"Gold or silver side out?"
Faramir One, deep in the book: "It says silver stars, SILVER STARS--"
This surprised me, because for some reason I'd remembered it as pearls--I must have been thinking of the movie, I guess? "Well, let's see what looks the best."
So White Arwen patiently stood there while I folded and refolded the scarf--I don't think I ever remembered how to fold it the same way twice--and modeled it for us about six different times up and down the
"Definitely silver. The gold is far too flashy."
And then Faramir One was so nervous that he insisted we give the mantle to Eowyn without him being there, and that we do it in the middle of the day, rather than wait for the more romantic
"Well, if she hates it," he explained, "I need time to do something better."
"And the whole problem with the first time we met was that I was there. It's too much pressure for a reaction. She doesn't like that."
Awwww. Well, once burned, I guess. Anyway, I spent most of the nasty grey morning sick(ish) in bed, but after eleven or twelve the sun came out, so I let the Aragorns and the Faramirs go outside to help Helm's Deep Aragorn collect camellia petals (I need to take some more pictures for you--we have several blooms out now, and a number of them have already conveniently fallen away) because, you know, he just got here around Christmas, so he hasn't been with Purple Arwen very long and he wanted the day to be special. Now, given that these petals are generally bigger than his head, I don't know what he's going to do with them, and, quite frankly, I suspect I don't want to know, either. So, anyway. I have a pretty pink and blue Prestat chocolates box that was just the right size, so I folded up the scarf and put it in and tied it up with a pink tulle ribbon (my aunt is fond of using them on gifts, and I always save them) and set it out on my file cabinet. Eowyn eventually looked up from reading Eclipse (I swear to God, I rue the day I ever let her read those books) and came over to see what was going on. I could tell that Purple Arwen was curious as well, but White Arwen held her back by the sleeve (Purple Arwen does have some impressive sleevage) and just smiled at her.
"Did you get a present?" she asked.
"Actually, you did."
You know, Eowyn always gets me--she never has a simple reaction. She looked both genuinely surprised and like she'd secretly been hoping, delighted and yet a little afraid. "It's really--big."
"Well, go ahead and open it. He wanted you to."
"Well, I think he was afraid you wouldn't like it."
She looked stung again, and I didn't feel the least bit bad, either. I held the box down so she could get a good grip on the ribbon--I'd tied it in a very simple bow, because when you're twelve inches tall, pulling a ribbon that big is a good bit of work--and then I lifted the lid for her.
She stood there for a moment looking at the open box, unable to speak.
"And he didn't even stay to...?"
"Well, you told me not to tell him how you felt, so I feel like I'm under the same obligation to him. But I'm not going to let things get stupid here. It's not that he doesn't care enough, it's that he cares too much."
She turned away for a moment. I think she was wiping her eyes. "Well... can you help me put it on, then?"
We even tried it on both ways, gold and silver, just to see which one she liked better; she laughed when I told her that Faramir Two said gold would be tacky. I did take a couple of pictures--the second one is with the camera flash off, so you can see the gold better. She chose silver, of course.
And then she wiped her eyes again and went to sit up on the Lemony Snicket shelf--Their Shelf, if you will--by herself for a while (for a good long think, I imagine). I'm actually starting to think that I need to colonize those two big bookshelves on that side of the room rather than cram everyone onto the smaller bookshelf by my bed--everyone would have more space, Lyra and Iorek would have more room to climb, we could keep Certain Among Us separated--
Hey! The boys are back! They brought flowers for everyone, even me--an open camellia to float in a dish of water, which was sweet, and sprigs of tiny ornamental cherry blossom for the girls (I leaned over to see how Anna would take this, as she is not a flower kind of girl, but Anna and Elizabeth were missing from the festivities entirely. Hm), and a crown of yellow jasmine for Galadriel ("Like elanor!" she said, laughing). Fugagorn also had a long vine of it for White Arwen, who twirled it around herself while he held the end for her. And, of course, there were all the camellia petals in the world for Purple Arwen. I don't even want to know what May Day is going to be like around here.
Faramir Two wandered back over to my desk. I thought he'd ask about the mantle straight away, but he played with my camellia for a bit instead, pushing it around the Fiestaware dish.
"So. Talk to me."
"About what?" he said innocently.
"I don't know, about what you did today?"
"Well, we nearly got into some trouble with the jasmine--"
"Yeah, I BET you did. Don't go up there again, seriously. How tall is that fence--like, seven feet high? Maybe eight? How did you even get UP there?"
"Well, we climbed the trellis," he said, as if this should be patently obvious. "Faramir kept arguing that it was far too dangerous--prudence, you understand, not cowardice--but Strider insisted that we go, and really, it's not a difficult climb. There are plenty of vines to use for ropes, and it's actually a pretty sturdy canopy--did you know, there's even a bird's nest in there..."
Wait, who? And then I realized he meant Fugagorn--who is, of course, Fellowship of the Rings Aragorn, as opposed to Helm's Deep Aragorn, who is... well, obviously. And of course he wouldn't call him Fugagorn, because he doesn't think he's (f)ugly, because... you always see the people you care about as beautiful.
Well. That wasn't the Aragorn I'd thought he'd prefer.
Faramir noticed the look on my face and realized he'd been caught out. He laughed a little sheepishly. "What can I say? I like 'em tall."
We sat there for a moment. I didn't quite know what to say, if only because Fug--Strider, rather, is clearly with Arwen, and I wasn't sure if he wanted sympathy, or if he'd rather keep a stiff upper lip about it.
"I wouldn't ever say anything," he said quickly (he seems to be very good at reading people). "He's happy. Even if I can't be, he is. And he's a good friend."
Y'all, I had no idea Valentine's Day was going to be so wrenching. God.
"Enough about that--how'd the mantle go?"
"Well, I'm not sure yet--I mean, she got hugely emotional about it and I'm pretty sure she loves it, but I don't think she's seen him again since she--"
But Faramir Two wasn't listening to me--he was staring intently over my shoulder. I turned around to look, and then I whipped my head back around because Faramir One, God bless his brave little soul, had climbed up the bookshelf to talk to Eowyn. I ended up grabbing a data CD to use as a mirror to look behind me (not that it helped much). So we sat there at my desk for a while, quiet as mice, trying to watch, not even pretending to talk about nothing. I can't read lips at the best of times, much in a reflection, but there didn't seem to be much talking going on anyway. A lot of soulful gazing, maybe. Finally he took her hand and she rested her head on his shoulder, and their hair, golden and kinda-dark, did not actually stream out mingling in the breeze from the air conditioner because his is made of molded plastic, but it was enough.
"Come on," I said to Faramir Two. "Let's go get some ice cream."
"The good stuff? With the marshmallow?"
And off we went.
(More from the Secret Life of Dolls.)