There- And Back Again?

By Thalia Weaver

Chapter 12: And That's That

The day dawned bright and clear, slanting rays of sunlight shining from the window directly into my eyes. I groaned. waking up early was neither fun for me nor particularly enjoyable for anyone else that I came across before noon, but it was a necessary evil in a Rohirric household. Swinging my legs over the side of the bed, I dressed quickly, selecting the first dress I touched in the closet.

As I leaned over to shut the closet door, my gaze fell on the worn, patched shirt and skirt that I had worn to school that fateful day, so very long ago, it seemed. I paused for a moment, thoughts tumbling through my head.

Deowyn needed help preparing the breakfast. Abruptly, I shut the closet door, banishing my thoughts until such time as I could dwell on them. I began walking swiftly down the hall to the kitchen.

Five paces from the kitchen, I stopped short. Two voices- a man's and a woman's- reached my ears. One I recognized as Deowyn's, tinkling with laughter. The other's was-

Anneth's? I felt my lips twitching. So bewitched by Deo he'd abandoned the fair and sought her out for himself, eh? I looked around for the chink in the wall I knew was somewhere- any lovers' meetings taking place within these walls required immediate eavesdropping by me, lest I miss something important. Putting my eye to the peephole, I watched in fascination as Deo poured Anneth tea and they flirted away, happy in the obviousness of their mutual infatuation.

Deowyn looked- radiant. I'd never seen her looking so happy; she was a very beautiful woman, but even more so when smiling. Anneth laughed and told stories and generally endeared himself. I found myself liking him a lot, not least for his obvious effect on Deo.

They kissed eventually. I grinned, most of my doubts about Anneth evaporating: it looked as though a genuine Decent Guy had fallen- hard- for Deo. It was wonderful, and amazing, and made me feel all warm and fuzzy, like moist fungus.

I thought back to a certain conversation that had taken place just a few short weeks ago.

Maybe I really am a good luck charm, I thought, and smiled.

* * *

On the firth day since the fair, Anneth proposed. I wasn't lucky enough to have been eavesdropping at the time; they had gone for a long walk, and returned flushed with joy and pride, and grinning like idiots.

Anneth had already met and been approved of by Deowyn's brood, and when he met Denherin's slightly unnerving gaze without flinching, my last doubts were dispelled.

Denherin had stared solemnly up at his new acquaintance, removed a chubby thumb from his mouth, and silently shaken Anneth's hand.

Freawen had blushed and simpered and generally exhibited her blondeness; Alfwine had squinted at him, sized him up, and nodded in silent approval; and Freawine had initiated a whispered interrogation.

For my part, I simply smiled, and drew Deowyn aside.

"Are you sure this is right?" I asked, taking her hands in mine.

"More sure than I've ever been of anything," she replied, meeting my gaze.

And that was that.