18. Chapter 18
It had been a couple of weeks now since my mystery man disappeared in the middle of the night. It's strange, but I miss his company. I wish I could have gotten to know him better.
It was early morning and I went to my bedroom window. It snowed last night. I am supposed to leave today to head back to the city. I called my boss more times than allowed, trying to save my job. If I didn't get back there by Monday, I would be fired.
Ethan was getting a little anxious too. We hadn't seen each other since his visit a while back. He sounded like a lost puppy the last time we spoke. He misses me and that makes me feel good. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I always say. Maybe now, he will realize what a good thing he's got and he'll propose. We've been together for seven years now. I think that's long enough to know if you're meant to be. Why was he taking so long? If it is true love, there should be no question. You should feel it right away, shouldn't you? It should go straight to your heart and make you feel more alive than you've ever felt. It should be in his eyes. That's what my dad told me anyways. I let my mind wander back to my visitor and remembered when he touched my injured wrist. What was that all about anyway? It was such a strange feeling. He held my hand and blew on my bruises. I will never forget that sensation. It was more than that though. I almost felt as if I was about to relive an old memory or something. His touch was very familiar, like deja vue. We had been there before. Well, it was true. He held me when I was drowning, but I was unconscious then. I guess I remembered it somehow. Yeah, that was it.
* * *
By Sunday afternoon, the streets were clear of snow. I spent the day packing my bags. I got most of my dad's affairs in order. I set up some farmhands to begin planting in the spring. It would be difficult to manage a farm from the city but I would give it a try. I trusted these guys to take care of the fields until I could get back. Right now, I needed to concentrate on my job and Ethan. Besides, it was winter and there was nothing to be done at the farm for a few more months.
I stood in the living room and looked around my childhood home. "Mother… Dad… I've done the best I can with this place. I don't know what the future holds, but I will give it my best. I know you wouldn't want anything to happen to our land. I pray you will look down from above and keep an eye on things." I looked at the couch. "And if he comes looking for me, I hope he is not too disappointed."
I packed my truck and headed out. Time to get back to reality. Time to move on with life again.
* * *
Ethan was waiting for me when I walked into our apartment. He took me in his arms and held me tight. I've never felt such emotion from him. He lifted me off my feet and twirled me around. I laughed as he did. Then, without saying a word, he backed me into our bedroom and made love to me like it was our last time together on earth. I knew at that moment how much he missed me and I think it opened his eyes to what we have.
The next morning, I awoke to Ethan laying delicate kisses on my neck. I was instantly aroused. I glanced at the clock. "Ethan, I have to get up. I gotta get to work or I'll lose my job." I complained as I felt him smile against my neck.
"You have time. I won't let you be late. Just one more time, please? I missed you so much." he said wantonly.
I never was one to turn down a little early morning lovemaking. I gave into his pleas and let him ravish me. As we lay in each other's arms, I smiled. This was my life now. I was a city girl with a good job and a sexy man by my side. Was this what I wanted now? Was this worth giving up my dreams of country living? Could I totally forget about my otherworldly friend and pretend none of it ever happened?
* * *
Work was going good. The wintertime at the zoo was hardly busy, but the animals still needed to be fed and taken care of. I got into my work and let all my worries melt away for the next few months. Spring was just around the corner. Soon, my hired help would begin planting this year's crop of corn and it seemed the fates were on my side. From what all the predictions said, this would be a prosperous year.
The closer it came to spring, the more anxious I became. I missed that time of year when the flowers were blooming and the sweet smelling buds came out on the trees. My heart yearned to be back home and run through the fields of wildflowers. I was so drawn to that place. It called to me constantly. I began to see how easy a decision it was for my parents to take over the farm after my grandparents died. That's when a thought entered my head.
Ethan came home from work that evening and I had a nice candlelit dinner ready. He dropped his briefcase and came to me, wrapping his arms around my waist and kissing me. After our reunion a few months back, we seemed to settle into our usual lifestyle. It was becoming a little too monotonous for my taste. I decided to spice things up a bit.
"How was your day?" I asked after he released my lips.
"Oh, you know, S.S.D.D." He looked at the dining room table. "What have you gone and done this time?" he said sarcastically.
I frowned. "Can't a girl take care of her man? I just wanted to spend a romantic evening with you."
He kissed me again. "Well, I cannot wait to taste this wonderful looking meal." he said glancing over my shoulder to the table.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him in for a more passionate kiss. "And I cannot wait to taste you." I whispered in his ear. Ethan moaned and pulled me close once more, hands reaching for the buttons of my blouse. "Not yet. Let's eat first. It wasn't easy cooking this meal."
We were almost through with dinner when I brought up the subject at hand. "So Ethan, what do you think about spending some time at the farmhouse? I thought that maybe this summer we could make it our vacation spot. Just think, two weeks in the country, just you and me. I'll teach you how to climb a tree better than a squirrel." I smiled and laughed. Then I noticed he was not smiling.
"You know I'm not a nature person. How about you and me on a cruise in the Caribbean, dancing, all the delectable food you can eat, sunrises, sunsets, beaches, shopping? That's more of a vacation than going to that old rundown house of yours. You know, maybe it would be worth it to sell that place now. It's a seller's market and it will only get better from here. That's a pretty big chunk of land. I'm sure it will sell in a heartbeat for the right price." He cocked an eyebrow at me. "And I won't even charge you a realtor's fee since I know the owner quite personally."
I hated when he thought he was being charming just to try to make me change my mind. I was not very amused with his suggestion. "Ethan, you know I can't sell that place. It's been in my family for so long. I'm not going to be the one to drop the ball on it." Now it was my turn to put on the charm. I smiled and raised an eyebrow in response. "Besides, wouldn't it be wonderful to start our family there?"
His face instantly turned into a frown. "That's not exactly what I had in mind. Come on. My career is just taking off. My boss is letting me take on much more expensive houses now. My commissions are getting bigger too. Soon, we will be able to afford a place on the outskirts of town. How 'bout a nice two story with a big kitchen, formal dinning room, a playroom upstairs for the kids."
I rolled my eyes. "Oh yeah, a place in the suburbs with the white picket fence and all. Two point five kids and a dog in the backyard. Everyone lives that life. I want to be somewhere where the air is fresh and we're surrounded by fields of green. And the forest is alive and… can't you see it, Ethan?" I paused and laughed at an idea that came to my head. "You know, if trees could talk I bet they'd say…"
"Obviously we have different views about our future." he interrupted with seriousness in his tone.
I looked at him, confused by the change in his demeanor. "But we talked about this a long time ago. You agreed…"
"I agreed to nothing. It was your dream, not mine. I am the city, you are the country. I thought by bringing you here with me, you would change your mind."
I could feel the anger growing within me. "Change my mind? What are you saying? Did you think I could forget about my past? Ethan, to me, living in the city is only temporary. This is not where I want to live permanently." I looked down at my half-eaten plate of food. "What are we saying Ethan?"
He pushed his chair away from the table and looked to the floor. "I think you know. We want two different things and neither one of us is willing to compromise." He got up and stood behind me where I sat. "Maybe we need to think things through a little more." He bent down and kissed the top of my head. "It's been a long day. I think I'm just going to go to bed. Dinner was wonderful."
He left me sitting at the table wondering what just happened. I thought our life was perfect. I thought we were going to get married. Now, nothing seemed further from the truth.
* * *
Within a week, Ethan moved out. We both agreed to take some time for ourselves and try to figure things out. Maybe we had gotten too comfortable with the life we had and weren't looking ahead enough. 'He will see thing my way. How can he not?' I thought to myself. Why did life need to be so difficult? Then my thoughts turned to someone I hadn't thought of in a long time. I wondered if he was looking out for my forest. I missed that place. I missed him.
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.