131. Epilogue - May 1448
She had never meant for it to happen, but she would never doubt following her heart. On the night of her wedding, curled in the little bed at Crickhollow, all the joy and love of life came to the surface. She tried to fight it, so as not to startle her dozing husband, but in the end the laughter won.
“My Lady?” He rolled over to look at her. “It really doesn’t do much for my ego when you laugh afterwards.”
She laughed again and rolled over to face him. She kissed him tenderly. “I’m just very happy.” She was here with the one she loved and down the road at Brandy Hall her children--all of her children--were celebrating their marriage. No wedding gift was more precious than Théodwyn arriving with the rest of her family. They had settled many things between them on her trip to Gondor, but Wyn had still been unhappy about her betrothal to Merry and the fact her mother would be staying in The Shire. Wyn’s change of heart had come from Eomer, who had written to his new step-sister in the fall. Neither revealed what was written in the letter, but Éowyn didn’t care. It had worked and Wyn was here and seemingly happy for them.
She gave a contented sigh and reached out to touch Merry’s face. “It seems so strange,” she said, “how far we’ve come to be here. It all started back in that little tent in a battle camp. I was in despair and you were there for me. Just one decision that gave us Ivy and brought us to this moment.”
He smiled at her. “She really was the best thing to ever happen to us, wasn’t she?”
Éowyn smiled. “I can’t imagine my life without her.”
“I can’t imagine any of our lives without her.” Merry sighed. “I may never have noticed Estella if she hadn’t come to see Ivy at Sam’s wedding. Pippin may still be miserable with Diamond or dead from drinking. She even managed to get some smiles and laughter out of Frodo when he was in his dark moods. She brought us all joy.”
She drew her hand down his cheek, to touch the smile on his lips. “I’m glad. I sometimes regretted my decision to give her up, but knowing what she meant to you and Pippin and Estella, and seeing what happiness she has found with Pippin, I know in my heart it was right.”
He took her hand, entwining their fingers.”I’m grateful to you for giving her to me. Like her mother, she makes me feel alive.”
She kissed him then, deeply and passionately.
“I love you, Meriadoc Brandybuck.”
“I love you, Éowyn Brandybuck.”
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