The grapevine said: "Miranda arrives next Wednesday."
Hugo, who'd worked with her on True Love and Chaos, said: "She's such a laugh, you guys'll just love her, she won't take any of your shit."
They were given the brief introductory dossier, complete with photo, and Dom said: "Bloody hell, she's *gorgeous*."
That had been Elijah's first thought as well, but he was more circumspect about the whole thought-to-speech process. She *was* gorgeous, with her hair and her skin and the whole package - in the background, he could hear Orlando and Billy competing over who was more instantly smitten with love - but that wasn't why Elijah couldn't stop staring at the photo. There was a spark in her eye. A wicked gleam. And though her expression was serious, it looked as though she was about to burst out laughing, her mouth quirking, her face animated. She wasn't perfectly symmetrical. She wasn't classically beautiful. She was interesting.
Elijah was interested.
The other guys were still talking; he made an effort to tune in. "...don't think it's important," Orlando was objecting.
"You wouldn't," Dom said disparagingly. "You'd shag anything." Orlando grabbed at him, tried to wrestle him into a headlock as Dom squirmed.
Elijah ignored them, closed the folder over Miranda's face. "Go for a beer?" he asked Billy.
"Sure. Oi, tossers! Save it for later."
Elijah left the dossier in his trailer. He needed a beer, needed to unwind after a full day of Frodo. It was all part of the ongoing process that was making this movie. There would be plenty of time to meet Miranda on Wednesday. Until then, he had a job to do.
He shook her hand like a man; that's the first thing she noticed about him.
Her father had always said that first impressions were most important. That when you were meeting someone for the first time, you had to make sure that you made one hell of an impression. Look them straight in the eye, say hello, what'shisname, shake firmly, but not strong enough to snap their hand off at the wrist.
Wonderful advice to give a growing boy... but a young woman?
Miranda never liked how some men take her soft, elegant, girly, whatever they considered it to be, hand in theirs, barely touching, while smiling stupid little smiles. Their eyes would wander from her eyes to her mouth to her chest, while they lightly pulsed her hand as if it counted as a shake.
At that point, she *did* want to snap that man's hand off at the wrist. Delicate was not what she considered herself to be. At all.
But, Elijah. Elijah took her hand in his firmly, met her eyes, smiled with a curve of his too-small-mouth, and said in a young, yet confident voice, "Nice to meet you, Miranda. I'm Elijah," to the chorus of "hey!" "good trip?" "wanna sit down?" from the other young men.
Miranda's eyes didn't stray from Elijah's. He didn't let go of her hand soon enough, and was still holding it firmly when they stilled, and were no longer shaking, but grasping. Staring, though the room was still buzzing with activity, turning without them. And Miranda thought, 'he's so *old* seeming...' but what she did, was give Elijah's hand a lingering squeeze before turning to the other men who were waiting their turn with the lady of the hour, and said, "Well, now. Who're we?"
By the time Elijah found out about his mistake, it was already too late.
He was hooked, addicted to Miranda's crooked grin and the way her mind free-associated. He couldn't get enough of talking with her, sought her out with the single aim of making her laugh, and ended up laughing himself, meeting her glinting eyes over the confusion of others.
He loved to watch her work. Her focus, her passion, the way she slipped in and out of character. He stood amidst the crew and gear, in a gap between a lighting rig and a camera, where he could see without being in the way.
Sean slipped in beside him. "Hey, I thought I'd find you here."
Elijah watched Miranda turn her head, go from Eowyn to herself in a moment of laughter, and then back again, into stern focus. He grinned briefly at Sean. "We've got such a great cast; it's a pleasure to watch 'em work. Miranda's really slotted in well as Eowyn."
Sean nodded, watching as the scene unfolded. "She's a great actress. Goes to show all those who quibbled about her age."
"Hm?" Elijah looked sideways at Sean. "What about her age?"
Sean gestured absently. "Well, Eowyn's supposed to be nineteen or so, and Miranda's, what, thirty?"
Elijah grunted, a sound straight from his solar plexus, and turned his head to take a swig from his water bottle. And of course, it made sense now, what the guys had been talking about way back at the start. He'd missed it. He watched Miranda, with her confidence, her certainty, her maturity.
Sean said: "Anyway, you need a ride home?"
But it was too late. Elijah was hooked. He told himself it should make a difference, but it didn't. He still watched her and she laughed with him. They went out at the end of the week and they talked-argued-laughed-grinned-bickered while the others left them to it and went to dance and the intoxication in Elijah's blood was half liquor and half Miranda.
When they finally left the table, hit the dance floor, she slid in beside him, her eyes wary and clear, her hand tentative on his shoulder. He slid his hand around her waist, where there was smooth, bare skin between her skirt and her top. He pressed his fingers in the small of her back, against her spine, tugged gently, and she swayed against his side like it was where she was supposed to be. Their legs slid together, bodies melded. Miranda's breath came in a sigh on Elijah's cheekbone. He shifted against her, she shifted with him. He slid his other hand under her top, pushed his fingers up her ribcage, and swallowed, his mouth dry.
"Want to get out of here?" he murmured, and wasn't sure she'd heard him until she tilted her head back, eyes glittering.
"Yes," she replied, voice hoarse.
He touched her as if he owned her, and she was willing to give. There was no resistance, no struggle. Two vertical bodies, the sexual tug-of-war, push, press, pant, kiss.
The first time had been in the glow of Miranda's bedside lamp. It had cast a sickly, yellow glow over Elijah's pale face, throat, stomach, penis, so that when she held him close, the colors shivered and swirled together before her eyes. Eyelids fluttering. Her long legs she wrapped around his thin waist. His shaggy brown locks she stroked with her thin fingers. He moaned when she thumbed a nipple and even louder when she squeezed his ass, and when he came, he whimpered into her damp neck and her legs began to shiver, not from her own body, but from his. Until the shivers became her own, and she clutched at his body and picked her heavy head up from the pillow and whispered against his trembling lips, "Yes, yes, please."
She had seen his face afterward, resting on her breast, tilted to the side, perfect profile. She stroked his smooth, young face with her fingers that didn't quite want to uncurl themselves, and had thought of nothing other than the fact that she wondered when he would awake. It didn't take long.
He knew the map of her body, the way things worked. How sensitive her throat was to his tongue, how and where to nip at her body with his sharp, white little teeth. He took his time, and when he took it... her, he wanted to be in control. He wanted to kiss and touch and fuck, and when she would reach for him, he would brush her fingers away, look down at her with his too-large blue eyes, slated with sex, and whisper, "No." But he would brush her hair away from her face and kiss, lick, kiss at her hairline, just as he touched her, and she would forget her protests.
It was afterward that he wanted, needed, her touch. In the darkness of either of their rooms (they were rather infrequent of where they met, kissed, groped, fucked), breeze fanning over their cooling bodies from a nearby window, Miranda (the blood within her thighs throbbing) would hold Elijah (so small, so light, but oh) in her arms, stroke his back, and kiss his forehead. He would snore softly against her skin, and she would fall asleep to the feeling of his thrumming pulse beating against, matching with, her own, and his soft penis against the jut of her hip.
In the light of morning, he would open his eyes in the navy blue haze of just before dawn, hard and warm against her, and he'd take her, accompanied by the sound of birds chirping from the open window.
The grapevine said, the grapevine whispered, the grapevine gossiped; and did you see Lij and Mir at the party last week? No? Exactly. I talked to a girl from make-up who said someone told her they were seen sneaking out of the bathroom together.
Those two? No way.
Ah, but, remember when...
Have you heard...
Did you know...
It was Sean who actually asked Elijah, during morning make-up, quiet so the girls up the other end of the trailer wouldn't hear. He asked, but he carried the curiosity of half the cast with him. "Hey, Lij. Are you and Miranda...?"
He'd come straight from her side, had left her tangled in the bed sheets, could still feel her warmth against him. With his eyes closed, head tilted back in the make-up chair, he could still see her arching under him, breath hot in his ear as she gasped: "God, *yes*." When she shook, he felt like he could fly. When she kissed him, long and hard and deep as they spiraled down from the heights, he felt like he could give everything he had to her, that she would keep him. He didn't dare say a word, for fear they'd never stop.
Elijah opened his eyes lazily. "Are me and Miranda what?"
Sean shrugged, a little embarrassed, a little uncomfortable. "You know how set gossip gets. You and Miranda talk a lot, you know? Some people read sex into everything."
Sean laughed a little, and Elijah smiled with him, and the girls came back saying: "Sex? Who's talking about sex without me?"
He wondered if he should tell Miranda about it. But it was just set gossip, nothing important. Not compared to making her laugh, making her shudder and swallow hard and lean weakly against his shoulder.
Beside that, what did gossip matter?
"You've heard... what?"
Liv's responding laugh was jittery, a little too put-on. She shrugged her elegant shoulders and looked at Miranda as if she meant to apologize. "You know how people on set gets. Gossip, gossip."
Miranda fought to keep a little frown from her face. She turned away, back toward the set that her and Liv had decided to crash for the afternoon. Hobbits on break, sitting around. Dom and Billy and Sean playing a toss game with rocks while Elijah watched, leaning against a tree, his eyes half closed. 'He'll be asleep in seconds,' Miranda thought. She wished she were under the cool shade of that tree, wrapped around him, him wrapped around her. They could sleep until a stray rock hit nearby or Peter stopped fiddling with technical problems long enough to call, "Action!" She could brush the dark curls of Frodo's wig away from Elijah's pale, smooth forehead and softly kiss him until he woke up. And they could twine themselves around each other on the wet and dirty ground in the middle of a shoot, him in his Hobbit clothing, her in her human. He could take her against the tree, and if only people wouldn't notice, if only people could leave them alone...
She felt Liv's gaze on her. She turned her head slowly, the imprint of Elijah's sleeping form still attached to her vision.
Liv had a pained look on her face. A sort of, 'oh, you've lost a loved one?' look. She shrugged, and Miranda very much wanted to never see Liv shrug again, because it was a weak gesture, and Liv was a strong woman when she wanted to be.
"It's just," Liv said, her eyes flittering between the Hobbit trio, laughing and joking and tossing rocks, and Miranda. "Everyone knows, Mir. Everyone."
Miranda nodded her head vaguely, turning her attention back to Elijah. His head had fallen to the side, exposing his long, pale neck. There was a mark there, she knew, that make-up had to cover. She forced herself to smile while she replied, "Knows what?"
Later that night when Elijah slowly undressed and kissed her while they stood in the doorway to his room, she cupped his face in her hands and whispered against his lips, "They know."
He kissed her gently and nudged her back toward the bed. "Know what?" he breathed into her neck as he touched her.
"Nothing," she answered, her eyes slipping closed and her legs spreading.
The game was up when they were caught red-handed, in the act, *in flagrante delicto*. Afterwards Elijah realised he'd heard voices, noises, maybe even the knock on the door - "He's not answering, bet the lazy git's still asleep. Where's the spare key? Let's drag him out of bed!" - but he'd been too busy to pay attention. Too busy with Miranda's limbs and Miranda's mouth and Miranda, oh God yes Miranda, and he was still busy when his four boisterous cast mates burst into his bedroom, shouting: "Wake up!"
Miranda's legs jerked painfully tight against his waist. Her shriek and Orli's shout of "Oh shit!" mingled together. Elijah, caught on the brink of orgasm, tipped over with clenched teeth, and by the time he turned his head, Billy was pulling the door shut again, muffling Sean's cries of: "Sorry, sorry, sorry!"
He knew Miranda had to be in a nerve-jangling state of interrupted release, but she was slithering away from him across the rumpled bed, unwilling to let him finish the job. "Jesus," she muttered, snatching up her shirt and pulling it on with quick, harsh movements. "Jesus." It seemed to be all she could say.
Elijah knelt in the middle of the bed, naked and uncomfortable as she dressed with abrupt jerks. He should say something, but the only thing he could think of was: "It's our day off. They'll be wanting to go surfing."
Miranda pulled on her shoes, her hair falling in a jumbled curtain over her face. "You should go. Have fun."
She wouldn't quite meet his eyes before she left, and when he pulled on jeans and went out to his living room, neither would any of the others. "So are we surfing or what?" he asked.
Later, he loomed over Billy sitting in the dunes, dripping sea water, and squinted at him angrily. "What the fuck's the matter?"
Billy kept staring out to sea, unfazed. "I could ask you the same thing."
"I'm sleeping with Miranda. She's almost twice my age. It's not a fucking issue, you know?" He was shaking, but it was cold here on the beach, out of the water and in the wind.
Billy looked up at him. "Then why didn't you tell us earlier?"
Elijah had nothing to say.
The second to last time was fast. Frantic. Painful, almost, because Elijah dug his stubby little fingers into her arms to the point where she could feel the blood having difficulty circulating. She clung to his back as he rode her, her hips working frantically to match his. Slow down, she wanted to say, but no, furious, quick, more, more. It wasn't enough, it couldn't stop. As long as they stayed glued to each other's skin with spit and sweat and sex, then it would be all right. Everything would be all right.
"Miranda, Miranda, Miranda," he chanted above her, and when he kissed her with his teeth, he drew blood.
Her blood or his own... she wasn't certain. Coppery, power ridden sex.
When she came, it felt like a train trying to break all of a sudden. It went on until she shook and her teeth clicked together with the effort of not yelling, and Elijah was murmuring above her, sweat pouring off of him, and all she could do was hold on, hold on for it to end.
"We've got to stop," she said into his hair when they were still and he covered her like a blanket, legs askew, fingers curled in her hair.
"Yeah," he replied softly. Sighed. Rolled over onto his back. Covered his face with a slim, pale arm. Sighed again. Defeated.
One more time, and that time, the last time, was gentle. Sweet. It rolled and rocked, with Miranda gently removing Elijah's arm that obscured his face, with Miranda swinging a leg over Elijah's waist and smiling down at him in a reassuring manner. She whispered "shh" against his mouth when he began to protest, and then kissed his soft lips, running her hands down his flat chest and dragging her mouth across his neck as she touched him.
Afterward, they held onto each other; Miranda in Elijah's arms. She rested her ear against his chest and listened to his breathing.
When he murmured, "I should go," she nodded, picking her head up as he brushed her hair away from her face, smiling up at her with his young face that knew too
much. She smiled back.
He Said, She Said by dee
All stories are works of fan-fiction by Dee. "Fan-fiction" means that she does not own any of the core creative concepts and characters, but she does heap adulation, appreciation and awe upon those people who do hold the intellectual property rights to those concepts and characters. Further, any instances of real people are fictional, and the author does not wish to suggest any truth should be attached to the actions, emotions and words attributed to them in these fictional stories.