Wishing For A HighlanderBy: Jessi Gage
Tears spilled down her cheeks. She might have a way of saying goodbye to her parents.
Timothy toed the rug and looked at the floor at her feet. “We’ve tested the magic, and it should work. I just need to prick my finger and smear the blood on the release mechanism while I speak the date.”
Her knees felt weak. She would have sunk to the floor if Darcy’s strong arms hadn’t already been around her. She steadied herself by breathing in his scent of saddle leather and man. Her heart was bursting at the seams with joy and love. She didn’t regret coming to the past one bit. If she could go back to Charleston, she wouldn’t. She’d do everything the same to end up here in Darcy’s arms, his wife, the mother of his baby girl–Darcy was the only father Janine would ever have. And she hoped she’d have more children with him.
She’d be able to write to her mother and father and tell them she was happy. She’d tell them about Janine, about the wonderful man she’d met, all the things she’d wished she could have shared with them over the past year. They might not believe her, but she’d do her best to make them. She’d pour her love for them into a series of letters, and they’d be able to read them again and again whenever they thought of her.
The chest was the missing piece of her happiness. That missing piece had shrunk over time until it occupied only a small corner of her heart, but no matter how small the pain became, the puzzle of her life was always going to feel incomplete. Now the puzzle was whole, and the picture was more beautiful than she could have imagined.
She sagged against her husband as she said in a hoarse voice, “Thank you. Thank you so much, Timothy. This is–” She shook her head. “Thank you.”
One year later
Melanie pushed through the door of the north-most mill, an almost two-year-old Janine on her hip. “They named the baby Rosalisa!” she called, placing Janine down so she could toddle to her daddy. Up at the keep, Ginneleah was recuperating from birthing a precious baby girl the night before.
Darcy cooed a jubilant greeting as he hoisted their little girl in arms that were as brawny and tanned as ever. He’d fully recovered from his snake bite, packing on every last inch of muscle he’d lost and then some by operating his mills and building a waterwheel with Edmund based on the design of the one he’d made with Wilhelm Murray.
“A bonny name,” he said with a twinkle in his eye, coming to her and planting a kiss on her lips. “And have I told ye how lovely ye look pregnant?”
“Only every day for the last eight months,” she answered, resting a hand on her enormous belly. Hooking her other hand around his neck, she pulled him down for a slower kiss.
He only broke it off when Janine started squirming and saying, “Up-down! Up-down!”
“Put me down, please, Daddy,” she corrected as he set their daughter on the floor.
Since Timothy had given her the hope chest, she had been writing weekly letters to her parents. Darcy had proven quite the artist, sketching amazingly detailed pencil-drawings of Ackergill and Fraineach, her and Janine. He’d even done a portrait of himself at her urging. Writing the letters had been a catharsis, but one little thing had still worried her. How would the chest find its way into her grandmother’s hands? Even though the piece was a family heirloom, she refused to consider that her grandmother might be a distant descendant of hers. It was just too weird. She couldn’t possibly be related to…herself, no matter how much time had passed. But now she didn’t have to worry any more.
Rosalisa was not a common name. Except in her family. It was her middle name. And her grandmother’s name. And Ginneleah hadn’t known that.
“A bonny name, indeed,” she agreed. A giggle escaped her as Darcy folded his arms around her and nuzzled her neck.
“So, I take it you’ll be passing the chest to the lass one day, Malina Rosalisa Keith. Does it put your mind at ease?”
“Aye.” She rubbed her hands up and down his back, pushing her fingers under the shoulder-wrap of his kilt to caress his warm skin. “Do you know what would put my mind even more at ease?”
“What’s that, mo gradhach?”
“If you came back to the house with me for a long lunch break.”
“Och, but I’m so busy today,” he teased.
“Suit yourself,” she said, pulling out of his embrace and heading for the door. “Come along, Janine. Your daddy needs to get back to work.”
Darcy rushed her and lifted her into his arms as if she didn’t weigh a ton and a half. He easily scooped Janine up as well and carried them both up to Fraineach, their home.