Written with the help of the lovely Loske Treicolt Loske Treicolt

“I still can’t believe you actually… got married,” she said. “I always thought that kind of thing would be far in the future. Like, when I was sixty, or something.”

Auteme dug the little spoon into her bowl of ice cream. Strawberry and lemon.

Loske was on her second bowl, the first one was to confirm the flavour preference and the following was to savour the chocolatey delight. When Auteme’s question came up, she kept the spoon in her mouth and cheeks flushed.

“Oh,” tapping the edge of the utensil against her teeth she chuckled and shrugged. “Yeah, I... me too, I think. Or thought. Until Maynard, obviously... well, I knew it was ––”

“How’d it actually go down? Were you thinking about it for a while, or did he just ask?” She didn’t know Maynard as well as she would’ve liked, but she guessed the latter.

“––we wanted to be together, and... like forever. It’s easy to talk about, as sweet nothings I guess between all the...” She sighed. “All the everything we have to do all the time.” Conversations of appreciation and eternity were common between the newlyweds, and as much as she wanted to divulge to Auteme (partly to free herself from the guilt of not inviting her to any sort of celebration), there were parts of their relationship she wanted to keep just for them, like the mention of Triocolt. A shared dream, but a private one born from a bad joke:
“If we’re a pair, and introduce a third, does that make it a Triocolt?”

Much like their chosen dessert, Loske melted a bit at the memory, sinking a cheek into her waiting palm and poking at the curve of the scoop waiting to be consumed.

“It was on Scipio, right after Bastion.” For a moment, her pleasant expression muted, and another detail was withheld -- right after I told him the last of his kin had died. “After he’d almost died and... whelp. I guess that helped with perspective on the future.” She shrugged again, grinning cheesily. “He asked me to marry him. Everything after that we just... we were tired of waiting so, don’t feel too bad you weren’t invited to the wedding. There wasn’t really one.” Her left hand wiggled, indicating they hadn’t even gone to the effort of jewelry for the union.

“Sixty though,” she repeated pensively, loading another spoonful of ice cream up. “You that picky?”

“Wha- I’m-” Auteme stopped herself before she said something silly. “Okay, like, I want to make sure I have the right person. But it’s not like I’m just avoiding relationships! I mean, most people get married around then. I don’t know. I’m not in a rush.”

It surprised her to think that there were multiple options for her ‘right person’.

“Not that you’re in a rush. I’m really happy for you,” she said, not for the first time and certainly not for the last. To be committed to another person completely was something Auteme wanted to have, but she’d overcome that desperation for permanence. “It just wasn’t something I ever really thought I’d… think about.”

“Other than thinking it’d happen to you in several decades from now.” Loske pointed with her spoon.

“So you’re not avoiding relationships,” she continued. Her relationship had always been extraordinarily obvious once they’d made that initial admission. “Whatcha got going on?”

Auteme looked at her bowl and took a miniscule scoop. When had it become so…

“It’s, ah, complicated,” she said, embarrassed by her own lack of understanding of the situation. Talking about it would probably help.

Loske, familiar with the term complicated relationship, was all too happy to keep to herself and her ice cream while Auteme started her explanation.

“Where do I start…”

The fact that it even had a ‘start’ made her blush. “Well -- I don’t think I really talked about it with you, but around when I got knighted I was with this girl Charlie. You probably don’t know her, she’s mostly with the Silvers,” and Loske spent most of her time away from the Coruscant temple anyways, “It kind of… I don’t even know. She had this weird thing where she still thought we were friends, even though we were kissing, and going out, and whatever? It was a bit weird. But she’s really sweet. Brought me these amazing homemade sweets when I got knighted.”

The memory made her smile -- just as thinking of it made her wonder if there was something she should’ve done to solidify that relationship. Had Charlie been her rebound? Auteme hoped that wasn’t it.

“Then there’s Lucien… um, I think you know him? Dooku. Prince of Serenno,” she said, wondering if that title really fit him. Loske nodded; she knew him.

Even at Natasi Fortan’s coronation he’d seemed laid back -- almost goofy at times. But he was genuine and honest and Auteme liked him. “I had a bit of an… adventure, in New Imperial space. He’s the Warlord of Nirauan, and… well, his place was nice. Really nice. And on Dosuun, at the First Order’s ball, we went together, and we danced…

“I’d been trying to learn about imperialism, really see what it was like, but I got a bit distracted, I guess. Yinchorr, though, I just- I needed to get back.”

To show she was listening, Loske pointed with her spoon again “I get the Imperialism education route. I tried that too.” Didn’t work out so great, honestly. But she obediently fell quiet again to give her friend space to divulge.

Auteme looked at her spoon again, then took a bigger scoop of the lemon and inhaled it. The sour taste made her wince. The sweetness stayed longer. “Then there’s Ryv…”

She blinked and shook her head. “I mean, I don’t think- I don’t know. For a while, it was difficult, you know? Just being around him, sometimes. And then he comes back from his -- whatever it was, and it’s like I was reminded of how much I care about him. But… I just don’t think I can get into that without feeling like I need to help him all the time. Being so close to him, back then, just… I realized that his struggles were affecting me, too.”

She sighed. He hadn’t been the only offender -- Loske knew how deep a hole Auteme had dug herself then. Still, now that she was out, maybe things could be better. She didn’t know.

“Ugh. I don’t know what I’m doing.” Still, she was glad she was able to talk to someone about this sort of thing for once. “Have any advice?”

“No.” Loske answered quickly, and set her spoon down, folding her hands beneath her chin.

“Relationship advice is a dangerous realm I don’t dare get into. It’s worse than politics, and you’re good enough at that. I’m sure you’ll sort through this just fine,” she said, as if the compliment would mitigate her inability to help.

“It’s completely between you and your heart. Your mind’s going to try to talk you out of it, maybe, I don’t know, but in the end, you’ve got to think of yourself at that sixty year mark. Who’s going to be beside you through everything, support all the goods and bads and make you feel more than you are? Keep you happy?

"You sound like you have options, and you do, Auteme, but when you know, I mean you really know, no other options exist. It’s just complete and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

“It’s not- oh my gosh, is it like politics?” She paused to think for a moment, then cleared her throat and summoned her very best Chancellor voice. “In our time of need, we have been betrayed by one of our closest allies-”

Loske’s hands dropped from her chin to fold neatly in front of her, rolling her shoulders back, she ah-hem’d to match the depth of Auteme’s mockery. “The mind. Brothers and sisters of the Auteme Alliance, we call on you, to ignore the butterflies, the clammy palms, and in our hour of need.” Her hands pressed together, as if in prayer. “We beseech you to think not as separate entities, but as one. As a conglomerative for the greater good, and thus, your vote toward the... sanctions?”

She made a quizzical expression, waiting for Auteme to approve the word or not. She shrugged, a little grin on her face, and let Loske continue.

“Of the heart.” Her wrist rolled, as if that was enough to continue the conversation without words. “And then something something makeout something something bills passed something something. I don’t know. Some sort of blend between politics and polydicks.

"You’re going to have to tell me how this all works out later, but in the meantime, as they used to say, ‘We shall watch your career with great interest...’”

“Please don’t quote Palpatine,” she said, laughing. “But thanks. I... hope it does work out.”

She took another scoop of her ice cream, but paused as it was halfway to her mouth. “Actually, there’s this one other guy-”