That night, Elrond was the guest of honor at the banquet Galadriel held at Caras Galadhon. Celebrian cast many sideways glances at him, wondering what he was thinking. Had he noticed her? Did he feel the same way she did?
“Celebrian?” Startled, she met her mother’s eyes. “Celebrian, are you all right? You were staring off into space!”
Celebrian blushed. “I’m fine,” she answered, trying to avoid Elrond’s eyes. It was no use – they were fixed on her unblinkingly. She went even redder under his gaze.
“Perhaps she is simply tired,” Elrond suggested.
Galadriel took Celebrian by the hand. “A very astute suggestion, Lord Elrond. Since you are such a good doctor, I would like you to take my daughter for a walk and diagnose her fully.” She stood up, pulling Celebrian with her, and placed her hand in Elrond’s. Still a raging shade of crimson and thinking, I am going to hurt my mother someday, Celebrian followed Elrond out into the forest.
Once they were a short distance away from Caras Galadhon, he stopped, turned, and faced her. “Lady, are you ill?”
“No!” Celebrian pulled her hand free. “I’ve never been fitter in my life!”
But it was a lie, and she knew it. Her knees felt like butter as she met his eyes. If I can’t fool myself, who can I fool? Celebrian thought in annoyance.
Elrond took her hand back. If she hadn’t known better, Celebrian would have sworn he sounded shy when he spoke again. “Lady, have I upset you?”
Since it was no use to try to lie to an Elf (despite her miserable attempt to do exactly that), Celebrian said, “Yes.”
He laughed. “Then we are even.” She looked at him in surprise. “You have upset me, Lady Celebrian. You have puzzled, entranced, and awed me. I have watched you and wondered, how could so beautiful an Elf be before me and speak to me? You have set my heart swaying like a branch in a wind.” He smiled. “You’ve even made me spout poetic words, which is very upsetting to me.” Celebrian laughed softly. Elrond became serious again. “Do you understand what I am saying, Lady? I love you. I know this is probably something of a shock to you, since we only met this afternoon, but I do.”
Celebrian said nothing, but she was sure he could hear her heart singing. He loved her! Now she knew that she loved him. That was the change that had happened that afternoon. She had fallen in love.
“Lady? Celebrian?” Elrond sounded desperate. “Please, say something!”
Celebrian had to smile at the pleading in his voice. “Let me ask you something. How is it that Rivendell Elves are so honest, as you have said, and yet you come here and steal the heart of your host’s daughter?”
Then Elrond’s arms were around her, and hers around him, and they were gazing unashamedly into each other’s eyes. Celebrian saw the deepest velvety night in his, and to him, her eyes looked like tiny blue flowers with dew still on them. Then he kissed her, very gently, neither of them daring to breathe, and to Celebrian, nothing in her entire life was sweeter than that one tender kiss.