The Heir and the Gem - Chapter Three
Of all the hobbits in the Shire, two were famous for the parties they gave. They were Bilbo Baggins and Tulip of Long Cleeve. Bilbo had left his last party with a flash, and it became the most famous party in the Shire. Tulip had, however, stopped throwing parties when her sister-in-love and nephew died. So, when the hobbits of the North Farthing heard that the famous Tulip was throwing her first party in 26 years, they flocked to it.
Pippin dressed in hobbit fashion that night. He smiled and shook hands with the hobbits. He appeared calm, but inside, his heart was racing. Tulip stood beside him, greeting guests. She was wearing her trademark black dress, though this one was fancier and she wore a black lace shawl over her shoulders.
"Are you sure she's coming?" he whispered.
"She is. Patience lad," she said as she held out her hand to a hobbit to kiss.
Diamond was escorted by her father. Pippin's heart leaped when he saw her. Her father kissed her cheek and whispered something to her before he climbed back in his cart and rode home.
Diamond was wearing a lavender dress that open to reveal a white petticoat with yellow flowers. Her brown hair was down with the sides pulled back with a lavender ribbon. She looked beautiful.
"Aunt Tulip!" she exclaimed as they hugged.
"My dear, you look lovely. Diamond, I would like to introduce you to Peregrin Took. Pippin, this is my neice Diamond."
"I am honored to meet you again, Pippin." Pippin took her hand, but found he could not say anything. Say something, you fool of a Took! Don't just stare at her like you're dumb. He bowed awkwardly.
"Lesson number one about courting lasses," Tulip said as they went into the crowd. "Try not to stare, no matter how beautiful the lass is."
"Yes, I'm sorry."
"No, don't apologize. There are many opportunities tonight to right your wrong." She caught sight of her neice and other lads and lasses getting ready to do a dance. "And that is one of them."
The lasses made a circle and began the dance. Pippin watched as they rocked on their ankles and hopped back. They skipped in the circle. They stood on their toes and spun around. Pippin watched Diamond the whole while. She knew the dance well. The pace of the music quickened and the lads joined in. His heart danced when the lasses turned in a circle and Diamond was his partner. He took her hand and they skipped down the line. Pippin felt he was dancing on air. The music pace quickened more. The dancers formed a circle and spun until everyone had to fall out because they were dizzy.
Diamond was laughing as she went to sit down. Her cheeks were pink from the exertion. She began to talk to one of the other lasses in the dance. Pippin began to walk over when the crowd began to shout.
"Song Pippin! Sing us a song!" Tulip took his hand and led him on the stage with the band.
"At my parties, it is a custom for our guest of honor to perform. We wish for you to sing, Pippin." She went to sit in her chair.
Pippin knew just the sort of thing the crowd would like to hear. It was a song he and Merry sang a lot. Pippin cleared his throat and began to sing.
Oh, you should never marry the Gallagher lass
She'll spend all of her time in the dressing room glass
A-combing her hair and a-primping her looks
Go find you a lass that will know how to cook
You never should fight with the Gallagher lad
You cut off his head and it just makes him mad
He'll punch you so hard it'll knock out your knees
Go fight with the boys in the bar if you please
The Gallaghers they're a cantankerous lot
And nobody knows how much money they've got
Unless you're are just suicidal or mad
You never should fight with the Gallagher lad
The Gallagher lass is a beautiful sort
And though you may wish for a wee bit o' sport
I fear you may come to a terrible pass
You never should marry the Gallagher lass
The crowd cheered and clapped. Pippin bowed and walked off the stage. Diamond walked over to him.
"I enjoyed that a lot," she said.
"Very much. It made me laugh."
"I'm glad you liked it. Do you care for anything?"
"No thank you." She smiled.
The band began to play another dance. It was slower and not nearly as vigorous as the last one they had danced together. "Would you care to dance?" Diamond's smile brightened.
"Yes, I would like that very much." Pippin took her hand and they began to dance to the music.
It was slow and sweet sounding. Pippin placed his hand against Diamond's as they walked in a circle. They switched hands and walked around again. Pippin was lost in Diamond's blue eyes. Such a beautiful shade. Pippin could see the stars in them. They had a look that Pippin had seen when Rosie looked at Sam or when Nellie looked at Ferdi. Love.
The music ended. They stood there, staring into each other's eyes, unaware of the rest of the party. Pippin took her face in his hands and kissed her. And she kissed him back.
She smiled at him. "I love you," he whispered.
"I love you two, Pippin." Had she really said that? Did she really and truly love him?
They were inseparable for the rest of the night. When Diamond's father came to get her, Pippin wished her goodnight and kissed her hand.
As he and Tulip rode home, Tulip said, "Yes, lad. You did right your wrong."
"Peregrin Took! What in the Shire are you doing?" Tulip said the next morning.
"And will you tell me why? I thought you would stay at least a week."
"I have to see my family. I need to talk to my father." Tulip nodded.
"You are a wonderful hostess."
"I enjoyed having you."
Pippin kissed her cheek and hugged her goodbye. He saddled Ted and got on. Diamond came running out of her smial.
"Pippin! You're leaving?"
"I need to see my family."
"Oh," Diamond said softly.
Pippin leaned over and squeezed her hand. "I'll come back soon." He dismounted. "I'll come back soon to be with you." He kissed her hand and mounted Ted again.
As he rode out of Long Cleeve, Pippin turned and waved to Diamond. She waved back.