Sam: I am excited for this.
H.G.: Well, I’m not. I have NO plot for this chapter, so I’m basically winging it off of a couple ideas I’ve bounced around my head. Here goes.
Her dress somewhat rumpled, a little muddy, damp from the rain. Her hair is sprinkled with mist and droplets of water. She is turned away from me, but as I close the door behind me, she turns her head and my breath catches. She is as lovely as the last time I saw her.
“Hello, Sam,” she says softly.
“Hello, Rosie,” I whisper in reply.
She smiles a little and turns all the way, to face me. “It’s been… so long,” she says hesitantly.
“Yes.” I gulp. My mouth’s dry as sandpaper and there’s nought I can think of to say. “Over a year,” I get out.
“You’ve changed.” Her eyes scan me quickly. “You’re thin as a reed. And tanner.”
That’s what starving in hell does to you, I think, but I only say, “you… look the same as ever.”
“Well, no. You look older.” Sadder.
She smiles a little. “Well. I suppose we’re both older.”
The awkward conversation dies and we both stand there in silence. Then Rosie says, “Frodo told me Odfrin came.”
“He’s awful, isn’t he?”
I nod, thinking of the disastrous talk with that horrible person. “He is. Terrible. But Frodo said you -”
“Hate him?” she finishes. “Yes. I never loved him, but my parents sure did.”
“So you …” I gulp again. “Didn’t… ever…”
“Stop loving you?” She takes a step closer. “No, Sam, I didn’t.”
Suddenly I’m up against the wall with one of her hands in my hair and the other on my shoulder, and her lips pressed firmly against mine. I wrap my arms around her and close my eyes. I can feel her tears on my cheeks, and her hand tightens until she might be pulling my hair out, but I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care…
Rosie tips her head back and we both stare at each other, gasping. My face fills with warmth and I know I’m blushing and crying all at once. “Sam,” she whispers. Slowly, she leans against my shoulder and begins to cry softly. I slip one of my hands into hers and hold her to my side, gently, not desperately, like how I kissed her. She looks up at me. A tear clings to her eyelashes. “They thought you were never coming back.”
“That’s what I thought, too.”
“But you came back.”
I laugh through my tears. “Yes.”
We’re silent for a moment, and then Rose lifts her head and steps away from me. “So what happens now?” she asks.
I lean back against the wall. “What do you mean?”
“Orcs in the Shire, me engaged to Odfrin Proudfoot. What are we going to do?”
I think for a moment. “I don’t know what to do about the orcs, but Odfrin… I could talk to your parents. Try to work things out.”
“I can’t see the good it will do.” Rosie ponders for a minute, and then her whole face brightens. “Sam!” She grabs my hands. “Let’s run away!” she says, breathless. “Let’s run away and elope! No one’s stopping us. We could go to Bree, we could -”
“I can’t,” I say instantly.
“Why not?” Rosie looks surprised.
“I can’t leave Frodo.”
“But you could leave me.”
“Rosie…” I trail off, run a hand through my hair. I try to think of something, anything, to say that can make her understand. I didn’t know this would happen, any of it, and suddenly I have a strong urge to crumple to my knees and cry, I feel so weighted. Somehow this feeling gives me the words I need, and they come spilling out. “When I left,” I say, “you were here, well looked after in what I knew was and thought always would be the safest place in the world. Frodo went into danger. And so I went with him. I never imagined the Shire would end up this way. I assumed I would leave you somewhere comfortable and happy, and come back soon.
“If I left with you now, I would leave him here, destroyed, broken, in a destroyed and broken world. And we wouldn’t be safe either, even in Bree. But it would kill Frodo to be left behind. And I love him far to much to do that to him.”
Rosie looks up at me. “You won’t leave with me.”
“No.” I stop, trail off, and then add, “But if we can figure something out, something more permanent, in a few moths, a way to stay here and protect him…”
I smile. “Then I’ll go along with the second part of your plan.”