Although Jamie would rather have taken horses, Brian was now hefty enough that he was not only too big for the cradle – necessitating Jamie building a crib – but he was too heavy to carry on horseback. Additionally, had they actually made the trip on horses, part of it would have been along roadways; though the trek would have been a straightforward path through woods and fields “back then,” it now had too much modern intrusion. So, they packed the car with supplies then drove the hour or so to a not-so-remote cabin, nestled near a lake, much like the one they honeymooned in.
To her surprise, Claire immediately relaxed. There was little in the way of electronic conveniences, but there was the breathtaking Scottish mountains and a lake of the deepest blue. And her husband and son.
Jamie wanted Claire to have as little to do as possible, so he swept the fallen leaves on the back porch, popped up the umbrella on the table, then went to the bedroom to put on the sheets and place the towels in the bathroom. Then he opened Brian’s portable playpen in the small, adjacent bedroom.
In the living room he started a fire from the armful of logs he brought in from the pile already stacked outside. Stoking it as the flames engulfed the kindling, he felt his own sense of peace. Not that being “home” had left him anxious, but there was something about the primitiveness that resonated with him.
He put back the iron grate then turned to go to the kitchen to make Claire a cup of tea. Nestled on the couch with Brian asleep beside her, she reached for his hand as he walked by. Her eyes bid him to kiss her.
He knelt beside the couch, holding her hand to his lips, looking within the gold-brown eyes that were now alit with passion. Jamie felt a small sense of pride that not only could he draw flames from wood, but also, still, from his wife.
She reached over Brian to take hold of Jamie’s jaw, bringing him in closer. He smelled of pine and tasted of powdered sugar, for both wood and doughnuts had been occupying him since they arrived.
As she wove her hand in the hair at the nape of his neck, he broke from her kiss, nuzzling her cheek. “I’ve placed the sheets and coverlet on the bed, should ye wish to check,” he whispered.
Gently taking his sleeping son, he softly padded through a door in their bedroom to the smaller bedroom where Brian could continue his nap. The morning sun was alighting on this, the east side of the cabin, so Jamie slowly pulled the curtains closed. Grateful that the lad had actually fallen asleep on the ride, they were in no hurry to wake him for it was his first sound rest in weeks.
As Jamie came back into their room, shutting the door behind him, Claire had undressed and was posed on the bed, much like an artist’s model waiting to be captured in chalk.
Jamie’s smile widened. Claire, in a moment of playfulness, comically winked. Laughing, he undid his kilt, allowing it to fall on the floor, flung off his shirt, then sat to take off his socks and boots.
“Claire,” he said, putting her arm behind his head and pulling her against him as he got into bed, “ye look like yer made of stars.”
“How so?” she replied, welcoming his face over hers.
As if touching actual stardust, he ran his fingers over her near-translucent, shimmering skin. “Yer skin glows and sparkles, like yer lit inside from a hundred galaxies.”
“Well,” she began, pulling him atop her, “every one of them is aching to love you.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Brian had slept for over three hours, so after a late lunch they went hiking. Jamie had kept Brian in a carrier on his back, stopping in enough places to show him different, birds, bugs, and critters. They’d gone miles without realizing it. In one spot, where they stopped to catch their breath, Jamie heard…chewing. He put his fingers to his lips then turned towards the sound.
A mother dear and her fawn were several yards off eating grass. It was a wee thing. Claire nearly squealed at its cuteness, but covered her mouth, her eyes conveying how delightful the sight was. She pointed for Brian to see. His eyes grew wide, then his face broke into a smile.
From their side came a buck, snorting. Jamie motioned to Claire to move further down the path and out of its way. It eyed them with no small amount of indignation. But soon, realizing it would not be harmed, crossed by them. Behind it was another weeun, roughly a year old. They joined together and moved away.
“oooooh myyy goshhhh!” Claire eventually whisper-squealed. “The baby was so small!”
“Aye, ‘twas.” He said, taking her hand. “Most likely a few days old.”
The walk had brought back a sense of connectedness and a feeling of renewal. Though spring, with its budding trees and fields of crocus and daffodil, should conceivably be the season of birth and hope, fall’s smells, crisp air and fading colors would forever be what made Claire comforted.
“You know, this time will always remind me of us. I came in July, but the following months were when our relationship fell so perfectly into place.”
Jamie thought for a moment. “I was almost to disagree with ye, thinking that those few months over that summer to be our beginning, but ye’ve changed my mind.”
He stopped, turning to Claire. The wind had snuck in around them, causing one tendril near her face to take flight. He carefully tucked it behind her ear.
“But within every month I have a memory of ye, so no matter the season” he said, embracing her “I’ll never be without ye in my heart.”