6. Release Me, Let Me Go
She stood inside the little loft apartment she'd come to adore as if she had been gone for years, while Celeborn closed the door behind them. Everything was as it was when she left it, but of course, she was only gone from it for a day, though when she was done with getting her stuff together and leaving Eden in charge of her life here, she would not be returning. Roselinde knew in her heart that she wanted nothing more than to be with Celeborn the rest of her life, but that didn't make it any easier to part with the life she once knew. It seemed like such a good idea to come back when she asked for it, but now she realised that it wasn't. She felt Celeborn behind her, breathed in his earthy fragrance, and felt his hands on her upper arms giving her comfort. They were here now, and she had work to do. Looking up at her lover, she smiled sweetly and then pulled away from him to begin.
Walking over to her messed up bed, she ran her fingers lightly over the bedspread and combed cotton sheets. Many nights alone were spent in this bed, and tucked under these very sheets, but there were also nights when she wasn't alone. Of course, technically, she met Celeborn as she slept here. For a few brief moments, she wondered if she should take the bedding with her, but then discarded the idea. She had a new life and new memories to make in it.
"Dearest, are you alright?" she heard him ask. She turned to find him in the kitchen area, looking curiously at several appliances.
"I'm fine, love. I'm just thinking about what I need to bring back with me."
"We should hurry," he reminded her. Smiling, she went back to her mental list.
All she would really need is some clothing, and perhaps a few necessities for when her monthlies came. She didn't know how women handled such things where Celeborn lived, but she would find out. Going to her knees, she bent to find the small, leather satchel she used each time she moved. The rest of her luggage was in the closet, but this was all she needed. Pulling it out, Roselinde got to her feet, put the bag on her bed, and went to the dresser. Choosing a few t-shirts, two pairs of jeans, a pair of khaki shorts, two of her best sundresses, and several pairs of underwear and bras, and tossed it all on the bed. Then, she went to her tiny bathroom and collected the necessary items first, then gathered up the bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and liquid soap. Oh, she knew she was being a little silly about it, but it was something she thought might be overlooked. Besides, there wasn't much left in either bottle, so by the time she needed more, she would know where to find some. Picking up her toothbrush and toothpaste, she came out of the bathroom and dumped it on the bed beside her clothes. Only two more items and she'd be done.
She went back to the dresser and picked up the necklace her parents gave her before she left them to travel. Then, she reached over to get the crystal ball Eden gave her. Of everything else, this was probably the silliest thing Roselinde had to bring, but it would always remind her of the one friend who believed in her and her dreams. It was warm to the touch and a small, almost imperceptible, light glowed from within it. Strange that she hadn't noticed it before…
"So that is how they brought you to me," Celeborn murmured. She jumped a little, but didn't take her eyes off the ball. "It was something I wondered about."
"I don't understand. How?"
"This orb is smaller, but it holds the same power as the orb the Valar used to send us here."
Roselinde nodded her understanding. "How will they know when to bring us back?"
"Make sure this is the last thing you pack. The glowing light suggests that they might only be watching us, though I might be wrong about that." The light gave a little pulse, and Celeborn smiled. "It seems I am right." He kissed her on the head and then turned to help her pack as she put her crystal ball back down on its stand.
Amazingly, everything fit, though it was tight and there was no room left to spare. Roselinde fought the zipper to close it, but Celeborn stayed her hands and pulled it closed almost little effort. Finally finished, they sat quietly for a moment on her bed just looking at each other, lost in each other's eyes. Thoughts of making love to him in her world flitted through her mind, and his small, sensual smile told her he was thinking the same thing.
"Do we have a little time to…" she started, raising an eyebrow and patting the bed.
"Only a little time? Roselinde, I do not think we have ever taken a 'little' time…"
"True," she said, getting up from her place and coming to sit in his lap facing him. "There is always time to find out." Her fingers caressed his face before running slowly through his hair.
Celeborn put his hands on her waist, under the tunic she wore. The heat of her skin against his hands was sheer pleasure, and he slowly raised them up until they were just underneath her breasts. Roselinde inhaled deeply, and already she was noticeably aroused. "Celeborn…" she said through a low moan, sending a thrill through him. How could he refuse her? But out of the corner of his vision, he noticed the little light within her orb was pulsing frequently. As much as he wanted to take her here, the Valar were not going to allow it.
"We cannot, meleth-nin," he told her, removing his hands reluctantly from under her tunic. Disappointment filled her eyes, and he turned her so that she could also see the pulsing light. "We should finish what we came to do here." But he didn't let her go without kissing her heatedly, and it almost made him forget the light, the Valar, and everything except Roselinde.
She slid off his lap and took her bag and put it beside the door, which was still open a crack, and then went to a small desk near the kitchen. He watched her pick up a stick of some kind, what looked like paper, and then sat down before picking up yet another confusing contraption. Roselinde typed out some sort of code on the device, put it to her ear, and then started talking. So, this must be what she meant by calling someone, and it was obvious she was talking to her friend Eden. Rather than listen to her talk without hearing the other part of the conversation, he got up, put her necklace on her and kissed the nape of her neck, and then went to the door. He told her he was going to look around a bit, and that he would be back shortly. Roselinde smiled and waved, and went back to her conversation as he slipped outside into the night.
Celeborn went down the stairs and around the side of the building. He didn't see the car that pulled up in front, nor the man that stormed out of it and up the stairs.
"Eden! You'll never guess what happened!" Roselinde practically yelled into the phone when her friend picked up.
"Mmmm?" was all Eden could muster, but Roselinde couldn't wait.
"You were right! You were so right! I met him, Eden! I met him!" Did she just hear the phone drop? "Eden?"
"Roselinde, you can't be serious! How? When? Where?"
"I'm totally serious, Eden! Do you remember the crystal ball you gave me? Well, somehow, that was the link to him. I was taken there, but don't ask me how. It happened last night. I woke up from a dream, and I was in this dark room. There was a glowing crystal ball, and three voices that talked to me. Remember when you told me to make my choice? Well, I did. I'm going back with him. I'm going to live with him for the rest of my life!"
"Are you sure, Roz?"
"Absolutely! Look, Eden, I know you want to meet him, but you can't. It was one of the rules that we can't be seen while we're here. I'm only back so I can get a few things and set my business in order. That's where you come in."
"Okay. What do you need me to do?"
Roselinde began telling her the specifics of what she needed to do while writing it down at the same time. Celeborn left for a few minutes, promising to be back. From her desk drawer, she pulled out bank slips, account numbers, and all other information Eden would need to see the business done. When she was finished, and Eden finally awake enough to sound excited for her, she told her friend everything that happened in the last 24 hours, sparing no detail.
"Roselinde, I'm so happy for you," Eden said for the millionth time. "I knew something good was finally going to happen for you. I just can't get over that it happened so soon!"
"I know! I'm still in shock myself."
"Not much, though," Eden teased. Roselinde blushed and mumbled her agreement.
"I really wish you could meet him, Eden! I do!"
"I know. Maybe someday…"
"Maybe. Oh Eden, promise me you'll get the letter to my parents as soon as possible. I don't want them worrying too much. And you can explain to them what happened? It'll be in the letter, but if it comes from you, they might believe it more."
"Certainly. Now, hang up the phone and get back home with Celeborn. Don't let me keep you!"
"Thank you, Eden. For everything."
"You're welcome! Now, go!"
Roselinde hung up the phone and wrote the letter to her parents, folding it and putting it with all the other information she put aside for Eden. Bills would be paid, the electric and water cut off, and Eden would make sure the stuff Roselinde left would be sold or given to charities. Everything was done. She could now leave this world and go back home with Celeborn. And it didn't even bother her that home wasn't here anymore. Pushing back her chair, she got up and turned around to check the loft and make sure nothing was running or could cause a fire.
She stopped cold in her tracks, staring wide-eyed at Michael Esquire. His clothes were all a mess, and he was glowering at her with dark eyes. She remembered seeing him like this only once before, after an especially bad argument with Melissa. Only then, it was one of the wildest nights of sex she had. Until she met Celeborn. Now, though, Roselinde knew Michael couldn't have had an argument with Melissa. And she knew what Michael wanted. He took a few steps toward her, and she backed up to keep the distance between them. Funny how in her mind she knew that she was going farther away from the door instead of towards it. But Michael was blocking her way, so her only path was backwards, toward the bed.
"What are you doing here?" she asked him, hoping to stall him.
"You know damn well why I'm here, Roz."
"I told you 'no'. My answer is still 'no'."
"I don't give a shit what your answer is, Roz. I mean to get what I want. I was forced to jack off on the way here because of you. Do you know how humiliating that was?"
"I did no such thing! I can't help it if you were thinking of me instead of your wife! What we had is gone, Michael. Over. Leave, now!" Her voice rose up an octave and higher in pitch, but he ignored her, and it didn't stop him from advancing.
Soon, the bed was at the back of her legs, and she had nowhere else to go. Michael was already unzipping his pants, and she noticed his hard on. There was once a time when she thought he was the best she ever had, but that changed when she fell in love with Celeborn. Celeborn! He wasn't here with her. Gods, why did she think this would be so easy to take care of? Roselinde clenched her hands into fists, ready for what she knew would come next.
"MANWE!!" Este cried, running down the halls of the meetinghouse. "MANWE!!"
"What is it, Este? What is wrong?"
"We have to do something! Roselinde is alone with Michael!"
"Michael? Este, you said he was no longer a problem!" He pushed past her and ran to the room that housed the orb. Varda was already there along with Tulkas and Thranduil. "I knew something was going to happen. We should not have sent her back." He peered into the orb and saw Michael closing in on Roselinde. If they didn't hurry the man would do something that didn't bear thinking about. "Where is Celeborn? He should be there!"
"He left to take a walk, my lord. He could not have known this would happen."
"No, but he should not have left her alone." Manwe turned to Tulkas, "Do what you must to get that man away from Roselinde, but do not kill him."
"Yes, my lord." Tulkas stepped forward and touched the orb, waiting.
Manwe regarded Thranduil, and then spoke again. "Find Celeborn. Stay with him and make sure he does not do anything rash."
"Yes, my lord." Thranduil looked a little wild around the eyes, and even a little predatory, but Manwe knew he would be able to rein himself in. Thranduil stepped forward and touched the orb.
"We cannot afford to lose anymore time," he said, linking hands with Este and Varda. The Valar began their song, the orb glowed brighter, and the low humming increased to a loud crescendo. When the light decreased, so did the hum, and both Tulkas and Thranduil were gone.
"Stay away from me!" Roselinde cried, taking a swing at Michael. He easily avoided her fist, but caught it in his hand.
In hindsight, she shouldn't have thrown another punch with her free hand, but she wasn't thinking straight. She only wanted to be away from him. Michael caught her hand with his free one, thinking he had rendered her helpless. "Let me go, Michael!" she grated out. But he ignored her still, pinning her arms behind her and holding them with one hand. Roselinde struggled, but Michael was stronger. She couldn't break free. With his free hand, he lifted her tunic and grabbed the top of her pants, trying to pull them down. Her struggling kept him from doing it easily, but he managed to get them down past her hips and they fell to her knees. He pulled her against his body, letting his manhood rub against her pelvis. Roselinde gasped and tried to pull away, but he tightened his hold on her.
"You want it. I know you do," he growled. He ground himself against her. "I know you haven't had sex since you left me."
"Am I?" The look in his eyes was bordering on dangerous.
"Is he better than me?" She leveled her gaze at him, holding him still with her eyes.
"Oh yes. Much better than you ever were!" she spat at him.
If there was one thing Roselinde would instantly regret, it was telling Michael that he'd been bested in her bed. Michael's eyes went black, and he reared back with his hand and backhanded her. It was hard enough to stun her and she fell back on the bed, her hands covering her face to ward off any more hits. Tears stung her eyes, but she refused to cry. Whatever happened with Michael, he was taking it out on her. She couldn't believe that his thinking only of her would drive him insane. He took off her pants, grabbed hold of her legs and spread them apart, bruising her as she fought to prevent him from doing anything else. But Michael was stronger.
Roselinde screamed and then there was pain and she knew nothing but blackness.
Celeborn turned when he heard the fast approaching footsteps, and was surprised to find Thranduil coming to him. Movement from the side caught his attention and he saw Tulkas running up the stairs into Roselinde's door. He heard her screaming and his heart nearly stopped in his chest.
"What have I done?" he asked, more to himself than to Thranduil. Taking a few steps, he was stopped by his best friend. "I have to get to her! Let me go!"
"No, my friend. Lord Tulkas will free her."
"Free her? Thranduil, what in Eru's name is going on? Let go of me!" He didn't wait for an answer, broke out of the hold on him, and ran to the stairs and up them.
At the door, he heard the sound of fighting, and was almost too frightened to look inside, but he had to know his Roselinde was safe. Bracing himself, he pushed the door open the rest of the way. Tulkas was busy subduing a human male, whose pants were down around his ankles, though it didn't seem to impede him from fighting with the Vala. But when he caught sight of Roselinde lying motionless on the bed, blood running from her nose, and her pants thrown across the room, he felt something within him snap. The red haze of rage filled his eyes as he looked again at the human that Tulkas was currently punching in the gut. He took a few measured steps in that direction, but was once again stopped by Thranduil.
"Let go of me."
"No. I was sent to keep you from doing anything stupid, and I will."
"I will kill that worthless excuse for flesh. Let me go."
His voice was deadly calm and his body was as hard as steel. Thranduil knew what his friend was capable of, having seen him this way many times before. Celeborn was not prone to fight, unless there was a need to or if any of his loved ones were threatened. He also saw Roselinde on the bed, and knew his friend's feelings for this woman. Whoever the man was, his life was certainly forfeit in Celeborn's eyes.
"You cannot kill him, Celeborn. The laws here are different. Think before you do this."
"He does not deserve to live."
"No, he does not. But that is not for you to decide. Celeborn, go to Roselinde. While Tulkas has his fun with that worthless excuse for flesh, as you say, we can get her out of here and to safety."
The haze didn't fully dissipate from his eyes, but he was able to drag his eyes away from the human. Fear for Roselinde took over, and he rushed to her side, brushing the hair from her face, and wiping the blood away. It didn't appear serious, but he was no healer. The best he could do was check for broken bones, which there were none, and then make sure there weren't any other wounds. He saw the beginning of bruises on her wrists and her beautiful thighs, but those would heal in time. Celeborn was beside himself, caught between worry for his lady and anger at the man who did this to her.
This wasn't supposed to happen. He should not have left her alone.
Guilt pressed in on him, and shame filled his heart. Valar, how could he have been so stupid! They told him to not get distracted, and he did. They told him to make sure she wasn't seen, but she was. Celeborn traced his fingertips along Roselinde's jawline and down her neck. She stirred, but did not wake up.
"Come on, Celeborn. Let us get her out of here," Thranduil urged him.
Dragging himself out of self-reproach, he nodded and got up to pick up her pants. He carefully dressed her again, making sure she was decently covered. The pants were torn, he noticed, and would not stay up on their own, but he would be carrying her away, so it was a small worry compared to her health. He told Thranduil where the bag was and his friend got it for him, keeping it in his hands when Celeborn would have took it from him. All they had to do was wait for Tulkas, and that wasn't long at all. There was a sickening thud, and the Vala held the limp form of the human by the shirt a few moments before dropping him to the floor. He was left there uncovered from the waist down, to be found in that state of disgrace. Celeborn snorted, thinking the wretched being deserved worse, but was satisfied with humiliation.
"We must go back now," Tulkas informed them. Looking around, their eyes were brought to the pulsing orb on Roselinde's dresser. The Vala went to pick it up, holding it his hand. "Let us leave this place."
Thranduil walked over to stand beside Tulkas and touched the orb as he'd done before, and both waited on Celeborn, who carefully lifted Roselinde up in his arms. He wasn't sure how he'd be able to make them both touch the orb in order to be taken back, but Tulkas took hold of Roselinde's hand and Thranduil took hold of his shoulder.
The small orb glowed brighter until it was nearly incandescent, and somewhere he heard singing. He felt like he was flying, though he never moved from his position. He barely closed his eyes before the feeling of flying was over, and he opened them to find himself and his companions in the darkened room with the large glowing orb. Celeborn looked down at Roselinde, but she wasn't in his arms. Had something gone wrong? Did she somehow get left behind? Was she lost in the transportation?
"Where is Roselinde?" he cried, pacing off a few steps, but not getting anywhere.
"She is with Este being healed, Celeborn," he heard someone say. He knew the voice to be Vala, but he couldn't say who it was.
"I want to be with her, please," he pleaded. This was all his fault. Surely Roselinde would leave him now. Surely she would blame him for leaving her alone to be attacked by that… that… miserable excuse of humanity.
"Celeborn, in the time that you have know her, do you honestly believe Roselinde would leave you or blame you? You had no way of knowing this would happen."
"She will hate me."
"Come, my friend," he heard Thranduil say. A door opened up and light filled the room. "Let us go to your lady and see if she hates you. I happen to think you are wrong, but we shall let her do the convincing."
Celeborn nodded and exited the room with Thranduil behind him. They walked down the hall, and turned down another to find Este smiling and waiting for them.
"She is well and her hurts are taken away." The Vala took his face gently in her hands and kissed his forehead. All his doubts seemed to wither and fade, but they did not go away completely. At least he felt a little better. Este took a step away and stood aside, gesturing that he should go into the room. "She waits for you."
Celeborn took a deep breath and went inside.
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.