A Second Chance

Chapter 18

Emma gulped and shifted nervously in her seat, the tight fitting dress making it hard to breath. The music and laugher pressed in on her ears, making it hard to focus on whatever Miri was chattering on about.

Miri had been the one to tell her about the party. Earlier that morning, Miri had just plowed right into Emma's room (no surprises there, since the had become friends, any expectation of privacy from either of them was futile)

*flashback*

"Emma! Emma! EMMA!"

"Mmmmph!"

Emma buried her face into the pillow. She heard the opening of her dresser doors and groaned, knowing that it signified they were going somewhere.

"Emma, get your lazy butt out of bed, we have shopping to do!" Miri trilled as she threw various garments onto the bed, totally disregarding the fact that Emma was still half asleep in said bed.

"Whyyyy are we going shoppiiiiing?" Emma whined half into half out of the pillow.

"Stop mumbling," Miri said sternly (of course, this didn't last and she reverted to gushing again) "We are going because the king is throwing a party tonight! In honor of the prince returning, and we are all invited!"

Emma perked up at the word party. And then she perked right back down. The last party she had been at had resulted in her year and some imprisonment at Dol Guldur.

"I… I don't think I am going to go, Miri…"

"Nonsen- Oh… Emma… I think you should go. It will be good for you, and it is inside the palace…" Miri said quietly, coming to sit next to Emma on the bed.

Emma pursed her lips. It probably would be good for her, and she hasn't really been around that much, except for where Miri drags her (no surprise there), not to mention being social. That would be the last word on the list to describe her.

Miri was staring at her expectantly and Emma looked slowly from her to the dresses on the bed.

After a minute, a grin spread on her face, and Miri bounced up and down, letting out an excited squeal.

*end of le flashback*

Emma remembered how excited they had both been, going to choose dresses, do each others hair and makeup.

Staring unseeingly at the elves whirling across the floor, Emma blindly reached for her wine glass. Though she was sure she'd had plenty, she took a rather large gulp.

So far, four different ellyn had asked her to dance, and she had turned down all of them but one, the first one. He had been rather handsome (who was she kidding, what elf wasn't?), with his finely chiseled features and long brown hair that was several shades darker than her own. Unfortunately, the traitorous recesses of her mind couldn't help but compare this new acquaintance (he said his name was Nylan) to the Elvenking and naturally, Nylan paled in comparison. After that had been dinner, which taken a slightly (very) embarrassing turn, hence her refusal of any further dances.

*flashback*

"That was fun," Emma said, breathlessly. Not due to the very, very good looks of the ellon beside her, no… of course not. It was all that whirling and twirling they had done at ridiculous speeds around the dance floor. Really… the elves have the most rigorous dances Emma had ever come across. She vaguely wondered whether such a thing as a slow dance existed here.

Nylan flashed her a charming grin and bowed, "Indeed it was, my lady."

Emma giggled (she may have blushed. Just a little). Looking around, she spotted where she was supposed to sit. Miri had told her that they were to be seated at the High Table (where the Elvenking sat with all of the nobility) and that she had better be on her best behavior.

After separating with (the very handsome) Nylan, she mad her way over to the table where, to her slight astonishment (not), King Sassypants was having a one-sided glarefest with Gimli, who was silently eating his food. Picking the seat to the left of the dwarf, Emma tentatively sat down, with a wary glance at the stewing sparkly-robed Elvenking. She looked to Thranduil's right and saw Legolas there, mock-glaring at her. She vaguely wondered why, when she remembered her and Carl's little trick.

With a second of thought, she smiled sweetly at the woodland prince, "Did you like your welcome home gift, my lord?"

Legolas' mock-scowl grew deeper, "It was very… welcoming…"

"And what gift would that be?"

Uh-oh. Emma hadn't noticed Thranduil's glare shift to her until it was too late. She glanced to Legolas, and right then knew, that this was going to be his revenge.

Legolas flashed a simpering smile and said, "Oh… nothing much really. Just a lovely trip wire outside of my bathroom door. I found it as I was coming out from my first bath at home."

Thranduil raised his eyebrows and slowly turned towards Emma, who in turn was blushing furiously. Gimli suddenly began chuckling and then, after the Elvenking had started glaring at him again, full blown laughter.

Emma managed a weak smile, before finishing off her food and excusing herself as quickly as possible.

*end of le second flashback*

And that is how she found herself guzzling down wine. Suddenly, getting sick of the party, she stood up and walked out of the ballroom (her attempt at a straight line, needed some work).

Somehow, she found herself in the garden again (why is it always the garden? Probably her connection with plants… Duh…) and plopped herself down on a bench to pout.

She didn't hear the clunk of boots until they stopped right next to her. She looked up and was face-to-face (well… almost) with none other than, Gimli. He gave her a smile and gestured to the seat beside her, "D'ya mind, lassie?"

Emma shook her head and smiled weakly, saying, "I'm afraid I won't be much company though… I think I have gotten myself a little… tipsy."

Gimli chuckled at this, "I don't blame ya, lassie. That was quite a little predicament you were in back there." Here he chuckled again. His chuckles were quite contagious and soon, Emma was giggling with him.

"I think it was worth it though," she managed through her giggles, "You should have heard the splat Legolas made… he has surprisingly good lungs as well."

Here, they both started laughing hysterically (well… Emma was, Gimli was just laughing… he didn't do hysterically).

"Ha. I knew you two would get along!"

Emma and Gimli looked up to find Legolas standing there, looking rather smug and triumphant.

"Shut it, Legless," Emma snorted. Gimli collapsed in another fit of chuckles. Legolas rolled his eyes, but soon, his face grew serious.

"Emma… if you wouldn't mind, I would like to talk to you… in private?"

"If it's serious, you may want to wait till tomorrow, laddy, Lassie here is quite drunk," Gimli chortled.

"What, you're gonna name me after a dog now? Greaaaat…" Emma slurred. Legolas and Gimli stared at each other in confusion, before their attention went back to Emma when she suddenly keeled over and landed sideways, out cold.

Gimli burst into fresh rounds of chuckles, whilst Legolas rolled his eyes, contemplating whether he should bring her back to her room... or leave her there.


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