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48. Preparing for a Party
“I knew they would be friends! Look how cute Elboron is, lending his little wood horse to Muzadi. Nugu!” Sidra elbowed her husband, whose eyes again had drifted to the brown-haired boy’s mother. “Would you quit that!” she hissed.
“Um what?” The uruk’s face turned a darker shade of gray.
“They are all doing it,” murmured Wynne, observing the company on the patio, where chairs had been set out for the guests to enjoy the midday sun. Nodir and Bronedir were seated on either side of the Shieldmaiden, engaging her in conversation, and a bit further away even Thranduil threw glances in her direction.
Well not all , actually. Galion was more interested in playing with the children, and Legolas did his stomach-strengthening exercises on the lawn. He looked unusually contented today, and if he gazed at anyone, Wynne smugly noticed it was mostly her .
Gimli came out to join them, his girlfriend in tow.
“Ach, lovely morning!”
“Try noon,” remarked Thranduil dryly.
Éowyn abandoned the elven brothers and moved her chair to Wynne’s and Sidra’s.
“Your sons are adorable, Madam,” she said with a smile. Dimples? She even had dimples ! When Eru dealt out graces to his creations he must somehow have slipped and given an extra share to this woman.
The Haradrim beamed at the praise. “Please, call me Sidra. And your boy is lovely as well. Is he going to be a big brother soon?” She indicated Éowyn’s waist, which, now that Sidra pointed it out, actually seemed slightly swollen.
“Yes!” Éowyn laughed happily. “This autumn. You must advice me, how to best break it to Elboron. Your boys seem to get along so well!” The two women commenced to speak about siblings and childbirths then, and Wynne’s attention drifted back to the blond elf who just finished his last sit up. He wiped his face on a towel and came to sit cross legged by her feet, ignoring his father’s frown.
“What a fine day! And tonight a feast too. Will there be dancing?” he asked Éowyn.
“We could have dancing if you like,” the woman dimpled. “My husband has engaged a group of musicians for tonight, I’m sure they can play anything we ask of them.”
“Donnae serve strong drinks to the laddie, mind ye.” snickered Gimli, pulling a chair to sit next to Sidra. “Has Master Elf told ye of our drinking contest?”
“Not much,” said Wynne, smirking. She knew he had not been honest that time!
“Let’s talk about something else,” Legolas suggested, blushing. “My Lady, I must praise you on this park. The honeysuckle is amazing, and those cute linden saplings over there too.”
“Thank you. Faramir and I have actually been meaning to talk to you and your father about trees.”
“Oh? I love talking about trees.” His face lit up, despite Gimli’s rumbling laughter and sly comment about elves and their trees .
“The forests around our estate in Emyn Arnen are a sad sight after all the wars,” explained Éowyn. “We have been meaning to employ some of your wood-elves to restore the entire Ithilien if we can. Faramir can probably give you the details about payment and such, when he’s back from today’s meetings downtown.”
“I am sure my father would freely supply saplings and workers, for such a noble cause.” He seeked out Thranduil’s gaze.
“Of course, My Lady, it would be my pleasure to help.” The king drew his chair nearer. The three of them then got into an engaged conversation about Éowyn’s visions for her country, with the two elves supplying ideas about suitable tree species, and how to provide the human inhabitants with firewood and building materials without disturbing the forests. Wynne listened, not without interest, she loved the idea of a country where humans lived in harmony with nature. Perhaps with horses grazing under the trees?
As evening approached, Wynne became a bit nervous about the impending party. If there would be dancing and everything, should she not at least try to look a little finer than a peasant girl? She decided to accept Sadoreth’s offer of a bath, and then had to stand by, while an army of servants bustled in with buckets and towels.
“Do you need help bathing, M’Lady?” asked the girl, when the tub finally was filled.
“No thank you.” Wynne shuddered. Did fine folk even have servants washing their naked bodies for them? Had they really no sense of privacy at all?
When finally alone, Wynne sank down in the tub. She leaned back with closed eyes, enjoying the warmth.
Was Legolas having a bath as well right now? It was very likely, he probably bathed every day if he could. What would he do if she sneaked into his room, and joined him? She grinned at the thought. Would he be shocked? Or happy?
If they were married, he would certainly be happy. She could picture him stretching out his arms for her, pulling her down in the water to sit on his lap. The feelings from yesterday returned at the thought, everything they had done in his bed had felt so great. Tentatively, Wynne moved her hand to touch her nipple, like he had, but it did not feel the same to do it herself. Her fingers travelled downward instead, to where she had felt him. She imagined her hand and fingers were his body. That actually did feel a little like when she had pressed herself against Legolas, even better, because there were no clothes in the way. Why had she never thought of trying this before? Of course, she normally never bathed alone, back home she would be in the laundry room with Mother or Grandmama nearby. But in bed at night?
Well, she certainly could begin now. Might not be a bad idea to practice a little beforehand, she figured.
When the bathwater had gone quite cold, Wynne got up to dress, feeling unusually relaxed. She chose her other dress this time. It was a rusty red color, with a ridiculously low cut that had her breasts almost fall out. Maybe Legolas would like it though? He certainly seemed to enjoy them.
Her hair was obstinate as usual. She combed through it as well as she could, but without the elvish hair oil, it surrounded her head like a brown, fluffy sheep. If only… She got an idea.
Again on her tiptoes, she walked down the corridor and knocked at the now familiar door, secretly hoping its inhabitant would open wearing very little.
“Wynne! You cannot keep coming here…” Legolas hustled her inside, quickly shutting the door. He did indeed not wear much, only his shift, with the night robe hastily thrown over it. He smelled lovely, his long hair still moist and unbraided.
“I love your dress.” His eyes were glued to her cleavage.
“Can you do my hair?”
“I really should not…” But he was already moving to her side. With a pleased grin, Wynne sat on his bed while he commenced to plait her like he had twice before. It felt like ages ago, however. That time Wynne had still been shy even to look at him. Now she kissed him after he had finished, caressing his bare back under his shirt, while he fondled the visible parts of her cleavage.
Then Legolas broke the kiss and with Wynne as a happy onlooker, he dressed himself in almost black hose and a tunic with embroidered green leaves.
“My name,” he said, indicating a leaf. “Legolas means green leaves in our language.”
Then he sat beside her to plait his own hair, and to her surprise Wynne noticed it was a different pattern than his usual. He made three fishtail braids on each side of his head, just like he had done on her.
“My father will explode when he sees this,” he said, smiling rather nervously.
“Because you made the same braids on you?”
“Aye. It means we are courting.” He hesitated. “Father distinctly forbade me to court you until we come to Minas Tirith, so he can observe how you fare in finer society. His words.” He gave her a featherlight kiss on her cheek. “But I shall not obey. Not this time.” He repeated the action on her other cheek, sending chills down her spine. “I am an adult. He has no power over me.”
“I don’t want to stand between you.”
“You will not. He likes you.”
But Wynne was not so sure, and she felt a twinge of misapprehension. She did believe Thranduil cared for her, he was not one to feign such emotions. But she was also certain he would not hesitate to take any measures to protect his son. If he thought she was bad for Legolas, he would find a way to get rid of her.
“Should we really?” Wynne anxiously fingered her braids, quite forgetting it was she who had asked for them.
Legolas took her hand and kissed her palm.
“Aye. I am tired of the pretense.” He fetched the circlet he had worn yesterday and placed it on his head. “I hate this thing,” he grumbled. Then he held out his arm to Wynne. “Shall we?”
With her stomach full of butterflies, Wynne obeyed, placing a small hand on his arm. They left his room together, walking side by side toward the dining room.
Then a voice full of surprise and displeasure came from behind them.
“Legolas! And… Wynne!”
Uh-oh... Who do you think it is?
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