Star Wars Love

Adult Star Wars fanfiction

Star Wars Pride and Prejudice

Star Wars Pride and Prejudice by CG/HKY

Disclaimer: This story uses many many lines, passages and quotes directly as they are written in austen's book and from the 2005 movie, except, names, places, and characters have been changed to suit the Star Wars plot.


Summary: Pride and Prejudice need no summary. Obi Wan Kenobi is Mr. Darcy. A twist on Jane Austen's classic romantic tale.

 

Chapter 1

Cast of Characters:

Mr. Darcy: Obi Wan Kenobi

Elizabeth Bennett: Christa Xha (Original Character)

Mr. Bingly: Anakin Skywalker

Jane Bennett: Padme Amidala

Mr. Collins: Jar Jar Binks

Mr. Bennett: Bail Organa

Mrs. Bennett: Breha Organa

Palpatine: Catherine De Bourge’s character

 

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters. Even if he is a Jedi!

"My dear Mr. Organa," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"

Mr. Organa replied that he had not.

"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Jan Ti has just been here, and she told me all about it."

Mr. Organa made no answer.

"Do you not want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.

“If you must indulge me,” Bail answered.

“Jedi! Dear, members of the council have taken a base here on Alderaan. What am I to think of it? Perhaps, just think for a moment, that our friend Padme Amidala might find a husband among them?”

Bail sighed. “Surely, Breha, for the 100th time already, Jedi are not allowed to marry. It is against their code, so she may not take a husband there.”

Bail pressed the holovoid paper and continued mulling through the headlines.

“There are also ranks to consider. Senator Amidala, would outrank most Jedi, unless he was a Master, and even that wouldn’t do as he would be wholly consumed by his duties.”

“Oh...” Breha mumbled. “What a shame. You know, Senator Amidala is of age and must marry soon, according to statute. If she does not marry, her place among the senators would be lost. She will be stripped of her title! Even worse, she would be denied her inheritance.”

“I am well aware of the consequences, madame. We have similar laws on Alderaan. Why do you think I married you?”

Breha snapped a handkerchief across the table at bail. “Mr. Organa, how could you say such a thing!”

“Surely you realize I speak in jest. Just be aware my love, that Senator Amidala is to make haste and marry , but not to any of the Jedi. You cannot imagine the consequences if she were to make such a mistake.”

Mrs. Organa, promptly ignored her husband’s warning and prepared a batch of organic based cookies and traveled to Netherfield by carriage to see the Jedi with her own eyes. Perhaps, convince them to hold a dinner, or maybe even a ball. Bail would raise violent objections to such a request or intrusion, but it’s never stopped her before.

After a short ride, Mrs. Organa was out of the carriage, big poufy dress billowing behind her in the wind as she neared the new Jedi Netherfield manor. But before she could knock, a young padawan opened the door, perhaps, already having sensed her arrival. Breha held the plate of cookies before her and smiled at the young Jedi.

“Yes, yes, thank you for letting me in. Is the master of the house available?” she asked, looking noisily over the padawan’s shoulder.

The padawan was a young man, tall, good looking with an intense stare.

“Yes, I’ll let Master Obi-Wan know you’ve arrived. May I take your coat, Milady?”

Breha shrugged out of her overcoat and gave it to the padawan. “Pray tell, what is your name, young man?”

“Anakin. Anakin Skywalker.”

“And what is your rank?”

“I’m a padawan learner. But I’ll be a Jedi soon!” he finished.

“Sure you will. You’re a tall healthy young man...”

“We’ll be on Alderaan for a while, I suppose. I was hoping Senator Amidala would be here.”

Breha smiled. “You’ve met Senator Amidala?”

“Yes, of course. We’re old friends,” Anakin said. “Though, I haven’t seen her in ten years.”

What he could not say, was that he’s loved every single day of those ten years. In fact, Anakin even fancied he’d marry her one day.

Anakin led her to the Den, where Master Obi-Wan meditated. Unfortunately, their approach broke his meditation.

Obi-Wan Kenobi rose from the mat where he sat before the fireplace, and looked down his nose at Mrs. Organa and Anakin.

"Hello, hello! Master Obi-Wan, it is good to see you. I’ve recently been made aware that the Jedi have taken ownership of Netherfield Park?"

"Yes, we have. Unfortunately work has necessitated a lengthy stay here on Alderaan."

Obi-Wan fixed his gaze on Anakin, then turned to Breha again.

"Well, work aside, Senator Organa and I are having a ball and would like to invite you. You simply must come. It's a custom, here on Alderaan, for neighbors to celebrate the arrival of newcomers with either a ball or elaborate dinner. I assume you wouldnt’ want to offend-"

"No, of course not," Obi-Wan answered.

"Excellent, then we shall see you there, sir. Good day!"

"Mrs. Organa, will Senator Amidala be there?" Anakin asked.

"Unless, my god daugter has designs on breaking my heart, let us assume that she will."

With a smile and wink, Breha was gone.

Chapter 2

 

"YOU DID WHAT?" Mr. Organa wailed.

"I told Master Kenobi and his apprentice that we were having a ball and that everyone was invited," said Breha stubbornly.

"What, my love, would possess you to do such a thing?"

"Senator Amidala is in need of a husband. And pray tell, Mr. Kenobi would be a perfect match. What do you think of Senator Amidala and such a man? Surely, they would make a good match. She is beautiful, powerful, and of high rank."

"Mind your own affairs, Mrs. Organa," Bail warned., "She is a bright woman, but sensitive and kind. He is a dedicated Jedi, much too dedicated to be a match for her. And I’m not sure she wouldn’t have much to do with him anyhow, him being so proud and all. Besides, you’ve already been well informed that the Jedi are not allowed..."

"To marry! I know," she shrugged. "Well, off I go now, I have invitations to write."

"Breha..." Mr. Organa mumbled.

"What do you make of her sister?" Mrs. Organa turned and asked.

"Her sister?"

"Perhaps she’d make a good match for his apprentice. She is already well past the age of marriage, and has already lost her inheritance, the poor girl."

"Breha..." Bail mumbled. "It is pointless as the Jedi are not allowed to marry!"

"What color should the invitations be? Should I invite our good friend, Chancellor Palpatine?

"For the love of... I give up," Bail ranted frustratedly. And with that he was off and away from Breha in a huff.

Now, after the invitations had gone out, many young ladies of noble as well as civilian rank prepared themselves for Breha and Bail’s grand ball. Jedi were going to be there, and there was no one in the galaxy more coveted than this lot. Girls and women alike primped and stitched their prettiest dresses. Eager, if only to gawk or swoon over the strapping handsome men who might come there. Among the invitees were sisters Padme Amidala and Christa Xha. Not sisters by blood, but by friendship.

Christa had worn her hair in a braid, which fell in a pattern down the back of her hair and her favorite white dress. Padme had adorned her face in makeup, but just a touch. She then sat there, pinning her hair in curls.

"So what do you make of this fuss about the Jedi taking Netherfield Park?"

"That it’s much ado about nothing," Padme answered. "Jedi are not allowed to marry."

"A shame, for they are so dearly handsome to look at, are they not?"

"Well, that alone is enough that I am inspired attend," Padme quipped.

"I hear Anakin Skywalker will be with them," Christa said.

"Pray tell, what would provoke you to mention Mr. Skywalker?"

"Breha told me he asked about you."

Padme pinned a curl in place at the top of her head. "And what did he want to know?"

"Oh dear, I had not the nerve to ask. I do know, that Breha might have wanted the news to reach you, ergo, my job is done."

"I knew Anakin when he was just a little boy."

"Well, let Mrs. Organa tell it, he’s grown into a tall strapping young fellow."

Padme smiled.

On the night of the ball, all girls and women who considered themselves of some importance was in attendance, and mulling about Breha and Bail’s estate in their fine dresses, heavily made up faces, in the style of Naboo, intermingling with the young men from town, whilst keeping a watchful eye on the handsome Jedi men and women in attendance. And they were in abundance this evening, mulling about, talking about one mission or the other, or the tenets of their religion.

Padme was the first among her peers to notice Anakin Skywalker. And how surprised she was by how he had grown! Anakin was good-looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners. But it was his Master Obi-Wan Kenobi who soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his someday being seated on the Council and the wealthy allowance that would accompany it. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, and the ladies declared that he was as handsome as his young apprentice. He was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity.

For he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased with anything that had not to do with Jedi business. And while he was polite, and as gentlemanly as can be expected, his glance was hardly askant, he treated the ball as though it were a waste of time and expressed on more than one occasion that he would rather be on assignment and not on civilian detail. Even worse was that he seemed to dress his amiable apprentice down, more than once in front of polite company! Correcting him, and dictating what the poor young man manner’s should be, and at all times, made it clear that he was the one in charge.

Anakin had soon made himself acquainted with all the principal people in the room; he was lively and unreserved, danced every dance, was angry that the ball closed so early, and talked of giving one himself at Netherfield. Such amiable qualities must speak for themselves. What a contrast between him and his Master! Obi-Wan Kenobi danced only once and very reluctantly with Breha Organa, and then once with Padme Amidala, and only because they had been previously acquainted. He then declined being introduced to any other lady, and spent the rest of the evening in walking about the room, speaking occasionally to one of his own party. His character was decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and everybody hoped that he would never come there again. Amongst the most violent against him was Breha now, whose dislike of his general behaviour was sharpened into particular resentment by his having slighted her friend Christa.

Christa had been obliged, by the scarcity of gentlemen to sit down for two dances and during part of that time, Obi-Wan Kenobi had been standing near enough for her to hear a conversation between him and Anakin, who had come from the dance for a few minutes, to press his friend to join it.

"Come, Master," Anakin said, "I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance."

"I certainly shall not. Anakin, you know how I detest it," Obi-Wan whispered. "Unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this it would be insupportable. Our fellow Jedi are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with. Perhaps if you spent more time practicing your swordsmanship than you do your dancing then perhaps your dueling would rival master yoda."

"I would not be so fastidious as you are," cried Anakin, "for a kingdom! Upon my honour, I cannot think of my light saber now. For I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and there are several of them you see uncommonly pretty."

"You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room," Obi-Wan said, looking at the Padme Amidala.

"She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is her sister sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Allow me introduce you, Master..."

"Which do you mean?" and turning round Obi-Wan looked for a moment at Christa, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said: "She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. Perhaps you had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me," Obi-Wan replied very pointedly.

Anakin graciously followed his advice and Obi-Wan walked off. Christa sat, with no cordial feelings toward the man at all, her ego wounded by his slight. She told the story, however, with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous.

Chapter 3

 

The evening altogether passed off pleasantly to the whole family. Breha had seen her friend and god daughter much admired by the Netherfield party. Anakin Skywalker had danced with her twice, and she had been distinguished by the other Jedi. Padme was as much gratified by this as Breha could be, though in a quieter way. Christa felt Padme’s pleasure. When the party was over and the guest was gone from Longbourn, the village where Breha lived, and of which they were the principal inhabitants, Padme, Christa, and their fellow sisters in friendship had joined Breha for the night as they often did since Breha had been annointed their god mother. They found Senator Organa still up. With a book he was regardless of time; and on the present occasion he had a good deal of curiosity as to the events of an evening which had raised such splendid expectations. He had rather hoped that his wife's views on the Jedi would be disappointed; but he soon found out that he had a different story to hear.

"Oh! my dear Husband," as she entered the room, "we have had a most delightful evening, a most excellent ball. I wish you had been there. Padme was so admired, nothing could be like it.

Everybody said how well she looked; and Anakin Skywalker thought her quite beautiful, and danced with her twice! Only think of that, my dear; he actually danced with her twice! and she was the only creature in the room that he asked a second time. First of all, he asked Miss Lucas. I was so vexed to see him stand up with her! But, however, he did not admire her at all.

Indeed, nobody can, you know; and he seemed quite struck with Padme as she was going down the dance. So he inquired who she was, and got introduced, and asked her for the two next. Then the two third he danced with Miss King, and the two fourth with Maria Lucas, and the two fifth with Padme again, and the two sixth with Christa, and the Boulanger--"

"If he had had any compassion for me," cried her husband impatiently, "he would not have danced half so much! For God's sake, say no more of his partners. O that he had sprained his ankle in the first place!"

"Oh! my dear, I am quite delighted with him. He is so excessively handsome! And the Jedi are such are so charming. I never in my life saw anything more elegant than their attire.-"

Here she was interrupted again. Senator Organa protested against any description of finery. She was therefore obliged to seek another branch of the subject, and related, with much bitterness of spirit and some exaggeration, the shocking rudeness of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

"But I can assure you," she added, "that Christa does not lose much by not suiting his fancy; for he is a most disagreeable, horrid man, not at all worth pleasing. So high and so conceited that there was no enduring him! He walked here, and he walked there, fancying himself so very great! Not handsome enough to dance with! I wish you had been there, my dear, to have given him one of your set-downs. I quite detest the man."

When Padme and Christa were alone, the former, who had been cautious in her praise of Mr. Skywalker before, expressed to her sister just how very much she admired him.

"He is just what a young man ought to be," said she, "sensible, good-humoured, lively; and I never saw such happy manners!--so much ease, with such perfect good breeding!"

"He is also handsome," replied Christa, "which a young man ought likewise to be, if he possibly can. His character is thereby complete."

"I was very much flattered by his asking me to dance a second time. I did not expect such a compliment."

"Did not you? I did for you. But that is one great difference between us. Compliments always take you by surprise, and me never. What could be more natural than his asking you

again? He could not help seeing that you were about five times as pretty as every other woman in the room. No thanks to his gallantry for that. Well, he certainly is very agreeable, and I give you leave to like him. You have liked many a stupider person."

"Dear Christa!"

"Oh! you are a great deal too apt, you know, to like people in general. You never see a fault in anybody. All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes. I never heard you speak ill of a human being in your life."

"I would not wish to be hasty in censuring anyone; but I always speak what I think."

"I know you do; and it is that which makes the wonder. With your good sense, to be so honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others! Affectation of candour is common enough--one meets with it everywhere. But to be candid without ostentation or design--to take the good of everybody's character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad--belongs to you alone.

And so you like this man's colleagues, too, do you? Their manners are not equal to his."

"Certainly not--at first. But they are very pleasing when you converse with them. Master Kenobi is to live with him and keep his house; and I am much mistaken if we shall not find a very charming neighbour in him."

Christa listened in silence, but was not convinced; their behaviour at the assembly had not been calculated to please in general; and with more quickness of observation and less pliancy of temper than her sister, and with a judgement too unassailed by any attention to herself, she was very little disposed to approve them. They were in fact very fine Jedi; not deficient in good humour when they were pleased, nor in the power of making themselves agreeable when they chose it, but some were proud and conceited. They were rather handsome, had been educated in one of the first private seminaries in town, had a fortune of twenty thousand pounds, were in the habit of spending more than they ought, and of associating with people of rank, and were therefore in every respect entitled to think well of themselves. They were of a respectable place in the north of Coruscant; a circumstance more deeply impressed on their memories than that their Anakin's fortune who was born with considerably less.

Between him and Obi Wan Kenobi there was a very steady friendship, in spite of great opposition of character. Skywalker was endeared to Kenobi by the easiness, openness, and ductility of his temper, though no disposition could offer a greater contrast to his own, and though with his own he never appeared dissatisfied. On the strength of Kenobi's regard, Skywalker had the firmest reliance, and of his judgement the highest opinion. In understanding, Kenobi was the superior. Skywalker was by no means deficient, but Kenobi was clever. He was at the same time reserved, and fastidious, and his manners, though well-bred, were not inviting. He was serious minded and focused on his teachings. In that respect his friend had greatly the advantage. Skywalker was sure of being liked wherever he appeared while Kenobi was continually giving offense.

The manner in which they spoke of the Longhourn assembly was sufficiently characteristic. Skywalker had never met with more pleasant people or prettier girls in his life; everybody had been most kind and attentive to him; there had been no formality, no stiffness; he had soon felt acquainted with all the room; and, as to Padme Amidala, he could not conceive an angel more beautiful. Kenobi, on the contrary, had seen a collection of people in whom there was little beauty and no fashion, for none of whom he had felt the smallest interest, and from none received either attention or pleasure. Padme, he acknowledged to be pretty, but she smiled too much.

Within a short walk of Longbourn lived a family with whom the Organas were particularly intimate. Sir William Lucas had been formerly in trade in Meryton, where he had made a tolerable fortune, and risen to the honour of knighthood. For, though elated by his rank, it did not render him supercilious; on the contrary, he was all attention to everybody. By nature inoffensive, friendly, and obliging, his presentation at St. James's had made him courteous. Lady Lucas was a very good kind of woman, not too clever to be a valuable neighbour to Mrs. Organa. They had several children. The eldest of them, a sensible, intelligent young woman, about twenty-seven, was Christa’s intimate friend.

That the Miss Lucases and the and Mrs. Organa should meet to talk over a ball was absolutely necessary; and the morning after the assembly brought the former to Longbourn to hear and to communicate.

"You began the evening well, Charlotte," said Mrs. Organa with civil self-command to Miss Lucas. "You were Mr. Skywalker's first choice."

"Yes; but he seemed to like his second better."

"Oh! you mean Padme, I suppose, because he danced with her twice. To be sure that did seem as if he admired her--indeed I rather believe he did--I heard something about it--but I hardly know what--something about Mr. Robinson."

"Perhaps you mean what I overheard between him and Mr. Robinson; did not I mention it to you? Mr. Robinson's asking him how he liked our assemblies, and whether he did not think there were a great many pretty women in the room, and which he thought the prettiest? and his answering immediately to the last question: 'Oh! Senator Amidala of course! Beyond a doubt; there cannot be two opinions on that point.'"

"Upon my word! Well, that is very decided indeed, that does seem as if--but, however, it may all come to nothing, you know."

"My overhearings were more to the purpose than yours, Christa," said Charlotte. "Mr. Kenobi is not so well worth listening to as his friend, is he? poor Christa! to be only just ‘tolerable’."

"I beg you would not put it into Christa’s head to be vexed by his ill-treatment, for he is such a disagreeable man, that it would be quite a misfortune to be liked by him. Mrs. Long told me last night that he sat close to her for half-an-hour without once opening his lips."

"Are you quite sure, ma'am?--is not there a little mistake?" said Padme. "I certainly saw Mr. Kenobi speaking to her."

"Aye--because she asked him at last how he liked Netherfield, and he could not help answering her; but she said he seemed quite angry at being spoke to."

"One of the other Jedi told me," said Padme, "that he never speaks much, unless among his intimate acquaintances. With them he is remarkably agreeable."

"I do not believe a word of it, my dear. If he had been so very agreeable, he would have talked to Mrs. Long. But I can guess how it was; everybody says that he is eat up with pride, and I dare say he had heard somehow that Mrs. Long does not keep a carriage, and had come to the ball in a hack chaise."

"I do not mind his not talking to Mrs. Long," said Miss Lucas, "but I wish he had danced with Christa."

"Another time, Christa," said her god mother, "I would not dance with him, if I were you."

"I believe, ma'am, I may safely promise you never to dance with him," Christa declared.

"His pride," said Miss Lucas, "does not offend me so much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for it. One cannot wonder that so very fine a young man, with rank, fortune, everything in his favour, should think highly of himself. If I may so express it, he has a right to be proud."

"That is very true," replied Christa, "and I could easily forgive his vanity, had it not wounded mine."

"Pride," observed Mary, who piqued herself upon the solidity of her reflections, "is a very common failing, I believe. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced that it is very common indeed that human nature is particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the score of some quality or other, real or imaginary. Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us."

"If I were as well off as Mr. Kenobi," cried a young Lucas, who came with his sisters, "I should not care how proud I was. I would keep a pack of foxhounds, and drink a bottle of wine a day."

"Then you would drink a great deal more than you ought," said Mrs. Organa; "and if I were to see you at it, I should take away your bottle directly."

The boy protested that she should not; she continued to declare that she would, and the argument ended only with the visit.

Chapter 4

Shortly before Young Lucas parted, a knock on the door brought Cin Drallig into the house. A low ranking Jedi whose primary responsibility teaching padawan learners the skill of dueling. It was Christa who answered the door. The man was instantly attractive to her and she to him.

"Good evening Master Drallig, what can I do for you?"

The Jedi blushed considerably as she moved aside, allowing him entrance into the Organa’s Longhourne estate.

"I’m sorry, Milady, but your honorific has been misapplied. I am not a Master. But merely a Jedi. Not even a knight, but someone lower than a foot soldier."

Christa’s cheeks burned bright red from his confession. "Forgive me sir, I'm so ashamed. I hope i have not embarrassed you?"

"No, not at all, madame."

"Wonderful...what can I do for you?"

"I’ve been sent by the council to express gratitude for having invited us to the party at the Longhourne estate. It was a most enjoyable evening."

"We were happy to receive you," Christa replied. Her eyes sparkled, and she smiled beautifully.

"I’ve also been sent to deliver an invitation from Anakin Skywalker. There is to be a ball at Netherfield... in a fortnight."

"The council would have an Jedi deliver messages for a padawan learner? That’s unheard of!"

"It is my lot in life, unfortunately. Thanks to Obi-Wan Kenobi."

Immediately, Christa grew hot with anger. Of course, Mr. Kenobi would be behind this!

"The fact that Master Kenobi was behind this doesn’t surprise me at all. Whatever did he do to cause a man as esteemed as you, my friend, to see a reduction in rank?"

"It’s a long story, really... Our old master Qui Gon Jin loved me. He loved me like a son. More than any padawan learner or Jedi in the Order. He loved Master Kenobi as well, as one might love a son. But he loved me more. Unfortunately, Obi-Wan Kenobi grew jealous and told lies to Qui Gon Jin causing him to leave me in order to train him exclusively. Well... Obi-Wan Kenobi would excel in the Order under the teachings of Qui Gon, and I, without a Master, would remain hopelessly lost for many years. I shall never become a Knight, a Master, or succeed to the council as a result. Although, training the Padawan learners is a respectable enough craft, I am an excellent duelist. I shall never see the honor of a battlefield or protecting the Republic."

"For shame!" Christa cried. "He is the most horrid man I have ever encountered. We shall not honor him further with discussion. He is of small importance. Do tell me something, Mr. Drallig, will you be at the Netherfield ball?"

"I certainly shall. If Master Kenobi wishes to avoid me, then perhaps he should be the one not to attend."

"Perhaps I might encounter you there for a dance or two."

"It would be the highlight of my night!" Cin replied.

And with that, the man parted. Christa leaned against the door, face warmed, thoughts occupied with that of a potential suitor. A handsome, charming suitor! She returned to her party at once and told everyone of Mr. Kenobi’s crimes at which all the women, shocked as they were declared him horrible at once!

The men had gone to the den by then, leaving the women to the drawing room to talk. Here, Padme Amidala raised an interesting point.

"Why should any lady be thrilled with the idea of Jedi attending one of our balls? They are not allowed to marry, and are ideally, unsuitable as mates."

"Ah...but that isn’t so..." Breha whispered. "I have a secret to share with you, my goddaughters."

At once, Christa, Padme, Charlotte Lucas, Mary, their aunt, and Padme’s two younger sisters, Kitty and Lydia surrounded Breha, all listening intently.

"There is a secret that most would not know that I have been privy to."

"Oh please! Leave us not in the agony of suspense!" Lydia cried. "You must tell us at once."

Breha smiled. "Jedi men, and sometimes even the women do marry... but only in secret."

At this, the ladies gasped.

"How can this be so?" Christa whispered. "It is against the tenets of their religion!"

"Yes it is. But they are still men, quite human, most of them. And even the ones who are not, still have a desire to love, and to be loved. A few Jedi, marry in secret. And even use their allowances to support their wives! And of course," Breha added with a smile, "those with higher rank have more to share! Anakin Skywalker I am told, receives 5000 credits a year."

"This cannot be true," Padme Amidala wailed. "How could you gain such insight into their salaries and expenses?"

"My husband, is Senator Bail Organa!" Breha laughed. "And because Anakin is the padawan learner to Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, he is by default of higher rank than most and receives a fraction of what his Master does."

"5000 credits is so...grand..." Christa mumbled. "If it is merely a percentage of what Obi-Wan Kenobi receives-."

"Master Kenobi’s allowance is 30,000 credits a year," Breha indulged.

At this the women gasped.

"Any woman who might pierce his heart is a lucky woman indeed!"

"I would accept servitude and poverty before I would ever be tempted to love someone like him. He's despicable and far too proud."

"You are too fastidious, Christa."

"I do, I hate him. And shall hate him for all eternity!" Christa declared.

At this, the girls giggled, though Charlotte’s grin could not mask the ambition in her eyes.

Chapter 5

 

As promised, a fortnight later, Anakin Skywalker was allowed to hold a ball at Netherfield. But only because Alderaan custom made this event a necessity of all new residents of considerable importance, or at least those with a rank above that of a local peasant.

Netherfield manor had been adorned with lights and candles that set the beautiful estate aglow, its splendor was breathtaking, and the general candor, inviting,

Padme wore her a rose and cream colored crinkled chiffon empire dress, which fell beautifully along her womanly curves. She was delicious to the eye, her beautiful shiny hair in curls that fell to her shoulders framing her long swan-like neck which were adorned in pearls.

Meanwhile, Christa had taken a considerable amount of time in preparation of Anakin’s ball as well. Usually, she was humble in appearance, preferring to dress without adornment or decoration. But this ocassion warranted something more elaborant since she promised Mr. Cin Drallig a dance.

Christa pinned pearls into her hair then swept it into a bun. Soft tendrils fell along the nape of her neck and caressed the side of her face and ears. She wore a cream colored strapless chiffon empire dress and three layers of pearls that circled her neck. Her makeup was soft and pleasing to the eye.

The sisters rode the short distance to Netherfield by carriage, fashionably late. Their arrival at the ball commanded the eye of every man in the room. Even that of Obi-Wan Kenobi, who, with great difficulty tried to ignore Christa Xha, despite her pleasing appearance and undeniable beauty. Sadly, his shyness and intent to disguise what could only be described as interest, was soon misconstrued, perceived as haughtiness -- which was exactly what happened at Breha’s Longhourne ball. It was true however, that he wished Christa away. For he was more attracted to her than he wanted to be.

Sometime later, having offended and alienated most of the guest, he set out to make amends -- with Christa, who seemed the belle of the ball this night. But Christa had no interest in meeting Mr. Kenobi. She detested the man. Her eyes were for one Jedi only -- Cin Dralling. Sadly, she scanned the room for him in vain, but could not find him.

Just as Master Kenobi approached, he was cut off by a large, clumsy, atrocious looking fellow, known to everyone as Mister Jar Jar Binks. The slob of a man greeted Christa with a kiss on the back of her hand, leaving a smattering of gooey residue which she wiped uncomfortably with a handkerchief.

"Missa Xha, Jar Jar so happy to see you two." He also spoke to her sister, Senator Padme Amidala, who was by no means a casual acquaintance, but a colleague.

"Yes, hello, Mr. Binks," Christa and Padme replied. "It is good to see you as well."

Yes, very very good to see you," Jar Jar replied, whilst staring at Christa. "Meesa like to dance with you this evening, Miss Xha. Jar Jar has traveled across Naboo, with the intent to enjoy the evening with you. Meesa patronage, Chancellor Palpatine has asked me to come here for the purpose of-"

Christa and Padme exchanged surprised looks then giggled.

"I would oblige you with a dance, Mr. Binks," Christa interrupted. "But unfortunately, I've made plans for the evening." Christa was in good spirits and in no mood to ruin her evening by lingering upon Mr. Binks and why he sought her on such a magical night.

And with that, the ladies strode off, giggling and laughing amongst each other. Just as they turned the corner in a hasty bid to leave the horrible Mr. Binks behind, was Christa addressed by Obi-Wan Kenobi, who had taken her hand.

"Miss Xha," he said rather quickly. "Might I request a dance with you this evening?"

"Yes," Christa blurted rather uneasily -- shocked by his application of her hand.

Upon hearing her answer, Obi-Wan Kenobi immediately departed, leaving Christa to worry and fret over her hasty acceptance. Of course, Padme tried to console her friend and sister.

"I dare say you will find him very agreeable," Padme said.

"Heaven forbid! Do you think so little of me to suggest that I would find a man I am determined to hate, agreeable? Do not wish me such an evil."

Padme smiled. "Stranger things have happened, sister."

Just then, someone had begun the pianoforte and dancing commenced. Christa looked about, and saw Mr. Obi-Wan Kenobi as he approached to claim her hand, at which point, Padme whispered to her sister:

"Christa, please do not be a simpleton and allow your fancy for Cin Drallig to make you appear unpleasant in the eyes of a man ten times his consequence."

Christa did not reply. She simply took her place in the set, amazed at the dignity to which she was arrived in being allowed to stand opposite to Obi Wan Kenobi.

Neither said a word, as the dance began and Christa imagined their silence would last the two dances. At first, she was resolved not to break it; till she suddenly fancied that it would be the greater punishment to her partner if she forced him to talk. Christa made a remark about the splendor and beauty of Netherfield. He gave a short but polite reply and then at once fell silent again.

After a pause of some minutes, she addressed him a second time...

"It is your turn to say something now, Master Kenobi. I talked about the dance and you ought to remark on the size of the room or the number of couples."

"Is there anything else you wish me to say?" he inquired, peering into her dark brown eyes. Immediately, he regretted doing so, as he could not help but notice how beautiful they were.

"That reply will do for the present. Perhaps by and by I may observe that private balls are much pleasanter than public ones."

"Do you talk by rule, then, while you are dancing?"

"Sometimes. One must speak a little, you know. It would look odd to be entirely silent for half an hour together; sadly this might happen when one partner is unduly boring."

"Are you consulting your own feelings in the present case, or do you imagine you are gratifying mine?"

"Both," replied Christa archly; "for we both have on more than one occasion preferred to be unsociable and of taciturn disposition. In my case, only when I am confronted by a horrible and mean-spirited person.

"I suppose you think this is a faithful portrait of your current partner, undoubtedly? If so, then what, pray tell, am I to make of you?"

"I must not decide on my own performance."

Eager to change the subject as Master Kenobi had grown terribly uncomfortable and put off, he asked about the other Jedi.

"I adore them. In fact, I had the pleasure of making a new acquaintance recently," she taunted.

The effect was immediate. A deeper shade of hauteur crossed his features. Immediately, Christa blamed herself for being weak and wanting to cross him. Mr. Kenobi seemed to bring out the worst in her...

Obi Wan Kenobi then spoke in a constrained manner:

"Mr. Drallig is blessed with such happy manners which might ensure his making friends. Whether he may be equally capable of retaining them, is less certain."

"He has been so unfortunate as to lose your friendship!" Christa retorted.

The pair squared off; neither of them moving to dance.

Christa's chest rose and fell in a huff and Obi Wan’s face had turned bright red in color. Before he could think of a reply, Breha’s friend, Mr. Lucas appeared -- and quickly drew his own conclusion, having seen the couple flushed and holding each other's heated gaze.

"It is good to see you dancing sir. Mr. Skywalker, it appears, is also enjoying the evening... with Miss Padme Amidala. The two of you are lucky to have found such beautiful partners," he said to Mr. Kenobi.

Obi-Wan's gaze swept the room then lingered on Anakin and Padme, who huddled in a corner where they whispered passionately to each other. Anakin's hand traced a line to nape of her neck.

Mr. Lucas replied, "Well, I should take my leave now sir, as your partner’s desirous eyes might unbraid me as finely as they have unbraided you."

"Do not run away Mr. Lucas, there is nothing to see here. I am sure my eyes are not enough to tempt Master Kenobi."

Obi-Wan turned, a shocked look overspreading his features.

"Tell me, Mr. Kenobi," Christa continued, as Mr. Lucas drifted away. "What might I do to earn your distrust and ire, enough that I might tempt you to destroy me both socially and professionally?" It was a less than than veiled reference to what he had done to Cin Drallig.

"I daresay, once my good opinion is lost, it is lost for good. Why do you ask such a question?!" he barked.

"To make out your character," Christa shot back.

By now, their dancing had resumed, but their eyes never left each other's faces. Onlookers watched in amazement, but Christa and Obi Wan were none the wiser.

"And what have you discovered?" Obi-Wan replied.

"Enough to puzzle me exceedingly," she answered.

"Then perhaps..." he answered, slowly taking in the features of her lovely face... "the future might afford you more clarity..."

Christa stared into piercing steel blue eyes and could not help but notice how warm they were. She had become almost completely unbraided, hearing his words, and hurriedly walked away, leaving him to stand on the dance floor alone. Obi-Wan Kenobi watched as she disappeared into a crowd in a huff, a powerful feeling toward her swelling in his chest.

Chapter 6

 

Christa had escaped to a room where no one lingered, quiet enough that she could regain her composure enough to appear before her friends and family as though nothing had happened. And what did he mean by "the future might afford you more clarity?" What future would he refer to that would involve her?

The following day, the Longhourn estate received a visitor. It was Mr. Jar Jar Binks, who was visiting after receiving word that Christa’s inheritance and estate was to be entailed to him by her family because she had not yet married. Christa’s parents were quite fond of Mr. Binks and could think of no one more deserving than he, to receive their land and wealth since they had no sons of their own. It mattered little to them that Mr. Binks was not only clumsy, but a member of an ancient species entirely different than that of their daughter! He had proven himself on more than one occasion to be brave and worthy of the respect that Naboo politicians had given him.

Unfortunately for Christa, the only way she could keep her land and inheritance, would be to marry Mr. Binks!

But the man’s poor manners, slobbery mouth and long goofy ears repulsed her. Even worse was that no children would ever be produced from such a union, nor would there be sexual congress betwixt the two. The marriage would only serve to benefit Christa financially in attaching her to her wealth again.

Mr. Binks tripped through Breha Organa’s door with the intent to ask Christa’s hand in marriage. Perhaps even Padme Amidala’s if she would have him, as she was currently under the threat of losing her fortune.

"Hi! Meesa Organa, Missta Organa! Meesa come a long way to see you!" Jar Jar said.

"Yes, Mr. Binks, please, if you would join us for dinner," Breha said.

Bail Organa grumbled and opened his newspaper again, hoping politics would shield himself from the ridiculous conversation, sure to highlight their evening with Mr. Binks at the table. Senator Organa was no longer a fan of Mr. Binks, after making the mistake of voting to give Chancellor Palpatine emergency powers in the Republic, a move that has been disasterous for them all.

Mr Binks joined the Organa family, Christa Xha, Padme Amidala, and the Lucases at the table where a meal grand enough for a king had been served. Mr. Binks sat, and immediately slobbered his way through every serving dish within his reach. Splashes of drool marked his place at the table, and the grinding noise of his teeth gnashing away at food assaulted their ears as food popped hither and fro across the room.

"Yes," he said, with wide open and chewed bits of food on display, "Meesa come here for good purpose. As you are aware, the Chancellor is sponsoring my place on the senate. He hasa encouraged me to marry very soon as it would make me presentable to the senate."

"Yes, I understand," Breha replied over the giggles of her goddaughters. Have you anyone in mind?"

Breha nudged Christa who sat beside her at the table, thinking it was a good idea for them to marry. Sure , the marriage would be loveless, but Christa would not be subjected to servantry should either of her parents pass away. At least, she would be financially secure.

"Well..." Jar Jar Binks mumbled between hungry bites, "Meesa would like to choose among your goddaughters."

Boisterous laughter rang out at the table. Breha hushed the girls with an angry look.

"Well then, we should leave you here to do what you’ve come to do."

"Meesa would like a moment alone with Miss Christa please."

Breha clapped her hands together, and motioned her guest to leave. "If you would join me in the den, I believe Mr. Binks and Christa would like a moment alone."

"NO! Uh, wait," Christa blurted. "There’s no need to leave, Mr. Binks is free to speak in front of everyone, there is to be nothing that can be said here that none of you shouldn’t hear, right?"

Christa cast worried looks to the group, whilst mouthing for them to stay. Anything to delay the proposal from Mr. Binks.

"NO, we’ll leave you two alone. Everyone!" Breha commanded.

Vexed, Christa had cast a wary look at Senator Bail Organa, and whispered for him to stay. But he simply looked away, a worried look spread across his features as he parted.

When everyone was gone, Mr. Binks dropped to a knee, nearly taking the contents on top of the table to the floor with him.

"As explained before Meesa have accepted the patronage of Chancellor Palpatine and because of the entailment it is convenient for us to marry. When Meesa unite with Miss Christa, our great fortune, it will be beneficial to both politically and financially. Chancellor Palpatine believes a man of the senate should set an example in marriage and to prove his worth as a citizen and leader. We must not delay. Perhaps a marriage as early as Sunday."

"On Sunday?" Christa wailed. "Mr. Binks you are too hasty. I have not accepted your proposal!"

Mr. Binks look crushed for a moment, then spoke as though she said nothing at all.

"Perhaps we might marry on Monday, it is perfectly acceptable," he started. "If that is too soon, meesa willing to wait until Wendsday."

"I am sorry Mr. Binks," Christa quickly interrupted, "but I cannot accept your hand in marriage."

A shocked look spread across Jar Jar's rubbery features. The disappointing news was grimly received as he was certain the financially strapped young woman would accept his offer. But as he dwelled on the matter a few seconds longer, something occurred to him. Mr. Binks, then quickly recovered, drawing closer to her still whilst on his knees like a common beggar.

"Meesa understand that with ladies of elegance it is usual to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their favour; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second, or even a third time. I am therefore by no means discouraged by what you have just said, and meesa hope to lead you to the altar ere long."

"Mr. Binks, please, I am not the type of woman to tease a respectable man. I am perfectly serious in my answer and do not wish to hear a second proposal."

"Meesa not discouraged, Miss Christa," Jar Jar replied, sniffling under his breath. "You are beautiful but meesa suspect there will not be another proposal even with many admirers and that it is in your best interest to accept the offer," he said, bowing his head gallanly.

Thoroughly insulted by now, Christa’s voice rose another octave. "Mr. Binks! I have declined many proposals and will continue to decline so long as I choose. Even at the risk of poverty, I shall not accept a man I do not love. YOu cannot make me happy and I am certain that I can not you make you happy either. Please do not ask me again, I must decline your offer!"

And with that, Christa barreled through the door, out into the hall past her giggling sisters and godmother out into the field, away from Mr. Binks and all who might have heard the embarrassing exchange. But matters grew even worse when she realized that the field, and the pond she had raced to was just across from Neitherfield manor, where Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin skywalker carried parcels and other luggage to a waiting ship.

She watched them curiously for a moment, nearly forgetting her own problems as Anakin approached with grim look on his face over the bridge to where she stood.

"Milady," Anakin said. "Is everything okay?"

Christa waved. "Yes, Anakin... although, it has been a very trying day."

Anakin’s face turned even grimmer, as he pressed a letter into her palm. "Please, if you would give this letter to Padme Amidala, I would be eternally grateful. As I doubt I should ever see her again."

Padme would be so disappointed, Christa thought. "But why?" she asked.

"Master felt that Senator Amidala and I had grown too close and said that attachment and other romantic feelings were against the code."

"But... you can’t stay and at least be friends?" Christa asked. "How could he?" she whispered.

"I wish to remain friends with Senator Amidala. And remain in contact someday," he said, sounding terribly hurt. "Please send my regards, and the letter."

Christa turned and looked over her shoulder and saw an impatient Obi wan Kenobi watching Anakin. Immediately, her anger towards the man had returned.

Christa left the bank and returned to the house where she delivered the letter to her friend, who sat on the guest bed in her room at Breha’s and read.

"It is perfectly fine," Padme answered bravely. "Jedi are not allowed to marry, or have romantic feelings. I knew this already and expected nothing of my friendship with Mr. Skywalker."

"But he loves you, Padme. He really does. You mustn’t give up."

"I’m afraid, it is futile. I am not worried," she said again, as if to assure herself.

"It is obi-wan kenobi’s fault!" Christa barked.

"He’s only doing his job," Padme answered.

"He should mind his own business..." Christa grumbled. "He’s ruined everything for everyone. I am utterly disappointed in him."

"Well," Padme muttered... "I am fine with everything that has happened. I shall never see Anakin Skywalker again."

"What does the letter say?"

"Only that he is going to Coruscant and won’t be returning to Netherfield Park. That he hopes I am happy in life and love."

"HE loves you, Padme. Of this I am sure. I see it in his eyes when he looks at you and in his words."

"It matters little now," she answered. "Please, I wish to rest, I shall join you and the others after a bit of sleep."

Padme slipped beneath the covers and pulled them to her shoulder. Without a doubt, to hide her disappointment from Christa.

Chapter 7

 

Upon hearing the news of Anakin Skywalker’s and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s departure, Breha began to fret. She was hoping to find a match for Padme Amidala. She wanted happiness for her goddaughters, but sadly, the girls were eitehr disinterested, or incapable of of finding someone to marry. But they were few of the most beautiful girls in the Republic. What had gone wrong? Perhaps they were too smart, too accomplished which frightened potential husbands away.

Or perhaps... there weren’t enough prominent men to choose from in Naboo. Breha decided the girls would visit her relatives, where they will meet an potential husband. A change of scenary would do them some good.

Coruscant was the perfect place. Home of the Republic and senate. After all, that’s where she met her prince, Senator Bail Organa. Anakin was also there. Perhaps he and Padme might cross paths. There would be nothing Obi-Wan Kenobi could do to separate them then... the wretched man!

He only split the young couple apart out of malice, and jealousy because he couldn't find a woman as accomplished as Padme Amidala. Not even in someone like Christa, who he looked down his nose upon. Christa had come from a prominent middle class family with many connections, but had little political power of her own to speak of.

Of course she was accomplished in that, she played the pianoforte, was a beautiful singer, and pleasing to the eye. She was also terribly bright. An avid reader who understood politics and the Republic as well as anyone else.

In fact, Christa seemed to prefer reading to other beings, the foremost reason why she had no husband to begin with.

Breha called her sister Bremma who came to Longhourne three days later to offer Padme solace at her private retreat on Coruscant. Some time away might cheer her up. Of course, Padme had feigned indifference, even wore her "politician" face to ward off pitying stares. But truthfully, she was more than happy to get away. Perhaps hopeful of seeing Anakin there.

Padme bade them all goodbye, waving to Christa, Breha, Charlotte, Kitty, Lydia, and Mary. All of Breha’s goddaughters.

As the ship rose to the sky, a solemn Charlotte, who stood next to Christa turned to her god sister, a grim look upon her face.

"What is it?" Christa asked.

"Well..." Charlotte answered. "You must first promise not to be angry with me."

"Why should I ever be angry with you?" Christa asked.

"I’m getting married," Charlotte answered.

Christa tried to hide her dismay but could not. Charlotte, as Breha claimed, was not the most attractive young woman. But she was a kind soul with a good heart, why should any man not want to marry her?

"I’m marrying Mr. Binks," Charlotte blurted.

"Mr. Binks!?" Christa wailed. "How could you? He’s... he’s... ridiculous!" she exclaimed.

"Don’t laugh at him Christa, he’s a good man."

Charlotte stared, a defensive look in her eye and stance. Immediately, Christa could not help but resent the union, for Charlotte would inherit her family’s wealth as wife to Mr. Jar Jar Binks. Where would she go now that her fortune was gone forever? What will she do while Charlotte is living in her parent’s house and spending her squandering her family's fortune?

Christa scoffed.

" I can’t believe you," she cried.

"Please, understand my sister. I am 27 seven years old and still living with my parents. I’m not as beautiful or as smart as you or Padme... Yes, I know I am not the prettiest girl... and, let’s face it, they’re not exactly standing in line for me."

Immediately, Christa withdrew her anger and began to feel sympathy for the young woman, hearing her confession. Unlike the other girls, Charlotte was the only one in desperate need of getting married. Unlike the others, her fortune had not been entailed to a male relative, but withheld from her until she found a husband.

"I shall hold my tongue. You must do what is best for you, and we are still friends."

Charlotte gave her a dim smile, turned and hurried off. Breha, who was just behind them, having overheard the conversation was angered by Charlotte’s betrayal. Moreso than Christa could ever be. Breha had promised the parents of her goddaughters that she would look out for them, get them married, and secure their futures, and now, thanks to Charlotte... Christa’s fortune has been lost forever.

Breha could not bear to even look at Charlotte that evening. Instead of securing her own fortune by marrying someone, she managed to get both hers and Christa’s too. But now that her work was done with Charlotte, as she would soon be married, there was little reason for the girl to stay at Longhourne and little reason for Breha to stand her.

The following day, Charlotte was sent away from her god sisters, all the way home.

In trying to figure out a way to find a husband for Christa, Breha realised, that there was not a man in all of Naboo who capable of winning Christa’s heart. She was a tough nut to crack indeed, and the man to persevere would need to be an intellectual equal, someone good, kind, and worthy of her respect.

Like Padme, Christa was in need of being sent away. So, the very next day, Breha sent her to Alderaan. The men were prominent, intelligent, and handsome there. A new pool of potential husbands for Christa to choose from.

Christa arrived by Class 1 flight midday, then traveled by ground cruiser to the home of Breha’s uncle. Along the way, there in the streets a wedding was in mid-celebration. The wedding was beautiful, as golden rays of sunlight streamed into the city from the sky, and flower petals were thrown about in a flurry like falling snow.

Christa raised her umbrella, to save her hair from frizz and watched the procession with the crowd. There, she saw Charlotte and Mr. Jar Jar Binks waving to the crowds, both smiling, and happy with their new union.

Charlotte spotted Christa almost immediately, and left the line to converse with her.

"You’re here!"

"Yes, I am," Christa smiled. "Congratulations."

"Well... little congratulations are in order," she answered modestly. "I assure you, it is not all that it seems. Our union will never be a real one, with someone I might love or who will love me in return. It is a matter of finances and politics."

"Well, Mr. Binks surely stands to benefit from it."

"Christa, I need you more than ever now. If you are truly my friend, you will comfort me."

"How shall I?" Christa answered.

"Travel with Mr. Binks and I to our new estate. We live one of Chancellor Palpatine's houses on one of his many estates here on Alderaan."

"I suppose he’s here to keep an eye on the conflict, and politics of Mr. Organa."

"Undoubtedly," Charlotte replied.

"Fine. I will join you, Christa said. I will alert my uncle to my whereabouts."

"Mr. Binks and I will escort you."

Soon, things were like old again, like nothing had ever happened. The ladies giggled and laughed, talked of many things. It was clear to Christa that Charlotte was nervous about the union, but happy to keep her own house. In a strange way, Mr. Binks and Charlotte seemed perfect for each other.

The following day, Christa and Charlotte took a walk in a field where they talked of many other things. Including, the situation with Padme, Anakin Skywalker, and even his oft loathe "master" Obi Wan Kenobi.

"Strange, even on the night in which you were offended by him, I often found his eyes lingering upon you from afar...when no one is looking. What do you make of that?"

"Perhaps he was thinking of other ways to slight me," Christa replied.

"Tonight, we are joining Chancellor Palpatine at his estate for dinner. You should wear your finest dress."

Christa could hardly believe that she would be dining with the high chancellor of the Republic! This made her wonder what life would be like if she had married Mr. Binks instead of Charlotte.

She then admitted that Mr. Binks would not have made her happy. Christa longed for true love, as unreasonable and unconventional as it sounded. Would she ever find it? She lamented...

Christa had worn a beautiful brown dress with lace trimming and her finest pearls. They were small, and not too much of a distraction and she was certain she didn’t look as though she were trying too hard. She wore her hair in a bun, allowing soft curly tendrils to fall wherever they may.

They arrived to Rosings by ground cruiser, and passed through its brass majestic gates across the court yard to the door.

The Manor was as ancient as Alderaan itself, and grand. She imagined the opulent lifestyle the Chancellor had been accustomed to living, then thought about her future, and how frugal she might be forced to live one day.

As they entered behind Mr. Binks, who walked tall and clumsily before them, the first person they saw was Chancellor Palpatine, who stood as they entered the room.

"Meesta Palpatine," Jar Jar said. "You know my wife. Meesa pleased to introduce to our guest, her god sister Miss Christa Xha."

The ladies bowed in the custom of the Alderaan people. The Chancellor smiled.

"It is a pleasure to meet you," the chancellor said in a coarse voice. Strangely, he didn’t sound as benevolent in person as he did on News Holovoid.

"Thank you, sir," Christa answered.

As she spoke, a figure appeared from a shadow near the corner of the room. Christa’s eyes were instantly drawn to it, and to the man whose face had been revealed by the light.

"Master Kenobi!" Christa exclaimed, then bowed.

Obi Wan Kenobi lowered his head, in a gesture to return her formal greeting.

"What are you doing here?" she blurted.

"I am a guest of Chancellor Palpatine," he answered. "You are already acquainted with Master Windu?"

"Yes, yes I am Christa said, as his figure appeared from where the piano stood. "We last saw each other at the ball," she smiled.

Mace Windu grinned. Neither of them bowed or adhered to any formalities, a familiarity between them.

"It is good to see you," Mace replied.

"You know Master Kenobi?" the chancellor asked, eyebrows raised.

"Yes, I’ve met Mr. Kenobi before," Christa answered. "At Longhourne and Netherfield ball, on Naboo."

The Chancellor seemed like a man who thought so highly of himself, that he needed to be privy to everything. How they met, whether she knew Anakin, her upbringing, her family, whether she was married. These were all the questions he asked following her admitting to meeting Master Kenobi.

After some polite chatter the party commenced to the dining room where they sat at the table. There, the chancellor barked at Mr. Binks for sitting in the wrong seat. He and Christa immediately changed sides, placing her right next to Obi-Wan Kenobi, whose eyes were at all times, drawn to her face.

They began to eat, and suddenly, Obi Wan Kenobi, who had been pleasant and open for most of the evening, spoke.

"I trust you are well," he said.

"Yes I am."

"And Breha?"

"She is well."

"And Senator Amidala?"

"She is well... despite the present circumstances. And you, sir?"

"I am well."

"What brings you to Alderaan?" Christa asked.

"Jedi business," he answered politely. Perhaps something too secret to share with her.

Chancellor Palpatine watched the pair with curious eyes, and when the conversation lapsed between them, he immediately began to interrogate Christa.

"So..." the chancellor drawled. "Have you married yet?"

"No sir."

"At your age? You must be at least 20 summers or more."

"That I am , sir."

"Very unusual... did your parents not arrange a husband for you?"

Christa laid her spoon on the table and met his gaze. "No they did not."

"Unheard of. You have likely lost your fortune by now, have you?"

"Aye, sir. But it matters not. I am sure, the tides will change in my favor someday. Besides, it isn’t good to arrange your children’s marriages. They should be allowed to follow their own path, whatever that might lead to. Entailing the family fortune to a male heir seems a bit unfair, I must add, as punishment for a daughter who refuses to take the subservient role of wife."

At this, Chancellor Palpatine was shocked. "My word, your opinion is very decided for someone so young," he replied. "Exactly how old are you dear?"

"Well, with two decades under my belt, you certainly cannot expect me to own to it," Christa cleverly replied.

Miffed, the chancellor had taken up his spoon and commenced to finishing his meal. When they were done, the party walked to the den where aggressive conversation ensued, of which, Master Kenobi seemed more animated than usual. At the end of the discussion, Kenobi proclaimed that he was not a politician and that he shouldn't entertain such discussions... to which the chancellor replied, that politics were essential to life, and when we deliberate on matters as mundane as breakfast, or who we love, or whether we love at all, it is all a matter of politics.

When he was done with his speech, the chancellor then turned to Christa and asked her to play his piano. "There cannot be a greater lover of music in all of the Republic, than I," the chancellor said.

"Oh sir, I cannot oblige, I am of sorry talent," Christa answered.

"I love nothing better than music, young lady, you must perform."

"Please, I am not afflicted with false modesty," she objected.

Just then, Mr. Binks interrupted. "Plees, you must oblige, he is the chancellor.

Christa rose from her seat and reluctantly traveled to the piano and began to play. For most of the performance, she played beautifully, but inadvertently every now and then, struck the wrong key.

But as she reached the middle of her song, Obi-Wan Kenobi traveled from the sofa where the Chancellor and Mace had become engaged in conversation, to Christa at the piano... standing in such a way that he blocked the other guests from her view. He stood proud and tall, lightsaber situated in his belt.

Christa, realizing what he was trying to do ignored him at first, then finally she said...

"If you mean to frighten me, coming here in all your state, it will not work."

To this, Obi-Wan gave a sly smile. "I know, even should I wish it I could not frighten you, Miss Xha."

Christa continued to play, eyes on the piano keys in deep concentration. Obi-Wan stood over her, feet rooted firmly into the ground, his eyes gazing her slender neck, arms, and even her fingers. Just then, Master Windu approached and laid a hand on his Obi-Wan’s arm.

"Do tell me, Christa... how was my comrade at the ball? I’ve heard so many accounts of this evening."

Suddenly, Christa stopped playing, then turned to the gentlemen beside her. She looked from Mace Windu to Obi Wan Kenobi, a teasing smile on her face.

"What was he like? Well, be prepared for something very dreadful..." she answered, looking at Obi-Wan again, a mischievous twinkle in her eye.

"Even though there were fewer gentlemen than ladies, he refused to dance. Refused to speak to anyone, including me. It was a horrible mess. Do tell us, why is that Mr. Kenobi?" she teased.

"I do not have the talent, of conversing easily with strangers."

"Oh, pish posh. Certainly you could be introduced at a ball!" she retorted.

Again, she directed her attention to the piano, as Master Windu trailed away, to the chancellor who had called him back.

Charlotte who had sat on the sofa quietly for most of their time in the den, watched Obi-Wan as he watched Christa.

Feeling the heat of Charlotte’s gaze upon him, he drifted away, quietly cursing himself. He had shown too much, and perhaps, he sensed, Charlotte had recognized the attraction he had worked so hard to keep hidden.

Chapter 8

Christa did not speak or think of Mr. Kenobi the following day. Instead, she visited Breha’s uncle, then returned to Charlotte’s house in the evening. Thereafter the ladies gossiped in the drawing room and played cards. In the noon, they took walks and visited friends... a pattern that would follow the rest of the week.

The following weekend Charlotte and Mr. Binks had taken a ride to the city, leaving Christa alone at their house which was near Rosings, the Chancellor’s estate. While they were away, Christa sat at Charlotte’s desk in the drawing room and a dictated holo-letter to Padme which would be electronically transmitted to Coruscant. Suddenly, there was a knock upon the door.

Christa, who wore only a nightgown, covered herself with a robe then trotted to the door. Mr. Kenobi was on the other side. She watched, mouth agape as he strode into the house uninvited and walked into the drawing room.

"I’m sorry," Christa started. "But Mr. and Mrs. Binks have gone for the afternoon."

"I know," Kenobi mumbled.

Christa stood beside the desk, where her letter to Padme rested.

"This... is a lovely house," Obi-Wan said.

"Indeed it is," she answered.

"The chancellor had a lot of work done prior to giving the house to Mr. Binks."

"Yes, I know..." she answered. "The chancellor couldn’t have bestowed his kindness on a more grateful subject."

They acknowledged this fact with a nod, afterwhich, an uncomfortable silence ensued. Obi-Wan Kenobi then broke into a pace, opened his mouth to speak, then grew quiet. Tension as thick as mountain fog seemed to fill the room. Growing ever uncomfortable, Christa spoke in an effort to end the silence:

"So, you come to Rosings often?" she blurted.

"Yes."

Christa waited for him to speak again, but he did not. She wondered what brought him to Charlotte and Mr. Binks’ house to begin with. Of course, there were always visitors. Including Mace Windu who had visited twice while the Binks were out in town the day before. He and Christa talked of many things, including his and Obi Wan Kenobi’s visit to Alderaan. The chancellor had asked the two Jedi to do a security analysis of the planet. A task they finished days ago. Strangely, Obi-Wan Kenobi had delayed their return to Coruscant, according to Master Windu, though there was little else to be done.

Christa noticed an accumulation of sweat near Obi Wan Kenobi’s brow.

"Are you alright, sir?" she asked with some concern.

But just as he opened his mouth to speak, Charlotte and Mr. Binks stumbled inside.

"Master Kenobi?" Charlotte exclaimed.

Without reply, Obi Wan Kenobi immediately turned on his heels and hurried out of the house. Charlotte watched as he walked across the garden and climbed into his ship. She turned to her friend.

"Christa? What on Coruscant have you done to Mr. Kenobi?"

Christa peeked through the window curtain and watched as the ship rose into the stark blue sky.

"I have no idea!..." she answered.

That night, Christa could hardly sleep. What was the nature of Mr. Kenobi’s visit? she wondered. Perhaps he tried to make amends... befriend her even. But the bigger question was why?

The following morning, in an effort to distract herself, Christa slipped into her dress, coat, and took a walk around the park. The sun was beaming and the air smelled of morning dew. She carried her book with her, then sat beneath a tree. Folded inside the book was a holo letter from Padme Amidala which she had yet to read.

Christa had only opened the cover when she looked across the field and saw Obi Wan Kenobi striding towards her.

"Mr. Kenobi," she exclaimed, shifting uncomfortably on the grass.

"I trust you are well?"

"Yes, out and about enjoying the beautiful weather."

"Yes, beautiful indeed..." he muttered, gazing into her face.

"What brings you to the park?"

He simply smiled.

Christa closed her book, the letter inside of it, then stood.

"Mr. Windu tells me you're here on business."

"Yes," Obi-Wan answered. "But we’re to return to Coruscant soon."

"Enjoying the festivals are you?"

The couple began a slow walk to Charlotte’s and Mr. Binks’ house.

"Not if I can help it," he answered.

"Have you something against them?"

"Nothing at all, except that they’re a colossal waste of time."

"To a Jedi?"

"Perhaps... we are serious minded and focused on our studies."

"No humor at all?"

He gave her a blank look.

"But surely, laughter is food for the soul," she exclaimed.

"And an excess thereof is where a fool earns his title."

"It wouldn’t be like you to laugh so often, or tell a joke."

"Perhaps not," he replied, clasping his hands behind him.

Christa stopped and stared into Obi-Wan Kenobi’s sparkling blue eyes.

"What a shame then..." she whispered, gazing at him again... "for I so dearly love to laugh."

He met her twinkling gaze and caught an image of his face reflecting back to him from the deep dark pools of her eyes.

Feeling the tension between them, and growing increasingly uncomfortable, she then said... "I must take leave now. Good day, Mr. Kenobi."

Christa, entered the house and refused to entertain further thoughts of Master Kenobi. He had almost consumed her thoughts entirely the night before. Instead, she immediately settled in the drawing room to read Padme’s letter. A happy distraction.

Christa opened the paper, and the electronic words spilled across the page.

Sadly, Padme was of low spirits, having learned more about Anakin’s departure.

Apparently, Obi-Wan Kenobi moved the padawan back to Coruscant to keep them apart, and even managed to convinced the young man that Padme was indifferent to him. In fact, Padme Mr. Cin Drallig, told her that Obi-Wan openly encouraged Anakin to seek another companion, another Jedi, a woman whose time he might enjoy in secret. The reason for this was that he found Padme "unacceptable". Because Anakin valued his master's opinion, he accepted the criticism and has now resorted to rejecting Padme's friendship.

Padme was most distressed and no longer feigning indifference. Her letter and words were filled with such angst and heartbreak that Christa could not bear to read them.

Christa was so angered by Obi-Wan Kenobi’s interference, deception, and what she perceived to be a direct betrayal that she cried. They had gotten on well the few times she had seen him, but apparently, it was not enough to earn his loyalty, kindness, or respect for her family and acquaintances. Christa stripped out of her clothes and went to bed without supper, vowing to hate him for all eternity.

Padme was the kindest person she had ever known and didn’t deserve the heartbreak Obi Wan Kenobi had caused. Padme was smart, beautiful, cultured, manner able, beyond reproach! Thanks to Obi Wan Kenobi, and the fact that she had not married, Padme would soon lose her fortune, and like Christa, would have no one to care for her. She would be out on her own, where work in the Republic for women was scarce, some forced to become servants, or slaves on Tattoine just to survive!. She might even lose her seat in the Senate, as the high Chancellor had made it his platform to promote family values throughout the Republic.

The following morning it rained. A harsh cold rain and wind that beat against the windows and roof of the house. But despite the bad weather, Christa got dressed and went for a walk, hoping to cure her anxiety and growing hatred of Mr. Kenobi. But her walk would be a short one. As she neared the her favorite tree the rain began to overwhelm her, streaming into her mouth and nose. It felt as though she had been dropped into the middle of the ocean and left to drown.

Christa choked and spat water from her mouth then collapsed near the trunk of the big tree. She curled her legs to her chest and closed her eyes, finding solace there, even though it was wet and the puddles around her soaked her dress.

Christa blinked water from her eyes then wiped them furiously until she no longer saw a blur. When she opened them again she saw a figure walking toward her. Mr. Kenobi...

Immediately Christa wondered why he set out for the park again, knowing she would be there. She wanted to leave, but she was trapped at the base of the tree facing dangerous mudslide as it slowly came towards her from over a nearby hill.

"Mr. Kenobi," she gasped, fighting the stream of water pouring down her face.

His hair was slick against his head as he had gotten exceedingly wet in the downpour. Without reply he bent forward, slipped his muscular arms beneath her legs and scooped her into his arms.

Christa could barely get a word in edgewise as the water flowed and he stomped through the mud, carrying her to the old ruins where she would be safe. SHe held him about the shoulders tightly, fearful of being dropped, fearful of being drowned, fearful of the mudslide. Neither spoke, but occasionally, they would lock eyes only to turn their faces away in shyness.

When they arrived he set Christa on her feet beneath the stone shelter, where only mist from the rain might reach her. She was out of breath by then, having fought against the tide of water that fell upon them.

But Mr. Kenobi seemed okay. More than okay. It was a practice of the Jedi to rescue those who could not help themselves. Perhaps he’d seen a torrent or two in his day, this was probably nothing to him. Though his clothes were wet and clung to his body like a second layer of skin. His chest rose and fell as rapidly as hers. Understandably, as he had just carried them both through thick mud and wild brush over a hill in a rain and wind storm.

"Mr. Kenobi..." Christa started again. "What are you doing here?"

He paced at first, in an effort to find his nerve, then turned to face her with worried eyes.

"In vain I have struggled and I can bare it no longer. My feelings will not be repressed," he interrupted. "I came to Alderaan, and to the Chancellor’s at Rosings with the single objective of seeing you. I had to see you... I must confess, that I have fought against my better judgement, the expectations of the Jedi Order and the council, the inferiority of your birth, and my rank, but I and am willing to put it aside to end my agony."

"I don’t understand..." Christa replied.

"I love you," he blurted. "Most fervently..."

Christa watched him... mouth agape as he shifted nervously about. He was no more accustomed to this sort of thing than she was in hearing it from him. He was a man incapable of being romantic or of understanding such romantic notions. If he did, he would not have insulted her so violently in his declaration.

What did a Jedi male know of love? Professions of love when they were taught from the time of birth that loving another person romantically or otherwise was wrong? The only love acceptable to the order was that of a civil servant to the people. A general, non-specific type of love. But so sure was he that she would accept his gesture... Christa was not impressed.

"Please do me the honor..." he said, walking towards her... "of accepting my hand..."

Christa’s mouth might have dropped through the ground if that were possible. She detested the man, and his feelings for her were not much different!

"Sir... I appreciate the struggle you have been through and I am sorry if I have caused you pain. For it was unconsciously done."

"Is this your answer?" he asked, incredulously.

"Yes."

"Are you laughing at me?" he barked.

"No, sir," she answered.

"Are you rejecting me?" he asked.

"I’m sure everything that hindered your regard, shall work superbly in helping you to get over it."

He paused, gazed into her face, an incredible look filling his eyes. Christa squared her shoulders and pointed her nose high as she glared at him.

"I must ask, why with so little attempt at civility I am thus repulsed?"

"And I must ask why you felt the need to insult me at the very point in which you made your offer!" she retorted. "If I was uncivil to you, then you are right, there is no excuse. But I have other reasons, you know I have."

"What reason?..." he started-

"What makes you think that I would ever accept the man who would ruin the happiness of a most beloved sister? Do you deny it, Master Kenobi? That you callously separated my sister from the only man she ever loved, exposing her to heartache and agony, and him to loneliness and isolation, involving them both in misery of the acutest kind, even as you prepare to make a future with someone for yourself? I have every reason in the world to think ill of you. No motive can excuse the unjust and ungenerous part you acted there.

Obi-Wan covered his beard with his open hand. "Deny, it? I do not."

"Why did you do it?" she gasped.

"There were talks at the ball of a union between my apprentice and Senator Amidala. I couldn’t allow it."

"And I suppose you thought she would use him for political reasons... as an ally when she is among the Senate."

"I think it is more than obvious. Politicians cannot be trusted, even when they are young and beautiful."

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s chest rose, he looked at her, and for the first time she had seen genuine anger in his eyes, even as he tried to temper himself "Anakin is studying to be a Jedi, I had every right to encourage him to focus on his studies."

"Padme Amidala is bright, intelligent, and beautiful, indeed, politicians are often distrustful and corrupt, but Senator Amidala is good."

"And yet, she would encourage the man she loved to risk his career? And it’s not only their friendship that has concerned me, but the rumors being spread by Breha Organa as well as Mr. Lucas. They nearly ruined Anakin’s career. He is very important."

Without a doubt, Breha had talked too often and too publically about Padme and Anakin’s friendship. To this, Christa could say nothing.

"And what about Mr. Drallig?" she asked.

Obi-Wan strode toward her, struggling to maintain the appearance of composure.

"Mr. Drallig?" he queried.

"He told me of his misfortunes!" Christa wailed.

"Yes..." Obi-Wan said, breathing heavily as he gazed into her face... "His misfortunes have been very great indeed."

"You ruin his chances and yet you treat him with sarcasm..."

"So this is your opinion of me?" he raged. "Thank you for explaining it so fully. My faults, according to this calculation, are heavy indeed! But perhaps," added he, stopping in his walk, and turning towards her, "these offenses might have been overlooked had not your pride been hurt by my honest confession of the scruples that had long prevented my forming any serious design. These bitter accusations might have been suppressed, had I, with greater policy, concealed my struggles, and flattered you into the belief of my being impelled by unqualified, unalloyed inclination. Did you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your circumstances? To congratulate myself on the hope of union with a civilian, a life that is so decidedly beneath that of a Jedi?"

"And these are the words of a gentleman?" Christa gasped. "Master Kenobi, if I had known you scarcely a day, you could not have presented your hand in any manner that would have tempted me to accept it!"

Upon hearing her words, Obi Wan couldn’t hide his astonishment . He looked at her with an expression of mingled incredulity and mortification. Things were not going according to plan, he was so sure of her acceptance of a secret union, her impending poverty considered. But still, she stubbornly continued.

"From the very beginning--from the first moment, I may almost say of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, have instilled such an immovable dislike in me of you that I declare you to be the last man in the world who I could ever be prevailed upon to marry!"

And just as she was about to start again, he interrupted her, waving a hand.

"Enough... I perfectly comprehend your revulsion and let me say that I am only embarrassed that I had not detected your feelings prior to my declaration. Nevertheless I shall get over my mortification with needed haste...please, forgive me madame," he breathed, "for taking up so much of your time."

Christa opened her mouth to speak. She almost, just barely felt sorry for him.

And with those final words he stormed away, into the fields beneath the sweeping torrent of rain.

Chapter 9

 

Christa stood beneath the ruins and weathered the storm, which lasted for a few hours. She had brought a book to read with her, which had been stashed in the folds of her overcoat. But she was in no mood to read it now. Her sense of peace had been shattered by Mr. Kenobi. To think, he had been harbouring sentimental feelings for her over the past few weeks. Could she ever bring herself to hate him after the speech he'd given her?

His actions toward Padme and Anakin were unforgiveable, indeed. But, in the argument it was revealed that his actions were not done out of malice, but out of a misguided attempt to protect his apprentice. But what about his insults? The insults he paid her on the night of the first ball, and his haughty attitude and ridicule of her civilian status and impending poverty?

Christa also noticed how surprised he seemed by her rejection.Did he expect her to accept his offer out of need? She wouldn't give him the satisfaction! Nevertheless, her cold rejection of him failed to make her feel good. To see a man so proud dejected and humiliated had the opposite effect, causing her to feel pity for him instead.

When the rain stopped, Christa walked through the muddy field to her friend's house where they swooped upon her like an eagle over a hatched bird that had fallen from its nest.

"Christa, we were so worried about you!" Charlotte exclaimed. "The weather has been absolutely horrid, we thought you had been swept away in a mudslide. I even called Master Windu who said he hadn't seen you for some time, and that even his comrade, Obi Wan Kenobi had gone missing. You gave us such a terrible fright. Mr. Windu had set out on a mission to rescue you from a terrible fate when he discovered you had been out with Mr. Kenobi, and that it was he who rescued you."

"Aye, that is the truth," Christa solemnly replied.

Charlotte watched as Christa slipped out of her soaked overcoat and walked to the guest room.

"Is everything okay?" her friend asked, as she followed her and stood leaning against the frame of the door.

Christa turned and stared at her with sullen eyes. "I hardly know," she answered stoically.

Charlotte left Christa to sit at the desk in the privacy of her room. There, as she composed a letter to Padme, a hopeful one, with promises of brighter days, a sudden knock upon the door interrupted her thoughts. And when she rose to answer it, the door nudged open. Obi Wan Kenobi walked inside and laid a letter on her bed. Too mortified to face him, Christa turned away, her back to his face. Her behavior at the park was as bad as anything he had ever said to her and she was ashamed.

"I shall not renew the sentiments which were so disgusting to you," he whispered. "I have written a letter to address the charges you have laid against me and shall now honor your wishes and restrain from ever bothering you again."

And with that, he quit the room then quietly closed the door behind him.

**********************************************************************

The Letter:

"Be not alarmed, Madame, I write this letter without intent to humble myself or further pain you. Neither shall I renew the sentiments which repulsed and revolted you so greatly. I thank you in advance for allowing me to bestow my unwanted opinion upon you yet again in reading this letter... Although I feel wholly justified in my demand of your attention, as I wish to address the charges you have laid against me and my character. The first charge; that I willfully separated a young couple in an act of undue malice. The second, that I obliterated the career and future of fellow Jedi, Cin Drallig... the latter of these charges which I find magnificently more damaging than the first, have compelled me to undo the wrongful besmirching of my good and honorable name.

It pains me deeply to think of ever wanting to, in defiance of honor and humanity, ruin my childhood friend, favorite of my former Master, and source of current disinformation. Despite this, I write without the intent to slander. When I was young, I was without a master, without family, living among the Order fully expecting a life of solitude, back breaking agricultural labor and regret when I was rescued by my teacher, who had recently been expunged from his role as Master by his own student. Cin Drallig was a young man with a promising future favored by mostly everyone in the temple for his happy manners, physical acuity and intuitiveness. Including the disillusioned Jedi Count Dooku, who offered him the coveted role of apprentice against the wishes of his own former student, Qui Gon. Mr. Drallig, upon receiving the offer rallied to the council and immediately commenced to dropping Qui Gonn Jinn as a master, breaking his heart and spirit. The others saw Cin Drallig differently by this, as his ambitions went against the tenets of our religion. He was subsequently abandoned by the Count, who decided against the idea of taking a new student. By then, Master had already taken me as apprentice and it was Cin Drallig who was left without a master and Not I. It was his selfish materialistic desire for glory, adventure, and power that ruined him... Not I. Eventually Mr. Drallig became resentful of my success with Master, my newly bestowed rank and prominence and has sought to ruin me ever since.

As to the charge that I willfully destroyed a couple, who by all accounts should not be together in secret or public... my actions were done in service of a friend. I was in want of protecting his future. Ultimately, the pursuit of a friendship with Senator Amidala is his choice, but his secrets must be kept from me, forever, as I would have done the same had my earlier designs come to fruition.

This, madame, is a faithful narrative of every event of present concern; and if you do not absolutely reject it as false, you will, I hope, acquit me henceforth of cruelty towards Mr. Drallig, and my apprentice, Anakin Skywalker.

I shall close this letter, and again, apologize for having taken liberty with your time. But must convey once more, that the prejudicially applied charges you have made against me, necessitated this last and final communication.

Sincerely,

OBK

Christa closed the letter, her heart and mind heavy with regret. She only hoped it would be their last communication, for she would be too mortified by her own horribleness, to see him ever again.

Chapter 10

In the coming weeks, Padme had seen much of Anakin, much to the bemusement of his teacher, Obi Wan Kenobi. Apparently the Chancellor had assigned the two Jedi to a very special mission in which Anakin was to guard the senator as she had been under the threat of death by an assassin.

Padme wrote Christa a letter which exuded how happy she was with the arrangement. Padme also mentioned just how displeased and unhappy Obi Wan Kenobi was for most of his business there, and explained how his anger had been misdirected, as he had taken it out on Anakin more than anyone else. But soon, they parted ways with the Jedi Master, Anakin and Padme to Naboo and Obi Wan Kenobi elsewhere, as head of the investigation.

Christa signed off from the electronically submitted letter, pleased with the recent development. Not even Obi Wan Kenobi could stop whatever love was to grow between them now. But with Anakin and Padme's situation nearly resolved, Christa realized that it was her own matters that needed attending to. She was certain now that she had judged him too hastily, and that it was her own vanity that caused the misunderstanding between herself and the Jedi Master.

Ever since the day he insulted her at the ball she had searched in vain, finding any excuse to dislike him. This left her blind to reason... too blind to see the inconsistencies in what Cin Drallig had told her.

After reviewing his story over and over again in her mind the past few weeks, Drallig's version of events made less sense. For example, what Jedi would fall so foolishly for the plots of a boy? And what about the fact that Cin Drallig refused to attend the ball when he already promised that Kenobi should be the one to avoid him instead? Thinking about her foolish judgement of Master Kenobi made her cheeks burn. How easy it was for Mr. Drallig to spread those nasty rumors about him. Too easy. There isn’t a man of character on any side of the galaxy would have torn down a comrade, regardless of their respective pasts, nor would any have been so willing to paint himself a victim in the company of a lady. Christa ached. Had she ruined her own chance at happiness?

After an exhausting six weeks with Mr. and Mrs. Binks, two since Obi Wan’s proposal, it was time to go home. The newlyweds sent her by flight carriage to Alderaan, where she was to meet with Breha again. Breha was disappointed to see the situation unchanged, and decided they should go to Olvea, where she would part, leaving her goddaughter as a guest at her brother-in-law’s house. The brother of Bail Organa, Mr. and Mrs. Gardnier.

The Gardniers were lovely people and already well acquainted with Christa. The couple was much older than she, wise, and had an easy manner about them. When Breha arrived with Christa, the Gardniers announced that they were off to visit other places... though they would love if the young woman could join them as she might add to their fun.

Christa and Breha agreed. Christa realized she could use the time away from her thoughts. The Gardniers would make a comforting distraction. The Gardniers owned a passenger ship, a large enough craft to accommodate many passengers, but only three traveled to Coruscant. Upon hearing the destination, Christa grew anxious, her heart beating rapidly in her chest. But then she remembered Padme’s letter, which she opened and read again for assurances. Padme and Anakin had gone to Naboo. Obi Wan Kenobi had gone away from the planet on an investigation into the case and was expected to be away for a long while.

Christa was at peace again upon reading this bit of information. A meeting between them would be awkward exposing them both to feelings of mortification. Though, she suspected that he was already over her, and had moved on with his life. He could have the woman of his choosing. Who was she, but the girl who turned her own happiness away for a lie?

"Do you see it dear? Off, just over the horizon... the temple there?" Mrs. Gardnier exclaimed as she gazed through the viewing window.

"Yes, it is the very first place I should love to visit!"

"Oh, must we go there first? I’m interested in seeing the Senate hall. There are so many places to visit, than to go rushing off to see those dreadful Jedi," Christa whined.

"What have you against the Jedi? They’re absolutely wonderful. Look at all the good work they’ve done for the Republic."

"They’re snobby, privileged, over-indulged hypocrites. I shouldn’t like to meet anyone so arrogant. They are all the same."

"My word, child. What has vexed you so? I'm most interested in meeting the famous Master Yoda, Master Windu, and Obi-Wan Kenobi," Mrs. Gardiner replied as her husbanded navigated their ship to a nearby landing strip.

Christa’s mouth fell open, that they would even mention him by name... "He’s the last person I should want to meet."

"Why? Mr. Gardnier exclaimed. He’s renowned for his work here in the Republic. He’s made peace between many a systems, all which honor him til this very day. I should think it an honor to meet such a man."

"Well..." Christa started defensively, "I shouldn’t like to see someone so famous. They’re hardly what one expects when you’ve finally met them. It might prove to be enough of a disappointment to ruin our trip."

"For shame, Christa. Objecting to poor Mr. Kenobi because he’s famous? What a snob you are," Mr. Gardnier teased. "This won’t do, dear. You shall walk every step of the way with us while we are here."

The doors to the ship opened and Christa reluctantly followed the awestruck couple down the landing platform.

Chapter 11

 

Christa and the Gardniers walked into town from the landing station and booked a suite at the Coruscant Gardens Bed and Breakfast near the Senate Hall.

The trip from Olvea, which was on the outskirts of the outer rim territories was a long one. It had taken some time to get there with Breha, and just as long to get back. In all, a three week period had lapsed since she had last seen Mr. and Mrs. Binks. But the trip was worth it. Her thoughts had been less occupied by the situation between herself and Mr. Kenobi.

After some rest, the Gardiner’s and Christa first toured the Senate. There they saw the Chancellor, who invited them to dinner. He was usual nosy self, and commenced to interrogating Christa about her private life again, much to the bemusement of her companions who thought him rude and impertinent. When they were done, they visited the hall. It was lovely, adorned with beautiful art, and furnished with thousands of chairs and bold light infrastructures. Mr. Gardiner talked about the history of some of the art that lined the walls which he had studied as a youngster with his wife and Christa, and the number of planets and Senators. They sat in some of the chairs and discussed politics with the Chancellor. Christa noted just how imperialistic Chancellor Palpatine was, but reserved opinion on the man, save for another time.

They soon parted company with the politician, the Gardniers eventually more impressed with him than Christa. They remarked on his manner of speaking, how kind he was in inviting mere civilians, such as they were, to dinner. Although, Mr. Gardiner was a bit more prominent than that, as he had been anointed by Olvea’s Head of State a minor position Christa which could not remember.

The following morning, the companions rose at dawn. Christa chose, either consciously or unconsciously to wear her prettiest dress. The Gardniers had scheduled a tour of the Jedi Temple.

They traveled there by airbus. The Gardiners made no attempt to disguise their excitement upon entering the ancient grounds. The temple was beautiful with shiny marble floors and large stone columns that stretched to an arched ceiling of elaborately decorated stain glass windows. From there, sunlight filtered through the colorful images and stream onto the visitors and the grand hall.

Seeing the temple with her own eyes, she could easily understand the source of Obi Wan Kenobi's arrogance. Or what she misconstrued as arrogance...which was loyalty to the Order that trained and bred him. He admitted in his speech to her that the proposal had gone against his faith and honor but he was willing to sacrifice it all for her! The realization struck Christa right in the heart... His haughty attitude to her was as he said, a subconscious reaction to his attraction to her, an effort to resist it. And though his words were unkind in his attempt to belittle her beauty and character, they both had behaved so poorly in the end.

Christa and the Gardiners walked through the temple, admiring the architecture of the ancient building, admiring the art, and admiring the many books in its library. Christa spoke at length to the librarian who explained the history of the temple and its many heroes. At the end of her speech, when she finally spoke of Obi Wan Kenobi, Christa tried her best not to look too interested. But to her surprise, the Gardiners wanted to hear more about the man, asking about his character, which the librarian praised, saying that he was the kindest person she had ever met. The Gardiners then pulled Christa away. She was hoping to learn more about his residence, his place in the temple, or whether he lived off grounds. But not without wondering why she longed to know more.

When they were done were done touring the more public areas, a guide then showed them the living quarters. The rooms were small, belonging to many of the younger Jedi and Padawans, most of whom were off on adventures and other missions. The guide conveyed to the group that the quarters were seldom used. Against her better judgement, Christa asked about Obi Wan Kenobi and was told he lived away from the temple, further into the city. The Gardniers suggested they pay his residence a visit, as it was also open to tourism, according to the map.

"I wonder, how might a private residence become open to the public?" Christa asked.

"It is, Madame, at the discretion of the master of the house," the guide answered.

"Will he be there?" Christa asked.

"Master Kenobi is away... on a mission."

Crisis averted, Christa thought. She would avoid the mortification of meeting him there.

They traveled with the guide via airbus into the center of the city with a group of tourists. They first visited the home of Master Yoda, who was also away. The guide did remark, how the Master Jedi might have returned, as it appeared his surroundings had been disturbed. Master Yoda lived, unlike many of the other residents, below ground. His home was dark, with very few windows, but comfortable and cool. They also visited the home of Master Windu. A light purplish color was prominent in most of his furnishings and art. The space was at the top of a spire, not far from Master Yoda’s. They visited a few other places, and by then had grown quite tired. Christa, so tired that she was ready for sleep, even without dinner. But the tour was not done yet.

Further out from the city, and even further from the Jedi temple was Obi Wan Kenobi’s residence. It sat on the outskirts of the countryside near the fields. It wasn’t a skyscraper, like the others. But a grand old manor.

He mentioned in his letter to her, how he had been in line to do agricultural work for the Order and not that of a Jedi Knight. She assumed, his work would have been done there. The grounds were lovely and well kept. It was a charming place, fit for someone of a higher social rank, someone like the Chancellor.

They walked through a garden with beautiful flowers, little cherubic-like statues that decorated the landscape, fountains, and fashionably hedged bushes and trees.

They were greeted by a woman slightly older than Christa. The woman wore her hair pulled to the back of her head in a tight bun, and dressed in colorful robes. Christa could not enter, realizing how the woman might have lived there, and was mistress of the house. But Mr. Gardiner pressed Christa to enter and tour the house with them. Eventually she complied.

Despite her feelings for the man, which weren’t stable at all, Christa was awestruck by the beauty of his home. She dawdled behind the other guests and admired the art, some of which were invaluable, due to being so ancient.

Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner followed the woman with the rest of the group and seemed to have forgotten about Christa. They had stopped before a painting of Obi Wan Kenobi by the time she finally caught up with them.

Christa gazed at the image, at once forgetting everyone around her.

"He is a handsome man, isn’t he?" the woman inquired.

Startled out of her thoughts, Christa turned and smiled politely at the host. "I daresay he is," Christa replied.

"Do you know him?" the woman asked.

The question was so instinctive that it caught her by surprise. "Yes, I do. But only briefly."

Hearing this, the Gardiners expressed their shock. "You didn’t tell us that you’d recently become acquainted with Mr. Kenobi," Mrs. Gardiner said.

"It was so brief," Christa exclaimed, "I thought it hardly worth mentioning without sounding as though I were bragging."

Mr and Mrs Gardiner accepted her reply and turned to the host, who was speaking again.

The others left Christa behind as she gazed at the painting a bit longer. When she finally came to her senses, realizing the attention she had given the image might further arouse the curiosity of her companions, did she wandered to the veranda to watch the sunset.

The veranda overlooked the garden and the air smelled of flowers and dew. It was peaceful and she was grateful to have a few moments to herself. But after a short while, she thought of the other tourists and wondered if she had fallen too far behind and set to scramble so that she would meet with the other guests.

But just as Christa had turned to walk inside, she caught a glimpse of a man. And no ordinary man at that. So stunned was she by the appearance of Master Obi Wan Kenobi! The guide had given her many assurances that he was away. What was he doing on Coruscant? Or worse, what was she doing in his house? How, unusual it might seem, to see her there.

Before she could slip out of view, Obi Wan Kenobi caught sight of her and soon appeared as mortified as she. Both turned various shades of red.

After a moment spent collecting himself, he walked toward her. To Christa's surprise, Obi Wan Kenobi looked different now. His hair had been cut short and his beard had been trimmed. He was far more handsomer than before, which made her more nervous than she would have been, for her thoughts might give her away.

"Miss Christa," he said, gazing intently into her face.

"I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be here," she interrupted. "But my companions insisted I tour the city, the temple, and some of the private residences. I’m sorry if I’ve intruded."

"Not at all," he replied.

Christa stared at the man. He seemed so different to her now. So pleasant. There was a look of concern on his face as he gazed at her instead of a look of hauteur and disregard, like before.

"Are you well?" he asked.

"I am sir..." she stuttered. "And you, are you well?"

"I am."

"What are you doing here? I was told you were away on a mission."

"I was injured in battle."

"Oh no, I hope you are better now."

"Indeed, still healing but nothing too serious. Anakin injuries surpass my own. They were in service of my life. He lost an arm."

"Poor Anakin! Is he okay? Oh my, and what of Padme?"

"Anakin is well, he’s having surgery at a med center on Naboo. Padme is with him."

There was something in his gaze that spoke more, but Christa could make little of it.

As they stood before each other in search of something appropriate to say, the Gardiners appeared.

"There you are Christa! We thought you were lost," Mrs Gardiner exclaimed. "I was so worried..."

Immediately, her eyes flew to Obi Wan Kenobi’s bewildered face then back to Christa’s as recognition set in.

"But, perhaps Mr Gardiner and I should... do something else," she finished, looking quite flustered.

"No, of course not. Have you eaten supper?" Obi Wan curiously asked.

"No, and I’m quite famished," Mrs Gardiner exclaimed. "We’ve toured the entire city without stopping for something to eat. We were really quite excited to be here."

Looking to Mr. Gardiner, Obi Wan Kenobi smiled easily. "I would love to have the three of you as my guest. Do you like fish?" Obi Wan inquired.

Mr. Gardiner seemed startled by the request at first, then honored. "Of course, I do, thank you, sir!" he gushed.

Christa could not disguise her disbelief. He was so utterly different, so relaxed, so open. Before he seemed so uptight and repressed, he was almost a different person now. She wondered what might have caused such a drastic change. Surely not her reproach of his behavior?

Obi Wan tossed ginger hair from his face then walked past the Gardiners. As he did, his hand swept hers. The touch caused a fluttering in her belly. Their eyes connected and both quickly looked away.

"I shall see you shortly," he said to the Gardiners. And with a polite bow he was off.

Immediately, Mrs Gardiner turned to Christa. "Can you believe it?"

"I daresay I do not," Christa numbly replied.

"He is far more handsomer in person, than in his paintings. Wouldn’t you agree?"

Christa nodded. "The painting does him little justice," she answered.

Chapter 12

 

At dinner, Christa scarcely said a word. Instead, she listened to Mr and Mrs Gardiner’s polite chatter with Mr. Kenobi. They were joined by several of his peers, and the woman who hosted the tour of his residence. A woman he introduced to the group as Desea. Christa tried unsuccessfully, on several occasions not to look at the woman. But Obi Wan Kenobi seemed most interested in nurturing a conversation between the two. Desea was very open and warm and after a while, not even Christa could not resist her charm.

"So, what is your relationship, here, to Mr Kenobi?" Mr. Gardiner asked Miss Desea. "You gave a most wonderful tour of Master Kenobi’s residence," he said to the woman.

Desea smiled, dabbed the corner of her mouth with a napkin then blushed as she looked at Obi Wan.

She was an older, very attractive woman, and Christa could not help but feel uneasy as he attempted to lavish equal attention between the two.

Mr and Mrs Gardiner seemed equally surprised by Obi Wan’s attentiveness, which they noticed more than Christa, how much more, he had given to her. His colleagues, who sat at the table with them didn’t seem to notice, or care.

"Well," Desea gushed. But just as she spoke, someone entered the room with a call for Mr. Kenobi and distracted chatter among the remaining guest resumed.

When he returned, dinner was announced to end, as he had been called away on immediate business. He bade everyone goodbye, a generous and warm goodbye to the Gardiners and Christa with an invitation to return the next day due to the abrupt ending to their evening.

Christa tried to object, saying it was fine, but the Gardiners would have nothing of it, insisting she join them the following day. Christa noticed the drawn look on Mr. Kenobi’s face as they escorted her out the door. Miss Desea stayed behind, waving as the other guest parted.

As soon as they were away from polite company, back at the Inn, the Gardiners bombarded Christa with question after question.

"So, what did you think of Mr. Kenobi?" Mrs Gardiner asked.

"He was quite the gentleman," Christa answered.

"Yes, but what do you make of his attention? Surely there’s something to it? I mean, not to accuse the man of having a motive, but I was most perplexed, he seems to have taken quite an interest in you, young lady."

"It’s nothing," Christa replied. "Jedi are not allowed to marry, so there could be no serious design for me."

"Aye, but we do know there are secret marriages every now and then, perhaps..." Mrs Gardiner started.

"I cannot even begin to conceive of such a thing. Mr. Kenobi is a disciplined man. He will honor his oath to the Order, of that I am certain."

"Unless... Miss Desea..." Mr. Gardiner started.

"Oh she’s too old for him," Mrs. Gardiner interrupted. "I’m absolutely certain, he showed more interest in our Christa," she added gleefully.

"I’m off to bed," Christa bashfully replied. "And please, there is nothing of concern to any of us, Mr. Kenobi is merely being polite. Good night."

The following morning, a courier arrived with an invitation to Mr. Kenobi’s, which Mr. Gardiner exhuberantly accepted. The invite was to a luncheon date.

They dressed, and Christa carefully so. All the while, her thoughts preoccupied with previous events. Namely, Mr. Kenobi’s behavior. He was so generous and kind to her the night before, she could scarcely begin to understand why. Surely, he didn’t still love her? After all the terrible things she said? Christa may not have noticed but it was there for all to see in his look and mannerism. Yet every time he smiled at her she couldn’t help but wonder if she was still dear to him.

But these thoughts led to dangerous ones... particularly the nature of Obi Wan’s relationship with Desea. The woman doted on him and he never explained their friendship.

Christa had worn her loveliest sun dress to the luncheon and pulled her long dark hair into a braid at the back of her head. When Mrs Gardiner saw her, the woman commented on how lovely she looked but wouldn't reveal much more of her thoughts; that Christa had placed emphasis on her appearance to impress Mr. Kenobi.

When they arrived at his estate, Obi Wan watched as Christa descended the air carriage then extended a gentlemanly hand. The touch sent a current of electricity between them that neither could deny, so he quickly turned on his heels and escorted them all inside. There, Miss Desea waited in the Den, she was the only guest in attendance besides the Gardiners. The visit was more intimate than their dinner the previous night.

But like the night before, the date had been cut short, when a courier arrived with a letter for Christa. She read the print at once, then exclaimed in shock at its contents, and immediately, tears began to flow.

Desea excused herself as the Gardiners tried to make sense of what happened. Obi Wan stood patiently near the door, unsure of what to do.

"It’s a letter," Christa cried. "From Breha. I must return to Alderaan at once."

"My dear heavens, what happened?" Mrs Gardiner asked.

Christa sobbed.

"Is there something I might do?" Obi Wan inquired, his eyes concerned.

"No... there's nothing you can do. There is little hope for me. I must leave at once."

What she did not tell them was that her wealth had finally been distributed, not only to Mr. Binks but to several unknown persons and now her life was to change, forever. How stubborn she had been over the years, waiting for "true love" to arrive. Now she was to clear her family’s house of her belongings and move on immediately.

"But you have yet to tell us anything..." Mr. Gardiner insisted.

"I’ve said too much already. I will return to Breha Organa’s estate as soon as possible."

Sadly for Christa, Breha and Bail Organa could do as they wished with her, moving forward. She was utterly dependent upon them now.

"Mr Gardiner, Mrs Gardiner. If your wish is not to end your vacation, I will gladly offer a ship to see Miss Christa safely escorted to Alderaan."

Mrs Gardiner looked to her husband.

"No, we must go with her, comfort her really."

They spouses nodded in agreement.

"No! I won’t ruin your trip. Please stay. I insist..." Christa pleaded.

"I will leave at once, then," Obi-Wan said. His eyes connected with Christa’s before he quietly quit the room.

The Gardiners exchanged curious glances. "Surely he doesn’t mean to take you himself?" Mr. Gardiner asked.

"Someone else will be responsible. He’s on the mend, really, and far too busy to waste any time with me."

"Now that he’s gone, will you tell us what happened?"

"It’s too personal," Christa muttered. "That said, my visit with you was lovely, and much appreciated."

"We were much obliged," Mr. Gardiner answered.

"I shall be equally satisfied if you promise to enjoy the rest of your vacation...do not worry about me. I shall contact you soon."

With that, Christa left the room, walked through the manor, the garden and passed through the gate. There, as promised, a ship waited to see her safely to Alderaan. Obi Wan Kenobi stood beside it.

The hatch opened then laid flat. He motioned for her to come forward. Christa approached, her eyes meeting his. He extended a hand as she stepped onto the landing platform. His fingers, warm as they were, lingered over her palm.

"Thank you, for helping me," she said, softly withdrawing her hand.

She turned away then climbed onto the ship. Obi Wan followed, his eyes twinkling as he boarded behind her. Christa turned, met his approach, and there was a fluttering in her belly.

She wondered what had possessed the poor man! Surely he had better things to do? Then there was the embarrassment of her situation, to be endured the entire trip which was not meant for her to forbear.

Chapter 13

 Obi Wan Kenobi sat in the co-pilot’s chair as a clone trooper navigated the ship. Christa waited quietly in the cabin drinking tea, grateful of being relieved of the duty of entertaining Mr. Kenobi with conversation. She’d hardly know what to say!

Perhaps his performance before the Gardiners was merely that... a performance and he would return to his rude and haughty ways. But after a few hours or so, he joined her and she poured tea for them both. His countenance was easy, as they sat in silence for a bit, til she finally said:

"You’ve cut your hair. It’s lovely."

He smiled, eyes crinkling at the corners.

"It should make things easier once Anakin has finally healed and we’ve returned to the battle."

"I daresay, hair should be the least of your concern."

"It is. Which is why I was compelled to cut it."

"You’ll get no arguments from me, sir. It makes perfect sense."

"Surely you are not so repentant now?" No argument? What he liked about her most was her wit and ability to debate, yet she withdrew from both.

"I’m afraid I don’t take your meaning?" Christa replied. Then seeing the glint in his eye, she smiled. "Well, I’m sure I’ve been a pain to you."

Obi Wan studied her face, but said nothing as Christa sipped her tea. She then set the cup on the table and stood, brushing crumbs that had fallen on her yellow sun dress away. Ever the gentlemen, he rose. Christa she took a step, hoping to move around or to perhaps put an end to the awkward silence that enveloped them. But he blocked her path like a towering wall.

She lifted her head and stared boldly into his face, the bridge of her nose, near enough to his. Obi Wan gazed at her from beneath lowered lashes, and so near they were to a kiss, that he could feel her breath upon his mouth.

"I'm in need of the fresher..." she whispered, then walked around.

He then became very reserved, turned, and walked to the cockpit. The fact that Anakin and Padme had found some measure of happiness should have given him some relief. But he would have none of his own, and neither would she, which struck him with acute disappointment.

The Jedi being so fairly adept at reading the thoughts of others, Christa wished against all hope that Obi Wan Kenobi were not privy to her sad circumstances. The trip to Alderaan was pleasant enough in spite of her discomfort and surprisingly, Obi Wan Kenobi had been kind and sensitive to her. Smiling often. He was different, not at all as haughty as he bad been before.

But then, this should not come as a surprise. She had fully misjudged him before and now felt like a foolish school girl.

Obi Wan Kenobi’s ship landed in the garden of her former house. She stood just outside the cock pit, watching through the viewing window, a grim look set upon her face.

"Thank you for your kindness Mr. Kenobi," said she, with a polite bow of her head.

Christa turned on her heels and paced to the descending landing platform. Obi Wan Kenobi watched as she parted, his expression as unreadable as he could ever be.

Christa walked across the garden, thinking of old things and memories from her child hood, her parents, and all the things she loved. It was all gone now. And so was he.

She turned her head and watched as Obi Wan Kenobi’s ship rose and streaked across the sky... it was as though the trail of clouds left in the ship's wake had erased his face from her mind... for she knew, they may never see each other again.

Christa entered the house and packed away her belongings. Some hours later Breha met her there, hands set upon her hips, her face contorted into a frown.

"Oh dear girl, everything has been lost. Your mother would be so upset! Your childhood home, gone!" she exasperated, cheeks red. "-How, -how will you care for yourself? I can’t very well take care of you forever, Bail would never hear of it. If only you had taken my advice and married Mr. Binks!"

Christa tightened the strap on her bag then turned angry eyes onto the nosy woman. As if she didn’t know how desolate her situation had become!

Christa stood and Breha wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "I suppose it’s time to say goodbye... I shouldn’t like to see this house go... I have so many fond memories of your mother, my dearest friend...part of my childhood is here too," Breha mumbled sadly.

"Perhaps I might do well to think as the Jedi do, and free myself of old attachments. I see little use in crying over things that cannot be changed."

"What if someone should want to make a servant of you?" Breha said in a shrill, panicked voice.

"I’ll do what is needed to survive."

"OH dear!" Breha cried, hands covering her flustered cheeks.

Breha and Christa traveled to Longhourne by air carriage. Breha talked of all things relating to wealth and Christa making a new way for herself. Then the subject of her flight to Alderaan had been discussed. Breha could not be subdued upon hearing that the nasty Obi Wan Kenobi had escorted Christa to Alderaan.

"How Mr. Organa can stand him is beyond all comprehension. He’s wretched! What was his purpose in bringing you here? Was it to gloat? Ridicule?"

"He said he had business here."

"With Whom?" Breha barked.

"I don’t know... a Jedi person, Siri Tachi."

"Oh dear..." Breha said, the color draining from her face. "Siri Tachi is a Jedi woman. I wonder what brings her to Alderaan?"

"Is she beautiful?" Christa asked.

"I daresay, why should you care? The man is despicable and no one is more deserving of him than Siri Tachi! She is as proud and arrogant as he...or so I hear," Breha continued in her gossipy way.

The women arrived at Breha’s estate and not long after Christa had settled into her room, and prepared to read one of Padme’s letters, which she was glad to receive, did a visitor arrive at the house.

"Christa, darling!" and the clapping of hands.

Christa sat Padme’s unread letter aside and traveled downstairs to see why Breha had beckoned her, and to see who had come into the house. To her shock and dismay stood Mr. Kenobi and a pretty woman with fair hair. She had the type of petulant pout one might expect to see on the face of a child, and sharp blue eyes.

"Good evening, Mrs. Organa..." We are to escort Mr. Organa to Coruscant. There's a senate meeting," the woman said. "I’m Siri Tachi," she continued.

"I know," Breha answered, lips tight. "I’ll fetch Mr. Organa for you."

"Thank you," Obi Wan Kenobi replied.

Breha scoffed, turned on her heels and called Mr. Organa in a shrill voice. Christa stood with hands folded before her as her eyes made contact with Obi Wan Kenobi.

"I trust you are well?" Obi Wan asked.

"I am. And you sir, Madame?" Christa replied to the pair.

Siri smiled.

"Is this the friend you were telling me about? The young miss you were kind enough to offer a seat on your ship because she is without transportation or home?"

Knowing her words had stung, Siri looked to Christa again, but even with her acute senses, she could not discern ill feelings on the part of the young woman she had slighted.

She then turned to Obi Wan Kenobi, who looked as though he had been slapped across the face.

"We’re to have dinner soon," Christa said, looking at Obi Wan again. "I’m sure Mrs. Organa wouldn’t mind if you joined us. Mr. Organa has not yet eaten and I’m certain he would be in a foul mood if left to travel all the way to Coruscant on an empty stomach. For he so dearly loves to eat," Christa gayly replied.

"Sounds lovely. Master Kenobi and I graciously accept your invitation," came Siri’s reply.

WE? Christa thought.

The pair followed her to the dining room. Servants scuttled about setting dishes on the table as they sat.

"Will you be joining us? Or eating in the kitchen with the others?" Siri asked.

This time, the look on Mr. Kenobi’s face was not one of embarrassment, but anger.

"I suppose you’ll have your answer soon enough," Christa answered, folding a napkin across her lap.

Soon Breha and Bail joined them, and for the duration of their meal Siri Tachi, perhaps sensing Obi Wan Kenobi's frustration made no further attempt to vex Christa... at least for a while. Siri had other concerns. As did Breha who could hardly contain her surprise, that Obi Wan Kenobi had been unusually attentive to Christa and ignored his sulking partner.

It became apparent to Breha that he may have actually liked god daughter! Not that it would matter, as he was so full of himself, so tall and proud, thinking himself so high and mighty. Breha longed to ask Bail his opinion but he was so oblivious of it all, she would be wasting her time in doing so.

After the meal had been finished, the guest retreated to the drawing room where conversation ensued. Talk of conspiracies, war, and all those things that bored poor Breha to tears. She had no one to talk to now, as Christa had gone to her room to read Padme’s letters.

After Christa had finished, she returned to the drawing room with an announcement. That she was to return to Coruscant, for Padme and she were in each other's confidence and the young woman now sought her friend's immediate council.

Siri Tachi’s face had turned stone grey upon hearing the announcement. For Obi Wan would certainly give the young woman passage, thus, interrupting the time she would have had alone with him and Bail Organa.

Later that evening, Christa patiently endured Breha's kisses as she bade her goodbye. But just as she turned to walk to away, Obi Wan Kenobi grabbed her hand, taking her by complete surprise as she climbed the landing platform into the waiting ship.

Seeing this, Siri Tachi immediately began to nag. "Are we to let this civilian travel with us on official business? If so, then why? You said the woman was horrible, and that you detested her... and yet you give her passage to Coruscant when there are civilian flights available to courier her there from Alderaan?"

He turned, eyes patient, as he stared directly into hers...

"If I have said those things, then I was wrong: for I have not met a more beautiful or finer woman than she in my entire life."

And finally, Siri had forced him to say that which would cause pain to her and no one else. Her face blanched considerably as she quietly boarded the ship behind him.

Hearing the exchange, Christa's heart began to flutter... she remembered his proposal those months ago with great embarrassment, and their hurt and angry words. As well as those awful things she had said to him. He once said that once his good favor his lost then it is lost forever.

But his words to Siri had given her reason to believe, that perhaps, somehow, she was still dear to him and close in his heart.

Chapter 14

The trip to Coruscant had been replete with silence. Obi Wan Kenobi seemed to be in a world of his own and Christa, who sat in the passenger’s cabin had not the courage to engage him in conversation again. For her mind had been occupied with question after question which, she answered on her own, having determined that it were highly improbable that he still cared for her. A loyal and prosperous Jedi Master, and she, desolate and stripped of her fortune.

She saw nothing in Mr. Kenobi’s eyes but friendly concern when he look at her. Occasionally, however, he offered her something to drink... another time, he offered her a pillow, causing Senator Organa to draw his eyebrows high. She too, found Mr. Kenobi’s actions confusing, but felt it more prudent to dismiss his attentiveness to mere civility.

Finally, after staring out of the ship’s viewing window at distant stars, nebula, and solar systems out there in the vast darkness of space for what felt like an eternity, Christa moved to the back of the cabin and sat with Senator Organa to play a game of cards. Though invited, the other Jedi, Siri Tachi declined to join them, for she remained in a sullen state for the duration of the trip, having forced her partner to tell her more than she wanted to know.

The card game seemed to do its part in keeping Senator Organa and Christa entertained, as well as the lively conversation between them. In fact, the passengers only realized at the last moment, that the ship had passed through the atmosphere on the Republic head quarters of Coruscant to land near the Jedi Temple.

Christa grabbed her bags from the overhead compartment and bumbled clumisly toward the door, longing for a more graceful exit. Thankfully a man-servant was on hand as she descended the landing platform, helping her the rest of the way as he pulled her bags beneath his arms and walked brusquely ahead. Christa looked over her shoulder, shooting a parting look at Obi Wan Kenobi. But steadily he approached, which forced her, out of politeness to stop. Gone were their companions now as Siri Tachi stormed toward the temple without a look back, and the popular senator, Bail Organa had already begun to greet commoners and Jedi with friendly smiles.

Obi Kenobi stood before Christa, who flushed profusely. The corner of his eyes crinkled as he smiled, gazing into her face.

"Well...once again, thank you, Mr. Kenobi," Christa said, with a slight bow of her head. Without waiting for his reply, she spun on her heels and hurried toward a waiting shuttle, which would courier her to Padme Amidala’s apartment near the capital. She felt the heat of his gaze upon her back, and knew, he wanted her to know he was watching.

The doors to the airbus closed behind her, and she turned her head, wishing to end, whatever this was once and for all.

Christa arrived at Padme’s apartment shortly after. The door to her suite slid open and Padme came bustling out of the door. She wore her senator regalia, a dark robe with red velvet lining over her dress. She grabbed Christa by the hand and pulled her inside. The girls embraced and exchanged kisses.

"I have something to show you," Padme said.

She moved her braids away from her neck and peeled the collar of her robe away showing Christa a wooden necklace.

"It’s beautiful..." Christa exclaimed. "But–?" This means you’re engaged! Does it not?" Christa’s excitement had completely blasted her regard for Padme’s privacy. Her eyes had come alive with curiosity, happiness, confusion.

"More than that," Padme answered. "It means I’m married."

"Married!" Christa wailed.

"To Anakin Skywalker," Padme answered, cheeks red.

"But...but when?"

"He confessed his love for me on Naboo. But I denied him. It was wrong. We were bound by duty to honor the social hierarchy that kept us apart no matter how much it pained us. His commitment to becoming a Jedi... my commitment to being a senator. But after we were captured by criminals from the Trade Federation, and believing our deaths imminent, I could no longer hide my love for Anakin and confessed. After he was wounded in battle and while recovering from his injuries, we married in secret on Naboo."

"But what about Obi Wan Kenobi, surely he would object and Anakin would be expelled."

Padme looked less certain as she answered:

"He promised his silence. But Anakin doesn’t know."

"But he swore to keep the two of you apart... Anakin is supposedly so important to the Order and–?"

"I can’t explain it," Padme answered. "But we are husband and wife. Anakin is not to be told that his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi has learned of our marriage. He wouldn’t want him to know."

"I won’t tell," Christa promised.

They hugged with Christa offering her friend more assurances.

"You got here rather quickly. I had not expected you for another day," Padme replied over tea later that afternoon.

"Mr. Kenobi was gracious enough to offer me passage on his ship."

"I daresay, you were wrong about him. He is a good man and has shown nothing but kindness to you."

"You think the highest of everyone," Christa tartly replied.

"But he’s been kind to you, has he not?"

"Indeed he has."

"But what are we to make of it? First, you see him at the Binks, at Rosings with the Chancellor, again at Senator Organa’s, and twice he’s given you passage on his ship."

Christa could no longer deny how terribly suspicious it looked. Padme gazed at her friend from over her cup as she sipped the hot tea.

"I have something to tell you," Christa said.

Padme raised a finely arched brow as she waited for Christa to continue.

"Mr. Kenobi has asked my hand in marriage."

"Christa!"

The glass in Padme’s hand fell to the table in pieces, and at once she began to laugh. A fit of giggles that lasted for several minutes. A laugh so hearty and contagious that Christa also began to laugh.

"Oh , dear sister, your wit is astounding. For that, you should be ashamed," Padme mockingly chided.

It then occurred to Christa that Padme thought the confession a joke. For a man like Master Kenobi, a secret marriage was unthinkable.

"I daresay, I am," Christa sullenly replied, thinking herself a fool for having rejected him away in the first place.

"Oh dear, I am so tired. And Anakin should be here soon. We have so little time. For he and Master Kenobi are soon to travel to the Outer Rim planets, which is besieged by war. The Clone War. I am in agony, to see him go. For each day could mean death, and I shall never see my dear husband again. Forgive us, if I should hide away in my room when he returns, for every moment we have together is sacred."

"I understand, I can take a suite elsewhere and return in the morning."

"I wouldn’t think of it!" Padme objected. "The place is big enough that we should not see each other at all whilst Anakin is here. He slips into the suite when it is dark, and all are sleep so as to not arouse suspicion. For you will be asleep by then, even as I keep quiet vigil in our bedroom."

Then I bid you goodnight, sister."

A servant droid then escorted Christa away from the drawing room to her room which was down the hall, quite a distance from the main living quarters.

Christa was eager to retire for the evening. The excitement over Mr. Kenobi, the long trip, Padme’s news... it was all too much. And shortly after a bath, Christa was in her gown and fast asleep.

Chapter 15

The following morning Christa lay awake in bed, staring at the ceiling with hopes that Anakin had already gone, creeping out of Padme’s bed like a bandit or a thief in the night. How strong their love must be, to endure such an arrangement. Her thoughts of course, also strayed to Mr. Kenobi and her embarrassment that Padme had not believed her when she confessed his proposal. Of course, the proposal was no longer on the table, but nevertheless, it still happened. She wondered what life would have been like for her under similar circumstances, had she accepted his proposal.

After the sun had fully risen, Christa dressed then ate the breakfast the service droids brought to her room. When she was done she sat at a desk in the guest bedroom and wrote a letter to Breha, telling her of all the events since leaving Alderaan, but saying nothing of Anakin and Padme’s marriage no matter how happy the news would make her. Breha was not good at keeping secrets.

When she was done, Padme had knocked on her door. She first made polite inquiries of Christa's comfort and after receiving a positive answer she proceeded to gush about her dear sweet husband, who had finally gone for the day.

The ladies then walked to the drawing room and drank tea, where Christa told her of the Binks and their happiness, her tour of Obi Wan Kenobi’s estate and his attentive behavior.

At once, Padme began to apologize for doubting her the night before.

"I am not in doubt of your many attributes, but I’ve known Mr. Kenobi many years and it is difficult to imagine him desirous and craving the affection of a woman. He’s most dedicated, having followed the rules of the Order to the latter from the age of a young boy. I wonder what you might have done to the poor man," Padme gushed.

Christa met her sister’s curious eyes.

"I haven’t a clue," she whispered. "But it is all done and over with now. I rejected him, most cruelly, and have no more regrets. It was not meant to be."

"Very well then, Christa. I do wish you as much happiness as I’ve found. It saddens me that you should not have someone of your own."

As soon as the words left her lips, the door rang. Padme answered. To her surprise, Breha stood on the other side, luggage in hand.

"Oh dear," Breha started.

The two ladies embraced and shared kisses, though Padme could not repress her surprise.

"It is good to see you. But what brings you to Coruscant.? I thought you hated the city."

Breha sat her luggage near the door and walked to the Drawing room. "I received Christa’s letter and demanded the courier bring me here at once."

"But there was nothing pertinent in my letter, that you should drop everything and come right away," Christa replied, as the ladies entered the room.

"Oh, but the contrary my dear. Your letter was most restrained. I fear, the two of you are keeping something from me and I shan’t leave until I know what it is. Mr. Organa will be joining us soon and will stay here as well. Tell me, where is my room?"

Padme turned to Christa, a helpless look in her eyes. With Mr. and Mrs. Organa in the house, Anakin would have to keep away if the marriage is to remain a secret.

Christa’s thoughts however, strayed to Mr. Kenobi. There was always business between the Jedi and the Senator. With Mr. Organa in the apartment, surely Mr. Kenobi would visit. Which would further complicate Padme and Anakin’s arrangement.

Chapter 16

Again, Christa’s thoughts turned to Mr. Kenobi. There was always business between the Jedi and the Senator. With Mr. Organa in the apartment, surely Mr. Kenobi would visit. Which would further complicate Padme and Anakin’s arrangement.

"What if Mr. Kenobi should come here?" Christa blurted. "With Mr. Organa?" Her cheeks were now a deep shade of red.

Breha spun on her heels... a look of curiousity and irritation now frozen across her matured features.

"Good gracious! Mr. Kenobi?!– I can’t think why you should even ask. Oh, dear..." she grumbled, shaking her poor head. "My nerves are already a wreck. Yet I vow, any friend of Mr. Organa’s I suppose will always be welcome , to be sure; but else I must say that I hate the very sight of him. Of course it is up to Padme, it’s her suite," she mumbled disappointedly.

When Breha quit the room the two younger ladies withdrew to the drawing room once more and closed the door. They sat at the table in stunned silence for several agonizing moments. . "Sister, I can’t bear the suspense of what the evening will hold. Disaster it appears, is quite imminent," Padme cried.

"Despair not, I shan’t allow the evening to be degraded, not even by the likes of Mr. Kenobi. I daresay, he has been on his best behavior as of late, and he knows of you and Anakin.

"Knowing is one thing, seeing is another," Padme replied. "We don’t know whether or not he will actually show up. But he is not my only concern. Mr. Organa is a powerful senator, and I am uncertain -- for he may have scruples concerning my relationship with Anakin..."

"This is most dreadful," Christa replied.

Later that evening Mr. Organa arrived at Padme’s apartment in a foul mood, though his anger and impatience was reserved for Breha and Breha alone. It was her constant interference in the lives of the two young women that he resented. But Breha had not cared to notice, she was on and on about Siri Tachi and her boorish behavior at Longhourne some days ago.

They ate dinner, and talked of all things. But as the night wore on, Christa watched Padme’s eyes -- which focused on the clock as she counted the time. And of all the possible things that were sure to have happened, the doorbell rang. It was Breha who answered, and revealed that it was Anakin who stood on the other side. With much haste, she invited him inside. He entered the suite awkwardly, quite surprised to see most of Padme's family there.

"Good evening, milady," he blurted nervously.

Mr. Organa regarded the young man, and not without suspicion. "Good evening, sir. What brings you to the Senator's quarters so late?" he gently chided.

Anakin walked in, one hand cradling his right arm, which had been covered by a black glove. His hair had grown significantly longer since Christa had last seen him those months ago. He was handsome. She could see why Padme would fancy him.

Breha smiled at the young man, putting him somewhat at ease.

"I’m sure you’ve heard, Senator Organa, about mine and Padme’s ordeal on Geonosis. I was injured, as was Padme and Master Obi Wan. As you know, I was assigned to the senator's security detail. Although the assignment is over, I thought I would visit to see if she is well. It is still much too dangerous with Trade Federation terrorists and assassins about."

"Ah, yes understood. Well, detain us no longer, come in my good man..."

Breha watched the young couple intently as Anakin stood in the doorway. Her eyes first darting to Padme, then Anakin, and seeing the matching necklaces they wore. It didn't take long for Breha to draw her own conclusion... one not far from the truth. So excited was she, that Mr. Organa had been startled by her shriek.

"Mr. Skywalker! Do come in, how are you dear? Christa? Padme, please... please get him something to eat, you look so gaunt and frail. Have you been eating well? And how are your injuries? Better now? I’m so glad you and Padme are friends again. It was bound to happen," she gushed, dragging him toward the dining room.

"What is she on about now?" Mr. Organa droned.

Padme and Christa looked to each other and smiled, relieved that even Breha had enough sense not to speak of Padme and Anakin’s marriage, although, the night was young still, and anything could happen.

All sat in the drawing room after their meals and talked of many things. It was late in the night when Anakin finally parted, a look of longing in his eyes as he quit the apartment, and one of helplessness in Padme's... -- all of which caused Mr. Organa to scoff at the charade.

With Breha’s suspicions put to rest she announced that she and Mr. Organa would part in the morn, to which, even Christa could see the look of relief in Padme’s eyes, that she would be without her husband for only a night and none more.

All retired to their rooms shortly after.

But ever late in the night there was a knock on the door that caused all to awake once more. Each wondering and suspicious, that Anakin had come back, unable to bear one night away from his lovely wife.

However, they soon realized their suspicions were unfounded. It was not Padme, who was to receive a visitor.

Mr. Organa, still in his sleeping attire pressed a security code which opened the sliding door, and saw a young woman on the other side. Siri Tachi.

"Good evening, Madame," Bail Organa said.

"Yes, Good evening," Breha said, "What brings you here to this estate? And so early in the morn?" she asked, eyebrows reaching the top of her crinkly forehead. "My dear, the sun has not yet risen, it is much too early, my nerves can hardly stand it."

Siri raised her pointy nostrils and looked at the curious faces before her, her eyes finally settling on Christa.

"I must speak with you at once," she demanded, not at all acknowledging the others.

The small crowd parted, allowing her access to Christa, who looked to them with an air of confidence about her, even as the events to come seemed more ominious than need be.

"We’ll only be a moment," Christa said, as she led the woman to the drawing room and closed the doors.

Chapter 17

Christa and her Jedi-ladyship stood face to face in the room, a night light between them. Siri, making no attempt to veil her dislike with Mr. Kenobi out of site, spoke at last, breaking the tense silence.

"You can be at no loss, Miss Christa, to understand the reason of my journey hither. Your own heart, your own conscience, must tell you why I come."

Christa looked with unaffected astonishment: "For I haven't a clue as to why I have been honored with a visit, madame," she curtly replied.

"Miss Christa," replied Siri in an angry tone, "you ought to know, that I am not to be trifled with. But however insincere you may choose to be, you shall not find me so. I am alarmed by something I have seen early yesterday morning, that which has prompted me to visit you, as I could no longer bare a day without answer."

"Please, madame, I am curious if anything, as to what I have to do with this matter," Christa replied.

"I have heard an alarming report that Mr. Skyewalker has been united with your sister in marriage, which I have kept in the strictest confidence. But when I heard that you were to be united with his Master, thereafter, I realized this could only be a scandalous falsehood, of which, I wish to confirm with you as it would not behoove me to insult Mr. Kenobi to assume it to be possible by asking him. But having seen him shopping for jewelry at a fine store early in the morn yesterday, I felt compelled to speak with you at once."

"If it is an obvious falsehood, then you could have no reason to travel so early, from so far, to confirm it to be so with me, Madame," Christa replied in a heated tone. "What do you propose would be the purpose of doing so?"

"To contradict it at once!" Siri replied.

"I would say your coming here to me and my family would seem more a confirmation of it, than a contradiction if such a story were to exist beyond your imagination, madame."

"How dare you!" Siri shrieked. "So you do intend to trifle with me? To pretend to know nothing of it? That this rumor to begin with has not been industriously circulated by you?"

"I have never heard of it," Christa replied, completely dumbfounded. Surely, he proposed all those months ago, but she rejected him. There was no reason to believe he would overstep his oath to propose again. How or why it was possible that such a story would gain steam was beyond her knowledge; for she told no one but Padme and only a day ago. As far as Christa was concerned, Siri only assumed him to desire her after witnessing his civil behavior and pleasant attitude with Christa the other day. The woman's lies were a product of her insecurities.

"Can you likewise declare there is no foundation for such rumors?"

"You may ask me questions that I may choose not to answer."

"This is not to be borne! I will not be insulted and I demand an answer. Did Mr. Kenobi make you an offer of marriage?"

"You have already declared it to be impossible madame."

"It is obvious, that you have used your wiles to seduce and bewitch him."

"Then if I have, I would be the last to confess it."

"Miss Christa-- I am not used to this language or disrespect, and I demand an answer at once."

"You may, demand an answer of your colleague but you will gain no such answer from me."

"Then allow me to be explicit so that I am rightly understood. This union you aspire to, is not to be. It cannot happen, nor will it ever happen. Mr. Kenobi has an oath to honor, and if he should ever break his oath, it would be to me and not you. Now what do you have to say about that?"

"Then if what you say is to be so, then you can have no reason to assume he would make an offer to me."

"Are you lost to every feeling of propriety and delicacy? Have you not heard me say that from his earliest hours he was destined for greatness? That even in our youth, we were deigned to be together, if not together as colleagues?"

"Yes, and I had heard it before. But what is that to me? What is it to him? It is obvious that he has a mind of his own, regardless of any assumptions made by others in regard to his future. If Mr. Kenobi is neither by honour nor inclination confined to his oath, why is not he to make another choice? And if I am that choice, why may not I accept him?"

To this, Siri hesistated, huffed, her face turning a deep red color.

"Because honour, decorum, prudence, nay, interest, forbid it. Yes, Miss Christa, interest; for do not expect to be noticed by his family or friends, if you wilfully act against the
inclinations of all as your union will be a secret; forever. Your life will be censured, slighted, and if the union is discovered, you will be despised by everyone connected with him. Your alliance will be a disgrace; your name will never even be mentioned by any of us and he will be expelled from the Order."

Siri pointed her nose in the air indignantly and scoffed.

"These are heavy misfortunes," replied Christa. "But the wife of Mr. Kenobi must have such extraordinary sources of happiness and love necessarily attached to her situation, that she could, upon the whole, have no cause to repine."

Her argument so adroitly abolished by Christa's rapier-like wit, Siri bristled and for a second, deep within her core desired to strike her, but knew better of it.

"You selfish and headstrong girl! I am ashamed of you! It is not a secret, Miss Christa, that you have not found a husband, it is not a secret, that you have lost your fortune, and it is not a secret, that you are in financial ruins and seek to wallow from the depth of your circumstances to restore your family's honor through an advantageous marriage. Even IF, it is to someone, who, by oath, cannot, should not, be married but can place you in the social circles you so desire. It is no secret, that you and your sisters have benefited two-fold from such arrangements, tell me, are the shades of the temple to be thus polluted? I demand not to be trifled with any longer. Tell me at once, are you engaged to him?"

Christa considered her answer, not wanting to oblige Siri, nor satisfy her as surely her answer would, but was compelled by her own volition to answer the question honestly.

"No. I am not," Christa replied.

"Would you agree never to enter into such an arrangement?"

"I cannot and I never shall."

"So then you are resolved to have him??" the angered woman asked.

"I have said no such thing. I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.

"Hearing this, Siri's mouth fell open. "I had not expected you to be so unreasonable! I will not leave until I am given an answer that will satisfy me!"

"And I shall never give it. It is you who are unreasonable. Even if I should never enter into a union with Mr. Kenobi, it does not mean he will enter into one with you. You have insulted me and my family in every way imaginable Madame, and I have endured your ill temper and self-entitled arguments long enough. I must beg you to leave at once," said Christa.

"Well-- I never!"

"And you never shall," Christa retorted.

And with those final words, Christa marched across the room. She hurled the door aside, and when it opened, she found the whole family on the other end, their ears firmly attached to the wood. Siri scoffed, then stormed out without even so much as a goodbye to her hosts.

********************************************************************************

 

As Siri Tachi quit the apartment, the family gathered 'round. Their eyes held questions that Christa was too vexed to answer. Just as she parted to make way to her room, Breha blurted, "Dear Christa! What was she on about? I could hardly hear!"

Christa turned-- glared at the meddling woman and screamed "Why can't you leave me alone? For once in your life, just leave me alone!" and stormed away.

Mr. Organa, Breha, and Padme looked on - their faces a mixture of concern and confusion. Christa knew that Breha had not deserved her anger, and felt sorry. But so many worries began to flood her mind. If Mr. Kenobi did in fact, considered another proposal, Siri Tachi would certainly convince him otherwise with woes of extrication from the Order and all the public shame a connection to Christa would bring.

After laying in her bed staring at the wall for hours, she finally fell asleep at dawn.

The following afternoon, when all were awake, the previous night behind them, Mr. Organa called Christa to the drawing room. She was curious about the nature of his call, until she discovered the letter in his hand. Surely, Siri had written him with hopes of spreading more rumors about Christa's relationship with Mr. Kenobi.

"Ah, yes, dear... I received a letter that has astonished me exceedingly. A correspondance from Mr. and Mrs. Binks. According to the pair, congratulatons are in order," Bail Organa giggled. "It appears, you are to be united with Mr. Kenobi of all people."

The revelation was met with more giggles. "I tell you, my child, they never cease in their excercise of the ridiculous. Allow me to read a portion of this letter to you:

''Having thus offered you the sincere congratulations
of Mrs. Binks and myself on this happy event, let me now add
a short hint on the subject of another; of which we have been
advertised by the same authority. Your god daughter Christa, it is
presumed, will not long bear her maiden name, and the chosen partner of her fate may be
reasonably looked up to as one of the most illustrious and most respected personages
in this land.'

Again, Mr. Organa laughed. "Don't you see, Christa? The person he speaks of is not only unable to marry, but one of the most loyal and dedicated men to his Organization. Are you not diverted?"

"Oh, I am excessively diverted, I find the letter quite strange to be honest..." Christa said, with affected interest.

"Well, Madame," Bail continued mockingly, "Your betrothed is to arrive today with a package containing sensitive data, which has been sent to me by the Jedi Council. I shall receive it here, but thereafter, we shall return to Alderaan. I suspect, being here on Coruscant has taken some toll on you. You have never looked more tired."

"Of course. But I shall miss my sister."

"She has business with Mr. Skywalker today, a meeting of some kind," he droned. "But he will be away on business for a day, and so she will return to Alderaan with us until she is ready to return."

"Thank you, sir," Christa said, kissing him on the cheek and hugging him around the neck. With that, she parted before her true anxieties were revealed.

Christa sighed. Mr. Kenobi? Here? For Siri Tachi had likely already divulged the details of their conversation. Her embarrassment of it may well be too obvious for her to consider seeing him again -- even under normal circumstances. Christa had made up her mind: she would make herself as scarce as possible for the duration of his visit.

Some hours later, late in the noon, the door rang. A ring of dread, and left to answer it was she, for all were disposed. Christa straightened her dress and conjured memories of faint dislike to strengthen her. After all, he once said she was unattractive and refused to honor her with a dance. This gave her the strength she needed. She may have been wrong on all other counts concerning this man, but he did think himself above her, there was nothing to redeem him of his awful words, and that mean-spirited proposal, that led her to reject him.

Indeed.

Christa pressed the security code and the door slid open. Anakin Skywalker and Mr. Kenobi stood on the other side. She acknowledged the two with a bow of her head then moved aside so that they may enter.

"Mr. Organa is disposed at the moment. But he should be done very soon."

"Might I inquire as to his whereabouts?" Mr. Kenobi asked. His eyes swept over her nonchalantly.

Vexed, she continued with purpose: to seem as though she too, did not care.

"I am unsure, but he is here -- on holovoid, in a meeting with a Republic delegation concerning some political activity or other. May I offer you a glass of tea?" Christa asked.

"Is Padme here?" Anakin interrupted?

"She arrived a while ago. I shall get her for you," Christa smiled. It was just the excuse she needed to make a hasty exit. For the very sight of Mr. Kenobi pained her. He watched Christa from the side of his eye as she hurried from the room. Catching Anakin's curious glance, he then pretended not to have watched her at all.

Chapter 18

For most of the day Christa had been successful in avoiding Mr. Kenobi and the others. For his visit had been more than a business call, but a social visit as well. Despite herself, she could not help analyzing Mr. Kenobi's behavior that afternoon. The way his eyes swept over her as though she were not there. She was vexed that he cared not to acknowledge her, other than to ask the whereabouts of Mr. Organa. Why bother coming at all, then, if he were not going to speak to her? Why not send Anakin alone?

As Christa sat in her room mending her favorite dress and thinking about her brief encounter with Mr. Kenobi, she heard a knock upon the door. It was a servant droid with a request from Breha to join her and the others in the drawing room. When Christa arrived, her face in a sweat, and her hair tusseled wildly about her head, the men turned and looked at her, their attention drawn from their game of cards - their eyes a silent negative appraisal of her unkempt appearance.

Breha beckoned her to join the women, who sat on the sofa and comfortably along the chaise chatting amongst themselves.

"We have bored ourselves beyond comprehension, dear. Do join us, for your lively conversation has been missed. You have been so strange today and so... anxious, dear." Then leaning forward to whisper, "But I have no doubt, a certain gentleman is responsible for that, and I can hardly say I blame you -- the man is loathesome," she chirped.

Breha was never satisifed with any conversation that did not devolve into an ugly bit of gossip.

"Oh momsy, you are too fastidious! I daresay, he has been a perfect gentleman this afternoon," said Padme.

"But he was horrible to Chrissy and for that I shan't forgive him," Breha replied, as though Padme were the most ridiculous person in the world.

Christa sat with the women, and quickly diverted the conversation to talk of dresses. But Breha was not content with this sort of small talk. There was a time when Christa would have been more than happy to engage in such conversations, but today, would have no talk of Mr. Kenobi - for her words may give something away.

"Now, now, there is to be no talk of Mr. Kenobi," Christa ordered. "Let us ignore him, for he could only benefit from being the focus of our attentions."

"Very well then. We shall talk about Mr. and Mrs. Binks. I hear the Chancellor has continued his patronage of the couple, and that Mr. Binks has advanced in the senate."

"It is the chancellor who will benefit from it more than Mr. Binks," Christa replied.

By now, Mr. Kenobi had left the card game to stand over the women. Christa turned, feeling his heated eyes upon the back of her head.

"And in what manner, may I ask, would the chancellor benefit from the promotion of Mr. Binks?" Mr. Kenobi asked.

Christa steadied her shakey hands, then replied, "Loyalty. The chancellor has taken a less than diplomatic role in the war, and should he wish to continue it, he'll have the vote of Mr. Binks in the referendums to further his cause."

"But the chancellor is an honorable man, he is doing his best to end the war."

A large sigh escaped Padme's lips. "I'm afraid not," Padme replied. "The Chancellor has given himself unlimited power, and there is now a vote on the Senate floor to elect him commander over clone troops. And since the troops are commanded by the Jedi Council, this would give them control over the Jedi Order."

"I agree," Bail entered, now away from his card game, with Anakin by his side. "The Chancellor is becoming more powerful by the day, in a manner I find rather unnecessary, regardless of war."

"This is the first I have ever heard about the Chancellor electing himself Commander in chief over the troop forces."

"This, my friend, is because the bill has been introduced to the floor, and has not yet been disclosed to the public."

Obi Wan Kenobi stroked his chin, seeming to lapse into deep thought. "If what you say is true, without doubting you of course, it is certainly very troubling."

The room was suddenly quiet, and very tense. Christa sat with her hands clapsed across her lap. She looked down, not wishing to look at him again.

"I'll not allow the evening to devolve into talk of politics," Bail Organa said. "Let us share a drink, then retire. For we have a long trip tomorrow."

"Tomorrow?" Mr. Kenobi asked.

"We go back to Alderaan," Bail answered.

Christa turned, and found her eyes had met with Mr. Kenobi - she then quickly looked away.

****************************************************************

Christa found she could not say goodbye to Mr. Kenobi. She felt it prudent to stay in her room and pack away her belongings. She heard, however, that after some discussion with her family, he and Anakin had finally gone.

The following day when the ship arrived to take them to Alderaan, Christa discovered Mr. and Mrs. Organa had made arrangements to visit Naboo --- at Padme's request. She had business there. Unknown to them, the name of that business was Mr. Skywalker. The couple were like common thieves; for any moment they could steal with hopes of uniting, was theirs for the taking.

The trip was short as the planet was not far off from Coruscant. Like the Organas, Christa was happy to visit Naboo. For it was a beautiful natural planet. Unlike Coruscant, which was mostly city.

Padme had a villa there. She was able to keep her her land and inheritance because of her marriage to Mr. Skywalker -- and by viritue of being a senator she convinced the courts to seal her maritial records, leaving only Anakin Skywalker's initials in place of a name.

When the travellers settled, each in their rooms at Padme's estate, all carried out their plans for the day. Mr. and Mrs. Organa, being diplomats, paid visit to the Queen of Naboo. There, the Queen lavished her guests with gift, comfort, and entertainment. Padme too, had left on "business", leaving Christa alone and staring out of the villa's window at the countryside.

After some time alone, bored and traipsing about the drafty, stone walled, countryside home, Christa decided to take a walk. She changed clothes, taking her time with her appearance. The women of Naboo were renown for being beautiful despite their excessively made up faces. Christa however, opted for no makeup at all, leaving her face fresh and clean. She let her long dark hair fall to her shoulders over the corset fashioned dress she wore.

There were acres of countryside that surrounded the blue colored lakeside villa, all of which, Christa hoped to walk. For it was not often that she had the privilege of being surrounded by so much beauty. .

Along the way, she recounted a conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Organa.

Mr. Organa divulged that he and Breha were also to purchase a home on Naboo for the purpose of giving it to Christa. The estate would give her a fresh clean start and a measure of prestige. Christa objected at first, but upon their insistence, was eventually swayed in their favor. She realized that young women misfuture often became handmaidens, beggars, or criminals. She was satisfied by her outcome, but saddened to become a financial burden to her god parents.

Christa detoured from a winding cobbled path. She walked into tall blue wheat grass, which swayed to and fro' in the warm summer breeze, ocassionally picking a stem, and fleecing it before throwing it to the wind.

Halfway across the field she felt a presence behind her. Instinctively she turned, a bit of caution and dread swelling within her. For the area was sometimes frequented by playful, but large wild animals, who might, by error, trample her there.

Squinting her eyes, she saw something -- or rather, someone in the distance and immediately recognized him to be Mr. Obi Wan Kenobi. She inhaled sharply, unable to repress her surprise. He was far away and a few minutes lapsed before he reached her. He said nothing as he approached, leaving her to gawk at him foolishly.

"Mr. Kenobi!" Christa exclaimed. "What brings you to Naboo? I confess, I am surprised to see you here. Mr. and Mrs. Organa have gone for the day--"

"Yes, I know," he answered.

Whatever she might have said next died on her lips. He seemed anxious, as bits of sweat poured down the side of his face. Surely, the walk could not have been so distressing, especially for Jedi, who were always in a fit condition.

"I came to see you," he continued.

Her stomach was in knots and her mind in a stupor as she looked at him. "Whatever for?" she replied.

"To apologize for my colleague. Her behavior was abominable, and I am deeply mortified by her actions."

"It is I who should apologize to you, for all the terrible things I have said and done. I must also thank you for your kind assistance on several matters, and for your confidence - I know how vehemently you object to a union between Padme and Anakin and how much it must pain you to keep silent."

"No apologies are warranted or owed on your end. My reasons for keeping silent are selfish- you must know...you must know... that I do it for you."

Christa stood there in stunned silence as he spoke. His eyes were aglow with desire and affection as he gazed into her face. He seemed helpless and vulnerable... unlike the man she detested so greatly last winter.

"When Siri reported her actions to me, and your reply, for the first time in months I felt hope, as I had scarcely been able to hope before. You are too kind to trifle with me. If your feelings have not changed, and you will not have me then tell me so at once. The sentiments I expressed to you those months ago remain the same. But one word from you will silence me on this subject forever."

For a moment, Christa thought her ears deceived her. Had Mr. Kenobi renewed his proposal? After accepting it to be so, despite feeling awkward and anxious... she stood before him, closer than they had ever been. She led his hand to her waist so that he held her close and their lips were a breath away.

"I was wrong about you. You are none of the things I accused you of being, and I am ashamed of all the terrible and mean-spirited things I said to you."

And now, they seemed to bat the blame back and forth onto themselves;

"I was all those things you accused me of and worse. In the beginning, I was angry and resentful of your reproach. So sure was I that you would accept my proposal! Nothing caused me a so great an ache in my heart, or a wound so great to my ego than to hear you say that I could not have 'proposed in any manner that would have induced you to accept'. For months, I have worked to address my unfavorable character, and to make sure your reproofs had been attended to. I wish to know, and to put my mind at ease... if I have succeeded?"

"You have, and very admirably," Christa confirmed.

And with that, they stood amongst the tall blue wheat grass, her dress billowing behind her in the wind, and shared a kiss for the very first time...

Chapter 19, the end

Christa and Mr. Kenobi walked hand in hand to the villa, until the risk of being seen together became too great. Both wore matching engagement necklaces about their necks, Mr. Kenobi's hidden safely beneath his attire. Christa climbed the stairs and bade him adieu. Obi Wan Kenobi then slipped away into the night with promises to meet in secret tomorrow.

Inside the Villa she encountered Breha, who exclaimed with great surprise, "Dearest Chrissy! Was that Mr. Kenobi out there? I daresay, what business could he have on Naboo? Or for that matter, what business might he have with you?"

"We have no business together at all. I was out for a walk and we happened upon each other."

Breha gave her the oddest expression. Then suddenly, her cheeks turned a bright red color. "Chrissy... you're wearing an engagement necklace!" she exclaimed.

An amber crystal with a ring inside hung from her neck. It glowed like a tiny star.

"You--you simply cannot be engaged to Mr. Kenobi!"

"Then you must explain to me at once, how it is possible that I am?"

"But you hate him--"

"I have not hated him for a long time," Christa explained. "I love him."

'I am undone...Chrissy, when did it happen?"

"You wouldn't believe what he's done."

Drawing her own conclusions, Breha charged; "What did he do?"

"He's not proud... He's misunderstood. We were both fools. We're so much alike, mumsy. Yes, he was wrong about Padme and Anakin, but I was wrong in all the hateful things I've said about Mr. Drallig and of all the charges I laid against him. He's been so helpful to me, to Padme, and Anakin--"

"He knows about Anakin and Padme? If so, then he cannot be as unfeeling as I first thought him to be... I was so rude to the man, I must apologize at once--"

"No! He wouldn't want it. It would mortify him."

Just as the women finished their talk, Mr. Organa walked in. Seeing their heightened colour, he spoke;

"I gather you have spoken with Mr. Kenobi about the Villa?"

"What Villa?" Christa asked.

"The estate Breha and I purchased for you, is in name only. Mr. Kenobi is the true owner of the estate and surrounding acres, and he's given them to you."

Breha and Christa exchanged surprised looks.

"Mr. Organa is the cheapest man I know! So sure was I that he had lost his marbles when he told me that he wanted to purchase a villa for you here on Naboo."

"It was Mr. Kenobi's suggestion. If Christa accepted him, the house would be hers. If she refused him--again," Bail Organa said, casting her a sly grin, "I was to tell her that I was the true owner of the property, but it was to be entailed to her. He was terribly concerned about your well being, young woman."

"It is too much," Christa exclaimed, falling into the nearest seat. For she could hardly stand.

'Indeed it is. Your misfortunes have come to an end, and there is no one more deserving of his generosity than you, my dear goddaughter," Bail said.

Sweating profusely:

"OH dear oh dear, my nerves," she exclaimed, fanning herself... "--- he's so wealthy, I can hardly..." Breha broke away from her husband and fainted -- which caused Mr. Organa and Christa to laugh excessively.

***********************************************************************************

The following day, Christa was roused from her sleep by Breha, who announced a courier had come to pick her up.

"Oh, dear, do hurry, someone is here to take you away."

"But where am I to be taken to?"

"I suppose Mr. Kenobi has a surprise in store."

"And you will come with me? I am nervous, your wisdom and irreverence would put me at ease, for I know not what to expect"

"This, my dear is a journey you are to make on your own."

Christa dressed and parted with the courier thereafter, having no foreknowledge of its destination. She had not yet seen the villa --- which she was to receive. She carried with her all that was necessary for a proper wedding; a dress and her heart.

The villa stood on the opposite end of the lake, some miles and several beaches away from Padme's Naboo lakeside residence. A lake that stretched from one end of the world to the other but close enough that it might take her a day by land to visit her dear sister.

The villa was a massive structure of peach colored stone, columns, and windows without glass - which permitted the gentle smell of dew and marsh flowers to waft inside at dawn.

Servant droids gave Christa a tour of her new residence then finally introduced her to her bedroom. There, she dressed for the ocassion - a very special wedding to Mr. Kenobi. She wore a soft cream colored dress with sheer fabric that fell in folds to caress her curves. She adorned her head with a crown of colorful exotic flowers and dressed in the custom of Alderaan women, with brass bangles and cuffs adorning her arms. In other galaxies, one might have called her a grecian goddess.

Mr. Kenobi was had come - dressed in formal attire - that which Jedi wore on special ocassion. He met her on the Veranda at dusk - how fine he was, so virile and gentlemanly, but as nervous as a man might be.

A native priestess from one of the tribes deep within the woods just beyond countryside read Christa and Mr. Kenobi their marriage vows. Both graciously and happily accepted, and said all those things man and woman say when they marry and vowing to keep secret and nearest to them, their love.

There under the amber-gold sunset, they kissed for the very first time as man and wife. For Mr. Kenobi it was the very first time he permitted himself to be something other than a Jedi --  becoming at last, his own man...

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