'What Ifs' and 'If Onlys' - Chapter Three: Broken Waters

Broken Waters

"Da, Da, look, Da! I got one! I got a fish!"

"Well, look here, Primula, your son has quite a catch! Well, come on now, bring `em in, Frodo."

A facet of pink tongue slid across the young hobbit's lips as he slowly reeled the struggling flounder towards him. Drogo watched his son's concentration with amazement; was this his own boy? Was this the little hobittling who was many times too lazy to tie his own shoes, clean the table, and, Valar forbid, reach all the way across the table for the salt? The boy was now perspiring with anxiety, but still continued to patiently lure the prize ever so slowly towards the small boat. The air was thick with humidity and suspense.

The water broke and Frodo screamed.

"I got him! I got him! You see, Mama? You see? He's bigger than Da's..." the boy was now comparing his still wriggling prisoner to the already deceased prize of his father's. The small flounder was slimy and slippery in Frodo's small hobbit hands and he struggled to keep control over it.

"Oh!" Primula exclaimed as the flounder flopped headlong into her skirts.

"Sorry, Mama."

"Uh, Frodo?"

Drogo pulled the flounder out of his vest pocket; it's most recent establishment of occupation. Frodo snatched at it whole-heartedly and it slid between his fingers to land on the floor of the boat.

"Sorry, Da."

"No harm done, but try to keep a hold of that fellow, we don't want his hopping back home, now do we?"

"It's a good thing you've given me something to cook with tonight, love, because we certainly would have starved to death with what your father caught..."

Frodo couldn't help but grin with pride at besting his father, but soon the fish took all of his attention again and he returned to his quest of capturing his prey.

The Bagginses looked endearingly at their son, both blue and green eyes shining with pride. Then Primula and Drogo looked at each other and grinned.

"He's your boy through and through," Primula brushed back a loose curl and tucked it behind Drogo's sculpted ear. Drogo waggled his eyebrows in his wife's direction playfully and she couldn't help but giggle and lightly bat her husband's shoulder. They looked at each other, contented with enjoying the romance brought with age and family over the antics of their youth.

Frodo watched his parents with a disgusted face. He turned to his fishy friend, now its own deathbed, and, imitating his dying friend's expression, expressed his views on the importance of romance and the family.

"Ewwwwwwww...!"

No truer words were ever spoken.

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