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With a Kiss
Estella Bolger didn’t resist when Merry pushed her up against the trunk of the tree. He placed one hand on either side of her head and then he looked down at her. She met his dark grey stare for a minute and then she closed her eyes and tilted her chin up toward him keeping her arms at her sides. She was standing there just waiting. Every inch of her body was tense with anticipation. She felt Merry gently lean forward and place his lips against hers. Then, just like that, he kissed her. He kissed her tenderly and softly but with a firm pressure that sent her heart to beating fiercely in her ears. He didn’t put his arms around her and she didn’t move the entire time save to kiss him back. She hadn’t been certain that she could move. Not now. Not while he was so very near.
Just as he was pulling away from the kiss he ran one hand through her silky, brown curls and then he was gone. Estella stood there not daring to move or open her eyes. She wanted to hold onto the moment for as long as she could. Merry Brandybuck had finally kissed her! He had finally looked at her and seen something more than Fredegar Bolger’s baby sister. She was twenty-five now and he was starting to notice her in the way that she had wanted him to notice her. Even more, he had been the one to make the first move. He had pushed her against the tree. He had leaned over her and kissed her. It was a fact that she had not resisted in any way, that she had offered her lips to him and that she had kissed him back, but still, it had been his doing. It had been his idea. He had wanted to kiss her.
She had been pleased enough when his eyes had lingered on her early in the afternoon as she had cut him a slice of pie at the picnic. She had been slightly giddy when his hand had brushed against hers as he took the plate from her. She’d felt a small tingling sensation pass through her when she’d found herself alone with him here at the far end of the garden but she had never expected him to actually kiss her. Her knees were weak and she ran her tongue over her lips as if trying to hold onto the taste of him for just a minute more. Merry Brandybuck had kissed her! Now, would he kiss her again?
She looked at him and smiled. He was so shy and so proper. How was she supposed to get a lad with so many rules to relax and pay her some attention? Oh, he looked at her when he thought she didn’t notice. She knew that he was interested all right. As her old Gran had often said, “It’s in the eyes, Rosie lass. You can see all in the eyes.” Those light green eyes of Sam Gamgee’s certainly looked at her with enough emotion. It was the rest of him that she was having trouble with! She continued to smile at him and he blushed and looked away.
She sighed, suppressed a giggle, and made her hands busy with straightening the folds of her skirt. Music played all around her and couples danced. The stars were out and the night was warm. It was the perfect night to find yourself in the strong arms of someone that you might, just might be starting to fall in love with. Why couldn’t Sam be bold just this once? Why couldn’t he walk over and take her hand and lead her out among the dancing couples? Why couldn’t he put an arm about her waist and hold her close?
He was standing over by the tables talking to Mr. Frodo now. Sam’s back was to her. She let her eyes trace the strong lines of his shoulders. She loved those shoulders. As Sam continued to talk to Mr. Baggins, Rose allowed her eyes to gaze a bit lower. She was shocked at how brazen she was behaving. What would she do if someone caught her admiring Sam Gamgee in this way? She’d no sooner had the thought than she noticed Mr. Frodo’s bright, blue eyes twinkling in her direction. He was looking at her over one of Sam’s broad shoulders. He knew. Mr. Frodo knew. She felt her face color but she didn’t lower her gaze. There was no shame in letting folks know what you wanted was there? Besides, Mr. Frodo already knew what she wanted. She could see it in his eyes. He knew exactly what Rose Cotton wanted. Why didn’t Sam know?
As Rose stood there, nervous fingers toying with her skirt, Mr. Frodo Baggins did a wonderful thing. He winked at her and then quick as you please, he turned her Sam around and gave him a push in her direction. Rose quickly caught the tempo of the music that was playing and danced forward catching Sam’s calloused hands in her own and moving him out into the crowd of dancing couples. She laughed softly and pulled him closer and he let her, lowering his eyes a bit in that embarrassed, shy way of his.
“Dance with me, Sam,” Rose heard herself say as she quickly kissed him on his cheek.
“I’d like that,” he replied and then he carefully, as if he thought she might break, placed an arm about her waist and moved her in time with the music. As they turned and spun with the others, Rose managed to catch sight of Mr. Frodo, ale in hand, standing by the tables. ‘Thank you,’ she mouthed silently. He just grinned and waved but Rose knew that she had a conspirator in her plan to romance Sam. Mr. Frodo was in her corner now and that might just be all of the help that she needed.
“You’ve never kissed a lass, have you?” she teased him, looking up into those wide, endless blue eyes of his.
“I have,” he said defiantly.
“Who? How many?” she asked placing a hand on his chest and daring him to answer her. “What were their names?”
He laughed. It was a low chuckle. She shivered as if the laugh had run right through her and into the earth below. “You’re far too young to be asking so many questions,” he said and he reached over and pinched the end of her nose like he might that of a mischievous child.
She stepped back from him, anger rising in her and she glared darkly at him. “I’m twenty-three! I am not a child and you cannot treat me as such for long,” she said. “I’m growing up now, Frodo Baggins.”
She felt his eyes wander over her. “So I can see,” he said with that twinkle in his eyes that melted her heart. “But I am still eight years older than you.” He gave a sly glance at her chest and then said, “Still, I can see a few interesting changes.”
“Then kiss me,” she demanded suddenly feeling brave. “Kiss me and you’ll know I’m no longer a child.” She stepped closer to him and she felt her toes brush against his. Her short, black curls bounced as she leaned her head back and offered him her lips. She placed her hands on his shoulders and rose up on her toes. “Kiss me!”
He looked down into her face and smiled. “Maybe I will,” he said with a slightly wicked grin.
She was nervous but she didn’t move away. She’d never kissed a lad before save a quick peck on the cheek that she’d given to Falco Boffin once when she’d been fifteen and had thought that he might be the one. Now, she was twenty-three and she just knew in her heart way down deep where it counts that Frodo Baggins was the one. He was the only one. “Kiss me,” she heard herself say softly.
“You promise that you won’t run away?” he teased.
She blushed. He’d tried to kiss her once when she’d been twenty and she had run away that time. Not because she hadn’t wanted the kiss, but because she’d thought that she might die from the pleasure of it. “I’m not running this time,” she said.
He gave her one last smile, closed his eyes, and then she felt his lips on hers. She did melt a little. She melted with the pleasure of it.
“And now you are one, each a part of the other,” she heard a voice say. “May you both live out your days together in joy.”
Her eyes were locked only on his. She stood holding his hands tightly in hers as if he might pull away and be gone if she let go for even a second. She entwined her fingers into his long, slim ones and looked into those, amazing green eyes of his. There he stood before her, tall, straight and proud. He looked down at her as if she were a treasure unearthed and presented only to him. He always looked at her as if she were special above all others. She felt special when he looked at her.
“May your children be many and may your home be filled with love,” the distant voice continued.
She let her eyes follow the sharp angle of his nose and the tiny cleft in his chin. She was making a memory for later. She was memorizing how Peregrin Took looked right at this very instant. She wanted to keep him in her heart and hold him there just as he looked now. Those sweet bow-shaped lips, that long, untamed tangle of auburn curls, and those wonderful eyes, so deep and so green that she thought she might drown within them.
“May you comfort one another and turn only to each other in times of need,” the voice said. “Diamond, do you give your heart to this lad who stands before you and asks?”
“I give my heart,” Diamond heard herself saying though her eyes never left Pippin’s face.
“Peregrin, do you give your heart to this lass who stands before you and asks?” the voice inquired.
“I give my heart,” he said in that delightful lilt that was all his own.
She felt a small giggle escape her lips and he grinned at her.
“Do you both now vow before this company of witnesses that you will stand together as husband and wife and that you will remain faithful to one another in the bond of love that brings you together now?” the voice asked.
“I do,” Diamond said her voice joining with Pippin’s. She liked the way their voices mingled when they spoke the words together. She felt him squeeze her hands in his.
“Then it is my honor and my privilege to present to all of those assembled here today, Mr. And Mrs. Peregrin Took!” the voice said.
There were shouts and cheers and tiny pieces of colored parchment rained down upon her but Diamond could see and hear only Pippin now. He smiled at her and said, “No, it is my honor to take you as my wife.” She was, no doubt the only one close enough to hear this in the midst of all of the cheering and that was as it should be for he must have meant the words for her alone. Then instead of turning to greet their friends as a newly joined couple usually does at this instant, she wrapped her arms about him and pulled his face down toward her. As his lips met hers, she offered a silent thank you. ‘Thank you for sending me my heart.’
G.W. 02/14/2007 Happy Valentine's Day!
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