52. Chapter 51 - June 1432
There was a giggle beside her and she smacked Theo on the head.
“Quiet!” she whispered harshly, still watching the patio. Soon the door opened and her victim appeared. Ivy grinned and turned to her brothers. “Ready?” she asked.
Theo and Eomer raced out from behind the tree, yelling and chasing each other. Ivy calmly followed behind them, keeping her eyes on the patio. Diamond had settled into a chair, distancing herself from the cheerful guests in the garden. She had a sour look on her face and looked determined to not enjoy one moment of her husband’s birthday party.
Ivy made a wide arc to walk behind her, skirting the hedges to avoid notice. Theo and Eomer, on the other hand, raced right towards Diamond. When they reached her chair, Eomer pushed Theo into her.
Diamond screeched and stood up, knocking Theo to the ground. Eomer pounced on his brother again. “You little monsters! Watch where you’re going!”
Diamond continued to yell at the brothers, who were now wrestling at her feet. Ivy eyed the crowd. The guests who had noticed the commotion were distracted by her brothers’ antics. Ivy stepped up behind the hedge near Diamond’s chair and reached around to quickly poured the small vial of peppermint oil into the glass of lemonade sitting on the small table. She slipped the empty vial back in her pocket and hurried around to where her brothers were rolling on the ground.
“Boys!” she yelled. They were still wrestling and giggling, obviously having fun. Ivy looked at Diamond. “I’m sorry, Diamond, they got away from me,” she said sweetly. “I’ll take care of them.” She reached down and grabbed each brother by an ear. They stopped their wrestling and scrambled apart. Although she was barely holding them, they howled like she was murdering them. Her brothers were quite good actors.
Diamond muttered something about ‘Brandybuck brats’ and glared at them. Ivy ‘dragged’ her brothers away, giving the other guests the exasperated look of a sweet hobbit lass burdened with caring for unruly siblings. Once out of sight on the other side of the rosebushes, she released them.
“That was fun!” Eomer giggled.
“Says you,” said Theo. “I had to land on the old cow.” He sniffed the sleeve of his shirt. “I smell like her nasty perfume now.” He made a face of disgust.
Ivy reached into the pocket of her skirt and pulled out the cookies she had swiped from the kitchen. “No telling anyone, right?” she asked. They nodded. She held out the cookies. Her brothers grabbed their reward and ran.
She turned and made her way closer to the patio so she could watch, careful to stay behind the bushes. Diamond had settled back into her chair, smoothing her skirt and grumbling to herself. Then she picked up her lemonade.
Ivy thought her lip was going to bleed, she was biting it so hard to stop from laughing. Diamond was screeching and sputtering and coughing and making a huge scene. Pippin’s sister Pearl was the only one brave enough to go see what the trouble was.
Ivy giggled and turned to leave, her goal accomplished, only to walk right into Uncle Pippin. He was scowling. She wondered how long he’d been standing behind her.
“Do you know anything about that?” he asked.
Ivy put on her most innocent face. “No, Uncle Pippin, I don’t.”
He narrowed his eyes and bent down to look at her, their noses just inches apart. Ivy had to work very hard at keeping her face blank as his green eyes studied her. Inside, she was screeching with laughter.
He finally straightened, still glaring at her. “You really need to work on your lying, Miss Ivy. Your expression is nice and bland, but your eyes give you away.”
She didn’t say anything. No matter what, she was going to maintain her innocence. Isn’t that what Uncle Pippin had taught her when she was little and they were stealing pastries from the kitchen? They stared at each other a moment more, then he turned and walked away.
Ivy sighed. So that didn’t work out as planned. He apparently wasn’t amused. But at least it looked like he wasn’t going to punish her.
She saw the Gamgees had arrived and smiled. Elanor would get a laugh out of her prank. Elanor didn’t like Diamond either, as Diamond always made it quite clear what she thought of the future Thain being friends with hobbits from the lower classes. Ivy started to make her way towards the Gamgees but stopped when she heard laughter coming from one of the arbors. It was her dad and Uncle Pippin.
“Are you sure you never told her about it?” Uncle Pippin said.
“No! I never tell them anything! Do you think I want my own tricks used against me?”
“You should have seen it, Merry. It was brilliant! I knew they were up to something when I saw them hiding behind that tree! It was the exact same prank Frodo got us to play on old Lobelia! Frodo would have been so proud of her, Merry! The boys were brilliant, too.” There was a pause. “I wonder if she pays better than Frodo did?” They both laughed.
Her father caught his breath. “Seriously though, Pip, did you yell at her?”
“Kind of. I let her know I knew it was her. You have no idea how hard it was to keep a serious face! But I couldn’t bring myself to punish her.”
“Pippin, you can’t let them get away with things like that.” Her father snorted. “Even if it was brilliant.” Pippin joined in his laughter.
Ivy grinned and walked away to find Elanor. Happy Birthday, Uncle Pippin.
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.