Csillag and Diana DeRiggs
Derek "Hobbie" Klivian was happy, make no mistake. The galaxy was at peace for the first time in his lifetime. His friends were healthy and happy. He was newly married to a woman he knew he didn't deserve, and he was on his honeymoon.
Maybe, he mulled to himself, too much happiness needs to be balanced by violent waves of nausea
Hobbie had never felt so awful before in his life; not before a battle, not even when he thought he had lost Sela to his poor judgement. He was nervous because he was about to face his mother-in-law. But the woman didn't actually know she was related to him, for the couple had neglected to let her know.
He thought about everything that had happened in the last month. Once he realized he and Sela both wanted to be married, he ran roughshod over every other consideration, insisting that they do the deed immediately. He had pushed her away, thinking himself a bad man for wanting her so much, denying his feelings for her. Hobbie had been in mourning for his former fiancé, Nia Ponsed, who had died many years ago in the Battle of Endor. Finally realizing how wrong he was to sacrifice Sela for a woman whom would never come back, he wanted to make sure he didn't lose her. He could barely wait the four hours from proposal to wedding!
But Sela had not objected. She was obviously stunned, but she agreed and allowed herself to be sucked into the whirlwind of activity. General Antilles had performed the ceremony on board the Lusankya, with all the men and women associated with Rogue Squadron in attendance. Even the children and their pets were there! That memory prompted a smile. Wes Janson's kids had fallen in love with Sela as soon as they'd met her - she'd lived with them upon her arrival at Coruscant. But then, everyone who had met her fell under her spell. He looked over at his beautiful young wife and marveled again at how lucky he was to have her.
After the ceremony and reception were over, Sela had sighed and told him that it was everything she wanted and more, the only thing missing being her mother Remembering that made Hobbie very sad, indeed. For he and Dareen Milson had been good friends; Dareen had even known Nia. And Sela was Dareen's only relative in the whole galaxy.
Sela stroked her new husband's cheek, "Darling? Are you feeling all right?"
Hobbie had been holding her hand, and now raised it to his lips. Covering her hand with both of his, he smiled, "Nothing I was just ruminating on all those events, and how we got to this time and place. I'm just suffering from butterflies over seeing your mother." He thought about covering up his anxiety, but long ago realized that would be insulting. Ever since he'd met her as a young girl, she'd been perceptive and smart, and she was someone he felt compelled never to lie to. This would be a poor time to start.
Sela smiled at his discomfiture. "Derek, you know she adores you. What do you have to be nervous about?"
"Well," he released her hands to count on his upturned fingers, "Number One, I married her daughter without doing her the courtesy of asking for your hand."
She interrupted him with a giggle, "I never realized what an old fashioned gentleman you are!"
Hobbie winced inwardly when she called him "gentleman." It reminded him of how badly he had treated her The memory kept flaring up, and he knew he deserved the pain and shame it caused him. He had kissed her passionately in front of an entire room full of political and military dignitaries and then turned heel and ran away, leaving her alone in the middle of the dance floor. Hardly gentlemanly behavior!
What was worse, Wes Janson, his best friend and former bunkmate, chased him and down and took great joy in slapping him around. Just like old times.
"So what if you're 15 years older than she is? She's an adult! It is NOT your place to make up her mind for her, you jerk!"
The two men had a relatively mild fist fight, till Wes's words finally sunk in. Sela was in love with Hobbie; Nia was dead, and never coming back. Hobbie was terrified that he might be branded a molester or pervert for taking advantage of the girl, but as Wes pointed out, she was of age, intelligent, and as determined as he was. Lying on the floor with Wes sitting on his torso, knees on both Hobbie's elbows to keep him from harming anyone, Hobbie had no choice but to listen. And to think.
Sela loves me? He couldn't believe it, but he knew Wes was right, Sithspit I love her Why did it take him so long to realize what everyone else seemed to see so easily?
He ran to Sela immediately, to beg forgiveness. They had agreed to get married as quickly as possible, which turned out to be four long hours later.
"Two," continued Hobbie, staring straight into his wife's eyes, "I was a complete jerk and left you on the dance floor. It was selfish of me, and after pulling that one, I would have completely understood if you kicked me in the balls--"
"Derek! Shhh!" Sela tried not to look shocked. She knew her husband had been a soldier and pilot for all his adult life, but she didn't want to give him the benefit of knowing how close he was to the truth, "Listen, I know you loved Nia; don't forget, I loved her, too. I miss her as much as you do, I really do. Do you want to know, I was talking to her as I walked toward you and Wedge as the wedding music started "
It was Hobbie's turn to look shocked, but then he got her meaning. He, himself, had said a prayer to the dead woman as he ran to find Sela, shortly before demanding she marry him.
"Yes," continued Sela, "I thanked her for looking after you, for keeping you safe and somewhat happy till I was ready for you. Derek, I knew I was ready the moment you kissed me. You couldn't have done it like that if you didn't love me, too."
"Three," Hobbie spoke quickly so he wouldn't weep, "I should have-"
Sela put her fingers to his lips. "No, let me finish. Yes, I agree you were a jerk to leave me on the dance floor and pull a drama-queen stunt. Poor Jehri had to take me home in a state, I won't deny that. I was scared that you still loved Nia, even though I knew you loved me. I was afraid you were torn, and I I couldn't bear to see you like that. Forgive me, but I would have left Coruscant rather than see you like that."
Before Hobbie could protest, Sela drew her face level with his and pressed her lips to his, murmuring, "But I was wrong. You made your peace with Nia's memory, and here we are."
Their kiss lasted till they realized that the chatter of voices around them had gone silent. The room noise consisted of engine and utilities noises and their heavy breathing. They both looked up and around them sheepishly, as the passengers around them broke out into hoots and applause. Beet red, they sat back down on their assigned seats properly.
Whispering to her, Hobbie smiled, "I have a confession, too. I have never, ever blushed before when being observed kissing! Oh, I didn't mean-" He hadn't meant to mention past affairs to Sela, I am SUCH a dolt!
"Four," said Sela, matter-of-factly, "no need to be embarassed by our pasts. You are a man of the galaxy, after all. If you weren't, I never would have met you. So there." She smiled solicitously at him.
Hobbie laughed, "By some miracle, you have decided to overlook my many flaws and idiocies -- you have even overlooked that I have odd friends -- and have agreed to marry me. I know, I know, not like I gave you much choice! I did rush you into it and I was completely incapable of understanding that you might have had some thoughts about how you wanted your wedding to turn out. Or even if your mother could make it! I wouldn't blame her if she kicked me in the balls, but I'm not ready for it "
Sela's face grew serious, "No, Derek, we could not have waited. Even the four hours it took was agony for me. We could not have waited, even for my mother -- who, by the way, is your friend, too. She'll understand. She loves you, you know that."
Hobbie drew his bride to him, not caring about the looks they got from the other passengers. "I'm so lucky to have you."
She slapped his belly, making a loud noise that startled him, "And don't you forget it. Past history is forgiven, you're mine now!"
They started kissing again, and this time, the other passengers just smiled and ignored them. Hobbie's eyes popped open when he felt his wife's hand pulling his into her suddenly unfastened shirt. "Sela!" he whispered as quietly as his shock allowed him, "what are you doing?"
Sela sighed and nuzzled his neck, "If mom wants to be part of it, we can always do the ceremony again, Darling. How do you feel about a second honeymoon?" Her fingers gently brushed his groin, slowly so that the other passengers wouldn't observe them.
He groaned quietly. This was going to be a long flight
* * * * *
The shuttle's announcement system blared, "Please secure safety harnesses. We will be entering atmosphere and landing shortly."
The newlyweds straightened up. They had spent quite a long time murmurring sweet nothings and tastefully groping one another.
Hobbie gave Sela a smile, but he was still in turmoil, I am still dreading facing your mother, my darling ... That thought did the trick -- by the time they were ready to disembark, he had regained control of himself.
* * * * *
The interstellar shuttle had landed alongside many others, and it looked like they'd have to wait a long time on line to clear customs, but they had each other for company and it made them happy. Having lived through Imperial rule and the Galactic War, Hobbie nor Sela really minded having to queue, and they enjoyed simply standing together. The customs inspector smiled at their happiness. In fact, everyone around them admired the handsome couple and the mood was considerably lighter in the spaceport queue as a result.
The formalities finally done, they piled their luggage onto a repulsorlift cart and went out into the arrivals area, hoping to find Dareen Milson in the crowd. Not seeing her immediately, Hobbie had her paged and found out that she was actually waiting for them in a distant terminal. The terminals were being renovated, and there seemed to be a lot of confusion.
Hobbie forced himself to remain calm; he had been building himself up to seeing his friend, who was now his mother-in-law. He found himself surprisingly agitated at having to delay the inevitable.
Sela was so excited to be home that she temporarily forgot Hobbie's stress. She jumped out of the ground shuttle when she spotted the blonde-haired woman, "Mom! Mom, here we are!"
An older version of his bride turned to see where the voice was coming from. Hobbie watched as her face lit up upon spotting her daughter, and felt real regret at coming between the two women. If I could do it all again, turn back the clock
"Derek!" The older woman called out to him and was running toward him now, "You're well, I'm so happy! Sela told me you were in that awful accident, she even went into gory detail about how they couldn't tell you and the ship parts apart! Are you feeling okay? Should you be up?"
Hobbie stuck out his hand nervously, "Yes, ma'am, I am. Thank you for your concern, it means a lot to me."
Dareen took his hand, but looked startled, "Since when have you called me "ma'am"? Why so formal? Did I suddenly get old?"
He looked serious, "We have something to tell you, Dareen," he had to admit to himself that it was more comfortable calling his friend by her first name, "I'm so sorry, but me and Sela-"
"We want to get married, Mom!" Sela burst out quickly, "We came home to tell you!"
Hobbie stared at her, speechless. What did she just tell her mother?
Dareen threw her arms around Hobbie, "I knew it! You and Sela belong together, I always knew it! I'm so glad you finally came to your senses, Derek! Did the accident knock sense into you?"
Despite her teasing, Hobbie couldn't utter a sound. Did Sela just imply that we weren't already married?
There was a cacophony of sound as Dareen and Sela hugged one another and squealed with happiness. He didn't realize he was being hugged and squealed at, too. "When is it, my darlings? When do you plan on getting married?"
"B-but," Hobbie was stammering from confusion, as well as at being shaken with joy by his mother-in-law. "B-but "
"Now, Mom!" Sela was jumping with glee, "We didn't want to do it without you, but we want to get married now! Please, let's do it now, Derek!"
Looking into her eyes, he finally shut his mouth. She was pleading with him, and she silently mouthed, This is what we want!. He guessed he felt better -- Sela had found a way to tell her mother and get around Hobbie's fears in confronting the older woman. He decided to play the urgent bridegroom once again, "Yes, let's! Where is the nearest government clerk?"
The next thing any of them knew, they were in a taxi, going to a florist, signing for their marriage licence, picking up a dress for Dareen, a gown for Sela, a suit for Hobbie, dressing in public refreshers in the government building, then to the office of births, deaths and marriages. They stood before a human clerk, who asked them to take the standard vows of marriage. Both Sela and Hobbie found it much easier to go through it this time. The first time -- a mere week ago on the Lusankya -- had been a sort of exercise in torment. They both knew they were doing the right thing, but it was a step into the unknown. This ceremony was much more relaxed.
She's just as beautiful in that dress as the one Mirax got for her, he mused as he bent to kiss her again. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched his mother-in-law weep happy tears into her kerchief. He immediately felt guilty. Why are we deceiving this nice lady?
* * * * *
At last, alone in the guest room of the Milson house, Hobbie and Sela were sleeping. Or rather, they were supposed to be. Hobbie watched his beautiful wife's chest rise and fall in slumber. She had explained to him that this was the best way to handle the situation. She understood Hobbie's fear in confronting her mother, and she knew her mother would be understanding, but still be hurt at not being told last week that they'd be married on Coruscant. She'd at least want to be told, even if she couldn't attend the ceremony. So they would get married with her present, problem solved!
Hobbie had not been able to make love to Sela that evening, for the first time since they were married. For one thing, they really were exhausted, and for another, they were in her mother's house. Though it would not be the first time he'd made love to a girl in her parent's house, this was completely different.
But he knew it wasn't really either of those reasons, though Sela accepted the explanations graciously. She felt the same way, and fell asleep as soon as she tumbled into the bed. I swore I wouldn't lie to her
Racked with guilt, Hobbie finally got out of bed and put on a dressing gown. Maybe a glass of water or a small snack might help calm me down, but he stopped short when he saw his mother-in-law sitting in the kitchen with a mug of caf in her hands, staring out the window. She turned at hearing him, "Derek! Couldn't you sleep?"
"No, ma'am," he backed away from her, "but I'm sorry to distu-"
"Derek," she pulled out a chair, "Sit down. I'll get you a drink and a snack, would you like that? And by the way, since you are now my son-in-law, you can call me "Mom," please."
"Yes Ma'a- I mean, Mom." He sat down slowly. I have to tell her. I have to!
She chattered as she prepared a sandwich for him, and a mug of hot caf, "You know, Derek, Sela has been in love with you since you rescued us, all those years ago. Don't misunderstand, she was never jealous of Nia, it wasn't like that. But she was never interested in anyone else. That's why I was so happy when you told me you wanted to get married. Nothing could have made me happier! I feel like I can die anytime, now that I know Sela has what she wants, and that you will care for her for me." She put the hot drink in front of him, "Drink up, dear, it's no good when it gets cold."
A good soldier, Hobbie followed orders and started sipping. It was nice to have something to do with his hands. He stared into the mug. The sudden silence, in the absence of her talking, was awkward, and Hobbie didn't know how to break it. Finally, he decided to just plunge in. "Ma'am, I ..." He looked up and the look on her face stopped him. He tried again. "Dareen ... " and stopped again. Once more, with feeling, "Mom." It sounded odd, although it felt right. "Mom," he repeated, "please don't be angry with Sela for not telling you it was all my fault I shouldn't have I " His voice trailed off, as he realized he had no idea how to tell her and was simply sounding stupid.
Dareen put a plate with a sandwich on it in front of him, cut into quarters. "You brought her home to tell me, Derek. I'm a very happy mother right now. I have a daughter who is now a woman, married to a man I consider the best in the galaxy." She patted his arm and gestured to him to eat, and Hobbie was grateful for the excuse not to have to talk for the moment. It would be rude to talk with his mouth full, after all.
"I said goodbye to Sela when she left to go to Coruscant. It was so hard, letting my baby go, but I knew she was following her heart. I was afraid that she was still too young to run away from her mother, but I couldn't stop her. She's a strong girl dear -- don't let her delicate and beautiful appearance fool you!"
He smiled and she continued, "I know how hard it was for you to lose Nia. We all miss her. I was only praying that you wouldn't think my daughter was bullying you if you weren't ready "
They both heard the guest room door open and Sela appeared, rubbing her eyes, "No fair talking about me when I'm dead to the universe. Can I have something to drink, too, Mom?"
"Sela, you know where the things are! Just because you're a married woman now, I don't have to serve you. Don't embarrass me in front of your new husband!"
Sela smiled and shuffled over to the pantry as her mother continued speaking.
"I've had the chance to watch you with Sela when you've been here on visits before. You've loved her, too, since the day you met. I knew that one day the two of you would be ready to recognize your love for each other and discover that you belonged together. On top of that, even though frankly, people did talk, I was never worried about you hurting her. You couldn't hurt her -- it simply isn't in you."
As Sela joined them at the table, Hobbie marveled at how clearly Dareen had been able to read him right from the beginning. Most people observing the close relationship between a six-year old girl and a grown man would have been seriously concerned regarding his intentions. But Dareen had seen that he was not only honorable, but he'd protect her from any harm, from anyone or anything. Even from my own self.
"I know you're both concerned about this old woman," Dareen joked, for she wasn't old at all, and took another sip of her hot drink, "but I also know that compared to each other, my concerns have to come in at a very distant second place." She held up her hands when both Sela and Hobbie tried to protest, silencing them, "So I'm not hurt at all about not hearing from you about your wedding last week."
Both her daugher and son-in-law sat with their jaws agape. Hobbie even dropped his mug, and didn't seem to notice the liquid spilled on him, or the noise it made when it landed on the floor.
Dareen laughed, quite enjoying the spectacle, "No, it's not divination, my dears. I simply tried to contact Wes and Jehri Janson to give a message to Sela about some documents she'd ordered that had finally come in, and one of the children answered and told me you two were at some expensive hotel on your honeymoon!"
"As for not waiting to ask for my permission to marry Sela ... Given what I've told you tonight, I could hardly have refused. How could I? Under the circumstances, it is perfectly understandable that you didn't want to wait." She smiled at them, "There! Does that make you feel better?"
Hobbie returned her smile sheepishly and finally found his voice, "Yes, it does, but I'm still very, very sorry, and please accept my apologies, Mom." It still felt odd to call Dareen by that title, "First, I'm sorry we misjudged you. I was convinced you'd kill me for running off with your daught-"
"No, Derek," Sela reached out to stop him counting again on his fingers, "Mom, that was my idea to tell you we wanted to get married, rather than telling you we already were." She looked ashamed, "Derek was so nervous, and I stopped him from telling you and we just couldn't wait "
Dareen scowled at both of them, "Do you mean to imply that it's a bad thing you got married? That somehow, not telling me was worse than you being whole and alive and deliriously happy together? Pshaw, you youngsters have all your priorities wrong, and may I add, you are both making me feel really old! Now, tell me everything! Don't you have a holovid of the first wedding? I want to see!"
Hobbie hoped that it was a good thing he was related to such wise and perceptive women.
* * * * *
They were back in bed, cuddling one another with their eyes closed. It had been an exhausting day, and then a long night, telling Dareen Milson everything that had happened in the past week and before. They were tired, but weren't sleeping.
Nuzzling his chin, Sela whispered, "What are you thinking?"
Sighing deeply, he kissed her forehead, "Just what a lucky guy I am. Wondering what I ever did to deserve everything I have. Not only do I have you, I have your mother, who is the wisest woman in the galaxy."
She giggled softly, "Regret marrying me, then?"
Squeezing tightly, he ignored the question, "You saved me three times. I'm alive because of you."
Sela opened one eye to see if he was serious, "What do you mean?"
"You kept me from killing myself or going insane when Nia died then you helped me recover from my own stupidity when I crashed my fighter. I'm serious about that, I knew I would die, but you called me back."
Letting the sentimental tears drip onto her husband's chest, Sela whispered, "And the third time?"
He was so deep in his thoughts, he didn't really hear her, "Bacta cures the physical injuries, but the ones to the spirit ... Seeing you outside that Bacta tank and sensing that you were there for me ... I willed myself to recover so that I could be with you. I didn't know it consciously, but subconsciously you've been my soulmate and the love of my life."
She punched him in the collarbone, "And the third time?"
"Hey, ow, that hurt! Huh?" He rubbed the sore spot, "Oh, yes. Sorry the third time, you saved me from myself. I was sure I'd be a grease stain on the wall when I told your mother Ow! What was that for?"
"It's over, Derek, stop worrying about it. My mother figured it out, and she still likes us. Now, kiss me, you fool! You owe me a second honeymoon!"
And he did.
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