Yes, another one...Enjoy!

Cara woke up with the bitter taste of hangover in her mouth. Her heart was beating like a drum in her chest and all she wanted was to disappear from the face of the earth. Still outside the sun was shining and the birds were singing without mercy. A short time she tried to pretend that it was still night and she pulled the duvet over her head but it didn't work very well.

"Oh god, what have I done?" She moaned and kicked the duvet off her body. The situation with Thranduil last night was replayed time and time again on her way down to the kitchen. She had been such a fool. A complete idiot. She had thrown herself at him. That was in it self pathetic enough, but then she had acted like a stupid immature kid and ran away when he had clearly wanted to explain something important. She had never been very good at handling rejection but maybe Thranduil had a reason? He had told her that he was a widower, but he had never told her definitely that he had no one special at home waiting for him. Or maybe he just didn't find her appealing enough? Somehow she doubted that. The way he had touched her last night told a different story.

Cara gulped orange juice straight from the container sitting on the kitchen counter. She could still almost feel his lips on her nipples and his tongue against the fragile skin of her neck. It made her shiver. She wanted to forget because she could not bear the thought that she had destroyed everything between them. If she could not have him as her lover she would at least want to have him as a friend, but she feared he was gone now for good.

There was something inside Cara, an instinct perhaps that told her that Thranduil had left the island, but still she wanted to make sure that he was not around. She swallowed a painkiller and stepped into her ballerinas. She was wearing nothing but her panties and a long tank top, but she figured no one would be on the island to see her anyway. She walked around calling his name, until her throat was sore and her hands were shaking from exhaustion and the hangover. There was no use. If he was still here, a fact she doubted, he didn't want to answer her.

Cara sighed. She had ended up by the old oak tree, a place she and her sister had loved very much. The swing, or actually a blue rope with a piece of wood tied to it was still there, and Cara had even tried to swing on it a few times since she had returned to the island. Now she just sank down with her back against the giant tree and closed her eyes. The oak had always been special to her, and when she was younger she had even claimed that sometimes the tree talked to her. She was pretty sure it was just the fantasies of a little girl, just like those imaginary friends she had heard others talk about, but somehow being close to the tree always made her feel a bit more relaxed.

She had asked Thranduil a few times where on the island he had slept before moving into her house after the incident with the key, but she had never gotten any real answer besides the extremely vague "outside". Eventually she had stopped asking, respecting his privacy. Maybe he had a reason not to tell her. Now she regretted not taking the matter further. She had found now sign of a campsite anywhere on the island so far. She sighed.

"This is just great." She said to herself. She was surprised she had not cried yet, but truth to be told she was exhausted, and he mind felt more like a blank void than anything else.

Cara leaned her back against the warm tree trunk. A day like today she almost wished her childhood fantasy would come true and she could speak to the tree, but such things were foolish to hope for. She slowly got up on her feet and got ready to return to the house. She might as well try to get some sleep and forget all of this for a while.

"You know, it was not only your imagination playing tricks on you.." She suddenly heard a deep raspy voice from the tree trunk, or was it possibly inside her head?

Cara started sweating, panic gripping her. She was loosing it! Her mother heard voices and she was in a mental institution. Was this how it all started? Cara wanted to run, but she was paralyzed.

"Relax child. You are not imagining anything. I am really talking to you." The voice was more soothing now, with a hint of sadness to it.

"This can not be happening! This is not real!" Cara shouted.

"Please. Relax. Hold out both your hands and I'll drop one of my acorns in each of them.

For some reason Cara did as the voice told her, feeling foolish stretching out her hands but not expecting anything to happen. Strangely she could hear two pops, and a rustle of leaves, and suddenly she stood there with two acorn in her hands. Both had had dropped down exactly in the middle of her palms. She just shook her head.

"You see. Reach inside you heart Cara. Deep inside I know you know that this is real. It is so sad to see how this world and the way of life here has turned you so far from the magic of nature. You know, once there was a time when all living beings could communicate with each other to a certain extent. In Thrandui's world things are very much like that still.."

"You know Thranduil?" Cara sounded surprised.

"Yes I do. I quite like to talk to him even if he can be a bit arrogant sometimes." The tree chuckled.

Cara shook her head in disbelief, but at the same time a hint of a smile was spreading on her lips.

"Do you perhaps know where he has gone?" She asked. It she was indeed talking to a tree, she might as well ask. If elves existed, then why could not talking trees exist as well? And, if she was going truly going insane would she really be aware of it? That was what people said at least, that if you were really mentally ill you would think that there was nothing wrong with you. Cara did not know if that was fact or fiction, and she was to young to remember how mother had acted before she had been hospitalized.

"Thranduil left last night and crossed over to his own world. He is no longer here on this island." The tree answered.

Cara nodded.

"Would it be possible for me to cross over? I upset him, and I'd like to talk to him."

"No I do not think so. I am not allowed to answer this kind of questions." The tree answered.

"Not allowed? By whom?"

"The Valar. They have authority over the gateway between this world and Thranduil's"

"Who are the Valar really? I know they sent Thranduil here. He told me that much. Does this have something to do with that key?"

"As I said. I can not answer your questions, and to be honest, even if I was allowed to help you I would not know all the answers. I just know that Thranduil is well, and if you want to see him you will just have to wait until he comes back, if he comes back. In the mean time there are still answers to be found. Thranduil left something behind. Something important that once belonged to you mother.."

"Really?"

"Yes, I'm sorry. I was not really allowed to say that either. I can not talk to you anymore."

"Thank you Tree." Cara said, and sighed, but she did not get any answer back.

Cara went back to the house. She still had a bad case of a hangover and needed to sleep it off. At least she now was pretty sure that Thranduil was safe, but would he ever come back? Cara curled up in bed. Sleep, she thought. She needed some sleep, and then she would search for that thing that the tree told her Thranduil had left behind.

When Cara woke up again she was still not completely sure if her conversation with the tree was real or part of a dream or her imagination. Maybe deep down she had the feeling that all of this was very much real, but still that painful WHAT IF was ever present. What if she was mentally ill? Wouldn't just any person that had seen what she had seen have their doubts? Especially with her family history of mental illness. She concluded that at the moment there was not much she could do but to go through the room Thranduil had used. It was the best way to start.

She opened the door to the now empty guest room and started by methodically searching the drawers in the nightstands and then the small closet. This room had always been just a guest room and the only thing Cara could find in the closet were some spare blankets and a pair of children's rain boots. The drawers contained two old paperbacks, matches and a box of tissue paper. She then searched under the bed, behind the curtains and even under the carpet. If Thranduil had hidden anything here in this room the only possibility left was the bad.

Cara could not resist laying down for a while. She could still feel the scent of Thranduil lingering in the sheets and she breathed it in for a while. How very pathetic! She got up and ripped away the sheets instead. Why even bother to torture herself like this. She had fucked this up royally, and he might never come back. No, the sheets she would wash and the room she would get ready for her friend Erica who would be the first guest to arrive for the party on thursday morning.

When Cara lifted the pillows she found something. A blue book. It looked like an old notebook and when she opened it she immediately recognized the handwriting. This was indeed something that belonged to her mother! It was a diary that her mother had chose to call "The Island Diary" and the notes in it started in the late seventies when Cara's mother was in her late teens.

Cara's heart fluttered. She quickly carried the laundry to the washing machine and then she sat down in the sofa with a cup of coffee and the diary. The first notes in the book were sporadic. It seemed that her mother had kept the book on the island and just written entries when ever she spend time here. It was all sun and fun with cousins and nights spent a the clubs in the harbor in town. After that there was a short break, and when Cara's mother returned, she was already married and had Evelyn. About a year before Cara was born her mother had spent much time on the island, sometimes alone, sometimes with Evelyn. According to the notes there had been severe problems in the marriage, and according to the book Cara's mother had accused her father of cheating. She had spent time here on the island to try to sort things out, and it was then that the notes of a strange blond man started.

Cara read for hours and strangely enough much of what she read was no large surprise to her. Deep down she had always been very different, no matter how much she had tried to hide it both from herself and from others. Although she had tried to ask questions multiple times when she was younger she had always been met with silence and closed doors. After a while she had stopped asking, and tried to accept things the way they were, until she had met Thranduil. Then things had finally started to make sense again. The diary was just plain evidence for her to see.

It was early evening now, and Cara felt restless. She needed some air. She put her shoes on and went for a walk along the beaches. This day had been long, and full of surprises and changes, and she felt exhausted at the same time as she was too winded up to be able to relax. She kicked some smaller stones and driftwood around as she walked and just wished desperately that Thranduil would be here. He was the only one who might be able to answer the questions she had, and possibly, besides he mother the only one to believe her. Cara decided to visit her in the hospital next monday, after the party.

So, her mother had a short and intense romance with an elf here on the island. She was the result. He had come to the island from Thranduil's world looking for something. That something, Cara assumed was the key that Thranduil had later found. This other elf, her real father was apparently called Glorfindel. Cara wondered where he had gone or if he knew about her existence. The diary had given her no clues about that, since it ended the same day Cara's mother had found out she was pregnant. Cara sighed. Did Thranduil know her father? Perhaps he did since he had told her he was looking for a missing elf. What did it even mean to be a half-elf? Were half-elves something common and did it mean that she would live as long as Thranduil?

How she just wished everything yesterday had never happened, then he might have been here to help her out. Or would he? What if he deliberately had kept the diary from her? Was the diary the reason he wanted to learn how to read their aplhabet in the first place thinking it might contain information about the key? Damn it. She just hated her life at the moment! She prepared to kick a rather large chunk of driftwood when she suddenly stopped dead in the movement. She could hear someone talking.

"No, nothing, yet."

Cara rounded the small cape that prevented her from seeing the one who was talking. Now she could see a small motor boat in the shallow water by the beach and a man standing on the beach talking on the phone. He looked perfectly ordinary, dressed in white shorts and a navy blue sweater. He was rather thin and around fifty Cara estimated. She was slightly annoyed that there were people trespassing on her private property again, but it was understandable because even if there were signs here and there along the beach they were quite easy to miss. The man had not noticed her though and kept talking on the phone.

"I'll rendezvous with Nazg on friday anyway. Tell him to have the money..."

Suddenly the man looked up and he seemed genuinely surprised when he saw Cara standing there.

"I am sorry sir but you are trespassing on private property." Cara said calmly and the man's face suddenly broke up in a large white grin. For some reason something about him gave Cara the creeps. Maybe it was his pale and lifeless eyes or the fake smile, perhaps both.

"I am sorry. I did not see any signs. I'll be on my way immediately. Once again I am very sorry."

The man smiled again, and Cara nodded. He quickly jumped into the boat and in no time he was out on the sea heading away from the island. Cara watched the small boat disappear into the sunrise, after that she hurried home. The way the man had talked and something about his whole being made her double check that all doors were locked and that the windows were closed. She sincerely hoped the man would would have his little rendezvous somewhere far from here. She had no reason not call the police though. The man had been nothing but polite and he had left when she asked him too, and just because he asked someone for money it did not mean he was up to something illegal. But still she did not like him.