It was easier than Obi-Wan expected to get an afternoon off; Qui-Gon seemed distracted and quickly ended their communication. Feeling a little guilty, Obi-Wan trailed after Atian as the other padawan led him to a transport.

It was just a short jet to the Senate hotel, where the pages had chartered a ballroom. There was loud music and dancing, and Obi-Wan soon forgot his reserve, passing into the crowd of young people with a glass in his hand, dancing with whoever asked him. Several senators stood around the walls, chaperoning benevolently, smiling down on the mass of youthful beings assembled under their watchful eyes.

Several hours passed quite pleasantly, and Obi-Wan lost track of the glasses of punch he'd drunk. At last Atian came and jogged his elbow. "We're headed back for the temple, Obi. Almost curfew."

Obi-Wan blinked owl-eyed at his friend. "Already? But I'm having fun."

"You can stay if you want and come back on a later transport," Atian offered. "Biloa is going to be at the door. She'll let you sneak in."

Obi goes with Atian

Obi stays at the party