DISCLAIMER: See Chapter 1.

5.

Shopping

Just before Katy and her guest had left the house, it had begun to rain very heavily. Whilst searching for an umbrella, Katy had come across an old mac that belonged to her brother. When she'd moved into her house, Thomas had helped transfer her things; he must have forgotten to take his mac with him.

Gil-galad was quite a bit taller than Thomas, but luckily the mac did a good job of hiding his clothes. Katy also found two empty holdalls; they would be perfect for stuffing the purchases in, and it would be perfect if Gil-galad was able to swap his elven clothes for modern clothes while they were out.

The first shops they came across were Next and Debenhams.

"Next has a sale on – let's try that first." They walked towards the shop, rain drumming on the umbrella.

"Hi, Katy!" Sasha, one of the assistants, said cheerfully. "Rubbish weather, isn't it?"

"Yeah, it's lousy. Sash, I kind of need your help. In the men's section, do you have clothes for really tall…"

Her voice trailed off as she saw Sasha's mouth slowly fall open. She turned her head to see what her friend was staring at – and sighed in resignation.

It doesn't matter what he wears: he's still going to stand out. But the least we can do is try.

"Uh…yes, it's just up these stairs," Sasha murmured.

On the first floor, she said: "Did you say you were looking for tall?"

"Yes, please – are there any stretchy jeans?"

Luckily, there were. Katy selected two pairs, a few simple T-shirts and some knitwear. "Here," she said, holding them out to Gil-galad. "Do you think these will do?"

"They seem to be of good make. Should I try them on?"

"That would be…No, not here!" she cried in horror as one of Gil-galad's hands came up to unbutton the mac. "In the changing rooms! If they fit, and if you like them, then…" She shrugged, hoping that her face wasn't bright red.

"Where are the changing rooms, please?" Gil-galad politely asked Sasha.

"They're that way, sir." Sasha pointed towards the cubicles with thick, blue curtains. As Gil-galad walked towards them, he smiled at Katy with a mischievous gleam in his eyes.

"He was just teasing me with the coat, wasn't he?" Katy muttered sulkily to her friend.

"Course he was! What's with the holdalls?"

"Hmm? Oh, these. I didn't fancy getting plastic bags." And carrying around elven robes in shop bags might just attract attention. "Sash, if he likes the clothes and they fit, can he wear them home? Would that be OK?"

Thankfully, the clothes met with Gil-galad's approval. The jeans came slightly above his ankles, but Katy bought them anyway.

We're probably not going to find anything better for someone as tall as he is.

"Well, that didn't go too badly," she remarked as they left the shop. "If it's all right, we'll go into Debenhams - I think there might be some other things you'll need."

xxx

"What is the matter?"

"I'm not sure what you mean." Katy kept a tight grip on the basket and the holdalls, deliberately not looking at the Elf.

"You are acting as though there is a warg in the building."

"People are staring at you," Katy muttered, fixing her gaze at the bundles of socks in front of her. She was convinced her face had turned an unattractive shade of puce.

"What of it?" Gil-galad sounded completely unconcerned. "I had to become accustomed to being under the scrutiny of others when I was a child."

"Yes, well, you're supposed to blend in! And if people are staring at you, it's not working."

In frustration, Katy turned towards the counter in order to pay for the items in the basket – but a hand suddenly landed on her shoulder.

"I suggest you take a while to compose yourself, child. You are nervous and agitated – and that is going to attract attention. " He spoke quietly, but there was a definite note of command in his voice. Katy closed her eyes and took deep breaths.

He may want me to treat him like any other guest, but he's still royalty.

"I'm sorry," she said after a few moments. "Shall we get these things and leave?"

"That would be wise."

Katy paid for the items (which included a pair of blue pyjamas and some thick socks) as quickly as she could.

It was still raining when they left the shop – fortunately, the downpour was not as heavy as it had been. Gil-galad insisted on taking the umbrella and the heavier of the two bags. When they reached the crossing, Katy was disgruntled to find a large puddle covering half of the road.

"Should we go the longer way?" she asked. Just then, a car sped past; both Katy and Gil-galad jumped backwards quickly in order to avoid the splash of water.

"Alternatively, I could carry you across." Gil-galad hoisted the holdall onto his shoulder and took the other bag from Katy. "Could you hold this, please?" He handed her the umbrella.

"How are you going to…hey!" She found herself suddenly looking at the water whilst hanging upside down over Gil-galad's other shoulder. Before she knew it, they were on the other side of the road. He lowered her gently onto the ground.

"There," he said, smiling down at Katy's astonished face. "Shall we continue?"

To be continued. Hope you like it so far!