Part Three: Tactical Maneuvers
Tanya was ready to crawl under Drake One after Mallory’s reaction to the kiss she and Duke were caught sharing. Why had she allowed him to kiss her anyway? Did she really have a thing for the ex-thief?
“That was…embarrassing.” she muttered.
“I thought it felt kind of nice myself.” Duke remarked.
Tanya blushed, “Yeah, until we got an audience.”
“Never mind her,” Duke laughed, “she thinks I’m a bad influence on you. All that really matters though, is what you think angel.”
“I guess,” Tanya went back over to Drake One to finish plotting out the previous locations of the Raptor, “but I don’t even know what I think. I mean, this is just happening so fast. I had no idea that you, ya know, liked me.”
“Tanya,” Duke walked over and knelt down by the confused blonde, “I love you.”
Gulping she stared into his soft brown eye, “You, l-love me?”
Duke nodded, “Always have, always will.”
“Wow,” Tanya couldn’t think of anything else to say. He loves me??
Leaning in for another kiss Duke allowed his beak to mold with Tanya’s until they were both locked together once more in a passionate embrace.
Tanya’s heart rate increased and she was happy to be sitting otherwise her knees would’ve buckled. Whatever had caused Duke to suddenly act this way, she was grateful.
“Um…” she searched for the appropriate words as they gently parted, “…that was, amazing.”
Duke smiled, she was so beautiful, especially when she was speechless. “Glad you liked it sweetheart. There’s plenty more where that came from.”
I hope so. Tanya thought, “W-what made you decide to tell me all this now? I mean, I had no clue that you felt this way about me.”
Running his hand alongside her cheek Duke answered without completely giving himself away, “Just thought it was time to get this off my chest. You’ve had me spellbound for years. And it’s not always easy to put into words what ya feel, especially when your past keeps getting in the way of the future you wanna have with someone.”
Duke neglected to mention that his past was still very much reality in the present. He never gave up a life of crime, he still lead the Brotherhood, and he intended to make Tanya his second in command. Not to mention his wife and mother of their heir.
But springing information like that on a girl wasn’t exactly the best way to win her over. He loved Tanya far too much to risk her shunning him because of his lawless lifestyle.
He’d have to be crafty until he could win her over and lure her into his world. A world filled with larceny and old codes of honor among fellow thieves. A world where she would play a key role in preserving the villainous way of life.
His hands on hers Duke brought Tanya to a standing position and started leading her towards the elevator, “What say you and I take advantage of the moment and head out together for some fresh air? I doubt the others will follow now that they’ve caught us in the act.”
Tanya’s cheeks went bright red, “Duke, we were just kissing. And, uh, I don’t know if we should be heading out in broad daylight like this, I mean, there’s the media and Dragonaus could attack or…”
“C’mon Tanya,” Duke had her in the elevator now and wasn’t about to back down, “just a quick stroll around the park. We won’t be long and the others can contact us on our coms if there’s any trouble.”
“Well,” Tanya couldn’t think of an argument for that so she agreed, “okay. But just a quick stroll. I mean, I’ve got a lot of work and stuff.”
“You’ve got it angel.” Duke smirked as the elevator doors slid shut.
It was a fairly nice day, the sun was out to warm the world below but the temperatures stayed in the mid seventies. Hand-in-hand Duke and Tanya walked along the shore by a lake in a park near the center of town. It was a beautiful day with a great view and few others out in the park to pay them much mind. Being two alien ducks in a human’s world that was often a problem.
Duke was gazing at Tanya and the way the rays of sunlight illuminated and danced across her blonde hair, which still hung down freely around her shoulders from where he had removed her headband.
“You’re so beautiful,” he whispered playfully in her ear.
Not used to getting such sincere compliments from a guy Tanya glanced off across the lake as she replied, “Thanks. You’re uh…really handsome.”
Letting her hand fall at her side Duke slid his arm around her shoulders. “It’s a nice day for a walk. I’m glad you decided to come.”
“Do you walk around here often?”
“When you’re ‘out’?” Tanya smirked recalling an excuse Duke often gave Wildwing as to why he was gone so much.
“You could say that.” Duke grinned back. She was a cunning little minx, that was for sure. He liked that.
“So back on Puckworld, did you, ya know, have a lot of girlfriends?” Tanya tried to keep the conversation going.
“Not as many as you might think.” he answered a little uneasily, “I’m kind of picky ya know? There was never the right girl. Guess you had plenty of fellas after you?”
“Not that many,” Tanya sighed, “just a bunch of stuck up ‘geniuses’ that worked with me. I never really gave any of them the time of day.”
“I know how that is.”
Tanya smiled warmly at Duke, he was perfect for her. So kind and debonair, but honest and loyal. Or so she thought…
Duke moved his hand around on her shoulders and began twirling strands of her hair around his finger. “And how’d you get involved with the Resistance?”
“I guess you could say that my reputation was well known.” she answered as a gentle breeze kicked up, “I was attacking those drones way before anyone else got the guts. Canard heard about me and my technological skills and recruited me for the team. What about you?”
“Same story as far as skills and reputation goes.” he responded drawing her closer as he spoke, “My trade as a mob leader worried him a little but Canard came around and took me on as a member. I’m glad he did too.” He smiled widely at Tanya as he said the last part.
Gotta give him points for flirtation. Tanya thought bashfully. “Yeah, I’m glad he did too. And I know we’ll find him again. I mean, guys like Canard don’t just stay lost forever. And Wildwing’ll never give up the search.”
“I’m sure he won’t.” Duke agreed. “Enough about that stuff though. It’s in the past. Let’s talk about us for a while sweetheart, and the future.”
“What about us?”
May as well risk it. Duke figured, “Well, I’m not gettin’ any younger ya know and the chances of us getting off this planet anytime soon are probably slim to none. I was just thinking about what I wanted to do with my life and all. Ya know, like fallin’ in love, starting a family, that kind of stuff. Don’t you ever think about it?”
“I guess so,” Tanya cocked an eyebrow, “but I’m not too sure about where you’re going with all this. I mean, you just told me that you loved me. I didn’t think you were going to move ahead so fast.”
“It’s not that I’m trying to rush things angel, it’s just, well…I’ve got some obligations and all back home. Stuff I’d rather not have to waste a lot of time worrying about. It would just help me to know what and all you were expecting outta life.” Duke explained.
Tanya looked up at the clear blue sky and thought for a moment, the argument did have a certain amount of sense to it. “I don’t know…I guess I want a family. And sure, love is important. I’m not really sure when or if we’ll ever get back home so I’m kind of glad to have something with you here. It’s just, I don’t wanna rush things. This isn’t a discussion I’d planned on having with you anytime soon.”
Duke nodded, “Sorry I brought it up.”
“Well, at least now we both know where we stand.” she sighed. “I know my mother would be thrilled if I came back with a grandchild or two for her.”
Duke grinned, “Sounds like I’d like her.”
“You two would probably get along just fine.” Tanya chuckled, “Never mind that you used to be a thief. Bring her back grandchildren and she’d love you for life!”
That’s exactly what I plan to do. Duke pondered. “Can’t wait to meet her.”
“I hope you all get to meet my folks someday.” Tanya sighed. She was beginning to realize how much she missed her family.
Noting the saddened tone of her voice Duke took the opportunity to mention his little ‘secret’, “What if someday was today?”
“What do you mean?”
“Nothing,” he replied quickly, “just askin’. I mean, if you had the chance to go home, would you take it?”
“Psh, in a heartbeat!”
Grinning Duke continued, “And what if there was--oh say--a catch? Like you had to agree to committing to something…or someone?”
“Like what?” Tanya asked suspiciously, “Or who?”
“Never mind,” Duke stared off into the sky, sure that he’d gotten the information he needed, “just wonderin’.”
That uneasy feeling settled in the pit of Tanya’s stomach again. Duke’s arm gripped her tightly as they headed out of the park. Tanya was deep in thought about what Duke had been implying. Did he really have a way to return to Puckworld? Why hadn’t he told the others about it? Why was he telling her now? And exactly what did he want in return?
The questions kept coming as Duke started whistling a tune next to her. Hailing a cab they both climbed in the backseat, Duke’s arm still holding her close.
*And just what is Duke up to anyway? I’ll reveal more in the next chapter. Tanya’s suspicions just might be confirmed. I know this is a little fast paced, but a lot more suspense is coming. Don’t forget to review. ^_^*