1. The Newly Wed Game
Everything had been so clear in his mind only an hour ago. The wedding celebration, with his friends and family about, had been joyous, watching his Rosie beam as she hugged and laughed. She had danced with him and fit into his body like that final missing piece to life’s puzzle. Even Mr. Frodo had left his haunted look at home for the wedding, and smiled so much his face was probably smarting by now. Sam had been happy, elated even. But, now...now, as he paced the confines of his small bedroom waiting for her to return from the washroom, his happy mood had turned into one of extreme agitation. Any moment she would come walking through that door, pretty and pink, her full lips smiling, and she would be expecting him to be her husband in the full sense of the word. He could plant squash, weed the flower beds, make griddle cakes, patch a roof, drive a horse and cart, even save Middle Earth from destruction by Evil itself, (with help, of course), but he didn’t know if he could do that.
All his equipment worked just fine. Every time he even glanced at his wife, that familiar heat would grow and he would be forced to sit down, hold something in front of himself or shove his hands deep into his pockets to mask his obvious reaction to Rosie’s proximity. It was the thought of what came next, after the initial arousal that was causing his nausea.
Normally, if he had problems he would have talked them out with Mr. Frodo. But, if it were possible, his friend was even more inexperienced in that department then he was. Pippin would only make a joke out of it, and with Merry, while probably the only one among the four friends with any knowledge at all, (or so he figured), Sam had no desire to end up the subject of one of those songs he sang so freely on the Green Dragon’s tables. With his usual sources of information out, Sam had been forced to widen his circle; which was even smaller than his inner one. Gandalf was nowhere about, so Sam had found himself, on the eve of his wedding day, sitting in #3 Bag Shot Row at his childhood table asking his Gaffer the ways to keep a wife happy.
The list began with things like “always pick up your dirty clothes from off the floor, never be leaving the washroom door open, you use a dish, you wash it, don’t think just because you like something she will, don’t be making plans without telling her”, and the litany of qualities of a good husband went on and on.
But, that was not what Sam had come for, so he broke in and asked his question more directly. “What makes a good husband in the bedroom?”
The Gaffer was off again: “Don’t steal the covers, if she wants to sleep on the left side, let her, no crackers: ever, turn over when she’s tells you you’re snoring, but don’t you be bothering her, no matter how loud she gets.” This list seemed endless, too. Sam knew he was receiving excellent advice here, and he really should be listening, but time was running short. Over his Gaffer’s booming voice, he shouted, “What about IN the bed, Da? What about sex?”
For the first time in Sam’s life, his father was speechless. A bright red started to color the tips of his ears, then quickly flushed his entire face. He just sat there, mouth gaping.
“Papa, I need to know. For Rose,” Sam pleaded.
When the Gaffer regained his power of speech, no long list of do’s and don’ts spewed forth. He only mumbled something quickly about gardening and flowers, and then excused himself, begging urgent business elsewhere. Sam had been left alone in the kitchen of his old hobbit hole alone and bewildered.
The bedroom door opened and Rose slipped in. The ribbons now gone, her hair hung in a blanket of curls across her shoulders. Cheeks flushed, her mouth was breathing excitement, her eyes bright with anticipation. Sam looked at his new wife, the contours of her soft body visible through her gauzy shift, and that familiar feeling in his groin sprang to life. Without saying a word, Rose floated over to him and gently brushed his naturally unruly hair off his forehead. She was so close to him, her breasts, now free from the constraints of the corset, pressed against him. With one finger she ever so lightly traced the outline of his lips, hers in a slight “O” shape, moist and inviting. Sam closed his eyes and reached out for her. But, his arms met only empty air. The ill rational fear that all of this, the wedding, Rose in her night dress, had all been a cruel dream; he would find himself alone in his bed, or worse, in Mordor. But, when his eyes snapped back open, he beheld not broken rocks and ash, but the now familiar walls of his room at Bag End. Rose had moved and was now lying on his bed, (OUR bed, he corrected himself), a provocative smile on her lips.
“Are you coming to bed now, Samwise?” she asked softly, patting the empty space beside her.
Sam looked at that space and tried desperately to recall just what his Gaffer had mumbled to him last night. Yet, as he watched her breasts move up and down with each heavy breath, he knew all that stuff about pistols and stamens would do him no good now. Swallowing hard, he crossed the room, slid into bed beside her and pulled the covers up to his chin in one swift and smooth movement. He lay there ramrod straight, his breaths short gasps.
“Is this how you always come to bed?” Rose asked with amusement.
“What?” Sam’s mind had had just enough lucidity left to get him into the bed, beyond that it was all fuzzy.
Tugging the covers out of his clenched fists, Rose reveled that he was still fully dressed, right down to the tiny flower in his lapel. “You would be more comfortable without the jacket at least, I expect.”
Scrambling out of bed, he began to rapidly undress. As he neatly folded his weskit, placing it on the chair beside the door, he realized he did know something else about all this then just the first part. In order to do this, you had to be at least pantless. That’s two down on the list, and about a million left to go.
Rose watched him as he stripped off his jacket, and weskit, but when he reached for the buttons on his breeches, he blushed hotly. Turning his back to her, he slipped them off and down his legs. A shirttail caught on his hip before falling, giving the new bride a brief glimpse of a well muscled bum. She smiled broadly.
His breeches now folded and placed with his other clothes, Sam turned back to the bed. She was waiting patiently. The sight of her there on the bed, the slope of her hips barely masked by her shift, caused his heat to grow beyond anything he had ever experienced before. With nothing to cover himself, save his muslin shirt, (and no pockets neither), he instantly jumped back into bed. The covers were pulled up to his chin again.
Rose surveyed the tightly clenched body of her husband and sighed. Going to need some work, this one. Using her shoulder, she nudged herself against Sam, her head coming to rest on his shoulder. Without any thought, he wrapped an arm around, bringing his new wife close. With one arm draped over his chest, a knee resting on his legs, she sighed again, this time with contentment. This was a good start.
He idly twirled a single curl of her hair around his finger, as their breathing became the same. If nothing else happened tonight, if he never understood all the mysteries of coupling, Sam, in that moment, would have been content. He was lying with his love in his arms, alone and at peace. “Rosie”, he whispered into her delicate hair, “I love you, Rose.”
Raising up a bit and looking into his eyes, she smiled. “I love you, Samwise.”
Her lips were wet where she had licked them, and Sam brought his down to taste the ginger honey of her mouth. Their lips brushed tentatively at first, but when he felt her tongue tickle, his mouth opened wider, taking all of hers. Pulling her into him, crushing her breasts against his chest, he could feel her heart beating frantically.
They kissed; deep, passionate kisses, exploring each other mouths. Her hands played with his hair, while his were discovering the contours of her hips. Her tongue, momentarily free, traced the outline of Sam’s ear, nibbling on the lobe. He clutched her bum tightly in response. This action brought a gasp from Rose which, right next to his ear, Sam felt to his very core.
That was it, that was all Sam could take. Breaking the kiss, he pushed Rose onto her back and climbed on top. He leaned in and kissed her again, drinking in deeply her womanly scent. He was confident now, he didn’t need all that advice after all. This was easy! He would do what came naturally.
“Your knee, your knee!”
“Poked me in the eye!”
“It don’t bend that way!”
“My hair! Get off my hair!”
Sam rolled off, completely frustrated and humiliated. Maybe I should just go out to the garden and spread some manure on the vegetables; at least I can do that right. He wanted to apologize, tell Rose that she had made a mistake in marrying him; he was nothing but a bumbling idiot, a Samwise. He would never be able to do this, to couple with her in the right way. Maybe Rose should go and find herself another, one who could be a true husband. “Rose, I…” he started to say, but she stopped his apology with a finger to his lips.
“Don’t be saying a word, Samwise,” she said, sitting up. Her face was bathed in determination as she crossed her arms and quickly pulled the shift from her shoulders. Her skin was a bronze made shimmery by the sweat from their last attempt. Looking at her, Sam was unable to breath, unable to do anything, really, except stare. “Now you.”
He continued to stare. “Me now, what?”
“Your shirt, Samwise, take it off.”
He yanked his collar forward up over his head. He felt a pang of loss when the shirt, as it came off, obscured his view of Rose briefly. He made a motion to fold the shirt, but she roughly grabbed it away from him and tossed it carelessly to the floor. He wanted to protest, but her mouth was on his again, her tongue ceasing his words. Lying back down against the pillows, he meant to pull her with him, but she broke the contact. Sitting there above him, she asked, “Do you trust me, Samwise?”
“What a silly question, Rose, of course I be trusting you, but…”
“Then no more talk.”
Taking both of his hands in hers, she brought them up to her breasts. Sam experienced the plump softness between his fingers, her skin hot against his touch. Guiding his hands, she demonstrated the correct technique. He was nothing if not a quick learner, for soon she closed her eyes and tilted back her head, a soft sigh escaping. Sam was in awe; he had done that to her, he had made her moan with delight. Where only a few moments ago, after his disastrous attempt had left him flat, his newly reborn arousal warmed his belly and thighs.
Throwing back the covers, Rose exposed Sam’s body to the moonlight. The breeze from the window sang across his skin. Leaning over, she began to kiss his forehead, cheeks and chin. Sam drank in her sweet scent. Without knowing, he brought his arms up to encircle her back, fingertips brushing lightly against her skin. Rose nipped at his nose, kissed his eyelids, breathed softly into his mouth. Sam lost all sense of time, space, even himself as his Rosie playfully teased him.
She sat back and looked at the hobbit she had married, gratified to hear a tiny whimper when their mouths separated. He lay there, eyes partly closed, sweat beading, muscles taut. Tracing her fingers down his chest, he jumped at her touch. In ever widening circles, her fingers moved with the outline of his form until they had reached his thighs. He was reaching for her, but she evaded his hands to move down off the edge of the bed.
He sat bolt up right in bed. Then, as Roses’ lips touched his burning flesh, he lost all strength and sank back down amid groans of pleasure. The only things Sam could recall after his head had finally cleared were a brilliant explosion from within and then darkness.
Rose crawled back in beside him and was idly playing with the hair on his chest, forming little peaks that, at least to him, sort of resembled the Misty Mountains.
“Rose, sweet, Rose,” he asked when he found his voice again, “Where did you ever learn to do that?” then he immediately regretted it. He had never asked her what she had done while he had been away from the Shire. And he wasn’t sure he really wanted to know. What was it his Gaffer had said last night? One of many on that long list. ‘If you’re not wanting to hear the truth,’ he had instructed with steely seriousness, ‘Don’t be asking the question.’
“You were gone a long time, Samwise,” she answered, her breath music against his chest, “Had to have something to do with my time, didn’t I?”
He shifted slightly, suddenly uncomfortable. “That’s so?”
She wrapped his arm around her more tightly. “Yes, indeed. Spent many late nights being schooled.”
His stomach fell to his feet, and a strange and inexplicable pain began to creep its way across his chest. That’s her business and she’ll tell me if and when she gets a mind to. “That’s so?” he repeated.
Turning within his arms, Rose moved to her side, her bum pressed up against his hip. “Learned many things, I did, Samwise, from the experts.”
What was it my Gaffer said about questions? “That’s so?” he said again through clenched teeth.
“Many things, Samwise, and many different ways, they taught me.”
They. There was that They again. Meaning more than one.
“Sometimes two or three things a night.”
“Who is They and what were you learning at night that has you doing such wonderful things with your tongue!” He had not intended to blurt that out. In fact, his mouth had been forming the words, “That’s so,” when, from deep within, his pride overrode his common sense and the question came rushing forth into the night.
Although Rose knew she could drag this topic out indefinitely, making him squirm, she decided to have mercy on her new husband. “I’m not one for wasting time, Samwise, so with you gone, I decided to learn a thing or two about being a wife. To be ready when you did return.”
Sam was gratified that Rose had had that much confidence in his return. His had waned completely by the end. And, it was nice to know that she had been thinking about him in the role of a husband even before he had even said three sentences to her in a row. But, she still had not answered his question. “Who’d be giving lessons like that in the Shire, Rose? Who’d you spend those long nights with?” He hated the accusatory tone of his voice, but it could not be helped anymore than the jealousy could be pushed back down.
Nana Lily? That was a stupid name for a hobbit-lad. Must be over from Michel Delving, that horrid place. How dare he come to Hobbiton and…
“Your Grandmother? Your grandmother taught you to do…to do…that?”
“And Mama Rose.”
Sam plopped back to bed as his jealous rage deflated. Rose had spent all those nights when he and Mr. Frodo had been starving and freezing and slowly dying in the comforts of her home learning the arts of the marriage bed. He had never been so happy in all his life.
“You were gone so long, Samwise, without so much as a by-your-leave. Just up and gone. Now, I had no reason to be thinking that you should’ve told me. Nothing between us except a silly hobbit-lass and her daydreams.”
And a silly hobbit-lad and his nightly dreams, Sam said to himself.
“You went off with Mr. Frodo, and all the tongues were wagging that you had finally cracked. Crazy Baggins and his Half-Wit. ‘Good ridings’ some even said.”
Sam could imagine just whose tongues had done most of the wagging.
“Didn’t listen to one word of it. All lies. But, days became weeks, and then the months marched by without one word.”
Sam could hear the loneliness in her voice and his heart broke to know that he had been the cause. He watched as two tears slid down towards the sheets, her buoyant mood of only a few moments ago gone, smothered by those dark memories.
“I knew you would come back, Samwise. Knew in my heart. Even when those awful things began to happen, I believed.”
She had been told the story of the War of the Ring, partly by him, some by Mr. Frodo, but he had tried to spare her the more horrible moments of their ordeal. He still fought that shadow every day, as it ate away at his friend, and he had not wanted his Rose tainted by that evil. Turning on his side, he gathered her up in his arms.
“Every tree that came down I believed all the more. When Bag Shot Row fell, I cried bitter tears, but still held on to the idea of you. Even here, even Bag End, here with your garden that always reminded me of all that you were, was changed into something evil. Nothing was left of you, Samwise, nothing was left. You were truly gone.”
Tenderly, Sam brushed her curls away from her temple and kissed her brow. He saw her face, wet from weeping, and his eyes followed her example.
“One night, after the starting of the curfews, and the whole Cotton family was huddling in the house, listening for trouble, it happened.”
He did not like the sound of that. Her voice was flat, like one who was reading from a dusty old family volume.
“A terrible thing, Samwise, did a terrible thing. The troubles seemed to crowd around my heart and they pushed you right out. I’m sorry, Samwise, I’m so sorry. I forgot you.”
He began to gently rock her back and forth. He didn’t have the heart to tell her that he, too, had found those times overwhelming, and she had slipped from his mind. On more than one occasion.
“It wasn’t until I saw them, hiding behind the weeds in the corner of the yard that I knew what I had done. Your sunflowers, those beautiful flowers, the ones you gave me on your birthday the same year you left. After they dried, I made Papa plant the seeds right there in the back corner. When I looked, there they were, still growing, still blooming their sunshine. Underneath all the troubles, you were still with me, looking up at my window, smiling. I made a vow right then to never forget again, and that when you returned to the Shire, we would be wed. So that’s why the schooling. Asked Nana Lily to tell me, to teach me all there was to know about being a proper hobbit wife and mother. Mama Rose joined in when time allowed. In the dark, after all the candles had burned down to naught, we would whisper and I would remember everything they said.”
In a small voice, heavy with emotion, Sam asked her why.
“You’d be coming back to me, Samwise, and I wanted to be the best wife I could. Wanted to show you, after all the exciting places you’ve seen, the Shire, and me, were worth coming home for.”
Hugging her fiercely, Sam attempted to convey his feelings. He wasn’t leaving, ever again. There was plenty of work, enough to keep him busy for years; cleaning up the mess made by Saruman and his pals, and Mr. Frodo to bring back to health. The Shire was his home, and she was his heart.
Rose shifted in his embrace, the texture of her skin bringing his desire back to life. “So, Nana Lily taught you…” he didn’t know how to describe the exquisite sensations that had thrilled through his body when Rose had knelt between his legs, “…that?”
Wiping her tears of shame away, she answered, “Number 42.” She had wanted Sam to know of her lapse in faith, felt he had the right to know everything about the hobbit-lass he had asked to share his life. It would never happen again, whether he was beside her every moment, or traveled Middle Earth again and again. Her love for her Samwise would be constant, never ending.
“42? How many on this list of Nana Lily’s?”
“243,” she answered.
He was awe struck. 243, he mouthed silently. No wonder Old Tom always had a smile on his face. Sam brought his new wife to rest on his chest. “Wouldn’t do to let all of Nana Lily’s schooling to go to waste, now would it, Rose Gamgee?” She was so light, like the feathers they rested upon. “You’ll be obliged to teach me every one of them.” Maybe more then once. “Out of respect to your kin, if you get my meaning.”
She smiled wickedly. “Which one now, my husband?”
Sam made a show of thinking deeply as he made his choice. It really made no never mind to him; if all of that 243 turned out to be half as good as 42, he would be spending the rest of his days in bliss. “How about 179?”
Rose’s smile became downright evil. She jumped out of bed and ran towards the door. “As you wish.”
“And where’re you going?”
“You said 179. We’ll be needing some oil and a length of rope for this one.” She blew him a kiss before slipping out the bedroom door.
Even though they had only been married for less than a day, had only shared this bed less than an hour, now that she was gone from his side, it was empty without her warmth. Sam rose and instinctively went to the window. Night was claiming the sky, and the crickets were competing with the bullfrogs down by the Water with their evening songs. Outside the window, the garden, having just drunk the last of the sun’s rays, seemed to be shinning in the twilight and was exactly what Sam had worked so hard for: perfection. He had wanted this whole day to be just so, for his Rose. He had seen to the pantry, stocked the cellar, scrubbed Bag End from top to bottom and back again. And then Mr. Frodo had insisted that he give the newlyweds some privacy and went to spend a week with Merry in Buckland. Sam had not been thrilled at the prospect of Mr. Frodo being so far away for so long, but, before he left, Frodo assured his friend that his health was firmly on the mend and that his leaving was a small gift to Sam and his new bride. “I would be in the way, Sam,” Frodo had said, “It should just be the two of you.”
Frodo had been more then generous when it came to the newlywed couple, lavishing gifts on them; he had even insisted they start out their new lives together here at Bag End. Sam had been overjoyed, (it was what he had secretly wanted, but did not feel it was his place to ask). He would have the two most important hobbits in his life under the Hill. The better to care for them both, he thought.
With a critical eye, Sam surveyed the flowering plants that made up his garden. With a growing look of consternation, however, he realized that something was missing. Right out there near the fence: an empty spot. How I’d be missing that? It was right there for any passerby to see. The more he stared, the greater it became, as did his agitation over his lack of foresight. This would not do, not do at all. Tomorrow he would fix the hole, tomorrow sunflowers would be planted at Bag End. And when they bloomed, their black and yellow smiles would peer in through their bedroom window, greeting his Rosie every morning.
Just like the elanor he had planted outside of Mr. Frodo’s window.
Sam stood at the window and with closed eyes he could almost hear the sounds of his yet to be children; many wee hobbits, romping in the grass, ruining his vegetables, vexing their mother and filling the rooms under the hill with squeals, cries and dirty feetprints. His life with Rose stretched out before him, many years of peace and contentment. And he smiled. That is how it will always be here at Bag End, all safe within these walls: his children, his wife, and Mr. Frodo, too.
Pans clanged out in the kitchen and Sam smiled as he envisioned Rose rummaging through unfamiliar cabinets naked as the day she was born, (good thing Mr. Frodo left for Buckland early!). That old feeling of doubt crept back into Sam when he remembered what she was rummaging for. Maybe I should have started at 1. What if I’m not up to 179? The sound of singing floated down Bag End’s halls and caressed Sam’s fears, and his body recalled 42 and what Rosie had done for him. He was certainly up for 179 now. He jumped back into bed. Quickly.
His face melted into a dirty grin as he heard the door open, and he knew his lessons were about to begin. She entered the room, the dancing flame of the candle she carried sent finger-like shadows across her bare skin. I vow right here and now to be a good student. Setting the candle down, light illuminating the bed in its hot glow, she instructed her husband to hold out his hands. Good, yes, but not too good. Might need hours of practice. The rope was pulled taut. Many hours of practice.
It didn’t matter, though; they had all the time in the world.
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.