Tales of Tatooine #3

Beru Lars looked up from the braised fork tarts she was preparing to see Luke hurry past her into his room and slam the door. Laying aside the cutting knife and depositing the meat into the cooking unit, she tip toed towards Luke's room and listened at the door.

Her throat tightened as she heard the muffled sobs of the ten year old boy as he cried out his sorrow. Gently knocking first, she palmed the door knob open and stuck her head into the room.

"Luke? Are you okay, dear?"

She saw his small shoulders stiffen and his head turn in her direction.

"I'm okay," he said in a small voice.

Beru crossed to the bed and sat down next to the small boy. Even at ten years of age he was still the smallest boy his age—something the other boys often taunted him about. She ran a hand through is tussled blonde hair and sighed.

"Looks like it's time for another hair cut. I swear, Luke, your hair grows faster than a bonegnawer after a cliffborer worm."

He rolled toward her, his tear streaked face curling up into a smile. "Nothing's as fast as that, Aunt Beru."

"Well…pretty close then." She pulled a homespun kerchief from her pocket and began to wipe his face. "Uh-oh…I've made a clean spot."

Luke laughed, taking the kerchief from her and finishing the task. "I can take it from here."

She smiled, folding her hands into her lap. "Do you feel like talking?"

"No."

"Might help."

He rolled his eyes. "Talking won't change anything."

"I meant it might make you feel better to talk about what is bothering you."

Luke sat silently with a stubborn glint in his eye.

"Very well…far be it from me to force a conversation out of you, young man." She stood and straightened her apron. "Why I have an entire evening of exciting activities planned just waiting for me to return to."

"Like what, Aunt Beru?"

"Well…there's the fork tarts to finish and sand to sweep out of my kitchen." She turned toward the door. "Not to mention folding your clothes and putting them away…along with your uncle's things. I've simply got to finish the mid-day meal dishes and by then there'll be more sand to sweep out of my kitchen."

The blue eyes sparkled as he looked up into her face. "Doesn't sound very exciting to me."

"Maybe not to you, but I'm quite ready to get back to my exhilarating life, so if there's nothing more you need…"

Luke took a deep breath. "They were teasing me again today…the boys at school."

Beru steeled her face and shoved her hands into the pocket of her apron. "The same ones?"

Luke nodded his head.

"What did Biggs do?"

"He wasn't there today—he's off somewhere with his father."

She crossed to the bed and sat down again. "I see."

"Just because I don't have a father they call me orphan sleemo. They say I never even had one—that I was hatched from a wayward massif egg."

Beru pursed her lips and folded her arms across her chest. "Well, first of all—massif's are mammals and don't lay eggs, but more importantly, you did have a father, Luke. It's just unfortunate that he died when you were born."

"It's not fair," he said, pulling his legs up close to him. "And why won't Uncle Owen tell me any more about him?"

"He has his reasons, Luke." She ran a hand down his arm, briefing touching his hand. "When you're older, I'm sure he'll tell you more…but for now he needs you to trust him."

"I do…I just wish…"

"Hmmmm?"

He looked away and sighed. "Sometimes…I have these dreams about him."

"Your father?"

Luke nodded his head. "In my dream, he shows up at school and tells everyone that he's looking for his son—for me, Aunt Beru...and that he hadn't died. It was all just a big mistake, he wasn't a navigator on some spice freighter, he was a pilot—he even owned his own starfighter."

Beru cupped Luke's small chin and cocked her head. "Oh sweetie…"

"I know…it was just a dream. I guess I better get washed up for the evening meal." Luke trudged to the door and then turned. "Thanks, Aunt Beru, I guess talking about it did make me feel a little better."

"You're welcome, Luke." She watched him trail down the hall to the fresher and close the door.

Owen's voice echoed from the kitchen, calling her to him. She stood and walked the short distance to the alcove.

Her husband looked up from his datapad and frowned. "Where's the boy?"

"He's in the fresher. Some of the boys at school were making fun of him again today."

Owen shook his head. "You coddle him too much, Beru. That boy needs to toughen up and learn about the realities of life."

She picked up her knife and began to cut the stalk of chuba roots. "He's only ten year's old for star's sake." She dropped some of the cubed roots into the cooker. "Owen, when are you going to tell Luke the truth about his father?"

He snorted loudly. "Never—I'll not have Luke following in his father's stoopa Jedi footsteps, Beru."

"They weren't foolish."

"They got him killed, didn't they?" He dropped the datapad on the counter and opened the cooling unit, pulling out a bottle of ale.

"The Imperials did that—not the Jedi."

"Shhhhh…for star's sake, woman. Do you want the boy to hear?"

She stabbed the knife into the remaining chuba and faced her husband. "Maybe it's time, Owen. All he asks about anymore is what 'was his father like' and 'do we have any holo-pics of him?' It's only natural that he would want to know about him."

"I said NO."

Beru knew she had lost this argument yet again and finished preparing the meal.

Owen picked up his datapad and took a sip of ale. "It's funny though…"

"What is?"

"The boy never asks about his mother."

Beru poured cups of blue milk as she considered her husband's observation. Walking to the hallway to summon Luke, she turned back toward her husband. "Perhaps it's because that role is not lacking in his life."

She noticed the red flush to her husband's face as she left the room.

end