Nick Rostu asked this question of Ellé Okrest a short time after they first made love. He meant it only half in jest.
“I regret nothing,” said Ellé with unnecessary harshness. “Ever.” She didn’t. It had always been her firm belief that everything that happened did so for a good reason.
“Oh, touched a nerve I see.” He had that big grin of his on his face, the one which had irritated Ellé a little and everyone else on the blockade runner a lot. Though at least his traveling companion didn’t seem to mind it much.
“Okay, I’m a little firm about it,” she admitted. “But in the kind of life that the two of us lead, I consider it necessary to be.”
“I don’t,” he argued. “I have regrets all the time.”
“So do my crewmates,” Ellé readily answered. “I don’t know how any of you do it.”
“I don’t know how you don’t. How do you keep yourself from thinking about whoever got away?”
She looked down at the bedclothes, and said, “I don’t. I know who got away.” Two people, in fact. “I just accept that they did without regrets.”
“They?” Nick sounded way too intrigued. “You scary girl, how many hearts have you broken?”
“I don’t know; I don’t know how many of them were really broken,” Ellé answered frankly. But of course, there was at least that first one. Though Motée had been safe.
“Makes sense. Especially because I suppose there are those you never spoke to anyway.”
There was a clear personal element to this last remark, which caused Ellé to look back up at her lover and ask softly, “You too?”
He looked incredulous. “Okay, you can’t talk that way and not regret speaking to him, whoever he was.”
His innocent mistake made Ellé dissolve into helpless giggles. Did this man know nothing about her after all? “What?” she heard him ask.
“Nick, he was a she! And I knew for a fact that is was impossible, so of course I said nothing!”
“Ah.” He looked very perturbed. “That would explain it.”
“Did you know I met your Senator once?” he then asked.
“No!” she exclaimed, far more surprised than he had been during any of that conversation. “But surely I’d remembered you then!” Then she considered, and corrected, “Unless it was before my time, before Dormé Costil was killed.”
“Dormé Costil; I remember her. I met with her first. The other handmaiden at the time was sick, I think.”
Motée had been sick about a month before Losté and Ené’s double wedding, so this must have taken place then. Ellé founds herself relieved that he hadn’t met Motée; then they’d be obliged to talk about her, and then maybe about whoever he regretted, and she wanted no more talk about that.
“I don’t remember what we talked about any more. Well, except that she’d just butted heads with the Jedi Council over some army-related issue while representing the Loyalists, and she asked me if I had any idea about how to deal with Mace Windu. She’d heard that I’d traveled with him a bit once.” Was it just her imagination, or did he look a bit haunted for a moment? She decided it had to be her imagination. “Your Senator was a nice girl, but pretty naive.”
“Listen, Major Rostu” Ellé growled, propping herself up to glare down at him, “when you’re in bed with me, you don’t insult my old mistress.”
“I’m just saying!” he protested. “Really, Ellé, consider it. Had she ever been through...well, what you’ve been through, these past four years on the run?”
“Nice try,” she replied tartly. “And no, she hasn’t, but only because she was murdered before she got the chance to.” It was Motée who had put together the pieces of Senator Amidala’s death, right to the inevitable conclusion that the Emperor had seen to her murder, just as he had seen to the murder of countless innocents now, including the two women whom Ellé had loved beyond anyone else in her life.
Though she was aware of the danger now; if indeed she hadn’t already fallen for this charismatic, apparently Force-sensitive man with his crazy grin.
Though she decided right then she wasn’t going to explain just how Senator Amidala had been murdered, because it wasn’t the business of people who were foolish enough to form the obvious conclusions about her.
But that wasn’t necessary; Nick only propped himself up so they were eye-to-eye and said, “You still impress me more than your silly mistress. Seriously,” he said, his grin fading, “you do, Ellé. A lot.”
Ellé could almost smell the words coming up, and she was afraid to hear them, because to break his heart would mean breaking her own. As a diversion, she lightly said, “Did you even know I’m borderline Force-sensitive?”
“No...” he replied, and for a moment she thought he didn’t believe her. “What does that mean, anyway?”
"It..." She had an explanation about midicholorian counts, but as she tried to give it she only realized it meant little to her, and if she knew Nick Rostu at all, she knew it’d mean even less to him. “You know, I really don’t know. It's just something Yané mentioned offhand to be one day because she thought I knew already.” Dumbly she tumbled back onto the pillow.
She realized her mistake in doing so two seconds later when she abruptly found herself covered by his body, his face completely serious now. “Ellé,” he said, “do you know, if it wasn’t for Entis, if I didn’t feel I had to stay with him, and you know he won’t want to stay here, I’d go to Captain Andierre and ask to permanently stay on this ship as part of your crew?”
“I can’t come with you,” Ellé said before he could ask. “The ship needs me. We're seriously undermanned as it is.”
“I know that. But please, Ellé, you may not have regrets, but there was a woman, yes, and I don’t know if she would have said yes, but until I met you I never forgave myself for not saying something. I’m not going through that again. Please, Ellé, is there anything you can do? Any chance we can try to meet again? You don’t even have to wait for me if it doesn’t work out in a few years, but please, can we try that much?”
Ellé looked into his eyes and knew it was over; she’d fallen again, and it was no good to tell herself that she was tired of feeling pain. All she could do was what he was asking; she, who had given up every person she had loved in her life without a fight, should perhaps try to keep a hold of one of them for once.
“Yes,” she said. “Oh, yes, Nick. I don’t know what I can ever give you, but I promise I’ll try. I promise.”
“Thank you,” he murmured fervently into her ear, and kissed it, then her face, then her mouth. She returned his kisses, pulling him down to her, and told herself that she would not regret this either.