The Popular Crowd - chapter 4

Recap: The teens and the Hobbits have made it to Bree and while the Hobbits are enjoying themselves well enough, the teens feel like they are going to explode in they don't get cable and pizza soon.

Ruby, Frodo, Sam, and Pippin had decided to go down to join the party, while Laura, Zack, Danny, and Merry stayed in their room, away from all the commotion and crazy people. But Merry couldn't take their company so he decided to take a stroll and much to his disappointment, Zack decided to go with him.

So it was just Danny and Laura in there, all alone, in the dark, and in the quiet.

Danny: I guess its just us then. All alone. You and me, all alone.

Laura: Touch me, and I'll brake your arm.

Danny: Okay, sorry.

Laura: I wanna go home. What if we're not back in time to see the first episode of "Joey"?

Danny: Joey?

Laura: Its a spin off of "Friends". Every one knows that Joey is the most attractive member of the group. So they gave him his own TV show. And if I miss the first episode, I'm going, I'm too angry to make evil plans for Ruby. I've done everything to her I can think of. I made her unpopular, I spread rumors about her, stole her friends and made them popular and then dropped them like third period Spanish, flirted with her older brother. What more can I do? I've done every thing they did in the movie "Mean Girls". Those chicks are my inspiration. But still Ruby keeps on smiling her little head off and writing her poetry and earning the respect of all the teachers and stealing my baby-sitting jobs. It ticks me off.

Danny: Dude, don't get all hyper active on me. You need to chill out. Maybe we should go join the others .

Laura: In other words your, like, tired of hearing me whine.

Danny: Yeah. I am.

Laura: Fine, we'll go hang out with those mental patients.

Ruby: Hoy! Laura, Danny. You two finally decided to grace us with your presence. Guess what............Oh, you never will so I'll tell you. It turns out there are some Brockhouses here. My mom was a Brockhouse. Her family came from Bree years before she was born. So I've been meeting some distant relatives. My cousin, Fosco over there, bought me a whole pint of beer. That was very nice of him. (waves to Fosco, Fosco waves back)

Danny: Hey, I want some.

Ruby: Are you kidding? Your no where near drinking age.

Laura: Neither are you.

Ruby: Well, actually.....nah! I'll tell you about that later. Frodo needs me at the moment. He is about to be in a very uncomfortable situation.

Ruby walked over to Frodo. He said something to her, the teens couldn't hear, and pointed to a man sitting in the corner. Ruby whispered something to him and just then the man motioned for them to come join him. Ruby and Frodo looked at each other nervously. Ruby took Frodo's arm like a proper lady always does and walked to the table and sat down. The man removed his hood and spoke.

Strider: I am called Strider. I am very pleased to meet you, Master-Underhill and you Miss Sandybanks, if old Butterbur got your names right.

Ruby and Frodo: He did.

Frodo looked at Ruby with a somewhat annoyed look on his face. It wasn't the first time she had done that and it wouldn't be the last.

Stider: Well, Master Underhill, if I were you I should stop your young friend from talking to much. Drink, fire, and chance meeting are pleasant enough, but, well, this isn't the Shire. there are queer folk about. Though I say it as shouldn't you may think. And there have been even stranger travelers through Bree lately.

Then Frodo and Ruby became aware that That Pippin was giving a comical account of Bilbo's farewell party.

Ruby: He was only twelve then, how does he remember it so dang well.?

She groaned and put her face in her hands. She loved Pippin, but he just didn't think sometimes. She saw that Danny and Laura were also enamored on the tale. Ruby couldn't let them find out about the Ring. She didn't trust them.

Strider: You had better do something quick!

Ruby's super human mind fast forwarded to the final result of what Frodo was about to do. She couldn't let that happen. Not only to keep the teens from finding out but also to save Frodo from embarrassment. Better her than him. So, just when he was about to stand up, she stopped him and stood herself.

Ruby: No, Honey. I'll take care of it. I have better stage presence than you.

Ruby jumped up onto a table, with a big grin on her face. The people cheered, thinking Miss Sandybanks had taken as much ale as was good for her.

Laura: What's that little tramp doing now?

Danny: I have no idea.

Ruby always had enjoyed attention. She was after all the best actress in all the Shire. And was considered to be pretty dang good in America too. So, with her clear, confident voice she spoke.

Ruby: People of Bree. We are all very much gratified by the kindness of your reception, and I venture to hope that our brief visit will help to renew the old ties of friendship between the Shire and Bree.

Random Person: A song! A song! Come on now madam, sing us something that we've never heard before.

Ruby cracked her knuckles and smiled.

Danny: Do "Hit me Baby, one more time"!!

Ruby: No, I can think of something they've never heard before that they might like.

Ruby cleared her throat, spun around and sang an old tune that was beloved by her and her little brother.

Ruby: Just like the white winged dove...
sings a song ...
Sounds like she's singing...
Just like the white winged dove...
sings a song...
Sounds like she's singing... ooo

And the days go by....
like a strand in the wind
In the web that is my own...
I begin again
Said to my friend, baby...
Nothin' else mattered

He was no more...than a baby then
Well he seemed broken hearted...
something within him
But the moment...that I first laid
Eyes...on...him...all alone...
On the edge of...seventeen

Just like the white winged dove...
sings a song ...
Sounds like she's singing...
Just like the white winged dove...
sings a song...
Sounds like she's singing... ooo

I went today...maybe I will go again...
And the music there it was hauntingly...
And I see you doing...
what I try to do for me
With the words from a poet...
and the voice from a choir
And a melody...nothing else mattered

Just like the white winged dove...
sings a song ...
Sounds like she's singing...
Just like the white winged dove...
sings a song...
Sounds like she's singing... ooo

The clouds...never expect it...
when it rains
But the sea changes colours...
but the sea...
Does not change
And so...with the slow...graceful flow..
of age
I went forth...with an age old... please
On the edge of...seventeen

Just like the white winged dove...
sings a song ...
Sounds like she's singing...
Just like the white winged dove...
sings a song...
Sounds like she's singing... ooo

Well then suddenly...
there was no one...left standing
In the hall...yeah, yeah...
In a flood of tears
That no one really ever heard fall at all
Oh I went searchin' for an answer...
Up the stairs...and down the hall
Not to find an answer...
just to hear the call
Of a nightbird...singing...
come away...come away...

Well I hear you in the morning...
and I hear you...
At nightfall...
sometime to be near you...
Is to be hear you...
my love...
I'm a few years older than you...
are, my love

Just like the white winged dove...
sings a song ...
Sounds like she's singing...
Just like the white winged dove...
sings a song...
Sounds like she's singing... ooo

There was a loud long applause. Ruby bowed low and laughed. They made her have another drink and once again she excitedly sang her song. But this time she danced a little too excitedly and on the words "night bird singing come away" she leaped in the air. Much too vigorously; for she came down, Bang, into a tray full of mugs and slipped, and rolled off the table with a crash, clatter, and bump! The audience laughed and the Hobbits and the teens went to make sure Ruby wasn't hurt.

Frodo: Ru, are you alright?

Ruby: Ow! The things I do for you. I think I may have a concussion. Ask me something!

Danny: What were Elijah Wood's first five movies?

Ruby: Uh....Back to the Future 2, Internal affairs, Paradise, Avalon, and Child in the night. Is that right?

Danny: How should I know?

Frodo: Here, Ruby, put your arm around my neck.

They helped poor Ruby to her feet. She sat down and felt the bump on the back of her head.

Ruby: Somebody get me some ice. And I mean now!

Strider walked over to where they sat. Ruby looked up at him and saw immediately that he was suppressing his laughter.

Strider: Well, when I suggested you do something to stop your friend, that wasn't what I had in mind.

Ruby: It would have been worse if he had done it.

Ruby kicked Frodo in the leg and he kicked her back.

Strider: Indeed, but still, if you please, Mr. Baggins, I should like a quiet word with you.

Frodo: What about?
Strider: A matter of some importance to us both. You may hear something to your advantage.
Frodo: Very well. I'll talk to you later.
The thought suddenly occurred to Ruby, that if the teens were in the room when Strider and Frodo talked they would find out about the Ring and the purpose of their quest. She tried to think of something, but she had no idea what to do about it. She had no doubt in her mind that if Danny found out how powerful it was, he'd kill Frodo in his sleep for it. But there was nothing to do. Strider would be able to tell if they were a threat.
Hours later

Danny: Your telling me this whole thing has been about some ring?

Ruby: Its not just any ring, Danny.

Danny: Well, whatever. Why didn't you tell us?

Ruby: I had my reasons.

Laura: In other words you don't trust us.

Ruby: No, I don't. If it were up to me we'd leave you here. But you know to much. So, I'll have to either kill you or take you to Rivendell.

Zack: I vote for Rivendell. As long as those Black Rider thingys don't show up there. When I was out with Merry.....Well, I told you, I've never been so freaked out in my life.

Pippin: Oy! Keep it down! Some of us are trying to sleep.

The teens groaned and laid back down in there beds and fell asleep. Ruby stayed awake though. Danny showed no signs of being tempted by the Ring, but she refused to let her guard down. So she sat up in he bed, watching over her Frodo who slept peacefully nearby. Then she looked at Danny. For all she knew, he was just waiting for her to fall asleep and then he'd strike.

Ruby: What am I doing? Danny is a jerk, but he isn't a murderer.......that I know of. Strider would have said something if he thought he might.......But maybe Danny is a really good liar. He cant be all bad though. He's been nice to me before. He let me barrow his pencil once or twice, and that time when we had to partners for science class he had been fairly easy to work with. He even made me laugh with some of his jokes. But what does that have to do with the Ring. Its so powerful even my sweet, perfect, innocent, angelic, beautiful Frodo wont be able to resist it in the end. So why would I expect Danny, of all people, to resist it now ? I cant. I'll die before I let any harm, or spell, or charm come near my Frodo. If Danny so much as touches him, I'll have him torn into so many pieces even the vultures wont find them.

So Ruby didn't get to sleep that night for a long time. It just so happened that while she kept her silent vigil, Laura awakened and saw Ruby sitting up fighting with her sleepiness.

Laura: Hey Ruby. Why are you awake. Its gotta be like two in the morning.

Ruby: Some one has to make sure my Frodo is safe. I don't trust that Danny. Now that he knows about the Ring, he cant be trusted.

Laura: Ruby, he told me himself, he doesnt understand this whole thing about the Ring any more than I do. He wouldn't try to steal it. He doesn't know what to do with it. You don't even know Danny.

Ruby: Know him? I've gone to school with him since Kindergarten. I know him enough. He's a barbarian, a sexist, and a bully.

Laura: He may be sarcastic and immature and rude at times but he has a strong heart. He just needs to learn how to let his heart control his actions. I do know him Ruby and I promise you on my very soul he will not hurt Frodo.

Ruby: It funny. I've never heard you speak in such a manner. You must be serious. You got through a entire sentence without saying "like" or "duh". I guess that's enough for me to trust Danny enough for the night. You love him, don't you?

Laura looked at her in shock.

Laura: No! cant......Well, at least I cant....its not possible. I like him. I admire him. But love...its..its too big of word for me.

Ruby: I see.

Laura: Would you say you love Frodo?

Ruby: Yes. I always have. And I always will. I love the way walks, I love the way he thinks, talks, looks. I love his constant thirst for knowledge. I pray that thirst will never be quenched. Because once you stop wanting knowledge and you stop being amazed by every thing you see, what's the point in living? Because then all you do is try to be better than every one else, and that is nothing but a waste of time and breath. You stop believing in miracles. You don't even try to live your life the way it could be lived. You see, Frodo and I really live our lives because he and I are in a state of constant amazement.

Laura: I have no response to that.

Ruby: I didn't think you would. But remember my words for the day you do understand. And if you'll excuse me, I have a disposition of sleep come upon me.

Ruby cuddled up beside Frodo and wrapped her arms around his still sleeping form and sang in soft hushed voice that lulled both herself and Laura to sleep, though she sang it for Frodo.

Roses whisper "good night"
'neath silv'ry light,
Asleep in the dew
They hide from our view;
When the dawn peepeth thro'
Slumber sweetly my dear,
For the angels are near
To watch over you
The silent night thro'
And to bear you above
To the dreamland of love.

To be concluded.........

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