Half an hour later, Aragorn pushed the lever and let them into their bedroom. Arwen flopped down on the bed and was just about to remove her hat when there came a discrete cough and Hithdol emerged from behind the curtains. He bowed low and looked at them with a severe mien, but Arwen could see the corners of his mouth twitching suspiciously.
"Good morning, your majesties. I apologise to have woken you so late, but there was a minor problem that had to be solved first. It will not happen again," he said in a quiet, smooth voice. "Lord Amrothos and Lady Andreth are joining you for breakfast in the small study. They have already been informed of the delay. Your morning garments are already laid out; leave this attire to me." He bowed again and withdrew to the windows, where he would wait until they had discarded their disguise.
"Good," Aragorn said and followed Arwen into the dressing room. The room was strangely empty compared to the bustle of activity that was normally taking place at this time of the day. She wondered what Hithdol had arranged for this morning. Aragorn helped her with the lacing of her dress, then they went to entertain their breakfast-guests.
Arriving in the study, they found Andreth and Amrothos snuggled together on the couch. Andreth removed her booted feet from the low table and grinned.
"Good morning, uncle, Arwen," she greeted them cheerfully. Amrothos nodded respectfully.
Aragorn let himself slump in a chair across them and Arwen followed suit. He poured himself a mug of small beer and settled back.
"Now, what brings you to me this morning?"
"We have good news we wanted to talk to you about before your hear it from someone else. After we left you," Andreth said, "well, we decided that it would be too early to go home. Amrothos said he knew a good tavern and there we went. And then..." she trailed off. Arwen had never seen her eloquent grand-niece, who had a response to everyone and everything, in such a manner. But no words had to be spoken for Arwen to know what had happened.
"I asked her to marry me. If this is well with you, sir." Amrothos finally said.
"Well with me?" Aragorn answered with a laugh, "It is Andreth you are marrying, not me. And who I am to deny a couple their happiness." He rounded the table and embraced him. "On behalf of my cousin I welcome you to the family. You have chosen well – both of you."
Then he embraced Andreth and Arwen found herself embracing Amrothos. It was such a wonderful feeling to take part in the happiness of this young couple. And Imrahil would be glad to hear it, too. Eventually they sat down again to continue breakfast.
"So how did you propose to her, Amrothos?" Aragorn asked after a sip from his mug.
"Ah, I lured her away from the dancing and into this tavern in the second circle that she always compares to an inn called the Prancing Pony. When she agreed to a glass of wine or two, I knew that the time was come."
"After the first glass of wine," Andreth continued, "he suddenly took my hands and went on his knee in front of me."
Andreth's heart was pounding as he took her hands and sank down before her. She forgot everything around her as he looked up at her. She knew that the moment she had been waiting for so long had finally come.
"Andreth," he began, his sea-grey eyes never leaving hers, "Andreth, daughter of Halbarad and Eirien, I am kneeling here before you now because I love you more than words could ever say. Should the oceans and rivers fail to turn with the tide, my love shall never fail; should the sea swallow the land, my love shall never be drowned; should the waves crush against the shore, my love shall be steadfast. Andreth, you are the love of my life; whether I be awake or wander in dreams, you are there. My heart is yours, I am yours. In good and bad times, in peace and war, will you be with me? Will you be my wife?"
Happiness surged into her heart. "Yes, yes, YES! Of course I will." She let herself fall forward right into his arms. Somehow they managed to get up from the floor. She clung to him and he swirled her around. The world around her came back into focus and she heard the people around her clap and cheer.
"Míriel, the landlady, came over and asked me if she had said what I wanted to hear. She congratulated us, and said that it was a good day for her because we were not the first to get betrothed today. It is supposed to bring luck to the house. Then she grinned and commented 'A good boy you are to wait till after the wine.' "
Aragorn and Arwen looked at each other, then burst out laughing helplessly.