As the sun rose and the birds started to sing, Smeagol woke. He remembered his birthday party last night- dancing with Lily, their kiss… and then their almost kiss later on. The poor hobbit sighed- nothing was ever perfect in his life.
`At least Lily is still my friend- things could be worse,’ Smeagol said to himself, `and maybe she will come fishing with me later.’ With a smile on his face, Smeagol started to cook breakfast for himself and his family quietly, so as not to disturb them whilst they slept.
*CRASH.* A plate fell to the floor and smashed into three pieces as Smeagol cringed. `Too late,’ he whispered as he heard footsteps upstairs. Hurriedly, the hobbit cleared up the mess and then put the kettle on to boil.
`Smeagol,’ came a giggling voice. Smeagol looked around to see his darling sister with her hands on her hips trying, in vain, to look cross with her older brother. Her brown hair fell in gentle girls to her shoulders where a pretty pink dress rested prettily.
`Good morning, Tilly,’ welcomed Smeagol happily, as he picked up his little sister and carried her to the table. `How are you this morning?’
`I saw you kissing Lily yesterday,’ teased Tilly gleefully. `Kissy, kissy kissy!’
`Er… well… You must have been seeing things- that didn’t happen. Maybe you dreamt it,’ stuttered Smeagol. `Today I’m going fishing, would you like to come? Lily may come too.’
`Yes,’ squealed Tilly, `I love fishing with you and this time I’m going to catch a big fish.’
`I’m sure you are,’ smiled Smeagol, but as he turned away, he whispered, `but you said that last time!’
`Morning, young man,’ Smeagol’s father said in a burly voice from the doorway. `So, you are an adult today, I’m proud of you.’ And, grasping Smeagol’s hand tightly, his father pulled Smeagol towards him and gave him a strong hug. Smeagol was sure he heard his father sniff sadly as Smeagol was released. `Happy birthday, son.’
`Oh, Smeagol, darling! Happy birthday,’ Smeagol’s mother had entered now and in her shrill voice, she questioned Smeagol about the party. `Was there enough food? How many people came? Was it fun? Did everyone enjoy his or her present? Did everyone enjoy the party? Did you enjoy the party? Did you dance with anyone?’
`The party was great, thank you mother, everyone enjoyed themselves, me most of all, and I danced with Lily. Lily Banks, you know her, don’t you? Loarnel’s sister.’
`Oh, really? She is very pretty, you know. Did you notice that? Did you notice she was pretty?’
`Yes he did, mother,’ interrupted Tilly as Smeagol blushed a deep red, `and he kissed her at the end- yuck!’
`Now this is interesting, Smeagol. Tell me more, tell me more,’ asked the embarrassed hobbit’s mother.
`No thank you mother, anyway I must go, goodbye.’
`Smeagol,’ whined Tilly, `you said you’d take me too.’
`Well hurry up then,’ complained Smeagol and he ran to his room to get his fishing gear.
A little later, loaded with all of the weight, the two siblings set off to Lily’s house, right by the Anduin. Tilly skipped ahead and would stop at every garden she could, to look at all the flowers.
`Look Smeagol, roses. Look there- daffodils and daisies. Wow, I’m lucky to see daisies, they are rare, you know, Smeagol.’
`Only where we live, Tilly. Look at Lily’s garden; they have a pond with lilies in it. Look, there,’ Smeagol pointed a large garden in front of a small, sweet cottage. As Tilly looked in the pond, Smeagol put down his fishing gear and walked to the door.
Just before smartly rapping his knuckles on the door, he checked himself over. *Neat hair, neat clothes, nice smile… all set,* he thought.
Lily’s younger sister, Rosie, answered the door, `Hello. Who are you?’ she asked.
Smeagol smiled and answered, `I’m Smeagol, is your sister Lily at home?’
`Yes, she is. I’ll get her for you,’ and with that, she ran off, leaving Smeagol and Tilly in the garden. Tilly had now found some roses and was counting the different colours.
`Red, orange, yellow, pink, white, dark pink… that makes six different colours of roses! Six Smeagol, six! We have none,’ she complained.
`Well, Lily’s parents are very lucky,’ Smeagol replied. `For more than one reason- it isn’t just because they have six types of roses, it is because they have the most beautiful daughter in the world too,’ he added as an afterthought.
Tilly started giggling, but Smeagol didn’t realise why until he heard a voice behind him.
`Thank you very much, Smeagol, that was a lovely thing to say.’ Smeagol whipped around and, once again that morning, the colour rose to his cheeks.
`Hello Lily, I didn’t realise you were there. How are you?’ he asked quietly with his head down.
Lily bent her knees so that she crouched, then looked upwards into Smeagol’s eyes. He chanced a look at her and couldn’t help smiling at such a wonderful creature.
`I’m very well thank you. I guess you are going fishing, may I come please?’
`We came to ask you, actually, and I would be honoured if you would come,’ whispered Smeagol as Tilly whistled in the background, pretending not to be listening.
Smeagol leant forward and held Lily’s hands in his, then lifted her up slightly so that she stood properly again. `Shall we go now?’ he asked.
Lily chose not to reply, but took half of the fishing gear in her right hand and held Smeagol’s hand with her left hand. Together they walked towards the Anduin, Tilly following behind, rolling her eyes, so none of them saw Loarnel watching from the window with a scowl on his face.
As they walked, the two older hobbits talked of Smeagol’s birthday. Lily started the conversation. `It was a good idea of yours to have your birthday party the day before your birthday, I wouldn’t have thought of that,’ she said.
`Thank you, and it meant that my friends could leave my presents at home for me this morning. Deagol gave me a toy boat to float on the Anduin, Theanol gave me a strong cord of rope, which will be helpful, Loarnel gave me a new fishing rod, but your present was… um… was my favourite, thank you Lily,’ as he spoke, Smeagol let go of Lily’s hand and fiddled with a necklace around his neck.
The necklace was obviously hand made, made of willow that had been cleverly constructed, at the bottom, to make a heart shape. On the heart was engraved `SL,’ standing for `Smeagol-Lily,’ and Smeagol’s eyes brimmed with tears of happiness just thinking of this.
As the pair reached the Anduin, they slowed to a halt and put down all their fishing gear. As they stood up, they were so close together that their breath warmed each other’s cheeks. Smeagol leant forward and put one hand on Lily’s hip, the other hand halfway up her back and she wrapped her arms lovingly around Smeagol’s shoulders.
Tilly gave the couple one disgusted look and ran up the riverbank, away from the two slightly older Stoors. She therefore did not look back and did not see three male forms approaching her brother and Lily fairly rapidly.
Smeagol and Lily were oblivious of the world around them and were caught up in a romantic kiss, their young lips caressing each other’s. The last thing Smeagol wanted right then was for that moment to stop, but he felt a strong hand on his shoulder and was pulled roughly away from Lily.
She, too, was being pulled away rather violently, as Smeagol heard her gasp and saw her look around frantically.
`So Smeagol, got a new love item, have you?’ asked Smeagol’s assailant. `Look at me when I talk to you, not at that-‘
Before Smeagol’s attacker even had a chance to say the next word, Smeagol had hit him hard in the face. The man flew backwards, but the other two ran forward and pummelled Smeagol to the ground.
When the two bullies left Smeagol alone, he looked around quickly for Lily and saw her tied up, to a tree trunk with a gag in her mouth. Once more, Smeagol received a punch on his face and he was unable to see through his swollen eyes as he and Lily were dragged into the forest nearby. *~*
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.