A Shire Romance – Part Eleven

Missed the start? All installments can be found here.

Or go back to part ten.

This was first posted on Silk Screen Views.

PART ELEVEN – A CHAT WITH FARAMIR

“What party were you talking about?” Tamsyn asked as they strolled back to Great Smials, holding hands.

“It’s old Alderick Bolger’s one hundredth birthday this Highday,” Perry replied. “He’s throwing a big party to celebrate, you’ll enjoy it.”

If I’m still here, Tamsyn thought, but she didn’t voice it. Instead she said, “You’ll have to teach me the days of the week, before I get caught out by someone.”

“Sterday, Sunday, Monday, Trewsday, Hevensday, Mersday, Highday,” Perry rattled off.

“Not so fast! Again, more slowly please.”

Perry patiently repeated the list several times until Tamsyn thought she could remember it without difficulty, then she asked, “So what day is it today?”

“Hevensday.”

“Okay, so the party is… the day after tomorrow, right?”

Perry nodded, and Tamsyn spent the rest of the trip home repeating the list of days under her breath.

When they got to Great Smials, Perry halted her just outside the circle of light spilling from the kitchen window, and lifted her chin with a finger. “One more kiss, before I can’t touch you again,” he murmured, and Tamsyn gladly moved into his arms.

They kept a modest foot of distance between them when they finally walked inside, and Esme looked up and smiled at them. “Hello my dears, did you enjoy yourself today? What did you do?”

Tamsyn gave a general reply of assent to the first question, and Perry a non-committal response to the second. Then Tamsyn asked, “Anything I can help you with today, Esme? Sorry we weren’t back sooner.”

“Oh, that’s no problem, dear,” Esme said, waving her spoon in a magnanimous gesture. “Dinner won’t be long now, so just go and enjoy yourself a little longer. Why don’t you go sit outside? It’s still quite warm at the moment, and there’s a lovely sunset tonight.”

“There’s a bench a little over to the right,” Perry said. “Go ahead, Tam, I just realised there’s something I forgot to do.”

She nodded and left the house, wrapping her shawl close. For all that it was warm, the darkening day was starting to chill, and she was no longer running to keep warm, nor was she sharing her body warmth with Perry. The sunset was indeed lovely, blazing across the sky in pink, gold and red, and she sat down on the bench to watch it, drawing up her legs and hugging her knees.

For a while she was lost in thought, and she startled when someone ambled past her. At first she thought it was Perry, but when he stopped next to her she realised it was his father.

“Good evening, my dear,” he said. “Mind if I join you?”

“Not at all, sir,” Tamsyn replied, scooting over to give him more room.

He waved a hand at her dismissively. “None of that ‘sir’ malarkey please. My name is Faramir.” He sat down and produced his long-stemmed pipe, which he lit before he spoke again. “So, I understand that you arrived here with old Radagast?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Has he woken up yet?”

“He hadn’t this morning. I’m… I’m beginning to get a little worried,” Tamsyn admitted, biting her lip.

Faramir gave another dismissive wave with his pipe. “Don’t you worry, my dear, I’m sure he’ll be fine. He’s a wizard; they’re a lot tougher than they look. And in the  meantime we’re blessed with your delightful company. I do hope you’re enjoying yourself with us?”

“I am, Faramir, very much,” she replied. Privately she was still astonished at just how much she felt at home here. The smoke of Faramir’s pipe drifted past, and that too contributed to the sense of homeliness, even though back in England she had always detested smokers. But then, hobbit pipeweed smelled nothing like cigarette smoke, and she was growing to love the scent of it.

“So, you have spent today in the company of my son?” Faramir interrupted her musings.

“I have.”

“Tell me, Tamsyn, what do you think of him?”

She didn’t reply immediately, trying to take stock of her feelings. She was by now pretty sure that she was in love with Perry, but she didn’t feel that it was something she could admit to his father, certainly not when she was afraid to admit it to Perry. Yet when she tried to think of other ways to describe him, she found it very hard not to use words of love or attraction.

In the quiet, Faramir chuckled ruefully. “Ah, it’s like that, is it?”

“No, not at all,” she hastened to say. “I’m just having difficulty in finding the right words to describe him.”

He chuckled again. “Use as many as you feel necessary, my dear.”

“Okay… Intriguing. Strong. Funny. Clever. Capable, pleasant, unusual,” she listed, waiting a second before adding, “he is… unique.”

“Handsome?”

“Certainly,” she replied without even a moment’s hesitation. “He takes after you.”

“Ah, you flatter an old man.”

She smiled at him and shook her head. “Not at all, Faramir. He has your features, your nose. His mother’s eyes, though.”

“My, you’ve been studying him, haven’t you?” Tamsyn blushed, but his voice had been warm and approving, and after a few moments he added, “Ahh, but it’s good to see that there is at least one girl who my son is unable to scare off.”

“I’m not so easily scared,” she assured him with a smile.

“Good, good. Well, it’s been a pleasure talking to you, Tamsyn.” Without further warning he stood up and disappeared, leaving her no time to say anything else, but with a feeling that she had somehow just passed a test.

Barely two seconds later another shape materialised out of the dusk, and this time it was Perry. She wondered whether Faramir had heard him coming, and had deliberately left so they could be alone.

Perry plunged down into the space his father had vacated, though he sat much closer to her, and Tamsyn leaned against him.

“Did I hear you talk to my father there?” he asked, trying – and failing – to sound casual.

“You did.”

“What did you talk about?”

“He wanted to know what I think of you.”

“Oh.” He was quiet for a second, and Tamsyn fought the urge to chuckle. “And?”

“I told him.”

“Told him what?”

“What I think of you.”

He sighed, and Tamsyn could no longer hold in her laughter. She could almost feel his reproachful look in the dark, but then he too started to snigger. “Are you always this insufferable?”

“Only to those who are fishing for compliments.”

“Ah-hah! So you’ve complimented me then?”

“I didn’t say that, I said you were fishing for them.” Then she relented. “Perry, I’ve not told him anything bad, if that’s what you’re worried about. I wouldn’t get you into trouble with your parents.” She sniggered and added, “Let’s face it, you hardly need my help with that anyway.”

“Oi,” he said, tugging at one of her braids. She could see that he was about to wrap his arm around her, but then the kitchen door opened and he hastily pulled it back.

“Dinner’s ready,” Donna said, and they went back inside.

 *   *   *   *   *

 After dinner Perry and Tamsyn went to check on Radagast again, and this time, finally, the old wizard opened his eyes when they entered his room.

“Ah, I was hoping I might see you before I fall asleep again,” he said, his voice even reedier than the first time Tamsyn had heard it.

“How are you feeling?” Perry asked.

“Tired… So, so tired,” he replied, closing his eyes.

Tamsyn picked up the bowl of cold porridge that they had left for him. “Here, you should eat something. Do you want me to warm it for you?”

Radagast shook his head. “Strange though it may sound, I am still too tired to eat. Some water would help, though.”

She held the glass while he drank, with Perry propping him up, and this time too she got the feeling that he was stronger for having drunk some. “Can you explain what’s going on yet?” she asked.

“Not tonight, Tamsyn… Come and see me tomorrow morning. You too, Peregrin, for I see you are bound to her already.”

Perry and Tamsyn looked at each other in confusion, but Radagast closed his eyes again, and before Perry had even lowered him back down he was already asleep.

“What did he mean?” Tamsyn asked. “And how did he know it’s nighttime?”

Perry gave an eloquent shrug. “He’s a wizard.”

“Well, hopefully we’ll find out more tomorrow,” Tamsyn said, then yawned. “I think I’m about ready for bed.” She turned to Perry and took his face in her hands, kissing him lightly on the mouth. “I had a wonderful day today, Perry. Thank you.”

“So did I, Tam. The best day of my life so far,” he replied, and his green eyes were so full of feeling that she could have drowned in them.

She walked to her bedroom, her heart as light as a feather, and found that someone had lit her bedside candle already. By its light she saw that the rose that Perry had given her the day before now rested in a small clay vase. She smiled to herself and turned to her bed, and her breath caught, for on her pillow was another red rose, from the same fragrant bush as the first one. She picked it up and sniffed it deeply, then placed it in the vase with the first one.

She fell asleep with a smile on her face and Perry in her dreams.

What will happen on Tamsyn’s third day in the Shire? Find out in part twelve!

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