Chasing a Highland Lass – (Extended Epilogue)


Machlachlan Castle, Four Years Later

Miriam had some news to tell Jamie, but she didn’t know how to do it.

She was sitting in the terraced gardens, watching as Jamie played with Caillen. The little girl squealed in delight as Jamie caught her under the arms and swung her up in the air. It was a game they loved to play;  Caillen would demand to be shown what flying would be like, then she would run around the garden until her father caught her. Jamie would sometimes feign missing her before catching her for real and holding her up high in the air.

Miriam felt her smile get so wide that she was sure her cheeks would ache forevermore. Jamie turned in a circle, making Caillen laugh and giggle as she saw the world spin around them.

“Ye’ll make her sick again,” Miriam pointed out loudly as she reached for one of the drinks that had been set out for them.

“Sick? Nay,” Jamie swung Caillen up and placed her on his shoulders. “Caillen, if ye do feel sick. Do me a favor. Aim it behind me and not on me head.”

The little girl just laughed in response and buried her hands in her father’s hair, tugging at the light-brown strands. Miriam laughed too, remembering just how many times Caillen’s face had turned from delight to worry. No matter how many times she was sick, she demanded to play the game again, for she loved it so much.

“Come sit down here and have somethin’ to drink,” Miriam urged him.

He walked over hurriedly, but before he sat down, he bent and kissed her, lingering with his lips against hers.

Miriam was so lost in that kiss that the sharp tug on her hair surprised her.

“Caillen!” she called, the sound slightly muffled against Jamie’s lips.

Jamie laughed as he straightened up and reached up to Caillen on his shoulders.

“Ye playin’ with ma’s hair again?” he asked her.

“Aye,” Caillen said with a smile, clearly pleased with herself. “Da! The butterflies!” she was pointing off in the direction of the flowerbeds where two cabbage-white butterflies danced together, swirling around one another with little bobbed movements. “Make me fly again – like them.”

“Nae right now, lass,” Jamie pulled her off his shoulders and placed her back down on her feet. “Any more and ye may well be sick, and I need somethin’ to drink. Runnin’ after ye is harder work than ye think.” He tapped her softly on the back, and she ran off to the flowerbeds, pulling her little skirt up around her knees as she watched the butterflies.

“Daenae run off!” Miriam called after her.

“Aye, ma,” she clearly didn’t have much intention of doing so. She was jumping up and down, trying to catch the butterflies with her small hands. The white butterflies just hovered out of her reach.

Miriam smiled as Jamie came to take the seat beside her. Without warning, he kissed her again, passing a hand behind her head until his fingers were entwined in her black hair and pulling her toward him for the kiss. At the touch, Miriam could feel that heat that she now knew so well filling her up. When his hand slipped under the table to take hold of her hip, she squealed into his mouth and pulled away.

“Calm yerself,” she shook her head. “Or ye’ll make our daughter ask all sorts of questions she shouldnae yet ken the answers to.”

He laughed in response and sat back in his seat as she passed him a small beer.

“Forgive me. It is hard to keep me hands off ye,” he said as he sipped the drink, his eyes passing over Caillen as she danced. “She makes me happier than I thought I could be, ye ken.”

“Me too,” Miriam watched their daughter as she jumped up and down in the flowerbeds. Miriam was not afraid to say that the night of Caillen’s birth had not been an easy one. The labor had been long and what had made it doubly difficult was the fact that Jamie hadn’t been there.

As part of the retaliation with the war against the Sutherland Clan, Jamie had been off leading the soldiers. They had not expected Miriam to go into labor so early, and the moment she did, word was sent off to Jamie.

When he returned, sweaty and covered in dirt from the battle, Miriam had just given birth. She was holding Caillen in her hands with unshed tears in her eyes when he  burst through the door, moving so quickly that he tripped over his own feet and completely fell over.

Miriam smiled at the memory.

Well, looks like we’ll be doin’ it all over again.

“Jamie,” she began slowly, uncertain how to tell him.

“Aye?” he turned his full attention to her.

“What do ye think of a little brother or sister for Caillen?” she gestured to their daughter. She had black hair like Miriam, but it curled around her ears, bearing resemblance to her father’s locks.

“I think let’s find someone to watch over Caillen, and we’ll go get started now,” he smiled and sat forward in his chair, prompting Miriam to laugh and reach out for his shoulders, pushing him back in his seat.

“That is nae necessary,” she said softly, waiting for him to understand. For a minute, he just frowned, not following her at all. Then, his face altered and his lips quirked into a small smile.

“Ye mean ye are…” he gestured down to her stomach.

“I am.”

“In the name of the wee man, this is fantastic news!” he leaned toward her and kissed her again, bringing her up to meet his lips.

“What did I say about Caillen, bampot?” Miriam leaned away and batted him around the arm.

“She is used to kissin’, this willnae make her ask questions,” he smiled. “So, we are to have a new member in our family.”

“We are,” Miriam circled her arms around Jamie’s neck. “And I think this time it will be a boy.”

“A boy? What makes ye so certain?”

Miriam looked down at her stomach, trying to explain it.

“A feelin’. That is all.”

“Then a boy it may well be,” he kissed her on the forehead. “Well, if we are to have as many problems namin’ this one as we had with Caillen, we best start our debate now.”

“We dinnae have that many problems,” Miriam rolled her eyes as she raised her head.

“We did,” Jamie pointed out. “For four days after her birth, we just called her lass!”

“I forgot about that,” Miriam chuckled. “Aye, very well. Any ideas of this boy’s name?”

At her words, Jamie placed a hand to her stomach and closed his eyes. For a minute, all was still as they listened to Caillen jumping in the flowerbeds.

“Feels like a Gawain to me.”

“Gawain?” she repeated as he opened his eyes. “I quite like that.”

“What? Nay debate? Nay argument?” he teased.

“Nay, I like Gawain.”

“Then, Gawain it is.” Jamie sat back in his chair and looped his arm around Miriam. She was pulled onto his chest where she rested her head on his shoulder.

“Me family,” she sighed with contentment. “Ye, me, Caillen and Gawain. How could I want for anythin’ more?”

“Daenae say that too quickly, lass. I want another after that.”



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