The good news is that we only had to walk for one extra day and we didn't run into any trouble—when I asked Gelmir why there weren't any more orcs, he only said it was very rare that orcs ever wander so close to Rivendell and left it at that.
The bad news is I talked the entire time. I sort of digress when I'm feeling awkward, nervous or anxious. As I'm sure you can imagine, I was a big bag of just about everything, but not just because I was in Middle Earth; a place that wasn't even supposed to be real—no, rather, I was feeling underestimated and judged and, well, incorrectly labeled. Any time I so much as sneezed one of the elves would instantly ask if I was alright—as if I couldn't take care of myself!
Now maybe I'm just paranoid, but I couldn't help but feel like they thought of me as a delicate little flower that ought to be cared for at all times and I didn't like it. So I told them a bit about my job, being sure to mention just how bad the injuries are I have to deal with. I also mentioned Liam and how he would be turning seven soon—I had him when I was eighteen and it all but ruined the reputation I'd made in my family as the genius who graduated and went to college early—and that I'd been raising him on my own. I couldn't tell if the looks on the elves' faces were from shock of my working a job while raising a son or the idea of such a scandal. So, yeah, I may have dug myself deeper in that hole of judgment I'd tried to get myself out of.
Wow. Just…wow. Rivendell is…wow, it's gorgeous. The kind of place Bradley—my ex—would promise to take me to before he decided our baby wasn't worth it. Thinking about his made me mad as a cut snake and the wonder I felt at seeing this beautiful place all but vanished in the blink of an eye, but I kept my face neutral as I was led through the city to meet the king. Bradley was in the past and it shouldn't have mattered that I was in a place just like the ones he promised to take me to, only without him. It shouldn't have mattered. But it did.
You see, bad memories have tendencies to make themselves known at the worst times and this was one of those times. Who wants to be thinking about their ex when they would be face to face with a king at any given moment?
"Lord Elrond will see you now."
I was pulled back to reality when an elf I didn't recognize spoke, and I then realized we had stopped walking and I was standing alone next to a stone pavilion.
"Oh." I said, inwardly pulling myself together. "Right then."
I slowly climbed the stone steps to officially meet Lord Elrond, ruler of the elves of Rivendell. Over and over again I told myself he was a kind man—it showed in the movie and books that he was quite reasonable and that he had no reason to be angry with me, let alone kill me.
So why couldn't I calm down? It felt like something very big was going to happen and I didn't know what it was.
"Lacey Taylor." He said upon my entrance. "Creoso."
"Um, hi." I bobbed a quick curtsey and he smiled.
"Sit." He said. "You must be weary after your journey."
"Not really, but thanks anyway." I remained standing. I couldn't sit when I was nervous.
"Very well, I shall stand as well. How do you fair?"
"Uh, good I guess. I mean, I'm kinda worried and confused as to how I was brought here, but I'm holding up just fine."
"What makes you say you were brought here?"
"Was it not just an accident?"
"I…I don't know. How should I know? One moment I was home, the next I wasn't. What more is there to say?"
"You did not see or hear anything." It was a statement, not a question.
"No." I was beginning to get frustrated. "I didn't. I supposed I was brought here because…because it felt like I was. It just made sense. Look, why are you asking me all this? What would make you think I knew what was happening when your diggers—sorry, I mean soldiers found me about to be fed to wargs?"
"It was necessary to find out what you knew so we know if the others we found were speaking the truth."
"Others? I wasn't the only one brought here?"
"No, there were two others. They each told the same story you have told."
Story? I never even told them about the dumpster!
"Can I meet them?"
He looked over my shoulder and I turned to see the very person I wanted to see.
I ran into the arms of my best mate, not even caring about the glaringly obvious height difference as my arms encircled her waist—I made her look taller than she was, she made me look tinier than I am. We're a starburst contradiction, she and I.
"Jeez, I could swear you've shrunk!" she exclaimed.
"Shut up." I muttered into her elfin tunic—I wondered if she had to ask for the male clothing to avoid a dress.
From behind her came footsteps on the stone steps. I peeked around her to see new arrival—maybe I knew them.
I wasn't wrong. I did know this new person, all too well. Grace stiffened as she felt my body tighten.
"Lacey." Elrond said slowly from behind. He was smart; he was able to put mine and this new person's story together. I could hear it in his voice. "I believe you know Bradley."
I know, this is soooooooo late but I was considering starting the story over again and then I got two reviews asking for more so I guess I'll just continue writing:)