Chapter Thirteen

A few hours later, Padmé found Obi-Wan wandering through one of the hothouses not too far from the palace. One of the servants had pointed her in that direction, and she followed a well-used path that led directly to the long transparisteel building.

She peeked her head inside the deserted structure aglow with red solar lighting, rows upon rows of greenery lining the narrow walkways. The air was heavy with humidity and smelled of soil and living plants. She breathed in deeply, the pleasing scent confirming that she had made the right decision.

"Obi-Wan?" She called out softly as she made her way down the center path.

She found him standing at the juncture of a crosswalk, staring at a large variegated leaved specimen that was blooming with numerous, fairly large rose-colored blossoms.

"A junaberry bush." He noted without turning around. "During its peak season, it grows large edible berries. They are very sweet and quite nutritious. It is a relative to the non-producing juna tree. However, this plant will not produce fruit in an artificial environment such as this."

There was a long pause while Padmé searched for something to say. Only in times of distress had she ever known Obi-Wan to spout such trivia – and nothing ever so mundane as he had just done.

"So when's the wedding?" He asked, with his back still to her, so that he did not see Padmé biting her lip to keep from laughing. She struggled to regain some control before she spoke.

"Tomorrow night. The preparations had already been made, so we figured, why waste them?"

He did turn then, in a quick twist that caused his his dark brown robe to swat at the surrounding bushes, nearly knocking them off of their metallic stands.

Padmé could not contain herself any longer and she burst out laughing. "If you could just see your face!"

His face, one that previously revealed astonishment soon turned to confusion and then was lit with the slightest spark of hope.

"But…." Obi-Wan stammered. "He said he loved you. You would be a queen."

"A queen? I've had that experience already, thanks. Plus, a woman doesn't agree to marry every man that comes along and says he loves her, you know." Padmé shook her head in mock disbelief.

"Obi-Wan, you can be such a Gungan sometimes." She teased.

"Then there's still a chance…" he mumbled in a barely audible voice.

"Excuse me?" Padmé took a step forward to hear him better.

Instead of answering, Obi-Wan turned and plucked one of the deep rose-colored blossoms from off the bush and handed it to Padmé.

"And what if this particular man told you that he loved you?"

Padmé felt the blood rush to her face and with the articifial red illumination around her, hoped that it did not show, but she was definite that the pulse that was now beating rapidly in her throat and the increased rate of her respirations would be quite evident to anyone who was watching.

She accepted the blossom with shaking fingers and took another step forward.

"I would say that I loved him back." She answered softly.

"That's good to hear." Obi-Wan sighed as he ran his finger through the length of a curl dangling alongside her face. "It will make for a much more pleasant marriage."

Before Padmé could respond, she found her mouth occupied with the soft carees of Obi-Wan's lips. The kiss was gentle and sweet, as a first kiss should be, but nevertheless, Padmé felt her blood pounding in her veins and the feel of his mouth upon her sent a warmth that spread throughout her trembling body.

Just as he was about to withdraw, Padmé dared to bring her hand to his neck and pull him back to her mouth to deepen the kiss in a way that left no doubt as to what her feelings were or what her answer to his proposal would be.

The rising sun two days later streamed in upon the slim figure of Padmé Amidala standing and staring out the arching window of her guest room in the Jovian palace. The pink and yellow light filtered through the nearly transparent coverlet she had wrapped around her body. Obi-Wan watched her from the bed they shared, completely enraptured by her beauty before rising to move behind her, encasing her in the shelter of his arms.

"You know, Jovian isn't as horrid as I had thought." Padmé said quietly. "Maybe it's the sunlight. Or maybe its because I'm so in love."

"Probably the sunlight." Obi-Wan teased, receiving a slight pinch on his arm in return. "But I'm glad to hear you don't disapprove of the planet any longer. Once the prince accepted his defeat in winning your heart, he offered to allow us to spend our honeymoon here."

Padmé turned slowly to stare at Obi-Wan with a look of complete disbelief and disgust.

Obi-Wan tried to display serenity, but gradually lost the battle and grinned widely, his shoulders shaking with suppressed laughter. "If you could have seen your face!"

"You jerk!" Padmé playfully slapped his bare chest before meeting his descending lips with her own.

"Perhaps you would prefer," he said quietly before placing a series of feather-light kisses along her cheek while Padmé opened the wrap to press her bare body against him. "Naboo." He whispered upon meeting her ear before inhaling the lobe to nibble upon.

"That's fine." Padmé said in a simple tone, causing Obi-Wan to pull back in surprise.

"Just fine?"

"Yes. Fine." She repeated with a twinkle in her eye. "Naboo is fine…and…. you…are…fine." She accentuated the last few words, to which Obi-Wan rolled his eyes toward the ceiling, recognizing the compliment that had so often been used by Queen Iviana.

"Don't even start that." He playfully warned with a quick kiss to her lips that soon turned into anything but chaste.

After their kiss ended, Padmé turned again in his arms and Obi-Wan wrapped the coverlet around them both as they looked back out the window to watch the Jovian sun moving above the horizon. Its rays glinted off a descending transport ship carrying the replacement Jedi team, the ship that would be taking them back to Coruscant, where they would begin their lives – together.

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