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Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:2:35) in the Essesia system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate).
Grand Moff Claudius Rodney and Commander Sierra Rodney.

There had been much stress in the Rodney estate over the past several days. Claudius had called in a favor and arranged for Doctor Tohan to take Jelena, Drusilla, Ewwiekewwieikkie, and even Callista, out of the house for the evening so that he could have some much needed alone time with his wife. He had sent Sierra to the Retributor to get her out of the house long enough for him to prepare things. He had attempted to cook dinner, but whether or not it would cause food poisoning was left to be scene. The lights throughout the estate were dimmed, replaced instead with simple candlelight. He had programmed their sound system to play classical Alderaanian music as well. From the doorway to the dining room a path was made of fresh flowers from the garden. He was going back to the essential elements of the romantic playbook in an attempt to show his wife his appreciation for her work in returning his daughter to him, as well as remove some of the stress she must have been experiencing from the family strife and pregnancy.

Sierra Rodney was oblivious as to what was going on back on Esseles at home. Whatever excuse he'd provided to get her onto the Retributor had worked. She sat at her desk, finishing up the final leg of her work. She anticipating returning home. Everything was looking up again. There was a bounce in her step as she made her way back to her shuttle to return to the surface. This good mood continued to surround her on her smooth flight. She was confident that she wouldn't be returning home to stress. She was also confident that a warm bath was in her future! It was probably her favorite feature of the whole estate.

At the front door, Sierra inputted a code to gain access into her home. She stepped inside to a total environment change from the Stormtrooper centric area outside. There was sweet, sweet Alderaanian music. The smell of something home cooked lingered in the air. It wasn't the kind of wafting smell that makes you cringe. The candlelit lighting set the mood immediately; romance. Sierra was tickled! She noticed the trail of colorful flowers last, as she removed her boots right beside the front door and safely off to the side. She smiled and blushed. "Claudius..?" She followed alongside the path of flowers. Except for the music, it was quiet in the house. She wondered who he had pawned all the girls off on. She paused just inside the dining room. The candles cast light over only parts of her face. Her smile was impossible to miss. "Wow," she was blushing more, totally awestruck.

Claudius was hiding. He was watching from the darkness to gauge Sierra's reaction to his hard work around the estate. Content at her reaction he emerged from the shadows wearing a chef's apron and carrying a tray of food. "Welcome home," he said, as he placed the covered platter in the center of the small table. He dramatically ripped the cover off the reveal the braised nerf below, surrounded by Alderaanian root vegetables, and covered in a rich gravy. He had outdone himself, or he had undercooked it and they would soon end up in the medcenter. Whatever the outcome he was quite proud. He led her towards the table, pulling out her chair to let her sit down, before he went through the process of serving the food. He would have offered her wine, but she was pregnant. Once her needs were attended to he circled around the table, taking a seat opposite of her. He said nothing ... he only smiled at her like he was seeing her for the first time.

"Oh my!" She exclaimed. All of her husband's gestures were so touching. He certainly had made her one happy wifey. Her eyes lit up more upon seeing that it was *he* who had made dinner, and that the braised nerf which he revealed to her was infinitely more cooked than the nerf they'd eaten with the Emperor. She looked behind her shoulder at the trail of flowers, then back to him. "You did all of this, for *me*?" And he looked so cute dressed up like a chef! She embraced him tightly. "Thank you..." The last remains of stress wiped themselves clean of her. "Oh my gosh, it all looks so delicious..." She was hungry! She sat, kindly thanking him for pulling out her chair and being such a sweet gentleman. Her heart thumped away happily in her chest. She loved him so very, very much.

She quietly watched him serve the food while he made her swoon repeatedly. It took serious effort to remember her manners and not dig in the very same second he finished serving her. Instead, she was patient. She waited for him to sit. Her cheeks had grown increasingly red. At the moment, she felt like a very special woman. He'd gone far out of his way to give *her* a wonderful evening. He had succeeded on all levels. Picking up her utensils, Sierra started on eating her dinner. The first bite of the root vegetables in gravy sent lovely sensations all over her taste buds. It was *damn* good. She cut off a piece of nerf, trying it next. She noted that it looked properly cooked, because she'd never forget what it was like to eat raw. Upon trying it, Sierra realized that it, too, was completely delicious. "I'm impressed. This is *so* good. Please, send my compliments to the chef." She winked across the table at him. "This is really wonderful of you. Thank you so much, my love."

"I did it for *us*," Claudius quickly replied, before sampling some of the nerf himself. To his relief it seemed as if had actually been cooked through. "I will take your compliments," he said, bringing his napkin up to his lips, dabbing at it daintily. "You are welcome, my dear," he said, as he resumed his meal, but his mind was already lingering on dessert. "I arranged for Doctor Tohan to take the girls for the day. It is my hope that he survives," he said, half-joking, before taking a forkful of food into his mouth again. As he looked across the table at his pregnant wife it seemed that everything in the galaxy was *finally* going his way. "Don't get used to this. This is a bi-annual event," he said, with a soft chuckle, as he nearly finished. All of this work had made him quite hungry too.

For *us*. Sierra felt such a deep connection with him. Times had been hard lately. She had worried about misstepping and watching everything they had built together blow up in their faces. She saw now that the complicated times weren't going to knock themselves out of the game. As long as they had each other's support, everything else would fall into line. She happily continued eating her meal, only briefly stopping to laugh. "We're going to owe him big time." Doctor Tohan was a good friend. She, too, hoped that he survived the evening. He was a good man for going out of his way for them. The tasty dinner inspired Sierra to eat more than she had in several days. Her previous meals from the day had sat so well in her stomach. She felt light again. "Bi-annual? Really? You're spoiling me rotten, Claudius." She meant it. People didn't really do nice things for her...not anyone but her husband and her new family. They really *cared*. Before she knew it, her plate was entirely empty and nearly clean enough to use again. She sat back, feeling quite content. "Goodness, you can cook! That was amazing." She couldn't stop raining down compliments on him.

"Unfortunately there will be no proper dessert," Claudius revealed, with a frown. "While I was preparing earlier in the afternoon Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista discovered it, and devoured it in short order," he explained, rolling his eyes slightly. "All they eat is sugar," he complained, wondering if they would need full time help in caring for all of the children that roamed the estate. And not the kind that wore Imperial Stormtrooper armor. As they finished, he rose from his chair, and moved towards her. "So you'll have to settle for me for your post meal delights," he said to her, before he lifted her up from the chair into his arms. "Ugh," he groaned slightly as he cradled her in his arms, and began moving towards the stairs. "I won't be able to do this once you get further along in the pregnancy," he explained to her, as he began to ascend the stairs with her. After what felt like several hours he made it to the top of the stairs, quickly moving towards the bedroom. He dropped her on the bed, then took a step backwards, looking at her. He wanted to appreciate her natural beauty just laying there before he proceeded.

She laughed hard. She could visualize the excitement of Callista and Ewwiekewwieikkie as they discovered a surprise dessert. "Oh gez, I love those girls," she laughed more, shaking her head. She had tried to introduce other foods into their diet. If she placed nerf in front of Callista, the little girl would likely shy away from it entirely or cry until it disappeared. She still hadn't figured out a way to get Drusilla to eat more than a tiny bird. Once their son arrived, maybe they really would need additional help around the house. Wiping her mouth clean, she watched her husband near her. There was excitement in her eyes, which increased as soon as he stated what would be on the updated menu. "Mmmm. My favorite delicacy." Of course, she enjoyed being whisked out of her seat and carried like a princess throughout the house. Her arms wrapped around his neck.

"That's fair. They'll be another thirty pounds or so to lift towards the end of that." And she looked forward to those days when they arrived. For now, her belly was still flat. It was easy to hide the truth. They ascended the stairs slowly. Sierra enjoyed herself immensely. Finally, her body fell to the bed. She was still dressed in her ISB uniform, sans socks and boots. It didn't cut her off from her feminine sexuality in the slightest. Claudius had provided her with the gift of self esteem. She lay, on her back, staring kindly at the love of her life. Nothing would have ever worked out without him. She needed more than one way. Before him, she slowly freed herself from her tunic. She slid it off her head. The material flashed her lower stomach to him until she slid out of it entirely. She lay back, her light blue bra hiding away her breasts. She was in no hurry. Like a good dessert, Claudius was made to be devoured slowly.

Claudius dimmed the lights in the bedroom before moving to strip out of his uniform. Now that he was in his mid-50s he had become body conscious, feeling he was too old for her. Slowly he moved towards the bed, as if he was a predator slowly stalking its prey. The sound of the coils squeaking beneath him for the first sound that broke the awkward silence in the darkness. He lay beside her, moving an arm to wrap around and pull her up against him. His lips connected with hers, slowly pressing against her lips. He was in love and the children would be gone all night. He was going to take his time. His breath was warm, serving to heat them both against the cold fall evening.

Layer after layer, Sierra revealed herself to her husband. Her body contrasted his; so new, so smooth. In her eyes, he never had a reason to feel body conscious. With clothes on, or without them, her attraction to him was always there. She felt her age each time he undressed in front of her. Lust unleashed inside of her in a way that had no rationality to it. Whatever it was, Sierra's body *loved* his. When she wore no more clothing, her blue eyes took in his prowl. Closer and closer he drew to her. On the bed, at her side, touching her. It felt like the first time again. She was jittery and wanting. Yet, she took her time. She held him to her body and kissed him like there was no tomorrow. Her body shivered against his while his warmth washed over her. Her mouth broke away from his for the sole purpose of pleasing him. She kissed up and down his jawline, all the while whispering to him sweet *somethings*. "I love you so much. You're so perfect for me." She nuzzled her nose against his neck directly below his ear, then kissed him there.

When they had both finished, Sierra snatched up a handful of blankets. She covered their bodies. She was done moving for the evening. The warmness they had created together in bed was too lovely to abandon. She didn't release him from her arms. She was content to fall asleep with him as close as possible.

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