She must have jerked a bit as she awoke – for his hand was there, always there, warm fingers soothing her bare shoulders.
Claire sighed, burying her face into his side, throwing an arm around his middle.
“Why aren’t you sleeping?” she murmured.
Jamie sat a bit straighter against the headboard. “Too much on my mind.”
He knew that she knew that he didn’t need an invitation to share more. Understood implicitly, like so many things.
His hand stroked her hair. “Sometimes I regret not finishing university. Not having an education like you have, like the managers at the printshop have.”
She shifted away and propped her head on one hand, elbow digging into the mattress.
“I know it’s daft. But sometimes I see a book we’re printing, and I wish I knew more about the author.”
“You have the whole rest of your life to catch up.” Gently her hand cupped the inside of his knee. “A university degree doesn’t teach you everything.”
He shrugged, holding up a thin volume with his free hand. “I’d never heard of Carl Sandburg until Tuesday.”
“He was an American poet, if I remember correctly.” Softly her thumbnail traced the bones and tendons of his knee. “Died quite a long time ago.”
“You do remember correctly. It’s so nice to be marrit to such a smart woman.”
She rolled her eyes. “Is that a book of his poems?”
“Aye.” He swallowed. “They’re quite short. But so different, each of them. Like paintings in a museum.”
Her hand skimmed the fuzzy angles of his thigh. “Share?”
His brow furrowed in the lamplight. “This one is called ‘Mascot.’ Though I cannae understand why.”
“Does it have to do with sports?” she teased.
“No. Only – here. Let me read it to ye:
I will keep you and bring hands to hold you against a great hunger.
I will run a spear in you for a great gladness to die with.
I will stab you between the ribs of the left side with a great love worth remembering.”
Claire sat up now, one hand cupping the ribs of her husband’s left side, the other turning his face to meet hers in a kiss.
“A great hunger,” she whispered against his lips.
He nodded. “What we feel for each other.” Kissed her again.
“Our love.” She sucked on his upper lip. “Great, huge, eternal love.”
He bit her lower lip. “I could die of the happiness you give me.”
His fingers dug into her hips. Shifted her onto his lap, where he cradled her, holding her so close.
“I hope not,” she smiled. Fingers splayed over his heart. “We have so many years yet to remember.”