I picked up the large history volume Frank set in front of me and felt my hands begin to tremble. Scanning the pages, I sensed my skin had drained of all colour and peered back up at my husband. 'What does this mean?' Inwardly, I questioned myself as I examined the book's pages and then began flipping them back and forth, seeking an explanation of his rationalising to present me a book about the Jacobites and The Rising of '45. Then I saw it, his name, the name of the ghost I swore I wouldn't chase. The name of the man I had vowed to let go. ' Captain James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser - Alive ', I read over in my head before looking back up at Frank. ' What does this mean? ' Mentally, I inquired before concluding; 'It means you can go back to him Beachump' . Closing the book, I allowed my eyes to meet Franks' and searched his face for an explanation. Was that what he was telling me? He was permitting me to leave, to return to Jamie?
"I thought it might ease your mind," Frank spoke deliberately and steadily.
"It does," I murmured, drawing the book closer to my breast as if I was holding Jamie himself.
"Why not take an interim the coming semester," My husband proposed, "We'll take a family trip to the United Kingdom. Visit the Reverend, show Brianna where we came from."
"Isn't she a bit young for a historical trip?" I challenged, thinking of my copper-haired daughter.
Frank swayed his head in disagreement. Perhaps he was right; after all, he did spend time taking her to museums and reading her historical novels while I was attending medical school. He frequently declared she appreciated them more than the children's books I had purchased for her. Agreeing, I released a small exhalation from my lips and laid the book against the coffee table in our parlour. Around the time Brianna was six months old, I began to experience postpartum depression which drove me to apply and be admitted into the Harvard University medical program. It was wildly uncommon for a woman to apply, let alone a woman with an infant in the house; however, I lacked a sense of purpose. I required something to restrain my brain from Jamie, Culloden, and the 18th century. As supportive as Frank seemed to be, I knew he preferred I was similar to the other 20th century wives. A homemaker, someone who had supper on the table when he came home from a lengthy day of teaching. Someone who minded our child, instead of instructing a nanny to do it.
"I can take my physician assistant exam at the end of the month after next and then we can go." I eventually responded. "We can go back to Scotland."
"Please don't take her Claire," Frank remarked, as I rose from the sofa and began up the stairs to my bedroom. "If we find more, please don't take my daughter back with you."
I stopped on the stairs yet said nothing to Frank. I let his words settle around me and fill the warm spring air of our residence in Boston. He knew I couldn't deliver such a promise. He had to have known that by bringing us back to Scotland, my leaving with Brianna was a probability. If we discovered Jamie, I would not be leaving behind the one soul he sought to give his life to protect. The child he was prepared to die for. Standing on the stairs for a few more moments, I turned to admire the family portraits we had leading up the stairs. He cherished Brianna like she was his own flesh; I was aware of that. However she wasn't his child, though, she was a product of love between Jamie and me. And if he were still breathing, if he had lived through Culloden. She had a right to know her father, as he had a right to know who he helped conceive even if that meant hurting Frank.