I watched him from across the room. My husband was quiet, more so than usual. While we had talked about matters of the heart just shortly before, his silence felt like the two hundred year separation we had already once endured.
We had sent Alicia and Isaiah off to what was supposed to be our tent that night since we had been offered a room. Tucked back and away from all the chaos, it would allow the couple a few hours of rest and seclusion (ourselves included) until dawn broke. Once the sun rose, I would be leaving with Roger to go back to Fraser’s Ridge.
I already yearned for Jamie- and it always shocked me when I missed him like this. I had once been independent, willing and able to live (more like survive) on my own. I had done it to raise our daughter, but since I had returned, since Bree had returned to us, the mere thought of going any amount of time without my husband always made me feel uneasy.
It was the idea of not waking with his body aligned with mine, his hands running down my back the minute I first crawl into bed, the way he never fell asleep without kissing me goodnight or leaving my bed at daybreak without kissing me good morning. While I would miss those things, it was more the capacity James Fraser had for knowing what lay within my innermost being I would miss most.
He stood with his face to the fire, his mind on what I could only presume was the two lovebirds we were helping.
I sat on the edge of the bed, playing with the string on my shift. Our conversation in the forest had lit me like a match ready to ignite a fire, and now that we were alone, I wanted my husband.
Our love making was always just more than making love; it was the way our souls connected and said those things which we dare not speak aloud. There was a Faith-sized ocean between us while we had talked about Bree and Bonnie. I wanted (no needed to show him) to tell him just how much I had meant what I said. Slowly undoing the tie, I mustered some courage, “A penny for your thoughts?”
He turned to look at me and gave me a look that made me weak in the knees. I shivered as I registered his face. I could see the want, the desire, the smoldering need to possess me, yet there was a hint of some point he had left unsaid that hung in the air between us.
“Yer hair is down, Sassenach.” I could hear a small hint of playfulness in his tone.
“I know.” I took one of my medusa like curls and twirled it in between my fingers.
“Ye ken that is no’ playing fair.” He took a step towards me as he undid his belt and tossed it onto the chair.
“Mmmhmmm.” I stuck my finger out and motioned him towards me. “Come here.”
“Ye look like ye are undressing me wi’ yer eyes.” Jamie smiled as he unbuttoned his jacket-slowly and methodically, one by one.
I eyed him up and down, not even trying to hide it. “I told you, my husband is as handsome as he is jealous.” I cocked my head at him ruefully.
“What do ye think yer husband will have to say about that?” Finishing undoing the last button, he slid out of his jacket and tossed it on the floor next to the bed. Next, his hands found way to the button on his pants. With the same prowl and methodology of his jacket, he sought to torture me.
My breathing quickened as I watched him intently. His large hands shimmied his breeks down his well-defined legs. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who had been lit with a fire earlier, and I was ready to ignite a flame. We both were. I could sense the same eagerness radiating off of Jamie, yet there was a small hint of reserve inhabiting him too.
I looked up when his feet were within my field of vision and saw an honesty on his face that made me want to cry.
He got onto his knees right in front of me, intertwining my hands with his. I could feel the silver of my ring being twisted within his fingers. He was so beautiful, and somehow by the grace of some deity, he was mine.
“There is more you want to say,” I said rather meekly.
“Och, Sassenach.” He nearly whispered, pulling my hands to his lips. His breath was soft and warm, his stubble just the perfect length to send the chills up my back. “More a wee regret.”
I took my left hand and cradled his jaw and tilted his head up so our eyes were meeting. I could see the film of tears rising above his ocean-blue eyes.
“Faith.” I somehow got out breathlessly. Somehow I knew his thoughts before he spoke them.
“I saw ye wi’ Bonnie and couldna help but think of her, Sassenach. I see Bree getting married, giving us wee Jemmy, bringing Roger Mac into our lives. We have Fergus- who gave us Marsali and Germain and wee Joan, and another bairn to come. He may no’ be of our blood, but he is of our hearts….”
The tears I had felt were streaming down my cheeks now. I used the hand still cradling his face and wiped his tears.
“Ye said ye regret we werena parents together, but Claire do ye really no’ see it?”
I shook my head.
“We...” His voice cracked, “Are enjoying all these things that I never thought I’d live to see. All these things I didna think I’d get to do, wi’ you.”
He took another breath and closed his eyes, leaning into my touch.
“I didna get the years wi’ ye and I am only a man, so I regret that our bairns did no’ get to live a life where we were together. I didna get to see ye wi’ our girls, the late nights, or see ye nurse them. Ye raised our child on your own and I dinna think I can ever repay ye for it. But, Claire” He said my name in that Highlander way that made it his own, “I dinna regret it because I get to do all these other things wi’ ye now. I can only wish she were here for it all, too.”
He was still kneeling before me, the weight of his body supported by my own being. It hit me like a tidal wave.
The sense of loss.
The sense of confusion.
He had once kneeled before me like this, when I had given him the news of what had happened to our first born. Yet now, the grief and the loss were there, but a distant memory that was wrapped in a sense of warmth. The confusion and the agony would always remain- all the things we knew we’d miss with her- yet we carried her within us, everywhere we went.
“I know.” It was the only thing I could say because like so many times before, when it came to matters of my soul, I never knew what to say.
I titled his head up to mine and reached for the hem of his shirt. Our lovemaking was always more than just our bodies becoming one, it was a conversation between our souls for the things we didn’t know how to say to each other. Suddenly, we were just as we’d always been- a Scot and a Sassenach- a home found not within four walls but within a person.
As he stood and pushed my shift down my shoulders, I knew in that moment with all the heartache, turmoil, and pain- I’d do it again, just for one more night with him.