32. Chapter 32
“I don’t feel so good.” Theo leaned forward in his chair, hand pressed to his churning stomach.
“It’s just nerves.” Frodo patted him on the back. “Trust me. I know.”
Theo nodded. He hadn’t expected to feel like this today. He had been looking forward to marrying Rose, right? But now that the day was here, he was nervous and scared. Was he having second thoughts?
“It’s all right to feel nervous,” Frodo said. “It’s a big day for you after all. A lot of responsibility to take on, starting a family. It doesn’t mean anything if you’re a bit scared. It happens to all hobbits.”
Theo looked up at Frodo in amazement. “Since when have you become a mind reader?”
Frodo snorted. “Since you are so easy to read, Theoden. You get that look on your face and I know exactly what you’re thinking.”
“Right.” Theo hunched over again. All right, so maybe every groom got a bit nervous. He didn’t think it would be this bad, though.
“Here, drink this.” Eomer stuck a mug of ale under his nose. “You need to relax.” Theo gave him a weak smile of gratitude and downed the ale. It did settle his stomach some.
“Not too much, though,” Fari said from where he was lazing on Theo’s bed. “You don’t want to throw up during the ceremony.”
“Fari!” Eomer and Frodo yelled, glaring at Fari.
“What? I’m just saying that if he drinks too much, he might--” Eomer pounced on him and the two wrestled around on the bed, Eomer trying to put a pillow over Fari’s face. Theo was glad Eomer had stopped him, because he didn’t need to be reminded of what could go wrong. Like throwing up on Rose. Or Pippin, who would be performing the ceremony. Or both of them.
He was pulled out of his terrifying thoughts by his door opening. Ivy rushed in, carrying his waistcoat. “There you go, all mended,” she said. She handed the waistcoat to Frodo. “Why don’t you help him this time, Frodo. We really don’t have time to reattach any more buttons.” She gave Theo a kiss on the cheek and turned to leave. She glanced over at the bed. “Eomer, stop trying to smother Fari. It’s nearly time to start.” Then she was out the door again.
Theo let Frodo help him into his waistcoat and jacket. Before long, his dad was at the door. “You ready to go, Theo?” his father asked.
He took a deep breath and nodded.
Theo managed to make it through the ceremony without throwing up on his bride, the Thain or anyone else. A traditional hobbit ceremony was quick--nothing like Ivy’s part-Rohirric wedding--and before he knew it the vows and been exchanged, and he and Rose were pronounced husband and wife. He looked at his new wife as Pippin finished the ceremony. Rose was beautiful today, dressed in pale blue that matched her eyes and set off her red hair, which was woven with blue flowers. “You may kiss the bride,” Pippin finally said, and he didn’t have to tell Theo twice. The cheering guests disappeared for Theo as he leaned in and gently kissed Rose. He could only think of her. His wife. He clasped her hand tightly and they turned to face the crowd.
A blur of relatives streamed by, offering hugs and kisses and congratulations. Luckily, most of their guests were more interested in the food table than the bride and groom. When they were left alone, Theo turned to Rose. “Do you think they’d notice if we left now?”
“Of course they’d notice.” He hadn’t heard Ivy come up next to him. “No sneaking away!” she scolded, wagging a finger at him. “If I had to stay for my wedding party, then you do, too.”
They took a table with Frodo and Emerald--who had passed Pansy off to her grandmother--and Eomer, Fari, Goldi and Moira. It seemed like any other gathering, Theo thought, as they talked and laughed. It was still a little hard to believe that he was married. He leaned over and kissed Rose’s cheek. He sighed. In just a few hours, he’d be able to do much more than that.
Rose smiled at him, as if reading his thoughts, then picked up her bouquet and stood up. “Time to find out who’s getting married next!” she said cheerily. She looked directly at Goldi and Moira. “Come on, then, you two!”
Moira blushed and Goldi frowned. “Not much point, is there,” Goldi muttered. She got up and stalked away.
Fari snorted. “Why’s she so grouchy all of a sudden?”
They all looked at each other and Theo could tell that he wasn’t the only one who wanted to tell Fari what was wrong with Goldi. But they’d all agreed--they’d have to let them figuire this out on their own.
“I think she’ s not feeling well,” Emerald said. “I’ll go check on her.” She got up and hurried after her sister-in-law.
Rose sighed. “Come on, Moira. I suppose it’s just you then.”
Moira gaped at her. “Just me?”
“Well, you and all the other unmarried girls,” Rose laughed. “But I can make a little extra effort to throw it to you.”
Moira blushed again, but nowhere near as red as Eomer. Theo chuckled. Those two needed a push. Moira got up and followed Rose into the crowd.
Fari gave Eomer a little shove. “Here that, Eomer? Rose is going to make an extra effort for you.”
Eomer glanced in the direction Goldi had gone, then narrowed his eyes at Fari. “I think you’re the one who should be making an extra effort!” he snapped.
Fari shook his head. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Theo held his breath as Eomer opened his mouth... then shut it again. “Nothing.” He picked up his mug. “I’m going to get another ale.”
“I don’t know why everyone is so grouchy today,” Fari muttered. “I thought weddings were supposed to make people happy.”
“I’m happy,” Theo said. He grinned at Fari. Fari rolled his eyes at him and turned his attention to his mug of ale.
A commotion of squeals, then groans of disappointment, got his attention. Rose must have thrown her bouquet. When Rose and Moira came back to their table, Moira didn’t have a bouquet.
“I tried, but one of your cousins got it, Theo,” Rose sighed.
“It’s all right, Rose,” Moira said, but Theo thought she sounded just a little disappointed.
“Where’s Eomer?” Rose asked.
Theo shrugged. “He said he was going to get another ale. He must have gotten distracted.”
“He’s in a bad mood, too,” Fari added. “Just like Goldi.”
Rose chewed her lip, then stood up again. “I need a drink,” she said. She looked at Theo and raised her eyebrows.
“Me, too,” Theo said. He picked up their mugs. Once they were out of earshot of the table, Theo leaned close to her. “Did you talk to Goldi anymore about Fari?”
“I told her she has to talk to him,” Rose said. “But she’s being stubborn. She said it’s up to him to figure it out.”
Theo snorted. “I hope she realizes she has a long wait, then.”
“How can those two boys be so clueless?” Rose complained. Then she sighed. “Well, with the way Goldi’s been acting, I can understand Fari still not getting it. But it’s so obvious that Moira likes Eomer. And besides...” She grinned broadly. “She told me she liked him.”
Theo smiled. “Now we only have to convince Eomer of that.”
Eomer had been gone far too long for just getting distracted by something. He guessed his brother was off sulking somewhere. Moira had glanced hopefully at the crowd for a while, then had sighed and left to find Clara and Chloe Bolger. Theo figured he should do something, find Eomer and talk some sense into him. His first instinct of where to look was correct--Eomer was off by himself, scowling into his mug of ale.
“What’s the matter, Eomer?” Theo asked, though he knew very well what was the matter. He sat next to his brother.
“Nothing. Don’t you have a bride to pay attention to?”
Theo frowned at his brother. When he was feeling sorry for himself, Eomer could be a real brat. “Why don’t you go talk to Moira? I think she’s over talking to Clara. Ask her to dance.”
Eomer didn’t say anything, just gave him a glare then went back to staring into his mug of ale.
Theo huffed. Eomer’s shyness was really getting annoying. “Just go ask her...”
“Why? Why would she like me anyway? I can’t get out three words without stuttering around her. Maybe she’d rather have a lad who can actually talk to her.” He stood up. “I’m going for a ride.” He stormed away towards the path to the stable. Theo groaned in frustratio. He couldn’t go after him--he had a party full of guests and Rose to get back to. Well, maybe a ride would do Eomer good, anyway.
He wiped a hand across his face, tired of Eomer being in a snit and Goldi sulking. She’d never come back either. Emerald said Goldi decided to spend time with Elanor today. He looked around at his guests. The party was still going strong, but it was early evening already. Maybe it was time for them to be leaving? He smiled and headed back towards Rose, forgetting all about grouchy brothers and sister-in-laws. He was intercepted by Moira.
“Have you seen Eomer?” she asked. “We’re going to be leaving soon and I wanted to get a dance from him. I haven’t really seen him much today.”
Theo shrugged, not certain what to tell her about Eomer. “He’s...not feeling well. Had a bit of a headache. He went out on his pony. Sorry.”
Theo didn’t miss the look of disappointment on Moira’s face at all. “Oh,” she said.
Theo sighed. “Eomer, he... Well, I know he doesn’t say much around you, but that’s because he’s a bit nervous, because...” He sighed again. Might as well give them that push. “Because he really likes you.”
Moira blushed and smiled. “I kind of figured,” she said. “I like him, too.”
Theo grinned. He was often clueless about this romantic stuff, but from the look in Moira’s eyes he could tell she liked Eomer just as much as Rose said she did. “Well, if you’re waiting for him to do things all proper like and speak to you about it, don’t hold your breath. He’s a bit besotted.” He winked. “So, you might have to give him a little push. Or maybe even a shove.”
Moira smiled. “Thank you, Theo. I’ll keep that in mind.” She sighed. “Although, I won’t be seeing him until the fall and--”
“Well, then I’m inviting your family to my birthday next month.”
She raised an eyebrow at him. “Are you playing matchmaker,” she asked.
“Who me? No. I’d never get involved in other people’s business.” He gave her his version of an innocent smile. Not as good as Fari’s, he knew, but it was passable.
“That’s not what I heard,” she grinned.
Theo pouted. “What has my sister been telling you?”
“It was Rose actually,” she said. Before he could reply to that, Moira looked up over his shoulder. “Speaking of Rose...”
Theo turned around and felt that warm feeling spread through his body as his eyes fell on his wife . He really wanted to leave now.
“I’ll be saying farewell, then,” Moira said. She kissed Theo’s cheek and then did the same to Rose. “Congratulations!” She smiled again and turned back into the crowd.
“Well,” said Theo, taking Rose’s hand. “I think I’ve had enough of relatives for the day. How about we make our escape?” He wondered if the blush he felt warming his cheeks was as bright as Rose’s.
“Are you sure?” she asked. “There’s still a few ale casks left to be emptied.”
“I’ve got something better than ale in mind,” he said.
“Really? Better than ale?” She put a finger to her lips and cocked her head thoughtfully. “I can’t imagine what that could be.”
Theo put his arms around her waist and pulled her close. “How about if you come out to Crickhollow with me and I’ll show you?” he murmured into her ear. He felt her breath catch a bit.
“I’ll go and tell Mum we’re leaving now,” she said, her voice slightly shaking.
Theo gave her a squeeze. “Are you all right?” he asked.
She nodded. “Just nervous. I’ve never had a wedding night before,” she said. She smiled. “And it’s a bit...strange, having to tell my mother that we’re going, and, well... she knows what we’re going to be doing...” Rose blushed.
“Yes, I’m pretty sure your mother has figured it out by now,” laughed Theo.
Rose scowled and gave him a smack on the arm. “Maybe I’ll just stay here and you can go to Crickhollow by yourself.”
Theo pouted. “Are you sure you want me to do that?”
Rose shook her head. “No,” she said, her cheeks going an even darker shade of red.
“Thought not.” He kissed her. “You go say good-bye to your mum and I’ll meet you out front. Dad said he’d make sure the cart was ready for us.”
He watched Rose walk away, towards where Rosie was sitting with Ivy and Éowyn, and then headed into the Hall.
His father and Pippin were inside, both dressed in their armor. His father had been quite proud he’d still been able to fit into his.
“Is the cart ready, Dad?” Theo asked.
“Leaving so soon?” Pippin chuckled. Theo felt himself blush and Pippin laughed. His father poked Pippin hard beneath the arm, where the Gondorian armor had a gap.
“Leave him alone, Pippin.” His father turned to him. “Fari and the boys have the cart ready for you out front.” He smiled and embraced Theo. “Congratulations, son.” He pulled back to look at him. “I’m proud of you, for holding on and getting to this day. I think Rose was worth it and I’m happy you’ve brought her into the family.”
“Congratulations, Theo,” said Pippin, who embraced him as well. “If you ever need any advice on difficult father-in-laws, just come to me because I happen to be very experienced--”
“Pippin!” His dad crossed his arms and glared at his best friend. Pippin and Theo both laughed.
“Thanks, Pippin,” said Theo. He saw Rose coming in from the garden and smiled.
“Well, I think we’ll let you go then,” Pippin said with a wink. Rose got a kiss from Pippin and her new father-in-law, then Theo took her hand and led her out the front door.
Fari, Bori and Ari were waiting by the cart in front of Brandy Hall, the three of them lined up in a row on the fence. They all hopped down when they spotted Theo and Rose. “Told you they were going to be needing this soon,” said Fari. He bowed low, sweeping his arm out towards the cart. “Your carriage awaits,” he said, sounding like one of King Elessar’s footmen.
Theo rolled his eyes, but Rose gave a curtsy. “Thank you, sir,” she said without even a giggle.
Fari grinned at them. “I’d give you some advice,” he said, wagging his eyebrows suggestively, “but I don’t want to give my little brothers any ideas.”
Theo snorted, both at the idea of Fari giving him romantic advice and that Fari referred to his brothers as ‘little’.
Fari looked around the yard. “Did you see Eomer? He was supposed to come out with us to send you off and I couldn’t find him.”
“Eomer’s in a bit of a snit. Last I saw him, he was storming off to the stables. He’ll probably be back before dark, since he can’t hide at the farm like he normally does. Moira’s staying there tonight.”
Fari shook his head. “I can’t believe he doesn’t see that Moira likes him back.”
Theo had to fight the urge to snort at that.
Rose tugged on his sleeve. “Why is Eomer upset about Moira?”
“I’ll tell you on the way to Crickhollow,” Theo said. He helped Rose into the cart and got up beside her. They waved to the boys, then set off down the road to their honeymoon.
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.