Chapter 7: The Man of My Dreams
The Man of My Dreams
I am flung awake once again by that terrible falling feeling. I bolt upright again, clinging to the hem of my pyjama shirt for dear life, and find that it is morning; I'm in my own bed, safe and sound. Thank God... it was just a dream.
...Come to think of it, though, my bed feels awfully smaller.
And it's snoring.
I look to my left, and almost die on the spot.
Kili, the imaginary Dwarven Prince, is in my bed.
I pinch myself, of course; after all, years and years of having that horrible cliché of 'Pinch me, I'm dreaming!' drilled into my skull by the media has to have some sort of truth behind it, doesn't it?
A clue: No.
I jump from bed with the speed of a panther but the appearance of a startled rabbit. For a long time I stand there, just staring at the sleeping man- Dwarf, I remind myself- who is spread-eagled across my tiny single bed, snoring loudly without a care in the world and rumpled up in my satin bed sheets. My first thought, stupid as it is, is that the stains from his scuffed-up old boots are going to be a nightmare to wash out. Then I ask myself a series of questions;
I conclude the same answer to all of the questions; at some point between watching re-runs of 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child' and falling asleep last night, I had some sort of complete mental breakdown and deteriorated into mindless insanity. Lost the plot. Flipped the desk of rational thoughts. Caught the last train into crazy town and forgot to buy myself a return ticket.
Hallucination, I tell myself, watching Kili as he lies there quite innocently. Goodness, he is a very pretty hallucination. Of all the hallucinations I might have dreamed, I'm certainly glad it's this one that has followed me back into the real world.
What am I saying?! I'm still dreaming... I must be. This is some Inception-style mind-fudge of a dream-within-a-dream, when everything seems normal, like when you dream about going through the day ahead then wake up and end up doing the same mind-numbingly boring day twice, both conscious and unconscious.
Right now, I am unconscious.
But it feels so real.
I slip out of bed, leaving the imaginary Dwarf to his sleep. I do my dream signs, much in they way I did in Bilbo's house. I flick the light switch; it works. I haul a book down from the shelf, and find that I can read it perfectly. I check how many fingers I have, I check the clock on my bedroom wall twice, and both times it reads the same.
Oh, crap. My Ma's is going to be waking up in fifteen minutes. I have got to get this Dwarf out of my house.
I panic for a minute more, realizing that this is awake. I know that I am awake, 100%... I can feel it. Which means I'm going insane.
This is all in your head, I tell myself. I find that I'm moving closer to the Dwarf, like a cheesy TV survival expert preparing to poke a stick at a sleeping snake; Steve Irwin (bless his soul), stand back; I've got this beauty. Tell Attenborough there's a new sheriff in town. I lean over the bed and touch my index finger to the coat of the sleeping Dwarf gently, and squeal.
Bear Grylls, eat your heart out.
I recoil in horror upon realising that he is not some elaborate mirage; I can feel him. Can your brain get so twisted that it tells you you can feel your hallucinations? I have no idea. And so, as my father's fathers did before me, and their father's fathers before that, I turn to the wisest and oldest source of knowledge in the universe to provide me with the answer:
I haul my laptop from beneath my bed and turn it on, and begin typing in my search criteria.
'-Feel the love tonight?'
'-Eat a Daddy Long Legs'?'
...We're not going to get here anywhere fast. Years of internet memes and YouTube videos have taught me that the interweb is a dark and terrifying place. I type a little more.
'Can you touch-'
...No, Google, oddly enough that's not what I'm looking for.
You leave that old woman alone!
'-Dogs in Islam?'
'-during a lap dance?'
...This is just getting ridiculous. Hands off, you filthy Google searchers.
When I finally manage to type in 'Can you touch a hallucination?', the answer is provided to me by that ancient Guru known as Yahoo Answers. The top rated answer, naturally, is a person claiming to have been licked by thousands of cats in one of their frequent hallucinations. A more logical answer goes on to tell me that yes, hallucinations can be tactile. Is this a good revelation or a bad one? Well, let's weigh up the facts;
It means that yes, this could all be a hallucination, which means that the Dwarf in my bed probably isn't real, and I really am just going crocker-rockers.
And so, I Google how to tell hallucinations from reality with no real plausible results; so decide upon my own method.
If someone else can see him, he's real, right? If they can't, I'm crazy... I could wait until my Ma wakes up and comes in here with the cup of tea she always brings to me on Saturday mornings and realizes that either I am alone, or that I am sat in bed with a strange man who looks like he's just broken free of a LARP festival.
...I don't think Mother Dearest is the best option.
An idea comes to mind; I'll hide the Dwarf dude until my mom goes to work, then I'll call my best friend, Josie, and get her to have a look at him; if she can't seem him, I'm mental, and will have to go to the doctors and get some psych help pronto. If she can see him...
I guess that means there really is a sexy little dwarf man in my bed.
"Alice?!" My Ma calls; oh crap. Here comes the 'wake up its Saturday' cup of tea. In desperation I pull the satin bed sheet over Kili's head as he lies there snoring, and do my best to arrange the various blankets and pillows over him to hide him before taking my cat, Misty, off the windowsill; the daft old thing curls up on top of the Dwarf's feet, conveniently hiding their shape; thank you, Mr. Mistoffelees. You'll be treated to a tin of tuna tonight.
"Morning, Ma," I call in my best imitation of a sleepy voice; the door creeks open as I stand the other side of it.
"You're up bright and early, babe," she says, kissing me on the cheek, "are you going out?"
"No," I say, "you know me; Saturday is for sleeping and chilling out. I might have Josie over later, though."
"Oh, good! I haven't seen her in a week or two; listen, honey, I'm staying over at work tonight."
Oh, thank God; gives me some time to sort this- whatever this is- out.
"I wasn't supposed to be sleeping in, but their short of staff; it does mean I'm going to miss Strictly Come Dancing, but you'll ring up and tell me who gets kicked off, won't you?"
"You're an angel. You don't mind being on your own until tomorrow afternoon, do you? They'll probably want me to cover the morning shift-"
"No!" I say with way more relief than I should have; my Ma makes nothing of it, just hands me my tea and springs back down the stairs.
"Love you, baby! Have a great day!"
"You too, Ma!"
She springs out of the door. The second it slams, I set about removing the blankets, pillows and cat from Kili.
"Hey," I whisper, "are you gonna wake up? Kili?" I poke him. "Wake up," I whisper; he does not. I shake him, more and more violently, and he must be a pretty heavy sleeper because he doesn't even flinch in his slumber.
Unsettled by the lack of response, I reach for my bust-up old phone and type in Josie's number; after all, what are best friends for if not for checking whether or not you have a Dwarf in your bed? By some miracle, she picks up on the second ring.
"Josie here!" she practically yells down the phone, "I'm in the middle of yoga on the Wii Fit, so you'll have to be quick about it-"
"Jos, it's me!" I call over the blaring music the other end of the phone, "... did you say you're doing yoga?"
"Yes I am, Alice; the family in the flat below mine have leant me their Wii for the week. It's brilliant, you'll have to come over and have a go! You can play tennis on it and everything!"
"Awesome; look, Josie, I need to ask you a massive favour. Can you come around at some point today?"
"Sure thing! It'll do me good to get out of the apartment for a while, I'm sick of being up here alone. Why, what's the matter? Are you stuck on that stupid essay?"
"No, it's not that... umm... I think it's best if I explain when you get here."
Josie goes quiet.
"Are you alright, Alice?" she asks me in a quieter voice, barely above a whisper, "you don't sound yourself; are you being kidnapped or something?! Say 'bogies' now if you are."
"No, Josie, I'm fine-"
"They've got you on loudspeaker, haven't they?! Oh my God, it's like that film with the old Irish dude and the Albanian Mafia in it... oh, what's it called?!"
"Yeah! I'll be right there, Alice; just need to finish up this Ardha Pasawotsit, and I'll be right around okay bye love you bye!"
She hangs up, and I drop the phone into my lap. I look over to where Kili is lying... and he is gone.
What on Earth-?
Suddenly a voice from behind me roars,
"What am I doing here?!"
"Oh, Jesus!" I gasp, spinning around to where he stands, "you scared the crap out of me-!"
"Where are we, woman?!"
He stands there, pointing my bedside lamp at me, wielding it like a weapon.
"Kili," I begin softly, "just calm down... it's alright-"
"Alright?!" he shrieks, "It is not alright! Where are we?!"
"You're at my house-"
"But I was at the Hobbit's house- you were at the Hobbit's house! I fell asleep there, and woke up here..."
I open my arms in sympathy. "Welcome to my world." I realize that it could have been taken in two ways, and smile a little to myself. "Kili, just... come and sit down. Okay?"
He stares at me wide-eyed, clearly reluctant; a few moments later he perches awkwardly on the edge of my bed. I take the lamp carefully from him and replace it on the bedside table. The two of us stare at each other awkwardly for a long time; in the traditional manner, I do the one thing society has taught me to do in all awkward moments.
Wow, Alice. Stellar performance.
"Would you like a cup of tea?"
...There we go. Oh, Britannia, Britannia rules the waves...
"...No, thank you." His poor little face looks utterly befuddled. "Lavender, am I dreaming?"
"No, Kili..." I say, feeling his pain, "I don't think you are."
AN: So... Josie is basically the archetype of the fan-girl/boy within us all. Alice sort of smothers her with motherliness... we'll find out why later on.
OH MY GLOB, YOU GUYS. (Did anyone get that reference? Tell me at least one of y'all did XD) Can I say a big beautiful thank you to you- yes, you! I cannot believe the last chapter got 26 reviews. 26 REVIEWS, YOU GUYS. I literally almost died; never before have I experienced such magic. I have fics with like triple the followers that have never even come close to anything like that; I love you all, and they were all so nice. It gives me fluffy butterfly feelings when I see I've made you guys smile :D And so, now that I have cried my tears of astounded joy all over the place, in the words of the great Wizard himself:
"Fly, you fools!"
...to the next chapter, that is.