And then I went and checked my PO box and came back with more Arts Appreciation supplies for The Littlest Edward--an easel from monkeypants84 (thank you so much! Turns out a Hard Candy eyeshadow brush is just the right size) and, no kidding, a piano. I'm not sure who it's from, though--there was no name. But both the easel and the piano are lovely, so thank you!, is what I'm saying.
Uncertainly, he ran his fingertips along the lid.
"Go on," I told him.
He looked over his shoulder, back at The Shelf.
"Oh, go on. The Middle-earth folk, they won't mind. Hell, I bet one or more Aragorns probably has a song he'd like you to set to music. And it might make Lizzie feel better. Besides, all the crazy people are outside. Go on!"
So, softly, he began to improvise a Chopin-esque fantasia of The Pirate Song for Elizabeth (I heard a repentant
"... really bad eggs" drifting out from beneath her hat at one point), and that was nice.
But when he heard the gang trooping back up the stairs from outside, he looked up in a panic--I don't know if he was shy about his music, or--perhaps more likely--aware that it would probably incite some fangirling. "Quick, I'll hide it," I said, because I knew something he didn't yet know (interacting with media characters: it's like time travel, in a way) regarding future compositions inspired by girls--and more to the point, Eowyn the Twilight fan would know it, too. And once she saw him with a piano, she would never, ever leave him alone again.
That was Tuesday. I encouraged the gang to go battle outside when the weather was decent and down in the living room (not the den, where the dogs hang out, but the tiny "formal" living room we never go in. "AND DON'T SCRATCH UP THE GOOD SOFA!") when it wasn't, and once they were gone, I'd pull out Edward's little piano from its hiding place in my file cabinet. White Arwen hummed to herself a little bit while she sewed, and even the Ellowynes got interested (previously they had scorned TLE for being uninterestingly small).
Thursday night, Galadriel was all in a lather about consulting the Mirror--we were still trying to puzzle out the alethiometer's warning--and I wasn't as careful as I should have been. But we'll get to that in a moment.
The moon was full that night, which I'd thought might help her reading (I mean, I don't know, but isn't that how these things work a lot of the time?), so we sneaked into the attic and set up our sauce dish by the window. (Honestly, you get much better moonlight from the windows between my desk and my bed, but scrying in the full view of everyone on The Shelf would have defeated the purpose of all the secrecy.)
"Hey, that's a very nice Nenya you've got going there."
"Thank you--Little Edward gave it to me."
"All right--fire 'er up."
Well then. That's certainly... more impressive... than last time...?
"So--what do you see?"
"A dark room... something orange..."
"I don't think it's fire."
"Day or night?" I asked, thinking of how the moon symbol had come up.
"Day, actually, I think."
"If it's day, then can't you see the room? If it's day, how is the room dark?"
"I don't know--I can't see. It's a feeling, not a vision." She gritted her teeth. "I'm sensing... something white? And red? A house? I can't see it clearly, though--I don't understand."
"Does the dish need to be more reflective? You need me to go get the foil?"
"No... no. I don't think I'm going to get anything else from it." Gladdy sighed. "I feel--blocked, somehow."
So we packed up, and I felt bad for her, so I got Gladdy a cookie and went to bed and pondered things that are red and white and orange and dark. I didn't think about what I'd left out by my desk at all.
I try to tell myself that we were destined for a blow-up anyway because Eowyn came over to my desk Friday morning to ask about Edward in the first place. (I found out later that Purple Arwen had jokingly asked if Edward would get Good Friday off work, but Faramir and I had kept Eowyn too busy to notice the ponies, so she couldn't figure out what Arwen meant, and the moment she asked, Arwen clammed up. I don't know about Arwen, but I for one was afraid Eowyn's horsy heritage would rear up when she saw them and we would never pry her away from Edward again.)
"Where has he been?" she asked me fitfully. "I haven't seen him in days. Did you send him away somewhere?"
"I didn't send him away," I said carefully. "I just found him something to do. He was so unhappy and bored, you know--"
This seemed to offend her for some reason. She was huffing, "Well, I just don't know why--" and then, in the middle of folding her arms, the piano caught her eye. "What is THAT?"
Faramir had joined us by now. "That is a piano, obviously."
"It's a very SMALL piano, whose piano IS IT?" But of course she already knew. "Has he been playing it?"
"WHILE I WAS GONE?"
"Did he--well--did he make up songs for anybody?"
Yeah, I felt this coming. "Not really--I mean, he made up something for Lizzie when she had that hangover, but--"
Imagine if you went back in time, or--better yet, you woke up in the middle of your favorite story, but you had gotten there before the heroine of that story showed up, and it seemed to you like you had a chance to take her place. I could see it written all over her face--and the worst part was, because the Faramirs had read Twilight to figure out what her deal was, Faramir One could see it, too.
"Have you been--trying to keep him away--from me?"
"Not trying," I said, lying like a rug. A rug that lies. Liefully. "He was busy, and you were busy--you were out with friends, and--"
"Friends--" Then she remembered that Faramir One was there and shut her mouth. "Well, then--where is he now? He's my friend too, I want to see him!"
"NO," said Faramir.
We both stared at him.
"HE'S DANGEROUS, DON'T YOU KNOW THAT, HE BIT THE BEAR, HE CAN'T CONTROL HIMSELF! HE COULD HURT YOU! I AM NOT LETTING YOU GO."
Aw, shit. And of course everyone on The Shelf had perked up and was listening now.
"No, you are NOT letting me go because you are not going to LET me do anything! I DO WHAT I WANT!" He grabbed her by the arm (OH SHIT) and she threw him off. "Just because you've kissed me doesn't mean you own me!"
"Well--well--!--make sure you take the piano so he can play Eowyn's Lullaby or whatever for you!"
I genuinely thought for a moment there that she was going to hit him. He could have said he'd been reading her diary and she probably would have looked less murderous. But after a moment of frozen fury she stormed back over The Shelf (everyone skittered away), grabbed her new sword and shield, and marched back over.
"FINE, I'M READY," she said. "TAKE ME TO HIM."
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