9. An undeniable pleasure.
The music ceased. The room relaxed into quiet. The only sound to muffle the thump of my heart came from the crackling and spitting of the large log Éomer had positioned on the fire earlier. My husband took the goblet from my hand, placed it next to his own on the small carved chest and then stretching out one long arm, snuffed out his nightlight.
Of course he had kissed me during the marriage ceremony, but how do you compare the spark from a tinderbox with a full blown forest fire? The first touches of his lips were soft and tender and he did no more than brush them across mine, while his large hands cradled my head. But then those hands, and his weight, encouraged me to sink down into the bed until he lay half over me and my lips were teased, nibbled and eased apart to accommodate an insistent exploring tongue. How right he had been to talk to me - for it enabled me to push aside my first shock at the intimacy of that kiss and confirm by my accord, to do my duty as a wife. When you have cried onto a man’s chest and he has responded with understanding, then barriers erected by the dread of the unknown are more easily swept aside. Overcoming my reserve and responding to his lead caused such a surfeit of sensation as to bring a flush to my face and a constriction to my throat. Without thinking or intending, as the power of his kiss increased, my arms snaked slowly around his neck until my fingers burrowed into thick soft hair.
“Are you sure?” he whispered when at last he pushed up, disentangling himself from my clinging arms. “Then I think it may be time for me to join you,” he said, brushing my lips with his when I nodded assent. For a brief moment I felt bereft as his weight left the bed but before I could protest I heard the soft plop of his robe landing on the floor. The covers moved aside and he slid in next to me. Already I could feel his heat.
He didn’t kiss me, for which I felt an initial disappointment, but propped himself up on one elbow looking down into my eyes. “Do you mind if we leave your candle burning? I want to look at you.”
Mesmerised, I shook my head, as he took the long tail of my hair between his fingers and lifted it to his face, “It smells wonderful. I noticed when you arrived yesterday. What is the fragrance?”
I found it difficult to speak, because by then he had undone the ribbon and already begun to divide the thick tresses, teasing them apart and placing them to lie over my breasts. And when his fingers moved across the delicate material of my nightgown, my body quivered with unaccustomed and unexpected reaction.
“The perfume comes from a small orchid that grows where the sand dunes meet the pine woods.” I answered fighting, desperately for breath.
“Not the same as the purple ones that grow in our grasslands? I have never noticed a strong smell from them.”
“No, it’s small and white. Quite insignificant, really.”
“That’s surprising. I thought it would be something exotic. Something more like you.”
I didn’t get to answer because, as he had warned me earlier, being under the bedclothes put an end to his interest in conversation.
And if I had compared his kisses with the flames that swept through the pinewoods of my home then I could only compare his lovemaking with the storms that raged our shores. Quietly it started: as the first few drops of rain would caress the parched ground, giving no hint of the turmoil still to come.
From the instant his lips found mine again, my body trembled with delight and exhilaration and that is when I decided to deliver myself into his patient and expert hands. When the ties holding the gauzy fabric that covered me were released, I abandoned all modesty and helped the garment to slide down over stomach, hips and legs, finally pushing it off one foot with the other. Lying still, as my husband ran smouldering eyes over my unclothed form, caused me a moment’s difficulty. But all discomfiture vanished with the movement of his lips to my throat and then to my breasts and after that it seemed natural to rub my own partly open mouth across the smooth skin of his shoulder. The muscles of his back were hard under the squeeze of my hands. And by the time the skilled fingers that were moving searchingly over my body, finally reached that most private of places, my teeth were gnawing gently at the parts of him within reach. His growls of pleasure mingled with my gasps of enjoyment.
Wave after wave of sensation flooded through me. So much, that when the moment came to complete our bond, it was not my sister-in law’s advice that made me meet my husband first cautious thrusts with anticipation and courage, but more the trust he had earned and the pleasure he had given. So, as soon as he whispered to me to raise my knees, I did so obediently, and as his flesh filled me deeply, my legs wound willingly around his hips to join in that most ancient of rhythms. Only then did I begin to understand why the place was leading me was so eagerly sought and as I whirled in a vortex in of unparalleled intensity, I clung desperately to my guide. The storm of fulfilment ended with my husband’s body being racked by long sensuous shudders and a moan that he buried somewhere around my neck.
All receded into quiet again. Éomer rolled from me, but my feeling of desertion lasted only a few heartbeats as he instantly gathered me up in his arms and pulled me against him, his hands smoothing back my hair and trying to arrange the rather tangled disorder.
“I can promise you I found that infinitely preferable to sleeping in my study,” he murmured, his velvet voice close to my ear.
I had to agree. Even though my father and brothers had never been far from me, since I had arrived in Rohan I had felt unwanted and lonely. How much Rohan’s king really wanted me I did not know, but for now I was content to lie snuggled amidst his warmth. I must have been drifting off when he spoke again, “Lothíriel, are you still awake?”
“Yes,” I mumbled sleepily.
“Lift up a moment then, I will get rid of this.” I raised myself as directed and felt the sheet being pulled gently from under me. Before I could protest he had wiped it between my legs. Swivelling myself around to remonstrate rewarded me with the spectacle of my husband screwing up the redundant linen and throwing it into the corner by the door, “That should satisfy any old crone who is nosy enough to look.”
I opened my mouth to protest, but he grinned mischievously, forestalling any objection I might have had. So, relinquishing all dignity, I decided that I might as well clean myself up and I moved a pointed foot around the bottom of the bed trying to locate my nightgown. Not finding anything, I gave up on the gown and struggled to sit up, “I think I will go and have a wash.” Éomer released his hold on me and I then faced the prospect of walking across to the door to get my robe, completely naked. Ridiculous of course: to be so self conscious after what had just happened between us, but to my relief he got up himself. “You take the nightlight, I know my way and the fire will give me enough light,” he said, disappearing in the opposite direction.
It took me a while to wash and then brush and tidy my hair – I tied it back again -and by the time I returned, Éomer had climbed back in the bed. I put the candle down on the chest and went down to the foot of the bed. “What are you doing?” A voice came from half under the covers.
“I am looking for my nightgown,” I replied, pulling at the sheet.
“You don’t need it, come and get in before you get cold.”
He had a point: the fire had died down and the wind must have increased in strength because the curtains were moving gently. I threw my robe over the end of the bed and slipped in beside him.
“Are you alright?” he asked, pulling me against a warm, solid body.
“I am fine, just drowsy now.”
“Good, go to sleep then.”
He moved me around until I lay with my back against his chest and my behind couched against the warmth of his loins. I was fine, I decided: I had no soreness; I did not even feel bruised, which I thought I might after the energy expended. Only a pleasant feeling remained – a sort of memory of where he had been. I felt a kiss on my hair and a hand reached around to rest on my breast.
“Goodnight,” I whispered. Too tired to think over what had happened, I settled myself for sleep. I did not know what the future might hold, but at that moment, I felt loved.
Something must have woken me and I lay still for a moment sorting out the memories of the night. There was only me in the bed. I realised that quite soon, but I also realised, after moving my arm over the sheets, that he had not been gone for long – the place next to me still held warmth. My husband getting out of the bed had most likely been what had woken me, I decided. Slowly, I pushed myself up, looking around the room. The nightlight had gone out but someone, probably Éomer, had stirred up the fire. The mead-cups were still on the table – we had forgotten them. Before I could worry about the significance of this oversight, a faint noise from the other side of the room made me turn my head quickly.
My eyes focused on my husband, who stood next to the window, completely naked. He’d pushed aside the heavy drape and his eyes were fixed on me
“Good morning, wife. I am sorry, I expect I disturbed you. I always rise at dawn.”
“Good morning, my lord,” I tried to keep my voice normal, but as I did not normally find myself staring at a totally naked male, I found it difficult. Proof of my new status perhaps, or my just awakened state, that I made no attempt to drop my gaze. I admit I had no comparison, but even to my inexperienced eyes he must be counted as outstanding specimen of the male gender. He had half turned towards me, giving view to an abundant mane of dark-gold hair, a deep muscled chest, long powerful legs and a glimpse of firm buttocks and… I could not drag my eyes away. His manhood, which had been quite prominent when I had first looked – grew steadily as I watched. Melina’s advice had been certainly been astute – if I had caught sight of that last night….
I eventually forced my eyes to his face and encountered a rather amused apologetic look. “I am sorry, Lothíriel, but with you naked in my bed, there is no likelihood of me being able to stop that happening.”
For the first time he looked a little unsure of himself and why should he be sorry? But then I realised that he was unsure of me, not himself. Sensing that the response I made could well set the quality of our marriage, at least for the time being, I smiled.
“May I suggest, Éomer that you return to the bed for a while? I feel that it would be extremely uncomfortable for you to have to greet our guests this morning with that…” I momentarily glanced down at the subject of the conversation, before lifting my eyes to his again “…affliction,” I stated blandly, managing to keep a straight face. He opened his eyes wide but still hesitated so I pulled back the covers, inviting him in.
Éomer burst out laughing and a few strides brought him to the edge of the bed. He sat down, placing one arm each side of me. “I cannot tell you, Lothíriel, how much your willingness pleases me.”
He brought his face very close to mine. His gaze drilled into me, causing a tremor of awareness to rush down my spine. “Your care and your consideration for me last night…not to mention the pleasure you gave, makes me willing.” I said, my voice with a little shyness.
“Lothíriel, as my wife I will always care for you and always consider you. Also, as the daughter of one of my greatest friends, one whom I hold in the highest esteem, for that alone: I will always cherish you.” His mouth curved upwards and his eyes twinkled, “And as for the pleasure…” He didn’t finish, but lent forward and placed his lips on mine, kissing me gently before easing me back into the pillows.
This time, his kisses evoked in me a desire that had evidently lay dormant under a schooled and controlled demeanour and gentle encouragement persuaded me to take a more active part. Haltingly at first, I explored his body as he had explored mine. I ran my fingers over his face, his beard soft to my touch. “Any longer and it is like wire and if it is very short, it rasps like grit,” he answered in response to my whispered remarks. My fingers moved to trace the line of his lips and were caught gently between strong teeth. Once released, they trailed slowly down a muscled neck, lingered on the smooth skin of a powerful chest, discovered the pucker of an old scar that traced the line of a rib, until finally they followed the path of sparse golden hair that spanned a flat stomach and led….
He lay motionless: only the shiver that flickered through his muscles betraying his response to my touch. Watching me from under hooded eyes, waiting to see what I would do. I hesitated for just a few wild heartbeats before I reached out tentative fingers to discover all I could about the man I had married. My touch acted as a catalyst to his own need and once more I abandoned myself to the newly discovered thrill of matrimony.
“We forgot to drink the mead,” I murmured into his chest when all returned to quiet again.
“So we did.”
He didn’t sound bothered so I lay still for a moment longer. Not tired now, but feeling gloriously languid and relaxed. Unfortunately, I also felt hungry. I am not sure if Éomer did as well but without me saying anything more, he gently released his hold on me and extricated himself from the tangle of bedsheets, returning a moment later with the tray.
“Would you like a cake, Lothíriel?”
I struggled into a sitting position, and plumped up the pillows. Balancing the tray in one hand, my husband re-joined me in the bed.
Mead turned out to be a bit thick and sweet for a morning drink but we very properly touched cups and drank it together before starting on the small plate of cakes.
“You know what this is for?” he asked in his amused voice.
“We managed without,” I answered grinning.
“Hopefully it will work for tonight.”
We sat very close, sharing the tray to stop the crumbs getting in the bed. I really hadn’t imagined I would be doing this: happily sitting naked next to my husband, so soon. After the inauspicious start of a poor welcome, a wash out and an interrupted wedding, my marriage showed much more promise than I had ever thought possible. It seemed we could talk quite easily together and as for the physical side of the bond – well, he had definitely given the appearance of enjoying himself, certainly as much as I did. Obviously, a harmonious relationship depended on much more than talking and a rapport between the sheets, but those two components must rank as of considerable importance.
“Would you like me to ring for Aerin to organise a bath?” Éomer asked when we had emptied the plate.
“Is there time? Do we not have to eat with our guests?” Light now streamed into the room and I imagined the hall would have come alive.
“Oh, there’s plenty of time. The first meal is not taken until quite late. It allows for the horses to be mucked out and fed, as well as other chores. I often am out riding by now and like most, just grab some tea or ale and a piece of bread to keep me going. I come back later for a good meal and then we don’t eat again until the evening.”
“That sounds sensible. I imagine you need the time outdoors if you are stuck in the council chamber for any length of time.”
“Hmm …” Éomer lent towards me and kissed my cheek before moving to my ear and nibbling gently, “I am not sure that in future, I will be appearing in the stables quite so early as I used to.”
I turned my head and placed my hand on his cheek, rubbing my thumb over his bearded chin; grateful for his words even if they were designed to reassure me. “Thank you,” I said and kissed him softly on his lips. “Perhaps you had better ring that bell,” I suggested in response to his arm slipping around me and his obvious intention of continuing the kissing.
He let me go and grinned. “I will, but let me say that if there were not a hall full of guests out there, I would not be so compliant.”
“The mead is working already,” I laughed, as he rang the bell.
“Think what you like,” he answered smartly.
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.