Not In This World
8. Something In My Heart Came Alive
The weather was warm, but today a gentle mist of rain fell lightly around the house. Roselinde sat in the window seat, gazing out at the garden she planted several days ago. She wanted to plant several varieties of flowers, including lilacs which were her favorite. A few weeks had gone by and she felt so much a part of this world that where she came from was almost a distant memory. Almost, because she still remembered – quite vivdly – the picture of Michael punching her and then raping her. It didn't make any difference that she was out cold; part of her mind remembered it and she did ask Lady Este to show her what happened. The dreams she awoke from screaming some nights were recurring, and Celeborn would hold her until she could sleep again. A smile curled her lips just thinking of his arms around her and his soothing voice in her ear. He comforted her when she needed it, and even when she didn't. His presense was a comfort to her. And yet, there was still something between them she couldn't quite put a name to.
It felt like a wall, but it didn't feel like one. Celeborn was gentle with her, but they hadn't made love since the day after they met. Before they went back to her world. Oh, he still kissed her so that she was left breathless, and his touches and caresses could still set her soul a-fire with passion. Yet, there wasn't anything more than that. They slept in the same bed, their bodies pressed together and his arms protectively around her, but that was all. Not that she wasn't happy with just being with him that way, but her body was yearning for more.
Roselinde shifted and turned so that she could look around their home. Only the light from the outside lit the rooms. They would be lighting the lamps when it got too dark to see. The walls were painted a soft blue color throughout the house, which was soothing to the eyes and mind. On the walls were various painting of places Celeborn had seen, and some that he lived in. The more remarkable paintings were of a land called 'Lothlorien' of which, he told her, he was once the ruling Lord of. It was beautiful there, with leaves of gold and trees that looked like they had silver bark. Moss covered the ground around the trees, the brown earth of the paths looked so warm and inviting, and it looked so magical that Roselinde thought she could just walk through the picture and be there.
But there was a sadness in his voice when he spoke of Lothlorien, and in their bed one night, he explained that it was nothing more than dead trees. What once was, was lost to the passage of time. There was much more to what he remembered, but he didn't tell her what it was. She didn't ask him, fearing it would create more of a barrier between them. Maybe one day she could ask. Maybe one day he would tell her. Maybe…
A soft touch on her bare shoulder sent a shiver through her. Leaning back, she felt Celeborn's warm body through his silken robes. Smiling, Roselinde tilted her head back to look at him, and his hand lightly caressed her cheek down to her neck. Her eyes fluttered closed as yet another shiver coursed through her body.
"You look so beautiful sitting here, I could not resist," he said. "I do not think I can ever resist you."
"I know I can't resist you, beloved," she answered, opening her eyes and making sure he caught her meaning. He did. He always did. The smile that appeared on his face told her he was thinking the same thing, but he didn't move from where he was. Roselinde began to think that three weeks was long enough to wait.
Sitting up, his hands left her as she turned around to face him. Slowly, she got up on her knees and leaned forward to kiss his neck. His pulse quickened as her lips grazed past the vein and upward to his chin. Celeborn sighed just before she caught his lips with hers. His arms wrapped around her, holding her against his body, and she could feel his heart as it beat the same time as hers. Roselinde broke the kiss as her hands reached into his robes to touch his chest. Just as she suspected, he wore no tunic, for which she was glad of. Quite frankly, she loved it when he wore his robes around the house because she knew he wore nothing underneath them. Often, she would catch glimpses of his naked body as he moved, and it got her hot and bothered and eager to touch him. Just as she was touching him now. Her fingers teased his nipples, and his gasp of pleasure encouraged her to do more. Moving her hands upward, she worked them under the fabric of his robes and pushed it off so that it fell to his elbows. Then, she kissed him again, trailing down from the hollow of his throat to his pecs.
Celeborn gazed down at Roselinde as she kissed his body, wondering just what got into her. For the last few weeks it seemed they danced a circle around each other, and she was content to just be with him. He did not push her into making love, though there were several nights when he wanted to. The nightmares she had still came to her. The latest one only two nights ago, so he waited. Roselinde still hadn't yet made her decision about removing those memories. If she waited much longer, she would always remember the heinous crime Michael committed upon her. One night, after one of her nightmares, her body went rigid when he embraced her. It took another hour for her to relax, and yet another before she fell asleep again. The look in her eyes was horrifying, and Celeborn would never forget it. Yet now, Roselinde was the one to begin the foreplay. Should he give in to her, or should he stop her? Would she be able to make love to him and not be able to think of Michael?
As much as he wanted her to continue, he couldn't let her. They had so much to talk about, and not only about her dreams. With his hands at her shoulders, he gently pushed her away. Confusion, and even a little hurt, filled her hazel eyes when she looked up at him.
"We need to talk," he told her, lightly brushing a lock of red hair from her face.
"Does it have to be now?" she asked. There was a slight begging quality to her voice, but there was tenacity in her expression as she wrapped her arms around his neck. "Can't we talk later? I need you."
"If not now, then when, beloved?" Celeborn loosened her arms from around him and Roselinde sat back on her knees, looking defeated. Which was something he never wanted to see in her again. Quickly, he bent to kiss her fervently.
"I need you, too," he spoke after ending the kiss, "Eru knows how much I need you, but I think we need to talk first before we go any farther."
"About what?" Roselinde's eyes belied the fact that she knew what he wanted to talk about. Celeborn didn't answer. Helping her get up from the window seat, he put his robes back on straight, grabbed a pair of pants from a nearby chair, took her hand and went toward the front door. "Where are we going? I thought you wanted to talk."
"We are going somewhere private," he told her as he put on the pants.
"Isn't it private enough here?"
"Yes and no. I also thought you might like to see Tol Eressea," he said lightly, turning to face her with a smile. He helped her put on her cloak, and even put the hood over her head for her before putting on his own.
They walked a good distance before stopping at a stable. There, they were given a light snack of bread and cheese from the owner, which surprised Roselinde. Her experience with stables didn't involve having food given to them, but she graciously accepted the offering anyway. While she ate, Celeborn ordered two horses, one fitted with bridle. That was another thing she found odd, but kept her questions to herself. Celeborn was probably an accomplished rider, much better than herself who only rode when she got the chance. Those chances were very few and far between. After finishing their food, they mounted up on their horses; he had a dun-colored stallion, and she had a chestnut mare. And she found out as they rode from the stable why he didn't need a bridle.
Celeborn was able to command his mount and ride effortlessly, even at a canter, without so much as losing his balance. Roselinde almost found it difficult to not watch him. The very picture of him riding so gracefully made it seem like he was royalty. She began to think herself a klutz, gripping the reins tight and trying not to fall off. Roselinde felt sure that her horse was laughing at her, too, but she managed to keep on the animal's back and keep up with Celeborn.
The skies remained overcast, but the rain had stopped a while ago. At the crest of a hill, Celeborn stopped and waited for her to catch up. Once she did, she was able to smell the slight brackish tang of the ocean. Roselinde's eyes went wide and her mouth fell open as she took in the large expanse of water. The beautiful blue-green water peaked with little waves as they came closer to shore. Seagulls cried above them, and she smiled at the sight of the gorgeous white ships berthed at the piers.
"There is one that will be going to Tol Eressea," she heard Celeborn explain. "We should get there by early evening."
"Are we staying the night?"
"We can stay as long as we wish to. Thranduil was kind enough to let us borrow his cottage there until we decide to come back."
"Oh! Okay!" Celeborn looked at his beloved and smiled, completely happy to see her eyes dancing and her face lit with joy.
Leading the way down the hill, he told her stories of Alqualonde and listened to her own tales of going to the beach in her world. As they neared the docks, they dismounted and he instructed that the horses be taken care of and kept at the nearby stable until their return. Offering Roselinde his arm, he walked with her at a stately pace, but he kept alert for anyone he knew. Thranduil was meeting them here to hand over the key to his cottage, and tell them whatever else they'd need to know. Celeborn also watched out for any of Galadriel's men, or even Galadriel herself. As far as his ex-wife knew, he was still alone and suffering her loss. It would irritate her to no end if she knew he was far from lonely and suffering. Actually, he was almost looking forward to the day when she would find out, though he still didn't want for it to happen for a long while yet.
After meeting Thranduil, getting the key, and embarking the ship with others bound for the island, they sat alone in a small cabin. Roselinde snuggled up to Celeborn and sighed contentedly as the ship began to sail away. Her steady breathing told him that she was already sleeping so, resting his cheek on her head, Celeborn let himself slip into a doze as the ship rocked gently from side to side. It would be another few hours before they reached the docks at Eressea.
To say that Thranduil's cottage was a 'little' place definitely crossed into the realm of understatement. In fact, it didn't even look so much like a cottage as it did a small palace. It reminded Roselinde of a place she visited with a few of her friends down at Tybee Island. Light blue paint covered the exterior walls, providing a nice contrast between the sea and sky. Palm trees lined the path the led into and out from the property, and there was a huge wrap-around porch, randomly dotted with all manner of chairs. She wasn't sure just how many rooms there were, but Roselinde counted five sets of windows on both the first and second level.
" 'Cottage' isn't the word for this place," she whispered, too awed to speak up any louder.
"Neither is 'little'," Celeborn laughed as he walked with her down the path. "I suppose it would be small for a King, though."
"A King? Thranduil was a King?"
"Well, technically, he still is, though we are all ruled by High King Finarfin back on the mainland. Thranduil ruled over Eryn Lasgalen for ages until he and those left among his people decided to leave Middle-earth. I have a painting of the forest in the living room at home."
"I've seen it," she answered, remembering the dense trees where only a little light came through the canopy. The artist captured it so well.
They reached the porch and Celeborn let her go so he could unlock the door. Roselinde half expected it to smell stale and be dusty from months of unoccupancy, but to her surprise, it was clean and fresh with no sign of dust at all. The windows were open just enough to let the sea breeze in, and the sheer white curtains billowed inward lazily. The décor was done mostly in light-colored woods, and used green and blue fabrics for the furniture. Smiling, Roselinde laughed and turned around in place, enjoying this moment and anticipating all the rest of the moments she'd be sharing here with Celeborn. Mentally, she made a note to thank Thranduil for… everything.
Watching her dance around, Celeborn almost changed his mind about them needing to talk. She looked so happy that he didn't have the heart to bring her back down. It seemed that Roselinde was managing quite well after her ordeal; maybe they wouldn't need to talk about that at all. No, they had to discuss her dreams and her decision, and he needed to tell her about his past with Galadriel. At least the part that settled them to get a divorce. Once they got it all out of the way, it would be better for them both. Hopefully.
"I am going to the kitchen and see what we have to eat for supper," he told her, turning away and leaving the room. He'd been here before, once. Many months ago, he came with Galadriel to try and save their marriage. It didn't work. Now, he was here with Roselinde, trying to save their future.
Thranduil had told them, just before they embarked the ship, that they would be alone. None of the usual house attendants would be around. He did not mention the Valar not being able to observe them, but their presence on Eressea was minimal at best, and it was less so in Middle-earth. But that trip was a monumental one, and once one left Aman to go there, one couldn't come back again. Besides that, it would take a lot of convincing to let the Valar even agree to lifting their protective barrier to let anyone out.
Why was he even considering going back? Lorien was gone; Lasgalen and Imladris were nothing more than memories. Lindon might still remain, but all elven-kind had left Middle-earth long ago. Descendants of Elessar and Arwen now ruled there. There would be nothing to remind him of what once was glorious and beautiful.
But he had Roselinde, and with her everything was glorious and beautiful.
They needed to talk, and procrastinating about it wasn't going to make it easier. If he waited any longer, it wouldn't happen, and it could break them apart later. That was something he couldn't risk. Not again. Losing Roselinde would be like losing air to breathe.
"So quiet," he heard her voice from behind him. Her hands crept around his waist and he felt the press of her body against his. "What are you thinking about?"
"Come with me," he answered, taking her hands and leading her upstairs.
The doors to the bedrooms were open enough to see inside. Apparently, after his failed attempt to save his marriage here, Thranduil had done some remodeling. Nothing looked the same, but he still avoided the first bedroom on the left. Though it was drastically different, it still held memories, whispers from the past he did not wish to relive. Instead, he opened another door further down and on the left. Inside, the light from the moon made all the white seem to glow. The sheer curtains, the blankets and sheets on the bed, and the rug on the hard wood floors. Without out any other light, he couldn't quite make out the other colors present, but he knew they had to be lighter colors of green or blue. Or perhaps the pale pink color of mother-of-pearl. It didn't matter though.
Bringing Roselinde over to the window, where there was a table and two chairs, he guided her to sit down and then took his place across from her. He watched as her smile faded and her brows furrowed slightly with worry.
"What's wrong?" she asked. Celeborn's serious gaze did the talking for him. Lowering her eyes to her hands, she noticed she was fidgeting. "I suppose we're going to have that talk you wanted," she muttered. His hands reached over and covered hers.
"I think we have to. Your dreams have become more frequent and troubling."
"But they're just dreams, Celeborn. They'll go away." Roselinde tried to take her hands away, but Celeborn held them tighter.
"If they were going to go away, do you not think they would have by now? Your last dream was two nights ago. Do you remember?" Reluctantly, she nodded her head. "I held you, but it took hours before you were finally able to sleep again. Beloved, I am afraid that one night you will confuse me for Michael in the brief moments between sleep and awake."
"I would never do that!" Roselinde looked up at him incredulously.
"I know, but your body was so tense that it felt like you did not want me to hold you or touch you," he hesitated, looked away and back again to find her staring at her hands again. She was trembling. "Roselinde, do you think you could continue living life as usual with the memories of Michael's depravity still terrorizing you?"
"I don't know," she admitted. "I know I still have a decision to make. I guess I wanted to see if I could get past it on my own." Roselinde looked up at him again. "Have I really been that bad? Is it why we haven't made love in the past three weeks?"
"You have not been bad at all, beloved! You have suffered from a great trauma, and have still managed to find a way to live. It is only at night, in your dreams where you are vulnerable to relive what you went through. And yes, that would be part of the reason we have not made love."
"Do you really think I should have Lady Este take my memories of his… rape… away?"
"It would cease to torment you, and I cannot bear to see you like this. Yes, I think you should, but the decision must be yours, not mine."
They fell silent for a long while, neither of them moving, and both of them lost to their own thoughts. Roselinde had to decide if keeping the memories would do more harm than good, and from what Celeborn told her, it was causing more than just harm. If she kept them, it could become a greater wedge in their relationship than it was right now. Going back to her world wasn't an option for her, so what would she do if they didn't stay together? Celeborn was her life, her heart, and her soul. He was so much a part of her life that if she lost him, she'd lose herself. Hard to believe she thought so very differently only a month ago. If she decided to have the memories erased, how much would she lose in the process? Lady Este said that they'd only remove the rape from her mind and nothing more. But she was told that if she waited too long, it would become difficult to do even that much. Had she waited too long, then? Was it truly too late? Roselinde wanted the wedge gone; she wanted what she had before going back to her world. Truthfully, she wanted to forget Michael ever happened to her.
Her choice was made, and maybe they would be able to erase all memories of Michael, not just the recent ones. But she wanted to surprise Celeborn with her decision. Besides, she was curious about something he said. Keeping her face straight, she squeezed his hands to gain his attention.
"You said it was only part of the reason why we haven't made love. What else is there?"
He took a deep, shaky breath and returned the squeeze. "Do you remember what you said about my not killing Michael when I had the chance?"
"I mentioned his wife and son and that they wouldn't be able to live on what money was left if Michael was dead."
"You had an affair with him?" It wasn't really a question, more like a statement and she wondered what he could be getting at.
"Yes. We met at a bar a few years ago. He wasn't wearing a ring, so I didn't know he was married at first."
"But after you found out?"
"After I found out, we had been seeing each other for several months. By then, it was too hard to let go. I was stupidly in love with him. Celeborn, why are you asking me this?"
"My marriage ended just before you came to me. My former wife was the one to commit adultery." Roselinde gasped at the revelation, but Celeborn shook his head to ward off any comments. "Galadriel sailed first, from Middle-earth to here, and I had to stay behind. My work was not yet done. When it came time for me to sail, I could not wait to join her. I longed for the reunion so much; it was almost painful at times. At first, everything seemed normal, and we were happy again, but I noticed things were not the same. I thought maybe it was in coming back to Aman that she had changed somehow, so I looked beyond it, content that we were still happy together. Many years later, I discovered what she was doing in the time since leaving me, and continued to do after my return. I walked in on her…"
While he talked, Roselinde had been able to get her hands free from his, and now she stood up and walked around the table to stand next to him. This was something he hadn't told her, and she couldn't ignore the similarities of their past lives. In hers, she had been the 'other woman', becoming the third party in what was meant to be a marriage of two. In her society, it was frowned upon, but overlooked due to the fact that it took two willing participants for the affair to work. And work it did, though Melissa never found out about it. In Celeborn's case, though, he did find out. He didn't need to tell her what he saw when he walked in on his wife. She knew damn well what he saw. Part of her was going through ways that this Galadriel could've been more discreet, but the other part of her wanted to hurt his ex-wife for breaking his heart.
"I knew you were somehow involved with Michael, but I did not know how much. When I figured it out, it hit too close to home for me. It was too similar to my own situation that I could not bring myself to make love to you, no matter how much I wanted to."
Her fingers ran lightly through his hair, and when Celeborn looked in her eyes, he saw that she understood. It felt as if the weight of the world was lifted off his shoulders and his heart. Reaching out, he pulled Roselinde close, resting his head against her belly as he held her. She continued to comb his hair with her fingers, and caress his face gently. Meeting Roselinde was the best thing to ever happen to him, and in their union, he found a way to love again.
"Shall we stay like this all night, beloved, or shall we do something more… productive?"
The teasing in her voice told him that she was willing to move on from this already, but the suggestive quality to her question gave him an idea of what she meant by 'productive'. Releasing her momentarily, he stood up and took off his robes, letting them fall to the floor. Roselinde looked wide-eyed at his bare chest then up at him with a possessive glint in her eyes. His hands went to the skirts of her dress and she lifted her arms over her head to aid him in taking it off. Grinning, Celeborn looked at her naked breasts and noticed her nipples rising to hard little peaks. Brushing his fingertips over them lightly, he loved the sigh that escaped from her lips and the way she leaned forward a bit to increase contact.
"Was this what you meant by 'more productive'?" he asked her, gaining only a nod in response.
He lingered a while longer before wrapping his arms around her waist, lifting her up off the floor. Roselinde cried out with surprise, and wrapped her arms around his neck. Taking her mouth in a fiery kiss, Celeborn walked slowly to the bed, turned around, set Roselinde down on her own feet and then ended the kiss so they could both breathe. His pants were growing tighter as he became more aroused by her touch, which she bestowed with her fingertips so agonizingly slow. Feathery caresses started at his shoulders, worked down his chest, and then toyed with the waistline of his pants. There was no doubt left in his mind about what she wanted. Celeborn wanted it, too. He wanted to bury himself completely within her, losing himself to Roselinde. His hands pushed hers aside and he took off his pants, shivering slightly at the coolness of the room, and freeing his erection for her to have.
Roselinde took a step forward, pushing up against him so he had to sit down. But instead of straddling him then and there, she got up on the bed herself, and he slid back to face her. Their hands massaged and caressed wherever they could reach, kindling a spark that turned into flame. Celeborn's fingers slipped down to begin rubbing the bud of her desire, just as Roselinde's hand wrapped around his sex and began to stroke up and down his hard length. They built themselves up to an incredible pitch, but it wasn't enough, and they both knew it. She was the first to disengage, moving to straddle his legs. Lying back, Celeborn gazed lovingly at Roselinde's body, glistening with perspiration as she guided him inside her. A low moan left her as she began to move herself up and down, her hands braced against his chest.
His hands were free to roam her body, and he quickly sought her generous bosom, kneading them, teasing her nipples, making her cry out with delight. Roselinde leaned back, covering his hands with hers, and entwining her fingers with his as he continued his massage. He felt her inner muscles clutch at him greedily, and her pace grew faster, more frenzied as she rose and fell on his shaft. Celeborn groaned, matching his rhythm to hers, feeling the beginnings of ecstasy stir within him. Their breathing was short and shallow, and their moans and cries shattered the silence of the room. Taking his hands off her body, Roselinde held his hands tight, holding on to him as if she were about to fly apart. As her orgasm racked her body, she came undone, crying out Celeborn's name over and over again. Her body relaxed and she toppled down on top of him.
"Not enough," she managed to tell him, her voice low and raspy with lust. Roselinde lifted up to rest her forehead against his. She still held him deep within her. Quite frankly, he wasn't ready to end their lovemaking either.
"Never enough," he answered her.
Wrapping his arms around her waist, he maneuvered them both so that she was underneath him. A sigh escaped both of them as he began to move within her. Celeborn started slowly, but felt what little control he'd managed to contain slip away. Her legs wrapped around his waist to make him thrust deeper, her arms embraced his torso, and her hands clutched his back as she raked her fingernails down. He cradled her head in his arms, first kissing her neck and then kissing her soft lips.
"Celeborn…" she moaned against his mouth, unable to say anything else. But he heard her heart in her voice and knew she loved him.
"Roselinde…" How he even managed to say her name surprised him, but he whispered it in her ear, returning the love she'd given him.
"I love you…" they both said in unison as their passion ignited the inferno within them.
Roselinde came first, panting and whimpering as her body shook around him. Celeborn came a few moments later, holding her tightly as he released himself deep inside her. They were lost to each other in their rapture, and it was a long while before they were able to collect themselves. Withdrawing from her, Celeborn rolled off of her, and with his last remaining strength, he molded her body against his.
"Something in my heart came alive when I met you," he whispered in her ear. "You make me feel alive. More so than I have ever felt before." He brushed back the red tresses that had fallen over her face and stopped, finding Roselinde already asleep. There was a soft smile curving her delectable lips and he bent to kiss her on the cheek. Settling back down he held her close. "I only wish you could stay with me forever, my beloved."
Celeborn fell asleep, dreaming of life with Roselinde. Forever.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.