Title: "The Ties That Bind"
Written By: Shawn
Summary: After dealing with Ryoo and Pooja as delicately as possible, Anakin and Padmé face separate trials as their vacation continues. Padmé endures a horrifically embarrassing moment with her mother while Anakin finds grand amusement in helping her father. Afterwards affords them some sensual privacy.
Rated: M for all that it implies.
Ship: Anakin and Padmé Skywalker
Timeline: I've always believed the Clone Wars lasted about three and a half years. This story takes place at the two and a half year mark. So it's been
two and a half years since PA were married. None of her family know about the nuptials.
Disclaimer: GL owns everything.
Beta Read by: The Dark Lord of the pen, Master Anne *bows respectfully*
Authors Notes 1: At the end of the day life is all about family.
Authors Notes 2: I'm no longer sure how many chapters it will take to finish this story, but I doubt more than five. For now I shall leave it as a question mark.
The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.
~ Erma Bombeck
Secrets are things we give to others to keep for us.
~ Elbert Hubbard
Marriage is not a ritual or an end. It is a long, intricate, intimate dance Together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partner.
~ Amy Bloom
One of the Nabberie family home located in Lake Country Retreat
"No, Pooja. You are not going to tell." Calmly extricating herself from her husband’s embrace, Padmé walked over to her nieces and gently prodded them back inside the room before making sure the hallway was clear. She quietly shut the door behind them and then came around to face them, bending down so she could gain their full attention. Tricky territory was ahead and would require careful navigation. "Young ladies, we need to have a serious talk. I need you both to listen closely, okay?"
"Okay, auntie." Ryoo nodded a bit nervously, sensing this was important grown-people stuff. She smiled brightly as she was finally going to be “in the know” about something, and she wasn't about to miss it. Glancing at her younger sister she used a nudging elbow to break her out of her trance. Pooja loved to tell just about anything, and this was big. "Pooja?"
Sola's youngest daughter pouted, “Why can't I tell?"
"Because, sweetheart," Padmé tenderly brushed ringlets of Pooja's curly hair off the side of her cute cheeks. "What you saw is something very personal and private. Do you know what those words mean?" Ryoo acknowledged she did while Pooja gave a child-like shrug of sorts. "Personal means that something is very important to you, and it belongs to you. It involves you," she attempted to explain. "Private means that someone has chosen to keep something to themselves. Something that belongs to them and is very important. We have to respect people’s privacy. It’s like how you can't just walk into someone’s room. You have to knock first. Do you understand?"
"We do," Ryoo spoke up as the eldest sister, wrapping an arm around Pooja's shoulder. Though only nine years old she just knew whatever it was they saw meant a great deal to their Aunt Padmé. Perhaps this was even a secret they could keep. "Uhm, what exactly did we see?"
Hearing an amused chuckle come from over her shoulder. It suddenly occurred to her in that very second that outside of her trusted handmaidens and the captain of her bodyguard detail she hadn't told another living soul in years what she was about to reveal to her nieces. A note of sadness marked the moment. "You saw me and Anakin kissing, dear. We were kissing because we are in love, and we are married."
Woah! Ryoo had a feeling this was big, but this was really, really big. She felt like jumping up and down for some reason. "My mommy and my Nana think you need a boyfriend before you become a hemit."
More laughter from Anakin muffled by his hand caused Padmé to glare at the Jedi before correcting her niece. "I think the word is hermit, and I can assure you I will never become that." Gently grasping her nieces’ shoulders, she added, "My marriage to Anakin is personal and private. It’s like your parents marriage, only a bit different. It’s a very, very complicated situation. One that both of you are too young to fully understand right now. We haven't told anyone in our family because we can't right now."
"Why not?" Pooja pondered out loud while swinging her arms impatiently. "That sounds like good news."
"It is, dear. The very best news of my entire life," Padmé told her. "But like I just said, this is very personal and private information that's too complicated for you to fully understand at your age. But do you trust me?"
"Yes, Auntie. Of course we do," Ryoo all but shouted. "You're our favorite person. I trust you as much as mommy and daddy. You're super smart and tough."
"And you kiss pretty boys," Pooja blushed, ducking away from Padmé's appreciative grin.
So her youngest niece had already fallen to the charms of “her” Jedi. Perhaps it was a Naberrie trait after all. Padmé hugged her nieces close while continuing. "Anakin and I don't want anyone to know we're married right now." They seemed to understand, nodding. "But we don't want you to lie either. So I want you to remember what I am about to tell you, okay?"
"Okay, auntie," they answered simultaneously.
"Good." Padmé was pleasantly surprised how well this was going so far. Of course her nieces hadn't actually left the room yet. That was the real
test. "You're not going to tell anyone about seeing Anakin and me kissing or that we are in love or that we are married. That is our personal and private business. We don't want anyone to know about that right now, and we would be very sad and hurt if you told anyone."
Never wanting to disappoint Padmé, Pooja shook her head. "I will never tell, Auntie. I swear."
"Me too, auntie," Ryoo chimed in. "I won't tell anyone you're married to a Jedi and kiss him and love him. I know how to keep my mouth shut... unlike," and then she used her finger to nonchalantly point to her younger sister.
"Young ladies," Padmé halted the argument before it began. "I also don't want you to lie. I don't condone lying, and I won't ever tell you to lie. So if someone asks either of you if Anakin and I are married you can answer truthfully and say yes. But they have to ask that question and that question only. Understand?" They nodded cheerfully as the weight of importance being placed on their silence as well as the trust being placed in them seemed to truly affect them. "I don't want you to lie about anything, but only if you are asked. Otherwise you are not to tell anyone, even your parents what you know about Anakin and me. Deal?"
"Okay." Peeking around her aunt, Pooja gazed at Anakin while tugging at her dress. "So you're our uncle now?"
Feeling as though Padmé had done the hard work, Anakin walked over and fell to a knee beside his wife. "Yes, I am."
Wow! Just wow! Pooja couldn't imagine all the things she could do with a Jedi as her uncle. "Can you steal us more cookies now?"
"Well I guess I coul..." A polite elbow to his side halted all talk of theft. "I'm afraid I can't... right now." Mocking Ryoo, he pointed to Padmé with a single finger. The gesture made the girls giggle and his wife steam. Yeah, he was going to be the cool uncle.
"I really need both of you to trust me," Padmé felt it needed to be repeated. "We have some very good reasons why we don't want anyone to know about our marriage right now. I need you gals to keep our secret and try your best to not let anything slip, okay?" They agreed, even offering pinky-swears.
Standing up straight as she was told to when she greeted people, Ryoo stepped before Anakin. "It’s nice to meet you, Uncle Ani." She then wrapped her arms tightly around his neck and was soon joined by Pooja, who whispered something about cookies that made him smile.
After pressing a quick smooch to Anakin's cheek, Pooja leapt at her aunt, hugging her tight. "Auntie?"
"You have played with Anakin's lightsaber, haven't you?"
Her innocence shined through despite the way her question could be taken were she older. Anakin seemed far to amused at his niece’s question. "Yes, love. I have played with his lightsaber. And I quite enjoyed the experience."
"Okay you two. It’s time to get ready for dinner," Padmé announced upon standing to her feet, with Anakin now by her side towering over all of them. "Please remember what we talked about. We're giving a great deal of our trust to you because we love you. Please do your best."
"We will, auntie. We promise. You can count on us. Come on, Pooja." Ryoo then quickly ushered her younger sister out of the room after waving goodbye to Anakin.
Exhaling deeply, Padmé closed the door and then leaned her back against it while shutting her eyes. "That was unexpected." The warm, heady feel of a hungry mouth claiming the soft flesh of her neck was equally surprising as a solid body pressed against her. "Haven't we tempted fate enough for one evening?"
"I bend fate to my will, milady. And I will bend you as well."
"Is that right?" Why did he have to smell so good? Why did the sexy tenor of his voice make her thighs tremble? The pleasure of his open mouth loving such wickedness over her throat quickly robbed her of coherent thought. "Master Jedi, we have dodged the precarious dilemma of two very curious children and that alone is why indulging in 'aggressive negotiations' at this time wouldn't be a wise course of action before dinner."
Brushing his tongue in slow swirls below her ear, Anakin declared, "Sex only amplifies my appetite. And I know the same is true for you."
"Enough, Anakin." Her stern voice was ignored as he stole a ripe, luscious kiss from her eager lips. Right here, right now he could lift her against this door and drive her mad... "Seriously, we can't," she panted. "Not right now."
Fire blazed in his eyes as he stared into hers. "Give me one good reason?"
"Because if you want me to “play” with your lightsaber in that certain way you love the most you'll be patient and do as I say."
"You're so bossy sometimes."
"And you love it."
"Anything for Mrs. Skywalker."
"Thank you, Mr. Skywalker. Now go brush your teeth. You taste like cookies."
"What was that?"
"Sweetheart. I said sweetheart."
"I thought you did."
The Next Day
A River-city northeast of the Lake Country
A mothers pride.
Wearing a radiant smile on a beautiful sunny day, Jobal stood with Sola in front of a small Solstice book store beneath a shaded overhang while Padmé shook hands, took pictures, and talked with those who gathered in a small crowd around her. The royalty her youngest daughter once held had not faded even though she was no longer Queen, and the people of Naboo still revered her. When she came home her visit, it was an event celebrated by those she once ruled over. The people respected her courage and strength of character while adoring her elegant beauty and class. They had years of evidence that despite her age she was dedicated and fearless she in fighting for Naboo and its rights in the Republic.
Padmé Amidala Naberrie was beloved, considered Naboo's champion no matter that one of its own held the most powerful chair in the galaxy. Her appeal was undeniable.
Admiring Padmé's patience as always, Jobal sighed happily despite losing a few minutes to her daughter's former subjects as well as the relief that Sola never harbored resentment towards her sister. Despite Padmé's celebrity persona and public office, as well as the wealth and power she owned, the elder Naberrie cherished her sibling to the depths of her heart. A heart that knew no jealousy at all.
With nothing to be ashamed of concerning the life Sola built for herself, an educated social worker and patriarch of her own family, Jobal favored her oldest daughter with equal adoration and absolute love. Her children were her life and as such she took great pride in their individual accomplishments.
But behind her motherly adoration, hidden in the deepest recesses of her warm brown eyes Jobal carried with her such fear for Padmé. Not only for her life, as it was constantly in danger due to the office she held and her outspoken bravado, but more for the way she perceived her daughter had no life outside her work. The steely focus that was one of Padmé greatest weapons often, in her mother's opinion, equally gave her something to hide behind. Professional accomplishments, especially by women in a male dominated society were something to be very proud of but weren't the sole path to a whole life.
Jobal had, in recent years, quietly considered how Padmé had had no romantic relationships whatsoever. She never spoke of dating or even an interest in it. HoloNet tabloid reports ran the gamut of assumptions from portraying her as a frigid recluse to even questioning her sexuality. And while during a time of war certainly romance wasn't first and foremost in her mind even now the need to connect with someone and share ones life was necessary for all.
A solitary life devoid of intimacy with another person often created a lonely existence hidden behind closed doors. It pained Jobal a great deal to think of Padmé being all alone fighting as hard as she did in the Senate with no one to share her life with outside of it. She wouldn't trade her daughter's reputation or the respect she earned for anything but worried, as mothers do, that her daughter perhaps didn't know how to go about the world of mature romance. She had little to no experience to say the least with men outside a professional setting that Jobal knew or, further confirmed during a long talk with Sola nearly six months ago. Unless her daughter purposely hid her affairs, which was her right as an adult, Jobal wondered if perhaps inexperience and innocence caused her some sort of embarrassment when dealing with potential suitors.
So when Padmé's mother learned of her trip to Naboo only a week ago she made up her mind that a talk was needed. Not one that would force her to do something she didn't want to do, but to simply reaffirm why it was so important to have a life outside of the Senate and to perhaps remind a woman so closely recognized for her brilliance and verbal bite that she was in a fact a young, beautiful woman as well.
The joy that could be gleamed from having someone special in your life was so worthwhile.
Mindful of her own inner thoughts concerning Padmé's love life, though not with her mother's belief of a lack thereof, Sola enjoyed her sister’s valiant attempt to politely extricate herself from a group of university-attending male admirers who were all desperately trying to gain her favor. They were sweet and not at all rude, but for Padmé she seemed not the least bit interested despite a couple of the gentlemen being around her age and not at all unattractive by Sola's standards. At last they bid her farewell with a few whistles and bows.
Fairly certain Padmé's heart belonged to a certain roguish Jedi, Sola observed her sister's approach with a teasing spark in her eyes. "Please don't leave behind your gentleman callers on our account," she began lightly. "Mother and I could amuse ourselves in the book store a while longer if you like?"
"Did the twin expressions of 'Save Me' I threw your way mean nothing to you?" Padmé chided her sister as she walked in step with her mother down the market-lined stone street. "They were respectful but all tried to hard. I felt like they were performing for me."
"Thus is the way of men, dear," Jobal added in a motherly tone. "You best get used to their attempts at one-up-man-ship when other males are around. And you are a quite lovely, successful and most importantly a single woman. Why would they not give their very best to gain your attention?"
Sensing where this was going, Padmé calmly addressed the issue before it became one. "Their attention is appreciated and surely doesn't hurt my feminine ego, but romantic entanglements at this time aren't on my to-do list."
"When have they ever been?"
"Mother, please." Padmé looped her arm around Jobal's as they parted a small group of shoppers. "I assure you I am not the rigid spinster the HoloNet makes me out to be."
"So does that mean there's a man you've been hiding from us?" Sola dared to ask.
Padmé didn't miss a beat. "Yes. Threepio’s a wonderful companion on long space flights."
Though amused by her daughter's keen ability to avoid giving any direct answers, Jobal still felt the need to push the issue a bit. But perhaps from a different direction. "I try not to pry, dear. I only want you to have someone to share your life with and fulfills your heart."
Sadly, Padmé wished that she could reveal she already had the most amazing man who took the best care of her heart and soul. She drowned in her own silence until her mother uttered a statement that suddenly choked the air in her lungs.
"If only Anakin weren't a Jedi."
Padmé's eyes widened though she centered herself quickly. Did she hear Sola snicker or was that the couple that just passed them by? "Mother, please don't go there."
"Why?" Jobal dared to smile. "I may be your mother and an older woman, but I am neither blind nor oblivious to a incredibly handsome man such as
Anakin." Padmé's pale blanch was curious indeed. Sola seemed content to hold her peace though she seemed greatly amused for some strange reason. "He carries himself a dangerous man, yet one can see a tenderness in his eyes that's tempered in a wounded sort of way. He is honorable and courageous, yet he possesses a dark side that's quite sensual to many women. He has a powerful, alluring build and if I were younger and single myself, provided he was not Jedi I would..."
Needing to put an abrupt end to this, Padmé quickly stalked in front of her mother feeling a bit out of breath and very alert. "Please, for all the moons of Naboo do not ever finish that sentence. As a matter of fact, please change the topic altogether. I do not need the mental images of you ogling Anakin in my head."
Jobal raised a curious brow. "I do not ogle, young lady. I appreciate," she pointed out as she side-stepped her daughter to window-shop a new Gungan antique store. "And he is a fine specimen of man. Despite your close friendship with him you surely have noticed. That is, unless he is... not your type."
Padmé heard the hidden meaning in her mother’s words and wondered if things could get any worse. And though if they were truth she would not in the least be ashamed of it, she felt she had to lay this to rest. "Mother, yes, I concede that Anakin is a very attractive man. I am not so immune to his charm that it eludes me. And to answer a question you won't ask outright, I do prefer and enjoy the company of men."
"So you aren't blind?" Jobal laughed sweetly at her daughter as the mood lightened.
Her mother had an interesting sense of humor indeed. "No, mother. I am not blind."
Surrounded by the classical architecture and greenery of the market district, Sola followed closely behind her mother and sister as they continued shopping and catching up on the news in their lives and views on the war. She wondered if her mother would ever truly take a good look at Padmé and, instead of assuming what it was she hadn’t seen, she would know that her youngest daughter was not devoid of love or passion. Padmé glowed each time she smiled and carried herself with all the daring of a woman who knew the pleasures of a man and how to plunder them to her whim.
Anakin was the reason why. Sola was sure of it. But why were they hiding their affair from the family? Yes, from the public at large due to Padmé's title and Anakin's duty as a Jedi she could understand. But not from family. Especially not her as they were always very close and told each other their innermost secrets.
A note of sadness came over Sola as she hadn't expected feeling until now when it dawned on her that she was no longer her sister's dearest confidant.
"I'm famished. How about we have lunch at that outdoors Café down the street?" Jobal asked.
Sola kept it to herself that it seemed Padmé could use a drink rather than lunch. Oh dear sister, she thought. It was only going to get worse. "I have no complaints. Padmé?"
"Sure. That will be fine." As they reached the Café and were escorted to a shaded V.I.P area away from the prying eyes of those who followed their every step, Padmé silently longed for the day she could live free and in the open. For the day she could hold her husband’s hand in public as much to assuage her loneliness as to answer all questions regarding heart. She wasn't passionless or frigid or anti-social at all. Circumstances beyond her control created this situation and the lies that had to be told despite the heartache they caused behind closed doors.
Having been seated the ladies ordered their lunch and were relaxing as a family reunited. That was until Jobal decided the time before their lunch arrived would be perfect to help her daughter.
"Padmé, dear," Jobal began as she took one of her hands lightly. "I am worried about you, and I feel I have to voice my concerns. I would not be a very good parent, even to an adult child, if I didn't."
No good was going to come from this. Nonetheless, Padmé took a deep breath and hoped lunch was on its way soon. "Mother, I assure you I am safe here with Anakin, and my personal security detail on Coruscant is well-trained and capable."
"Dear, while your personal safety is a constant on my mind what I am speaking of today has to do with sharing your life with someone." She saw Padmé's sudden resignation. The last thing she wanted to do was upset her daughter, but this needed to be said. "You are a young, brilliant, and beautiful woman, Padmé. You have all the time in the world to meet someone and marry if you choose. But I've noticed... well, a complete lack of dating or relationships where you are concerned. And while I know now isn't the best or most opportune time to meet men I am curious as to why someone with so much to offer chooses to close herself off from the possibilities of romance. And if I am wrong please correct me."
This was the last conversation Padmé wanted to have with her mother as it would require directly lying to her face as well as giving the impression she knew so little about the adult world. "Mother, my work is stressful and I keep very long hours with few days off. It’s not easy meeting new people as I am always on guard due to the threats on my life. But I assure you I am as interested in being in love as the next woman."
Sparing a careful glance at a strikingly silent Sola, Jobal inquired, "Others working in the Senate are dating or already married, dear. It is not above your ability to attend a few of the political social functions and see if anyone catches your eye. Perhaps a few pointers on the male populace might aid in your understanding of them."
By the Force her mother was offering to give her pointers on picking up men. And Sola's snickering behind her hand wasn't helping. Padmé wished the ground would just open up and swallow her. "I know how to make myself look presentable and carry on a conversation, mother."
"Why yes, of course," Jobal nodded. "But dealing with men in the political or professional circuit where you must gain respect to be heard has always come easy for you. What I am speaking of is the intimate nuance between a man and a woman. I'm talking about eye contact and flirtatiousness."
"Mother, I think Padmé simply prefers the company of Jedi," Sola interjected as casually as possible while Padmé seemed to fume. "They are quite reserved, not at all flirtatious and... well, they are all virgins."
The ground simply would not open up and swallow her quick enough. Padmé was so at home in the Senate Hall, but place her in front of her older sister and pestering mother and she felt sixteen again. "I do not see what the point of that statement has to do with my personal life. Furthermore, celibacy is not a requirement for Jedi though some do decide to remain celibate. The only requirement is that no attachments be formed."
"You seem quite well versed on the Jedi Code and its relation to celibacy amongst its Knights," Sola simply could not resist saying as it riled Padmé up enough to make the good Senator glare at her.
"Speaking of which," Jobal mentioned in a soft tone of voice, capturing Padmé's sole attention. "Dear, are you still a virgin?"
Not since a certain sexy Jedi Padawan came back into her life after a ten year separation, Padmé thought. Still, she wanted to die. This was just not happening. It just wasn't. Here she was a woman who had on many occasions sexually exhausted the Chosen One of the Force and now her mother was asking her the most personal of questions. "Mother, that is none of your business."
"I don't wish to embarrass you."
"Rest assured it's far too late for that."
"Being a virgin is nothing at all to be ashamed of, sweetheart. Your sister Sola married at an age older than you are now and was a virgin on her wedding day."
Padmé snorted while Sola glanced far away while ducking her head. The elder Naberrie was as far away from being a virgin on her wedding day as Padmé was now, and she knew it. "Mother I appreciate your concern, but I am a very private person by nature. Rest assured I place a great deal of value on romance and love. I desire a family and someone to spend my life with a great deal. Far more than you know. When the time is right you'll understand. For now I need you to trust me."
"Alright, dear. I just felt what I said needed to be said."
Thankfully their food arrived. Padmé needed the break from her mother’s questions and Sola's mysterious mood. She had said so little thus far and seemed to be watching her very closely. Something tingled in the back of her mind that if Sola suspected something with her and Anakin... by the Force, she did!
And now as the sisters’ eyes locked Padmé knew for certain not only did Sola suspect, she seemed to look right through her to the truth. Before Padmé could consider this further her mother spoke up again.
"Dear, I'm sure you'll be a bit displeased with your father and me, but we have arranged something we haven't told you about."
"And that would be?"
"Guests to arrive shortly who..." As Jobal explained Padmé again wished for that hole to just swallow her up whole.
One of the Nabberie family home located in Lake Country Retreat
The long curving garden terrace
"So am I to take it that you believe Supreme Chancellor Palpatine truly wants to end the war rather than to now win it for pride’s sake if nothing else?"
Walking alongside Ruwee past the balustrade towards the water-speeder's docking platform, Anakin thoughtfully considered his answer before speaking. "In my humble opinion the Chancellor fully understands that war serves no real purpose for the Republic except to cause unrest, mistrust, and death. He never wanted to go to war to begin with and would do anything to resolve the conflict. But you must understand that the Trade Federation, the Commerce Guild, and those who follow Count Dooku’s lead aren't seeking to peacefully coexist or to be simply recognized as its own governing body separate from the Republic. They want to rule the Republic and dissolve the Senate altogether."
Mindful of a perfect first kiss, a beautiful wedding, and the life-changing memory this beautiful terrace held, Anakin managed to find his voice again. "Negotiations are only dangled in the face of the HoloNet and the Chancellor whenever the Republic military push Count Dooku's forces to the brink of destruction to give the appearance of considering a peaceful end when in fact they escape to regroup and attack anew. It’s a recurring cycle of devious tactics that will only cease when they are utterly defeated."
Debating the reasons for war were far different than fighting it on the front lines as Anakin had done since day one. A soldier’s perspective came with having lived through the violence and mayhem. The thick, black glove that covered the Jedi's hand and part of his forearm hadn't escaped Ruwee's notice, nor had the burn scar high on his cheek. "If I may switch topics for a moment, I've never had a chance to say this to you. I'm sorry for your loss, Anakin."
Clenching his robotic hand into a fist, Anakin heard the barely audible turbine motors whirl in response. A constant reminder of the second worst failure of his life. Fury suddenly lit the pupils of his eyes. "Rest assured when next I meet Count Dooku in battle he will lose far more than an appendage."
Ruwee sensed an unwavering confidence marking this man. A Jedi with a beast’s rage. "Of that I have no doubt."
Pausing with his back to the stone terrace, a wistful expression came over Ruwee's face. Such dark, dangerous times they now lived in. The peace and tranquility of Naboo was in stark contrast to the war being fought across the galaxy. "Here is my most dreaded concern. With the considerable might of the Republic Clone Army and the Jedi Order working as one I fail to see how Count Dooku and those loyal to him could possibly have waged this war for two and a half years without some behind the scenes agenda."
"And by that do you mean Palpatine using the war to hold onto his power?"
Mildly surprised at the Jedi's assertion, Ruwee discovered a newfound respect for the man. "From what I hear he is a close friend of yours."
"Do not mistake that for blind allegiance," Anakin declared.
Ruwee gave a slow nod before turning to look out over the beautiful lake and the mountains in the distance. The war had not touched Naboo the way it had ravaged other worlds and civilizations. But for how much longer would that be true? "I worry that Palpatine has become so powerful and so used to that power that whatever will allow him to keep it is acceptable to him. And if that means continuing a war then so be it."
Ruwee wasn't a man that spoke in riddles, and for that Anakin was grateful. He held a great dislike for men of that nature. "That's a bold train of thought."
Ruwee sighed, "No, it's a fear."
Anakin was quiet for a moment as Ruwee's words sank in, troubling him in a way he had not anticipated. That in itself was worrisome as he hadn't leapt to the Chancellor's defense as he had in similar talks with Obi-Wan and Padmé. In truth, Palpatine was as human and flawed as any other being, though under much more considerable pressure. But at the end of the day anyone was capable of anything. "I sincerely want this war to end."
"Son," Ruwee noted in a fatherly tenor, resting his hand on Anakin's shoulder, favoring him with deep affection. "I truly believe that. You carry yourself with honor and dignity. I respect you and not because of the HoloNet's high praise of your amazing abilities. My daughter speaks of you in such a way that I am almost humbled by her admiration. And as long as people like you are fighting for and looking after the Republic there is hope for us all."
Truly touched, Anakin bowed as a show of respect. "Thank you, Ruwee. I must say, I hold equal admiration and respect for your daughter. Padmé is a spectacular woman. Her brilliance and beauty are unmatched in all the galaxy."
The light shining in his blue eyes exposed something deeply hidden within this powerful man. Perhaps that which he held most dear, a longing he could never speak of. Ruwee suspected that had Anakin lived any life other than the extraordinary one he was born into he would seize the day and claim Padmé as his own. His heart's secret was revealed in the dedicated tenor of his voice when speaking of his devotion.
Though he would not say this out loud, Ruwee would have been overjoyed had Anakin been Padmé's suitor. "Your friendship, protection, and presence in my daughter's life offers me a great deal of peace, Anakin. Thank you for looking after her."
The purest essence of his tortured soul laced his next words. "I would gladly lay down my life before I let any harm befall Padmé."
Conviction of the highest order was easily recognizable. "I believe you," Ruwee replied as he considered the Chosen One, this Jedi with such incredible gifts and a good heart to match. He counted himself lucky to have the chance to get to know him better. "I'd like to again thank you for indulging me in this... most curious endeavor."
"I fully understand the need to ensure ones self of a man’s true intentions when concerning your daughter," Anakin noted as they arrived at the water-speeder’s dock. A small silver craft approached rapidly, no doubt carrying Ruwee and Jobal's surprise.
"Well it’s a strange request I made of you, and one that I appreciate your discretion where Padmé is concerned." Ruwee watched with Anakin as the speeder docked below. Paddy Accu secured the vessel. "Jobal and I worry not only for Padmé's safety, but for her well being as a human being. Sharing your life with another person is what makes life worth living. So to that end, while we do not seek to try and force a man on her, we feel if we can at the very least push a few quality men into her path that perhaps nature might take its course."
If by nature Ruwee meant Anakin's lightsaber taking its course across their throat, then yes, the Jedi Knight was all for these men attempting to win Padmé's affections. Nonetheless he held his peace as this had the potential to be mildly amusing. Ruwee was counting on his “unique” appraisal of these men.
They didn't stand a chance.
"Solomon, welcome to the Lake Country," Ruwee offered his hand to tall, dark haired gentleman wearing a Royal Naboo Starforce uniform bearing the rank of pilot. "I trust your trip was pleasant?"
Shaking Ruwee's hand with a firm hold, Solomon was a bit taken aback by the appearance of Anakin Skywalker. This was going to be some gathering of Coruscant's elite if the Chosen One himself was present. He stood straighter, proud and strong. "Yes, it was fine. Thank you for inviting me to the Senator's dinner party. I cannot wait to meet her in person. I've heard so many wonderful things about her."
"You'll be meeting her soon enough," Ruwee said. "Now tell me, how is your father doing? We haven't spoken since he was given that contract to build those new space stations on Orion-9."
After a brief introduction and polite hand shake, Anakin fell in step behind the duo, listening closely to the Naberrie family plot concerning Padmé's love life. Apparently Solomon was one of three sons of Ruwee's good friend, Kiles.
Having entered the Royal Naboo Starforce when he was eighteen, the now twenty-four year old pilot seemed well mannered and educated. Solomon owned no quick wit, though could carry on a conversation without boring whomever he was talking too. Possessing an athletic build and what Anakin assumed were handsome features, he could definitely capture a woman’s attention.
Anakin felt Solomon's utter fascination with Padmé.
Privately told the Senator was single and interested in meeting someone, no doubt more than a bit of an embellishment at the end, Anakin sensed Solomon's eagerness for time alone with his wife. And while the man harbored no devious intentions he was simply not going to be around long.
Anakin followed close behind as he attempted to push aside his own simmering resentment at this disrespect those doing it were unaware of. Alas, this was the life he and Padmé were forced to live. But that didn't make the man within him, the prideful husband who would suffer no man attempting to steal his wife's heart feel any better. Still, this favor to Ruwee could yield benefits in the future when all was revealed and Padmé would thank him for eliminating her having to suffer through a nauseating dinner where all eyes would be on her and another man.
Two female caretakers arrived at the winding stone steps that lead back to Varykino to take Solomon's bags. Ruwee thanked the pilot again for coming and offered to show him around the estate after he settled in. Another handshake was followed by Ruwee coming over to stand beside Anakin again, watching as Solomon entered the estate.
"Well, my friend," Ruwee began with a cautious smile. "He seems like a nice enough young man. He certainly has a career steeped in courage thus far. So what is your take on Solomon?"
Hands behind his back, Anakin initiated a casual stroll towards the lush garden, seemingly collecting his thoughts. He stopped suddenly, a particularly troubled expression clouding his features. "I'm afraid Solomon isn't the man you think he is."
That was the last thing Ruwee wanted to hear as he had high hopes for this one. "What have you learned?"
"I sensed his intimate desires where women were concerned were... deviant in nature," Anakin explained as if it pained him to say. Ruwee look appalled. "I also noted a fondness towards aggressive, and if I may say so, alternative sexual practices."
Ruwee knew a Jedi's intuitions were extremely reliable, but this was a bit much. "Surely you jest?" he smiled hopefully. Anakin's serious expression did not falter.
"No, I'm afraid Solomon's fantasies concerning Padmé borderline on the perverse. I sense that while he handles his duties with courage, he enjoys a far darker aspect of relations with women. He sees your daughter as the conquest of his life. And then there's his drinking problem."
"I have heard enough." Absolutely floored by this unexpected turn of events, Ruwee once again felt bringing Anakin in on this plot paid dividends that were worth the secrecy he held from his daughter. "Thank you, Anakin. I am surprised to say the least, but I appreciate your candor. Rest assured a crisis will emerge in the next hour or so, and Solomon will be asked to leave. For now please enjoy the rest of your day. I will not have need of your abilities until tomorrow evening."
What was that? Anakin looked up, "What happens then?"
"The other four men invited to spend a few days here arrive. Hopefully we'll have more luck with one of them. Good day, Anakin." Turning, Ruwee made his way back towards the estate.
Before Anakin could utter a single word to end this farce he was assaulted by the full bodied force of Pooja rushing into his arms. She hugged him tight and for a brief moment he simply allowed himself to enjoy it, returning the affection. "Well hello, little one."
"Hi, Ani." The child clung to him really tight, and then out of the view of the nearby garden caretakers she slipped a small folded note inside his
cloak. She whispered in his ear, "I'm on a mission." Grinning wildly, she smooched his cheek and then ran off giggling. No doubt pleased she's a part of the secrets adults are keeping around her.
Casually making his way behind a row of massive columns, Anakin reached for and read the note. That handwriting was unmistakable.
'A LATE LUNCH AWAITS YOU AS DO I. THE SITTING ROOM ON THE FAR NORTH SIDE OF THE ESTATE AT THE END OF THE HALL. P.A.N.S.'
"Pans," Anakin noted to himself with such pride that it filled his chest to overflowing. Padmé Amidala Naberrie Skywalker or P.A.N.S, her private codename whenever they had to communicate in secret. Her true name in spite of those unknowingly seeking to champion her a new love life.
Shrouded in the shadows of the columns, choked from the daylight as his love for Padmé ever was, the amusement of moments ago faded for Anakin. Yet again he was reminded of all that was denied him. The basic right to be with his beloved in public... to hold her hand and hear her true name spoken... to be free to simply express the immense pride he carried in his soul at being her husband.
All buried beneath a mountain of lies and deceit, now years deep with no hope of an end in sight. They were being crushed beneath the massive weight of his duty as a Jedi Knight and Padmé's as a Senator of the Republic.
Now he was to suffer the indignity of a dinner party filled with men looking to steal Padmé's heart with her parents’ consent. And while he was sure it was more than impossible, the experience itself would be one no husband should have to endure.
Suddenly his emotions shifted as a sweltering breeze swirled by, ghosting his Jedi robe. A primal simmering grew in Anakin's belly, churning the flames of his soul, seeking an immediate sustenance. An unquenchable thirst only his angel could satisfy.
Fierce excitement coursed through his veins as sprinted nonstop through the courtyard towards the twenty-foot far wall overlooking the north side of the estate and leapt in one great jump, now poised atop the roof. The sitting room he sought was just below him. Using the Force, he defied gravity itself by forward flipping off the roof and directly into the room's open window.
Upon rising to his feet, Anakin found the sunlit sitting room empty save for his beloved. Surrounded by a wealth of historic Naboo decor, Padmé awaited him by a broad glass table near five open windows. Her gorgeous, elegant white summer dress illuminated her angelic beauty as the thick coils of her lovely brown hair framed her adoring face when she saw him.
"Are you hungry, love?"
Padmé could not have spoken more appropriate words, though for reasons other than she intended. Anakin's hungry stare drank in the alluring vision of her, how her thin dress clung tight to the subtle curves of her trim figure. Her affinity for backless attire drove him mad once more, sinful and regal simultaneously. She was a revelation that stole the very breath from his lungs.
She was undeniably his.
That sole thought, the truth of his existence submerged Anakin's spirit in fire. Here, now, he would not be denied what he wanted.
Silent as her voice suddenly escaped her, Padmé felt a hot wind caress her skin from the window, billowing through her hair. She captured Anakin's smoldering gaze, lost in his aggressive masculinity and the way he never masked his ravenous need for her. She reveled in that knowledge. What was planned as a private afternoon lunch for two somehow evolved into so much more.
She was his prey.
Padmé long ago accepted that they knew each other soul deep, written in blood and pain and the most intense love imaginable. She read his innermost thoughts like a favorite novel before bedtime and could hear him in her head whispering to her in seductive tones, longing to posses and tame her.
As a wave of liquid heat settled between her inner thighs, Padmé had no idea what he’d seen or done or what had led to this, but the woman in her could never deny him. Never! "I'll ask again. Are you hungry, love?"
Refusing to relinquish the sight of her for even a second, Anakin calmly lifted his hand. The Force awakened as the window he entered in shut, the curtains falling into place, drowning out the sun’s rays. He was suddenly bathed in a silhouette of shadows.
Padmé's gaze trailed his measured steps across the room as one by one the windows all shut, their curtains draped accordingly as the Force obeyed its master. The door lock clicked loudly in place as a hauntingly dusky sort of radiance barely filtered in, shunning them from the outside world. Poetic perhaps as their true selves were always hidden.
His stride towards her erased the distance between them, his body now crushing her against the table. The naked need exposed on his face swelled her nipples to erection, pressed taut against the soft fabric of her dress. The dominant invasion of her personal space when his arms closed tight around her waist left her weak in the knees.
Her left hand slowly rose to his broad chest, coming to rest over the heart that beat for her alone. "Have I misjudged your appetite, Master Jedi?"
Master Jedi... Never simply a Knight in her eyes. Never denied even the rank he knew she felt he so richly deserved. With his flesh hand he grasped hers, lifting it until his lips brushed warmth over the smooth skin of her palm. She was forever a Queen in his eyes and deserved such praise. The light scent of her perfume was alive in his nostrils, heady and wanton.
Padmé carefully considered his amorous mood. The hard length of him throbbed against her belly, awakening an aching need to be filled with him. To be taken by him until she abandoned all her inhibitions. "How am I supposed to give you what you want if you don't ask for it?" Of course he gave her a roguish smile, enjoying the game they played so well.
"I purchased some of those Desi sandwiches you love so well," she informed him. "We also have fresh fruit and cold Sorsa Berry juice. For dessert I have..."
His hands rose to the twin shoulder straps of her white dress, gently dragging them down her slender arms, effectively pooling the dress at her feet. Naked before him save a pair of white lace panties, she calmly stepped out of her shoes, all the while loving the fiery hunger in his eyes.
"Three pieces of fudge cake," Padmé finished as if he'd done nothing at all. As if she weren't a visual feast he seemed on the edge of plundering to his heart’s content. Sparing a sharp glance over her shoulder at the food prepared on the table, she arched a daring brow. "Do you like what you see?"
Towering powerfully over her, Anakin slowly shrugged off his Jedi robe and then his shirt. He finished undressing down to his pants, loving the shy blush that came over hr lovely face when he caught her staring. Reaching for her, his hands spanned the gentle curves of her hips.
Unable to resist a moment longer, he dove in, capturing her voluptuous mouth with such intense greed. Kissing her deeply with an insatiable lust that was borderline out of control. Her hands lifted of their own accord, cupping his face, dragging his mouth hard against hers, possessing him as he possessed her.
Padmé would have heard the dishes, bowel, cups, and a pitcher lifting from the table to some unknown location if her tongue wasn't being sucked in her husband’s mouth so decadently. No one and nothing could tame this wild, dangerous man.... except her. That thrilled her to no end, now the focal point of his entire world. She was that with which he could not live without.
She loved him. More than anything that existed in this world. More than anything or anyone, period.
"Tell me," Padmé gasped hot over his cheek, "What you," she wasn't able to finish when his mouth suckled her throat, "Want?"
Reaching for her panties, his flesh hand felt the moisture soaked center, evidence of her arousal. Her answer came when he tore her panties down off her hips, and then lifted her off the floor and seated on the edge of the table. His manhood throbbed that very instant.
Anakin gently laid Padmé down and then suddenly their mouths merged again, voraciously attacking each other as their passion burned white hot. When his flesh hand firmly cupped her breast, she whimpered through clenched teeth. Each tweak of her hard nipples caused her back to arch until he curled his tongue around one pebbled peak before drawing hungrily from the tip. "Ani... Oh, that feels so good."
Taking his own dear time, Anakin paid loving homage to her small breasts, his mouth and tongue worshiping her soft skin, his hands caressing her body to a flushed state that left the air ripe with the scent of an aroused woman. Soon his tongue left a wet trail down her body, pressed over the fluttering muscles of her toned belly, teasing her naval before hovering over the sweetest rose... the heated, glistening flesh of her sex.
"Yes, angel," Anakin spoke at last, his voice heavy with desire, eyes hooded darkly. "I am hungry... for you."
When his open mouth descended Padmé's vision went dark.
That first long, lazy brush of his strong tongue down and then back up drew such a cry from Padmé's lips her entire body shuddered in applause. Her back arched high, eyes shut to the erotic sight of her husband's head rocking back and forth between her thighs, feasting on her. The sensual sound of his mouth suckling her was unbelievable, and then his tongue lashing her with firm strokes shot ecstasy throughout her body.
"Ani, yes... Love you, Ani..."
The closed windows amped up the room’s temperature as they were both perspiring already. None of that mattered as the taste of his angel made Anakin an addict, forever addicted to her love. His hands descended, filling with the rounded cheeks of her firm backside, pulling her to his starving mouth as she writhed passionately. "I desire only you for all the days of my life," he gasped before drawing her clit into his mouth, suckling hard. "Lose yourself, Padmé Let go. Come for me."
He ate, drank, devoured, his mouth delighting in the flavor of her glistening skin. She groaned, rolled her hips toward him, the sweat of her thighs slicking his face. Her fists clenched by her sides, beating at the table.
Padmé's heart stopped beating for a split second as her body shook uncontrollably when her climax hit.
"Anakin, mercy!" she strained through a series of euphoric body-quaking convulsions that curled her toes, her legs closing tight around her husband's
head. When her back arched high like a bow her world erupted in sweet sensation as his mouth continued drawing her pleasure out until the sensations were too great and she had to push his face away with her hand, now lying on her side shuddering, unable to move.
Standing before her once more, Anakin beheld his wife's luscious form and died a little death, so enthralled. Lying on the table, Padmé was so small and slender, her fair skin flushed passionately, covered in a fine sheen of perspiration. Her gorgeous curly brown hair splayed out over the table. Her exquisite mouth parted as were her toned thighs. "You're magnificent."
Padmé's voice trembled as she managed a lazy, sexy, satisfied grin. "You make me feel magnificent," she confessed. "Sometimes I feel like you brought me back from the dead. I wasn't truly living until you returned to me."
When Padmé gingerly sat up Anakin swore she had never looked more beautiful. "I live for you."
Panting as her breath slowly returned to her, she reminded him, "We live for each other."
"I belong only to you," Anakin swore with his heart, the Jedi Order be damned. Her lovely smile lit up the room with its brilliance.
"Am I yours?" Padmé asked what she knew he craved to acknowledge at every turn. His reply came in the form of a smoldering kiss filled with such steamy
rapture. Her hand descended the hard planes of his chest, grasping his hardness through his pants in her palm, squeezing it with a firm grip. A deep, heady moan fell against her lips until she gently pushed him away, breaking the kiss.
Living a conservative life overflowing with loneliness and disappointment made each and every opportunity to defy such a life golden. With Anakin, Padmé could break free of the shackles of her boxed-in existence. She could tempt fate, be unpredictable and wild in a way no one thought she was capable of.
That Padmé lived within her as well, beside the daughter, the sister, the Senator, and the accomplished, educated married woman. This was the woman that could step out of her supposed shell and indulge her mind, body, and soul however she chose.
"Do you love me?"
Sighing, Anakin buried his face in her hair. "Always."
"Am I yours?"
"Till the day you die and beyond."
Pushing herself off the table's edge, Padmé pressed up against Anakin, and then angled her body around until she felt the hard heat of his erection against her naked backside, throbbing. His arms closed around her middle, locking their sweaty bodies together.
For Padmé, the very real danger of getting caught, of someone walking by and hearing them, discovering their secret, and the animalistic act she desired excited her greatly. Spreading her legs, she slinked her body forward and bent over the table, grinding back against the hardness she created. "Then take me like I'm yours."
The rustle of clothing being removed sent shivers of anticipation up and down her spine, gripping the very beat of her heart in its wake. The raw position in itself dared her to face his possessiveness, all the while learning about herself and how dearly she loved it. Needed and desired it as much as he did.
And then she felt him, the head of his hard cock pressed at the mound of her sex, seeking entrance. The leather covering his gloved hand steadied her lower back as the air rushed from her lungs when the solid length of him spread her flesh aside so deeply.
"By the Force, you feel so good," Anakin chanted hoarsely as her blissful tightness surrounded him. The high whimpering cry she made when he fully sheathed himself nearly tore his heart asunder, so sweet was the sound. Easing out nearly to the tip, he drove forward hard, rocking the table, driving the very breath from his her lungs.
With his hands gripping her hips Anakin took her relentlessly, squeaking the table's legs over the floor, utterly lost in his need to claim her for all time.
Nails scratching at the table's glass surface, Padmé felt him so deep inside her he would never be able to leave. His aggression amplified her pleasure a thousand fold. The methodical slapping of their flesh left her shuddering in a crazed rhythm of fiery ecstasy. The mental knowledge of engaging in such a primal act excited her even more as her silken walls clasped hot around him, drawing strongly on him with every surging penetration. "More... don't stop. I need you, Ani... more."
Every single thought-shattering word she spoke was accompanied with a powerful thrust of his hips, the hungry abyss of her body pulling so pleasurably around him. He caught sight of the way her back glistened with beads of perspiration as he was denied the look of passion on her face, but heard the heady rush of her breath, left him drowning within her. Nothing had ever felt so good.
Padmé moaned loudly, her eyes squeezed shut, the rapid impact of his body coursing pleasure throughout her own. She allowed him to set the rhythm and intensity when she lowered her head down to her forearms, panting and moaning while thrusting back at him desperately. Force, she loved the primal sounds he made, his heavy breathing and the lustful aggression he took out on her.
"You're mine, Padmé," Anakin swore to the Force itself, giving her deep, throaty wails courtesy of the savage onslaught of taking her from behind harder. Her love for him allowing him this indulgence knew no boundaries. The erotic vision of his cock moving in and out of her was intoxicating, as was the erotic sway of her back.
And then she cried out once more, shaking so hard as he slumped over her back, holding her tightly through her a writhing, ear-splitting orgasm. He himself was so close and just a little more would...
"Ani, stop," she gasped heavily.
He did so immediately, fearing in his lust he had hurt her. "Angel?"
"Over there... bring that chair over here."
Mindlessly he obeyed, manipulating the Force to pull the burgundy, armless high-back chair from the back wall to beside the table. He gently withdrew himself from her, standing away.
Padmé sincerely welcomed his silence in trusting her, in needing to please her in all ways. Standing upright, albeit a bit gingerly, she turned to face him. By the moons of Naboo he was glorious, all hard sweaty muscle and thick manhood. That wild, sensual look in his eyes was there all because of her and she loved it. "Sit in the chair, Ani. I need to see your face when you lose control. I need to feel your arms around me."
Moving to the chair, Anakin did as he was told, his pointed gaze following her every move. With a sensual flair governing her mood, Padmé confidently straddled his lap high, and then took him in her hand before easing down slowly on him until she had all of him trapped inside her, stretching her deliciously. Until her backside rested on his upper thighs, the heat of his breath fanning her neck as her head was thrown back in ecstasy.
"My love," Anakin proclaimed in a passionate whisper over her throat, kissing her there. His hands found the luxuriance of her curly, thick hair as her hips began to move in slow rhythmic circles. Her strong thighs tightened over his waist as she took him now, the hot depths of her willing his very soul from his body.
Her nails raked over his sweaty back, the fragrance of their lovemaking all around them. Padmé whined so softly as he filled her, his arms now locked tight around her. The hardened peaks of her nipples rubbed over his chest, ghosting new sensations throughout her body as her hips rocked wickedly over his lap. And then his mouth opened warmth over her neck, his tongue lashing long over her throat before suckling the flesh. "You're mine, Jedi."
His own words thrown back at him. "Forever," he chanted, nibbling her ear, gently biting the tip. She shuddered in response, and then moaned without vocal restraint as he found the rhythm of her hips with his own, grinding low and deep while clutching her so tightly. The added friction over her clit reduced her to near sobbing, so sweet was the pleasure.
Sweat trickled down their bodies in rivets of pure desire as the room felt like a heated sauna. Padmé crushed her lips with his, drowning in the taste of his mouth and the protective way he held her so close. The now constant throbbing within her was evidence enough how close he was to losing himself. Slowing her kisses, she allowed her lips a breaths space over his, her brown eyes opening to the sky blue of his own.
"Come inside me," she quietly breathed over his lips, her back and hips working in tandem as she rode him at a hard gallop. "Give yourself to me... give it all to me. Please, Ani. Come inside me."
Surely the windows shattered from his roar as she felt him stiffen inside her, and then burst sweetly time and time again, his entire body convulsing in her arms as she held him, as he held her.
Soft, quiet moments later they were still in the same position, exhausted and in dire need of a refresher session. Still, this intimate closeness, this beloved affection had been enjoyed to few and far between during the war. So for now they simply stole the moment, thinking of nothing more than how good it felt to be together.
"I can't believe I did all of that," Padmé half-giggled over his right shoulder, her eyes shut, a blush of sorts fanning her fair complexion. "I mean I'm certainly no prude, and this is far from our first time, but... My goodness, my parents and my sister’s family are here," she laughed into his moist skin.
Lifting herself a bit to look at her husband, she found Anakin grinning a lazy-sexy expression, his eyes still shut, his white teeth bared. "I think you're a bad influence on me," she teased before pressing her lips to his forehead. "Well are you going to say anything?"
Hands resting on her thighs, Anakin found the most beautiful woman in the galaxy staring at him, her hair a complete mess, but still gorgeous. "Senator Amidala, you are hereby under arrest for being the Sith Lord the Jedi have been looking for."
Her mother once told her men needed to be smacked upside the head once in a while. She never truly understood the sentiment until now. "Don't make me communicate with Obi-Wan of what his former Padawan's been getting into... while on vacation."
"Please never mention Ben's name while naked again. It makes me feel uncomfortable."
Smiling, she whispered okay before another long, loving kiss.
Suddenly loud voices and commotion could be heard as people ran down the hall past the room. Padmé and Anakin quickly extricated themselves and sought their clothing as fast as possible. Thankfully there was no mirror around as Padmé knew for certain she wasn't the least bit presentable. Anakin seemed amused by the expression she wore that said it all as they got dressed.
"THEED ROYAL PALACE IS UNDER SEIGE! THE QUEEN IS IN DANGER! AN ASSASIANATION ATTEMPT IS TAKING PLACE!" Paddy Acu's distinct voice could be heard shouting down the hall, no doubt seeking to secure and warn the Naberrie family.
"We have to get to the Palace now," Padmé stated, looking to Anakin.
"I'm going there now. Not you."
Clearly offended by the order, Padmé glared at him in shock. "Excuse me?"
"News of your arrival on Naboo might be well known, but not everyone knows where you would be staying. This attempt could have been because of an assumption that you would be staying at the Palace. You might of been the real target."
"If you are correct then that is even more reason that I show no fear of these people by confronting them in person. In any event my presence could help in some way. My duty is to the people of Naboo, and if its queen is in danger then near her is where I need to be."
Her courage notwithstanding, Anakin would hear nothing of it. "No. I won't risk your safety."
"That wasn't a request," Padmé replied leaving no room for further discussion. Turning from him now fully dressed, she made her way towards the door before a lightheaded wave of something came over her so suddenly she fainted in a flash. Anakin was there to catch her before she hit the floor, scooping her in his arms.
Reaching out with the Force, Anakin scanned the hallway and discovered the family and servants gathering on the other side of the estate. He knew he could deposit Padmé in her room and then tell the family she was safe and sleeping before leaving for the Palace. "I won't risk your safety under any circumstance, Padmé. And I'm sure you're going to want to kill me after what I just did and am about to do."
The End of Chapter 3
Chapter 4: Anakin is in mortal danger as Padmé deals with the crisis, what he did to her, and her mother's growing suspicions.