“Ladies and Gentlemen please raise your glasses for Princess Kimberly Organa.” Said Leia Organa, raising her own glass. Kimberly did a small curtesy as she paused in the doorway of the hall. Gods how she hated these events, all the people looking at you, having to talk to everyone and engage in extremely boring conversations. “Thank you.” Said Kimberly smiling gesturing for people to sit down, “It is a pleasure to be in your company this evening to celebrate my birthday.” Truth be told she would rather be in her treehouse in the forest looking up at the stars than at her own birthday party. She contemplated the idea of sneaking out, although after remembering the events of last year where her grandmother had caught her climbing out her window before the party, she decided against it.
The guests chatted and gossiped as droids carried round platters of exotic and rich tasting foods. Kimberly groaned as she began to make her rounds, talking to various Senators and other Elite guests. It was agonizingly boring, but it was her duty to be polite and respectful. The day would soon come where she would take her place as Queen, if she wanted her time as monarch to be any easier, she would want these snobby aristocrats on her side.
She crossed the room to where a gold protocol droid and blue R2 unit wear bickering. “Oh, Princess Kimberly!” The gold protocol droid called out as she approached. Kimberly couldn’t help but smile at R2’s excited beeps. “Hello Threepio.” She said. Kimberly couldn’t remember a time without the two droids, they had very often been her source of company. Growing up the only children who wanted to play with her were doing so for their parents to get close to her Father. Anyone one she did meet thought she was weird due to her strong force sensitivity and often kept their distance. So, when she wasn’t having princess lessons with her grandmother or force training with her father, she spent her time playing with the droids; although for own sanity she did many times have to escape to her treehouse.
As she moved to the next group of people, she felt someone cover her eyes. “Guess who?” Her heart leaped and she spun around to see her Father smiling at her. Forgetting her Princess protocols, she flung her arms around him, “I thought you weren’t coming.” She said.
The King smiled, “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” He said.
Kimberly smiled back at her Father. She knew from a very young age everything her Father had gone through, what he had done in his past. But she never judged him or was disgusted by him, after all she knew that he loved her no matter what. They were all each other had. Kimberly knew very little of her mother, her father usually avoided the topic. The young Princess could sense his sadness whenever she was mentioned.
At the age of seven, her Father had given Kimberly a picture of her mother. She was beautiful, brown wavy hair and sparkling eyes. Kimberly treasured the picture and kept it safely in the top drawer of her bedside table. At night when times got tough, she often took it out and held it to her chest as she slept.
She knew her mother wasn’t dead; her father would have told her. But deep down she felt that she was, there couldn’t be another explanation.
Ben pulled a small box from his pocket and passed it to her, “Happy Birthday sweetheart.” He said as she opened it, inside was a golden locket with a K engraved on it. Kimberly smile at her father, “Thank you Dad, it’s beautiful.”
“Now I think the Princess should have her first dance with her old man.” Said Ben. Kimberly laughed as they walked to the center of the ballroom. As the music played and they swayed in time she thought back to the days where she would dance on his feet late at night in her nightgown. Before hiding behind her father when her grandmother would find them mucking around.
“Relax Kimberly, just relax.” Said Ben. Kimberly sighed, “I just find these events so uncomfortable, there are so many people. And this dress is the worst thing in the world.”
Ben nodded, “I know you hate it Kimberly, and I wish you didn’t have to do any of this but it’s your duty. I know I say it a lot but once you’re Queen what you say goes, you could always ban dresses.”
Kimberly laughed, “I love you Dad, I don’t know what I would do without you.”
Ben pulled his daughter closer, “I love you too Kimberly.” Kimberly’s heart was pounding, she wanted it all to just stop. She wished she was a normal girl with a normal family, not the heir to the Organa throne. The day where she would take her place as Queen was coming quicker than she expected, her grandmother had groomed her for the role since she was young and yet she felt she would be walking in blind.
The music came to a finish and Kimberly groaned as her grandmother approached with a most likely eligible suitor following closely behind. “Kimberly may I present Matthew Montago.” She said with a knowing look. “Good evening your highness,” he said with a charming smile, “May I say how lovely you look this evening.” He continued with a bow.
“Thank you.” she said slightly inclining her head in response to his bow. Matthew stretched out his hand to her, “It would be an honor if I could have this dance.” Kimberly looked to her grandmother who nodded, then to her father who did the same. She turned back to Matthew and smiled, “The pleasure would be mine.” She said with a smile taking his hand. The long evening had officially begun.
“Happy Birthday to Kara, Happy Birthday to youuuuu.” sang the group before breaking into applause. “Make a wish!” Said Cal. Kara leaned forward and blew out the candles on the cake, she had grown out of wishing a long time ago. Her mother leaned down and placed a kiss on her cheek, “Happy Birthday Sweetheart.”
Kara smiled, “Thanks Mum.” Levine walked over and handed her a large knife, “Come on start cutting! I want cake.” Kara smiled as she took the knife from her best friend and cut the first slice of the chocolate cake.
Everyone began to tuck into their cake laughing cheerily. Kara loved her family. Her Uncles Poe and Finn, and their mischievous daughter Levine who was the closest thing she had to a sister. Then their nerdy best friend Cal and his mother who she considered as Aunt Rose. Uncle Chewie who lived with her and her mother on the Falcon.
And finally, there was her mother. Rey Solo. “It feels like just yesterday you were a tiny baby, now look at you my beautiful 16-year-old.” Said Rey. At the end of the day it was just the two of them Yes, they had close friends who they considered family, but the reality was Kara was all Rey had left. She passed Kara a small box. “What’s this?” She asked taking it.
“I figured this year you deserved something special.” Said Rey with a smile. Kara pulled away the blue ribbon and opened it. Inside was a beautiful golden locket, a K engraved on the back.
Taking it out the box, she tied it around her neck. “Thanks Mum.” Her mother smiled in response, “Your father chose it before you were born.” Her heart fluttered at the mention of her father. Her mother rarely talked about him, when she asked at a young age, she simply said that he had to leave for a while, but one day he would come back. It had been 16 years and Kara knew her mother missed him every single day having heard her cry herself to sleep. “I wish I knew him.” Kara said with a sad smile, “I’ve never met him, but I miss him.”
Rey nodded knowingly, “I know I miss him to.” Noticing his best friend’s pain, Finn wrapped his arm around Rey, “He’ll be back one day, I promise.” He said smiling at two of the most important people in his life. Rey nodded and wiped away some loose tears, “Right come on this is a party, let’s have some fun!” Rey exclaimed putting on her best smile. “There is still one last surprise.”
“You’ve already given me so much already.” Said Kara. Kara knew her family didn’t have a lot of money, she never cared for expensive gifts if she had her Mum, she was happy. “We know but we think you’ll really like this.” Said Poe handing her an envelope. Kara arched an eyebrow and took the letter, curious to see what was inside. She tore open the envelope and pulled out what looked like a keycard. “What is it?” She asked in confusion.
Poe smiled, “We all cobbled together,” He said.
Finn turned to him, “All of us?”
Poe smiled at his husband, “You owe me 20 credits.” He said. Finn rolled his eyes before pressing a kiss to his husband’s cheek. Ignoring the PDA Rose stepped forward, “Kane works at pilot school on Coruscant, they have openings for the workshops.” Kara’s jaw dropped, it was her dream to be a pilot. Kane, Rose’s Ex-Husband, worked night shifts at the academy and often sent them intel when places would be available. “I don’t know what to say! Thank you so much!” Kara exclaimed hugging her Aunt and Uncles.
“You better start packing kiddo.” Said Poe ruffling her hair like she was eight. Kara smiled and ran in the direction of her room, dragging Levine along with her. Cal sighed and placed down his cake before following the girls out the room. Rey remained seated looking down into her lap. Rose moved around the table and sat next to her friend wrapping her arms around Rey, gently stroking her hair, the same way she had many times before. “I’m scared to let her go alone.” Rey confessed looking up at her friends.
“She’s a strong girl Rey, no harm will come to her.” Said Poe trying to reassure her in the matter, “I still don’t think it’s a good idea.” She said. Rey had spent her whole life putting Kara first before everything, protecting her no matter what like any mother would. The past 16 years had been hard, she couldn’t count the amount of times she had cried herself to sleep, yearning for her husband and other daughter. During the first few weeks at the mechanic base she hadn’t slept, she rarely ate, and it took Poe forever to get her out of bed. It had only meant to be temporary and yet what was meant to be a few weeks had turned into 16 years. And now Rey was letting Kara leave home, letting her out into the dangers of the galaxy.
“I promised him I would take care of her.” Rey said sadly.
Rose smiled at her and said, “You are Rey, you just need to let her stretch her wings and fly.”