Ahem. It's been another 3 months. I just can't write very fast. I hope the quality is a little better for it. A least this chapter is a little longer than the others. Thank you for all your patience and also for the impatient nudges from some of you.

On with the story. When last we saw our not-yet-lovers they were about to prepare the evidence for their witnesses and Eomer offered to tell a story to help put Lothiriel at ease.

Chapter 5 - Playing to an audience

"What sort of story?" Lothiriel felt the suggestion was slightly condescending though she knew she had not been acting as entirely grown-up as she should tonight.

"One about a certain young man with a similarly embarrassing problem that required many hours of cleaning stables as a bribe to keep it secret."

Nothing could be more embarrassing than soiling the sheets. It had best be good. "Pray, tell me."

Pleased that he detected a glimmer of interest in her eye, Eomer reclined on one elbow beside her and began, "I was rather young and had recently begun to see girls in a new light. One day I was spying on a young maiden bathing and I was caught by the cook. She was twice my size and the terror of every miscreant in Meduseld. She had snuck up behind and before I realized she was there she pushed me up against the fence I was peeking through. Well, I was in such a state already that the sudden pressure against certain regions caused me to stain my trousers." At this, Lothiriel giggled and unsuccessfully tried to regain a serious face. "I would have gladly turned into an insect at that moment if only to get away. Cook only agreed to keep it a secret if I gave her husband a week of rest from cleaning the stables. I enthusiastically shovelled and scrubbed for two weeks to ensure her silence and no one else has ever heard that story."

Lothiriel laughed. "And tonight you are caught spying on your spouse as she does laundry. But don't worry, I also will keep your secret safe. Tell me, how long did it take until you began peeping at unsuspecting maidens again? Three weeks?"

I never did again, said Eomer seriously. "I realized how that girl who was bathing would have felt if she had learned of my presence. Real privacy is difficult in a place like Edoras so it is very bad manners to look on others at such times. You and I will share almost everything as husband and wife but I will never take what you don't wish to share."

Lothiriel's eyes glistened as she looked down at him. "Right now I wish to share a kiss with you." She pulled on his tunic beckoning him to sit up again and then began a kiss that accepted and demanded the new level of trust and intimacy that was growing between them. Her hands reached for the ties on his shirt and loop by loop she pulled them free. She spread her fingers across his chest and pushed the shirt back over his shoulders. With only a brief break in their kiss it was gone. Lothiriel now began to explore Eomer's chest in earnest, being particularly fascinated with the coarse hair. She combed and scritched and tugged until the response she was getting indicated he most enjoyed attention to his nipples. There her hand stayed, absent-mindedly rubbing across the hardening flesh as she looked back up to his face. "Does my husband enjoy that?"

The answer was more a groan than a word, "Yes."

Thus encouraged, she ran her tongue across it then scraped her teeth, testing, teasing. The sound of his quickened breath sucked in through his teeth made her smile with satisfaction that she was pleasing him after all. Maybe he wouldn't be completely disappointed tonight.

Eomer was enjoying himself far too much not to reciprocate. He slowly pulled free her nightshirt ties as she had done to his tunic earlier. He reached inside to caress her breast but it was a little awkward because the shirt yoke was really very short and he made a small rumble of annoyance. She sat up straight and pushed his hands away gently and carefully pulled the back of the nightshirt over her head until the whole thing was a rumple in her lap. Eomer was taken again with sight of her solid but curvy form. Slowly he rested his hand on her knee and leaned in for a kiss. When she caught his hand and placed it on her breast he felt another swell of desire flow though himself.

"Do you know that you have always engendered my affection? It is good that we should come to love each other, for how can we foster love between the great peoples of Rohan and Dol Amroth if we can not create love between two individuals?" He kissed her tenderly then; a light touch that spoke of genuine emotion but did not completely hide his raw desire. "I will do everything possible to make you happy." He trailed his free hand across her hip and back to tease at the sensitive area just at the top of her cleft, the gentle counterpressure to his hand at her breast causing her to arch.

With a happy sigh she said, "I think those poor witnesses must be getting very bored. Let us put them out of their misery."She lightly brushed her hand across his lap from thigh to waistband and, noticing the shiver that ran through his body, said with a smirk, "And you must be in misery from lack of relief all evening." She took a deep breath and began to undo the closures on his trousers with determined focus.

Eomer laid one hand over her busy fingers and lifted her chin with the other. Looking in her eyes, he saw a look so intense that his question died before reaching his lips. Of course she wanted this. She would wait for her own pleasure but she wanted his now. He removed his hand from hers and lay back beside her. She spun a quarter turn so her crossed legs pressed against his side from waist to thigh. In a few seconds she had released him from the confines of his garments.

She wiped her suddenly sweaty hands against her legs before settling the right one on the point of his hip and tentatively skimmed her hand closer to her goal. Eomer's stomach muscles twitched and she heard him catch and hold his breath. Then her hand was on him and as she heard his exhalation she realized she had been holding her own breath and let it out with a rush. She took some time just inspecting the new plaything then looked up at her husband's face and said, "Ahem…. Tell me if I am doing it wrong."

Eomer laughed. "You would have to be very clumsy indeed before you could harm anything. Let me show you." He laid his hand over hers and guided her a few moments then left her alone to figure things out. Which she did very quickly and he soon found himself clutching the sheets as she brought him to the edge of his control. "Lothir... Lo…" The sight of her leaning over him - brow furrowed in concentration, sinew flickering in her muscles, breasts swaying slightly in counter-rhythm to her movements - was intoxicating and as he imagined her not beside him but atop him he surrendered to the tide of sensation and loudly let his release surge over him.

"I thought you said you could be quiet," accused Lothiriel's laughing voice. "Our witnesses couldn't possibly sleep through that." Then she kissed him sweetly.

As Eomer gathered his splintered vision back into focus, he saw his wife's triumphant look and he was happy to see it. He wished to take her in his arms and tell her of the joy she brought him and his desire to share it with her but, in the time of a glance, her face had changed from triumph to consternation.

Lothiriel stared at the sticky material on her hand with dismay. "I didn't expect it to be so messy. This is...is…" She looked up apologetically at her husband as she realized the naive insult she was making and was ashamed to see he was blushing furiously. She hid her face behind her other hand and felt her cheeks flush scarlet. Get on with it. "You go clean up and I'll take care of this business."

Eomer caressed her cheek as he sat up then kissed her softly on her temple. As he walked to the privy, Lothiriel wistfully watched him tug up the open trousers that threatened to slip off his hips. Just a few days is all. How hard can that be? After all, the betrothal had been some years already. Quickly she shrugged the nightshirt back over her head, got up, and wiped her hand on the sheets hoping it looked convincing. She realized belatedly that Eomer probably would know better what the witnesses expected to see. After all, he must have bedded a maid or two. Hadn't he?

Eomer emerged to find his wife's eyes boring into him and he was taken aback by the intensity of it. She put a hand on his chest and pushed him back against the wall and kissed him hard. When she finally relinquished his lips, she said, "You are mine now. Call your witnesses in to see." And he watched her disappear once again.

He strode over to the great wooden door where the night's other couple waited and pulled it open. The woman was old enough to be Eomer's mother and her face bore that unflappable look of one who has served long and seen everything. Her partner was little more than a callow youth who had not yet learned to keep a smirk off his face.

"We would like fresh sheets for the bed, then your duty is complete." Eomer left the rest unsaid. The slight crinkling of the woman's eyes was the only reaction on her face before she stooped for her linen basket and bustled into the room. Within minutes the bed was freshly made even without the help of the youth who did little more than stare.

Just as the woman was smoothing down the last blanket, Lothiriel came back into the bedchamber and stood beside her husband, taking his hand and holding her breath. The woman looked them both long in the eye, narrowing her own slightly, then hefted her basket with a satisfied grunt and exited the room, gawking youth in tow.

TBC (maybe, someday)