Yet even through groans, he was attempting to get his job done, “Lord-uhnnn-and La-” Padmé cut him off with a hand to his shoulder and said, “Your services are not required. You may seek out ice for your head. Thank you.” Mumbling a thanks for her generosity, he fled.
“Well, my dear,” Lord Palpatine laughed when his footsteps had died down the corridor, “Now you won’t know who we are.”
“Oh, I know exactly who you two are,” she answered, glaring at both men. “You are both absolute madclawed bastards!”
That was when Lady Windu began laughing. Padmé ignored her. Yep, she knew already that Padmé had slept with her husband, and probably knew that Padmé had slept with Lord Palpatine too, because she knew Lord Windu had had to know.
“I would have expected better out of you, too,” she continued, addressing Lord Windu. “I’ve always thought you to be a good man.”
“A good adulterous man,” Lord Palpatine reminded her.
“There is adultery,” Padmé growled, turning on him, “and then there is using an innocent wife to spite her mother-in-law. Or her mother-in-law’s other lover,” she added, turning back towards Lord Windu.
“What makes you assume that was the reason he seduced you?” Lady Windu spoke up. “He may have had a much more innocent one.” Or none at all, but she didn’t need to point that out.
“Then why did he hint about his success in such a gloating manner the day after as soon as he got Lord Palpatine alone? Yes, I heard you!” Why did Lord Windu look so shocked, anyway? Surely he knew that the spouses of nobles had a way of finding out things. “At least you had to decency to keep quiet around the others, and by the way, if either of you ever so much as look amusedly in the general direction of my husband, I will go straight to my stepfather-in-law and beg him to have you banished from Greensgate. I don’t care about the political fallout of such an action.”
“I assure you I will never do such a thing,” Lord Windu was quick to say, but Lord Palpatine cut in with, “Oh, why would the little boy mind? Surely you would never go to bed with another man if he would be unhappy about it?”
“He is no longer a little boy; I would advise you to be more respectful.” Yet he had a point. She and Anakin had agreed before all this trouble had started that since they were too much like brother and sister to feel comfortable with sleeping with each other, it was either sleep with other people or be celibate. But for one thing, she suspected his view of her might be changing. And for another, theory and practice were two different things, and jealously was known for being irrational, and so was Anakin. At any rate, she absolutely hated the idea of causing him pain. Not that she was about to admit any of this out loud to even the Windus, let alone Lord Palpatine.
“Don’t try to advise him to do anything; you’re wasting your breath,” Lord Windu told her.
“Now, come sir, there is no need for that!” Palpatine sounded far too affronted. “And at least I do not seduce women who have lovers already, whom they would have married if it were not for their parents’ meddling.”
“If that were true, then why did she not marry you when her first husband died? She was her own woman then; there was nothing stopping her. Why did she turn you down? She didn’t want you as a husband. For all you know, she never did!”
“She did!” Palpatine all but screeched. “You will never tell me she didn’t!”
It was looking like the two men were going to come to blows, and Lady Windu was on her feet and between them. “Peace. You must not talk like this in front of Lady Skywalker.”
Padmé knew she meant well, but she couldn’t help asking, “Why not? After all, they have both thought it proper to involve me already. But as for you two, hear this: next time my mother-in-law has a liaison, you are not to use me in your plans of revenge. You wouldn’t want your staunch supporters on Naboo turning against you, would you, Lord Palpatine? But my sister may very well be Lady Amidala before too many more years have gone by, and she’s always been very protective of her little sister. Even so much of a hint that you’re eyeing me and I’ll go off to her and tell her everything. Even now I’m doing you a favor keeping quiet.”
At this point Lord Windu bowed and said, “Allow me to beg your pardon, Lady Skywalker. I have done wrong against you, and I am sorry for it.”
It was a formal apology, and whether she would have been able to accept it from Lord Palpatine Padmé did not know, but she was able to accept it from him. She bowed back and said, “I forgive you fully, Lord Windu.”
One glance at Palpatine and she could see this most recent event had angered him beyond anything. “You would rather she have only him, wouldn’t you? Even though he doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘fidelity’...and he has a wife.”
“You will not involve me in this, any more then you involve her,” Lady Windu informed him.
“Oh? I imagine if I kissed you, you would enjoy it. You always do, don’t you?”
She folded her arms and replied, “You may not believe it, but I do have some standards.”
He blew her a kiss and stalked out of the room.
As that old-fashioned door managed to swing on those ridiculously placed hinges the opposite way it had when Padmé had stomped in, they heard a mindful page declare, “Lord Palpatine, Baron of Coruscant. Lord Ken-ahhh!”
With an exclamation of “Oh, it hasn’t happened to that poor page boy again!” Padmé hurried out into the corridor, and discovered that, sure enough, it was the same page, having come back with one side of his forehead bandaged, and whom the door had just smacked on the other side of his forehead. Lord Obi-Wan Kenobi, who had happened to be walked by, was trying to dismiss him to get more ice, but wasn’t quite succeeding.
“My heedlessness has cost me enough time today and I will not allow it to cost me any more today, sir!” he yelled, at such a quick pace and high pitch that Padmé was not entirely sure that was really what he was yelling. Behind her Lord Windu chuckled and she heard him mutter, “Does he not realize we can do well without him?” and Lady Windu whisper back, “In my experience servants never do.”
Obi-Wan finally had to drag the page towards the fresher. When he was gone, Lady Windu asked, “Are you not afraid Lord Palpatine will go to your husband and tell him he has bedded you? Surely causing him grief would cause his mother the most grief?”
Padmé shook her head. “He tries to keep Anakin’s favor. When his step-father dies, Anakin may become a very powerful man, and he knows that. He won’t say anything which would risk Anakin’s anger.”
“He should not have started this,” said Lord Windu softly. “It was clear to all that Lord Vos would be no permanent presence in Shmi’s bed. He had no reason to do what he did.”
“But he has no lover other than her, remember,” said Lady Windu. “For her to do so has always angered him.”
“Had none other than her,” Padmé corrected her. “And likely will again. But I tell you, from now on, I’ve have it. I don’t know how you two manage it, really, being able to stay close with each other while having so many other people in your beds. In fact, I swear this by the Force, that unless at some future date my husband should happen to desire me and I him, I will be celibate. The alternative is impossible.”
She thought her views only confirmed by the almost-hidden discomfort she saw in Lady Windu’s eyes, and the quick withdrawal down the corridor of both of them. Because the truth was all wasn’t well between them, and it was because of Padmé’s mother-in-law. Their agreement was to sleep with other people for the fun of it; they weren’t supposed to fall in love with them.
What would ever happen if she and Anakin got into a similar situation? If she were to actually fall in love, even if she refrained from acting on those feelings, she knew that would definitely make him jealous. And she was suddenly aware that the thought of Anakin loving another girl, looking and sighing at her and neglecting Padmé, who, romantically attached to him or not, ought to be first in his heart, was enough to make her blood boil.
In fact, and this next thought very nearly made Padmé fall back against the wall, even the idea of Anakin sleeping with someone else was enough to upset her. She’d never really contemplated on that idea much, because in previous years, it would have been like thinking about her little brother having sex. But now she was feeling disgust of a different kind, and jealousy, and she shouldn’t feel that if she didn’t want to sleep with Anakin herself, because that was selfish. Even if she chose to be celibate herself, that was her choice and not his.
Except now she wasn’t sure she didn’t desire Anakin after all.
This, she decided, would take some time to figure out. Lords Palpatine and Windu were really the least of her problems.