8. The Dinner Party
“The Dinner Party”
Boromir had now been Morgan’s houseguest for nearly two weeks, and both Wyatt and Lakeesha had been bugging to meet her new adoption to the family. Finally submitting to the realization that she couldn’t hold them off forever, she invited them to a small dinner party, and looked forward to it with a dread that only the condemned would understand. Wyatt was her brother, and Lakeesha, her best friend. She knew they’d support her no matter what. And yet, she just couldn’t stand the thought of them criticizing her decision.
She ran about the house like a madwoman; she had left the tidy-up far too late! Flitting from room to room, she fluffed up the pillows, set the table, and gave the floor a good vacuum, despite Boromir’s near attack on the “evil noisemaker”.
At first she had not noticed Boromir standing in the bathroom. Yet, something gleaming had caught her eye, and she stepped back to get a better look, and screamed. Boromir stood in front of the vanity mirror, a giant knife poised at his throat. Morgan’s shriek nearly caused him to slit his own gullet, but he steadied his startled hand, and gazed upon her with an alarmed fierceness. Before he had opportunity to question her motive, she said, “Boromir, don’t do it!!!”
“Morgan,” he said, attempting to control his temperament, “one does not screech around a man yielding a sharp blade! I nearly sliced open my own throat!”
Morgan paused. “Isn’t that what you were trying to do?”
“They may have deemed me mad, but I assure you, I am not!”
“Then what the hell were you doing with that gigantoid knife? Shaving?!”
“Aye, that was my intent before you began to shriek,” Boromir said, rubbing his scruffy neck.
“What?! You can’t shave with a knife!”
“Why not? How else is one to shave?”
Morgan breathed in deeply, and told herself that it was just another bit of modernizing that Boromir needed. She opened the vanity drawer, pulled out a pretty pink razor, and handed it to him triumphantly.
“What is this?” he said staring at it with apprehension. The colour seemed offensive, and it was covered in white flowers.
“A razor. It’s about time you started to use one. I promise you, it’ll be the closest shave you’ll ever have had. Your face will feel like a baby’s bottom.”
Boromir eyed her with incredulity. And they thought me mad, he pondered to himself.
She sensed his cynicism and quickly added, “Okay, maybe not the best analogy...”
Once Boromir was lathered up with lavender scented foam, Morgan showed him the delicacies of shaving one’s face. Twice cutting himself and cursing the vile blade, Boromir at last cast it down, declaring, “I shall not wield such a fiendish artifice!”
“Alright, but one side of your face will look different than the other. You’ll look lopsided,” she warned.
Besides being uncertain of what ‘lopsided’ meant, Boromir begrudgingly picked up the razor and, with greater care, proceeded to shave the rest of his face. Morgan had commented that it was easier to shave one’s leg than one’s face, and Boromir shook his head at the thought. None, not even Morgan, could coerce him into shaving his legs!
“You look good in a goatee,” Morgan said, looking at his neat and tidy face.
“Of what did you call me?” Boromir said, wiping the excess foam off with a damp cloth.
“Never mind. Okay, hurry up. It’s nearly 4:30.”
Twenty frenzied minutes passed, and at last the doorbell rang. Wyatt was the first to arrive, carrying a bouquet of flowers for the host.
“Good to see you! Thank you for the flowers,” Morgan said, taking the flowers, and hugging her brother.
“Well, those were actually for Boromir, but if you insist...”
“Knock it off. How was your drive?”
“Not bad for a Friday, actually,” Wyatt said, hanging up his coat, and giving a playful pat to a panting Moglie. “So? Where is he?”
“Just getting changed. I’ve been meaning to take him shopping for some more clothes. He only has one pair of pants, and whatever t-shirts that I’ve dug out that could fit him.”
“He’s wearing your shirts?” Wyatt said, his face cringing. “Hey, now that I think of it, I’m not sure I like the shirt I’m wearing. Do you think I could borrow one of yours, maybe in pink with some lace?”
“Shut up!” Morgan said, giving him a sisterly shove.
“He’s not wearing your underwear too, is he?”
“Shut up! He’s coming!”
Boromir strode into the hallway. He felt awkward, and out of place. Morgan had been insistent on their guests being kind people, who would understand his inexpertness on their rituals or customs.
“Pleased to meet you, Boromir,” Wyatt said, friendly-like. “I’m Morgan’s older brother, Wyatt.” He could not help but smirk at the shirt Morgan had chosen for him. It was white with black lettering across the front stating, ‘Buffy & Angel Forever’.
Boromir held out his arm, yet oddly, Wyatt grasped his hand and shook it. Boromir stared down at it, surmising it to be another unusual custom. “I am most honoured.”
An awkward silence ensued until suddenly, the door bell rang again. Morgan hurried off, thankful for her excuse to escape. Lakeesha entered, loud and laughing, saying that she had gotten lost. She handed Morgan a bottle of wine, and spotted Boromir. “Mmmm, Girl! He’s some fine piece of man!” she whispered.
“Well for God’s sake, don’t embarrass him, or me, please!” Morgan begged while hanging up Lakeesha’s coat.
Lakeesha smiled, not taking her eyes off Boromir. “Oh, never fear. I will be the picture of propriety!”
She marched up to Boromir, and held her hand out to him, batting her bedroom eyes. “And you must be the Boromir I have heard so much of.”
Boromir’s longing eyes searched for Morgan’s guidance, but she was nowhere to be found. Smiling, he clumsily took Lakeesha’s hand, and shook it as Wyatt had done. “I am most honoured.”
Lakeesha had expected he might’ve kissed it, but his soft words reprieved him, and she smiled again. “Ooh! Now, here’s a man who knows how to romance a girl!”
Morgan uncorked the bottle of wine with a loud ‘pop’, breaking the awkward scene. “Wine, anybody?”
- - -
They congregated around the kitchen table, their coffee and half eaten dessert in front of them. Boromir concluded that Morgan had been correct in her descriptions of her brother and friend. They were both friendly and understanding of his plight. He was not altogether sure if they too deemed him mad, but he was learning not to be troubled by it. Morgan believed him, and that was enough.
“So what is Gondor like?” Lakeesha asked, her eyes wide with interest, yet free of malice.
Boromir thought a moment. How was one to surmise the greatest land in Arda? “It is a vast country, notable for two of the best cities in Middle Earth. One, Osgiliath, has sadly become over-run, and Minas Tirith, my home.”
“And your father,” Wyatt said, “is the king?”
“Nay, the Steward of Gondor,” Boromir corrected.
“What’s that mean? He’s the king’s advisor?” Lakeesha asked.
“Nay, for my country has been in want of a king for a thousand years. It is my father’s duty to govern the realm until a king returns. That duty would have fallen onto me upon my father’s death, yet I know now I shall never hold that position.”
“Why? Because you’re...not in Middle Earth anymore?” Wyatt asked, trying to be kind to the crazy man.
“Nay, for I have met the man who will be king.”
“But how come your father didn’t just declare himself king if there hasn’t been one in a thousand years?” Wyatt asked.
Boromir’s eyes widened. “T’would be the most unthinkable sacrilege! Never would any man of honour have done so. I may come from a noble house, yet it is known that the kingship in not our birthright. We Gondorians recognize that we do not take that which is not ours!” A fleeting memory of him trying to take the Ring from Frodo caught Boromir’s thoughts. Could Frodo ever forgive him?
Morgan and Wyatt exchanged glances. Wyatt appeared confused by Boromir’s integrity, and observed the man sitting next to him with a new sense of puzzlement.
“So,” Lakeesha said smiling, “if your daddy was Steward, what, Boromir, were you? Someone with lots of leadership, I think...”
“I am High Warden of the White Tower of Ecthelion, and Captain-General of my father’s armies.”
“A soldier? Really?” Wyatt’s interest had peaked. “What do you fight with?”
“Swords mostly. One must know how to manage a bow...” Boromir said, but was promptly cut short by Wyatt’s exclaim.
“Swords? Really?” Wyatt said, now insuppressibly giddy. “Can you show me?”
“I would gladly, but I fear I have none.”
“Oh!” Morgan blurted, recalling a memory. “Yes! Wait a minute!” She jumped up from the table, and ran out the door.
The three were left to blink witlessly at each other, questioning what Morgan might be up to.
Morgan ran back in, a cumbersome bundle in her arms. Kicking the door shut, she laid her parcel upon the counter top, and all rose to come and see her discovery.
Boromir gasped upon seeing the treasure trove! There were several orc blades, dirty and crude, as well as the broken hilt of his own sword. The weapons were swathed in a green cloth, upon which glittered a leafy jewel.
Boromir unpinned the elven brooch, and stroked it affectionately, as though he were seeing an old friend.
“That’s beautiful,” Morgan said examining the intricacies of so fine a pin in, which seemed smaller in his mighty hand. “Where did you get it?”
“A gift from the Lady Galadriel,” Boromir said, not taking his captive eyes off his newfound treasure. He had thought it long lost. “This and the golden belt which you forbid me to wear.”
“The belt’s gaudy, Boromir,” Morgan explained. “I’m sorry.”
“It can’t be that bad!” Lakeesha said. “What’s wrong with a little bling, anyway? What’s it made out of, Boromir?”
“That’s the colour,” Morgan said, “but what’s it made out of?”
Boromir blinked. “Gold, as I have stated.”
“But not real gold,” Wyatt said.
“What other gold is there?” Boromir said, and looked curiously at the gaggle of bewildered faces staring at him in astonishment.
Not a minute later, the golden belt was retrieved and being closely examined by Lakeesha. “I’ll know if it’s real gold. I once had this boyfriend, and he tried to pawn off on me some cheap gold dip job, but uh uh!” she said, shaking her head. “I knew that crap wasn’t real! I’ll tell you, I set that boy loose so fast, he can keep that junk! A boy worth keeping gives you something worth keeping, know what I mean?”
Wyatt picked up one of the swords, and held it’s heavy grip in awe. “Wow! I didn’t think you’d really been serious! So, you know how to fight with these?”
“Aye, yet these are crude and not as finely crafted as the blades of my people. This,” he said, picking up his own sword hilt, it’s blade broken as Isildur’s had been, “was mine. A gift from my father upon my becoming a man.”
Yet Wyatt did not hear, he was too immersed in his own fantasy to remark on Boromir’s tale of woe. “Say, Boromir, do you think you can show me some moves? With this?” he said, grinning excitedly.
“Wyatt’s a Star Wars junkie,” Morgan explained. “Major Jedi Knight fetish.”
“You’re one to talk, making poor Boromir here wear your Buffy shirt!” Wyatt fought back.
“That’s different,” Morgan said quietly.
“I know not what ‘Star Wars’ is, but I should be happy to teach you the basics of sword fighting,” Boromir said, picking up a lengthy Orc blade.
“Whoa!” Wyatt said, sword still in hand. “You’ve never seen ‘Star Wars’?! Morgan! You haven’t shown him ‘Star Wars’? I’m not talking about the stupid ‘extra scenes’ versions, or the crappy Jar Jar ones. You haven’t even shown him the originals?!” he asked incredulously.
Morgan shrugged her shoulders. “I thought it’d be a stretch for him.”
“Do you have a copy?” Wyatt said, stepping into her livingroom, and staring at the wall of DVDs.
“Of course,” Morgan replied dryly. “You gave it to me for Christmas.”
Boromir had followed Wyatt into the livingroom, and Wyatt turned to him, elated and said, “I won’t show you everything tonight, as there’s three movies, and we’d be up really late. Not unless you want to, anyway. For now, I just have to show you this one scene. It’s the best!”
Morgan shook her head as Wyatt loaded the DVD player and selected the scene desired.
“Okay,” Wyatt said, leading Boromir to have a seat on the couch. “Now, I don’t want to give away too many details, but scene you’re about to see is by far the best sword fight ever captured on film! Now, there’s these two masters...”
“Masters of what?” Boromir asked. “Swordplay?”
“No,” Wyatt said, straining to describe the storyline effectively. “They’re Jedi.” Boromir looked blankly at him. Wyatt realized he was going to have to try a lot harder. “You see, there’s this thing called the Force...”
“Ha!” Morgan said, amused at her nerdy brother’s ineptitude. “I can’t wait to see how you’re going to explain this one!”
Wyatt gave Morgan a dirty look before turning back to Boromir. “The Force is an invisible...well, force that binds all living things together.”
Boromir nodded his head, thinking it sounded Elvish.
Wyatt continued, elated on Boromir’s apparent understanding. “So, there’s this bad Master, and this good Master. And, well, this is their fight.”
Boromir nodded again, and with great delight, Wyatt pressed play.
“Morgan?” Lakeesha whispered. “What do you think? Can I pull off this bling, or what?!”
Morgan looked over to see Boromir’s golden belt around Lakeesha’s waist. It actually looked good. Very retro. “You can pull it off,” Morgan said, much to Lakeesha’s satisfaction. “But, if it really is made of gold, there’s no way Boromir’ll let you borrow it.”
“Just trying it on for size,” Lakeesha said, staring at her reflection in the hall mirror.
Meanwhile, Boromir had felt captivated by the scene unfolding. He thought the clothing worn by the people laughable, but had not the heart to injure Wyatt’s inescapable love for the story. The swords were, Boromir acknowledged, truly impressive. He would have to ask if he could acquire one before returning to Gondor.
Wyatt kept glancing back and forth between Boromir and his most beloved movie, anxious for Boromir to love it as much as he did. When it was over and the Millennium Falcon was flying away into the space abyss, Wyatt pressed pause, and said, “Well?!”
At first, Boromir knew not what to say. All eyes were upon him, and he did not wish to insult. “As a story, it seemed very...unique.”
“And the swordplay?” Wyatt asked.
Boromir was a little more reluctant on that head. “I believe they require a little more training... Come! I will show you!”
Wyatt jumped up, excited at the prospect of fulfilling a boyhood dream.
“Now,” Boromir began when they each had a sword in their hands, “this blade is sharp enough to cut through bone, so I require your caution. Learning the intricacies of swordplay is a long and labourous one. However, since this is your first moment grasping a sword, I will teach you merely the principles. Stand straight; stand tall. Feet apart, and both hands on your sword.”
“Why?” Wyatt said, carefully mimicking Boromir’s every instruction.
“Two arms are stronger than one. Now, hold your blade like a shield, protecting you from my blow.”
Morgan and Lakeesha watched as Boromir struck on with his sword, causing a loud ‘cling’ when the swords struck each other. Further instructions were made, and soon, Wyatt was swinging his sword at Boromir.
Lakeesha turned to Morgan, an odd expression upon her face. “Let’s talk turkey, shall we? I mean, I know it’s impossible, and utterly ridiculous, but where in the name of Jerome did he learn how to do that?”
Morgan had been wondering the same thing. Unlike Wyatt’s movements, Boromir’s had been perfect, like a dancer’s. She could tell he was moving with effortless fluidity, and yet, holding back the sleeping animal within him.
Nearly a half an hour passed before Wyatt held up his tired arm in surrender. “Whoa! No more. You’re an outstanding teacher, Boromir,” he said breathlessly, sweat dripping down his face. He held out his hand, and this time, Boromir gladly shook it.
“Think naught of it. I’m happy to show you,” Boromir said, wiping his own brow with his arm.
“No, really!” Wyatt said, succumbing into a chair. “You should teach this stuff! No one knows it. It’s a lost art! I’m sure loads of guys would like to learn it.”
Boromir smiled awkwardly at the compliments, but was confused. “You said ‘lost art’. Why is it lost?”
“Oh, no one’s fought with a sword, Boromir, in about a hundred and fifty years, since the Civil War. And even then, I think they were mainly for when they ran out of bullets. Now, real sword fighting, you’re going back five hundred years, I would think. The only time you see sword fighting anymore is in the movies. Well,” Wyatt said, rising and striding over to Morgan, “I’d better get going. It’s my weekend to get the kids, and Cheryl always drops them off at the crack of dawn, so I’d better go.”
“Yeah, me too,” Lakeesha said, leaving the gold belt on the counter with a wanting glance. “I’m on a ten hour shift tomorrow.” The two guests made their goodbyes, and the door was finally shut.
Boromir watched as Morgan began to clear the table, filling the strange dish washing device. “I think that went well,” Morgan said, smiling at Boromir, and scraping the plates into the garbage. “You were a hit!”
“I know not what you imply.”
“I mean, they liked you.”
“Ah,” Boromir said, picking up the Elvish leaf and feeling the weight of it in his hands. “Yet, I think they thought me mad. Are these effects not proof enough that I am who I say I am?”
“For me, yes. For them, maybe. For the rest of society...” Morgan reluctantly shook her head, no. “People believe what they want to believe, Boromir. Even about themselves. People nowadays don’t want the truth about anything. The world’s just too scary a place. So, we build walls to close in our society, and make excuses to shelter our fantasy-like beliefs in order to make us feel safe. But the truth is, we’re not safe, and we never will be, no matter what we do.”
Boromir stared at her. She was no longer smiling. How strange, he thought, that he should come from a region so distant and unobserved by this dissimilar civilization, and yet, here breeds the same fear and hopelessness that runs rampant in his own land and people. “And yet, you are not afraid.”
“Who, me?” Morgan said, now smiling again. “I’m afraid of everything! You should see me when I kill a spider... No, I’m no soldier like you. I’ll bet you’re not afraid of anything.”
“I am a man,” Boromir said, stepping close to her, “built of blood, and flesh, and feelings; I was not carved out of stone. I can be strong when there is need of it, as there is need for courage in battle. Yet, my heart is not frozen like the river during winter’s frigid rule. I can fight and die like any other man. I fear... I blame... I, too, can crumble under the weight of despair when everything seems lost and all for naught. I am a man, Morgan. Soldier also, and yet, a man.”
Morgan didn’t know what to say. He stood there, awaiting a response. She gazed up into his eyes, and then quickly reached up on tiptoes, kissing him. It was a brief kiss, their lips had barely touched, and their eyes had barely shut before it had ended. Blushing, and walking away, Morgan simply said, “Goodnight,” before scurrying off to the sanctity of her bedroom.
Author's Note: Well? What do you think?! PLEASE let me know!!! I know it's silly to beg for reviews, but I really enjoy hearing from everyone after each chapter! So, PLEASE! REVIEW!!!