“This view is just incredible!” Claire gawked once again as she stood, naked, staring out the window of the 15th floor hotel room at the Canadian Horseshoe Falls thundering below. “I know I’ve said it a million times, but it’s so amazing that I can’t help myself.”
Jamie grinned as he rolled over on the bed, scooting the empty room service tray out of his way before propping himself up on one elbow. They had arrived in Niagara Falls, Ontario from Toronto the previous night, having spent the last five days there taking in the city—visiting museums, hitting the theater district, spending long, leisurely mornings making love. So far, their official honeymoon had been perfect. No driving delays, fantastic weather, great food…even the traffic lights in Toronto seemed to either turn green or turn to the “walk” sign whenever they approached.
As was often the case lately, his eyes were drawn to Claire’s now clearly visible baby bump. She was nearly halfway along. Thankfully, her morning sickness had faded, leaving behind the healthy glow of the second trimester. Christ , he was the luckiest man on earth. It seemed to him that her body simply thrummed with the new life growing inside her. Every day, she seemed more vibrant, more beautiful, more alive than the day before, and he was utterly enthralled. He couldn’t help but stare constantly, drinking in the sight of her and getting blissfully intoxicated from it every single time.
She turned to him, smiling. “This room must have cost a fortune. Are you really sure it’s okay?”
“Aye,” he replied with a chuckle. He had insisted on covering the cost of their honeymoon himself, as well as the planning, considering it one tradition he wanted to uphold. “Ye’ll have noticed that we’re only here for two nights.”
“Well, that’s fine with me. As much as I’ve enjoyed the week, I do feel ready to drive home tomorrow.” She turned from the window and sat down on the edge of the bed. “I’m feeling good, but I am a bit tired from all this walking. I could use a day or two just propping up my feet when we get back. But I’m good for now. What’s on the agenda today?”
Leaning over, Jamie reached up to place one finger under her jaw, drawing her to him and kissing her tenderly before murmuring, “Hmmm…we’ve already ticked off item one, but there’s no reason that we can’t keep working on it for a while longer.”
Claire giggled before planting a quick peck on his cheek. “You’re insatiable, Dr. Fraser.” She traced an eyebrow with her finger. “Don’t worry, we can pick up our critical work on item one later.”
“I’ll hold ye to yer word, Dr. Fraser.” Jamie shifted and sat up in the bed, clearing his throat as he tried to clear his mind to focus on the day ahead. “We have tickets to the Maid of the Mist this afternoon, then dinner at Skylon Tower this evening. If ye’re feeling up to it, I thought we might wander the botanical garden in between, but if ye need a wee rest instead, it’s completely fine.”
As Claire stood up to head off to the loo, his gaze returned to her baby bump, and he felt himself harden yet again. Forcing himself to look away, he stared out the floor-to-ceiling windows at the falls. What was it about her rounded belly that was so insanely sexy? Was it simply the knowledge that it was his bairn growing inside her? Or the memory of how it most likely got there from their tryst in the library? Maybe instead it was simply the shape of her now…nothing but curves upon curves, with her breasts larger and the smooth skin of her belly begging to be caressed?
Stop it, Fraser …
If this kept up, he’d need to take his shower with ice water to calm down. Sighing to himself, he stood and walked over to the dresser. As he picked up the brochure for the Maid of the Mist, Jamie sent up a silent prayer while glancing over the photos, before putting it down to dig into his bag for the Meclizine.
What the bloody hell was wrong? Ever since lunch, Jamie had been twitchy. Nervous. Tense. It just wasn’t like him, Claire thought, but for the moment held her tongue.
They were standing on the dock, ready to board the Maid of the Mist, the boat that took visitors close to where the falls crashed into the Niagara river. They had just donned their plastic ponchos, and plopped their cell phones into an extra plastic bag for some added protection against the inevitable onslaught of water from the thundering falls.
As the dock worker began to direct passengers onto the boat, she glanced over to see Jamie’s brow furrowed, and his mouth pressed together in a thin line.
“Out with it. What’s wrong?” Claire asked, leaning close as the line inched forward.
They stepped onto the boat. “Upper deck or here?”
“Here,” Jamie responded curtly, his hand on Claire’s waist, directing her toward the back of the boat away from the crowd. “Dinna fash. They turn the boat so that everyone gets a good view.”
Finding a quiet corner, Claire returned to her earlier question. “I’ll say it again, James Fraser, what’s wrong? And don’t tell me you’re ‘fine’ when you’re clearly not. Something’s obviously not right.” She gripped him by the shoulders, and turned him toward her, forcing eye contact.
“I didna want to worry ye, but I get a wee bit seasick on boats. I can manage a kayak as ye know, but on an actual boat…” His voice trailed off.
“We don’t have to do this, you know. The boat hasn’t left yet; we can still get off. It’s okay. Really, you don’t have to do this for me.” She reached up to stroke his jawline with her fingers, sighing as she did. He’d been so solicitous of her on this trip, always asking how she felt, changing plans at a moment’s notice if she needed to rest. It felt only right that she should return the favor.
“I’ll be fine,” he replied, quirking a lopsided smile. “I took some anti-nausea medication when we left the hotel, and a second dose a few minutes ago when you were in the loo. It’s only a half hour. Besides, ye canna visit the falls and not ride the Maid of the Mist.”
Just then, the boat began to slowly pull away from the dock, taking with it the possibility of a change in plans. Claire could tell that he was still nervous, in spite of his reassurances, and she squeezed his hand, offering what moral support she could.
The boat turned toward the falls and Claire felt the motor kick in at full power beneath her feet, allowing it to maneuver against the strong current. On the move now, the boat bobbed and pitched lightly in the water, causing the passengers crowded onto the decks to hold onto the nearest railing to keep their balance as they moved about. Casting a glance over her shoulder, she saw that Jamie had moved further back, away from the throngs of tourists pressing toward the bow. She caught up to him a moment later, and placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Anything I can do to— ”
At that moment, Jamie abruptly leaned over the railing as his lunch found its way from his stomach into the churning waters below. Again he heaved, and Claire found herself helpless to do anything except stroke his back gently. She glanced around and saw that they were mostly alone; the few passengers who had ventured to the stern quickly left as soon as they realized what was happening. One kind soul offered to get a crew member, but Jamie shook his head, rejecting the offer before leaning over the railing again.
“Sassenach, ye should go. Take some pics, aye?”
“Jamie, I’m not leaving you to go off and play tourist!”
“The only cure for me is to get off the boat. Ye canna do anything for me, Claire. I thought the Meclizine would be enough to help, but obviously I was wrong. Go. At least one of us should enjoy—” He retched again, this time spitting out only a tiny bit before leaning over to rest his forehead on the railing.
Well, Claire thought to herself, that explained his mood.
“Here, rinse out your mouth,” she said, handing him a bottle of water from her purse.
He did as instructed, spitting out the water over the edge of the boat before finding a bench and slumping down on it. “I’m sorry, Sassenach. I’d hoped I could handle a half hour. I wanted this to be perfect for ye.” He pushed back the plastic hood of his poncho, oblivious to the spray that was growing more intense by the second, soaking his face and hair. As the boat began to turn, the herd of people who had been clustered at the front of the boat shifted to the side, vying for the best position near the railing recently vacated by one very queasy James Fraser, snapping photos of the falls and selfies, plastic ponchos flapping in the wind.
They sat on the bench, hand in hand, for the remainder of the short journey. Claire tried her best to appreciate the majesty and untamed power of the thundering water, but found herself distracted by her rather green looking husband. Typical of him to put his desire to give her a memorable experience ahead of his own well-being.
As they finally stepped off the boat onto the dock, Jamie made a bee-line for the nearest bench and plopped down, throwing his head back and taking a deep breath.
“Aye. Give me five minutes and I’ll be right as rain.” He paused, taking a few more slow, deep breaths. “I should have known not to even attempt it. I have to take the meds even when I go kayaking wi’ the first-years at orientation, and ye ken how calm the lake is.”
“Now I know why you were so adamant about not taking a Caribbean cruise,” Claire laughed, her mood lightening as she saw the color returning to Jamie’s face.
“To be fair, it’s also technically hurricane season there right now,” Jamie answered with a chuckle. “But I dinna think I’ll ever be able to go on a cruise.”
They sat for a few more minutes, soaking up the sun and watching the next group of tourists board the boat.
“How do ye feel, Sassenach?” he asked, turning to plant a quick kiss on her cheek. “Are ye both up for a stroll around the botanical garden?”
Claire smiled as she stroked her belly, knowing that yet again, he’d planned every detail of the trip with her interests in mind. “Baby Fraser and I are feeling just fine. We’d love it. And the best part is that it doesn’t involve any boats!”
“Thank Christ for that.”
“Skylon Tower was constructed in the 1960s, and overlooks both the Canadian and American falls, offering observers the best views of both…” Claire read aloud from the brochure as they waited in line for the elevator that would take them to the revolving dining room. “…the restaurant rotates 360 degrees every hour to afford all guests a view of the falls…” The line slowly inched forward.
“I reserved us a table closest to the windows,” Jamie interjected. “We might just miss the sunset, but we should be able to watch the lights come on over the falls by dessert at least.”
They had spent the afternoon at the gardens, then returned to their room, whereupon Claire ate a snack and promptly fell asleep afterward for three hours. She woke up feeling a bit guilty at first for nodding off so long, but realized that the nap had given her the energy she needed for what would likely be a late night. Now, in the line, she was glad she had listened to her body. She felt wonderful, radiant even, as she absentmindedly stroked over her belly while she read the brochure about the tower.
Finally, it was their turn in the lift, and a minute later, they stepped out and headed for the restaurant. Jamie went ahead to inform the hostess of their arrival, while Claire ducked into the ladies’ room. Of course, there was a line there too that stretched out into the outer lounge room, where Claire noticed a blonde woman sitting in one of the chairs nursing her baby boy.
“He’s beautiful,” Claire commented, eliciting a smile from the young mother.
“Thanks,” she replied. “I was really nervous about bringing him up here, but he’s been good, haven’t you, sweetheart?” She planted a kiss on her baby’s fuzzy head, then nodded in her direction as she noticed Claire’s hand unconsciously move to rest on her growing bump. “When are you due?”
“November,” Claire replied with a smile. “Our first.”
“Congratulations! Enjoy it right now. You might not be so comfortable come fall.”
“I can’t imagine.” Claire laughed. “I spend half my time in the loo as it is!”
The line moved forward, and a few minutes later, she headed into the restaurant to see Jamie beckoning her to a table.
“Sorry,” she said as she sat down across from him, quickly picking up a menu. “Didn’t want to have to interrupt our dinner.”
As the whole restaurant slowly turned inch by inch, the view changed. The movement was barely noticeable, and unless Claire paid attention, she wouldn’t have any sensation of movement at all except for the changing scenery. After they placed their dinner orders, Jamie pulled out a small package from his pocket and handed it to Claire.
“Just a silly wee thing.”
As Claire opened up the package, a quizzical look spread over her face. “A souvenir spoon?” She paused awkwardly, not quite knowing what to make of the strange gift. The spoon was the type found at cheap tourist shops and purchased by the hordes of seventy-something ladies who moved on and off senior citizen tour buses en masse, destined to be proudly displayed in their living rooms as proof of their trip to the falls. “Thank you…I can’t say that I’ve ever thought of purchasing one, but—”
Jamie laughed. “I ken it’s a little bit unconventional, but bear with me. It’s for the bairn. And it comes with a story.”
“A story? Well, now I’m intrigued.” She lay the box with the spoon on the table, and reached across to twine her fingers through Jamie’s. “Do tell.”
“Years ago, my mam told me a story about her great grandmother, sometime back in the 1800s. Seems that on her wedding night, my great-great grandda presented her with a gift of twelve silver spoons, one for each of the twelve apostles. They used to give sets like that as christening gifts back then, but apparently great-great grandda had other ideas.” Jamie paused to take a sip of water, then went on, “He told her that he wanted a bairn for each spoon.”
“And what did she think of this plan?” Claire asked casually as she slowly stroked the back of Jamie’s hand with her thumb.
“She kicked him out and wouldn’t let him into her bed for two weeks!”
Barely suppressing a raucous laugh, she replied, “I guess I should be relieved that I’m only getting one spoon!”
“I ken it’s a bit silly, but I want ye to understand something.” Jamie paused, suddenly becoming serious. “When we thought ye wouldn’t be able to have a bairn, I told ye that it was alright, that we didna have to have any at all…then the wee one happened and I’m thrilled, Claire. I couldna be happier. But I want ye to realize that whether we have one child or a dozen, it’s enough for me. Just to be yer husband, to share yer life would have been enough for me. You are more than enough. This wee one is more than enough. Dinna let anyone ever make ye feel otherwise.”
“Oh, Jamie…” Claire’s lip trembled as a tear formed at the corner of her eye. Jamie reached over the table, gently wiping it away with his thumb.
“I’m fit to burst with joy,” he said with a glance toward Claire’s belly. “So…one spoon.”
“Not demanding a dozen, then?” Claire choked out a laugh, trying not to be too loud in the elegant setting. “Like great-great grandda?”
“No’ unless ye want to try for eleven more?”
Claire smiled, then bit her lip and raised a provocative eyebrow. “No reason we still can’t practice…just in case I change my mind.”
“Practice makes perfect,” he said, gazing directly into her eyes, as he lifted her fingers and brushed them to his lips, giving them the lightest of kisses.
The arrival of the food interrupted their conversation, which Claire realized was probably just as well. Dinner with this view cost a small fortune, and she was determined to savor every bite and not rush through it to get back to their room more quickly, no matter how much she might want to in the moment. Their table had slowly moved around to where the falls were coming into their field of vision just as the nighttime lights of the city were turning on. The horizon still displayed the last purple remnants of sunset as multicolored lights lit up the falls in a rainbow of hues, and Claire wondered if they were like that all the time, or just in June for Pride Month. She hoped it was all the time so that everyone could see it year round.
Looking back at Jamie and the single spoon in its box on the table, she was flooded with a wave of deep gratitude for how things had turned out in her life. A year ago, she was making plans to start anew at Leoch, her future there a giant question mark. And now? She realized that she would do it all again in a heartbeat—leaving Frank, going back to graduate school, starting over in her thirties in a new town—just to get to this moment.
Jamie tapped the small plastic card below the door handle, and a green light came on. He opened the door to their room, holding the door for Claire before stepping in himself. Casting a glance at his wife as he secured the locks, he saw her yawn. As she kicked off her dressy shoes, he stepped close behind her, not quite touching, but enough to feel the heat of her body through his shirt. With a feather light stroke, he traced her bare arm from wrist to shoulder and back again.
“I ken it’s been a long day. If ye want, we can go to sleep. I dinna want ye to feel like something more has to happen now.”
Turning toward him, she reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck. “To sleep and not to bed?”
“Aye, if that’s what you and the bairn need right now. If ye want—”
She cut him off, pulling him down and pressing her lips to his, then leaned back. “What I want is to enjoy the last night of my honeymoon with my husband . We have the room until 11 tomorrow morning, right?”
“Then we can sleep in.” She kissed him again, longer this time, her tongue gently dancing with his in a languorous slow tango, hinting at what was to come.
“Aye, we can—”
“And order room service again for breakfast?”
“Mmphm,” he mumbled, nibbling up her jawline to her ear, where his teeth grazed her earlobe and he felt her shiver involuntarily. He smiled, then murmured softly into her ear, “Are yer feet sore?”
“A little, but it’s okay. Don’t worry about me.”
But he did worry. And he knew from their time in Toronto that her feet likely were sore, and maybe even a bit swollen after the walk to and from the tower in her heels. He also knew that her back was probably a bit tired too, and achy. He wanted to do this properly…suitably, not like some lust-crazed teenager with no self-control.
He knew she would follow his lead tonight regardless. She was in that kind of mood, one where she could easily be swept up in the moment, rushing toward a frantic, desperate release, but that wouldn’t do. Not now. Stepping back briefly, he slipped off his suit jacket, unbuttoned the top button of his shirt, then loosened his tie as Claire removed her earrings. Gently taking her by the shoulders, he turned her around and kissed her tenderly before reaching down and scooping her up behind her knees. Three long strides later, he softly deposited her in one of the overstuffed chairs next to the window overlooking the falls.
As he knelt down in front of her, he took her left foot in his strong hands and began to gently massage it, running his thumbs up and down over the arches, pressing firmly as he did.
“Jamie, I’m fine. You don’t have to—”
“Hush,” he interrupted, before planting a quick kiss on the delicate bone of her ankle. “Let me take care of ye, Claire. Please?”
Pleading with his eyes, he looked up to see her tender smile of resignation. The fact that she didn’t protest more told him all he needed to know. She wasn’t one to complain, but he’d read enough about the effects of pregnancy to have at least an academic understanding of how she was probably feeling. He continued his ministrations, taking each toe and gently stretching and massaging it before turning his attention to her ankles, which were indeed a wee bit swollen. He stroked gently upwards from ankle to calf, helping the fluid that had pooled move back, relieving the soreness with it. After repeating his efforts on her other foot, he paused.
“That was absolute heaven,” she murmured, her eyes closed as she rested her head on the soft cushion of the chair. “Thank you.”
“I’m no’ done with ye yet,” he replied as he stood and reached out a hand to help her up. “I’ve been studying pregnancy massage. I ken I’m no’ a professional, but mebbe I can do a wee bit if I’m careful.” He stepped behind her and kissed the nape of her neck, one hand gently resting on her shoulder. Reaching up with the other, he slowly unzipped her dress before slipping it off, leaving it in a silken puddle on the floor as he once again swept her bodily into his strong arms, then gently laid her on the bed.
“Roll onto yer side, Sassenach,” he said as he unhooked her bra and slipped it off, then tenderly pulled off her knickers, tossing them onto the floor. She complied without so much as a whisper of objection, confirming his earlier intuition, and he went to work on her back after gently positioning a pillow between her knees.
“Stop me if ye feel any pain at all.”
Recalling what he’d learned online, he pressed long, steady strokes with both hands up and down her spine, before pausing and working on her lower back with his thumbs, then repeating the whole process. After several minutes, Claire slowly rolled over onto her back when Jamie briefly paused to reposition his hands.
“Dr. Fraser, you are wearing entirely too much clothing. However are we going to do more work on agenda item one for the day? If you recall, we left it unfinished this morning.” She flashed him a cheeky smile, and he knew that she was feeling better than when they’d walked into the room an hour earlier.
“Och, ye want to work some more on that, do ye?”
“It’s very important,” she replied, reaching for his belt buckle.
“Aye, it is,” he agreed as he slipped the noose of his tie over his head, tossing the torturous thing to the floor without so much as a glance to see where it landed, then quickly unbuttoning his shirt and removing it as Claire unzipped his fly. He stood, and quickly divested himself of his pants, boxers and socks before leaning back over her with his body and kissing her thoroughly. Positioning himself on his side with his head propped, his free hand stroked over the gentle rolling landscape of Claire’s torso, pausing briefly at each breast before reverently bringing his palm to rest over her belly.
“Honestly, I can’t be sure,” she replied, clearly understanding his question. “I keep expecting to feel it any day now, and maybe I already have. Sometimes I think I’ve felt a flutter, but then I over-analyze it and I’m not certain.”
“Dinna fash,” he whispered as he leaned over, pressing kisses all around her baby bump. “Do ye mind if I have a wee bit more dessert?”
“I’m in the mood for something sweet.”
“Mm-hmm… c’mere.” He rolled onto his back, pulling her over to straddle him before lifting her hips up so that she was on her knees looking down at him. Flashing her a lopsided smile, he began to scoot down lower on the bed, positioning his head between her already spread thighs. He had given much thought lately to how they would navigate Claire’s changing body in the months to come. Laying on her back was already a wee bit uncomfortable for more than a minute or two, but she was comfortable being upright, and quickly picked up on his intentions. He bunched up a pillow, shoving it under his neck, positioning himself before reaching up gently to spread her with his fingers.
Pausing a moment, he looked up. Although he’d thought intensely of the logistics of the position, he hadn’t considered the view before this moment. Christ , she was exquisite: that impossibly sexy wee bump that drove him wild, her larger breasts above that with their cherry-red peaks, her hair a glorious halo of curls…and right there, close enough to kiss, her most intimate place, already slick and waiting for him. No, he definitely wouldn’t be closing his eyes. He breathed in the scent of her, that womanly musk that was uniquely Claire , letting it flood his brain and make his cock harden so much that it was already straining upwards onto his stomach.
Down lad , he thought to himself as he set to his task.
His tongue made one long swipe up one side of her center, then the other, before reaching in as deeply as he could, pressing his mouth onto her and tasting her honey before settling in on the pattern that he’d learned last fall when they were first together.
He’d spent the next several months perfecting it: touch, tempo, pressure. He knew her tells, could read her like a book…and he reveled in it. She held his soul, and his body was completely under her power, but that power flowed both ways, and he knew it. With his mouth, he worked her to the precipice, edging her closer then backing off again, building her up three times over until he knew she was in a frenzy of desperate need, then latching on to her nexus and sucking in a quick pattern that shattered her, sending a rush of fluid washing over his chin as she spasmed again and again, crying out his name as she did. As much as anything, he loved the sounds she made: every guttural moan, every whispered gasp, every wee squeak. Releasing her, he looked up to see her skin flushed and covered with a sheen of sweat, her mouth open, breasts heaving as she caught her breath.
Claire’s heart was pounding in her chest, her sex throbbing with the aftershocks.
“God, Jamie…” she rasped, barely able to form words…or thoughts. Jesus , she had never had intensity like this before her pregnancy. “Bloody hell, I need your cock in me right now,” she blurted out, her brain registering a tiny shock at the bluntness of her demand. Jamie was clearly not in a mood to argue the point as he maneuvered himself out from under her, his lips wet and puffy from his efforts. Propping himself up to a sitting position on the headboard, he reached out, hand on her hip, and pulled her to him.
“Is this okay?” he asked. “Comfortable?”
That man . Ever since they learned she was pregnant, he had been falling over himself with concern for her wellbeing, and that of their child. Not wanting to put pressure on her belly, he’d been extra careful in the bedroom, which only made her love for him grow along with her waistline.
He took himself in hand and pumped his full length a couple times before guiding himself to her entrance. She hovered a moment, with the sensitive tip of him right there , pausing and gently ghosting herself back and forth over him, teasing them both, and eliciting a guttural moan from him before sinking down fully.
She always especially savored that first penetrating stroke, the one that stretched her, the one that made her catch her breath as she enveloped his full length and thickness. He was a large man in every respect, and unlike with Frank, she never had to worry about him accidentally slipping out when she rode him hard. And ride him she did.
Up until now, the evening had been slow and leisurely, sensual and relaxing, but the climax he’d just given her amped up her desire exponentially. She craved the friction, the control that being on top offered her. She began a rhythm where she rose up so much that she nearly released him, only to plunge back down again, grinding her pubic bone into his as she did. Faster. Harder. Again and again. Without thinking, she undulated her torso, bump and all as she rode him.
“ Christ , Sassenach,” he moaned as she once more rolled her belly against him, “that’s so fucking erotic…do it again.”
And she did, feeling like a belly-dancer she moved sinuously against him, then leaning back on her hands, she thrust her belly and breasts forward, jutting them up and out as she arched her back, giving him a full view of every stroke as she took him in again and again before reaching down to touch herself.
Jamie’s hands both found their way to her breasts, squeezing and rolling them before gently pinching both nipples, pulling one down to into his mouth and sucking hard before releasing it with a pop only to attend to the other. Still stroking herself feverishly, Claire rolled her hips side to side, then front to back, her bump swaying, her heavy breasts with their pregnancy-darkened nipples bobbing along with the movement, taking Jamie’s cock along for the ride. His eyes never left her body, apparently hypnotized.
Feeling herself close to her release, she decided to do a little edging of her own, and pulled her hand away from her center just in time. If she paused a bit now, she knew the climax would be even bigger when it hit. She leaned over and took Jamie’s mouth with her own, kissing him deeply.
“Like what you see?” she purred.
“ God , yes…dinna stop,” he begged, wide eyed. “Move like that again.”
Leaning back, she arched once more, stroking her breasts and belly with her own hands, pinching her own nipples as Jamie moaned out his approval, his hands gripping her arse as he did. She moved her hand back down and began stroking again, bouncing a little this time as she rode him, feeling his pelvis press up with every stroke as he pumped into her deeper and harder.
“Yes, Jamie, yes!”
She screamed as her orgasm hit with overwhelming force, contorting her face in ecstasy. Her core contracted as he cried out his own release moments later, spurting thick jets into her deepest places. Jamie grabbed her hips and held her in place as she rocked gently, gasping for air, riding out the final waves before hanging her head in exhaustion and practically falling off him onto the bed and landing on her side, a heap of delirious Jell-O, utterly satisfied, and barely able to recall her own name.
“That was…” She paused, trying to find words adequate to what she was feeling in the moment.
“Aye,” Jamie interjected. “Aye, it was.”
For the next few minutes, they lay side by side, facing each other, Claire’s head tucked into Jamie’s shoulder with his arm curled protectively around her as consciousness receded and they both began to doze.
Claire’s eyes popped open. “Jamie!”
“Hmm?” he mumbled, half asleep now.
“I felt it! I felt the baby move!”
Jamie opened his eyes and pressed his palm to her belly.
“I did! It’s too faint for you to feel, but… God , how do I describe it? It’s…it’s like a tiny little fish swimming inside me. A swish of the tail. Or a wiggle. It wasn’t me doing the moving. It was him…or her. But it was the baby. I’m sure of it.”
Jamie moved down, pressing a kiss to Claire’s belly. “Little one? It’s yer Da. Are ye swimming around in there like a wee fish? Ye are? That’s just fine. Just keep growing, keep getting strong so I can feel ye too. Dinna fash about anything. I’ll take good care of yer mam…and you too. I love ye already.”
Stroking Jamie’s hair with her hand, Claire felt her eyes moistening with the sheer joy of the moment.
“We love you too.”