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in which Sam gets his answer
Preparing at home and maintaining Bag End left me no time for the Cotton Farm. Marigold would take a visit that way every other week, but around mid-August, we were so busy it had been three weeks since we'd been to the Farm.
Rosie was on my mind, plenty, while I did my duties. I missed seeing my Rosie-lass. I had stuck it out all summer observing her and seeing if Tom's theory was true. It was hard treating Rosie the same as I always did now that I saw her differently, but I succeeded for the most part. I had a hard time keeping my cheeks from blushing every time she looked me straight in the face and brought that sunny smile to her lips. My cheeks have a mind of their own trying to give me away like they do!
The big test came during those three weeks from the Farm - I would get my proof. I was far round the side of Bag End tugging those awful sticky seed-weeds when I heard footfalls coming around the Hill. I thought it being Mr. Frodo, I just stayed on my knees tugging. I nearly jumped from my skin when a lighthearted voice rang out.
"Hullo Rosie!" I said turning to her. "You nearly gave me a fright all the way to Scary!"
"Oh dear, I'm awfully sorry!" She was so sincere; I broke into a smile and stood myself up. It gladdened my heart to see her. "Are you busy right now? I hope I'm not intruding on your work."
I shook my head. "Not at all!" A basket hung from Rosie's arm, and I wondered what in the Shire she was bring me now. Not that I didn't mind her bringing me things! I was finding her to be a very persistent lass. "What are you doing out this way?"
"Tom and I volunteered to go into town to pick up supplies, and to check on your family. Bless me, we haven't seen hide or hair of you and Marigold in nearly a month!"
"We've been busy with stocking up for winter. You know how our Gaffer is." Rosie nodded in understanding. "Where's Tom?"
She paused for a moment like she'd gotten caught up in her thoughts then answered, "Oh! When we stopped by your home, Marigold answered the door and told us you were up here. We had guessed that further anyway. Mari insisted she go to town with Tom in the cart." I laughed inward, knowing all too well that my little sister harbored a crush on Tom Cotton. "They dropped me off and here I am. Would you like a little company?"
"Of course! I'd love your company." I clipped my tongue, sounding too eager. She smiled, and I looked down to hide my on-coming blush.
I started tugging weeds again. Rosie knelt beside me, tucking her skirts under her knees. She started pulling the weeds with me. I hadn't asked her to, but that's just how Rosie is. "You don't have to help."
"But I want to help you."
We covered the entire Hill of Bag End. Just as I was finishing up, Rosie got caught on one big weed that refused to budge. I tried, but it wouldn't come up for me, neither. Rosie suggested we both pull. I stood her in front of me, just in case we took a tumble. I didn't want to fall on top of the poor lass and crush her.
"One, two, three" I counted. On three, we pulled as hard as we could. The weed decided it wanted to break then, and we went tumbling like I suspected we might. I fell first on my bottom. Rosie collided into me.
"Dratted weed" I muttered. I didn't hear a peep from Rosie, and I was about to get worried that she hurt herself. A giggle squeaked out of her just as I put a hand on her shoulder. "You all right, Rose?"
She turned her head, giggling. "What a fighter it was!"
"Yes, it was" I chuckled.
We were so caught up in our folly we hadn't heard the footfalls coming up behind us. I nearly jump out of my skin for the second time that day hearing Mr. Frodo's voice.
"I can't see what's so humorous over a weed" he quirked, and I bowed my head, embarrassed.
"I'm sorry, sir. Rosie's laugh is contagious." I sneaked a glance at Rosie as I helped her up. She seemed amused.
Mr. Frodo was a wonderful master, even way back when. Ever since dear Mr. Bilbo had left, all my spare time I had was spent with him at Bag End. I didn't want him to be lonely, and it was a joy to me to be with Mr. Frodo.
I looked at him thinking he'd find my silliness unkempt, but he was on the verge of joining in our folly. "Mr. Frodo, you remember Rose Cotton."
He nodded, taking Rosie's hand and bowing slightly. "Of course, I do, Sam. How are you Miss Rose?"
"Doing well, Mr. Frodo. Thank you" Rosie said, politely.
"I see you two have worked hard getting rid of those pesky weeds. It's almost passed eleveneses. Come in with me. I already set out cheese and bread and boiled the tea."
"You didn't have to do that, Mr. Frodo."
I had stopped a long time ago from arguing with him. He insisted every time that I should take meals with him, putting the guilt on me about him needing company. I was glad he insisted, because I would never come right out and say I'd like to take a meal with him.
It was such a beautiful day; we took our meal outside at the back garden table. I had forgotten about Rosie's basket, and she surprised us by pulling out several apple crisps.
By the end of our meal, Tom and my sister were back from the market. Rosie threw her arms around my neck, which I hadn't expected. It took me several moments to return the embrace. She left the uneaten apple crisps with Mr. Frodo for our dinner. I tried to put on a smile as we bid the Cottons farewell, but I could feel a frown on my face.
I was frowning for the rest of the day, and was glad to be alone during that time. But, Mr. Frodo noticed that night at supper. I was sitting across from him dunking my bread in my stew when he said, "Sam, you were so upbeat during luncheon, but now you're a bit gloomy."
I looked up a bit startled, and my mind fumbled for what to say. "I'm sorry, Mr. Frodo."
He smiled warmly. "You don't need to be sorry. I am just wondering why the big change?"
"Well." I wasn't sure what to say. No one knew about my feelings for Rosie, and only Tom knew about how she felt for me. If there was anyone I could trust, it was Mr. Frodo. "Y'see, I found something I didn't know exist, and I had to wait a while to see it if it were true blue or not. Turns out, it is, but now I'm not sure how to confront it." I was hoping that made sense.
"Why, Sam, are you indirectly talking about Miss Rose?" I stared at him. My mouth must have been hanging open in surprise. Mr. Frodo laughed and his eyes shined. I'm glad he had guessed.
"How did you know?" I asked eagerly, and blushed because of it.
"I'm not an expert at it, but I saw the way you two looked at each other while we ate luncheon. There was something different about you when she was around."
"I was hoping it wouldn't be obvious. I guess I'm not good for keeping secrets." I stared down at my bowl of stew, half-eaten.
"But, that's all right with this. I think Miss Rose is a pleasant lass and very pretty. You seem to get along with her well."
"Aye, I've known her almost all my life. I love her dearly." It was the first time I had said that out loud, and it felt so right.
"Court her, then."
"I know I should, but I don't know how. According to Young Tom Cotton, Rosie has already started courting me and I didn't realize it."
Mr. Frodo laughed, good-natured-like. The situation had humor, if you thought about it. I was more worried about how to confront Rosie. "You're best at growing flowers, why not give her some?"
I shrugged, displeased. "I wanted to do something more special then that."
"Mosco Burrows birthday party is next week. Everyone in Hobbiton and Bywater is always invited, why not ask Miss Rose to go."
It seemed like a good idea. I knew how Rosie liked parties; her favorite part of all was to dance. I wasn't much for dancing, but I'd try it for her. She was always swarmed over by lads, maybe if I were with her, they'd leave her alone.
"Yes, I think I will ask her."
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