Chapter Twenty-One

The document that Obi-Wan held brought back a painful memory. Although not sealed with wax, it had been written by his hand, and he had poured just as much of his heart into it as he had done before.

Now, he just had to deliver it.

The party the night before had gone long, and by the time it was over, Padmé had been too tired to talk. Plus, Anakin was loitering around her apartment, and the opportunity to speak to her in private had never come up.

Much later that morning, he and his apprentice had accompanied Padmé to her new offices, and from that point on, she had been surrounded by senators, assistants, friends, and the media.

During that time, Obi-Wan had snuck away to compose his letter, but had not yet had the chance to present it to her. And now, here he stood outside of the Senate Arena, where Padmé was to be inaugurated as Supreme Chancellor, the letter weighing heavily in his hand.

The Jedi Master waited outside the arena, hoping to at least speak to her, but when she made her appearance, the media surrounded her and duty took over. He assisted Anakin in clearing a path to the room where the chancellor's podium awaited, the place from which Padmé would officially accept her new position.

Upon entering into the alcove that led to the podium itself, Padmé paused, turned to Sola and was handed a folded document, more than likely her prepared acceptance speech, Obi-Wan figured.

He and Anakin dismissed the media after Sola promised them post-inauguration holo-shots and interviews, and Padmé then turned one again to enter the space, only to pause once more.

She turned to a beaming Anakin, who apparently assumed he would be accompanying her.

"I need to do this myself." She told him.

The new Republic leader gazed steadily at the young Jedi, and then at her sister Sola. The older sibling nodded and backed away, but it was Anakin who stepped forward to argue.

"I insist that I go with you, Chancellor, for your own safety at least."

"No, Anakin. I meant what I said. I need to do this alone."

Confused and a bit hurt, the young Jedi Padawan joined Sola across the hall, and Obi-Wan turned to join them, but was caught by Padmé's hand and pulled deeper into the shadowy doorway.

"I want to thank you, Obi-Wan." She said with a tremulous voice. "For saving my life, for protecting me, and for..." Dark eyes focused on a pair of masculine lips above a bearded chin. "Being my friend."

Then the young woman boldly tiptoed up and kissed him. It was sweet and chaste, followed by another 'thank you', but Obi-Wan was too tempted by the small sampling of the sweetness of her mouth, and it left him desiring much more. Grabbing onto Padmé's shoulders, he pulled her forward against him and kissed her hard, the way he had done back on Naboo. The kiss he had dreamed about so many times ever since then.

When he released her, they both were out of breath, but Obi-Wan managed a smile.

"You're welcome." He said before he released a rather dazed Supreme Chancellor, who stepped forward quite dizzily to enter into the podium and then pressed the hydraulic controls.

It took a minute for the young woman to gather her wits, but by the time the podium elevated to the level of the arena, she had managed to express her appreciation for the thunderous applause that greeted her.

"Thank you for your warm welcome." Padmé said once the noise level had decreased. "It is truly my honor to represent the Republic as your Supreme Chancellor."

Once again, applause erupted around the grand amphitheater and Padmé took the opportunity to unfold the acceptance speech that she and Sola had prepared, but when Padmé glanced down at the document, at first she was startled. This wasn't Sola's handwriting!

But then she began reading it, and as she did, a feeling of warmth seeped slowly through her body and a broad smile lit her face.

My Dearest Padmé,

I overheard you talking to Master Mundi last night, and I can no longer bear to go on without telling you how I feel.

I love you. I have always loved you. Ever since Naboo, no matter if I often acted otherwise. It was all a cover-up, a ruse to hide how hurt I was that you were apparently in love with someone else.

But then I overheard what you said, and I decided that I wasn't about to let another chance pass me by. I've already waited long enough.

Perhaps too long.

If so, then please forgive this correspondence and allow us to continue as friends.

But know that friendship with you is not all that I want. I want to be with you. Always, in every way. I want you to be my wife, Padmé.

I anxiously await your reply.

Love, Your Obi-Wan

By the time that Padmé had finished reading the letter, she was blushing, her audience was murmuring and staring, and Sola was attempting to get her attention.

However, the young woman ignored them all; her entire being focused on one thing. One person, to be exact.

She turned around in the podium, now clutching the letter to her breast and yelled out a single word.

"Yes!"

Not seeing Obi-Wan right away, Padmé fumbled with the hydraulic controls, but she was so excited, her hands were trembling and she couldn't get the damn thing to move.

Much to her relief and surprise, the Jedi Master soon appeared behind the delegation pod parked toward her right and motioned for her to stand to one side. With a Force-enhanced leap, Obi-Wan was suddenly standing in front of her.

"Yes! I'll marry you!" She repeated loud enough for everyone to hear, and was once more drawn into a powerful embrace, followed by an equally powerful kiss, the two of them beyond hearing the applause and whistles that thundered around them.

But not all present were applauding or even appeared happy.

A one Padawan Skywalker looked utterly confused as he turned to Sola, whose expression revealed a mixture of disbelief, disappointment, and disgust.

Nearby, the wrinkled green face of Master Yoda appeared smug as he looked to his fellow council member, Mace Windu.

"Told you I did. Knew, I would that they would get together."

"You did not! You said that…." Mace Windu paused, beginning to wonder about Yoda's senility. "Oh…just shut up!"

-END-