The last place Marcus Rodney wanted to be was Delaya.
Retrieving the Nerf Herder, he had taken hold of his
*very* pregnant wife and set course for the first
destination that came to mind: Pavo Prime. Located
in the nearby Inner Rim, the aquatic gambling resort
was home to a number of casinos. They had settled
into the Seahorse Casino, with a suite overlooking
the water. It seemed his brother was not the only
one who had a room with a view. "It's so warm," he
commented to Zara, given how cold life had been at
the chalet. As he moved her onto the balcony they
were hit with the pungent aroma of the sea air.
"I'll win you a fortune," he said, as he looked down
at the lower level where the casino lay. In truth he
was a terrible gambler who had squandered much of
the family's credits away in the years preceding his
marriage. "I saw in the lobby that Max Rebo is going
to be performing. Drusilla will be furious," he
said, with a smirk, and obvious glee.
Delaya had become a nightmare. After spending time
in a holding cell separated from her husband, Zara
Rodney did not want to go back home to the chalet.
She didn't trust the Imperial Governor who had come
to cause chaos. There was absolutely no objections
from her when they decided to travel to Pavo Prime.
The environment was totally different from the
northern portion of Delaya. No sooner had she
departed the Nerf Herder did she have to yank off
her heavy jacket.
Inside the room, she had changed into a slender sun
dress to combat the weather and the additional heat
of her swollen stomach. "It is!" She squeaked
happily. Her pale skin hadn't seen this much sun
since her and Marcus were recorded during their
bliss on the beach. She walked with him towards the
balcony. She stared at the gorgeous view, briefly
forgetting that her brother-in-law had stolen away
the islands where they had wed...which resulted in a
huge mess. The sea breeze blew through her silvery
hair. She shot a bright smile towards her husband.
"You will? All I wanted was one of those gigantic
Nerf stuffed toys I saw in the arcade." She
snickered. "Maybe I'll win *you* a fortune." Zara
had spent her time in casinos during her earlier
days. "Let's go see Max Rebo. We can brag about how
amazing he was that way." She giggled, turning
towards Marcus. Her arms wrapped around his neck
loosely. "It's so pretty here. We should stay here
and wait out all the craziness on Delaya."
There was a buzz at the door before a droid arrived
with their luggage. It also brought a special
welcoming gift from the hotel management who were
pleased to have the free advertising of Marcus and
Zara in attendance. In the care package were two
stuffed nerfs, one blue, and one pink for each of
the babies, fruit and candies, casino chips, and a
carton of Auntie Mae's ice cream, which was now
being sold across the galaxy.
"It pains me to see Imperials on Delaya," Marcus
revealed to Zara, before moving to examine the
basket. As he spied the carton of Auntie Mae's he
wondered how much money she was making off their
celebrity. Perhaps they were entitled to a stake.
"I've already won, because I have you," he said to
her, before tossing her the carton of purple potato
ice cream. Certainly there would be none for him.
"Yes. We can get our appearance at the Max Rebo
concert on the HoloNet. It will drive Drusilla mad,
which will in turn cause her to drive Claudius and
Sierra up a wall," he said, with a snicker, as he
moved back towards the bed. He was itching to get
down to the casino, but he did not want her to know
Zara turned around when she heard the buzz. She was
surprised to see a welcome gift...*were those nerfs*!?
She let out a squee. The plushies were exciting...as
was the sight of a carton of her all-time favorite
Auntie Mae's. She started making her way towards
him. "I know. I really wish we could chase them off
the planet. That Governor guy seems like a massive
dick. The Duke and Duchess have their hands full."
Zara thought about dropping Sir Tentacles on the
garrison many, *many* times. She wondered how far
the beast would get before he was struck down.
She caught the carton of ice cream. Her cheeks were
red from his sweet compliment. "Marcus~!" She
sniffled. "I love you so much." He understood her.
He even understood how wild her pregnancy craving
was. She popped open the ice cream as she lowered
herself down to sit next to him on the bed. She took
a spoonful, then offered one to him. She laughed. "I
*love* the way you think. Even I've heard Drusilla
talk about Max Rebo." Zara rested the carton on her
growing belly. She was officially in the final
stretch: the last trimester. She was going to enjoy
this vacation because soon there would be two new
little Rodneys to adore. She ate a little, then
closed up the carton and put it away. "Let's go
downstairs! I want to be your lady luck." Laughing,
Zara tucked her arm in between his. Together, they
left their suite. Paparazzi had already been on top
of them since arriving. It seemed casino security
had successfully cleared them out for now.
Marcus took hold of his wife and slowly navigated
the corridor to the nearest turbolift. It was a
scenic turbolift on the outside of the building that
gave them a magnificent view of the surrounding
ocean. Slowly they made their way to the ground
level where the buffet and the casino lay. Would he
be ever to steer Zara past the endless array of
foods? No. Before they got to the casino they found
themselves in the line at the nerf carving station,
where prime cuts of meat were being offered up to
them. And then there was a colossal mountain of
Kashyyyk land shrimp. Even though he was not
pregnant he sure could eat, but nothing prepared him
for the portions that his wife was taking.
Zara told herself that she could resist the food.
She told herself that she was going downstairs to
make sure Marcus had fun too, for she wasn't the
only one who had gone through an intensely stressful
ordeal. The beautiful sight before her made her stop
thinking about food and how incredibly uncomfortable
it was when the twins used her bladder like a
trampoline. She leaned against her husband softly.
This was *exactly* what they needed.
Downstairs, Zara simply couldn't resist! Her senses
were raped by an array of delicious food stuffs. She
decided to compromise with her hunger; just one
piece of nerf and they would be on their way. Of
course, one piece turned to three. "Sorryyyy..." She
said, blushing. She felt as large as a dreadnaught
these days. When she had eaten until she was full,
they resumed moving towards the casino games,
blinding lights, and a million different noises. The
part of her that was a thief couldn't stop thinking
about all the various...highly dangerous...ways she
could destroy the casino from the inside out. She
was glad she had married someone who understood that
portion of her life. "What game do you want to play
first?" She asked while watching a rather large
Wookiee pull a slot machine handle clear off the
Before Marcus could play a game he took a long look
over the array of alien players, trying to determine
if any of them would be potentially dangerous if he
bested them. Obviously he would stay clear of the
wookiee. There was an entire section devoted to
sabacc, his favorite table game. "Here we go," he
said quietly to his wife, as he sauntered over to
the table. Giving a polite nod to everyone at the
table he was dealt his hand and began to play. In
the first hand he had lost all of the free credits
the casino had provided him when checking in. It was
an inauspicious start to the evening. As the night
went on he barely made headway, but did not lose too
terribly much. A crowd had gathered to watch the
famous couple, with some opportunistic gamblers
placing bets on when the twins would be born.
"You can do it!" Zara said confidently to her love.
She understood the statistics behind casino games,
so it didn't worry her when he lost. The difficult
part was knowing when to stop. But, the night
continued and Marcus was never too terribly down.
She stayed beside him, eagerly watching the other
player's facial expressions so she could catch on to
who was sweating it and who wasn't. All the while,
she could hear people making bets on her stomach. It
made her roll her eyes. She was close, but not
*that* close. Sheesh! She tried to help derail other
players with a little feminine charm. As she leaned
over to look at Marcus' hand, her low cut dress
likely reminded the male players that Zara's body
had once been on every nook and cranny of the
As the night progressed luck found him, or maybe it
was simply Zara's pregnancy engorged mammaries
serving to distract his opponents. Gradually the
pile of chips in front of him began to return to
where he started, and then shortly after began to
grow. A few hours later and he had managed to double
what he had started with, and decided it was best to
quit while he was ahead. He turned his head, placing
a small kiss upon Zara's cheek. Then, after tipping
the dealer, he rose from the table, collected his
chips, and began to leave the casino. However, this
time he was careful to circle around the buffet so
that they would not fall victim to it again. "This
will help a great deal," he said, as he stepped into
the turbolift with her. "You know, if you were not
so close to delivering, I might consider
assassinating that Governor," he said to her, as his
underlying aggressiveness briefly breached the
surface. Of course that would only serve to bring
*more* Imperial attention to Delaya.
Zara enjoyed watching him play. Somehow, luck found
them and the pile of chips bred with each other
until there was more than what he had started with.
She squeezed Marcus' arm excitedly. Together, they
departed from the lower portion of the casino so
ensure that they left the floor ahead...not behind.
In the turbolift, Zara happily cuddled her husband.
"It will. You told me you'd win...and you did just
that!" They needed to secure their finances for the
future, after all. It would take time for Zara to be
ready to go back out into the field. She assumed it
was in the cards still. She looked up at him, a more
serious tone taking over. "You're not alone. Even
for an Imperial, he seems really terrible. Did you
see Sierra when she came to get us? She looked so
upset. I bet he did something to her!" Zara
speculated. She had met Papius face-to-face and
experienced a slice of how much of an asshole he
truly was. "What will we do if he continues to
remain on Delaya? It isn't like Claudius can throw
him out." She turbolift stopped at their floor. Zara
continued to hold onto him while they moved to their
room. She was concerned for the family that they had
left behind. Was Claudius and his wifey okay?
"There is no getting through to Claudius. His love
for the Emperor is illogical and unbreakable,"
Marcus complained, bitterly, as he entered their
room. Once in the room he took his tray of chips and
thrust it upwards, showering their bed with all of
their newfound winnings. "What can we do? Board
ourselves up in the chalet and wait for them to
leave. We have children to consider. We aren't
Rebels," he said, as he moved behind her, bringing
his arms around her, and placing his hands on her
belly. Less than two months now, he imagined, as he
held her in a warm embrace from behind. "Just out of
curiosity ... how long will it be after the
pregnancy until everything is ... uh ... *working*
again," he asked, burying his face in her shoulder
so that she could not see his reaction.
That was the truth. Claudius had one, gigantic-sized
boner for the Emperor. There was no saving him. Zara
stood back, watching the chips scatter all over
their bed. She snickered, thinking about making love
all over their winnings. When he swept her up into
his arms, she leaned back against him. Her hands ran
over his arms. She could feel the babies kicking and
punching inside of her. The twins were very clearly
Marcus and Zara's children. They weren't even out
and they wanted to fight. "You're right. Hopefully
it'll all blow over in time. I'm so relieved you
aren't Duke.." She sighed. All these things rested
on Sierra and Claudius' shoulders. She couldn't
thank them enough for taking the bullet. For that,
they deserved the sea island home.
She giggled at his question. It was so silly!
"*Working*? Whatever do you mean, hubby?!" It was
hard not to tease him! "A month." She told him with
a dramatic sigh. "How are we going to ever make it
that long!? I'll be humping the tauntaun before
we're clear for sexy time." She couldn't even
imagine. They *still* went at it like animals. Zara
turned her head to kiss his cheek. "I guess we're
just going to have to go into double time until the
babies are here, huh? Can we start by doing it on
the chips? Pleasseee? I really wanted to do it on
the balcony, but we both know what'll happen after
that." Maybe they could make money off of the next
sex scandal they found themselves in?
Marcus was admittedly concerned about the potential
dry spell in their love life, and her suggestion
that they make up for lost time early. "Of course!"
he said, as he began to strip out of his clothing.
Winning at the sabacc table had excited him, and he
wasted no time in helping Zara out of the tent sized
garment that was required to cloth her in her *very*
pregnant state. He moved towards her, pressing his
lips against hers as they shared a tender embrace.
He grabbed hold of her, and attempted to lift her
onto the bed, but he felt a muscle pull in the small
of his back. "Argh!" he groaned, as he released his
grasp on her, falling to his knees. He was not quite
prepared for how heavy she was, and he had not
exerted enough force to lift her. The small of his
back was throbbing, but he did his best to conceal
just how much pain he was actually in. He did not
want her to feel bad.