Not In This World
3. Right Here Waiting
The day was not what Roz wanted it to be.
First, it was raining. She didn't mind rain so much, but hated it when it rained all day. Tired from not getting enough sleep, the weather only added to her crankiness. All she wanted to do was curl up under her blankets and catch up on all the sleep she missed. Of course, the lack of sleep had everything to do with her dreams. Very hot, very intense dreams of the man she'd fallen in love with usually ended with her frustration at not being able to touch him, and waking up to pleasure herself. Gods, how she wished he were more than just a dream.
Second, on her way to work, she wanted to see her shop again. She had the terrible feeling that it slipped away from her, and sure enough, the 'For Sale' sign was replaced with a 'Sold' sign. It hurt, and Roz couldn't help crying, but it didn't hurt nearly as bad as she thought it would. She remembered Eden saying something about Fate and how, in the blink of an eye, it could all change. It seemed her friend was right with this one. She could just see the small, smug smile on Eden's face at finding out she was right. She wondered if she should say anything at all about it. Knowing Eden, she'd end up talking about this anyway, so she was actually looking forward to talking to her.
Third, Jess was in a very foul mood, and after a few mistakes made, erupted at her. Roz apologized, corrected the mistakes, and offered to buy dinner to hopefully cure Jess' anger. But her friend would have none of it, nor would she explain the cause. Hurt and confused, she apologized again and left. She wanted to talk to Eden, but forgot that she closed early today, and didn't realize it until she was at the door, staring into a darkened shop. Well, the light from the street lamps caught on several shiny objects within the store, making it seem like Eden captured the stars.
Maybe it was luck, or magic, but Roz caught sight of Eden coming from the back of the shop. She knocked and waved to get her friend's attention. Eden smiled, waved, came to unlock the door and let her in.
"You caught me just in time. I was about to leave," she said happily. "Come in! You're all wet, and I can put on some tea."
"Thank you," Roz murmured, following Eden to the back.
"You look troubled, Roz. Want to tell me what's wrong?" she asked, handing over a mug of fragrant tea.
Feeling an enormous relief at being able to just talk, Roz sighed as she told Eden everything about the day. Starting with the dream and ending with the argument with Jess. At the end of her discourse, she sipped from her mug and waited for her friend to say something.
"Allow me to say, just once, that I told you so. I mean, I wanted you to have your own store, but it didn't feel right for you."
"I know. I thought I'd be heartbroken over it, but I'm really not." Roz took another drink of tea. "Not so much, anyway." Eden grinned, as expected, but then her smile changed to one of curiosity.
"Another dream? Tell me about it again."
"It was much like the first one, actually, only we were both in the little pool. I still couldn't see his face, but I could feel his eyes as they did what his hands could not."
"How close were you able to get to touching him?"
"About the same few inches as in every other dream. Maybe a little closer. But, oh how frustrating it was to not touch him!"
Eden remained quiet, taking the empty mug away from Roz. She paced around the office for a little bit, left with a murmured word of getting something, and came back holding a blue velvet pouch and black base. Without saying anything, she set the base down on her desk, carefully upended the pouch, and laid a small crystal ball on the base. It was perfectly clear with the slightest hint of blue coloring. Confused, Roz looked at the crystal ball, then at Eden and back again.
"I've been meaning to give this to you for the last week, but it always slipped my mind until now."
"It's lovely, Eden, but why?"
Her friend simply shrugged and smiled again. "I haven't the slightest clue. But when you told me about the dreams, this crystal had your name all over it. Not literally, of course," she added with a laugh. Placing the pouch back over the ball, she turned it over and tightened the cording. Picking up the base, she handed both to Roz.
"Thank you. For everything."
"You're welcome. Consider it an early Christmas present." She laughed and Roz got up from her chair. The two walked to the front door and as Roz walked out, Eden took hold of her arm. "I have the strongest feeling that you two will meet, soon, and it will be for real. And when you do, there will be a choice for you to make."
"Yes. I don't know more than that, but choose with your heart and mind, Roselinde Carroll."
"I will." It must be very important for Eden to have used her full, given name like that. "Thank you."
"You're welcome again," she replied, releasing Roz's arm. "Oh! And set that up in your bedroom. On the dressing table near the mirror. It will look so pretty there."
Roz laughed and left, got in her car and traveled home. When she was finally behind the closed, locked door of her loft, she put the pouch and base down in the spot designated by Eden, and then went about fixing herself dinner. Opening a bottle of white zinfandel, she downed the first glass quickly, and then poured herself another to sip. It was a long day and she deserved this. Taking it over to her dressing table, she sat down and brushed her long, red hair, fussing with it until she was satisfied. Then, she got up and took off her clothes, debated wearing anything at all, but finally deciding on a black lace negligee. Roz brushed her hair again, finished her glass of wine, and then set up her crystal ball as Eden told her to do.
The trials of the day finally crashed down on her, and she barely had the strength to turn off the lights. Falling into her bed, she brought the covers up around her and moments later she was asleep.
She never noticed the tiny, pulsing, blue-tinted glow emanating from within her crystal ball.
Celeborn walked swiftly to the grotto. He had the feeling something was about to happen, and that he needed to be there. It was the middle of the night and he only had the time to put on his robes and come down. This time, he didn't care if anyone saw him or not. If his suspicions were correct, the woman in his dreams would be coming to him again. Only this time, it would be real. If the last dream was any indication of that fact, he would see her face as well as the rest of her, and he would be able to touch her. That was the part about his dreams that frustrated him so much. To be so close and not be able to touch her. Oh, he tried, and so had she, but a few inches separated them. Except the last time. His hand was so close; he swore he could feel the heat of her body. Yet, it was not enough.
The sounds of the night creatures filled his ears, and he smiled. Celeborn wondered how it would all happen. Would she come to him from the entrance of the grotto? Would she speak first before he saw her? He wondered how he would react when she came. Oh, he was already affected by the thought of her being here, and he gripped his robes so that they wouldn't open and embarrass him if he ran into anybody. Not that anyone was around at this time of night anyway. But would he know she was with him even before he saw or heard her? There were so many questions that he wanted answers to, and he'd get them when she was finally standing in front of him.
Reaching the entrance of the grotto, he paced around the pool, debating getting in. It might help cure his nervousness, but then again, it might not. Should he meet her in the same way as the very first dream? Only, he would be the one undressed and she would be clothed. Or would she?
Valar, he hoped he was right about her coming in the first place.
Celeborn looked around the grotto and wished he'd done something more to it like add candles or… something. He wished he'd thought of food and drink to have for their refreshment. It wouldn't do for the host to be caught unprepared, yet here he was, without anything to offer her. Except himself. Would she accept him? Would it be enough?
He looked up at the sky, filled with stars, an almost full moon, and wisps of clouds that somehow added to the magical feel of the night. With every effort, he forced himself to calm down and relax. He relaxed the grip on his robes and let his hands fall to his sides. When she came, he would welcome her with open arms. And, most importantly, he would not be nervous.
The three Valar stood around a large, floating orb with their hands linked. There was a low humming noise that reverberated around them. The room was dark, save for the light of the orb. Their eyes were wide open and riveted to the orb, neither of them looking away.
"Has everything been made ready?" one Vala asked.
"Yes. Celeborn awaits his lady in the grotto. Roselinde is sleeping and her heart is open to us. All is ready."
"How long shall we give them?"
"That is for Roselinde to decide, but I would like to bring her here before we send her to Celeborn."
"Very well. Let us begin…"
Their breathing was in perfect unison, and the orb grew brighter with the union of their power. The humming noise also grew a little louder and changed pitch. Each spoke words that only Iluvatar and they understood. While the incantation was being chanted, they began to sing in perfect harmony. Channeling their power into the orb, they traveled through space and time to reach the heart of Roselinde Carroll. The woman awoke with a start and her eyes immediately fixed on the orb across the room. She got up out of her bed and walked slowly toward her orb, which also held the power of the three Valar. Hesitantly, she reached out to touch it…
Roz rubbed her eyes, trying desperately to wipe the tears away. The last she remembered was touching the crystal ball Eden gave her, wondering why it felt so warm instead of cool. There was blinding light, and now she was hearing voices when she knew she should be alone.
"Where am I?" she asked, taking her hands from her eyes, but still blinking rapidly against further tears.
"Your sight will return to you shortly, Roselinde," another voice said to her. Did she detect a hint of laughter in that voice? She started to ask her question again, but was interrupted. "What has been your sole desire in the last week, Roselinde?"
Roz wasn't sure she should answer that, but for some reason, she felt she could trust these voices. "I must be crazy," she murmured. This time, she actually heard the laughter.
"No, you are not crazy, Roselinde, but I would hear your answer to my question."
"To meet the man in my dreams, your honor," she said, applying a title to the voice. "It sounds crazy, but that's what I want."
"It does not sound crazy, little one. You do know that he wants to meet you as well, and is waiting for you now?"
"He is? Where?" She tried to move, but she couldn't. "Why can't I move my feet?"
"There is a choice for you to make, Roselinde Carroll. Until you make that choice, you may not leave here."
"What choice? Where am I?" Even to her, her voice sounded strained. Not with anxiety or anger, but with the need to see the man she'd been dreaming about for the last week. She wanted to touch him, to see his entire face, and she wanted him to see and touch her. And so much more than just making sure it was all real.
"You are in the meeting house of the Valar, Roselinde. Knowing anymore than that will depend on you."
"What's my choice, then?" she asked rather impatiently.
"You are at a fork in your path, Roselinde. In one direction, you will go back to life as you know it, and this will all become a distant memory. In the other, you will have the chance of a new life here."
"A new life?"
"Yes. A life filled with love and the stability you have sought for many years."
Roz fell silent, her mind working quickly with the possibilities of each course of action. And it all boiled down to living life with or without him. Eden's last words to her echoed in her mind.
"… choose with your heart and mind, Roselinde Carroll."
She really had no complaints about the life she left, or was brought out of. She did what she wanted when, and where, she wanted. Her parents gave her the opportunity to go to college or to travel, and after two years of learning at the local educational institution, she opted to travel. Roz enjoyed the lifestyle of a wanderer, going from state to state, finding a job only long enough to earn money for her next trip. Sometimes she'd stay longer than intended when she met a man who intrigued her. The relationship only lasted a few weeks at most, usually ending when her lover wanted her to stay when she felt the urge to move on. Some were difficult to leave, but most became fond memories. Even Michael, who was her last, and longest, love affair.
Having never been afraid to take a risk or two, she found the offer of a new life very palatable. Especially if she were to spend the rest of her life with the man in her dreams. When she was with him she felt loved, safe, happy, warm, and content to spend the rest of her life with him. She felt she could give him her heart, and that he would never leave her. He made her feel like she was home, which was something she never felt with any of her former lovers. Not even with Michael.
And why was she even thinking of him now? Roz shoved him from her mind and went back to the choice before her.
What did she have to lose by staying here? Nothing, if she really thought about it. Her parents and friends would understand if she phrased a letter in such a way that they wouldn't freak out and try to follow her. And out of all of them, Eden would be the one to understand completely and without question.
The choice before her was made simple. She would stay. But would she be allowed to set her affairs in order? Roz had plenty of money saved in a bank, but didn't think she could use it here, nor exchange it for their currency. She would be penniless here, but she didn't care. She could split the money she saved between Jess, Eden, and her parents. Someone would need to see about her furniture, and that could be left to Eden and Jess. She only wanted to keep two items and have them with her here. That is, if she were allowed to return in the first place. Maybe she could compromise…
"Before I give you my decision, may I ask a couple questions?"
"You may," the first voice replied.
"Exactly how long will I be here, if I were to stay?"
"Forever, if that is your wish." That was good to know. It was the one thing she wanted as much as seeing the man she fell in love with.
"If I decide to stay, would I be allowed some time to arrange for things to be taken care of back home?" She didn't get an instant response. In fact, the silence was deafening. It seemed like minutes dragged into hours, and Roz felt like screaming just to have some kind of noise fill the void.
"Are we to assume, Roselinde Carroll, that you have made your choice? You will be staying?"
"Yes. I want to stay."
"Why?" a third voice asked, sounding truly curious for her answer. "You have only known him for a week, and even then, only minimally."
Roz shrugged. "Because I love him. I can't imagine life without him. Even though it's been a week since the first dream, I felt as if we were made for each other. And I think he feels the same way."
"Very well," the first voice sounded very pleased. "Yes, you will be allowed time to get your affairs in order. But you must not be seen by anyone while you are there."
"If I'm returned in the middle of the night, I can leave a note for my friend, with important information, and she can do what I can't." Her heart pounded in her chest. She was happier than she'd ever been. But she had another couple questions. "Can I bring something back with me?"
"We can arrange for that to happen, yes."
"Oh good," she replied, resisting the urge to clap her hands. "Now, may I be allowed to see him?" She was sure she heard laughter, but it faded into the distance and she felt as if she were floating to a new destination.
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.