Padmé sat at her dressing table brushing her hair as Anakin watched her from their bed.
"Obi-Wan was in a rare mood today," he told her. "Grinning from ear to ear all day."
Padmé smiled. "That's nice," she replied.
Anakin folded his arms over his chest. "He even had hickies," he continued.
"Imagine that," Padmé said, knowing where this was going.
Anakin had tried everything he could to get Padmé to tell him about Dormé's surprise, but she had been stalwart and not said a word. Time for drastic measures, he decided, getting up off the bed.
"Well, I'd rather not imagine, to be honest," he said as he came to stand behind her. Padmé watched him in the mirror suspiciously. "Though I figure she must have done something really …unusual to get him to react that way."
"She did," Padmé replied.
Anakin studied her face, but Padmé was a rock, totally unreadable.
"It's just killing you, isn't it?" she asked him, setting her brush down.
Padmé sighed. "If I tell you, you must swear upon the lives of our seven children not to tease Obi-Wan," she said.
"I swear," Anakin replied. "So tell me."
Padmé smiled and stood up. "I'll show you," she said, walking over to the computer console. Anakin followed eagerly. He watched her as she brought up the online shopping services, and was shocked to see her go to the very shop where he had bought her his favourite outfit on their last anniversary.
"You took her there?!" he asked incredulously.
"What did she buy?" he asked, starting to see why his friend had reacted the way he had.
"I'm trying to find it," she told him as she scrolled through the catalogue.
She finally stopped when she found the gown that Dormé had chosen, and stood up to let Anakin have a closer look. It was lavender, and consisted of a stretch lace bra and matching G-string. Over top was a sheer mesh, flyaway gown is accented with lace cups and halter neckline.
"She bought this?" Anakin asked incredulously, looking up at Padmé.
Padmé nodded. "Don't you like it?"
"Well…yeah, what's not to like?" he asked. "I just can't believe she did. She doesn't strike me as the type who would."
Padmé smiled. "Well still waters run deep, you know," she said. She watched him as he started scrolling through the catalogue again at a considerably slower rate than she had. "Ani what are you doing?"
"Just looking," he said.
Padmé put her hands on her hips. "So you like looking at scantily clad women in catalogues, do you?" she asked.
"Only because I can picture you wearing these things," he told her.
Padmé smiled, knowing that's exactly what he was doing. "Is that what you're doing?"
"Oh yeah," he said, pulling her onto his lap. "Now that," he said, stopping at one particularly provocative outfit, "that's going to be the next one I buy you."
Padmé looked at the screen. Even she was shocked by the outfit which seemed to consist of little more than some straps and a bit of lace here and there. "You wouldn't," she said.
"Are you kidding?" Anakin asked. "You'd look incredible in that," he said, wrapping his arms around her. "I'm getting hot just imagining it," he added, nuzzling the side of her neck.
Padmé smiled. "So I noticed," she replied. "Should I order it?" she asked him.
"Most definitely," he said, his hands moving up her thighs.
Padmé reached over and clicked the order button, hardly believing she was really doing so. But if Anakin got this excited just imaging her in it, it was well worth it.
"Done," she told him, leaning back into his embrace.
Anakin smiled. "No, we're just getting started," he replied, leaning forward and kissing her.
The next afternoon.
"So Obi-Wan liked the surprise I take it," Padmé commented as she and Dormé sat on the patio.
Dormé smiled as her eyes traveled to where Obi-Wan and Anakin were puttering around in the garden. "You could say so," she replied. "To tell you the truth I was a little surprised by his reaction," she admitted.
Padmé laughed. "Men are men," she stated. "No matter who they are."
"I suppose so," Dormé replied. "But you know what? I think this has encouraged him to try new things with the kids too," she told Padmé. "Do you know that last night he took them swimming?"
Padmé's eyes widened. "Obi-Wan? Swimming? In public?"
Dormé nodded. "Yes! Can you believe it?"
"No," Padmé laughed. "But I think it's wonderful," she added.
"It is," Dormé agreed. "He's never been comfortable playing with them," she said. "It doesn't come naturally to him like it does with Anakin. But at least he's trying now."
"That's what counts," Padmé replied. "The Republic wasn't built in a day, after all," she added.
Dormé smiled. "No, nor rebuilt," she added. "I can't thank you enough for taking me shopping, Padmé," she said. "Who'd have predicted that it would have made such a big change in our lives?"
"No need to thank me," Padmé replied. "It's good to see you two so happy," she added, looking towards Anakin and Obi-Wan once more.
Meanwhile, inside the house…
"I just love this music vid, don't you Ben?" Ami asked.
Ben shrugged. "It's okay," he said.
Ami frowned. "Well, yeah, I guess it is kind of….well, lame," she said, trying to sound nonchalant.
Shmi rolled her eyes at her sister's obvious attempt to flirt with the older boy. Between Ami mooning over Ben and Chloe mooning over Qui-Gon, Shmi was feeling decidedly left out. She wasn't the only one who felt that way, though.
"This is boring," Ani whined. "Let's play a game! Come on guys!"
Obi nodded approvingly.
"Games are for kids, Ani," Ami informed him haughtily. "You two go off and play something. We're having fun doing this."
Ani frowned and looked at Qui-Gon for support. "Qui? Come on," he said imploringly. "Let's go play!"
Qui-Gon looked at his brothers and then back at the others. In truth he did want to go play; he was bored watching music vids. But to admit that wouldn't be cool.
"Nah," he said, taking a lazy sip of his juice. "Playin's for babies."
This only infuriated Ani more, and he clenched his fists. He looked at Obi. "Come on Obi," he said. "Let's leave these boring people and do something fun."
"Yeah," Obi agreed. They turned to leave, but before they left, Ani had an idea. More than that, he had a feeling.
"Here's what I think of your stupid music vids," he said, and then broke wind rather loudly.
Obi giggled madly as they ran out the door, closing it behind them. The two boys laughed wildly as they ran down the hall, their laughter only increasing when they heard the groans of dismay coming from inside Qui-Gon's room.
"It's coming along very well," Obi-Wan commented, looking admiringly at the vine Anakin had been pruning. "You seem to have developed a green thumb, Anakin," he commented.
Anakin smiled and wiped his hands on a rag. "Well, Padmé loves the greenery," he said. "So I'm well motivated."
Obi-Wan chuckled. "Amazing what love will drive a man to," he commented.
Anakin grinned. "That smile hasn't left your face in two days," he told his friend. "I don't know what happened," he lied, "but whatever it was, must have been phenomenal."
Obi-Wan smiled. "Oh it was," he assured him, helping Anakin pick up the pruning implements. "Shall we join the ladies?"
"Of course," Anakin said. "I'll just put this stuff away and I'll meet you there."
The two couples sat on the patio as the sun started to set. Anakin and Padmé were both half expecting one of their five younger children to emerge from the house at any moment to announce some catastrophe.
"Seems pretty quiet tonight," Obi-Wan commented, knowing the Skywalker children well.
"Yeah, makes me think they're up to something," Anakin grumbled.
Padmé smiled. "Give them the benefit of the doubt, Ani," she told him.
Anakin cocked an eyebrow. "If you insist," he said. "I'll try not to say I told you so," he added.
Padmé laughed. "That'll be the day," she quipped.
Just then Luke's speeder was seen approaching the property. Anakin looked up as it drew closer, focusing on his son. He sensed something, but wasn't quite sure what it was. Padmé noticed his pensive expression.
"Everything okay?" she asked him.
Anakin looked down at her. "I think so," he said. "But Luke is coming to tell us something," he said. "I think it has to do with Taza."
"Oh, I'll just bet they're engaged," Dormé piped up with a smile.
"Perhaps," Anakin replied, not sure how that made him feel. He could tell that Padmé's feelings were just as ambivalent.
"Luke's too young to get engaged," Padmé piped up with a frown.
"Angel we were married when I was a year younger than he is now," Anakin reminded her.
"Yes, but the circumstances were totally different," Padmé pointed out.
"They certainly were," Obi-Wan agreed. "Imagine that," he continued with a smile. "You two could be grandparents in the near future."
Anakin frowned. "Don't remind me," he muttered.
Within a few minutes Luke and Taza appeared, hand in hand. Anakin and Padmé could tell by the look on their son's face that there was something big going on.
"Hello Taza," Padmé said, smiling at the young woman. "It's nice to see you."
"Thank you Mrs. Skywalker," Taza replied, sitting down. She glanced up at Luke, who stood behind her chair.
"Hello Master Kenobi, Mrs. Kenobi," Luke said, gripping the back of Taza's chair rather tightly.
"Luke," Obi-Wan said, sensing the young man's nervousness as keenly as his father did. "Taza. Lovely evening isn't it?"
"Sure is," Luke replied.
Anakin, who had been watching his son closely, finally spoke up.
"Something going on, son?" he asked.
Luke looked at his father, then his mother, then down to Taza. He swallowed somehow hard, and then looked back at his father again. "Yes Dad," he said. "There is." He looked at Padmé, then back at Anakin. "Taza and I were married this evening."
TO BE CONTINUED…..