The thing was, the Senator and her captain of security didn’t get back to Naboo very often these days, and this wedding was doubling as a chance to see their families. Padmé couldn’t believe how much her nieces had grown. That would be why, when the boats came to take them off the island, on the way to the reception, they were mysteriously late. If anyone asked her about Anakin speaking to the man in charge of them on their way over, of course, Padmé would be obliged to say she had no knowledge of what the two of them had talked about.
“The shore is crowded with reporters,” Sola commented as the bride and groom stood on the shore of the island with their seven family members near them and the other wedding guests milling about a little way behind, polite enough, for the moment, to give them a chance to talk among themselves uninterrupted. Padmé had spotted her handmaidens, both active and retired, intercepting several other guests who got too close. She’d have to thank them all later.
“They’re not going to be happy with us,” said Anakin. “The Coruscanti ones, especially. Whenever a Senator gets married, he, she, or it’s supposed to have a million-credit extravaganza, the more spectacle and obvious signs of expense the better, with full media access granted, of course.”
“How can anyone stand doing that?”
“I don’t know,” said Padmé. “All I know is I couldn’t.” She’d wanted this, a small affair with her family and friends, on Harvest Day because she’d always had a silly dream of getting married on Harvest Day, in her sister’s old wedding clothes in accordance with their childhood agreement. She knew that her not shelling out a ridiculous amount of credits for her own designer dress was the talk of the Senate district. “So how are things?” she asked. “Everything all right at Theed University, father?”
Her father shrugged. “Things don’t really change there, I think. You’ve probably heard about the pro-Separatist demonstrations, but I honestly don’t think anything’ll ever come of them, unless the police react, and I don't think they'll bother. Just causes my students to skip class sometimes.”
“How is that?” asked Shmi. “Is it true Corellia’s thinking of seceding? The news doesn’t like to talk about it here.”
“Absolutely not,” said Padmé. “I talked with Senator Iblis about the rumor; he empathically denied it, and yes, a lot of these people lie, but not Iblis, not about something like this to one of his colleagues. Is that really what people believe out here?”
“We don’t have direct contact with Senators, Padmé,” laughed Sola. “At least not most of us.”
Padmé looked back at the reporters crowded the shore. “Do you know what’s going on in the Senate today? This is something that wasn’t public knowledge this morning, but it will be by the end of today. Senator Farr from Rodia’s going to attempt to pull out the Military Creation Act.”
“That thing’s never going to get out of committee, surely,” said her mother. “Hasn’t it been in limbo for a year and a half?”
“More,” said Padmé, “and he can’t do anything on his own. But he’s hoping to get Senator Taa’s help. He might not get it today; Taa’s slow to commit to anything. But his sympathies are in favor of the act; sooner or later, he'll find the guts to back it. Farr's campaign might change the course of Republic history-for the worse-and what’s the top story on Naboo going to be tonight?” She gestured hopelessly to herself and Anakin.
“That’s not your fault,” said Sola. “You announced this as the date months ago. Senator Farr should’ve done the proper thing and waited until tomorrow. Or preferably next week.” That made everyone else laugh.
But Padmé’s laugh was bitter, as she replied, “Oh, that’s why he decided to do it today. Because he knew I wouldn't be there to do anything. I don’t think there’s much I can do anyway; it all depends on what Taa does, and I can’t really do much until Farr wins his support. I asked Palpatine to do what he can, but the Chancellor can only do so much.”
“Will that cause problems, though, with the media?” her father mused out loud. “I mean, Senators aren’t supposed to marry in the first place, are they? And if it causes you to neglect your duty…” He drifted off.
“Hope not,” said Sola. “But it’s okay; I think Padmé here can do no wrong with much of Naboo’s media, and her groom is one of the planet’s heros too, after all. It should work out fine. Those who object will be the kind of outlets who go against the mainstream on principle, and those who listen to them will only have their current beliefs reinforced.”
Just then Cordé came hurrying over, the other two handmaidens falling in behind her, and said, “Milady, the boat’s nearly here.” She was right; the first of the boats was docking, and Anakin and Padmé were to ride alone. Her active handmaidens and family would follow in the next two, then the other guests. They would make quite a sight, Padmé thought, floating together towards the shore.
And now, she thought sadly, the time when she and her family would have the most privacy was passed, and they hadn’t even gotten around to the subjects which she’d really wanted to talk with them about.