Threshold: 14. The Fire Upon the Hearth, Pt. II

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14. The Fire Upon the Hearth, Pt. II

Chapter 11 – The Fire Upon the Hearth

Part Two

* * *

Frodo did not understand why, but suddenly it seemed as if the locked chamber of Rosamunda’s heart had opened before him, as though someone had struck the chains from a box long bound shut.

“Oh, Frodo,” she cried, with a face so naked Frodo almost could not look at it, fearing it would disappear. But it did not, and words poured forth.

“I love you so much, I can scarcely draw breath! I love you as I have loved no one else – not my parents, not Odovacar – Heaven help me, not even my children!”

Having confessed, she buried her face in his shoulder, struggling not to weep.

Frodo could find nothing to say, and, for the moment, merely held her.

While her declaration gratified him deeply, he admitted to himself that he was taken aback. Had his own mother loved his father better than he? Until Rosamunda had spoken, he always had assumed his mother had loved him best. Perhaps he had been wrong. Perhaps every man and woman loved each other best, even his parents. Well, he could never know. He let his misgivings go.

Eagerly, then, he asked, “Rosa, do you mean it?” But he had taken too long to respond; she was beginning to pull away.

“You are shocked,” she said, averting her eyes. Withdrawing herself from his embrace, she sat back on her heels. Then, looking him in the eye, she answered.

“Yes, I do mean it, Frodo. But, remember, I am speaking of my inclinations, my feelings – not my actions.” Before she continued, she fixed him with a steelier look.

“Know this, Frodo. If the day should come when I must choose between your good and that of Freddy and Estella, I will choose theirs. Their good is my first charge. But,” she said more softly, “if I were to consult my heart alone, I would choose you.”

She looked away again and murmured, “I suppose it is rather wicked of me to feel as I do. Learning this about myself, and telling you of it, has been the most difficult part of all.”

Frodo also sat back on his heels. What she had said was so marvellous, Frodo still could not take it in. Her confession did frighten him a little, but he did not want her to regret her frankness – not after he had implored her for it. He had been shocked, it was true, but as the import of her answer had begun to sink in, he realised it thrilled him. To be loved best! – best in all the world!

He leaned towards her then and, touching the side of her throat, sought to draw her eyes. With soft deliberateness, he pressed his lips to hers as he might impress soft wax on the back of a letter, to seal it. He wanted it to matter.

“I asked if you loved me, Rosa,” he said. “And you have confessed to me a love greater than any I had dared hope for.”

“Then…you are not repelled?” she asked.

Frodo laughed aloud at the absurdity of it. Pulling her up, he clasped her to him, squeezing her, as if he might squeeze out every vestige of doubt.

“Ah, Rosa,” he cried, nearly pulling her off balance. Had they been standing he would have swung her round and round with shouts of exultation.

“Repelled? I am so happy I feel as though I could run to Bree and back, telling everyone along the way!”

He quieted then, as a trace of sadness touched him; Rosamunda noticed, he could see.

“There is no darkness in my happiness, Rosa, truly,” he reassured her. Stroking her cheek with his thumb, he looked at her intently, so that she might see the truth of it in his eyes. “I regret nothing. Except – Except that I wish everyone could know of our joy.”

“Oh, Frodo,” she sighed. He could see her eyes sparkle as tears began to gather, but Frodo had no wish to see her tears, lest they prove contagious.

“Come, Rosa, sit by me,” he said, sliding across the carpet to sit against the front of the settee, his legs stretched out in front of him. Rosamunda gathered up the hem of her nightdress and followed, covering the distance on her knees. Leaning her shoulder blade against a seat cushion, she settled herself slightly turned towards him, sitting upon one hip, with her feet tucked up beside her.

Half-reclining, Frodo looked up and watched her as the firelight flickered over her face, the crackling sparks reflected in her dark eyes. He lifted his hand and trailed the back of it across her cheek, to feel its softness.

Rosamunda took his hand, turned it over and kissed the palm. Frodo returned the gesture by seizing her hand and bestowing upon it a tender kiss that made her sigh; but then he blew against it with a comical noise, making her laugh.

“Frodo, you are not being very lover-like,” Rosamunda chuckled, all of her tears gone.

Pressing her hand to his chest, Frodo cried, “Oh, Rosa, I don’t mean to be silly, but I can’t seem to help it. I am so happy.” Having said this he grinned, and, rolling onto his side, reached his arms around her hips and buried his face in her lap.

“Mmmm …” he droned into her belly, dropping his pitch in steps until the vibrating hum made her giggle. She told him to stop and called him very silly, but her peals of laughter told him she was delighted.

A hitch in her breath put a stop to her laughter, however, when he dropped his face down to the plump V at the top of her thighs and began to intone his hum there. Under his hands, he felt the muscles of her hips begin to tighten as he changed his “Mmmm” to breathy mouthings. Although wordless, they conveyed much as he nuzzled her through the thin cloth. He felt her fingers slipping into his curls as she bent to kiss the back of his head, but as she did, her loose hair tumbled down upon him, streaming over his shoulders and back. It tickled in a delicious sort of way that made him shiver and giggle at the same time.

Turning to look up at her, Frodo was struck silent by the sight of her face. Shadowed by the curtain of her hair, her eyes seemed to gleam with desire. She swung it back over her shoulders and their eyes locked; then he pulled her down for a kiss. It spilled forward again and Rosamunda sat back up.

Blowing a few strands out of his face, Frodo scrambled onto his knees and sat back on his heels. Turning his hands palm outwards, he slid the backs of his fingers along the softness of her cheeks, lifting aside the shining waves, until he touched her ears. Leaning closer, he brushed her lips with a kiss. Then, turning his palms towards her face, he lifted her hair away, exposing her ears, letting the silky mass of it stream over the backs of his hands and wrists like a rippling veil.

“When your hair is down, Rosa,” he said, his voice hushed as he trailed little kisses along the line of her jaw, first on one side, then the other, gliding the side of his face over the shells of her ears, “it makes the places underneath seem secret – like a willow hanging over a river makes a secret place below its trailing leaves. Once you slip inside, you are completely hidden. No one can see. Sometimes I feel like that when I come here, Rosa. It’s like secret place where I can go, hidden from every other eye. Not just the cottage, but you, yourself.”

Rosamunda had become very supple and breathless under the spell of his lips and voice, and when she pulled away to look at him, her gaze was exceedingly tender. But she gave herself a little shake and, smiling, said with a soft chuckle, “I am to be your willow, now? This afternoon I was your cherry tree. What sort of tree will you be for me, Frodo – or do you merely plan to fell me?”

Frodo could feel the heat coming off her body as, rising up on his knees, he drew her lightly to him.

“Why, I am a tree for you, already, Rosa,” he said with a chuckle of his own. “Can you not tell?”

With a decisive tug, he pulled her close. A little gasp and an appreciative squirm told him that she could tell. “But,” he added with a smile, “I plan to fell you, even so.”

“Shall you?” she said, smiling back at him very saucily, merriment mixing with her passion.

But her voice was low and stirring when she asked him, “Do you plan to fell me here on the floor, or properly, in a bed?”

Frodo laughed, but then he said more seriously, “If you were asking me in earnest, Rosa, I should say, here. That is what I should like. Here, by the fire. It is so beautiful – and you are beautiful in its light.”

But, with a resigned smile he sighed, saying, “Yet, I well know it, Rosa – you hate the floor.”

Rosamunda got up and, taking the coverlet from the settee, spread it over the rug. The edge of it landed over one of Frodo’s knees. She straightened the corners and, when she was finished, stood before the fire. Looking from the coverlet to Frodo, her eyes became very luminous. Softly she declared, “For you, Frodo, I am making an exception.”

Frodo felt he must be gaping as she stood before him, the fire partly behind her. She was shapely and tall in her plain summer nightgown, its fabric gauzy from the light. Her hair made a glowing nimbus around her shoulders and arms, its edges traced with gold. Under his gaze, her playful smile began to melt; her lips parted and her eyes grew black as jet. Although Frodo knew the look of Rosamunda’s desire, the look he saw now seized and held him, for not only desire, but love was there, love unconcealed. He adored her.

In that moment, Frodo was on his feet. Poised and expectant, every nerve a-tingle, he stood across from her before the fire, the hearth between them. He still wore his towel and she her nightdress, but he felt suddenly shy. Staring at her toes where they peeked out from under the hem of her nightdress, he wondered if Rosamunda felt this way, too. He glanced up; she glanced away. They both blushed.

“Isn’t it silly, Frodo?” she said with an embarrassed grin, squeezing her hands together in a tight little clasp. “I feel as though we have never done this before – I almost feel afraid. Not afraid of you, of course, but afraid of … Oh, I don’t know.”

Frodo smiled his relief.

“That is just how I feel, Rosa!” he exclaimed. He had taken a step towards her when a new thought came to him.

“Yet, perhaps, it is right to feel a little frightened – even awed – wouldn’t you agree?” Reaching out, he touched her waist through the filmy muslin. He felt a tremor run up through his fingers. Was it his or hers? He took another step.

“In a way,” he said, working out his thoughts, “We haven’t done this before – not precisely. This time, we shall know that we love each other.”

Frodo took the last step and stood before her.

“Surely,” he whispered near her cheek, “Surely, that is a very great difference.” The beauty of the realisation pierced him.

Rosamunda stepped into his arms and lightly she moulded herself to Frodo’s body as he moulded himself to hers. Their lifted arms did not embrace as much as they danced, moving over and around the body of the other, not clasping or squeezing, but urging tender compliance from the other with a touch – a press – an inclination of the head or a breath upon the skin in the saying of a name or in whispered words of love.

Frodo felt as though he were floating, suspended in the warmth that emanated from Rosamunda’s hands and arms as they moved all over and around him. Soft and light, the insides of her wrists and the tips of her fingers, as they passed over his ears and through his hair, made a sound in his head like the hems of skirts sweeping over grass. Suddenly, a vision of green banks stretching from the Brandywine river up to the feet of Brandy Hall blossomed in Frodo’s mind, and he saw lawns dappled with sun streaming through the leaves of great trees.

“Oh, Rosa!” he cried. His words were more a trembling sigh than speech as, in his hands, he turned her head this way and that, her tension gone, rolling the back of it along his fingertips and palms, as if merely for the pleasure of feeling its weight and shape through the silky cushion of her hair.

“Rosa,” he murmured, “Is this really happening?”

“Yes,” she said. Lifting her head, she let her lips brush along his cheek until she reached his ear. “Oh, yes,” she whispered. “This is really happening, my love.”

My love.

Tears sprang to Frodo’s eyes. How long he had waited to hear her call him that! He thought his chest would burst from the happiness that swelled his heart at those words. Yet, unaccountably, he did not wish her to see his tears.

Turning to the hearth he said, “The fire needs tending or it won’t last.” Risking a glance at her he smiled to say, “We shall need another hour’s light at least. I won’t be a moment.” He gave her hand a squeeze and went into the kitchen.

Frodo was as good as his word and when he returned Rosa was still standing where he had left her, a dreamy smile upon her face. She watched as he crouched down to lay on another armful of sticks. Standing up, Frodo brushed his hands together then wiped them over the towelling on his thighs.

Then, standing, he looked at her and she at him. Frodo smiled a little sheepishly and Rosamunda giggled. But her eyes remained trained upon his movements, just as his were upon hers. Each seemed to be waiting for the other to act.

Finally, Rosamunda reached for the hem of her nightdress and Frodo reached for the overlapping ends of his towel. Together they disrobed.

“Oh!” they breathed at the sight of each other. The fire blazed up as the fresh sticks kindled. Then, in a harmony of mutual inclination, they moved together, looking; reaching; touching.

Rosamunda’s eyes were very bright as she almost crooned, “Oh, Frodo, how beautiful you are to me!” As she spoke she ran her hands and eyes all over him, but more with wonder than as if to titillate. “I hardly can believe you have been given to me.”

“But I have been, Rosa.” Frodo’s voice sounded husky to his own ears, but the gratification her words brought to him was intense, it made it difficult for him to speak. “I am yours, completely.”

“Come,” he said, pulling her down to sit with him upon the rug. “Come and sit with me again before the fire.”

Frodo’s breaths came quicker as she settled beside him. Together, they watched as the flames on the hearth licked up and swirled about like golden tongues.

Swallowing, Frodo said, “You wanted to before, but I prevented you. Take me now, Rosa, here before the fire.”

Leaning back against the front of the settee, Frodo made a space for her and watched as she knelt between his legs. Delicately she tugged his knees, urging him closer to where she knelt. He slid his shoulders a bit farther down the front of the settee and his heart began to throb higher in his chest. Rosamunda shifted her knees slightly and, placing her hands upon the floor on either side of him, she leaned forward, her full breasts swinging slightly, just at the level of his eyes. His legs trembled, and every sinew was tensed with anticipation as, taking a few deep breaths, he struggled to master his excitement.

She kissed his lips and said, “I have thought of having you this way much of the night, my love.” Dropping a kiss over his heart, she leaned into her hands and bent her head, letting her hair spill over his belly and thighs. He was about to gasp but Rosamunda was already upon him, swift and sure. Like the sheathing of a knife, she took him in one smooth stroke.

Every other thought was obliterated as Frodo felt himself borne upon white-tipped crests of pleasure. He watched her through the aperture in hair where it swept over him. Each time her lips nuzzled into the dark curls of his lap, he heard himself groan, arching his head back into the seat cushions behind him. He felt as though his entire body might shoot right through the cottage roof, so intense was the sensation. To anchor himself, he threw his arms back over his head to clutch the settee behind him. He might have clutched Rosamunda, but she did not like to be hindered when giving him pleasure, preferring to be free to move about. He watched as she moved about, pivoting on her hands and knees as she pressed into the floor and used her whole body, her head and shoulders shifting and dipping in their dance, then pausing to hover, then gliding down again. Not just her shoulders, but her back and hips were as fluid and sinuous as a snake’s as she surrendered herself to her task.

Ah, the glory of her hot, wet mouth to deliver such bliss – and such torment. With her teeth and tongue she would drag him along a razor’s edge of pleasure that sent needles of heat pricking him everywhere, until he thought he could not bear it another second. Then, in the nick of time, she would soothe it all away, holding him close and warm inside her mouth in a languid sort of way, stroking him with the flat of her tongue as one might stroke the flank of a skittish colt. But no sooner had she settled him, she began lashing him into a new frenzy until he was driven nearly mad. How he loved it! But it was difficult not to wrest control away. Frodo clenched his teeth, trying hard to suppress his answering movements, but finally need drove him. The almost imperceptible lifts of his hips became thrusts, and soon he was commandeering the tempo.

“Frodo!” Rosamunda panted, laughing, “You are being a nuisance and throwing me off!”

In spite of the hiatus in his pleasure, Frodo laughed, too. But then, with a growl that was only mock-comic, he pulled her to him for a kiss.

“Come here,” he said, rather gruffly, pinning her sides between his knees and squeezing her tight, and he poured his pent-up zeal into his kiss.

When he had released her from it, Rosamunda was gasping. Letting her head drop back, she offered him her throat. But Frodo was beyond the kissing of throats; he seized her hips and was hoisting her up when Rosamunda, still breathless, wriggled free.

“On the settee, Frodo,” she panted, reaching past him and giving its cushions a pat, “You will see – It’s better.”

Frodo was not prepared to argue and pushed himself up onto the seat, sliding back against the cushions, but Rosamunda scrambled up and gave him a tug. “Come forward,” she said.

As he brought his hips closer to the front of the seat, Frodo said without thinking, “You’ve done this on here before, with Odovacar?”

He could have struck himself.

But Rosamunda was unperturbed. Holding onto his shoulders for balance she straddled his lap, knelt on the cushions and settled herself across his thighs.

“Not on this settee, silly. We used the one at Shady Bank. This settee is quite untouched by anyone else – unless my parents used it years ago,” she giggled.

Rosamunda’s mirth evaporated as soon as she had said this. Gazing past him, then, she seemed to see other places and other times. After a moment, with a trace of sadness she said, “I would love to think my parents really had made love upon it. They cared for each other very much, you know,” she said. Her eyes glistened. “Perhaps as I much as I care for you.”

Frodo was moved but he said nothing, only looking at her, listening.

She slipped a hand behind his neck and, with the other, absently traced the contours of his face, as if she were thinking. Then, twining her arms around his waist she nosed his curls aside to brush the tip of his ear with her lips. As she hovered there, Frodo could hear and feel her light breaths, but suddenly she squeezed him tight, and whispered fervently, “This settee is for you, Frodo. Just as I am for you. For you alone. There will never be another.”

Frodo could scarcely breathe, but returned her embrace with fierce joy, burying his face in her neck as he murmured her name. Then, squeezing her more tightly around the waist, he pressed his face against her breasts and began to kiss them passionately. Rosamunda winced.

Frodo relaxed his hold at once, unsure.


“It is nothing,” she said with an apologetic smile. “My menses are due. Overdue, actually. My breasts become a bit tender. But they always do at my time of the month – or whenever I have been pregnant.”

Frodo was silent for a moment then slowly began to scatter feathery kisses over her breasts, making her chuckle. But all the while, he was wondering whether or not to speak.

At last looked at her and said, “Do you think you might be, Rosa – pregnant?”

Rosamunda did not answer at first, but with a wistful smile she said, “I do not think so, Frodo. No, I am sure not. I don’t think I am able to conceive any longer, not since Estella.”

Seeing the wondering look on his face, she hesitated but then went on.

“Freddy came at one, but I was very young, then, just come of age.”

She leaned back to look at him better then said, musing, “Do you know, when Freddy was born I was not even two years older than you are now? And now he is twenty, already a tween. And you, Frodo,” she said, looking at him with an appraising smile, “You are quite grown up.”

Her comment had the opposite effect from what he might have expected, for it made him feel extremely young. Afraid he might begin to blush, he asked, “Did something happen because of Estella?”

“Oh, no,” she replied. “But Estella did not come for nearly five years. Still, we were not terribly worried, since I was so young. There seemed plenty of time.”

“Just after she was born, I conceived again. But when I was just a few months along, I caught a fever. It was not of long duration, but severe.”

“I don’t remember this at all,” Frodo said, knitting his brow.

Rosamunda smoothed her fingers over his forehead, as if she might smooth the thoughts behind it.

“You were not even a tween then, Frodo,” she smiled. “You would not have been told. And no children were allowed to come near, in case of contagion – not from the Hall or from Budgeford. Pansy took Freddy and Estella to stay with her, while Odovacar stayed and nursed me.”

At the mention of Odovacar, Frodo did not chafe at all. He felt only gratitude that someone had been there to care for Rosamunda.

“I recovered quickly,” she said, continuing. But then her expression darkened. “One day, soon after, I was standing in the kitchen at Shady Bank, preparing our tea. I remember feeling hot then faint. I held onto the sideboard. There were pains. Then there was blood. It gushed down my legs and onto the floor.”

Her voice was only a whisper when she looked at him and said, “I knew at once the baby was lost.”

“Oh …” Frodo could think of nothing else to say, but he tightened his arms, which had been loosely draped around her hips.

“It frightened me, of course,” she went on. “But it frightened Odovacar even more, I think. He wouldn’t come near our bed for months.” She smiled apologetically, but averted her eyes to say, “I am afraid I had to beg him.”

“Rosa, my Rosa,” Frodo murmured, forgetting all of his jealousy, as he nuzzled her cheek with the side of his forehead.

Rosamunda had been twining Frodo’s curls around her fingers as she spoke, but stopped. “We never did tell my father,” she said. “He would have worried terribly, had he known.”

Placing her hands on his chest she looked at him before she said, “You see, my mother died that way. Had you known that?”

Frodo had not known. Rosamunda’s mother had died before he was born, although he had met her father several times in Tookland. Very tall he was, and gaunt, for a hobbit. “Sigismond the Melancholy,” he was called, though not to his face. Frodo had only heard of her mother when he was a child in Buckland, as the youngest sister of Merry’s grandmother, Menegilda Goold. Folk said she had died young in some sad way.

“No, Rosa, I didn’t know. Did she miscarry?”

“Yes, but many times. After my brother was born, she conceived right away, and then again, almost every year. But always it ended in blood, or with babies too tiny to live. And each time she became a little bit weaker. They tried to stay away from each other, but neither of my parents could bear to be apart. I suppose I have turned out the same way.”

She said it as if it were a joke, rolling her eyes, but her smile was bitter. It hurt Frodo to see it.

“The last time she was with child their hopes were very great, for she had carried the baby almost to the end. But it came too soon and the baby was lost. My mother died in the morning.”

Frodo could think of nothing to say as he watched her tears beginning to brim. Helplessly, he watched as they spilled down her cheeks. But though he could not speak, he could act, and he kissed her, wiping her tears away with his hands.

Rosamunda seized his hands and pressed them tightly to her cheeks. She smiled her thanks but she kept his hands, holding them clasped in hers as she went on.

“The baby was fully-formed,” she told him in a hushed voice. “I was permitted to see it when they laid them out together – afterwards – it was a baby girl. It looked just like her, Auntie Gilda said.”

When Rosamunda had recovered herself, she said, “The year before he died, my father told me what my mother had said to him. She had told him, ‘Even had I known, I would not have done any differently.’ That helped him, he said, through the years, knowing that. And he did try for our sakes to be happy again....”

Her voice trailed away as she gazed at their joined hands. “He tried, but he was always melancholy after that.”

Rosamunda dried the last of her tears on the backs of her hands and gave a little sniff.

“Anyway,” she concluded, “After that time at Shady Bank, I never conceived again. I thought Odovacar would be terribly disappointed but he never spoke of it. I believe he was secretly relieved. He would rather have had me, I think, than another child.”

At first, Frodo had no words; the thought of Rosamunda having died before he ever had loved her was too terrible.

But when he spoke, he lifted his eyes to hers and said, “I would rather have had you, too, Rosa.”

Rosamunda took him in her arms and pressed his face against her neck as, tenderly, she stroked his tangled mat of curls.

“How very dear you are,” she murmured, kissing his hair.

Then, holding him away, she said, “I am sorry I grieved you with sad stories. Such tales should not have been spoken of, not tonight. It was bad of me. Always I am too ready to dwell upon death and endings…. But,” she said, producing a brave smile, “I will change.”

“Do not be sorry you told me these things, Rosa,” Frodo told her earnestly. “I am glad you did, even though they were sad.”

They held each other for a few moments. Then Rosamunda released him from her close embrace, telling him with a smile, “You comfort me, Frodo.” More gravely, she said, “I do not always grieve like this. But, now that I love again, love has made my heart open. And it is open to everything, I fear – to what is joyful as well as sad. Yet, I am willing to have the sadness, if it means having the joy. My parents did not regret their love, although it ended in sorrow. I shall try to do the same.”

Frodo smiled, but traces of sadness must have lingered in his eyes, for Rosamunda twined her arms about his neck and gazed into his eyes. With a warm smile she said, “Come, love. Come and give me your sweetest kiss.”

Wrapping his arms around her waist, Frodo held her close, thinking of what she had told him. Except when they were making love, he always had thought of Rosamunda as everything steady and calm. She had a quiet strength he felt he could rest in. Seeing her laid bare had shaken him at first, but now he felt that his love had only been deepened by it. That she should trust him enough to tell him such things made him feel honoured. He felt enlarged, too; as if, by letting herself appear vulnerable before him, she had let him be the stronger. And he felt stronger – and older, too. She would not have told such things to a child, only to another adult. She had told these things to him. His satisfaction in this was very great.

But her present mood was volatile, he could see. While her sensibilities were still so raw, Frodo determined to deal with her with greater tenderness. He would kiss her as she had asked. He would kiss her very sweetly indeed.

Therefore, he waited until her mouth was drawn to his before he sought to kiss it. Then, as a courtier might rap upon his lover’s chamber door, he let just the tip of his tongue bid her open to him. Once admitted, he did her courtesies. With a flick and swirl he flourished his warm silk with delicacy, elegantly sweeping it across the chamber of her mouth. When he had made his manners, Rosamunda returned him every courtesy.

Receiving them, Frodo found he had been parched for want of her kisses. So engrossed had he become in their solemn conversation, he had been unaware of the diminished state of his excitement. But now, drinking deeply from her succulent kiss he felt himself refreshed. And, just as water is drawn through the roots of a plum to spread throughout the tree, swelling the fruit, so desire began to course through Frodo’s veins to every part. All through him it pumped and flowed, finding its way to gather, until he was filled with sweet juice and almost ready to pluck.

Still seated upon his lap, her legs astraddle his thighs, Rosamunda leaned in closer, angling her head in order to kiss him the way she wished. To reach his ears, she moved closer still upon his lap until she was very close, so close that Frodo felt his aroused self bobbing against his belly, her body nudging his.

She must have felt it too, for, making a little sound of surprised delight, she rose to her knees and softly pressed herself upon him. Her hair tickled where it touched and he giggled. Rosamunda smiled. She kissed him again but, with undulating movements, she began to insinuate herself around him, curling her hips until he was nestled between her inner lips. Frodo’s head dropped back upon his neck at the feel of moist, silky warmth around him, as if she were offering him her most intimate kiss.

Then, slowly, she began to move herself over him, slick and sultry, but with maddening lightness. Breaking off their kiss, tormented, Frodo grasped her hips and pulled her closer but, trapped in his sitting position, he could not move the way he would like. But he was not without means. He could, by clenching the muscles of his buttocks, move himself up while he pulled her down, thereby sliding up in such a way that she whimpered and dropped her face against his neck. Giving him a look that promised better cooperation, she pressed more firmly, moving against him in slithery ups-and-downs until she was moaning and Frodo was nearly senseless. Past speech, Frodo seized her in order bring her down upon him, but Rosamunda did not comply.

“Wait,” she panted, and, stumbling off his lap, she caught his arms to keep her balance. Frodo gave a grunt of dissatisfied surprise. Nonplussed, he was about to protest, but Rosamunda was already climbing up onto the seat of the settee, using his shoulders for support. She planted a foot on either side of him and straightened up. He grabbed her knees when it seemed that she might tipple, for the settee’s cushions were soft.

Preparing to demand an explanation, Frodo looked up, but the sight of Rosamunda silenced him. Towering above him, she was utterly gorgeous in her nakedness – and mysterious – her face and body cast into shadow, its edges gilded by the firelight. Her hair wafted all around her in shimmering, floating trails in the shifting light, and she looked to him like no hobbit in Middle-earth. She made him think of a Woman from a tale of old, one of Bilbo’s stories of the ancient days from the time when the daughters of Men ran naked through primeval woods under the moon and stars. He thought her magnificent.

Looking down at him, Rosamunda explained, very exhilarated, “I don’t like it, kneeling. I can’t move properly.” She seemed almost giddy and Frodo clasped the backs of her legs again, just in case. With a laugh, she brushed his hands away.

“Here – like this,” she said, her voice very low, and, reaching around to either side of him, she grasped the back of the settee. He caught his breath as, flexing her knees, she came down. Strands of her hair floated up behind her like an airy train as she descended, her legs parting. Frodo was entranced.

There was no time for reverie, however, for she was nearly upon him. At the last moment, however, Rosamunda stopped and hovered, just touching the tip of him.

Frodo tore his eyes away in time to see her smile, very sweetly. But she arched her neck and squeezed her eyes shut as, with a delicate push, she slipped herself onto him, taking him in all the way until their curls meshed, dark with light.

As he watched himself disappear, Frodo gasped, his tremulous, “Oh!” rising up with Rosamunda’s.

She stilled herself, as if to savour the feel of him inside her. Then, with a shift of her hands and feet, she began to move. She pushed herself up and off – almost with a swinging movement – letting herself come back down upon him, each time taking him into her all the way. She seemed to find it wonderfully pleasurable, Frodo thought, as she moved herself upon him at the bottom of each stroke with a grinding motion. The sounds she made were more like cooing than like moans, soft and throaty. Inside, he felt her quivering around him, very hot and wet.

Although Frodo fought to govern himself, it all was proving terribly intense – especially with Rosamunda in command of the act. When he was in control, he realised, he could anticipate what he would feel at every turn, letting him determine from moment to moment what he could do to keep himself from climaxing. But now, the suspense of not knowing what she might do next, combined with the sheer intensity of her actions, made him feel helpless before the onrush of pleasure. He wanted to hold off, but she was so exciting like this, the urge to surrender was great.

For the moment, Frodo resigned himself to his fate and settled for grasping her ankles and trying not to interfere; but it was a trial. If what she was doing to him weren’t bad enough, seeing her do made it even worse. He tried shutting his eyes, but he could not. Rosamunda was right to tease him – he simply had to look. Oh, to see it happening! Frodo thought he should die from the thrill of it. He watched with wonder as he saw himself be swallowed up each time, only to be given back again, undiminished. Not just undiminished, but even more potent. So absorbed had Frodo become in looking, he wasn’t even aware he had splayed his hands against her thighs in order to push them wider apart. But he looked up when he heard her breathy chuckle.

“You are incorrigible, Frodo Baggins,” she laughed.

Only slightly abashed, Frodo grinned back, but thrust up – just to show her.

Rosamunda’s laughter was checked and a low, prolonged moan issued from her instead. As if Frodo had triggered something inside her, she began to move with greater purpose. She pushed off higher and dropped down harder, swinging down upon him with the satisfying inevitability of a blacksmith’s maul upon a tent peg, the blow shivering through them both.

As if inspired, she paused and shifted her feet again. “Come forward more,” she panted.

Frodo slid down lower until his hips were near the edge of the cushions. It must have changed the angle for when Rosamunda came swinging down again, her moans were more like wails. He could tell that she strove to suppress them, but they issued from her high and drawn out like a wild creature being done to death, so great was her pleasure. She was transformed. Wild and strange she looked, but terribly exciting. Her burnished body was covered in sheen, and her head, twisting from side to side or dropping back, tossed the tumbled mass of her hair until it fell all about her. The look on her face was something between rapture and agony and the muscles in her shoulders, arms and neck were tensed and corded; even her full breasts stood out from her chest, the muscles under them clenching as she gripped the back of the couch. The muscles of her thighs bunched and her feet flexed; even her toes gripped the plush fabric of the cushioned seat as she sought to be delivered of her excitement.

He could not last; he knew it. Not with her like this. Seizing her hips, Frodo pushed her off and held her there. Rosamunda, her breaths coming fast, looked at him, dazed; uncomprehending; her eyes like coals with burning points.

“Rosa, please, I cannot bear it,” Frodo gasped. “Not for another second. I shall go off. And I want it to be together, when we do. Especially tonight.”

Rosamunda hestitated but, relaxing, rolled off Frodo’s lap to the side and tumbled onto her back into the corner of the settee. Her legs were half-draped over his and her head was wedged into the corner.

“My neck is getting awfully scrunched,” she giggled, still panting.

Frodo helped her to sit up a little higher.

“I am afraid I got carried away,” she said, but her hot blush did not seem to come from passion. It seemed more like that of a lass who has dropped a plate of cakes in the midst of matrons at a fancy tea.

He couldn’t have that.

Seeking to banish any misgivings she might have, Frodo kissed her mouth with all the art that he possessed; tenderly, winningly; but keeping in check the urge to have her where she lay, before she was ready.

“Come, love,” he said when he had released her from his kiss. Lightly he swivelled himself down off the settee and onto the coverlet-covered floor before it. Not sure what he meant to do, Rosamunda began to follow, but Frodo pressed her shoulders, guiding her to lie back along the little couch.

“I am just at the edge, Rosa,” he said, kneeling beside her where she lay, “Let me bring you there with me, love.”

With a look and a touch, Frodo urged her to open to him. A little smile curved upon her lips but quickly, it spread into the beaming one he most cherished. Deeply happy, Frodo paused to behold her arrayed before him – luxurious, gorgeous and wanton, every inch of her rich and fluid and gleaming like dark honey threaded from a spoon. Her hair spilled everywhere and her arms were flung up over her head. Strong and supple and full of grace she was, all the way to her curling fingertips. Then he let his eyes sweep over her to linger in the shadowed place between her legs. There treasures lay, waiting for him to open them.

“Oh, Rosa,” he said, his voice hushed, “You are beautiful.” Leaning over her, he kissed her, as if greeting each part; first her lips, then each breast, her navel, and then the inner places of her thighs. She shivered under his light kisses and her hips began to move. Already, she craved the feel of him inside her; he knew it. So overpowering was Frodo’s impulse to grant her wish, he pressed himself against the settee, as if he might suppress it physically.

He could not have her yet; he was too needy. But, he could let his fingers do the office.

Inside, Rosamunda was steaming. Her body closed around his fingers as soon as he began to move them. Just the feel of her around his fingers almost tipped Frodo over the edge. He made himself relax, taking deep breaths, so that he might take greater satisfaction in giving her pleasure. He thought of the near-ecstasy he had seen on her face just moments before, when she had been driving herself upon him at the last. That was the look he wanted to see again.

As he slid his fingers in and out, he sought – searching for whatever he had touched before.

That was close, he thought, conjuring up a series of moans. He watched her face as he continued. Then there was another moan, much lower this time. As Rosamunda’s eyelids fluttered, he saw her eyes roll up behind them before she squeezed them shut, her face contorted with extreme pleasure.

Ah, there, he thought.

Frodo plied her then with presses and strokes until he had induced groans so heartfelt, they could no longer be suppressed.

“Oh, Frodo!” she cried wretchedly (giving him profound satisfaction). He watched her so intently she rolled her face away, as if ashamed to feel such pleasure before him. But, however abashed her mind might be, Rosamunda’s body was bold and brazen. She flexed her legs more deeply, and opened to him further, raising her hips as if begging him to do whatever he would.

“Is that good, Rosa?” Frodo asked, sure that it was far more than good, yet he wanted to hear her say it.

“Oh,” she breathed, “It is so lovely, I can’t bear it!”
As if impatient, she began to move herself upon his fingers, and, when he accelerated his pace, she seemed nearly delirious with pleasure. Nevertheless, he sensed she needed something more. He extended his thumb, letting it glide ahead of his delving fingers and, like the prow of a boat parting the waters before it, he let his thumb part her folds. But when the tip of this thumb ran aground against her, she flinched.
Too intense, too rough, he thought. Well, he had something sleeker to offer. He would make amends with his mouth.
“Oh, Frodo,” she sobbed, then, “You will surely kill me!” She grabbed the back of the settee with one hand and clutched a handful of his curls with the other, but this hampered him. She let him go and gripped the arm of the couch behind her instead. Up, up she arched as Frodo quickened his pace with fingers and lips and tongue until she clenched, froze, then writhed in agony, slain at last. Her wild cries took Frodo aback, but looking up he watched her face with awe as the last spasms shook her and hot juices spilled onto his fingers and hand.
At the feel of her throbbing around his fingers, still runny with steamy wet, Frodo knew he must have her and have her at once.
“Come. Come to me, Rosa,” he urged, trying to pull her up, but she was too overcome. Frodo was thinking the little settee would have to do, when Rosamunda revived.
“Oh, Frodo, how wonderful you are!” she cried, throwing her arms about him and pressing grateful kisses into his neck.

Charged with ardent purpose, Frodo was finding a spot for his knee when Rosamunda twisted out from under him, breathless with mirth that seemed bubble up from some font of joy deep within her. Slithering down the front of the settee, she rolled out onto the coverlet at his feet.

“The settee is much too small for us,” she said. Then, stretching herself long and taut, her hands over her head and her toes pointed, she rocked herself slightly from side to side, as if toasting herself before the fire. “Ah,” she sighed with satisfaction, “How lovely it is to stretch out. You must try it!”

Then, raising herself upon her elbows, she looked at Frodo, her eyes luminous and dark. Daintily, she patted the coverlet beside her.

“Come, my love,” she said. “Come and take me here, before the fire. Surely the floor cannot be so very dreadful.”

As she stretched out her arms to him, Frodo was on his feet and, as she parted her legs, he was already upon her. His heart soared to the stars, even as his body descended. Entering in, he felt himself received with love.

“Are you mine, Rosa?” Frodo asked, as he initiated an easy rhythm of slow, penetrating thrusts, making both of them shiver.

“You do not know?” she smiled through a grimace, shifting her feet in order to receive him more deeply.

“Yes. But I love to hear you say it,” he answered, laughing softly as, with his next thrust, he penetrated her at a different angle, making her gasp.

“Of course I am yours, Frodo,” she chuckled breathily. “Have you not made me so?”

Resting on his elbows, Frodo paused. He held her face between his hands as he asked her seriously, “Have I only made you mine, Rosa? I am yours, but I have bound myself to you freely.”

Rosamunda smiled at him, and her eyes and voice were very tender as she answered, “I am yours, Frodo, yours by my own choice. I have given myself to you freely.”

But, as Frodo bent to kiss her, her eyes grew wide and dark. Reaching up, she touched his face; her fingers shook. Her voice faltered as she told him, “I am yours, Frodo, truly. And my happiness is very great. It is just that … such great happiness frightens me. When I think of losing it, I tremble. I love you so.”

Such simple words, Frodo thought, as she pressed her cheek to his. Such simple words; said by other lovers, in other places, and in others times – but never to him. How marvellous it was – and yet how right – how almost inevitable it felt, to be received into her love.

Rosamunda was warm in his arms, and warmer still inside, where her body held him fast. But even as he felt himself enfolded in her warmth, Frodo realised it was only the sign of a secret, greater warmth he couldn’t touch with his body; a warmth of heart which only love had kindled. She was to him like that fire, he thought. Glancing past her arm where it twined about his neck, he looked to where it burned red in the grate. It burned low and steady but when it was stirred – when a brand or two was laid upon it – up it blazed until it was a furnace.

As Frodo thrust himself more deeply into her warmth, he felt her blazing up around him – blazing up with love. Love for him. And within himself, Frodo felt as if he were uncurling, opening up and stretching out to bask in the heat of that love, like a dog before the hearth. Yes, like a hearth.

“Rosa,” Frodo murmured, not stopping what he was doing but savouring the feel of her around him, luxuriating in her blessed heat.

“Rosa,” he said again.

The eyes that looked back at him burned with love and he kissed her face, making every kiss a pledge, which she accepted. Joy surged through him – joy so great it gave his pleasure an edge of pain. He struggled to keep it back as he strove to speak.

“Do not be afraid of the future, Rosa,” he said, letting his voice soothe her like a cool hand smoothed over the brow of a feverish child.

“You have let me into your heart, the place where I have longed to be. You are home to me now, and I shall never leave it.”

* * *

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.

Story Information

Author: mechtild

Status: General

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 3rd Age - The Stewards

Genre: Drama

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 07/21/06

Original Post: 07/10/04

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