18. Just A Taste
Over the next couple of weeks, Cellinn's thoughts frequently drifted to that night when Legolas had told her she was beautiful, that he had never been interested in Ninglorwen, that she was the only one he had ever wanted. And that kiss…and his reaction to it, and the feelings the kiss had ignited in her. Curiosity now battled with her fear. She wanted to know more, to experience more of his touch, to see his reaction, to touch him…
Startled, she glanced up at Minuialwen, and realized where her thoughts had wandered. Her cheeks burned as she met her friend's gaze.
Minuialwen lifted a brow. "Oh, now you have to tell me just what thoughts have turned you that shade of red!" She turned away from the tapestry, her hands rubbing together slightly as if in anticipation of a juicy piece of gossip. "Have you two finally…" She winked.
Cellinn felt her face burn hotter. "NO!" she gasped, horrified. "He's only just begun walking without the crutches, and Istuion will barely let him walk across the room. He still has to use a single crutch unless he's doing his exercises. And his knee still pains him! And—"
Minuialwen shook her head, interrupting her babbling. "Alright. I just thought, maybe you two had spurned Istuion's interference and, well, you know..." She smiled in such a contented fashion that Cellinn began to wonder just what it was she was missing. A sudden thought occurred to her.
"Hmm?" The princess had resumed working on the tapestry, letting the subject drop. If there was one trait Cellinn appreciated in her friend, it was that Minuialwen might pry but not so much as to make a person truly uncomfortable. If Cellinn really did not wish to speak, the subject would be dropped.
However, she had realized that perhaps she should not let the subject drop. It was still an embarrassing topic but she might get more information from Minuialwen than from her mother or Legolas. At the least, she could hopefully set her biggest fear aside.
"Will it hurt?"
Minuialwen's fingers stilled on the tapestry and her head slowly turned. The princess regarded her with a sharp, penetrating look. There was no doubt she had understood exactly what Cellinn meant. Then she sighed and released the threads, draping her hands on her extended belly. She rubbed in a soothing pattern, and Cellinn wondered if the child within her had taken to kicking again. Her friend had recently begun complaining of difficulty sleeping due to the restless movements of the unborn babe.
"I won't lie to you, Cellinn," Minuialwen began in a serious tone. "The first time is not the most pleasant experience. It's awkward, uncomfortable and yes, there is some pain, but trust me when I say the joy of joining with your beloved will make it all worth it. And it won't take you two long to figure things out enough that you won't wish to leave your chambers very often!" She grinned, her eyes drifting to her bedroom chamber door. "There's a good reason the newly wedded are encouraged to take some time just to themselves. I'm sure when the time comes, you and Legolas will be granted a period of uninterrupted privacy."
She caught Cellinn's gaze again. "There's nothing to fear, though telling you that sure doesn't make it easier, does it?"
Cellinn smiled wryly and shook her head. "My mother kept telling me that, but I cannot help it! I don't know what to expect! She gave generalizations or told me to wait and see." Running a frustrated hand over her skirts, she sighed.
"She's right," Minuialwen said with a smile. "Some things are better learned simply from experience. I could tell you everything, but it would lessen your wonder — and some things should be marveled over."
In a way, that made sense, though it frustrated Cellinn to know she would not get the answers she sought. However, the little that Minuialwen had shared was enough to answer the most important question. And yet, why then did she still feel afraid?
She opened her mouth to question her friend further, but at that moment she heard the outer door open and close. Arandur had returned. Cellinn sighed in disappointment. There would be no more time to talk this day, and she was no closer to figuring out just why she felt the way she did.
Legolas would have walked with a bounce to his step if he had not needed to use the blasted crutch. He had just left another session with Istuion. It had been grueling and his knee was very sore, but at the end of it, the healer had smiled and told him he had healed enough to participate in certain activities.
After that night when he had told Cellinn about the lake, he had avoided much physical interaction with his wife to save himself from painful frustration. Now he could act! Could take his beloved in his arms and make her truly his in every way. A smile turned his lips as he limped down the hall.
But it faded as he recalled how Cellinn had stiffened against him and her gasp of surprise at his body's reaction to her kisses. He sighed and stopped a minute to rest his aching leg. He knew he needed to take things slowly, though how he would hold himself back he had no idea. But perhaps he could allow himself to become bolder bit by bit? He had longed to touch her and see what her clothing hid from his eyes. Perhaps he could simply do some exploring and give her time to understand his body's reactions, time to adjust to his touch. It was definitely time to remove her garments! He grinned at the thought and resumed making his slow way to his chambers.
As he walked, he planned the evening. He decided to detour by the kitchens to make arrangements for dinner to be brought to his rooms. Since he had been allowed up on crutches, he and Cellinn ate in the main hall most nights, but tonight would be special. Just the two of them could celebrate his achievement of walking unaided around the healing ward. And then afterwards, he could kiss her and perhaps convince her to let him help her change into her nightgown.
Just a peek, he told himself. With the way his leg ached, he decided he would definitely not push for more this night, but the chance to help his wife remove her garments, to get a glimpse of what lay underneath would be enough to start.
Cellinn was surprised that Legolas had planned a private dinner in their rooms. He preferred eating in the main hall where he could speak with the other warriors. Though the youngest of the trainees, he was one of the most popular. Her heart swelled with pride when she thought of how hard he worked at both his skills and making friends. Everyone loved him.
A spark of annoyance rose within her as she recalled the few people she would rather not take such interest in him. Ninglorwen still took every opportunity to be in his presence. She never actually overstepped the bounds of propriety, but Cellinn would never be comfortable with that lady anywhere near her husband.
"What's that look for?"
Glancing up, she winced as she realized she had let her thoughts wander to unpleasant topics when she should be enjoying the evening with her husband all to herself. "I'm sorry. I let my thoughts wander."
He reached across the table and traced a finger over her fingers. "Care to share?"
"It's really not worth repeating," she said, not wishing to darken their evening.
"Oh." He dropped his gaze to his lap. He looked disappointed that she had not shared her thoughts. His fingers even slid away, but she caught them, drawing them back and running her thumb lovingly over his knuckles. His eyes lifted to meet hers.
"I was just thinking that Ninglorwen still tries to be near you at every opportunity. I don't like it."
His brows lifted in surprise. "You aren't still worried that—"
She shook her head, interrupting him. "Oh, no! I don't worry about you at all! I just don't like her watching you so much, trying to be close to you…"
"Jealous?" He grinned impishly at her.
"Possessive!" she declared with a smile of her own. "You're mine, not hers and I don't want her looking at you like that!"
"I like it when you look at me like that." His voice had dropped to a hoarse whisper. Her mouth went dry and her cheeks heated. Biting her lip, she dropped her eyes, then dipped her chin and glanced up at him through her lashes. Her heart flipped with satisfaction when she noticed his breath hitch.
"Like this?" she asked coyly, hoping she managed the look.
"Yes," he breathed. The look in his eyes caused her heart to flutter. Oh, now he was the one looking at her in that— Oh! She did not have the right words! But that way that he did that made her heart race and her cheeks flush and her heart flip over.
Then he stood up and reached for his crutch, limping around the table. She sat frozen, unable to move, looking up at him as he gazed down on her with such heat in his eyes she felt she would burst into flame from the intensity of his gaze. He held out his free hand, and she took it, letting him help her to rise. Her chair pushed back and tipped over behind her but she was too caught up in her husband's eyes to make much note of it. The chair could wait for the morrow to be righted.
And then he pulled her close against him, his mouth lowering to hers, kissing her breathless. Her fingers lifted to trace over his cheek and then buried into his hair drawing him even closer. She longed for another kiss like the one they had shared briefly before, but he pulled back before it deepened.
"Come to bed with me," he whispered.
Cellinn nodded, unable to pull her gaze away from the swirling emotion in the grey eyes that held her as if she were the most priceless treasure in Arda. Somehow she made it to their bed chamber hardly remembering the steps. She found herself standing with her back to him, as his fingers began working on the fastenings of her gown.
It seemed unreal, as if a dream. Yet she stood, allowing him to work, even as her thoughts swirled, conflicting with the heat he stirred in her. She was not ready for such intimacy yet! And with that look in his eyes, she doubted he would restrain himself to just helping her undress. But the movement of his fingers along her back felt right, and the burning fire he had ignited in her held her silent and still.
Biting her lip she felt his hands loosening the ties, felt the cool air caress her shoulders and back as the lacings came undone. He drew in an audible breath and traced a finger down her spine, causing her to shiver. The fingers of both his hands came to rest on her shoulders, pausing on the material of her gown where it hung just waiting to be pushed down to reveal her in her thin linen shift.
Cellinn's heart raced but she could not bring herself to stop him. Was not even sure she wanted him to stop. His left hand moved, the material sliding to the point of her shoulder…
A thump sounded, then a hiss and his fingers dug slightly into her skin before releasing her. Turning, she realized his crutch had fallen, and he stood on both legs, a grimace tightening his features. He stared balefully at the crutch, his hatred of it and the weakness that required its use replacing the heat in his eyes.
The fire within her went out as if she had been doused by a bucket of cold water. He was not ready for this!
Cellinn stooped, one hand holding the front of her gown to her chest. She picked up the crutch, returning it to him and pointing to the bed. "Sit," she commanded.
He frowned but obeyed, his eyes following her as she gathered her things and slipped into the dressing room. She blinked back tears as she closed the door. He had looked so forlorn! Deciding she would spend extra time rubbing his leg, she made quick work of readying herself for bed.
When she stepped back out of the small room, having changed into her nightgown and braided her hair, she found he had also prepared for bed, and without her assistance. He sat propped by the pillows on top of the covers, but oddly, he wore a nightshirt. She wondered at that, as he usually slept naked.
Warmth crept into her cheeks as she realized she was disappointed to see him actually dressed for bed. But he smiled and patted the spot beside him, though his eyes still held a sadness that caused a prick to her heart. She climbed onto the bed and moved close enough to place a kiss on his cheek.
"We're getting there," she whispered, brushing his loose hair back behind an ear.
"I know." He sighed and did not meet her gaze. His clenched fists remained at his sides and he continued to frown, gazing down at his leg as if it were an enemy. "But I tire of this weakness! I want — No! I need more!" His frustration was apparent to Cellinn. She brushed another kiss across his cheek and slipped off the bed to retrieve the balm Istuion required she rub into his leg each night.
As she rubbed the strong smelling oil into the muscles and joint, she could not help pointing out, "You're walking around the room now."
"Once only and that has my leg aching!"
Biting back a smile at his severe frown and sulky tone, she tried to comfort him. "But last week you could not walk across the room, let alone around it. And the week before that you were still on two crutches, not one." When he glanced up at her, his lips quirking into not quite a smile, she leaned forward and kissed him. "You're getting better," she assured him.
His hand lifted to trace her brow, then her lips. "I know. I'm sorry. I just get so frustrated! I wanted—" He broke off and looked away.
She sat down beside him on the bed and reached out, turning him back to face her with a finger under his chin. "You wanted what?"
His shoulders sagged with defeat and he closed his eyes as he answered. "I just wanted to be able to help my wife dress for bed. To have just a taste of what it means to be married." His voice had turned hoarse. "It's so hard, Linn. If I had known…"
"You would have waited to wed?"
He nodded, refusing to look at her.
"I'm glad you didn't," she whispered, kissing his brow and snuggling up against his side.
Legolas turned and buried his face in her hair, sliding down and drawing her with him so they lay side by side. She wrapped her arm around his waist, and he traced lightly with a finger up and down the soft skin of her arm revealed. He liked this nightgown: sleeveless and billowy, it hid her form but teased him by revealing her slim shoulders and creamy skin of her chest and even a glimpse of the top curve of a breast if she turned just so. He let his eyes rest there now.
She looked up at him then, and he sighed. "I didn't mean it. I'm glad I wed you when I did."
"I know," she replied with a soft smile.
Turning slightly into her embrace, he kissed her, lingering with his lips against hers. She felt so good against him like this. Her foot traced his ankle and her fingers tightened on his nightshirt. He deepened the kiss, tracing his tongue over the seam of her lips, asking for more. When she parted them, he touched his tongue to hers and groaned.
Her hand crept up to his chest and he could not stop himself. His hand slid up her arm until he cupped her breast through the thin material of her nightgown. It was bliss, the feel of her in his hand, the way she moved closer, pressing herself against him. He grew bolder, slipping his fingers beneath the low neckline of her nightgown and feeling her bare skin. She felt so soft, the curve of her breast fitting nicely in his palm. He squeezed gently…
She gasped and pulled away from him so sharply that she nearly fell from the bed to the floor. The shock and look of horror on her face for a moment made him feel guilty.
"Y - You shouldn't… You…" She trembled, her arms clenched tightly across herself.
Thinking she meant he should not pursue her physically due to his leg, he smiled. "Sure I should," he said, moving closer, stalking her. "Istuion has given his blessing." He grinned at her, sliding a hand up her leg, and drawing her nightgown slowly up her calf.
But she paled and scooted to sit up on the edge of the bed, her back to him. Her breathing came in gasps and she still trembled. "Stop it."
The change in her, the look of offense in her eyes when she glanced over her shoulder at him proved too much. He had waited years to make her his wife. Had endured untold pain in heart and body, had been patient and waited and waited and now she would push him away? Now, when they should be celebrating and rejoicing in each other? In that moment, he almost hated her.
He pulled away, sitting up, anger replacing the passion he had felt moments ago. "It is my right," he ground out. "I am your husband." He reached for her again, and tried to pull her back against him, but she fought against it.
He released her and heaved himself to his feet, limping for the door. He paused only to grab his dressing robe from the back of a chair. His crutch was left behind near the bed. He could not cope with this right now. His body, so recently aroused, now ached. Combined with his anger, he knew he needed to leave before he said or did something he would greatly regret later.
He yanked the door open, but her voice paused him. The words came out in barely more than a whisper, and her voice shook, but it was what she said that dealt him a cruel blow.
"If you leave, I will never speak to you again!"
He turned slowly to gaze at her in disbelief. She sat on the edge of the bed, her arms folded tightly about her, but she was not looking at him. And despite her trembling, her obvious fear, for perhaps the first time in his life, he found himself loathing her.
"Is that a promise this time?" he asked before limping heavily out of the room and slamming the door behind him.
To Be Continued...
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.