"Hi, I'm Mary, and this is my friend Sue. We're going to tell you a story."
Sue and I are sitting on stools in front of the group of kids. There're mostly kids we know, but there are a few new faces, which is why we're introducing ourselves. Some of the kids are a more normal story-group age, but there are also some older kids there.
The kids are dressed differently, but they all have one thing in common: a golden ring on a chain around their necks. For some of the younger kids, it's on a piece of yarn, and it's a plastic ring. For them, we sold them in a set of five to their parents, cause we knew they'd lose them. The older kids have their rings on chains, and the rings are varying qualities of metal. One of the girls says she's even saving up to get the ring in real gold.
Most of them are girls. There used to be more boys, but they kind of just dropped out after a couple sessions. There still are a few boys who come to the group religiously, but they're gay, I think. I wish they would leave, too. They seem to enjoy the stories more than the girls, and it's kind of creepy.
Sue and I had been vounteering at the library for about a year before we got the idea to have a Lord of the Rings story group. Neither Sue nor I ever really had told a lot of stories before, but we're born gossipers, so we figured it couldn't be too different. And we're cheerleaders too, so if our gossiping skills failed us (gasp!) then our natural bubbliness and cuteness would take over.
Sue starts the story with a toss of her blonde hair. "Okay. This is a true story about when Mary and I met Legolas." At the mention of everyone's favorite piece of eye candy, all the kids sigh.
One little girl raises her hand. "Did you really meet him?"
The girl next to her hisses, "Stupid! Would they say it if it wasn't true?" The little girl hangs her head. I try to stifle a giggle.
Sue keeps talking. "Mary and I were going for a walk in the woods behind her house. We don't really like the woods, cause they're all dark and stuff, but that's the quickest way to get to Marty's Mart." Marty's Mart is the favorite hangout of all the high school kids.
I take over the story then. "We were just trying to cross the stream."
Sue is alternating sentences with me now. "There's a big log that Mary's dad put across the stream. It's like a bridge."
"Well, we were going across the log. I went first and Sue went behind me, and she slipped and grabbed my arm, and we both fell into the stream."
"That's not true! I went first, and you slipped!"
"No, you slipped!"
"No, you did!"
We notice the kids giving us a look, and I continue. "Anyway, we fell into the stream. I guess we got knocked out or something- did you get knocked out too, Sue?"
"Yeah, I sure did. We were both out cold."
"Yeah. We were lying uncons- uncon- what's that word, Sue?" I twirl a strand of my blonde hair between my fingers, like I always do when I don't know something.
"Unconsc- well, we were knocked out for a few hours. By the time we woke up, it was already dark. I woke up first. I poked Mary and she woke up too."
"We weren't in the stream anymore. We were propped up against a fallen log, in front of a fire, which had dried our clothes a bit, but they were still moist."
"On the other side of a fire was a man. The fire was so bright that we couldn't see his face, only his profile."
"Sue nudged me and whispered, 'Look at his ears! They're pointed!' Quickly, we felt our own ears. They were pointed too."
"I said, 'We must be elves! And that man must be-' but before I could finish my sentence, the man stood up."
"He had noticed that we were awake. He came over to us."
"We still couldn't see his face because now the fire was behind him."
"He said, 'Are you two all right?' Sue said, 'Yes. Who are you?' "
"And he said, 'I am Prince Legolas Greenleaf of Mirkwood. Who are you?' " Now that Legolas was in the story, all the kids were completely enraptured.
"I said, 'I'm Mary. This is Sue.' "
"Legolas said, 'Mary? Sue? Such strange names for such beautiful elves, although you are wearing such strange clothing.' "
"My heart skipped a beat. Legolas thought we were beautiful!"
"I said, 'Where are we?' Legolas said, 'In the forest.' I nodded. Of course. Now I knew where we were. I recognized everything from the movies."
"Legolas leaned over me then, and there was enough light for me to see his face. His long blond hair brushed against my cheek. 'You two took quite a fall back there. You're lucky I found you. I couldn't find your horses, though. They must have run off.' "
"Mary said, 'Horses? We didn't have any-' I hit her with my elbow. I said, 'Um, my friend here is a little woozy.' "
"I rubbed my arm where Sue had hit me. Legolas said, 'Of course. You two must be hungry.' As he said it, I realized I was hungry. We hadn't eaten since that morning."
"Legolas stood up and went over to the other side of the fire. He got two wooden bowls and ladled something into them from a pot that was hanging over the fire."
"He came back to us and handed us the bowls. He didn't give us any spoons, so we had to just drink from the bowls."
"It was some sort of soup, with some vegetables in it."
"It was really good. It had some spices in it that I'd never tasted before."
"They must have been elvish spices."
"Yeah, must have been. Anyway, Legolas waited until we were done eating before he came over to us and spoke again."
"He said, 'Where were you two going? Perhaps I can take you there.' "
"Well, of course we couldn't tell him that we were going to Marty's Mart. After all, we were in another world now."
"But we had to tell him something. So we said that we were just out for a ride in the woods."
"He said, 'Well, where do you live? I'll bring you home.' Now, naturally we couldn't tell him that either."
"And of course we didn't want to leave him. I mean, he's Legolas, right? And he said that we were beautiful."
"So we pretended that the fall had made us forget where we lived. Legolas said, 'It concerns me that you cannot remember this. But have no fear- I will stay with you until we can figure out where you live.' "
"I said, 'Thanks, Legolas.' "
"Legolas said, 'You two have had a rough day. You should get some sleep. In the morning, we will travel.' I said, 'Where are we going?' "
"Legolas said, 'We are going to Rivendell.' Mary and I looked at each other and smiled."
"Legolas went to the saddlebag on his horse and pulled out a blanket. He came back over to us and said, 'I wasn't expecting company tonight, so we'll have to share a blanket.' "
"I winked at Mary and said, 'Ew, I don't want to sleep next to Mary!' Mary caught on and said, 'Yeah? Well, I don't want to sleep next to you!' "
I smiled. "Legolas broke into our 'arguement,' saying, 'Ladies, please don't argue! I'll sleep between you two.' "
Sue turned to me. She whispered, "Do we tell them about the hot, sweaty, elvish sex?"
"Sue! There are kids here. They probably don't even know what a threesome is."
"So anyway, we slept through the night, and when I woke up, Legolas wasn't there. I reached over and shook Sue's shoulder. 'Where's Legolas?' I asked."
"I said, 'I don't know,' and we got up to look for him."
He was over at the stream we had fallen in the day before, washing.
Sue turned to me again and whispered, "Should we tell them that he was standing ankle-deep in the stream, naked?"
"Just asking, just asking."
"Anyway, we joined Legolas and washed up."
"He already had something cooking over the fire, and we ate breakfast."
"When we finished eating, Legolas saddled up his horse. He said, 'You two will have to squeeze on with me. Mary, you go in front of me, and Sue, you can go behind me.' "
"We got on the horse like Legolas said, Mary in front and me in back, with Legolas between us."
"We talked all along the ride. Finally Legolas said, 'You two ladies are so beautiful and wonderful, I shall have to get the monogamy rule changed.' "
"Then, just as he was starting to say something else, his horse tripped as we were crossing a stream, making us all fall into the water."
"We got knocked out again, and when we awoke, Legolas and his horse were gone. We felt our ears, and they weren't pointed anymore."
"We stood up, and looked around. We were back in the woods behind Mary's house."
One of the kids speaks up. "So you guys just dreamed all that!"
I shoot back, sweetly, "Maybe, but how do you explain that we both had exactly the same dream?"
She keeps talking, "You expect me to believe that that's really a true story?"
Sue speaks up. "Do you think it is?"
The girl says, "No."
Then I say, "If if's not true, then why do I have this?" I pull out the leaf pin that Legolas always wears at his throat. "Recognize it?"
The kids gasp. One of them says, "That's Legolas's brooch!"
Sue says, "Yeah. He gave it to us just after we got on the horse. He said it was digging into his neck, and would we please hold onto it for him."
One of the boys says, "So it is true. You really did meet Legolas."
Sue and I smile as we stand up. She says, "See you next week, kids," as we walk out the door.
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