian with his back turned at you. It seemed as if he was speaking on the phone, and the slamming of the door made him turn around. It didn't look like he recognized you. For a second, he looked mystified, so you smiled and waved at him in the hope he might remember you. Or at least your hat. He put away his phone and gradually approached you while rubbing his hands together.
"Well, hello, what have we here?" he grinned.
Lando took Qi'ra's hand gently like a soft feather and pressed a kiss on it, to which she softly chuckled.
"Qi'ra, my dear, you look exactly the way I remember you. After all those years, you still look ... phenomenal as always," he complimented her in a flirty tone.
"You don't look too bad yourself. I always wondered if you were born with that mustache of yours. It's still the same, but more ... greyish. You truly aged like fine wine."
"Oh, Qi'ra" —Lando let out a wicked laugh— "you really haven't aged at all."
You felt a little stupid, being in the middle of a reunion as it seems of so-called old friends. You nearly forgot your own existence by standing next to them like a stupid decoration.
"Tell me. What are you doing here, with" —Lando indented with his head to you— "Luke's bartender?"
You elevated your jaw, ready to say something, and just in that second, Qi'ra stopped you by holding her hand in front of your face. This was a rude gesture of her, but at least she didn't tell you, "The adults are talking."
"I came here ... to watch a basketball game," she smiled and folded her arms.
"Just a basketball game?" he implied in a tone that clearly suggested that he did not believe her at all.
Lando's brushy brows rose to his forehead as he turned his head toward you while casting an eye to Qi'ra.
"Would you excuse us for a moment," he asked you kindly.
"Yeah, sure, no problem! I have to start working now anyway, or else Luke fires me," you giggled and scratched your head.
As you slowly walked away from them, you still got to hear a few more details from their Chit-Chat.
"My, my, Qi'ra! Lyin' is a sin."
"Says the smuggler and gambler who built his life by lying and cheating."
"These days are already behind me. A wounded bird must have chirped to you about my presence here tonight. Tell me the truth. What brought you back to Europe?"
Qi'ra exhaled a long breath and shook her head.
"You know me, Lando. I'm a wanted woman," she responded playfully.
Something about this catchy sentence made you nervous. What did Qi'ra mean by that? Was this some kind of metaphor? You shouldn't do it. You knew this was wrong, but you couldn't help yourself, and you stopped by the stairwell. From the small distance, you continued to eavesdrop.
"Ah yes, of course, you are. How could I forget? Did you leave any footprints?"
"Lando, please ... you're making fun of yourself. I am as careful as a mother carrying her child."
"I assume the girl—"
When you noticed how Lando stopped talking, you instantly remarked how Qi'ra was giving you a stone-cold stare. She had detected how you secretly listened to their conversation and indicated with her hand for you to continue walking down the stairs. She whispered something to Lando, and they both left the building.
You walked down the stairs and wondered what past Qi'ra and Lando shared together. Maybe some old lovers? Childhood friends? She did not only come here to get some fresh air from back home. You were sure of that.
When you installed yourself at the bar, you saw no sign of Luke. Neither a refilled glass of Guinness nor an old newspaper, lying on the counter.
The bar was kind of quiet for a match where the Pirates were about to play. Usually, a lot of people came from different towns to watch their games. After the last time, when the Resistance won against the First Order, you believed you would get more spectators, but to your wish, it didn't happen.
After a long half an hour of having served a few customers, you kneeled and checked if you had enough soft drinks for the night.
"Hello, can I have a bottle of water, please?"
Quickly you stood up and recognized the white tunic. Ms. Rey was looking for something in her small purse as a genuine smile appeared on her face when she realized who was standing behind the bar.
"I saw your hat, and I told myself it can only belong to one person. I never knew you worked here," she exclaimed in a laugh. Her face glowed with so much warmth it instantly became so pleasing to see a teacher outside of school.
"It's just a little side job, nothing else," you returned the smile.
Ms. Rey's cheeks were pumped up with rouge, and her black mascara brought out her bright green-gray eyes. She looked so magnificent, it nearly made you jealous.
"Please don't tell Headmaster Palpatine that you saw me while I was on sick leave," you almost begged in a fake shriek through grinning teeth.
"No, of course not. Don't worry, I won't say a word."
You thanked her, and for a silent minute, she just observed you from hat to toe.
"I missed you during my lesson," she added in a sweet tone while grabbing a straw from the glass by the wall.
"Huh, really? I'm pretty sure you're the only one who did. Some of my teachers would rather lose their job than telling me this to my face," you joked.
You took a bottle of water from the fridge, handed it to Ms. Rey, and she replied to you with an honest "Thank you."
When she held out her palm to hand you the money, you gave her a dismissive wave and insisted it was on the house.
"That is so generous of you! I've heard about what happened. Is your hand doing alright?" she asked you, finger pointed to your bandage on your left hand.
The concern she gave out sounded real. God, if only every teacher could be like Ms. Rey.
"Yes, I am fit to return to school."
You raised a big thumb up in the excitement of going back to your old-fashioned school. You missed your English teacher's lessons, your friends and - poor Maz, she must have wondered why she didn't see you in the cafeteria for the whole week.
"So, who are you cheering for, Ms. Rey?" you continued to keep up the talk.
"I'm with the Resistance!"
Your eyes and nose crinkled to Ms. Rey's good taste. You took for yourself a soda out of the fridge and poured the cold, fizzy drink in your throat. Your nose started tingling, and the cold was chilling your neck.
"When I was around your age, I played for the Resistance in the women's Super League," she mentioned and took a sip of her water.
"Really? Wow, that's so cool! Are you here all by yourself or—"
You stopped in your sentence as you noticed a black figure from the stairs approaching the bar. Exactly, like a crow that has found a shiny object. How astonishing it was that no matter where you went, you ended up meeting the same people.
All week long, you didn't think about him for a second. And yet, he was here. He put effort into himself to look like he did. As if he were not only here to watch a basketball game but to shine for the spectators.
Professor Ren gazed at you like it had been far too long since he had seen you the last time. After missing four hours of psychology, it must have been a pleasure for him not to see his most hated student sitting in front of him.
"Finally, you came. Look, my favorite student works here," Ms. Rey introduced you, and you instantly began to blush at her words. You weren't aware of being her favorite student. You always thought it was Finn.
Professor Ren twisted his mouth as he looked all surprised seeing you behind the bar for the first time. Not to mention you couldn't even make his order right and embarrassed him in front of Mr. Hux last time.
Next to him, Ms. Rey resembled a little mouse and looked up at him with glittering eyes. You've never seen anyone look at Professor Ren the way she did. Almost like he was her universe, and she was just the little moon floating around.
"I just got my water. Do you want anything?" she asked Professor Ren while drinking through her straw.
You peered around the room to find your psychology professor's ginger best friend. Maybe they had a teacher reunion and decided to meet up with Ms. Rey and spend a great night together before they had to return to their ungrateful students. But no Mr. Hux and no Luke to be seen.
"No, Rey, I'm good. Why didn't you wait for me? I could have paid the drink for you."
Ms. Rey's had her arms rested on the counter. As she was about to take another sip from her drink, she froze and gave him a stinging look.
"I'm well aware that I'm a teacher who gets clearly underpaid for what I do, but I make enough money to buy myself a drink," she objected in a precise tone.
"And paying with a credit card is still not possible," you directly cut into their conversation with a goofy grin.
Professor Ren eyed you as though his patience meter was ticking in the red zone. He narrowed his eyes down at Ms. Rey and shrugged like he didn't quite understand her rejection.
"But I have more money than you," he informed her with a crooked smile.
"I really couldn't care less!"
Ms. Rey rolled her eyes at him and kept sipping through the straw as if she regretted taking water and not something much stronger.
Something was wrong. Today was not the day where the First Order played, but instead, the Pirates and Professor Ren would in no way be here to support the Resistance. He rubbed his eyes and yawned. On one side, he seemed to be tired, and on the other hand, the way his eyes swirled back to you made him look like he was ready to take Ms. Rey's water bottle and throw it at you for doing absolutely nothing.
"Don't you have to work?" he badgered.
And there he was again, your favorite professor treating you the way he always did.
"Don't worry, I am working. Washing glasses is just not so easy and doesn't go as fast when you only have one hand," you specified with an ironic smile, lifting your bandage shortly in the air.
"Since you've had enough time to review the assignments from my class, I hope you get full marks on the test tomorrow," he declared provocatively.
When you heard the word test, your eyes widened the size of a basketball. Professor Ren placed his stretched arm on the counter, watching your frightened expression growing.
"Hang on, what test? You didn't say anything about a test!" you sputtered with a haunted look.
Two years ago, you used this phrase every time Finn asked you if you had studied for the test that you only found out about on the day of the test itself. Thank god Rose was so helpful and explained everything fifteen minutes before writing the test, based on a short summary. This summary usually saved your grades and was better formulated than the lesson.
"Yes, I did. But it seems like you weren't there when I discussed it in class. It is your responsibility to catch up on the lessons when you're absent, not mine."
Ms. Rey pressed her lips together and looked at the floor. The way she gave you a compassionate look in between said everything that she felt sorry for you.
"You are too harsh with her. She's injured and hasn't been to school for an entire week. Under these circumstances, there is no way she can write this test."
Ms. Rey tried to argue with him in the hope he would have empathy for you. But he only gazed at her and began gently stroking her bare arm.
"Don't worry about that, Rey. During the test, I will sit next to her and write down everything she says," he smirked and lifted his chin.
Mrs. Rey shook his arm away in irritation, and at that, he let out a deep sigh.
What a dick.
"Wow, that is ... so nice of you, Professor Ren! I can't believe you would do this for me!" you said it in such a lively and cheerful way that you nearly didn't believe that your sarcasm might this time not really be clear to everyone.
"See how happy she is? I told you I always have a solution for everything," he bragged in pride.
You tensed your jaw and squinted your eyelids. Your anger began to brew in your brain, and you wanted to do nothing more than jump over the counter and claw your psychology professor's eyes out.
Just smile and nod as if this would be the only thing that kept you from going crazy. You're a bartender in a room ... well, of not so many people, but just keep your cool.
From the side, Luke stepped into the bar, carrying in his hands a heavy box. With grunting sounds coming out from his mouth, he nearly bumped into you.
"Hey Granny, sorry you had to wait so long for me. I ordered a bunch of new beer brands and—"
Luke's face suddenly turned to stone, and without notice, he dumped the box on the floor. It was like he got petrified by Medusa.
The clinking of the bottles could be heard from afar and startled everyone in the arena.
Immediately you fell on your knees and bowed down in front of the box. With pulled eyebrows and one hand, you checked whether any liquid leaked out. To your luck, no bottle was harmed.
You stood up, seeing how Luke wore a new brown glove on his bionic hand.
"What the fuck, Luke! You nearly made a huge mess!"
"Watch the language, kid!" he asserted strictly and pointed his index finger at your face.
He straightened his shoulders, and instead of looking at you, his gaze switched in the direction of Ms. Rey and Professor Ren.
You turned around and saw that judging by the face of your English teacher, her happiness sparked pure delight. When you glanced over at your psychology professor, you saw the opposite of it. It was, in fact, the opposite of anything that had any association with positive emotions.
The light in Luke's bluish eyes dispatched, and he slowly turned his finger at what his gaze was set.