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Let me tell ya 'bout my best friend

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Chapter 1

Tonight was our scheduled night so, where the Hell was Bil? I waited for about a half hour past the agreed upon time before I started to argue with myself. I debated whether or not to go through the closet portal and make sure he was okay. If you knew Bil like I did, you would worry too. He was punctual to a fault, and the fact that he was so late to our scheduled “Game of Thrones” night was very concerning. Now, I know that you’re thinking that I should go and check on my best friend if I am so worried, if I’m such a great friend. Well, it’s not as simple as that. You see, Bil lives in another world and that world can only be accessed through the secret portal in my front closet of my house. Now, don’t worry, I will try to remember to explain later. Right now, I’m focusing on the issue at hand. I have never entered Bil’s house without setting up a time prior to, except for that very first time, that is.
The possibilities of what had caused my friend to miss his visit began to flip through my mind. Perhaps he was sick. If that was the case, what if he’s contagious? I certainly don’t want to get sick. I just got back from working over in Nepal for two months, three weeks ago. I had gotten plenty sick during my stay abroad and I’m not too excited about repeating the experience, thank you very much. Maybe he managed to get a last minute hot date, (**snort! Riiiight!) I didn’t want to bust in on him and interrupt anything. Then again, this was our night together, dammit! I’m not putting my viewing pleasure on hold for his possible intestinal disorder or worse, socially awkward dating attempts. “That hairy footed little shit better appreciate my friendship!” I muttered in frustration as I threw open the front closet door, and climbed to the back wall. I inserted the small skeleton key that I kept on a silver chain about my neck and pushed the secret portal open.
The portal opened up into an alcove in a back room in Bag End, Bils house in the Shire, in mother fucking Middle Earth! That’s right! I have a portal to Middle Earth in my house. Suck it, Peter Jackson! I think Bil used it as an office, but he has since used it as a storage room for all the items that he had brought through from the real world. Don’t tell him I called my reality the real world. He gets very offended when I do that. Anyway, back to my mission. I paused and listened, expecting the usual sounds of Bil puttering about his home, or at the very least, silence. Instead I heard sounds as if my best friend was throwing a party and didn’t invite me. “That bitch!” I hissed as I strode through the back hallway, towards his front rooms. I had completely forgotten that I was in my ‘chill at home’ attire, yoga pants and an overly large sweatshirt, and not quite presentable for a party, but I didn’t really give a shit at the moment.
I came upon the sight of my friend looking absolutely apoplectic and ready to blow a gasket. His dining room was packed to over flowing with short, boisterous, hairy men. The table manners of this group were on par with that of a group of toddlers on speed. Bil was sputtering incoherently as his ‘guests’ sang a merry song and tossed dishes about like an impromptu cirque du Solei act. When Bil spotted me, he looked relieved and ran to my side, imploring me with his eyes to do something. I don’t know what he expected, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t expect the reaction I gave. “What the Hell is going on here!?!” I shouted over the din, my face a mask of cold anger. You know when someone claims that a room became so quiet that you could’ve heard a pin drop? Yeah, well, this was the first time I could actually claim that this happened in my presence. All eyes were on me, mouths hanging open in shock. A tall, older gentleman who had been hanging back in the corner cleared his throat before addressing me. “Fucking Gandalf,” I grumbled under my breath. “And, who might you be, my dear?” He asked.
“A concerned friend,” I bit back. I then turned to look down at Bil, who was still using me as shield against the mob in front of me. “Bil? Care to explain why you’re throwing a sausage party on Game of thrones night? Did you forget or something? A heads up would’ve been nice. I just spent the last half hour worrying that you might have gotten sick or hurt or worse, and I find you playing hostess to a bunch of Oompah Loompah rejects.” I snapped at him. A bit unfair of me, I know, but I was riding out my adrenalin from the anger I felt from being forgotten. “It’s not like that,” Bil cried out, “I swear, Jess, it’s not like that at all!” He was wringing his little hands together in distress. “It’s HIS fault”, Bil cried out rather shrilly, pointing an accusing finger at Gandalf. “He came by earlier today, talking about going on adventures and what not. I declined, having a rather busy schedule myself, (I snorted and rolled my eyes at this blatant lie) and he insisted! He invited all these dwarves to my house and now they have eaten everything in my pantry and are ruining everything else!” He was practically screeching by this point. Bil is rather proud of his house-keeping and hostess skills, but this pack of wild dwarves were evidently beyond his capacity. I honestly felt bad for him. I mean, sure he seems a bit uptight but, once you get to know him, he is the best friend anyone could ask for. He would give me the shirt off his back if I needed it. Plus, he’s a shit ton of fun to take out drinking. I immediately felt bad for storming in blind like I did, and I decided to be the best friend he needed right now. I placed a hand on his shoulder and crouched down to his level to look him in the eye. “Calm down, Bud. Breathe in slow and deep, just like we practiced,” I instructed. We’ve been in these situations before where he had a full blown panic attack and we’ve been practicing our breathing techniques. I could feel 13 pairs of eyes on us, but I just had to block it out. “Calm down, okay? You keep this up and you’re gonna give yourself a coronary. We can sort this out. Don’t worry.” I looked back over at Gandalf and said, “You and I need to have a little chat, in private.” Gandalf nodded his head and I swept my hand dramatically toward the back room, “After you.” Before I escorted Bil away to the sitting room, I turned back and addressed the group of dwarves as they sat in varying stages of disbelief. “The rest of you, fucking behave yourselves. You know, like actual adults.”
Sitting across from the old man, I was perched on the arm of the wingback chair, with Bil twitching in the seat; I addressed the issue at hand. “I’m sorry, Gandalf, but are you out of your fucking mind?!” I hissed at the wizard. “He can’t adventure! Look at him! He can’t even host a group of inconsiderate assholes at a dinner party.” “Hey!” Bil finally spoke up in his defense, which was a good sign, but still. “It’s true! Look at the state of you right now! Also, adventuring in this case means being outdoors for extended periods of time Bil. By extended, I mean months and months of sleeping on the ground, in the elements.” I tried to explain gently. “I do very well out of doors, thank you very much!” he replied in a holier than thou tone that rubbed me the wrong way. Did he not understand I was trying to save him from massive discomfort? “Bil? Hon, remember the time I took you to the beach? You screamed like death himself had walked up and hugged you when a piece of seaweed had wrapped itself around your leg.” Gandalf was doing his best not to laugh and ended up throwing out a fake cough to cover the chuckle we all know he let slip. Bil frowned as I continued on. “What do you think will happen camping out in the wilds for months at a time?” Bil looked away into the fire to avoid answering that question. I looked back up at Gandalf and his eyes were laser focused on me. “How is it that you know my name?” He asked. I let out a humorless laugh and retorted, “I know lots of things.” “May have the pleasure of your name, my dear?” He asked so politely that it was hard to stay mad at him. “Yeah, I guess. I’m Jess, Bil’s best friend and body guard.” I held out my hand to shake his, but he looked at me like he had no idea what it was I was doing, so I dropped it. I’ve been in enough foreign countries; working abroad to realize not everyone will understand my customs, so I let it go. “Well, my dear Jess, it seems that I will need to add just one more to the company roster, as you are very much what I believe is needed in order for its success!” He exclaimed and then winked at me. The old bastard just winked at me!! “Now look here, Dumbledore-“I began to protest, but was interrupted by a loud pounding on Bils front door. “He is here.” The wizard whispered.
Seriously, the amount of reverence that Gandalf placed on this new visitor made my skin crawl. I am a firm believer in ‘respect is earned, not given’, so I decided to refrain from comment until further notice. Correction; my mouth refrained from comment, but my facial expressions were another matter entirely. I can never play poker, like, ever. Bil, still trying to be the consummate hostess with the mostess, answered the door with the entire crew waiting behind him in anticipation. Thorin Oakenshield sauntered into Bils house like he owned it, and I immediately wanted to punch him in his smug fucking face. Don’t judge me, because I know that you’ve all met at least one person in your life time that has caused that knee jerk reaction without even opening their mouth. So, Thorin Oakenshield was one of a handful of people that brought out this feeling in me. “Gandalf,” he began with a haughty tone, “I thought you said that this place would be easy to find?” He shrugged off his cloak and handed it to one of the other dwarves. “I lost my way. Twice. I would never have found it at all if it weren’t for that mark on the door.” I snorted inelegantly, and gave a condescending chuckle, “You are seriously going to follow this guy across the country? He had trouble navigating the Shire! You guys will probably end up going in circles and end up like the goddamn Donner party on some snowy mountain side! Good fuckin’ luck!” I made my way to Bils liquor cabinet, because this shit was getting on my nerves. The glares I received from all the dwarves after my comments were priceless, not going to lie.
Gandalf decided now was a good time to try to distract everyone from my outburst. “Yes, well, Thorin, I am glad to see you made it,” turning to Bil , Gandalf explained, ”This is Mr. Bilbo Baggins. He is the 14th member of your company.” Gandalf smiled affectionately down at Bil, who seemed a little awestruck as he took in the newest dwarf to invade his home. “So! This is the Hobbit!” Thorin scoffed as he walked around Bil, sizing him up. “Tell me Mr. Baggins, have you done much fighting?” “Pardon me?” Bil, asked slightly mystified. “Axe or sword? What is your weapon of choice?” Thorin continued. “Well, I do have some skill at conkers, if you must know.” Bil sniffed proudly at that declaration. Poor Bil was so out of his element here. “Thought as much,” Thorin started smugly, “he looks more like a grocer than a burglar.” The rest of the dwarves laughed at this last bit, and I had had enough. “Right!” I exclaimed, surging through the crowd to stand in Thorins way. To his credit, he didn’t flinch, but his eyes did grow bigger. “I want to hear you apologize,” I hissed in his face. “Who do you think you are, speaking to me as you do?!” Thorin thundered. Now, for a dwarf, he was pretty tall. I stand a little over five feet and he and I stood eye to eye. Still, I’m not going to stand for his domineering bullshit. “Pal, I don’t have to think about who I am, I know who I am and I’m alright with it. You on the other hand are being rude and extremely abrasive. I expect you to apologize to my friend Bil, or this little circle jerk party stops here and now,” I growled. I was honestly very proud of myself for being as calm as I was. “And what is it that I am supposed to apologize for? Speaking the truth?” He snarled at me. We were standing, toe to toe, glaring at one another. I could see Bil dancing from foot to foot, nervously trying to signal for me to stop. “The truth?! You march in here, act like you own the place and make a snap decision about your host without even speaking to him. That’s not speaking the truth. THAT is maligning my friends’ character based on nothing but your opinion. If you actually took a moment to talk to him, you would have a better understanding of who he is and what he can do, but NO! Thorin Oakenshield has made up his mind about what good my friend will be to you, based on sight alone. Bil is one of, if not THE most important ingredient in this little insanity pot pie you and Gandalf are cooking up, and you start off treating him like this?! You can take your holier than thou attitude and stick it up your ass for all I care. Bil ain’t going! Period, end of story!” I stalk dramatically over to the front door and point to it saying,” Here’s the door, don’t let it hit you in the ass on the way out!” I was beyond pissed. No one treats Bil like he is shit to be scraped off a boot! No one.
Evidently, it seems things were going to come to blows. I honestly don’t remember. All I do remember is being dragged away by Gandalf and Bil to the back sitting room as the other dwarves forcibly restrained Thorin as they escorted him into the dining room. “Well, Jess, that was a bit over the top, don’t you think?” Bil asked as he pushed me to sit in his high back chair. “Over the top? That guy is a grade A asshole. I think I was more than civil under the circumstances.” I sniffed. Bil ran out to the kitchen to get me another drink. “Well, my dear, you certainly are not shy with your opinions.” Gandalf said with a smirk. Bil returned with a glass of wine, and after taking a sip I sighed and said, “Look, Gandalf, I get it. This mission is important to you and Thorin. You want the dragon gone, the dwarves want their home back, and Bil here is the keystone in your plan. And it’s a pretty half-baked, piss poor plan I might add. However, I’m not going to sit back and let my best friend go off into the wild and get steam rolled by a bunch of munchkin lumberjacks for months on end.” I glanced over at Bil and saw the pleading look in his eyes. “Oh, Jesus Christ, Bil! Really?!” I exclaimed sharply and slapped my hands over my face as I sank deeper into the chair. I peeked out at him again between my fingers to see him looking slightly ashamed, but the pleading, puppy dog look was still there. I groaned and said, “I know he’s kinda easy on the eyes, but come on! His personality alone should make you want to set him on fire!” He just continued to look at me with that pathetic expression, so I sat up straighter and placing my elbows on my knees I tried to put it into terms that might make sense to his lust filled brain. ”Remember Steve? You remember Steve, I know you do. You’re the one who saw his asshole halo shining bright well before I did. You saved me from so many questionable life choices with that one. I’m returning the favor now. Walk away from that disaster in your dining room, Bil. Walk away with your dignity still intact.” I chastised him. Bil frowned at me and he turned to Gandalf, who was standing next to the fireplace watching this exchange as he puffed away on his pipe. “May we have a private moment Mr. Gandalf?” he asked him sweetly. “Of course, of course,” the old man chuckled, “I shall attend to your guests in your absence,” and he swept out of the room. Bil leveled me with his most pathetic, doe-eyed, feel sorry for me eyes I have ever seen. “Jess, please. This is my first and only chance to explore my options.” He pleaded. I sighed, “Bil, you are not outdoorsy! And I’m sorry, but explore your options? Are you planning on making your way across the land in a great, big orgy tumbleweed of hairy, burly men?” I rubbed my hands on my face tiredly. “Plus, he isn’t even your type! I mean, didn’t you have a fling with that scrawny guy from the stables at the prancing pony? You were all about that guy for weeks on end? What happened to him anyway?” I asked suddenly confused. “Dornian? Please, Jess! He was so three months ago! Don’t ask me what happened to him, I don’t wish to talk about it. Besides, my tastes have matured since then.” He muttered that last bit as he began examining his fingernails, trying to look nonchalant. “I let out a huff and stood up from the chair. “Ok, fine. Have fun, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” I growled as I marched back to the small doorway that connected our two worlds. “I’ll miss you.” I told him before I stepped back into my world.