A Second Chance

Chapter 25

Emma lurked by the long wooden table that held the assorted foods and drinks. She gulped down water by the glassful, trying desperately to get her heart rate to go down. She had never realized that dancing could be so taxing. Finally, feeling as though it was safe enough to leave the vicinity of the water pitchers, Emma wandered along the edge of the room. She saw Legolas out on the dance floor, twirling with a tall ellith, whose hair hip length hair was a beautiful shade of red. She wondered if maybe this was Leggy's girlfriend… she wasn't even sure if he had one!

Emma noticed that the song had ended and made a split-second decision to go accost Leggy and his special friend.

Slowly sauntering up behind them, Emma stuck her face over Legolas' shoulder and said in a sweet voice, "So- Leggy- Who is… this?"

Legolas heaved a sigh that couldn't be mistaken for anything but one of long-suffering, and said in an exasperated voice- "This is Tauriel. And no, Emma, I am not courting her. Please leave her alone."

Emma grinned at Tauriel. "I've heard of you! You are the Captain of the Guard or something badass like that!"

Tauriel was the very picture of confusion. "Badass? What is that? Who are…" Tauriel's eyes widened. "Wait.. I know you. You are the elleth I rescued in Dol Guldur!"

Emma froze.

Legolas felt awkward.

Thranduil lurked rather creepily in the background, pretending not to eavesdrop and nursing a goblet of wine, unnoticed by the others.

After a moment of silence, Tauriel said, "Forgive me… I did not mean to offend you."

Emma twitched and then her eyes widened, "Oh no no no! Sorry about that! Really sorry… I'm not offended. I just.. don't remember you?"

Tauriel relaxed a fraction. "You wouldn't, an ellon who seemed to know you took over not long after.

"Oh, that would've been Carl," Emma said, sounding a bit more cheerful.

Tauriel raised an eyebrow. "Carl?"

"Yes?"

Emma jumped and shrieked at the sudden appearance of her friend. Tauriel eyed Carl up and down. Carl grinned at Emma and bowed slightly towards Legolas and Tauriel.

"Talking about me behind my back, eh?"

Emma faked a sheepish look. "Sorry Carl… there is just so much about you…"

Carl sniffed. "I know. I am rather popular, aren't I?"

"Your name isn't Carl!"

Everyone looked over at Tauriel. Emma looked scandalized.

"What?" Tauriel said defensively, "It's not!"

Emma leaned in and whispered, "Well.. his other name is a lie."

Tauriel felt even more confused than before. Suddenly Carl yelled, "Hey Zippy! Over here!" The small group turned around just in time to see Zippy cast a panicked look in there direction before practically running away. Carl didn't waste a second in giving chase and Emma was about to follow when Nylan appeared.

"My lady, may I have a word?"

Emma's face took on an expression of confusion before she slowly nodded her head, eying Nylan warily as she followed him away from the crowd.

Tauriel and Legolas watched them leave. "He wishes to court her," Legolas murmured quietly. Tauriel nodded her head. They stood in silence for a bit before a realization seemed to hit her.

"What kind of name is Zippy?"

oOo

Emma was thinking.

Thinking of Nylan's sudden formality and his ability to appear out of nowhere.

Nylan came to a stop and Emma shivered a little as the cool night air hit her skin. Turning, Emma looked out at the vast expanse of Thranduil's kingdom. The stars shone bright and she almost forgot the presence of the ellon behind her. He coughed a little and Emma turned around quickly, nearly squeaking when she found that her face was almost in his neck.

Backing up a little, Emma cleared her throat, wondering at how quickly it had gotten awkward. Nylan rubbed his hands together and upon closer inspection, Emma saw that he was blushing slightly. What on earth could have him so flustered?

"I-I-" Nylan made an attempt at speaking. It wasn't very good.

Emma raised an eyebrow.

"Oh Vala…" Nylan whirled around and paced in a circle. Emma started to get an inkling of what might be going on and also started to blush. Finally, throwing his hands up in the air, Nylan paced back over to Emma and did the unthinkable.

He kissed her.

Emma barely had time to even register what was going on before they were interrupted rather rudely.

Well… more like Nylan was interrupted since Emma was just noticing that elves-at least this elf was- were really, really, good kissers.

oOo

After Emma had walked away, Thranduil lurked after her. What could he say? He was bored. He didn't want her offending anyone. There were countless logical reasons for him to follow her. He reached the balcony her and that shady ellon had gone to.

Thranduil nearly dropped his wineglass.

He was kissing her.

That lowly, Silvan gardener was kissing her.

Kissing Emma.

Unacceptable.

Thranduil placed his goblet down and flounced onto the scene.

"What is going on here?"

Emma and Nylan couldn't have sprung away faster if there was a spring between them.

Thranduil's gaze slid between the two, finally resting suspiciously on Nylan. Yes… shady was the only way to describe that gardener.

Without breaking eye contact, Thranduil said to Emma, "Would you give us a moment?"

Too embarrassed to even nod, Emma practically ran back into the ballroom.

Thranduil got straight to the point. "What… was that?"

Nylan was also embarrassed, but he lifted his chin up and answered truthfully. "I was kissing her, my lord."

Thranduil rolled his eyes at the insipid ellon. "I know that. Why."

Nylan balked. "I wish… to… court her, my lord."

Thranduil moved around Nylan and drew himself up to his full height. "And, do you think this appropriate?"

Nylan looked confused. Thranduil resisted the urge to roll his eyes again. "You are her teacher, are you not?"

Nylan paled slightly. "Yes, my lord."

"And do you deem it appropriate that a relationship of this… type… occur between a teacher and his student?"

Nylan dropped his head, "My lord… forgive me, but she is a grown ellith. She can make her own decisions."

This did not sit well with the Elvenking.

He stuck his face in uncomfortable close to Nylan's. "You will leave her be."

To scared to argue, Nylan merely nodded, his face now a sickly white.

"I don't want to hear this mentioned again," Thranduil said imperiously, straightening himself up.

"Y-yes my lord."

Nylan all but ran from the balcony.

Thranduil turned and stared out over the forest, mulling over his sudden possessive streak. Why should he have such a problem with this? The gardener was right, it was Emma's decision, but the thought of that ellon.. it just made him feel-

"What did you do to him!"

Thranduil slowly turned and looked the furious Emma up and down. "I merely told him to respect his boundaries."

"You had no right to do that!" Emma yelled.

Thranduil sniffed and turned his back on her.

He heard the noise of a foot stomping and rolled his eyes.

"Ugh! You're so.. so… Petulant!" Emma snapped before turning and storming back into the ballroom, ignoring the incredulous looks she was receiving from the various partygoers who had been within hearing range of the insult.

Thranduil managed to quickly reign in his ire, with not but the twitch of his eye.

He would deal with her later. Now was not the time.


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