My apologies for the delay in updating. DRL has been very, very bad. Hope you will all enjoy this update. My thanks to everybody who was left comments and reviews. They are always both appreciated and welcomed. I won't reply to each review this time as i want to get this out quickly, but again my thanks to all who are reading. Enjoy!
There are many perks being married to the famous Senator from Naboo. Aside from prime seats at sporting events or, Force forbid—the opera, we could arrive at some of the swankest restaurants in all of Coruscant without a reservation and be seated immediately. This was a rather useful thing since Jedi tend not to have a predictable work schedule. However, one of the consequences of this relationship was that my beautiful wife could sometimes take hours getting ready, even if we were going out on a short date. I suppose it was something from her days of being a Queen, but Padmé insisted on look just a certain way when we were in public. Hence, I spent a lot of my life, waiting for her.
This was the situation I currently found myself in. I was dressed in my finest tunics and I was trying to keep Luke and Leia entertained while we waited patiently for their mother to get ready. Since our return from our second honeymoon, we have tried to spend as much time with the twins as possible. Now that they are getting a little older, we both agreed it was due time to teach them how to behave in public because; unfortunately, they would always have to live a very unsheltered life. Best to start early, or so we thought.
While I paced about the room impatiently, an action that used to draw my former Master's ire, I stared down the long, dark hallway as I waited for Padmé to emerge. I snorted to myself as I thought that I got myself and both the twins dressed quicker than it was taking her with Dormé's help I might add, to get ready. As I turned my attention towards my children, I smiled happily as I saw my little princess entranced at the miniature glass tank that held the small Naboovian puffer fish that Obi-Wan and Sabé bought for her. Meanwhile, Luke was sitting next to her, staring at it intensely.
When I moved away to once again holler the time to the empty hallway, Leia gave her brother a wry look.
"Can I hold the tank?" Luke asked softly.
The little girl scrunched her face as she said dubiously, "I don't know. You didn't say the magic word."
Luke sighed deeply as he gazed at her now more serious look. "Can I hold the tank to look at the fish, please?"
"I'm not sure if I should."
Leia noticeably grimaced at him before returning her stare towards her fish. "'Cause he doesn't like you."
"Well, it's true."
"How do you know that?" he asked with a dubious look.
Leia smirked as she answered, "'Cause he told me."
Luke shrugged his body dramatically as he desperately wanted to look at his sister's pet more closely. He would have had one of his very own if he had been more careful and not dropped his bag when he was trying to beat Leia onto the Ferris wheel. However, by the time he was able to get more water for his fish, it had already passed on, as his Grandmother put it.
Meanwhile, Leia smiled wryly at her anxious brother. Although it had been a couple of days since he had gotten her in trouble with Uncle Obi-Wan and Sabé, she still hadn't forgotten about him pinching her. The dark eyed girl was not about to let her twin steal her limelight. After all, she was the cute little princess that never did anything wrong and therefore, Luke must pay. To that end, she had a plan.
Leia knew that they were going out somewhere important when both her father and mother told them that they had to be on their best behavior. She then pulled out several pieces of rock candy that she had 'obtained' back at the carnival on Naboo. The little girl knew that her brother loved them, but if he ate too much he couldn't sit still to save his life.
It was perfect.
Now flashing her large smile at her twin, Leia said, "Well, I'll let you hold my fish if you do a dare."
"Anything," Luke announced too readily.
A wicked grin now smeared her face. "I dare you to eat five pieces of rock candy at once."
The little boy's face brightened further, as these were his favorite treats. "That's easy," he said as he stretched out his hand towards her.
Feigning exasperation, Leia shrugged while placing the candies into Luke's proffered hand. "Prove it then."
He immediately stuffed them into his small mouth, chewing relentlessly for several minutes until he swallowed the last piece. Luke, unceremoniously, opened his mother for his sister to examine, in order to show that he complied with the wager. Finally satisfied, Leia reluctantly handed over her puffer fish bowl to her brother, trying to look disgruntled by losing the bet. The little girl grinned inwardly as she couldn't wait to see what trouble her brother would get himself into.
"What are you two doing?" I asked my two cherub, but guilty faced children.
"Nothing," they answered in unison.
Trying not to roll my eyes, since I knew they were up to something, I just shook my head, returning to my pacing. However, when I turned about, the source of my loss of center finally emerged from the bedroom. My lack of patience instantly disappeared as I saw my angel walking towards me. Padmé was dressed in an exquisite midnight blue gown that accentuated her petite frame and her hair was done up elegantly. She looked absolutely radiant.
I gave her a half-bow as I released a roguish grin. "Milady, you look amazing."
"So, was it worth the wait?" She asked teasingly.
Chortling, I responded, "It was and then some." I then reached down to give her a careful kiss on the cheek, so as not to disturb hours of painstaking preparation. Meanwhile, the twins joined us and were bouncing up and down in excitement. I then knelt down to look them in the eyes.
"Alright, you two need to promise mommy and daddy that you will be on your best behavior tonight because you want to show off to everyone how grown up you already are."
Both Leia and Luke nodded incessantly, issuing their various pledges. I then stood up to offer my wife my arm, which she happily took as I led her out to our airspeeder.
Getting the entire family into the speeder is usually an adventure in of itself because the twins always have their preference of seats. This would be fine if they were consistently the same ones. But alas, they weren't so it takes a stroke of Padmé's well crafted diplomatic skills in order to expedite the process. Once we were underway, I noticed in the rearview mirror that my son seemed to be having some trouble sitting still.
"Something wrong with your seat?"
The boy stopped bouncing long enough to look under his seat and around the area before responding. "No, sir."
"How about you keep still until we get to the restaurant."
He nodded vigorously as he turned his attention towards the nearby moving traffic. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me or Padmé, Leia was sitting in her place with an evilly wicked grim plastered across her face.
After Padmé filled me in on her long day of dealing with normal Senatorial problems, we finally arrived at the restaurant; thank the Force. I handed the valet the codekey for the speeder; meanwhile, Luke maneuvered himself out of his seat to stand in the driver's side doorway.
"This is my Daddy's speeder and you can't drive it!" He demanded.
The boy looked stunned at my son's declaration then whirled around to get my attention. I turned about to give Luke a sharp glance as I under my breath ordered, "Come here."
He looked at me, almost as if I was acting in the wrong before finally jumping out and joining the rest of us. Shooting him another stare of warning, I flashed a smile of reassurance at Padmé while I escorted her inside. As I alluded to earlier, being married to a politician definitely has its perks. I could barely hide the ear to ear grin as we marched through the restaurant's entrance, past the hoards of people waiting sometimes for over a standard hour to get a seat. I know it is un-Jedi like of me to act this way, but I do have admit, it is quite an enjoyable moment.
Once I helped Padmé, then Leia get into their seats, I was about to pull a chair out for my son; however, he was nowhere near our table. Instead he was still back near the entrance of the restaurant, talking with some rather disgruntled looking Rodians.
"I don't care if you're mad that you have to wait and we don't. Do you know who my parents are? My mommy is Senator Padmé Amidala and my father is Jedi Master Anakin Skywalker so you'd better be nice or he'll turn you into bug squash."
The larger Rodian male frowned as he strained to reply in Basic, "I don't care who your parents are, you should wait in line like the rest of us."
As I approached them and heard the subject of their disagreement, I mentally admonished myself for my previous, un-Jedi like thought. I politely bowed before the couple as I seized Luke's hand into my own. "This little one is not worth the trouble. Please, let me buy you two a drink and we'll call it even."
To my amazement, this seemed to temper their anger as I had the maitre de bring them two stout Corellian whiskeys. Meanwhile, I led my son back to a concerned looking Padmé and a rather smug in appearance Leia.
"What happened?" Padmé asked worried.
I shook my head. "Some Rodians took exception to us getting a table right away and Luke here just had to boast about who his parents are."
My wife's face was a mixture of concern and amusement. "I was afraid of that. This place isn't always the easiest to get into."
"No worries. I bought them a couple of drinks which seemed to make them happy."
Padmé smirked as she returned her focus to the menu; meanwhile, Leia blurted out in a sing song voice, "Luke's in trouble. Luke's in trouble."
"No, I'm not!" he protested.
"Yes, you are."
Calmly, I interrupted. "Leia, Luke is not in trouble and please help your mother figure out what you want for dinner."
My little girl pouted as Padmé moved the menu closer so they could read together. As I turned my attention towards Luke, he was missing from his place again. I quickly glanced around the room to see that he was standing between an elderly couple sitting nearby, apparently having a conversation.
"Hi there, young son."
"Such a darling little boy. Where are your mommy and daddy?"
Luke turned around to point at me as I approached. "They are over there." He then turned to the elderly lady and asked, "You know what? I have legs."
She chuckled softly as she answered, "That's wonderful, darling. I have legs too."
As I approached them, I picked up Luke into my arms and said, "I'm terribly sorry that he disturbed your dinner."
The man smiled as he said, "Quite alright son. Once upon a time, me and the missus had a couple of our own. Always wondering off. You know there was this one time…"
Politely I interrupted, "I'm very sorry, but I have to return to my family."
They both smiled as we took our leave. I glanced at my son and whispered, "Why did you go bother them?"
"Cause I wanted to talk."
"And you couldn't talk with us?"
He shook his head as he retorted. "No, Father. You were busy speaking to Mom and Leia and I didn't want to bother you."
I gave him an exasperated look. "Well, don't run off like that. Please stay in your seat."
Upon our return to the table, Padmé shot an icy stare at our son, causing him to immediately shove his thumb into his mouth. Leia, looking a little too pleased with herself, did not say anything when I gave her a look of warning to behave. However, the tense moment passed as the waiter arrived to take our drink order.
"I'll have a red wine." Padmé requested.
"So will I."
Leia smiled sweetly at me as the waiter turned his attention towards her. "Daddy?"
"Can I have some fizzy water?"
I glanced up at Padmé who subtly nodded her permission, which was always the safest thing for me to do when there was any doubt. "You can have one, but only one."
A cute grin filled her face as she seemed pleased to be getting what she wanted. At that same moment, Luke's meekly asked, "Can I have one, too?"
"Only one, son."
After we received our drinks, both children downed their candy flavored beverages while Padmé and I savored our wine. I was about to turn to talk to my wife, I noticed that Luke seemed to be bouncing in his seat again.
Keeping my voice low, I said, "Luke, settle down."
He simply bobbed his head as he continued to shift uncomfortably in his seat. Hoping that by not drawing too much attention to his antics, my wife and I became engrossed discussing our hectic day. Unbeknownst to us at the time, Luke carefully withdrew from his chair and wondered off. Neither Padmé nor I noticed his departure until all the lights in the restaurant suddenly shut off. At first, I thought my son ducked under the table since he had a natural childhood fear of the dark. However, after poking my head under and not seeing him there, I heard an all too familiar giggling coming from the corner of the room.
Apparently, Luke found where the light switch was and when the waiters went over to turn them back on, he used his innate Force abilities to turn them off again. This went on several times until I finally crossed the entire restaurant to grab him. Without word, I scooped him up into my arms and received numerous stares from both patrons and the staff. I looked at my son angrily as I whispered, "What has gotten into you?" He sagged his shoulders before I added, "You're in big trouble when we get home."
That was the cue he needed to launch into a crying fit. Thankfully, Padmé got up and joined us halfway to the table. She then took Luke from my arms and they headed off to the refresher. I sighed as I returned to my seat to a seemingly delighted Leia. She smiled at me daintily as she returned her attention to her plate. A surge of deviousness rose in my daughter while she chewed on her appetizer and looked at me with feigned innocent eyes.
"What did you do, Leia?"
I continued to eye her suspiciously as she held out a piece of bread towards me. "Leia?"
I leaned closer, not taking my eyes off of her. "Did you have something to do with your brother acting up?"
She batted her eyes several times as she then placed down the bread and held out some of her appetizer like an offering, of sorts.
"Tell me, princess."
"Yes." I said slowly.
"Well…he took me up on a dare so it's his fault."
"What dare?" I asked, knowing that I probably wasn't going to like the answer.
She blinked her eyes rapidly before she finally answered. "Well, Lukey wanted to see my fish, but I told him that my fish didn't like him so I dared him that if he could eat five rock candies at once, he could hold my fish bowl."
"Five!" I said incensed.
Leia nodded silently as pools of tears were beginning to form in her eyes.
Gritting my teeth and trying to keep my voice low, I murmured, "Leia Skywalker, wait until your mother finds out."
Her eyes bulged as she pleaded, "Please, please don't tell mommy. She'll give me a spanking."
"I think you might deserve one, trying to get your brother in trouble like that. You know he gets hyper when he eats too many sweets."
The forlorn look on her face confirmed my suspicions. My sweet little innocent daughter conspired to get Luke into trouble. For what reason, I have no clue. And here, Padmé and I want more of these…What were we thinking?
A moment later, Padmé and a much more relaxed Luke returned from the refresher. She must have noticed my anger when she cautiously asked, "What happened now?"
"Your…Our," I quickly corrected, "daughter was behind Luke's sudden fits."
"Oh?" she remarked coolly, fixing her eyes upon the sulking child.
"That's right," I pointed out. "Seems someone here dared her brother to eat five pieces of rock candy before dinner."
"Leia," Padmé said astounded. "Just wait until we get home."
Upon threat of bodily harm, our daughter launched into a crying fit, one that was unparalleled to some of her previous antics that she got punished for. I then added, "I also think someone is going to have to tell Master Yoda what she did."
The little girl's wails increased, causing several patrons to fix their glares at our tables. With that, Padmé and I collected our children to make an abrupt exit.
And we didn't even get to eat dinner.
Leia was definitely in for it once we got home.
After I put Luke to bed and Padmé handed out Leia's punishment, I went into our living area and sprawled out on the couch. At this point I was too tired to rummage through our storage vats for leftovers. Besides, I was teaching an advanced piloting course first thing in the morning so I could stop by the Temple's cafeteria and eat early meal with Obi-Wan. I was nearly fading to sleep when my beautiful bride emerged from the bedrooms, looking wearier then me.
I offered her a tired grin. "Did you finally get her down?"
She nodded slowly as she collapsed next to me onto the couch. "She was very upset, but she did apologize to her brother to save herself from a spanking. And I helped her write a letter that she is going to give to Master Yoda in the morning."
"I don't know what gets into her sometimes."
Padmé smiled. "Well, Sola and I could be pretty rough on each other when we were mad at each other."
I chuckled briefly as I wrapped my arm around her. "I do feel bad for coming down so hard on her."
My wife looked up at me and gave me a quick, soft kiss. "You are just a big softy when it comes to us Skywalker women."
I snorted as I playfully rolled my eyes at her. We then cuddled together for several minutes before I nearly feel asleep again and then felt an unwelcome shake on my shoulder.
"Come on, Ani. Let's call it a night."
I stretched my arms and legs out as I yawned. After getting up and heading towards our bedroom, I paused and went into Leia's room. My little princess was sound asleep with her fish bowl on her light stand. I was about to turn around and head to my own room when I noticed something peculiar about her pet. Using the Force to suppress my footsteps, I walked closer to the bowl and sighed deeply when I saw that her fish was floating upside down.
I momentarily turned my attention to her sleeping, angelic face and I could not fathom seeing her as upset as she was earlier when she discovered that her pet died. I quietly left her room and walked directly to my closet to change clothes. As I grabbed a tunic and a cloak, Padmé looked at me curiously. "What are you doing?"
While I sat down on the edge of our bed putting my clothes on, I answered, "Leia's fish died so I am going to run down to the market to try to find her another one."
"Oh Ani, just come to bed. She'll be fine."
I sighed as I finished tying my boot laces. "I know, but still I hate to see her upset especially after tonight's events."
My angel simply smirked at me as she covered herself with a blanket. "Well, don't stay out too long."
"I won't," I said, flicking off the overhead light using the Force.
I should really learn to keep my big mouth shut. Since leaving our home, I've been wondering the streets of Coruscant for hours trying to find a Naboovian fish that every market seems to be out of. Mind you, if I wanted death sticks or spice, this was the prime time to get either of those items. And ironically enough, if we were home at Varykino, all I would have to do is reach my hand into the lake and I would have my pick. And since a four day round trip for a little fish was completely out of question, I continued to scour the city in hopes of coming across a trader.
As I wandered into the sixth all night pet store—why keep a pet shop open all night is beyond me? Then again, it was probably because of situations as my current one I further mused. Taking a quick look around, I was thrilled to discover that it was solely dedicated to various species of fish. However, the hundreds of tanks that filled the room were an indication that my task was far from complete. Therefore, with the handheld holoemitter displaying the likeness of Leia's late fish, I went from tank to tank trying to find a perfect match.
About two hours later and approaching dawn, I finally found one that had similar black stripes and was nearly the right size. At this point, it was good enough. I paid the cashier the twenty credits that he was charging—or overcharging I should say, and made my way home. Thankfully, as I crept into my little princess' room, she was still asleep. I used the Force to suppress any noise that could be made as I transferred the fish from the transparent bag into her bowl. I was about to leave her room and head to my own for some much needed sleep when I heard her call out.
I turned about and gave her a tired smile. "Good morning, Leia. Did you sleep well?"
She nodded vigorously before turning on her lamp to examine her fish. The moment of truth, I thought as I watched her scrunch her face in confusion. Uncertain if she figured out my rouse, I asked, "Something wrong, honey?"
Leia gazed at me quizzically for a moment, then focused her attention to her pet. "I could have sworn it had a yellow stripe on it yesterday when I put him to bed."
I sighed deeply as my beautiful daughter turned her big brown eyes back towards me. Fatigued, I walked slowly to the edge of her bed and knelt down in front of her. "I'm very sorry, little angel, but your fish died last night and…well…I got you a new one though."
Leia blinked rapidly for several seconds as she looked from me back to her bowl. She then wrapped her little arms around my neck briefly before she got out of bed to grab her tunics. As she was about to head out of the room, she said, "Oh Daddy, you didn't have to get me another fish. Fish are dumb anyway."
With that she skipped out, leaving me, her very exhausted father, shaking my head in utter disbelief. I swear these children of ours are going to drive me to the Darkside one day.