Heart of the Storm – Chapter Ten

Time became fluid for Storm as she stood in Legolas’ embrace, taking in the sweetness of his mouth.  As their kisses became deeper, more insistent, her hands left her conscious control and wrapped themselves around his neck.  She felt one of Legolas’ hands entwine in her hair, while the other curved around her waist pulling her closer to him.  When they finally broke the kiss, they rested their foreheads together, short of breath, hearts pounding.

“I believe we will soon be missed,” Storm observed, indicating the banquet in full swing in the great hall.

“I do not wish to share you with a room full of people quite yet,” Legolas said, not relinquishing his hold around her body.

“Nor I you,” Storm replied, wishing she could preserve this moment in amber, where the only things that mattered were the tender look in Legolas’ eyes, the feel of his arms around her, and his breath on her cheek.  She gently kissed his mouth again.

Legolas looked wonderingly into Storm’s eyes.  “Not two days ago, I could barely get my feet to carry me into this city.  Now I wish never to leave if this is where you dwell.  Are you some kind of enchantress Storm of Lothlorien, to so bewitch me body and soul?”

“No more than you are wizard, Legolas of Mirkwood.  It is as if Fates herself has been guiding me toward you.”

Again, their mouths met greedily, their bodies thrilling at the other’s touch.  Storm felt as if she had spent the last hundred years under a layer of frost that had separated her from the rest of the world.  Legolas’ touch, his mouth against hers, melted this crystalline barrier and suddenly everything looked sharper, smelled sweeter, felt warmer.  Her senses were reeling.  She felt drunk with it all.

A sense of duty warred with a lover’s desire.  Storm sighed, regretfully moving out of Legolas’ embrace.  “It is time we returned,”  Storm said firmly.  “You are the guest of honor.”  Legolas nodded his begrudging agreement.  He reached out one more time to caress her cheek before he followed her back into the hall.

Storm now found the great hall overly bright, crowded, and loud after the quiet intimacy of the balcony.  She started to make for her seat at the high table when Legolas gently touched her shoulder. “I believe the next dance is mine, Lady Nevlotwen.”  His eyes invited no argument.  As Storm swirled in Legolas’ arms across the dance floor, their eyes only on each other, she was sure that the connection between she and Legolas would be clear for everyone in the City of Galadrium to see.

Legolas sensed her thoughts.  “I believe it is only the Lady Galadriel who can see so deeply into our hearts as to guess our most intimate feelings,” Legolas reassured her.  “I feel no shame or regret at what has passed between us.  It is only so new and tender that I wish to hold it selfishly to myself for the moment.”

“My cousins will not be pleased that it is I who has captured your fancy,” Storm said candidly.

“I am sorry for your cousins’ disappointment, but I will not feel sorry for following my heart.  And,” Legolas said, eyes twinkling, “you have captured much more than my fancy.”  Storm’s high color had just begun to fade when their dance ended.

By unspoken agreement, Storm and Legolas parted cordially, giving no one any reason to suspect that that they had exchanged anything more than court pleasantries while on the dance floor.  Legolas returned to the high table where Lord Celeborn quickly engaged him in conversation about the rise of dark forces around the borders of Mirkwood.

Storm allowed herself to be claimed for dances by several of her fellow scouts before deciding that she was weary of the festivities.  She had no wish to watch her cousins coyly flirt with Legolas.  If they knew how much Storm cared about him, she believed that her cousins would still pursue the Prince of Mirkwood, either to hurt her or because they viewed her as trivial.  The little Alkorewen, Bule and Bragos thought of Storm was equaled by how highly they thought of themselves.  They would simply not view her as serious competition for Legolas’ affection.  On the rare occasions that someone displayed a marked preference for Storm’s company, it was quickly decided among the other women of the House of Lorien that his attention was not as desirable as they had originally imagined.

Storm watched Legolas from across the room.  Looking at his beautiful face with its thoughtful, intelligent expression while he spoke with her uncle made her heart stir.  What had happened between them over the last two days was something she had never imagined, had never sought and yet it was if Legolas had long been the unspoken yearning of her heart.  She found color rising to her cheeks remembering the touch of his hand on her skin, the feel of his mouth claiming hers.  It had been so long since anyone had touched her so, that she had even wanted to be touched.

Storm formally asked her aunt and uncle their leave to retire, claiming the need for sleep.  She reminded Celeborn and Galadriel that Legolas was still recovering from a grave injury and should not be kept at the festivities into the wee hours.  Galadriel nodded her understanding to her niece, “Of course you are correct, Nevlotwen.  The Prince of Mirkwood must be very weary from his travels and injury.  We will send him to his rest very soon, have no concern for your patient.”

Legolas formally thanked Storm for her concern for his welfare and agreed that he soon must retire.  Storm could sense his gaze upon her back as she left the hall at a leisurely pace.

Storm returned to her own quarters, high up in the largest Malloren tree and prepared for bed.  She took her time brushing her hair and washing her face in water scented with lavender.  She stood looking out the large window for some time, allowing her newly awakened senses to drink in the night.  She could not help but wonder if Legolas had yet returned to the guest quarters which were not so far from her own.  She pictured him standing on the balcony gazing into the same starlit night.  Was he engaged in some deep thought of his own, perhaps spurred by his conversation with Celeborn, or was he looking into the night longing for her as she longed for him?

Storm climbed into bed and shut her eyes but sleep was elusive.  The events of the last two days swirled in her head.  After a time, Storm realized the futility of her situation and silently crept from her rooms.  She knew Legolas would be housed in the largest of the guest quarters, as befitting his status as prince.  She took an indirect route, not wanting to encounter anyone else this late into the night.  Before long, she was standing in front of the guest quarters door.  She thought briefly of returning to her room, but her heart protested.  She quietly turned the handle and crept in.  Storm could see Legolas laying on the bed in the pale moonlight.  For a moment, she simply enjoyed the way the light played on his beautiful face, his hair gleaming gold as it fanned across the pillow.  He only wore sleep trousers and the bandages she herself had wrapped around his torso only that morning stood out sharply against his bare skin.

Her feet carried her to the side of the bed where she then knelt.  She leaned over to gently kiss his mouth.  Legolas returned the kiss, opening his eyes to look at her.  He smiled.  “I am not the only one who has trouble settling down to sleep this night.”  His hand caressed her face and he slid his body over to allow her room upon the bed.

“You are not,” Storm agreed.  She lay down next to him and opened her arms.  Legolas lay his head upon her shoulder and draped a long bare arm across her stomach.  Storm played idly with his hair and kissed his clear brow.  “Rest my love, your body still needs much sleep to fully recover from your injuries.”

Legolas sighed in contentment.  “Now that you are here beside me, I will have no more problems sleeping this night.”  Encircled in each other’s arms, they soon fell fast asleep.

To be continued. . .

 

© Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

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